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The Great Graf: A Career Retrospective

Photo By Michael Cole By David MacCarthy
07/16/2004

The night before Steffi Graf's induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island last weekend, Hall of Famer Chris Evert bestowed the grandest of titles on the 22-time Grand Slam champion.
"When someone asks me who was the greatest player I've ever seen in the last 25 years, I'd say Steffi Graf — with no hesitation," Evert said.
Evert's emphatic declaration summed up Graf's prominent place at the pinnacle of the game she dominated and supported a statement many of us have made since Graf retired from tennis in 1999: simply put, Steffi stands alone as the greatest female singles player of all-time.
Numbers (and Graf has so many in her favor) don’t begin to tell the whole story of Graf's achievements. It is only when you look at her incomparable record that the incredible legend is evident.
Steffi did not burst on to the scene like other prodigies. In fact, she lost in the first round of her very first pro tournament in October 1982 in Stuttgart, Germany. Although she was the youngest player at the time to earn a WTA computer ranking, Graf suffered her share of losses early in her career. Her success on tour was a steady progression as she gradually moved up in the rankings. Her ability to develop her game and learn from her mistakes allowed Steffi to climb the ladder on the women’s tour, and also prevented her suffering from any potential burnout. She was lucky to remain relatively injury- free throughout her teen age years.
Graf first came into the forefront as a potential challenger to the upper echelon of the women’s game in 1984 when she captured the gold medal at the Olympic tennis event in Los Angeles at the age of 15. Tennis was making its first appearance as an event in the Olympics in 16 years. While it was only a demonstration event, and not an official medal sport, many of the youngest and brightest stars competed. Steffi was the youngest competitor of all, and her triumph was a golden foreshadowing of her very bright future.
Graf’s first professional tournament victory was in 1986, when she upset Chris Evert 6-4, 7-5 in the finals of the Family Circle Cup in Hilton Head Island S.C., snapping a streak of six consecutive losses to Evert, including two defeats earlier in 1986. Despite trailing the clay court queen by 4-0 in the second set, Graf’s resolve was steadfast. She rallied to win 7 of the last 8 games to hand Evert her first defeat in the finals of the tournament, and only her eighth loss on clay in 13 years. Steffi went on a roll after Hilton Head, capturing clay court titles at Amelia Island, Indianapolis, and the German Open. In the Berlin final, she beat world No. 1 Martina Navratilova for the first time, 6-3, 6-2. Graf ran her winning streak to 24 consecutive matches that year before losing to Hana Mandlikova in the quarterfinals of the French Open.
Concluding the 1986 season ranked third, Graf won eight tournament titles and more than 90 percent of her matches that year. Graf skipped the Australian Open in 1987 to better prepare herself for the new tennis season, and the improvement was immediately apparent. Her serve had more sting, her forehand was even stronger, her game more mature and resolute. Graf won the first seven tournaments she played in 1987. In her first major test of 1987, Steffi handily defeated Navratilova (6-3, 6-2) in the semifinals and Evert (6-1, 6-2) in the finals of the Lipton event to win her most notable title to date. No player had ever beaten those two players so comprehensively back-to-back. In the process Graf leap past Evert to No. 2 in the rankings. When she ascended to No. 2 on March 2nd, 1987, it marked the start of more than 10 consecutive years where Steffi would be ranked either first or second — a feat no other man or woman had ever achieved or has ever matched.
Successfully defending her titles at Hilton Head, Amelia Island, and Berlin, Graf added the Italian Open to her trophy case in 1987, and headed into the French Open on a 32-match winning streak. In the penultimate round she faced her nemesis (and doubles partner) Gabriela Sabatini. The two had played numerous times, all in very close battles, with Steffi coming out on top each time. Their French semi was no different. Sabatini stayed close throughout, and edged ahead 5-3 in the third set, and served for the match. Three points from defeat, Graf refused to fold, and rallied to win four straight games to reach her first major final against the top-ranked Navratilova. With a 38-match winning streak on the line, Graf claimed the first set, dropped the second, and in a see-saw third set, found herself behind 3-5. Navratilova served for the match at 5-4. Again Steffi found herself only three points from defeat. She played bold tennis when she needed to and stormed back to seize the crown from Navratilova. When Graf broke in the 14th game to earn her first ever French Open title at the then youngest ever age of 17 years, 11 months, she also became the only woman to win a major title after facing match game in both the semifinals and finals. Clearly Graf was on her way to greatness.
