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post #1 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 07:28 AM Thread Starter
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The Darkest Day in Tennis

Women's tennis changed dramatically 11 years ago, altered forever in the middle of an otherwise ordinary match by a man with a knife.

World Number One Monica Seles was resting during a changeover at the Hamburg Open on April 30, 1993. She had gone through hundreds of them in a career that had taken her to the top of women's tennis.

This one was not routine.

The 19-year-old winner of six Grand Slam titles in the previous two years was towelling off in a chair, catching her breath for the next game against Magdalena Maleeva. She had been sidelined for more than two months with a viral infection. She would have to pace herself in a match she was leading 6-4, 4-3.

Then, in an instant, Seles felt a sharp pain in her back.

Guenter Parche had made his way through the stands to courtside. With no one stopping him, the German came up behind Seles and plunged a knife into her back, just below her left shoulder blade.

Seles screamed and collapsed, her face contorted by shock and pain. Aides rushed to her and she was taken to Hamburg Hospital.

``Never mind the personal implications, the life-altering event that was,'' Martina Navratilova said. ``It changed the course of tennis history. We'll never know what she might have been, how many more slams she would have won.''

The attack reverberated across sports. Players became more wary of fans, teams and organisers were forced to re-examine security arrangements.

Would I change? Yeah, I wish I didn't get stabbed and played and competed at the highest level for those few years.'' Seles said.

Parche was obsessed with World Number Two Steffi Graf, who was competing with Seles for the top spot in women's tennis. By injuring Seles, he reasoned, he would give Graf an edge.

He was right about that.

Navratilova had Chris Evert to create one of the great rivalries in sports. But Graf never really had Seles, who arrived on the scene after Graf swept the four Grand Slam tournaments in 1988.

Seles was the No. 1 player when she was attacked. She had won the Australian, French and U.S. Open titles in each of the previous two years. There had been three straight Australian crowns after Graf had won three in a row there. Seles had won 30 singles titles in just five years, eight of them Grand Slams.

Then Parche struck.

The knife wound healed quickly. The psychological injury took far longer.

Seles was off the court for 27 months. Friends and players tried to help her, Navratilova among them.

"We were good enough friends before,'' she said. ``I wanted to be there for her. I was there to ease her concerns and her fears. I don't know if I could or if I would want to step on the court after something like that.

"We hit. We talked. We visited. The longer she stayed away, the more I thought she would stay away. I wasn't sure at first that she would be back. The more she put it off, the harder I thought it would be for her.''

Slowly, Seles regained her confidence.

"She had an emotional trauma,'' Navratilova said. ``Nobody had ever gone through it. This never happened before. She was in uncharted territory. It makes you grow up faster than you want.''

Finally, there was a ballyhooed exhibition against Navratilova in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Seles was so nervous she double-faulted on the first point but went on to win. Then, in August 1995, she played the Canadian Open in Toronto.

Seles cruised through that U.S. Open warmup, never dropping a set. It was vintage Seles.

Or was it?

Her tennis was topflight. Her frame of mind was not.

``There are flashbacks,'' she said. ``On long points, I start thinking. Then I tell myself, `You can't do this. You're in a match. Just go out and play great tennis.' Reality is still there. I can't forget that. The reality is it happened. It will always be there.''

Less than a month later, Seles reached the U.S. Open final against Graf, losing 7-6(6), 0-6, 6-3. She went on to win a fourth Australian title in 1996 but has reached just two other Grand Slam finals since — losing the U.S. Open in 1996 and the French Open in 1998, three weeks after the death of her father.

She has had injuries from shoulder to knee. At 30 she is no longer a dominant player. She has never played in Germany again.

When Parche went on trial, she sent a letter to be read to the court.

``I only want proper justice,'' she wrote. ``This attack has tremendously and irreparably damaged my life (and) stopped my tennis career. I was a 19-year-old girl when he stabbed me. He has not been successful in his attempt to kill me, but he has destroyed my life.''


