Steffi Graf
German tennis champion
Steffi Graf
Stefanie Maria "Steffi" Graf is a former World No. 1 German tennis player. In total, Graf won 22 Grand Slam singles titles, second among male and female players only to Margaret Court's 24. Her 22 singles titles mark the record for most Grand Slam wins by a tennis player (male or female) since introduction of the Open Era in 1968.
Biography
Steffi Graf's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Steffi Graf from around the web
Fighting spirit propels Serena to tennis greatness
Yahoo News - 2 months
Serena Williams says her rise to become perhaps the greatest player of all time is all down to mental strength and never giving up, a trait learned from Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova. The dominant American now holds more Grand Slam titles in the Open era than anyone else, after surpassing Graf's 22 by winning the Australian Open final against her sister, Venus, on Saturday. Navratilova has 18, along with Chris Evert, while Margaret Court has 24, but only 11 of those were won after the more competitive Open era began in 1968.
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Serena clinches record, no final major tally in mind
Yahoo News - 2 months
By Nick Mulvenney MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Serena Williams said it was a "great feeling" to surpass Steffi Graf as the most prolific grand slam champion of the open era at the Australian Open on Saturday and was not prepared to put a number on the haul of titles she might end up with. No better place to do it than Melbourne." Serena played vintage tennis at Melbourne Park as she chased her seventh Australian Open over the last two weeks, despite missing the back end of last season with a shoulder injury. When I started this journey, I just wanted to win a grand slam.
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Tennis-List of Serena Williams' 23 grand slam singles titles
Yahoo News - 2 months
MELBOURNE, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Following is a list of Serena Williams' 23 grand slam singles titles after the American surpassed Steffi Graf's professional era record with victory at the Australian Open on Saturday: 1999 U.S. Open - beat Martina Hingis (Switzerland) 6-3 7-6 2002 French Open - beat Venus Williams (U.S.) 7-5 6-3 Wimbledon - beat Venus Williams 7-6 6-3 U.S. Open - beat Venus Williams 6-4 6-3 2003 Australian Open - beat Venus Williams 7-6 3-6 6-4 Wimbledon - beat Venus Williams 4-6 6-4 6-2 2005 Australian Open - beat Lindsay Davenport (U.S. ...
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Serena thrives under pressure to seal all-Williams final
Yahoo News - 2 months
By Ian Ransom MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Having seen her sister Venus win her semi-final at the Australian Open on Thursday, Serena Williams admitted she felt the weight of history to seal her place in their first grand slam title decider in eight years. It took only 50 minutes for Serena to book the family reunion after Venus's tough three-set win over unseeded Coco Vandeweghe at the same Rod Laver Arena court. Serena won in two sets that day and has since added another 11 grand slam singles titles to extend her tally to 22, a professional-era record she shares with Germany's Steffi Graf.
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Konta out to crash Serena party in Australian Open semi-finals
Yahoo News - 2 months
Serena Williams knows she must be at her tenacious best to join sister Venus in the Australian Open semi-finals, with a confident Johanna Konta determined to crash the party on Wednesday. The American's unrelenting quest for a record 23rd Grand Slam title to surpass Steffi Graf and return to world number one was tested by Barbora Strycova in round four, and Konta won't be any easier. The British ninth seed has set herself up as a genuine title contender with an impressive nine-match unbeaten streak after winning this month's Sydney International.
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Tougher at the top for record-seeking Serena
Yahoo News - 3 months
Serena Williams has the Open-era record for Grand Slam titles within her grasp but it's getting tougher at the top as the American great seeks finally to eclipse Germany's Steffi Graf. Victory at this month's Australian Open and a 23rd major win would help ease the heartache of last year, when Williams slipped off the top of the rankings after 186 weeks -- matching, but just failing to beat, another Graf record. Williams' drop to world number two was triggered by her shock defeat to Karolina Pliskova in the US Open semi-finals, which also denied her another chance to better Graf's 22 Grand Slam victories.