The budding Graf-Navratilova rivalry was revived in the Wimbledon final with Graf falling 7-5, 6-3 in her first appearance in the championship match there. It was Steffi’s first loss after 45 consecutive wins, the longest winning streak by any player to start the tennis season. A month later, Graf wrestled the No. 1 ranking from Navratilova. Evert's straight-set win over Navratilova in the semifinals in Los Angeles, coupled with Graf’s win over Evert in the final enabled Graf to ascend to No. 1 on August 17th, 1987. Graf would go on to establish a stranglehold on the top spot for a record 186 consecutive weeks and 377 total weeks. Graf ended the 1987 season with a remarkable 75-2 record, a 97 percent winning record — the fourth best single season in the history of the women’s pro tour.
All eyes were on Graf at the start of the 1988 season. Many had already touted her as a possible winner of the Grand Slam. With the Australian Open being played on a new surface, Rebound Ace, a win at all four major events would not only put Steffi in an exclusive club, but be a remarkable feat to achieve at four distinct venues on different surfaces. Graf rolled through the field in Melbourne, not dropping a set in beating the defending champion Mandlikova in the quarters and the third-seeded Evert 6-1, 7-6 in the final. Although Sabatini got the best of Steffi in two early season matches, Graf exacted her revenge in the semifinals of the French Open, 6-3, 7-6, her toughest test to date in her quest for the Grand Slam. A devastating 6-0, 6-0 win over Natalia Zvereva in the final of the French represented the shortest final round match in the history of the event, and the only time in the Open era a player did not lose a game in the finals of a major championship.
Seeded No. 1 for the first time at Wimbledon, Graf marched to the final for a rematch with Navratilova. The defending champion led Graf by 7-5, 2-0 when Steffi took over, rallying to win 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 for her first Wimbledon crown. Graf paired with Sabatini to win the women’s doubles crown at Wimbledon — her first Grand Slam doubles success. The U.S. Open seemed like a foregone conclusion. Sabatini briefly threatened her by taking the middle set, but Graf ran away with the match 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Graf became the third woman in history to sweep all four Grand Slam championships in the same year (Maureen Connolly, 1953, and Margaret Court, 1970 were the others).
And as an extension to her remarkable triumph, Graf added the Gold Medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics to earn the distinction of winning a "Golden" Grand Slam. The Seoul Olympics marked the first time tennis was an official medal sport since 1924. Graf paired with Claudia Kohde-Kilsch to earn a Bronze Medal in doubles.
If not for suffering from menstrual cramps in the third set of her French Open final against Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Graf could have earned a second consecutive Grand Slam in 1989. Steffi won the Australian Open without dropping a set for the second year in a row. At Wimbledon, Graf beat in succession Monica Seles, Sanchez-Vicario, Evert, and Navratilova. At the U.S. Open, both Sabatini and Navratilova won the opening sets of their semifinal and final round encounters with Graf. But each time Steffi fought back to win. In the finals, Graf rallied from 3-6, 2-4 to beat Navratilova 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. That victory marked Steffi’s third straight three-set win over Martina in a Grand Slam final. At that 1989 final, Graf won 11 of the final 13 games. After trailing Navratilova 2-5 in the second set of the 1989 Wimbledon final, Graf won 10 of the next 13 games to claim the title. Going back to the 1988 Wimbledon final, Graf won 12 of the final 13 games against Navratilova, proving once again how difficult it was to beat Steffi, no matter the surface or the score. Steffi’s final match record for 1989 was 86-2, the second best single season record in the history of the tour. Graf’s successful defense of her U.S. Open title made Graf the first player in history to successfully defend each and every one of her Grand Slam titles on her first title defense. Not only was she the first, Graf remains the only player in tennis history to repeat as champion at each Grand Slam event.
