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Steffi Graf Biography

Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Steffi Graf

For all of us growing up in the 80’s and watching tennis, remember Steffi Graf? She pretty much dominated the late 80′ s and early 90’s. Her powerful serve, as fast as 110 mph and her incredible forehand are just some of her trademarks. She is probably one of the best tennis players of all time. Steffi played and beat big names like Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles and Martina Hingis.

Steffi played her first professional tournament when she was thirteen years old, in October 1982 at Filderstadt, Germany. She lost against Tracy Austin 6-4, 6-0.
Steffi Graf started out at No. 124 in the world and by 1984 she was ranked No.22, followed by No. 6 in 1985.

Steffi Graf won against Chris Evert at Hilton Heads, to win her first title in 1986. At the end of the year she was ranked No. 3 after winning 8 tournaments.

In 1987 she won against No. 1 Martina Navratilova at the French Open, in three impressive sets 6-4,4-6,8-6. Later that year she lost against Martina, in both Wimbledon and the US Open. She won 5 tournaments that year and took over the No. 1 spot from Martina Navratilova, which she held for an incredible 186 consecutive weeks until March 10, 1991.
Furthermore, she also won the Federation Cup with Germany that year.

1988, was definetly the most successful year in the Graf era. She won all four Grand Slam Titles, Wimbledon, US Open, Australian Open and French Open, the so called Grand-Slam. Only two women before her were able to achieve this, Maureen Connolly and Margaret Court. That year she also won the Olympic Gold Medal in Seoul, defeating one of her rivals, Gabriela Sabatini 6-3,6-3. Winning all four of the Grand Slam Titles and the Gold Medal, she had won the Golden Grand Slam. Steffi also won a doubles Olympic Bronze Medal, with Gabriela Sabatini that year.

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With her win at the Australian Open in 1989, she had won five straight Grand Slam titles. She was defeated by Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the finals of the French Opens, but the same year Steffi won both Wimbledon and the US Open, against Martina Navratilova.

In 1990, she won the Australian Open, but was defeated by a juvenile Monica Seles at the French Open. That year she also lost against Zina Garrison at Wimbledon in the semifinals and to Gabriela Sabatini in the finals of the US Open. She kept her No. 1 position that year.

The only Grand Slam tournament Steffi won in 1991 was Wimbledon, the other three went to Monica Seles. Monica took over the No. 1 spot from Steffi after 186 straight weeks in March.

Steffi Graf missed the Australian Open due to injury in 1992. She lost a very close match and the finals of the French Open to Monica again, 2-6,6-3, 8-10. She did win Wimbledon, beating Monica Seles in the finals, that year. At the Olympics in Barcelona, she lost in the final and won a Silver Medal. She also won the Federation Cup again with Germany that year.

In 1993, Steffi lost to Monica Seles in three tight sets. After Monica Seles was stabbed by an obsessed Steffi fan in Hamburg, Germany in April of 1993, Steffi went on to win the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open and climbed back to the top spot.

In 1994, Steffi won the Australian Open, but lost to Mary Pierce in the semifinals of the French Open. Furthermore, she was defeated in Wimbledon in the first round, by Lori McNeill. Steffi reached the US Open that year, but was defeated once again by Arnatxa Sanchez-Vicario in the finals.

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In 1995, she won the French Open and Wimbledon against Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. Later that year she defeated Monica Seles at the US Open finals, 7-6,0-6,6-3. That year was a traumatic one for Steffi, her Dad Peter Graf, was sentenced for tax evasion and Steffi later had to pay a fine of over 1 Milion German Mark in retribution.

.Graf won three Grand Slam Titles in 1996. Steffi missed most of the tennis season in 1997 due to knee surgery and she lost the No. 1 position to Martina Hingis that year, she also missed part of 1998’s season, and she fell to No. 9.

Steffi played some good tennis in 1997 and she won the French Open finals in 1999, against Martina Hingis in three sets, her 22nd Grand Slam Title.

Steffi decided to retire due to back and knee problems in August 1999.

Steffi won a total of 107 single titles and 11 double titles. She has won 22 Grand Slam Titles, only two less than Margaret Court has achieved. Those 22 titles, included 7 Wimbledon, 6 French Open, 5 US Open and 4 Australian Open titles. She won a total of $21,895,277 in prize money and was ranked No. 1 for 377 non-consecutive weeks, which included 186 consecutive weeks at No. 1., longer than anybody else in the tennis world. She also became the first to win all four Grand Slam Titles at least four times.

Steffi Graf now is married to former tennis star Andre Agassi and they have two sons. She can also be seen in German TV commercials and designes clothes and handbags. Graf furthermore is the founder of “Children of Tomorrow”, a non-profit organization. Steffi is also in the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

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