Last edited by Great Seles; Dec 1st, 2004 at 09:32 AM.
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post #2 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 07:35 AM Thread Starter
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Exactly eleven years ago in Hamburg, Germany, she was on her way to becoming the greatest women's player ever. And then, at an ordinary crossover in her match that day, she felt the awful pain in her back and turned around and, for just an instant, saw the face of a madman as he prepared to plunge the knife into her again. Someone rushed over and stopped him. Monica slumped to the ground, alive -- just -- the blade having cut within an inch of her life. But she was never the same again, not as an athlete, not as a person.

No one had been more of a free spirit, either. More than a decade ago, Teddy Tinling, the late dress designer, the keeper of the flame of women's tennis, liked to say that the sport was doomed to perish from avarice, that it was in the last opera of Wagner's Ring -- the twilight of the goddesses -- but that the wonderful little girl from Yugoslavia, who grunted when she hit the bejesus out of the ball, would breathe fresh life into the sport and save it.

And for the three years from the time she won her first major title until the German's knife drove into her, Seles won eight of the 12 Grand Slams -- completely dominating her rivals on the women's tour. The assassin changed history. Absent him, Monica was the best ever. Until . . .The horror is all the worse that it was a jealous fan of her rival who almost killed Seles.

Monica finally returned to professional tennis after two and a half years. She even won one more Grand Slam -- the Australian Open, in '96. And then her father, Karoly, whom she adored, fell ill with cancer and died in 1998. Even as a little girl, Monica had always been the strength of the family. After all, it was not easy for her parents to move to America, to a new life, in middle age. It was a little girl who led them. She was steel.

Yet as strong a person as she is, Seles will probably never win another major championship. Who even knows how much longer she will play? She's still only 30, but so wise and grown-up -- and so admired. Everybody in tennis adores Monica. The younger players look up to her. Monica Seles is a heroine.

After eleven long years, it's simply worth stating that.

The worst thing that ever happened on a field of play happened to her that day eleven Aprils ago. Somehow, as much attention as the tragedy received, it has never been appreciated to the depth that it deserves. It was a very big deal, and it changed the course of a sport, as it destroyed a champion. Monica Seles has overcome, though, and she has thrived, and if there is any justice at all, the next eleven years will be glorious for her.
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post #3 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 07:46 AM
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Poor Moni..

IF Maria Sharapova = Masha
& Maria Kirilenko = Makiri
THEN...
Lindsay Davenport = Linda
Anastasia Myskina = Amy
Conchita Martinez = Coma
Shahar Peer = Shape
Alicia Molik = Almo
Sofia Arvidsson = Soar
Maria Vento Kabchi = Maven
Magdalena Maleeva = Mama
Rennae Stubbs = Rest
Anne Keothavong = Anke
Tamarine Tanasugarn = Tata
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post #4 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 08:03 AM
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still shocks me everytime I read about it

Everything will change
But,love remains the same



Ditty Ivanovic Bacsinszky Feys Knapp Cibulkova

K Bondarenko Uhlirova Sugiyama Hantuchova Wickmayer Arvidsson
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post #5 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Great Seles
After eleven long years, it's simply worth stating that.

The worst thing that ever happened on a field of play happened to her that day eleven Aprils ago. Somehow, as much attention as the tragedy received, it has never been appreciated to the depth that it deserves. It was a very big deal, and it changed the course of a sport, as it destroyed a champion. Monica Seles has overcome, though, and she has thrived, and if there is any justice at all, the next eleven years will be glorious for her.




"No one really saw what happened. People only started reacting after this piercing scream,'' recalls Jens-Peter Hecht, at the time the spokesman of the German tennis federation, DTB.

"When I looked down the security people were wrestling someone down. Monica Seles had jumped up (from her chair), someone leaped across and threw a towel over her back".

It was only then that we realised she had been attacked,'' Hecht says. A political background was not ruled out at first, as the Balkan war was ongoing and Seles was a Yugoslav.

But it it soon became obvious that Parche had acted in an effort to help his idol Steffi Graf back to the top of women's tennis from which Seles had dethroned her in 1991.