Graf won her third consecutive Australian Open to start the 1990 season. Despite a thumb injury sustained shortly thereafter, Graf won the first four tournaments she played that year, and extended her winning streak to 66 matches entering the final of the 1990 German Open. Although Monica Seles upended Graf in the finals at Berlin (Seles’ first ever win over Graf), Graf registered the second longest winning streak in the modern era. Her defeat on May 20th, 1990 marked the first time Graf had lost a singles match since the French Open final on June 10th, 1989. Graf’s unbeaten streak was the longest in duration in the Open era. Graf reached the finals of the 1990 French Open, the 13th consecutive Grand Slam tournament that Graf reached the final, a record that still stands, and may never be broken. Steffi’s French Open final round appearance also marked her 22nd consecutive appearance in a tournament final, second best ever. Graf finished 1990 as the top-ranked player by the WTA for the fourth consecutive year.
One of Graf’s streaks came to an end in early March 1991. Monica Seles supplanted her as No. 1 on the WTA rankings on March 11th, 1991. That ended 186 consecutive weeks at No. 1 for Graf, which is a record that still stands among men and women. Graf’s win at Wimbledon in 1991 marked the fifth consecutive year Graf won a Grand Slam singles title. That victory enabled Graf to move ahead of Seles for the top spot in August and earn the top seed at the U.S. Open for the fifth consecutive year, which is also a record.
Graf finished 1991 ranked second behind Seles, despite the fact that Graf beat Seles in their only two head-to-head matches in 1991. Seles remained at No. 1 throughout 1992. In her 1992 season Steffi won 71 of 78 matches and eight tournaments, which was the best record of any player ever ranked No. 2. Graf’s 6-2, 6-1 win over the top-ranked Seles in the 1992 Wimbledon final was the most one-sided defeat a second-ranked player had inflicted on a top-ranked player. Steffi Graf’s win at the Hamburg tournament in 1992 marked the 6th straight year Steffi won the event, equaling the longest streak of consecutive wins at one tournament on the WTA Tour.
The 1993 season was marred by the tragic stabbing of Monica Seles in Hamburg on April 30th, 1993. What many fans don’t realize is that Graf was actually very close to Seles in the rankings at the time. In 1993, the WTA used a points averaging system to rank players. Following the Hamburg tournament (an event which Monica received her ranking average, which was more points than she could have earned had she won the tournament), Seles’ lead over Graf was still slim. Had Seles been able to play at the 1993 French Open, she would have had to surpass Steffi Graf’s performance at the event, or hope Steffi lost before she did, to maintain her No. 1 ranking.
Graf did win the French Open in 1993, and her appearance in the finals enabled her to move back to No. 1. At Wimbledon, Jana Novotna led Graf 4-1, 40-30 in the final set, but Steffi rallied to win 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 to win her third consecutive Wimbledon title (one of only 3 women in the Open era to win 3 consecutive titles). Steffi’s win at the U.S. Open in 1993 was her 14th career Grand Slam singles win. By the end of the 1993 season, Graf had registered 44 consecutive wins on the WTA Tour, which still ranks as one of the ten longest win streaks in the Open Era.
Graf won her fourth Australian Open in 1994 (winning the title for the third time without losing a set), drubbing Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-0, 6-2 in the finals, the most lopsided final round defeat in the history of the tournament. The victory meant Graf held all four major titles for the second time in her career.
The 1994 season started in record-setting style for Graf, who won her first 27 matches of the year in establishing a record that still stands today. Natalia Zvereva won the first set of the finals of the 1994 Lipton event, but Graf still won the match, and continued her winning streak to 32 until losing in the finals of Hamburg to Sanchez-Vicario. During Graf’s 27 consecutive straight-set wins, only four players managed to won more than four games in any one set.
Mary Pierce registered the biggest win of her career stunning Graf in the semis of the 1994 French Open. And then in the biggest upset in the history of Wimbledon, Graf was surprised by Lori McNeil 7-6, 7-5 in the first round. Those two losses were the only defeats Steffi suffered before a tournament final since February 1993 (Graf had been in 20 consecutive finals, third best in WTA history). With the best record (58-6, .906) on tour, Steffi finished 1994 ranked No. 1 by the WTA for the sixth time in her career.
