Why Steffi Graf is the greatest ever.
· Steffi is the ONLY player (man or woman) to have won a Golden Grand Slam - winning the four Grand Slam titles - the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open - in a single calendar year - 1988. In that year, Steffi also won the Olympic Gold Medal in Seoul - hence the name Golden Grand Slam.
·Steffi has won her 22 Grand Slam on four different surfaces - Rebound Ace at Flinders Park, Clay at Roland Garros, Grass at Wimbledon and cement Hard Court at Flushing Meadow. This fact, in itself, makes Steffi's Grand Slam unique.
· Steffi is the ONLY player (either male or female) to have won all four of the Grand Slam events at least 4 times.
· Steffi is the ONLY player (either male or female) to have won each of the four Grand Slam events in singles AND TO HAVE SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDED each and every one
· Steffi is one of only two players (either male or female) to have won the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year and to have done so four times. She achieved this in 1988, 1993, 1995 and 1996. Helen Wills Moody did it in 1928, 1929, 1930 and 1932. Bjorn Borg achieved it three times - 1978, 1979 and 1980
· Steffi had already won 7 Wimbledon titles by the age of 27
· It took Steffi only 9 years between her first and her eighteenth Grand Slam titles, while it took Margaret Court 11 years, and Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova 13 years each.
· Steffi holds the record for any player (either male or female) for the number of consecutive weeks as number 1 in the world - 186 weeks between 17th August 1987 and 10th March 1991.
· Steffi is the only player (either male or female) to have won all four Grand Slam singles titles in the 80s AS WELL AS in the 90s
· By winning the 1994 Australian Open, Steffi became only the second woman (Martina Navratilova was the other doing it in 1983/84) to win a non-calendar year Grand Slam, having already won the 1993 French Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles.
· Steffi holds the record for consecutive appearances in Grand Slam finals at 13 - from the 1987 French Open up to the 1990 French Open
· Steffi has won at least 3 Grand Slam titles in five different years - in 1988 she won all 4; in 1989 and 1993 she won 3 and was a finalist in the fourth; in 1995 and 1996 she won all three of the Grand Slams she played.
· Steffi has earned an Olympic Gold Medal (1988 at Seoul), a Silver Medal ( 1992 at Barcelona) and a Bronze Medal (1988 at Seoul in doubles).
· Steffi won the Lipton 5 times - a record for a man or woman. The Lipton is the biggest tournament outside the Grand Slams.
· Between 1986 and 1996, Steffi won at least 7 titles every year. Also she won at least one Grand Slam title every year between 1987 and 1996.
· Steffi has been the World Champion of Tennis seven times in ten years - 1987 to 1990, 1993 and 1995 and 1996. Seven times is a world record.
· Steffi has been the Corel WTA Player of the Year 1987 to 1990 and 1993 to 1996.
· Steffi holds a winning record against every significant player she has ever played, except Martina Navratilova (9-9) and Tracy Austin (1-1).
· Steffi holds the record as the player who has held the number 1 ranking in the world for the l o n g e s t period of time. As of the 24th March 1997, she had been in the top position for 377 weeks (over 7 years). The previous record was 331 weeks which was held by Martina Navratilova.
· Steffi won 107 titles
Special Moments in Steffi's career
This page lists important moments in Steffi's illustrious career.
At age 13, Steffi won the German Junior 18s Championship and the European Junior 18s Championship.
18th October 1982 - Steffi turned professional and the next day played her first match against Tracy Austin in Filderstadt, Germany. Steffi lost 4-6,0-6. She was 13 years and 4 months old.
May 1983 - Steffi played through the qualification rounds of her first Grand Slam event - the French Open - and entered the main draw. She lost in the second round 0-6,6-7 to Beverly Mould of South Africa who is one of the few players to have a winning record against Steffi (1-0)! At this event, Steffi, being only 13, was mistaken for a ballgirl!