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Serena Williams engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian
ABC News - 3 months
Serena Williams and Reddit co-founder?Alexis Ohanian are engaged.? Spokespeople for both Williams and Ohanian confirmed the news Thursday. The 33-year-old Ohanian popped the question while the two were vacationing in Rome.? The 35-year-old Williams, who over the summer won Wimbledon for the seventh time to tie Steffi Graf's record of 22 Grand Slam titles, had announced her engagement to Ohanian earlier Thursday on her verified account on Reddit, the user-generated news website he co-founded in 2005 with college roommate Steve Huffman.? "I came home. A little late. Someone had a bag packed for me. And a carriage waited. Destination: Rome," Williams wrote. "To escort me to my very own 'charming.' Back to where our stars first collided. And now it was full circle. At the same table we first met by chance. "But by choice. Down on knee. He said 4 words. And I said yes." The 33-year-old Ohanian shared the announcement in a Facebook post, saying, "She...
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Tennis: Murray and Kerber seize power and eye domination
Yahoo News - 3 months
By Martyn Herman LONDON (Reuters) - Audacious coups by Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber have transformed the tennis landscape and they will begin 2017 eyeing the kind of domination that few would have thought possible at the start of a seismic year. With the so-called big four in men's tennis crumbling, the 29-year-old Murray emerged to seize power, winning the Wimbledon title and the Olympic gold medal before a relentless late-season charge toppled Novak Djokovic from his pedestal. Kerber loosened Serena Williams' grip on the women's game, reaching three grand slam finals and winning two of them, beginning against Williams at the Australian Open when she became Germany's first major winner since Steffi Graf in 1999.
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Tennis - All top stars confirmed for Aussie Open
Yahoo News - 4 months
- Every player in the world's top 99 bar expectant mother Victoria Azarenka has confirmed for the Australian Open, including Roger Federer and Serena Williams as they return from injury, organisers said Thursday. The all-star field for the opening Grand Slam of 2017 at Melbourne Park will see Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber start as top seeds in a sign of the changing of the guard in world tennis. It will also be notable for six-time tournament champion Williams, who is attempting to claim her 23rd major singles title to surpass Steffi Graf and set a new record for the Open Era.
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Women's tennis new world number one: Angelique Kerber
Yahoo News - 7 months
- Kerber becomes only the second German woman to reach the world's top spot since computer rankings were introduced in 1975, and the first since Steffi Graf spent the last of her record 377 weeks at No.1 in March 1997. - At 28, she is the oldest player to make her debut at No.1, a record previously held by Jennifer Capriati, who was 25 years, 200 days when she reached No.1 in October 2001. - Kerber’s rise to world No.1 brings to an end the reign of Serena Williams, whose sixth stint in the top spot began more than three years ago, on February 18, 2013.
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Tennis-Williams fights off Halep to reach U.S. Open semi-finals
Yahoo News - 7 months
* Halep saves all 12 second set break chances * Williams to face Pliskova in semi-finals (Adds quotes, detail) By Steve Keating NEW YORK, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Simona Halep did something no one else was able to do against Serena Williams at the U.S. Open on Wednesday but still could not stop the world number one from advancing to the semi-finals of the year's final grand slam. The scrappy fifth seeded Romanian managed to take the first break points from Williams during the Flushing Meadows fortnight and the only set surrendered by the top seed but at the end of the day the result was the same, the 34-year-old American walking off court with a 6-2 4-6 6-3 win. The victory also kept Williams on course for a record seventh U.S. Open crown which would be her 23rd grand slam title moving her past Steffi Graf for the most in the Open Era and one shy of the great Margaret Court at the top of the all-time list with 24.
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Tennis-Serena continues quest for historic 23rd slam title
Yahoo News - 7 months
By Simon Cambers NEW YORK, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Serena Williams will try to take another step toward a record-setting 23rd grand slam title at the U.S. Open on Thursday while Andy Murray continues his quest to complete a golden summer. World number one Williams faces fellow American Vania King in second round action and a victory would put her five match wins away from breaking the professional era record for grand slam titles that she currently shares with Steffi Graf. "I can improve a lot," said Williams, who needed just 63 minutes to get by Russia's Ekaterina Makarova in the first round.