A calf injury forced Graf to miss the 1995 Australian Open, the first time she was not able to play in a Grand Slam event since missing the 1992 Australian with a case of the German measles. Her first appearance in a tournament in 1995 was the indoor event in Paris in February. There Graf won the tournament, whipping reigning Australian Open champ Mary Pierce in the finals 6-2, 6-2. Graf went on to win three more tournaments in the spring without losing a set. She extended her streak of straight wins to 23 when she stopped Gabriela Sabatini 6-0, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the 1995 French Open. Conchita Martinez (who had been undefeated on clay that year) became the first player to win a set from Graf that year, but still fell 6-3 in the third in the semifinals. Graf defeated defending champion Sanchez-Vicario in the finals of the French Open 7-5, 4-6, 6-0, losing only six points in the third set, in perhaps Graf’s most perfect set of tennis played in a Grand Slam final in her career. Her fourth French title enabled Graf to move ahead of Sanchez-Vicario at No. 1, a position Steffi held until she relinquished it for good nearly two years later. At Wimbledon, Steffi and Arantxa renewed their rivalry in the finals and played one of the best matches in the history of the Championships. An extraordinary 11th game in the final set, with Arantxa serving a 32 point, 13 deuce game, saw Steffi hold off Arantxa eight times at game point. Graf served out the next game at love to win the match 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 and earn her sixth career Wimbledon title and extend her win streak for the year to 32 matches and six tournaments. It also marked the first time in modern tennis history a player was undefeated in tournament play through Wimbledon.
Monica Seles returned to tennis in August of 1995 after a 27-month absence. Co-ranked #1 with Graf, Seles reached the finals of the U.S. Open without losing a set. In the final, Steffi and Monica went head-to-head for the first time since the 1993 Australian Open final. Graf edged Seles in a first set tiebreak, dropped the second set 6-0, but rallied to take the final set 6-3 to win an intense battle with a fierce rival 7-6, 0-6, 6-3. The U.S. Open triumph was historic on many levels: it was her fourth Open crown and her 18th career Grand Slam title, equaling the number won by Navratilova and Evert. More importantly, Graf became the first, and is still the only, player to win each of the Grand Slam events four times. Steffi also became the only player to win every Grand Slam at least twice in two different decades. To end the 1995 season, Graf won the Corel WTA Championships in Madison Square Garden in 5 sets over Anke Huber, Graf’s 47th win in 49 matches for the year, a .959 winning percentage and the eighth best single season record in WTA history. Graf was also perfect in tournament finals in 1995, winning all nine she played.
Foot surgery in 1996 prevented Graf from playing at the Australian Open for the second year in a row. Steffi won her first two tournaments she played in 1996, including her fifth at the Lipton tournament, which was a record for any player until her husband Andre Agassi won his sixth title at the event (now known as the Nasdaq-100) in March 2003. At the ‘96 French Open, Graf easily advanced to the final without the loss of a set. She met Sanchez-Vicario for the third time in the championship match. After coming within three points of winning in straight sets, Graf lost a second set tiebreak, and fell behind 2-4 in the third. Sanchez-Vicario had two break points for a 5-2 lead, and to serve for the match. Arantxa did serve for the match at 5-4 and 7-6. Each time Graf broke back. Even though Steffi was within three points of losing, she overcame Sanchez-Vicario in 3 hours, 3 minutes 6-3, 6-7, 10-8, the longest French Open final ever in terms of match time. Steffi’s win at the French meant she had won at least one Grand Slam event every year for 10 consecutive years, a feat only surpassed by Chris Evert’s record of 13.
Graf lost only one set en route to her seventh career Wimbledon singles title, and her 100th career singles title. She had an easier time in ‘96, defeating Sanchez-Vicario for the second straight year, and fourth time in their last four Grand Slam final encounters. Graf’s French Open-Wimbledon combination win was the fourth time in her career she achieved this unique and challenging double, another feat no other player has equaled. Graf became the third woman (joining Maureen Connolly and Helen Wills Moody) to win the French Open and Wimbledon in consecutive years.
Unprecedented is the only word to describe Graf’s crowning achievement in 1996, a fifth U.S. Open title. Graf didn’t lose a set in the tournament, defeating Martina Hingis and Monica Seles in her final two matches. With her U.S. Open win, Steffi had swept the three Grand Slam events she played in for the second year in a row; she extended her unbeaten streak in Grand Slam play to 42 matches; she won her 21st career Grand Slam singles title; she captured Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in the same year for the fifth time, a feat no other player has ever matched. A winner at the French-Wimbledon-U.S. Open again, it marked the fourth time in her career she won those three majors in a single season, a feat no other player has accomplished more than twice.