June 1983 - Steffi, playing on grass (at Roehampton, England) for the first time as a pro, lost in the second round of the Wimbledon qualies 6-1,3-6,2-6 to Nerida Gregory of the US, who maintains a winning record against Steffi too (1-0)!
22nd October 1983 - Steffi gets to her first pro quarter-final. It is at Brighton and she lost to Ma. Christine Calleja of France 6-7,7-5,4-6.
November 1983 - Steffi played in her first Australian Open and retired after the first set of her first round match against Liz Smylie of Australia 1-6.
June/July 1984 - Steffi made her first impact at Wimbledon. In a round of 16 match, Steffi came very close to the quarter-finals but lost a heartbreaker to Englishwoman Jo Durie 6-3,3-6,7-9.
August 1984 - Steffi won the Olympic Demonstration Event at the Los Angeles Games defeating Yugoslav Sabrina Goles 1-6,6-3,6-4. As a demonstration event, no medals were awarded. Steffi was the youngest competitor in the tournament.
August 1984 - Steffi played in her first U.S. Open and lost to compatriot Sylvia Hanika 4-6,2-6.
21st October 1984 - Steffi played in her first final at Filderstadt but lost to Catarina Lindqvist of Sweden 1-6,4-6.
16 February 1985 - Steffi first match against Chris Evert - a 4-6,2-6 loss for Steffi.
September 1985 - Steffi won a highly significant match at the U.S. Open in the quarter-finals against Pam Shriver 7-6(7-4)6-7(4-7),7-6(7-4). On a very hot day, Steffi moved to her first Grand Slam semi-final, after three tiebreak sets.
7th September 1985 - In the semis, Steffi lost to Martina Navratilova 2-6,3-6. This was Steffi's first match against Martina.
Steffi was ranked number 6 in the world at the end of 1985. She was 16.
13th April 1986 - Steffi won her first title, defeating Chris Evert at the Family Circle Cup, 6-4,7-5. Having won her first title, the dam was broken and Steffi quickly won 3 more titles in quick succession. This was Steffi's first win over Chris Evert and she would never lose to Evert again.
19th May 1986 - Steffi won her first German Championship and at the same time had her first win against Martina 6-2,6-3.
7th and 8th February 1987 - At the Lipton, Steffi defeated in succession, in the semis and the final, Martina Navratilova (6-3,6-2) and Chris Evert (6-1,6-2). Steffi was the third seed.
5th June 1987 - Steffi won her first Grand Slam title - the French Open - on a double fault by Martina Navratilova. The score 6-4,4-6,8-6. Steffi had trailed 3-5 in the final set.
In 1987 Steffi lost to Martina in the finals of Wimbledon (5-7,3-6) and the U.S. Open (6-7,1-6).
July/August 1987 - In Vancouver, Germany defeated the United States to win the Federation Cup. Steffi had defeated Evert 6-3,6-4 but it was the doubles match that decided it. Steffi and Claudia Kohde-Kilsch came from behind to win 1-6,7-5,6-4 against Chris Evert and Pam Shriver.
16th August 1987 - Steffi defeated Chris Evert 6-3,6-4 at the Virginia Slims of Los Angeles, not knowing that this victory gave her the number 1 ranking until her father told her after the match. Steffi would hold onto the number 1 ranking for a record 186 weeks - until the 10th March 1991.
22nd November 1987 - Steffi won her first Masters (Virginia Slims Championships) by defeating Gabriela Sabatini 4-6,6-4,6-0,6-4 - her first 4 set match.
Steffi ended 1987 having lost just two matches (75-2).
In 1988, Steffi showed what being the number 1 player in the world meant. She won all 4 Grand Slam titles and added an Olympic Gold Medal. All in all, Steffi won 11 titles in 1988 and had a 72-3 record. Her Golden Grand Slam remains unique. Only two other women players have won a calendar year Grand Slam - Maureen Connolly in 1953 and Margaret Smith Court in 1970.
10th June 1988 - Steffi defeated Natasha Zvereva 6-0, 6-0 in just 34 minutes to win her second French Open title.
