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Team WTAworld, Senior Member
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am delighted to report that Monica has been elected to the prestigious International Tennis Hall of Fame - to be inducted on Saturday 11th July 2009. It is an honour long overdue for the greatest tennis-player of all time!

Another important event for Selesians to look forward to this year is the publication of Monica's second autobiography - Getting a Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self - on 21st April 2009.

Dr. Andrew Broad


Photos of Monica (followed by many other players):

Just Monica:

Articles (15th January 2009)

Class of 2009 Announced!
International Tennis Hall of Fame
(Newport, Rhode Island, USA) Established in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organisation dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis and its champions.

Christopher Clouser (Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum) and Tony Trabert (Hall of Fame President) have announced the names of the newly-elected members to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Leading the Induction Class of 2009 is nine-time Major champion and former world No.1 Monica Seles.

Joining Seles for Hall-of-Fame induction is one of Spain's most prominent tennis-players of the 1960s - Andrés Gimeno - who has been elected in the Master Player category. In addition, elected in the Contributor category are Donald L. Dell - an industry pioneer and leader in sports-marketing, professional sports management and sports-television, and founder of ProServ - and the late Dr. Robert "Whirlwind" Johnson: founder and director of the American Tennis Association (ATA) Junior Development Program, who worked tirelessly for decades assisting in the development of young African-American tennis-players while helping to break the barriers of racial segregation.

"It is our great pleasure to welcome the newest members into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and to honour them for their brilliant careers and significant achievements in the sport of tennis," said Clouser.

The Hall of Fame's Class of 2009 Induction Ceremony is slated for Saturday 11th July in Newport, Rhode Island, during the final weekend of the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (6th-12th July): an ATP World Tour event.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame, inclusive of the Class of 2009, now honours 211 champions of tennis representing 18 different countries.

Monica Seles, now 35, held the World No.1 ranking for 178 nonconsecutive weeks, and captured nine Major singles-titles: four Australian Opens (1991-1993, 1996), three at Roland Garros (1990-1992), and two US Opens (1991-1992). Her win-loss record at the Majors was a staggering 43:4 at the Australian Open, 54:8 at Roland Garros, 30:9 at Wimbledon, and 53:10 at the US Open.

In a career spanning 15 years, she captured 53 singles-titles and six doubles-titles, and collected well over $14 million in prize-money. She won three consecutive year-end WTA Championships (1990-1992), and finished as the world's No.1 ranked player in both 1991 and 1992.

A natural lefty, wielding double-handed forehands and backhands, she was a determined competitor. Her footwork was impeccable, her groundstrokes powerful and aggressive, and she constantly attacked her opponents with an arsenal of remarkable weapons.

At age 19, Seles had already won eight of her nine singles Majors, and was at the top of her game. Then in April 1993, during a changeover of her quarter-final match against Magdalena Maleeva in Hamburg, a fanatical fan of Steffi Graf came out of nowhere and stabbed her in the back: just below her left shoulder blade.

The horror of this event sent shockwaves through the tennis-community, and 27 months would pass before Seles played competitively again. When she returned to the courts, she was granted a co-No.1 ranking (shared with Graf), and won her comeback-event at the Canadian Open, reached the US Open final, and followed up with her ninth Major singles-championship at the Australian Open 1996.

Born on 2nd December 1973 in Novi Sad - in what was then Yugoslavia - she moved with her family to the United States in 1987 at the age of 13 to train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy.

On 16th March 1994, she became a US citizen. Seles would play on the United States Fed Cup team for five years (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002) posting a career 15:2 singles-record and a 2:0 doubles-record while helping the Americans capture the Cup in 1996, 1999 and 2000.

Seles remains the youngest champion in history to win at Roland Garros (16 years, 6 months), and was the youngest winner of the Tour Championships (16 years, 11 months), beating Gabriela Sabatini in the first women's match to extend to five sets since the 1901 US National final. In addition, Seles won the Olympic Bronze Medal in 2000.

Throughout her career, Seles won numerous awards, multiple Player and Athlete of the Year awards, and humanitarian awards. She is currently on the board of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and ICL (Institution for Civil Leadership).