Another milestone Graf achieved in 1996 was setting the all-time record for total weeks ranked No. 1. Graf surpassed Navratilova’s mark of 331 weeks at No. 1, and ended the year as No. 1 for the eighth time in her career, another record. In winning the season ending championship for the fifth time in 1996, Graf won her seventh tournament of the season for the 10th consecutive year, a feat no other player can claim.
Graf extended her winning streak in Grand Slam play to 45 matches before losing in the fourth round of the 1997 Australian Open. The 45 match win streak equaled the longest streak in the Open Era. An assortment of injuries plagued Graf throughout her career, but none was as harmful as the surgery Graf underwent in June of 1997 to repair her left knee. Graf played a limited schedule in 1997, winning only one tournament in five appearances. Her victory in Strasbourg enabled Graf to keep alive a streak of winning at least one tour event every year since she won her first in 1986. Lack of tournament play caused Steffi to lose the No. 1 ranking to Martina Hingis on March 31, 1997. Steffi had been ranked No. 1 for a grand total of 377 weeks, longer than any other player in history. At the time she relinquished her No. 1 ranking, Graf was 27 years, 9 months. Steffi was the third oldest No. 1 (as well as the fourth youngest No. 1) in women’s tennis history. After falling in the quarterfinals of the 1997 French Open, Graf did not compete again for the remainder of the year.
Inactivity caused Graf to fall off the computer rankings in June of 1998. Steffi struggled to regain her form following knee surgery, and competed in just four events prior to Wimbledon. At a U.S. Open tune up in New Haven, Steffi became the only player to defeat Lindsay Davenport during the U.S. summer hard court season, and then defeated Jana Novotna, the reigning Wimbledon champion, 6-4, 6-1 in the finals, to win a title for the 13th consecutive year. Following a fourth-round loss at the U.S. Open that year, Steffi had more surgery to remove a bone spur. Her ranking fell further and she was unseeded at the Leipzig tournament. Steffi won the tournament and went on to win the event the Philadelphia event the very next week, defeating the top two players in the world Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport. Victories over third-ranked Novotna and fifth-ranked Seles in the first two rounds of the Chase championships meant Graf had defeated four of the top five ranked players in the world in a span of less than a week, a feat no other player has ever matched.
In 1999, Steffi reached only one tournament final prior to the French Open, at the Indian Wells tournament, losing to Serena Williams. Earlier in the year at Sydney, Steffi defeated both Serena and Venus Williams at the same tournament, a feat that would prove difficult for all the women on tour but two players (Sanchez-Vicario and Hingis).
As the sixth seed, Steffi Graf faced a difficult draw at the French Open. First, Graf overcame 1998 U.S. Open champion and second seed Lindsay Davenport in the quarterfinals 6-1, 6-7, 6-3. In the semifinals Steffi rallied to beat third seed Monica Seles 6-7, 6-3, 6-4. The win was Graf’s 10th in 15 career meetings with Seles, and sixth in Grand Slam play. In the championship match, Steffi faced off against top-ranked Martina Hingis. In one of the most dramatic, come from behind victories the tournament has ever seen, Steffi rallied from 4-6, 4-5, 15-30 to win her sixth career French Open, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. Graf was simply superior in the crunch against Hingis, refusing to lose and playing what might have been the most complete match of her career.
Her six French Open titles is second only to Evert’s seven, and gave Steffi a total of 107 career singles titles. The win also represented Graf’s 22 career Grand Slam singles title, most in the Open era, and second only to Margaret Court’s 24. Furthermore Graf defeated the top three ranked players in consecutive matches at a Grand Slam tournament, a feat no other player had ever done. Graf reached the final of Wimbledon in 1999 for the ninth time. She lost to Lindsay Davenport, but her final round appearance at Wimbledon was the eighth time in her career she appeared in a final at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year, another feat no other player has come close to.
Steffi retired from her second round match against Amy Frazier at the 1999 San Diego tournament, and shortly thereafter Graf announced her permanent retirement from the sport. At the time of her retirement, Steffi was ranked No. 3, the highest ranking by anyone at the time of retirement.