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Tennis-Relaxed Serena set to open quest for more history
Yahoo News - 7 months
By Simon Cambers NEW YORK, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Serena Williams has been here before. Twelve months after her bid for the coveted calendar-year grand slam ended with a shock defeat to Roberta Vinci of Italy in the U.S. Open semi-finals, the world number one is back, chasing another piece of history. Victory at this year's U.S. Open would give the American, who begins her quest on Tuesday versus Ekaterina Makarova, a 23rd grand slam singles title and break the professional era record she shares with Germany's Steffi Graf.
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Steffi Graf
    FORTIES
  • 2015
    In 2015, she has been appointed as the brand ambassador of Kerala tourism, for promoting Ayurveda in North America and Europe.
    More Details Hide Details In 1997, she left the Catholic Church due to "personal reasons".
  • 2010
    In 2010, Graf and Agassi collaborated with Head and developed the new line of Star Series tennis racquets.
    More Details Hide Details Graf has signed many endorsement deals throughout the years including a ten-year endorsement deal with car manufacturer Opel in 1985, and Rexona from 1994 to 1998. She has appeared in many advertisements and television commercials with Andre Agassi including Canon Inc. and Longines in 2008 (Agassi became Longines ambassador in 2007).
    In 2010 Graf participated in the World Team Tennis Smash Hits exhibition in Washington, D.C., to support The Elton John AIDS Foundation.
    More Details Hide Details She and her husband, Andre Agassi, were on Team Elton John who competed against Team Billie Jean King. Graf played in the celebrity doubles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles before straining her left calf muscle and being replaced by Anna Kournikova. Graf won seven singles titles at Wimbledon, six singles titles at the French Open, five singles titles at the US Open, and four singles titles at the Australian Open. Her overall record in 56 Grand Slam events was 282–32 (89 percent) (87–10 at the French Open, 75–7 at Wimbledon, 73–9 at the US Open, and 47–6 at the Australian Open). Her career prize-money earnings totalled US$21,895,277 (a record until Lindsay Davenport surpassed this amount in January 2008). Her singles win-loss record was 900–115 (88.7 percent). She was ranked World No. 1 for 186 consecutive weeks (from August 1987 to March 1991, tied with Serena Williams, a record in the women's game) and a record total 377 weeks overall. Graf also won 11 doubles titles.
  • THIRTIES
  • 2009
    Graf played a singles exhibition match against Kim Clijsters and a mixed doubles exhibition alongside husband Andre Agassi against Tim Henman and Clijsters as part of a test event and celebration for the newly installed roof over Wimbledon's Centre Court in 2009.
    More Details Hide Details She lost a lengthy one-set singles match to Clijsters and also the mixed doubles.
  • 2008
    As part of the event, billed as "Dream Match 2008", she defeated Martina Navratilova in a one-set affair 8-7, with Graf winning a tiebreaker 10-5.
    More Details Hide Details It was the first time in 14 years Graf had played Navratilova.
    In 2008 Graf lost an exhibition match against Kimiko Date at Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2005
    In July 2005, Graf competed in one tie of World Team Tennis on the Houston Wranglers team.
    More Details Hide Details She was beaten in two out of three matches, with each match being one set. Graf lost her singles match to Elena Likhovtseva 5–4. She teamed with Ansley Cargill in women's doubles against Anna Kournikova and Likhovtseva but lost 5–2. She was successful in the mixed doubles match, however. Graf completely ruled out a return to professional tennis. "It was a lot of fun. It was not as I expected it to be." In October, Graf played Sabatini in an exhibition match in Mannheim, Germany, beating Sabatini in two sets. Like the exhibition match the previous year against Sabatini, proceeds went to Graf's foundation "Children for tomorrow".
  • 2004
    In September 2004, Graf dispatched her former doubles partner Gabriela Sabatini in straight sets, in an exhibition match played in Berlin, Germany.
    More Details Hide Details She was also in Berlin to host a charity gala, as well as inaugurating a tennis stadium renamed the "Steffi Graf Stadion". Proceeds from her match against Sabatini went to Graf's foundation, "Children for tomorrow".