"We had the impression that she (Graf) was the most important person for him. He worshipped her. The defendant said on several occasions that he would do anything for her,'' said psychologists in their report to Hamburg prosecutors afterwards.

"When Seles became No. 1 he decided to take concrete action for Steffi Graf. He wanted to `teach Monica Seles a lesson'.

He decided to injure her with a knife in the game with Maleeva. He didn't want to stab her in the head but couldn't reach her arm. That's why he stabbed her in the back,'' the report

"It took away some of the best years of my tennis career, that's for sure. To tell the truth, it's still very strange to me. I'm the only person in sports that this ever happened to,'' Seles told Tennis magazine.

Last edited by Greatest; Dec 1st, 2004 at 09:35 AM.
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post #6 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 08:35 AM
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sad sad tale... the world is so unfair...

Kim Clijsters always in my heart

For the latest match previews and analysis, follow my blog: http://wonderfulwta.blogspot.com/
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post #7 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wateva
sad sad tale... the world is so unfair...
Before the stabbing


Seles won about 20% more titles than Graf did.

Seles won (90%) of the major titles in the 3 year period (12 for Seles vs. only 2 for Graf).

CLAY COURTS: MONICA SELES.

Seles was the better player on clay:

1990 French Open
1991 French Open
1992 French Open


INDOOR: MONICA SELES.

Seles won the biggest indoor event in 1990, 1991 and 1992:

1990 Tour Championships
1991 Tour Championships
1992 Tour Championships


HARDCOURTS: MONICA SELES.

Seles was the better player on hardcourts because she won the 2 biggest events on hardcourts 5 straight times:

1991 Australian
1991 U.S. Open
1992 Australian
1992 U.S. Open
1993 Australian


GRASS COURTS: STEFFI GRAF.


Graf won Wimbledon in 1991 and 1992 when Seles did not play the event in 1991 and she made the final round of 1992 ... so Graf has the better record on grass.

HARDCOURTS: SELES
INDOORS: SELES
CLAY: SELES
GRASS: GRAF



CUMULATIVE May 1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 201-16 (92.63%)
Graf: 200-22 (88.50%)



BY SURFACE:


Hardcourts May 1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 98-8 match record (92.45%) .. 13 titles
Graf: 66-9 match record (88.00%) .. 5 titles



Clay May 1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 57-4 match record (93.44%) .. 8 titles
Graf: 58-7 match record (89.23%) .. 5 titles



Grass May 1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 10-2 match record (83.33%) .. no titles
Graf: 19-1 match record (95.00%) .. 2 titles



Indoor Carpet May1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 36-2 match record (94.74%) ... 8 titles
Graf: 57-5 match record (91.94%) ... 12 titles


#1 Ranking


Monica Seles Mar 11, 1991 --- Aug 04, 1991 (21 weeks)
Steffi Graf Aug 05, 1991 - --Aug 11, 1991 (1 week)
Monica Seles Aug 12, 1991 --- Aug 18, 1991 (1 week)
Steffi Graf Aug 19, 1991 --- Sep 08, 1991 (3 weeks)
Monica Seles Sep 09, 1991 - --Jun 06, 1993 (91 weeks)

Seles LOST her number one ranking due to inactivity on June 06, 1993 after the horrible stabbing by a jealous Graf fan.

Steffi Graf challenged for the top ranking twice in 1991 BUT was only capable of holding to it at the maximum (three weeks). Ultimately, the german LOST the battle to Seles and happily settled at number two

Then...Enter Gunther Pache.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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post #8 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greatest
Before the stabbing


Seles won about 20% more titles than Graf did.

Seles won (90%) of the major titles in the 3 year period (12 for Seles vs. only 2 for Graf).

CLAY COURTS: MONICA SELES.

Seles was the better player on clay:

1990 French Open
1991 French Open
1992 French Open


INDOOR: MONICA SELES.

Seles won the biggest indoor event in 1990, 1991 and 1992:

1990 Tour Championships
1991 Tour Championships
1992 Tour Championships


HARDCOURTS: MONICA SELES.

