London: Twenty years on from her heavy defeat in the Wimbledon final, Andrea Jaeger has revealed that a row with her father the previous night probably put paid to her hopes of winning the title.
Jaeger told Sunday’s Observer that she turned up on opponent Martina Navratilova’s doorstep in tears on the eve of their meeting in the 1983 final after being locked out of the house where her family were staying. “I didn’t know what to do or where to go,” said the American, who was 18 at the time. “I was just this kid and I didn’t know anyone.
An argument about practice with her father, Roland, had rumbled on into the evening, Jaeger said, until she found herself locked out. She said she had a thumb injury and wanted to restrict her practice to protect it — against her father’s wishes.
“So I went to the only place I did know someone which was Martina’s, who was renting a house in the same street. Lord knows what she must have thought when a crying teenager turns up on her doorstep the night before they are about to meet in the final and says she needs to use the phone.”
Jaeger, who had been a French Open finalist at 16 but retired from the sport at 22 after a serious shoulder injury, declined to give further details about the evening. On Wimbledon’s Centre Court the following day, Navratilova thrashed her 6-0 6-3 in just 54 minutes.
“Maybe had I kept a competitive edge I would have won, who knows'” Jaeger said. “I guess I didn’t go into the match with the same mentality I would usually have had. I didn’t have the same determination.”
Since giving up tennis, Jaeger has devoted her time and energy to fund-raising and runs a charity providing holidays for seriously ill children in Colorado. Asked if she could have won if the argument with her father had not happened, Jaeger said: “Yeah maybe. Who knows' ”