  • 2001
    She married former World No. 1 men's tennis player Andre Agassi in October 2001.
    More Details Hide Details The couple have two children – Jaden Gil and Jaz Elle. Graf was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004.
  • 2000
    In February 2000, Graf played an exhibition match against Kimiko Date at Nagoya Rainbow Hall in Tokyo.
    More Details Hide Details It was held as part of her "Farewell World Tour", with Graf defeating Date in three sets.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1999
    Graf started dating Andre Agassi after the 1999 French Open and they married on 22 October 2001, with only their mothers as witnesses.
    More Details Hide Details They have two children: son Jaden Gil (born 2001) and daughter Jaz Elle (born 2003). The Graf-Agassi family resides in Summerlin, a community in the Las Vegas Valley. Graf's mother and her brother, Michael Graf, with his four children also live there. In 1991, the Steffi Graf Youth Tennis Center in Leipzig was dedicated. She is the founder and chairperson of "Children for Tomorrow", a non-profit foundation established in 1998 for implementing and developing projects to support children who have been traumatized by war or other crises. In 2001 Graf indicated that she preferred to be called Stefanie instead of Steffi.
    As part of her Farewell Tour, Graf defeated her former rival Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in an exhibition match played in Zaragoza, Spain in 1999.
    More Details Hide Details It was their first head-to-head meeting since the 1996 Wimbledon Ladies Final, where Graf defeated Sánchez Vicario in straight sets.
    On 13 August 1999, shortly after retiring with a strained hamstring from a second round match against Amy Frazier in San Diego, Graf announced her retirement from the women's tour at age 30.
    More Details Hide Details She was ranked World No. 3 at that time. Graf said, "I have done everything I wanted to do in tennis. I feel I have nothing left to accomplish. The weeks following Wimbledon 1999 weren't easy for me. I was not having fun anymore. After Wimbledon, for the first time in my career, I didn't feel like going to a tournament. My motivation wasn't what it was in the past."
    At the 1999 French Open, Graf reached her first Grand Slam final in three years and fought back from a set and twice from a break down in the second set to defeat the top ranked Hingis in three sets for a memorable victory.
    More Details Hide Details Graf became the first player in the open era to defeat the first, second, and third ranked players in the same Grand Slam tournament by defeating second ranked Davenport in the quarterfinals and third-ranked Monica Seles in the semifinals. Graf said after the final that it would be her last French Open, fueling speculation about her retirement. Graf then reached her ninth Wimbledon singles final, losing to third-seeded Davenport in straight sets. In mixed doubles at Wimbledon, Graf partnered with John McEnroe, but she withdrew at the semifinal stage to protect her knee in advance of the singles final.
    In Indian Wells, 1999 Graf lost to Serena Williams in three sets.
    More Details Hide Details
    At the beginning of 1999 Graf played the warm up event to the Australian Open in Sydney; she defeated Serena Williams in the second round and Venus Williams in the quarterfinals before losing to Lindsay Davenport in the semifinal.
    More Details Hide Details Graf then went on to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open before losing to Monica Seles in two sets.
  • 1998
    After missing almost half of the tour in 1998, Graf defeated World No. 2 Hingis and World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport en route to the Philadelphia title.
    More Details Hide Details At the first round of the season-ending Chase Championships, Graf defeated World No. 3 Jana Novotná before losing in the semifinal to first-seeded Davenport.
  • 1997
    Graf then underwent knee surgery and subsequently missed the 1997 Wimbledon and US Open championships.
    More Details Hide Details The treatment was for a fracture of the cartilage as well as a shortening and partial rupture of the patellar tendon of her left knee.
    The last few years of Graf's career were beset by injuries, particularly to her knees and back. She lost the World No. 1 ranking to Martina Hingis and failed to win a Grand Slam title for the first time in ten years in 1997.
    More Details Hide Details That year Graf lost in the fourth round of Australian Open in straight sets to Amanda Coetzer. After several months injury lay off, Graf returned to play in the German Open in Berlin in front of a home crowd and had the worst defeat of her career in the quarter final, when Amanda Coetzer beat her in just 56 minutes 6–0, 6–1. In the French Open Graf was again beaten by Amanda Coetzer in straight sets 6–1, 6–4.