6th July 1988 - Steffi won her first Wimbledon title, playing tennis of such high quality. Trailing 5-7,0-2 against Martina Navratilova, Steffi raised her game to a level that few, if any, had ever witnessed before and won 12 of the next 13 games to take the title 5-7,6-2,6-1. Definitely one of the finest matches in Steffi's career.
8th June 1989 - Steffi played her first match against Monica Seles in the semi-finals of the French Open. Steffi won 6-3,3-6,6-3.
In 1989, Steffi continued her incredible run, winning three of the Slams - the Australian, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. She lost the French title to Arantxa Sanchez 6-7(6-8),6-3,5-7 thereby just missing a second consecutive Grand Slam.
Steffi considered 1989 a better year than 1988. She won 14 titles and had a 86-2 record.
27th January 1990 - Steffi won the Australian Open with a 6-3,6-4 over Mary Joe Fernandez.
9th June 1990 - Steffi lost to Monica Seles in the final of the French Open 6-7,4-6.
5th July 1990 - Steffi lost to Zina Garrison-Jackson 3-6,6-3,4-6 in the semi-final of Wimbledon.
8th September 1990 - Steffi lost to Gabriela Sabatini 2-6,6-7(4) in the final of the U.S. Open.
30th September 1990 - Steffi won the first tournament ever played in Leipzig by defeating Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-1,6-1. What made this such a special occasion was that Steffi was playing in what used to be East Germany but was now part of a united Germany. In a very moving award ceremony, Steffi, moved to tears, donated her prize money of $70,000 to aid in the development of tennis in the Eastern part of her country. She was given an extended standing ovation.
1990 was a mixed year for Steffi - only 1 Grand Slam title, a 72-5 record and 9 titles! Anyone else would consider this a wonderful year.
February 1991 - This may have been a low point in Steffi's career as she actually considered quitting tennis. 1990 had been a mediocre year for her high standards - 72 wins and 5 losses - only one Grand Slam title! - and when 1991 started out with a quarter-final loss in the Australian Open to Jana Novotna (7-5,4-6,6-8) and then a quarter-final loss in Tokyo a week later to Gabriela Sabatini (6-4,4-6,6-7(6)), Steffi was discouraged. Steffi didn't win a title in 1991 until the 31st March when she beat Monica Seles in San Antonio (6-4,6-3). That was the tonic she needed.
10th March 1991 - Steffi relinquished the number 1 ranking to Monica Seles becoming number 2. She had completed a record 186 consecutive weeks as number 1.
6th July 1991 - Steffi, getting back on track, had a come from behind win against Sabatini in the final at Wimbledon (6-4,3-6,8-6).
5th August 1991 - Steffi regained the number 1 ranking for one week only - enough to be seeded number 1 in the U.S. Open. Steffi lost to Martina in the semis 6-7(2-7),7-6(8-6),4-6 in the Open.
19th August 1991 - Steffi regained the number 1 ranking again.
8th September 1991 - Steffi slipped to number 2 behind Seles again.
October 1991 - The Steffi Graf Youth Tennis Centre was founded in Leipzig.
2nd October 1991 - Steffi won her 500th match - 6 months ahead of the pace set by Chris Evert in her own career.
Steffi was unable to play the Australian Open in 1992.
6th June 1992 - Perhaps one of Steffi's most heartbreaking losses occured in the final of the French Open. She lost to Monica Seles 2-6,6-3,8-10. The play was very high quality. Steffi trailed most of the final set. Trailing 3-5 and with Steffi serving, Steffi had to fight off 4 Championship points for Seles before she won that game. Steffi then took the next two games to lead 6-5 and then 7-6, but Seles levelled to 7-7. Seles then led 7-8 and Steffi broke service to level at 8-8. Seles won the next two games. One commiseration was that the crowd at Roland Garros gave Steffi a rapturous reception that moved her to tears.