A panel of International Tennis Media voted on the Recent Player selectee, where a 75% favourable vote is required for induction. The International Masters Panel, which consists of Hall-of-Fame inductees and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, voted on the Master Player and Contributor selectees. To be inducted as a Master Player or a Contributor, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.


Recent Player: Monica Seles

Active as a competitor in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration; not a significant factor on the ATP World Tour or WTA Tour within five years prior to induction; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship and character.

Master Player: Andrés Gimeno

Competitor in the sport who has been retired for at least 20 years prior to consideration; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship and character.

Contributors: Donald L. Dell and Dr. Robert Johnson (posthumously)

Exceptional contributions that have furthered the growth, reputation and character of the sport, in categories such as administration, media, coaching and officiating. Contributor-candidates do not need to be retired from their activities related to the sport to be considered.

Seles to be inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame (AP)
Monica Seles was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Thursday - honoured for a career in which she won nine Major singles-titles, and returned to the Tour after being stabbed while playing a match.

Seles and the other members of the 2009 class announced on Thursday will be inducted on 11th July.

"It was just a lot of highs and a lot of lows," Seles said during a conference-call. "One of the things that always kept me going was my love of the game."

Also elected were 1972 French Open champion Andrés Gimeno, ATP co-founder Donald Dell, and the late Robert Johnson, who pioneered the integration of tennis.

Known for her two-tone grunts and two-handed swings off both wings, Seles won 53 singles-titles, including four at the Australian Open, three at the French Open, and two at the US Open.

When she first rose to No.1 in 1991, she was 17 - at the time, the youngest woman to have topped the rankings. By the time she was 19, Seles already had won eight Major championships.

But in April 1993, at the height of her success, she was attacked by a man who climbed out of the stands at a tournament in Hamburg, Germany.

Seles returned to the game 27 months later, and immediately reached the 1995 US Open final. Her last Major title then came at the 1996 Australian Open; she would go on to reach two more Major finals.

Seles said she does not dwell on how her career might have fared had the stabbing not happened.

"I try not to ask myself those questions, because there are really no answers to it," she said.

Hampered by a left-foot injury, she played her last match at the 2003 French Open at the age of 29. Thinking she might try to come back at some point, Seles waited until last year to officially announce her retirement.

Born in what was then Yugoslavia, Seles moved to the United States when she was 13 to work at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. She became a US citizen in 1994, and helped the United States win three Fed Cup titles.

Seles also won an Olympic Bronze Medal in 2000, and in 1990, at the age of 16, became the youngest French Open champion in history. She called her first Major victory the greatest of her career.

"As a 16-year-old, everybody says, 'Oh, you're going to be great, blah, blah, blah,'" she said. "Until you actually do it, you don't believe it."

Monica Heads Hall Of Fame's Class Of 2009
By Richard Pagliaro (Tennis Week)
From the very first time she recalls swinging at a tennis-ball, Monica Seles held her racquet with both hands as if embracing a long-lost family-member she never wanted to let go. The hug from the heart for the sport that symbolises family-support remains within her.

She learned to play tennis in a parking-lot: belting balls bearing the image of the cartoon-characters her cartoonist father, Karolj, drew on the felt-sphere to make the game fun for her, and she grew into one of the greatest players the sport has ever seen.

Seles always said nothing gave her greater joy than the simply striking the ball. Today, Seles's coronation as a champion for the ages became official as the International Tennis Hall of Fame announced that Seles will lead the historic Hall's Class of 2009, which will be inducted on Saturday 11th July at Newport, Rhode Island.

The nine-time Major singles-champion and former world No.1 was elected to the Hall in the Recent Player category. Joining her in the Master Player category is Andrés Gimeno. Gimeno was one of Spain's most prominent tennis-players of the 1960s, who remains Roland Garros' oldest singles-champion, winning the coveted clay-court title in 1972. Elected in the Contributor category are: Donald L. Dell - a former US Davis Cup player and an industry-pioneer and leader in sports-marketing, professional sports management and sports-television, and founder of ProServ - and Dr. Robert "Whirlwind" Johnson, inducted posthumously: founder and director of the American Tennis Association (ATA) Junior Development Program, who worked tirelessly for decades assisting young African-American players (most notably Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe) in gaining admittance into previously segregated tournaments.

