Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
She won 22 Grand Slam titles, second most in history. In 1988, she became the third woman to win the Grand Slam, beating Chris Evert in the Australian, Natasha Zvereva in the French, Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon, and Gabriela Sabatini at the U.S. Open. Graf also won the gold medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea for a "golden slam." Of the 5 players who have won the Slam, she is the only one to win it on 4 different surfaces (carpet, clay, grass, hardcourt).
Graf started playing tennis at 4, coached by her father. She was the youngest person ever to appear in the world tennis rankings, doing so at only 13 years of age. After winning the German and the European Juniors, she turned pro on October 18, 1982. The next day, she lost 4-6, 0-6 to Tracy Austin, who dismissed her abilities, saying there were "hundreds" of kids like her in the United States. Graf finally won her first title on April 13, 1986, defeating Evert at the Family Circle Cup. All together, she won 107 WTA tournaments, third behind Navratilova (167) and Evert (157). Graf - nicknamed "Fraulein Forehand" for her crushing forehand - became the world's top-ranked player on August 17, 1987, and stayed there for a record 186 weeks until March 10, 1991. She was #1 for a total of 377 weeks. She is the only player - male or female - to win all four Slams twice in two different decades, to beat the top three seeds in a Slam, to win and successfully defend all four Slams, and to win all four Slams at least four times. Her career record is 902-115; her earnings total $20,130,835.
Graf found herself at the center of a tragedy on April 30, 1993. Her then-arch rival, Monica Seles, was resting during a changeover at the Hamburg Open when a man named Guenter Parche stabbed her in her back. At first, it was thought the attack was prompted by the conflict raging in Seles's native Yugoslavia. But, it turned out Parche was a Graf fan and reasoned that, by taking Seles out, Graf would be able to re-assume the #1 ranking. The attack reverberated across sports. Players became more wary of fans; teams and organizers were forced to re-examine their security. It also changed the course of tennis history. Graf visited Seles in the hospital, but has only recently commented publicly about the incident. Seles was off the court for 27 months, and never regained her dominating form.
Graf retired on August 13, 1999 after a rare loss in the Wimbledon finals; ranked #3 in the world, she was the highest-ranked player ever to retire. By this time, she was dating Andre Agassi. With only their mothers as witnesses, they married on October 22, 2001 at his Las Vegas, Nevada home. On October 26, their son Jaden Gil was born 6 weeks prematurely. Their daughter Jaz Elle was born on October 3, 2003.
Graf is a WWF Ambassador. She founded Children for Tomorrow, which supports and initiates projects that provide assistance to children and families who are victims of war and persecution. She appeared in "Otto, der Außerfriesische," loves animals and is keen on fashion and has created her own designs.
Known for her business-like approach to the game, at times, Graf displayed a sense of humour. During a tight Wimbledon semifinal match against Kimiko Date, she was serving when a spectator yelled out "Steffi!" Everyone, including Steffi, burst out laughing. Composing herself, she got ready to serve again, when the fan shouted "Steffi! Will you marry me?" The whole stadium burst into peals of laughter and play was delayed for a couple of seconds. Steffi got ready to serve again, tossed the ball, caught it, then turned to the fan and yelled "How much money do you have?" Graf lost the set 2-6, but won the match 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 to face (and defeat) Arantxa Sánchez Vicario for the title.
Grand Slam titles
|1999||French Open||Martina Hingis||4:6, 7:5, 6:2|
|1996||French Open||Arantxa Sánchez Vicario||6:3, 6:7, 10:8|
|Wimbledon||Arantxa Sánchez Vicario||6:3, 7:5|
|US Open||Monica Seles||7:5, 6:4|
|1995||French Open||Arantxa Sánchez Vicario||7:5, 4:6, 6:0|
|Wimbledon||Arantxa Sánchez Vicario||4:6, 6:1, 7:5|
|US Open||Monica Seles||7:6, 0:6, 6:3|
|1994||Australian Open||Arantxa Sánchez Vicario||6:0, 6:2|
|1993||French Open||Mary Joe Fernández||4:6, 6:2, 6:4|
|Wimbledon||Jana Novotná||7:6, 1:6, 6:4|
|US Open||Helena Sukova||6:3, 6:3|
|1992||Wimbledon||Monica Seles||6:2, 6:1|
|1991||Wimbledon||Gabriela Sabatini||6:4, 3:6, 8:6|
|1990||Australian Open||Mary Joe Fernández||6:3, 6:4|
|1989||Australian Open||Helena Sukova||6:4, 6:4|
|Wimbledon||Martina Navratilova||6:2, 6:7, 6:1|
|US Open||Martina Navratilova||3:6, 7:5, 6:1|
|1988||Australian Open||Chris Evert||6:1, 7:6|
|French Open||Natalia Zvereva||6:0, 6:0|
|Wimbledon||Martina Navratilova||5:7, 6:2, 6:1|
|US Open||Gabriela Sabatini||6:3, 3:6, 6:1|
|1987||French Open||Martina Navratilova||6:4, 4:6, 8:6|
- Total number of Grand Slam titles: 22
In 1988 Graf won what came to be known as "the Golden Slam", for winning the Grand Slam (all 4 majors in the same calendar year) and the gold medal at the Olympic Games, in Seoul (only time in history, for either men or women). In that same year, she also was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details