4th July 1992 - Steffi exacted sweet revenge on Seles by whipping her 6-2,6-1 in the final of Wimbledon.
July 1992 - In Frankfurt, Steffi led Germany to a win over Spain to win the Fed Cup. Steffi defeated Sanchez Vicario 6-4,6-2 in the final.
August 1992 - Steffi lost to Jennifer Capriati (6-3,3-6,4-6) in the final of the Olympics in Barcelona.
January 1993 - Germany won the Hopman Cup for the first time defeating Spain 2-1. Steffi defeated Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-4, 6-3; Michael Stich beat Emilio Sanchez 7-5, 6-4. The Spaniards won the mixed doubles.
30th January 1993 - Steffi lost to Monica Seles 6-4,3-6,2-6 in the final of the Australian Open.
14th March 1993 - Steffi won her 600th match.
April 1993 - A so-called fan of Steffi's stabbed Monica Seles in Hamburg. This horrible event obviously damaged Monica Seles, but also had a big effect on Steffi.
5th June 1993 - Steffi defeated Mary Joe Fernandez 4-6,6-2,6-4 in the final of the French Open.
7th June 1993 - Steffi regained the number 1 ranking.
3rd July 1993 - Steffi defeated Jana Novotna 7-6(6),1-6,6-4 in the final of Wimbledon.
11th September 1993 - Steffi defeated Helena Sukova 6-3,6-3 in the final of the U.S. Open. Steffi is the only player, man or woman, to have won all 4 Grand Slam titles in the '90s.
21st November 1993 - Steffi defeated Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the finals of the Masters (Virginia Slims Championships) 6-1,6-4,3-6,6-1.
29th January 1994 - Steffi blitzed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-0,6-2 in the final of the Australian Open and thereby completed a non-calendar year Grand Slam, only the second woman to do so. Martina Navratilova was the other in 1983-84.
6th February 1994 - In Tokyo, Steffi played Martina for the last time and defeated her 6-2,6-4 in the final of the Pan Pacific Open. This win leveled their head-to-head record at 9 wins each.
7th February 1994 - Steffi's ranking average hit 441.1746 which is the highest ranking average ever achieved by any player. Steffi had 6617.6185 points divided by 15 tournaments to arrive at this average. She held on to this average for three weeks until 28th February 1994 when it slipped to 429.8512 which was based upon 6877.6185 points divided by 16 tournaments. On the 21st March, 1994 Steffi's points actually peaked at 6951.6185 points which when divided by 16 tournaments yielded an average of 434.4762.
February/March 1994 - Steffi won three tournaments within a three week period - winning in Indian Wells on 27th February, in Delray Beach on 6th March and at Key Biscayne on 19th March. Since the Lipton is played over 10 days, the win at Key Biscayne was, technically, not precisely within a three week period. It was still a great achievement.
19th March 1994 - In the final of the Lipton against Natasha Zvereva, Steffi lost the first set thereby ending a streak of 57 consecutive sets without loss. The streak started in the final set of the 1993 Masters and extended through 27 consecutive matches in 1994, breaking a record set by Monica Seles in 1990.
3rd June 1994 - Mary Pierce defeated Steffi 6-2,6-2 in the semi-final of the French Open.
21st June 1994 - Defending Champion Steffi lost in the first round of Wimbledon to Lori McNeil 5-7,6-7(5).
21st August 1994 - In a final that would take six hours to complete owing to rain delays, and with Steffi receiving treatment for her painful back, Steffi lost to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 5-7,6-1,6-7(4) at the Canadian Open. This was the most courageous and inspiring match that one can imagine. Steffi, refusing to give into the agony she was suffering and with the constant rain delays, won the hearts of the crowd in Montréal. Steffi was in tears and she wasn't the only one!
10th September 1994 - Once again bothered by her back, Steffi lost the final of the U.S. Open to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. Steffi won the first set 6-1 in 22 minutes, but lost the second 6-7(3) and the third 4-6.