"I'm so excited and so honoured to be inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside Andrés Gimeno, Donald Dell and Dr. Johnson," Seles told the media in a conference-call today. "What a way for me to remember the amazing tennis-career I had, and hopefully inspire young girls around the world that dreams do come true. When I picked up the racquet for the first time, I could never imagine where that racquet will take you. And for me at age 35, with my tennis-career behind me, I can't really put it into words what it means [to be inducted into the Hall of Fame]."

Singles is a solitary sport, but Seles was never alone on the court — she always felt accompanied by the father and family that introduced her to tennis and nurtured her love for the game.

"I will get very emotional when I talk about him in July, because really without him, I would have never nurtured my tennis," Seles said of her dad. "Without my dad's love for the game and really just making it fun for me... He never made it like it was something I had to do. He just made it fun — that helped me stay in the game so long, and to keep my sanity. When you see a player out on centre court, you just see that person, but there are a lot of people behind them who took them there, and in my case it was my family - especially my father."

The two-handed titan captured nine Major championships and won 53 singles- and six doubles-tournaments, collecting $14,891,762 in career prize-money in a professional career that began on 13th February 1989. She first became No.1 in the world in March, 1991. She was No.1 for 178 weeks during the next two years — the youngest No.1 ever at the time — until tragedy struck in April 1993, when she was stabbed in the back during a match in Hamburg, Germany by a madman - Günther Parche - who emerged from the crowd and plunged the blade into her back just below her left shoulder-blade. Parche never served prison-time for a vicious attack, while Seles was left to pick up the pieces after a horrific attack that sidelined her for 27 months.

The attack literally cut her career as it approached its apex, and while Seles said she tries not to wonder "what if" the stabbing never occurred, the attack can still haunt her head.

"I thought of that probably the day after my stabbing; [now] it comes and goes, and there are days I don't think about it," Seles said. "Obviously now that I'm not playing, I don't think about it. It is one of those things. Unfortunately it really changed the career of mine and definitely Stefanie's [Graf's] career, and that was out of my control, and it was really up to me to take control, and I decided to play. What could have been? Nobody knows. What could have been if I didn't pick up a tennis-racquet at seven? I try not to ask myself those questions, because really there are no answers."

She was not able to play again for more than two years. When she did return, she won even more hearts with her comeback-win at the Canadian Open, then reached the US Open final the following month. Remarkably, she then won her ninth Major title at the Australian Open in January 1996.

The owner of a 595:122 record, Seles concluded 1991 and 1992 as World No.1. In a sustained span of dominance, she won eight of the eleven Major tournaments she entered from 1989 to 1993. Seles was also a force in Fed Cup competition, posting a 17:2 record, including a 15:2 mark in singles-matches. She inspired a legion of top players, including Venus Williams and Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic.

In a past interview with Tennis Week, Hall of Famer Jimmy Connors said Seles's fighting spirit, willingness to play even closer to the lines on pivotal points, and her aggressive baseline-style, made her the player that most reminded him of himself.

"Who reminds me of me? Monica Seles is the player I think who played the game the way I tried to play it." Connors told Tennis Week in a past interview. "She always played as hard as she could every single-match, and left it all on the court. I have tremendous respect for Seles."

In her younger years, Seles revolutionised women's tennis by playing a bold baseline-game, and producing power and short angles seldom seen in women's tennis. The woman who took the ball so early it looked like she was hitting half-volleys from the baseline, possessed perhaps the most lethal return of serve in the history of women's tennis, and a stirring shriek that accompanied her stunning shots.

"The ball is being hit harder and harder, and the girls are much more complete players than they used to be - physically stronger," Seles told Tennis Week in a past interview. "I think I probably was one of the earliest to start it. I brought in power with two hands from both sides. I was one of a few players that brought on this power-game, and they've taken it to a new level. Then the grunting part: everybody is now doing it. It's like normal now. Seeing women play such aggressive tennis is really great."