  • 1996
    She was unable to participate in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta because of an injured left knee.
    More Details Hide Details In 1988 Graf became only the second tennis player in history to win a Slam on hard court, clay, and grass all in the same season. She repeated the feat in 1993, 1995, and 1996.
  • 1995
    In personal terms, 1995 was a difficult year for Graf, as she was accused by German authorities of tax evasion in the early years of her career.
    More Details Hide Details In her defense, she stated that her father Peter was her financial manager, and all financial matters relating to her earnings at the time had been under his control. As a result, Peter was sentenced to 45 months in jail. He was eventually released after serving 25 months. Prosecutors dropped their case against Graf in 1997, when she agreed to pay a fine of 1.3 million Deutsche Marks to the government and an unspecified charity. Graf again missed the Australian Open because of an injury which required foot surgery and then successfully defended the three Grand Slam titles she won the year before. In a close French Open final, Graf again overcame Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, taking the third-set 10–8. It was the longest French Open women's singles final in history, both in terms of time (3 hours and 3 minutes) and number of games played (40). Graf then had straight-sets wins against Sánchez Vicario in the Wimbledon final and Monica Seles in the US Open final. Graf also won her fifth and final WTA Tour Championships title with a five set win over Martina Hingis.
  • 1994
    In the Hamburg final, she lost for the first time in 1994 after 36 consecutive match victories, losing to Sánchez Vicario in three sets.
    More Details Hide Details She then won her eighth German Open, but there were signs that her form was worsening as she almost lost to Julie Halard in a quarterfinal. As the defending champion Graf lost in straight sets to Mary Pierce in the French Open semifinal. This was followed by a first-round straight-sets loss at Wimbledon to Lori McNeil, her only loss at Wimbledon between 1991 and 1997 and her first loss in a first round Grand Slam tournament in ten years. Graf still managed to win San Diego the following month but aggravated a long-time back injury in beating Sánchez Vicario in the final. She began to wear a back brace and was unsure about playing the US Open but elected to play while receiving treatment and stretching for two hours before each match. She made it to the final and took the first set against Sánchez Vicario — Sanchez Vicario's last victory over Graf – but lost the next two sets. Graf took the following nine weeks off, returning only for the Virginia Slims Championships where she lost in straight sets to Pierce in the quarterfinal.
  • 1993
    Graf began 1993 with four losses in her first six tournaments of the year: two to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario and one each to Seles and the 36-year-old Martina Navratilova.
    More Details Hide Details She struggled at the tournament in Berlin where she lost a 6–0 set to the unheralded Sabine Hack before defeating Mary Joe Fernández and Sabatini in three-set matches to claim her seventh title there in eight years. Monica Seles beat Graf in three sets in the final of the Australian Open 4–6, 6–3, 6–2. This cemented Seles as the dominant #1 player in the world, having won 5 of the previous 6, 7 of the previous 9, and 8 of the previous 12 major singles titles. In that timespan of 12 majors, Graf had won twice (1991 and 1992 Wimbledon) in comparison. During a quarterfinal match between Seles and Magdalena Maleeva in Hamburg (Graf's home country), Seles was stabbed between the shoulder blades by a mentally ill German fan of Graf, Günter Parche. He claimed that he committed the attack to help Graf reclaim the World No. 1 ranking. More than two years elapsed before Seles competed again. Shortly after the stabbing, Graf and 24 of the world's top 25 WTA members voted against preserving Seles' world #1 ranking while she was sidelined (only Sabatini abstained from this vote).
  • 1991
    It was Graf's second consecutive loss to Novotna, and dating back to their 1991 Australian Open quarterfinal match, Jana had won three of their last five meetings.
