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How could Seles sit down for a changeover anytime soon without wincing? "I think the real damage is to the psyche," said Martina Navratilova.
The attack did result in some immediate changes in security. For the semifinals on Saturday, the players' chairs were moved closer to the court, with a guard posted just behind each of them, facing the crowd. Smith said the WTA would hire a security consultant to suggest new guidelines for protecting players, both on and off the court. Possible measures range from posting guards on court to erecting a Plexiglas barrier between the players and the fans. But as Smith said, "How can you provide 100 percent protection? You can't."
After an attack like the one on Seles, every celebrity athlete suddenly seems more vulnerable. NBA benches seem nakedly open to crowds in arenas, golfers seem starkly unprotected on putting greens. A new precedent has been set. "Someone has broken through an invisible barrier," said the WTA's Smith. "It's not just a threat. Something actually happened that changes everything. Things are not the same today as they were yesterday."
In the aftermath tennis players recalled numerous incidents of frightening contact with too-fervent fans. Anke Huber, a 19-year-old German player, has been followed for approximately six months by an obsessive fan who has tried to give her gifts. Early last week Huber's coach, Boris Breskvar, found the man sitting outside Huber's hotel room and called security to have him removed.
Perhaps no one on the tour has had more brushes with ardent fans than Graf, who has been in the glare of the spotlight since she turned pro at 13. Four years ago one such fan followed her to a practice court near her home in Brühl and slashed his wrists in front of her. Recently, at her second home, in Boca Raton, Fla., a fan was found guilty of trespassing after repeatedly trying to sneak past the gates of the private development where she lives.
Once the shiest of players, Graf has become almost defiant in her insistence on moving around unhindered. On the day after the attack on Seles, she insisted that players should not allow one terrifying fan to alter their behavior. "I'm not afraid," Graf said. "Tennis players have more or less been put on a stage. I think we need to be even closer to the people who watch us. You can't live with fear." During Sunday's final she insisted that the security guards stationed on court return to their normal positions in the stands.
Graf, who may become No. 1 again if Seles's absence is prolonged, urged Seles to return to play as quickly as possible. She's a very strong-minded person," said Graf. "When she is physically ready, she should get back to the court immediately. This is something we all live with. It's the price we have to pay."