Graf’s final career tally was 902 wins against only 115 defeats for a winning percentage of .887, 107 tournament titles, 22 Grand Slam singles title, the Olympic Gold medal, and 8 seasons ranked No. 1.
David MacCarthy is a freelance writer and tennis statistician, originally from New York and now based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been an enthusiastic tennis nut since the 1970s.
 

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this article has made me realise that seles didnt dominate graf at all and graf was close to number 1 at time of stabbing anyway!!!!!
 

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Steffi :bowdown: :worship:
a legend :)
 

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j-mac said:
this article has made me realise that seles didnt dominate graf at all and graf was close to number 1 at time of stabbing anyway!!!!!
I'm not going to say anything about this since this is Steffi's moment.
But Monica was dominating before she was stabbed, not just Steffi but the rest of the tour.
 

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tennisIlove09 said:
Graf’s 6-2, 6-1 win over the top-ranked Seles in the 1992 Wimbledon final was the most one-sided defeat a second-ranked player had inflicted on a top-ranked player.
:tape: :tape:
 

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CJK said:
I'm not going to say anything about this since this is Steffi's moment.
But Monica was dominating before she was stabbed, not just Steffi but the rest of the tour.
wouldnt be the same story if other power players were around :)
 

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It's really amazing how Steffi always fought to come back: in matches as well as after injury setbacks. This is the real reason why she will be my number 1 player forever.

Steffi forever. :worship: my :angel: :worship:
 

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thanks for all those heartbreaking years, Steffi. :hug:


... and thanks for this article, tennisIlove09: with every line I was reminiscing the situations in most of these matches ...
 

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Nice article, and pretty balanced, all things considered. I miss watching her move around the court- she was always on her toes, and many times not on them at all, but actually flying up off the court because her quickness (the fastest female tennis player EVER in my opinion) allowed her to groove on shots while jumping off the court. The only player I can think of in the history of the sport who used to like to do this was the great Suzanne Lenglen. Maybe if we're lucky, we'll get to see her play an exhibition or two in the coming years!
 

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1999, that was the year to be remembered for me:).
 

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j-mac said:
this article has made me realise that seles didnt dominate graf at all and graf was close to number 1 at time of stabbing anyway!!!!!
I remember the feeling I've had while watching Steffi's 1st rd match vs Judith Wiesner (I was 22 then): She is so close to Monica - she can get the #1 back before summer if she defeats Monica here in front of her crowd. I was sooooooooooo eager for this match. In 2nd rd Steffi got an easy win and the final came closer.
I only have some brain-flashes of that tragic QF between Monica and Maggie. The Bulgarian played really well and challenged Monica a few times but she lost the 1st as I remember. Of the second set I only remeber that there has suddenly been a older man behind Moni and in the next moment 2 or 3 people gathered around her one pulling the man aside. Then the commentator spoke of a terrible attack with a tip tool. Next thought: "OMG stand up Monica, play on." Then I got it: "Steffi won't get a chance to show she's the real #1 now, I want to kick this asshole. She has the right to show it on court and you damn idiot perverted all there."
And she would have turned tables without Parche. But that's another would-could question I don't want to discuss. Steffi lost a chance there, and it's been a German who produced that loss.
 

