20 years on Seles still carries attack scars - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/n...ttack-scars#11

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The knife attack on Monica Seles, which took place in Hamburg 20 years ago on Tuesday, not only dictated security at sports events over the last two decades, but changed the victim's life forever.

A similar attack must rank as every sports stars' worst nightmare and any harmless fan, waiting for hours simply for their idols' autograph, is now viewed as a potential threat by security staff.

French Open champion Maria Sharapova, who won her 20th consecutive clay-court match when she defended her Stuttgart WTA title on Sunday, is renown for having scores of bodyguards in the wings when she steps on court.

"It's not something I worry about, the security guys would be pretty quickly onto it if there was a problem," she said on the subject.

But Seles is the first to admit the attack robbed her of her self confidence.

She had finished both 1991 and 1992 as the world's top ranked female player and in 1990, aged just 16, she had become the youngest-ever French Open champion.

On April 30, 1993, the tennis world was at her feet.

Having won her eighth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open earlier that year, the Yugoslav (of Serbian origin) was still only 19 when she played her quarter-final at Hamburg's Rothenbaum in the day's last match.

Having won the first set against Bulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva, Seles was resting during a break in play when Guenter Parche, a 38-year-old unemployed tool maker, plunged a 23cm-long knife into her back.

Her attacker had waited four days for his chance.

His motive was that as an ardent admirer of Steffi Graf, he had been irritated that Seles had usurped the German in the world rankings.

After his arrest, he was found to be carrying 1000 deutschemarks (511 euros) and had a ticket to fly to Italy where Seles was registered to play at the Rome tournament the following week.

He told Hamburg police he had been planning the attack for weeks but only wanted to harm Seles, not kill her.

At his trial, Parche's lawyer said his client lived in a fantasy world and his interest in Graf had reached an unhealthy level, fuelling his hatred of Seles.

Experts confirmed Parche had a personality disorder and the judge ruled it was attempted assault, not murder, giving him a two-year suspended sentence.

Due to the light sentence, Seles has never set foot on German soil again.

"Germany is the country where that man attacked me from behind, yet was not sufficiently punished," she said later in a television interview.

"I cannot understand why this man did not have to pay for his crime."

Two factors saved Seles from further harm.

At the moment of her attack, she was bending forward to get up from her seat, sparing her the full length of the blade, which missed her spine by five centimetres.

A security guard then wrestled Parche to the ground to prevent a second stabbing, holding him in a headlock, while others rushed to help Seles.

"I didn't know what exactly had happened," Seles recalled.

"Suddenly I remembered it was hard to breathe and I felt a terrible pain in my back."

Parache was arrested and taken away in handcuffs by police, while a distraught Seles was taken to hospital.

Incredibly, the tournament was not cancelled and Graf, ironically, went on to beat Spain's Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the final.

A million marks (511,291 euros) had been spent on security for the Rothenbaum tournament and Seles had employed several security guards to protect her.

She lapsed into depression after her attack and her weight shot up by 30kg due to binge eating.

She made her comeback in July 1995 in Atlantic City against Martina Navratilova and eventually won the Australian Open for the fourth time in 1996.

But she never recovered the form she has showed from before her attack and eventually retired in February 2008.

Having won nine Grand Slams before the attack, she would win only one more in her career.

Having suffered several strokes, Parche is now incapacitated in a nursing home in Nordhausen, Thuringia, but Seles said the scars of her attack are both physical and mental.

"I was stabbed on court, in front of thousands of people," she wrote in her autobiography.

"It is not possible to talk about distancing yourself from that. It changed my career and irrevocably damaged my soul.

"A split second made me a different person."
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post #2 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

The day the history of women's tennis changed forever.

As much as there are people who want to forget and brush it under the carpet and pretend it didn't happen or it didn't make a difference, there will be those of us who will remember and who will remind everyone including those who doesn't want to remember.

Few women have won 8 or 9/12 slams. Those who did hold places in 1st to 4th most grand slam titles won.