Though Seles has limited her competitive appearances to World TeamTennis and exhibition-matches in recent years, she still plans to pursue her favourite tennis past-time with a passion: hitting. The simple act of hitting the ball over the net over and over again still brings genuine joy to one of the sharpest ball-strikers in the sport's history.

"I had a very unusual career, to say the least," Seles told Tennis Week. "I had some highs and lows. But at the end of the day, I got to do something I loved to do. As a little girl, how I started playing tennis was very simple. That part, I'm proud to say, has never changed. To me, I get a great joy just hitting the ball."

Technically, Seles's trademark two-handed strokes were unconventional. Mentally, she was one of the strongest players to ever pick up a racquet, competing with fierce focus.

"You know, when you saw Monica Seles at 12 years old, you know I told my friends I thought Monica would be the best player in the world," Nick Bollettieri, who worked with Seles early in her career, told Tennis Week. "But when you looked at her natural physical ability as a strong athlete able to push the weights and all that, you know she didn't have that. But what she had was hitting the ball early, great focus and determination, and always competed well. And I thought she would be No.1, but to look at her physically, then you said: 'Well, you know, I don't think this girl has it to make it physically.' But mentally, she was just off the charts."

A stress-fracture in her foot forced Seles to step away from the WTA Tour five years ago. She had not played a match since limping out of the French Open in a 6-4 6-0 loss to Nadia Petrova in May 2003. It was the first time in her storied career that Seles suffered a first-round loss in a Major.

Adjusting to life after tennis was not a smooth transition, as she slipped into an emotional void. Seles gained nearly 25 pounds at the end of her career, and stuggled to lose the weight and find her self-worth, and come to terms with her own identity as a person rather than simply live with the label of being a life-long player. When the ball stopped bouncing, the woman capable of digging so deep down on the court had to work on herself and find her inner value away from the game.

"Leaving my home at a very early age on, [you're] giving up something for that, yet on the other end, getting so many great things: the fame, financial freedom," Seles said. "There were the tragedies, and really at the end of the day, it was discovering who Monica is, and all the things that happened were outside of my hands. And during my last three or four years [on the WTA Tour], you could definitely see that in my weight. I look back at pictures, and I can tell you I just was not a happy person inside. After I stopped playing tennis, I had to give time to Monica and figure out what I wanted and who I was. I had to deal with certain things I really didn't want to. My dad always said, 'Put one step in front of you,' but at the end of the day, you realise how fragile life was. My self-worth was in tennis, my weight was very high, and I wasn't the happiest person - let's put it that way."

That inner journey to self-discovery has prompted Seles to write a book, which is scheduled for release this year.

"[The book is about] getting a grip on my body, my mind and myself: my journey from tennis, fame, the tragedy, my self-discovery, and it will be a lot written toward women about the weight," Seles said. "I lost a lot of weight since I stopped playing tennis, which is a big irony, since in tennis you exercise so much. I work with preschoolers on fitness; [obesity] is one of my pet peeves, because kids today are more sedentary."

Though she seemed to play with a ruthlessness on court, Seles was the personification of graciousness off court.

"I was a normal person in some extraordinary circumstances," Seles said. "I became No.1 as a teenager, I battled rebellion in my own way, yet it was on a world-stage, so if I cut my hair short, it was big news. At 19, to get stabbed by Parche on a tennis-court definitely was unusual — something that never happened before or since — and totally changed the course of my tennis-career. Coming back to tennis at 21 was a big decision, and a year later [sic] losing my father... it was lot of highs and a lot of lows.

"One thing that kept me going was I loved the game. Whenever I talk to kids today, I tell them, 'You gotta love the game.' If you don't love the game, then in the long run it's just not worth it. That love really kept me through the good times and the bad times. I loved playing tennis at my house in my backyard just as much as I did playing on the centre court at the French Open or Wimbledon."

25,045 Posts
thank you so much Dr Andrew for this lovely information, Monica is the greatest :worship::hearts::worship:
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