6th February 1995 - Steffi lost the number 1 ranking to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. She would regain the top position on the 20th February for one week.
After an extensive layoff which meant missing the Australian Open, Steffi returned to tennis in 1995 winning titles in Paris, Delray Beach, Key Biscayne and Houston. The Houston title was her 90th title.
10th April 1995 - Steffi regained the number 1 ranking.
15th May 1995 - Steffi slipped to number 2 again behind Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.
10th June 1995 - Steffi defeated Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 7-5,4-6,6-0 in the final of the French Open. Steffi's 4th French Open title.
Steffi regained the number 1 ranking again - which she has held ever since.
6th July 1995 - Steffi won her 750th match defeating Jana Novotna 5-7,6-4,6-2 in the semi-finals of Wimbledon.
8th July 1995 - Steffi defeated Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 4-6,6-1,7-5 to claim her 6th Wimbledon title. This match featured a titanic 11th game of the third set that featured 32 points, 13 deuces, 8 game points for Arantxa, 6 break points for Steffi, 1 ace (Arantxa) and no double faults. It lasted 20 minutes and Steffi won it. Very possibly one of the finest matches ever played.
15th August 1995 - Steffi and Monica Seles to share the number 1 ranking for a period.
9th September 1995 - Steffi defeated Monica Seles 7-6(8-6),0-6,6-3 in the final of the U.S. Open. This match was the first ever match between two co-number 1 players. Steffi's 4th U.S. Open title. This was Steffi's 18th Grand Slam title - tying Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.
8th October 1995 - Steffi reached the 300 week mark as number 1 player in the world.
20th November 1995 - Steffi defeated Anke Huber in a thrilling five set final at the Masters (Corel WTA Tour Championships) 6-1,2-6,6-1,4-6,6-3. This was Steffi's first five set match.
30th March 1996 - Steffi became the only player, man or woman, to win a fifth Lipton title and the only player, man or woman, to have won three Lipton tiles in succession. She defeated Chanda Rubin 6-1,6-3.
13th May 1996 - Steffi became the player, either male or female, who has been number one in the world the
l o n g e s t. On this day, Steffi had been number 1 for a total of 332 weeks - over 6 years.
8th June 1996 - Steffi won her 5th French Open Championship defeating Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-3,6-7(4)10-8. This victory was considered by Steffi to be one of her greatest. Twice in the final set, Sanchez Vicario was broken by Steffi as she served for the Championship. This title gave her 19 career Grand Slam titles, moving her ahead of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova and tying Helen Wills Moody.
6th July 1996 - Steffi won her 7th Wimbledon Championship by defeating Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-3,7-5. She moved into sole second place with 20 Grand Slam titles ahead of Helen Wills Moody. This win also marked Steffi's 100th career title.
13th July 1996 - Steffi won her 800th career singles match 6-1,3-6,6-2 against Judith Wiesner.
8th September 1996 - Steffi won her 5th US Open Championship, defeating Monica Seles 7-5,6-4. Steffi's 21st Grand Slam title. The second year in succession that Steffi has won all the Grand Slam events she has played in.
16th September 1996 - Steffi marks 350th week as world number one.
5th October 1996 - Steffi has to default a match in Leipzig against Anke Huber, marking only the second time in her career that she has had to withdraw from a tournament when it was already in progress. The first time was in November 1983 against Liz Smylie at the Australian Open.
24th November 1996 - Steffi won her fifth Masters title defeating Martina Hingis is a five set match - 6-3,4-6,6-0,4-6,6-0
23rd December 1996 - Steffi marked her seventh year (364th week) as the number one ranked player on the planet.
1st January 1997 - Steffi was named the 1996 World Champion by the International Tennis Federation - this for the seventh time which is a world record.
17th January 1997 - Steffi won her 45th consecutive Grand Slam match which tied the record with Martina Navratilova.
2nd February 1997 - Owing to a patella tendon injury in her left knee, Steffi had to default the final in Tokyo to Hingis and started a prolonged injury break.