You don't go from winning 8/12 slams to nothing. A GOAT is GOAT.

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post #3 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 10:35 AM
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

What a sad day it was for me...

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post #4 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 10:59 AM
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

I remember perfectly that awful day, and 20 years later it's still hard to believe that it actually happened. What should have been one of the greatest sports careers ever wrecked in a second. How many slams could she have won, having in mind that she was only 19, had already won 8, and was practically unbeatable ? surely 15 at least. We´ll never know.
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post #5 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 11:35 AM
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

I agree, it was horrible that her career was forever changed. I consider her one of the greats, up there with Nav and Evert and Graf, because she held her own with Graf head to head.

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post #6 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 12:21 PM
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

By the time she was 19 she had 8 Gs singles. Serena had 2. She was very capable of winning 25 + with a normal career length.
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post #7 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 12:38 PM
 
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

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Originally Posted by UNCLESILAS View Post
I remember perfectly that awful day, and 20 years later it's still hard to believe that it actually happened. What should have been one of the greatest sports careers ever wrecked in a second. How many slams could she have won, having in mind that she was only 19, had already won 8, and was practically unbeatable ? surely 15 at least. We´ll never know.
Regardless of what Steffi fanatics claim that one event puts an asterisk by some of her slam wins. After that fatal stabbing Monica was never the same and didn't compete on the same level. It opened the door for Steffi and while not her fault that was tragic.

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post #8 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 12:55 PM
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

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By the time she was 19 she had 8 Gs singles. Serena had 2. She was very capable of winning 25 + with a normal career length.
One of the true sport tragedies. Seles might have re-wrote the record books. Knifed when she still had 3 majors to play as a teen, and already had won 8

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post #9 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

I will never forget that day. I was standing by the window looking out at the trees when I heard the news. I could not believe it. I was 15 and it changed the way I looked at the world, seriously. This could happen in tennis? And I was, am, a huge Steffi fan but I loved what Monica brought to the game and I was gutted, as most of us were I think, that this act of violence would change the history of women's tennis, and much, much worse, the life of Monica Seles. Thank God she moved on.

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post #10 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 01:00 PM
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

Bless you, Monica.

That event changed my entire view of the world at such a young age. One can only imagine what this did to Monica. Even now, it must kill her.

She'll forever be my GOAT.
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post #11 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 01:01 PM
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

Her legacy will not be about how many slams she has won but about the lasting impact that she has had on the tour. She is one of the handful of players who have completely overhauled the sport by inspiring the style of play of generations of different players who have come after her.

She might not have been able to rewrite the history books because of this incident, but she certainly rewrote the game style.

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post #12 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 01:18 PM
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

She was destined to be the greatest tennis player of all time if it wasn't for the stabbing.


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post #13 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 01:34 PM
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

Today is the 20th birthday of this travesty in the history of sports. We have to admire Monica, a true fighter who overcome this tragedy in her life. She's an inspiration to many people.

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post #14 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 01:34 PM
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

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post #15 of 222 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 2013, 01:50 PM
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Re: 20 years on Seles still carries attack scars

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Originally Posted by harloo View Post
Regardless of what Steffi fanatics claim that one event puts an asterisk by some of her slam wins. After that fatal stabbing Monica was never the same and didn't compete on the same level. It opened the door for Steffi and while not her fault that was tragic.
TRUE, and well stated. Tennis is a very physical and mental sport. A great player needs not only great shots, athletic ability but also mental toughness and Self confidence. Perhaps others could have mentally handled such a situation better than Monica did, but the day Seles was stabbed, she lost her self confidence which led to the weight gain and loss of athletic ability. A truly tragic day in the history of tennis. The German legal system totally failed with that disgusting verdict. Steffi Graf is truly an all time great, but after the Seles stabbing, she had no great competitor to contend with which inflated her slam count-IMHO. With Monica's demise, Steffi's self confidence rose because she did not have Monica to contend with. The more a players confidence rises, the more they win, especially against lesser competition.
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