Seles was the better player on hardcourts because she won the 2 biggest events on hardcourts 5 straight times:

1991 Australian
1991 U.S. Open
1992 Australian
1992 U.S. Open
1993 Australian


GRASS COURTS: STEFFI GRAF.


Graf won Wimbledon in 1991 and 1992 when Seles did not play the event in 1991 and she made the final round of 1992 ... so Graf has the better record on grass.

HARDCOURTS: SELES
INDOORS: SELES
CLAY: SELES
GRASS: GRAF



CUMULATIVE May 1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 201-16 (92.63%)
Graf: 200-22 (88.50%)



BY SURFACE:


Hardcourts May 1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 98-8 match record (92.45%) .. 13 titles
Graf: 66-9 match record (88.00%) .. 5 titles



Clay May 1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 57-4 match record (93.44%) .. 8 titles
Graf: 58-7 match record (89.23%) .. 5 titles



Grass May 1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 10-2 match record (83.33%) .. no titles
Graf: 19-1 match record (95.00%) .. 2 titles



Indoor Carpet May1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 36-2 match record (94.74%) ... 8 titles
Graf: 57-5 match record (91.94%) ... 12 titles


#1 Ranking


Monica Seles Mar 11, 1991 --- Aug 04, 1991 (21 weeks)
Steffi Graf Aug 05, 1991 - --Aug 11, 1991 (1 week)
Monica Seles Aug 12, 1991 --- Aug 18, 1991 (1 week)
Steffi Graf Aug 19, 1991 --- Sep 08, 1991 (3 weeks)
Monica Seles Sep 09, 1991 - --Jun 06, 1993 (91 weeks)

Seles LOST her number one ranking due to inactivity on June 06, 1993 after the horrible stabbing by a jealous Graf fan.

Steffi Graf challenged for the top ranking twice in 1991 BUT was only capable of holding to it at the maximum (three weeks). Ultimately, the german LOST the battle to Seles and happily settled at number two

Then...Enter Gunther Pache.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It is quite clear.

Seles won about 15% more titles than Graf did.

Seles won more major titles in the 3 year period (12 for Seles vs. only 2 for Graf).

Seles had the better winning percentage than Graf did.

Seles had the better winning percentage than Graf did on all surfaces other than grass
.
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post #9 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greatest
Before the stabbing


Seles won about 20% more titles than Graf did.

Seles won (90%) of the major titles in the 3 year period (12 for Seles vs. only 2 for Graf).

CLAY COURTS: MONICA SELES.

Seles was the better player on clay:

1990 French Open
1991 French Open
1992 French Open


INDOOR: MONICA SELES.

Seles won the biggest indoor event in 1990, 1991 and 1992:

1990 Tour Championships
1991 Tour Championships
1992 Tour Championships


HARDCOURTS: MONICA SELES.

Seles was the better player on hardcourts because she won the 2 biggest events on hardcourts 5 straight times:

1991 Australian
1991 U.S. Open
1992 Australian
1992 U.S. Open
1993 Australian


GRASS COURTS: STEFFI GRAF.


Graf won Wimbledon in 1991 and 1992 when Seles did not play the event in 1991 and she made the final round of 1992 ... so Graf has the better record on grass.

HARDCOURTS: SELES
INDOORS: SELES
CLAY: SELES
GRASS: GRAF



CUMULATIVE May 1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 201-16 (92.63%)
Graf: 200-22 (88.50%)



BY SURFACE:


Hardcourts May 1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 98-8 match record (92.45%) .. 13 titles
Graf: 66-9 match record (88.00%) .. 5 titles



Clay May 1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 57-4 match record (93.44%) .. 8 titles
Graf: 58-7 match record (89.23%) .. 5 titles



Grass May 1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 10-2 match record (83.33%) .. no titles
Graf: 19-1 match record (95.00%) .. 2 titles



Indoor Carpet May1990 - April 1993 until stabbing:

Seles: 36-2 match record (94.74%) ... 8 titles
Graf: 57-5 match record (91.94%) ... 12 titles


#1 Ranking


Monica Seles Mar 11, 1991 --- Aug 04, 1991 (21 weeks)
Steffi Graf Aug 05, 1991 - --Aug 11, 1991 (1 week)
Monica Seles Aug 12, 1991 --- Aug 18, 1991 (1 week)
Steffi Graf Aug 19, 1991 --- Sep 08, 1991 (3 weeks)
Monica Seles Sep 09, 1991 - --Jun 06, 1993 (91 weeks)

Seles LOST her number one ranking due to inactivity on June 06, 1993 after the horrible stabbing by a jealous Graf fan.