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tennisIlove09 said:
If not for suffering from menstrual cramps in the third set of her French Open final against Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Graf could have earned a second consecutive Grand Slam in 1989.
:yawn: Why is this the only French Open final weekend where Steffi suddenly had menstrual cramps? :lol:
 

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j-mac said:
this article has made me realise that seles didnt dominate graf at all and graf was close to number 1 at time of stabbing anyway!!!!!
GRAF CLOSE TO NUMBER ONE AT THE TIME OF THE STABBING? HOW SICK IS THIS GUY???:eek: :eek: SHE HAS BEEN RANKED NUMBER TWO BEHIND TOP RANKED SELES SINCE 1991. :bounce: IF NOT FOR THE STABBING BY HER LUNATIC FAN , GRAF WOULD HAVE REMAINED A SECOND FIDDLE FOR THE REMAINDER OF HER CAREER.

MONICA SELES MOWED STEFFI GRAF AT THE HEIGHT OF THEIR RIVALRY BY WINNING 8 SLAMS TO GRAF'S 2. :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

WTA TOUR Championships Fact of the Week: In 1990, Monica Seles defeated Gabriela
Sabatini 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 for a first-ever five-set WTA TOUR
Championships final. It was the first women's match to go five sets since the
U.S. National Championships in 1901.



MONICA SELES STATS AND FACTS (Before the stabbing of the Graf fanatic)
33 career titles; 258-30 career record.

Grand Slam Win/Loss Record: 79-6
Australian Open 21-0
French Open 26-1
Wimbledon 13-3
U.S. Open 19-2

Seles had already won 8 Grand Slams and yet she played 20 less Grand Slams than second ranked Graf. Graf only won 11 Grand Slams after 10 years on the women's tour.

Seles had reached the final of her last eight Grand Slams, winning seven of
them.

Seles had a 3-1 advantage in head to head over second ranked Graf in Grand Slam Finals matches.

Seles became the youngest Grand Slam Champion in 103 years. Not since 15 year old Lottie Dod won Wimbledon in 1887 had tennis seen such a youthful champion.

Seles toppled Graf from number one ranking in March 11, 1991 making her the youngest woman to ever been ranked number one in tennis history. Seles was the undisputed number one player in the world until the tragedy in Germany.

Seles won three consecutive French Open Crowns in 1990, 1991, 1992 , becoming the first woman to achieved that historic feat in 55 years. Hilde Sperling won from 1935-1937.

Seles won her third consecutive Austrlian Open Crown in January of 1993 beating second ranked Steffi Graf in the finals.

Since turning pro at 15, Seles has won 13 of the 35 tournaments she has entered. By comparison, in their first three full years as pros, Tracy Austin won 10 titles, Andrea Jaeger nine, Navratilova six, Sabatini five and Graf zero.

Seles has the best winning percentage at any single Grand Slam: 21-0 at the
Australian Open.

Seles ranks second behind Chris Evert (.899) in match winning percentage with an
.895 average, Graf is poor third (.894).

Seles' most dominating period occurred from Jan. 1991-Feb. 21, 1993:
159-12 record
.929 winning percentage
22 titles
55-1 record in Grand Slam tournament matches
reached 33 of 34 finals

Only Evert had a better first four years than Seles on the Tour in the Open era while Graf is 5th.
PLAYER YEARS RECORD (%) TITLES MONEY
Evert '71-74 255-25 (.911) 39 $456,212
Seles '89-92 231-25 (.902) 30 6,956,693
Sabatini '85-88 232-71 (.765) 9 1,885,952
Capriati '90-93 149-45 (.768) 6 1,491,823
Graf '83-86 144-48 (.750) 8 841,094
Navratilova '73-76 178-68 (.723) 7 352,458
Sanchez Vicario '87-90 134-60 (.690) 5 1,243,030

Prior to the stabbing in 1993, Seles' last title was the Virginia
Slims of Chicago on Feb. 14, 1993 and her last Grand Slam title was at the 1993 Australian Open Championships.

Prior to the tournament in Hamburg, Germany, where she was attacked during her
quarterfinal match against Maggie Maleeva on April 30, 1993, Seles had not
played on the Tour for nine weeks due to the flu. Hamburg was Seles' first
tournament back after her 63-day lay-off.

Seles surpassed the $7 million mark in career prize money in January of 1993,
only the fourth woman to do so (now there are six).