19th March 1997 - Steffi was elected WTA Player of The Year by her peers for the eighth time in her career and a record eighth time in ten years. She was also elected the Most Exciting Player by tennis fans.
31st March 1997 - Steffi slipped to number 2 in the rankings, after not being able to defend 1996 points due to injury. She had been number 1 for a record 377 weeks.
12th May 1997 - Steffi returned to the Tour after her second longest period of injury.
16th May 1997 - Steffi lost to Amanda Coetzer 0-6, 1-6 in Berlin - her worst match ever.
9th June 1997 - Steffi slipped to ranking position #3 - the first time since March 1987 that she has not been ranked either #1 or #2.
10th June 1997 - Steffi Graf had a second operation on her left knee and started another prolonged injury break.
16th February 1998 - Steffi Graf returns to tennis in Hannover at the Faber Grand Prix after her longest layoff lasting eight months. She plays a doubles match with Barbara Rittner and they defeat Meike Babel and Wiltrud Probst 6-3,6-1.
10th March 1998 - Steffi Graf moved past Virginia Wade on the career wins list notching up win number 840 and taking position 3 after Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.
12th March 1998 - Steffi injured her left hamstring in a match v. Lindsay Davenport at Indian Wells, defaulting the match. This injury led to an injury in her right ankle while practising on another comeback attempt.
4th May 1998 - In an interview in Focus, a German newsmagazine, Steffi admits that she may have to retire. She forgoes any attempt at a return to the clay court season and decides to try for Wimbledon instead.
8th June 1998 - Steffi dropped off the singles rankings as she no longer had played the required minimum of three tournaments in the past twelve months to have a ranking.
10th June 1998 - Steffi returns to the Tour in Birmingham on grass. She defeated her friend Rennae Stubbs 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.
18th June 1998 - Steffi lost her 100th career match and it took nearly 16 years!. That's an amazingly low average of just 6.5 losses a year. The match was against Anna Kournikova and the score was 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4 to Kournikova.
29th August 1998 - Steffi plays in her first final since May 1997 and wins it 6-4, 6-1 against Jana Novotna. This marks her 104th career title and the 13th year in succession where Steffi has won at least one title.
7th November 1998 - Steffi Graf became the player who has earned more money than any other female athlete ever bypassing Martina Navratilova.
8th November 1998 - After all the injury problems of 1997 and 1998, Steffi won her 105th career title defeating Nathalie Tauziat in the final of the Sparkassen Cup 6-3, 6-4.
November 1998 - Steffi followed her tournament win in Leipzig with another one in Philadelphia, but what made this month so memorable was that in the space of five days she defeated the top three ranked players - Davenport (1), Hingis (2) and Novotna (3). Then to ice that cake, she also defeated two other top ten players Monica Seles (6) and Nathalie Tauziat (9) to finish a spectacular two weeks. Defeating the top three players in five days has never been done before by one player - Graf set another mark. This mark was even more special in that there were three players currently or formerly ranked at number 1 in this streak.
11th May 1999 - Steffi played her 1000th game and defeated Sandra Nacuk of Yugoslavia 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Aptly, it happened in Berlin.
5th June 1999 - After a drought since September 1996, Steffi won her 22nd Grand Slam title, her 6th French Open title by defeating Martina Hingis 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. Steffi did this at age 29 years, 356 days. On the way to the title, Steffi defeated the number 3 player (Seles), the number 2 player (Davenport) and the number 1 player (Hingis) in consecutive matches. This was the first time this has been done in a Grand Slam. Steffi announced that this was her last match at Roland Garros.
28th June 1999 - Steffi won her 900th career match against Clijsters in the round of 16 at Wimbledon.
4th July 1999 - Steffi lost to Davenport in the final of The Championships 4-6, 5-7. She announced that this was her last match at Wimbledon.
13th August 1999 - Steffi announced her retirement from tennis.
11th July 2004 - Stefanie inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, USA.