Steffi Graf challenged for the top ranking twice in 1991 BUT was only capable of holding to it at the maximum (three weeks). Ultimately, the german LOST the battle to Seles and happily settled at number two

Then...Enter Gunther Pache.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is quite clear.

Seles won about 15% more titles than Graf did.

Seles won more major titles in the 3 year period (12 for Seles vs. only 2 for Graf).

Seles had the better winning percentage than Graf did.

Seles had the better winning percentage than Graf did on all surfaces other than grass
.
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post #10 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 10:24 AM
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I miss Monica.
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post #11 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Great Seles
It is quite clear.

Seles won about 15% more titles than Graf did.

Seles won more major titles in the 3 year period (12 for Seles vs. only 2 for Graf).

Seles had the better winning percentage than Graf did.

Seles had the better winning percentage than Graf did on all surfaces other than grass
.
It took a Graf fan in Germany and a knife from his hand into the back of Monica Seles for Graf to be able to win much of anything other than Wimbledon in the early 1990s after Monica Seles had settled into her dominance.

Evert and Navratilova never relied on their fans stabbing each other in the back with knives for them to have success.

Navratilova has the all-time record for most Wimbledons.
Mallory has the all-time record for most U.S. Nationals.
Evert has the all-time record for most U.S. Opens.
Evert has the all-time record for most French titles.
Court has the all-time record for most Australian titles.
Navratilova has the record for most WTA Championships.
Wills Moody has the all-time record for most years at #1.
Wills Moody has the record for most Slams on grass.
Evert has the all-time record for most Slams on clay.

Graf had a very balanced resume after Seles was out.
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post #12 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 10:36 AM
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this amkes me so sad its like sometimes ppl forget what actually happened and how brave Monica Seles is to ever even pick up a tennis racket let alone win a grand slam after this horrific incident. This is the reason why I want Monica to play a few more matches because I want her to call it quits on her own terms not on some as*holes like Gunther Pache.

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post #13 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenny161185
this amkes me so sad its like sometimes ppl forget what actually happened and how brave Monica Seles is to ever even pick up a tennis racket let alone win a grand slam after this horrific incident. This is the reason why I want Monica to play a few more matches because I want her to call it quits on her own terms not on some as*holes like Gunther Pache.
Thanks Jenny

Monica Seles may have "only" won one more Grand Slam title after her return in 1995, and she may not have dominated like she once did, but I think she achieved something even greater just by coming back.

Let's not forget that on the day she was stabbed, had Parche actually succeeded in his intentions, she would have been murdered. Thankfully, his aim was not impeccable, and Monica lived. But what a terrible, traumatic thought---that if someone had had his way, you would be dead.

Just by coming back in 1995 and trying to pick up the pieces of her life again, I think she won the "Grand Slam of Life". Everything after that........titles, being #1, Grand Slams, 3-set wins or losses.......really just doesn't seem all that monumental.
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post #14 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tennislover
great job, guys......
we must not forget what happened..........
very sad story.....

The violent stabbing of Monica Seles was a horrible senseless crime unprecedented in sports history and completely changed the course of a sport.

Some people may seem to think that because one can't change things we should act like it never happened..
...


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post #15 of 102 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 2004, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenny161185
this amkes me so sad its like sometimes ppl forget what actually happened and how brave Monica Seles is to ever even pick up a tennis racket let alone win a grand slam after this horrific incident. This is the reason why I want Monica to play a few more matches because I want her to call it quits on her own terms not on some as*holes like Gunther Pache.


I would love to see Monica Seles come back out there and play lights out like she did in those years 1990-1993 for just 1 more year or 2.
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