Seles' title percentage of .516 (33 titles in 64 events) ranks second in the
Open era. Evert leads with a .518 average (157 of 303) and Graf is a poor third at .511
(92 of 180).

Before the stabbing, Seles has lost in the first round just once in her career - 1990 in
Chicago to Ros Fairbank, 6-3, 6-4.
 

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"Seles had a 3-1 advantage in head to head over second ranked Graf in Grand Slam Finals matches"
this isn't the true.
When Seles was ranking NO.1,she head to head record 2-3 against Steffi Graf.
 

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nari said:
"Seles had a 3-1 advantage in head to head over second ranked Graf in Grand Slam Finals matches"
this isn't the true.
When Seles was ranking NO.1,she head to head record 2-3 against Steffi Graf.
ARE YOU SO BLINDED BY YOUR TWISTED OBSESSION???? :eek: BEFORE THE STABBING..................

SELES TROUNCED STEFFI GRAF IN THE 1990 FRENCH OPEN FINALS
SELES WHIPPED GRAF AGAIN IN THE 1992 FRENCH OPEN FINALS
SELES DISMANTLED GRAF IN THE 1993 AUSTRALIAN OPEN FINALS ( LAST CLASH PRIOR TO THE STABBING)

SELES ONLY LOST IN A GRAND SLAM FINAL AGAINST GRAF WAS THE HEIGHT OF THE "GRUNTOMETER BRUHAHA IN THE 1992 WIMBLEDON FINALS"

THATS 3-1....SELES WAS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE HER DOMINATION OVER THE SECOND RANKED GERMAN AS TOP RANKED SELES WON HER 3RD CONSECUTIVE AUSTRALIAN CROWN AT THE 1ST LEGG OF THE GRAND SLAMS IN 1993. IN FACT, SELES WAS ALREADY THE HEAVY FAVORITE FOR THE 1993 FRENCH OPEN WHICH WAS JUST A FEW WEEKS AWAY BEFORE SHE WAS STABBED BY THE PSYCHO IN GERMANY.

MONICA SELES, GREATEST FEMALE TENNIS PLAYER EVER. :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

1993 Australian Open Final

Cliff Drysdale: "Graf has won eleven grand slam championships."

Mary Carillo: "Seles has played 20 less but she's already won seven of them."

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1993 Australian Open Final

Mary Carillo: "How much can you say about this woman? She is a remarkable - she has that remarkable instinct, when under the gun, when under pressure, to attack. She's got the instincts of a doberman. You know, when confronted, she attacks. It's the natural thing for her to do. I just, as I say, I've never seen her like before. I've seen great players, obviously, great champions. But time and again we've seen Monica in trouble, we've seen her play less than her best tennis, and in the end, I mean, she just basically says, 'All right, gimme the ball, gimme the ball.' And she hits winners. It's great stuff."

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1993 Australian Open Final

Mary Carillo: "[Steffi's] actually playing better than when she played in '88 and won the Grand Slam. Everyone acts as though 'Well, you know, she's got to get it back, she's got to get it back.' I actually feel that Steffi has added a lot to her game. She's a better defensive player. She's got a better first serve than she used to. I think her slice backhand really works well. I mean, I happen to think that she's a better player than she was a few years ago, but she's facing an opponent that is just remarkable, and I think that's why she doesn't have the Grand Slams titles we're used to seeing from her."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

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USOPEN1000 said:
SELES TROUNCED STEFFI GRAF IN THE 1990 FRENCH OPEN FINALS
SELES WHIPPED GRAF AGAIN IN THE 1992 FRENCH OPEN FINALS
SELES DISMANTLED GRAF IN THE 1993 AUSTRALIAN OPEN FINALS ( LAST CLASH PRIOR TO THE STABBING)

SELES ONLY LOST IN A GRAND SLAM FINAL AGAINST GRAF WAS THE HEIGHT OF THE "GRUNTOMETER BRUHAHA IN THE 1992 WIMBLEDON FINALS"

THATS 3-1....
could seles only have a 3-1 lead over a number 2 player? :eek:

thats nothing to be that proud of :tape: :tape:
 
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