    More Details Hide Details At Boca Raton, Florida, Graf reached her first final of the year, where she faced Conchita Martínez for the title. In their five previous head-to-head matches, Graf had defeated Martínez each time. Even though Conchita won the opening set, Graf went on to prevail 3–6, 6–2, 6–0. She lost twice to Sabatini in the early spring at the Lipton International and the Bausch & Lomb Championships; however, the Bausch & Lomb loss would be Graf's final loss to Sabatini, winning her next, and last, 8 matches against Sabatini. Victories at Hamburg and Berlin (beating Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the finals of both) prepared her for the French Open, where she defeated Sánchez Vicario in the semifinals after losing the first set 6–0. Graf then renewed her rivalry with Monica Seles in the final, which Monica Seles won 10–8 in the third set. Monica won the match on her 5th match point; Graf came within 2 points of winning the match a few games earlier. At Wimbledon, after struggling through early-round three-setters against lowly ranked Mariaan de Swardt and Patty Fendick, she easily defeated Natasha Zvereva in a quarterfinal, Sabatini in a semifinal, and Monica Seles in the final 6–2, 6–1, with Monica playing in almost complete silence because of widespread media and player criticism of her grunting. Graf then won all five of her Fed Cup matches, helping Germany defeat Spain in the final by defeating Arantxa Sánchez Vicario 6–4, 6–2.
    A mixture of injury problems, personal difficulties, and loss of form made 1991 a tough year for Graf.
    More Details Hide Details Seles established herself as the new dominant player on the women's tour, winning the Australian Open, French Open, and US Open and, in March, ending Graf's record 186 consecutive-weeks hold on the World No. 1 ranking. Graf briefly regained the top ranking after winning at Wimbledon but lost it again after her loss to Navratilova at the US Open. Graf lost an Australian Open quarterfinal to Jana Novotná, the first time she did not reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam singles tournament since the 1986 French Open. She then lost to Sabatini in her next three tournaments before winning the U.S. Hardcourt Championships in San Antonio, beating Monica Seles in the final. After losing a fifth straight time to Sabatini in Amelia Island, Florida, Graf again defeated Seles in the Hamburg final. Following her tournament victory in German Open in Berlin, Graf suffered one of the worst defeats of her career in a French Open semifinal where she won only two games against Arantxa Sánchez Vicario and lost her first 6–0 set since 1984. At Wimbledon, however, Graf captured her third women's crown, this time at Sabatini's expense. Sabatini served for the match twice, and was two points away from her first Wimbledon title. After breaking Sabatini's serve to even the third set at 6–6, Graf defeated Sabatini by winning the next two games to take the match 6–4, 3–6, 8–6.
  • 1990
    In an interview with Stern magazine in July 1990, Graf stated, "I could not fight as usual."
    More Details Hide Details Graf again lost to Monica Seles in the final of the French Open 7–6, 6–4. Seles was behind 2–6 in the first set tiebreaker, but then came back to win six points in a row and take the set. At Wimbledon, Graf lost in the semifinals to Zina Garrison, who with this victory broke Graf's string of 13 consecutive Major finals. After victories in Montreal and San Diego, Graf reached the US Open final, where she lost in straight sets to Sabatini. Graf won four indoor tournaments after the US Open, including a pair of straight set wins over Sabatini in the finals of Zürich and Worcester. Although Sabatini got the best of Graf in the semifinals of the season-ending Virginia Slims Championships, Graf still finished the year as the top ranked player.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1989
    Victories at Zürich and Brighton preceded the Virginia Slims Championships, where Graf cemented her top-ranked status by beating Navratilova in the final in four sets. Graf ended 1989 with an 86–2 match record and the loss of only twelve sets.
    More Details Hide Details Her .977 winning percentage is the second-highest in the open era behind Navratilova. Graf defeated Mary Joe Fernández in the final of the Australian Open, which was her eighth Grand Slam singles title in the last nine she contested. Her winning streak (unbeaten since the 1989 French Open loss to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario) continued with victories in Tokyo, Amelia Island, and Hamburg. In Berlin, she extended her unbeaten streak to 66 matches (second in WTA history to Martina Navratilova's 74) before losing the final to Monica Seles, 6–4, 6–3. While the Berlin tournament was being played, the largest-circulation German tabloid, Bild, ran a story about an alleged scandal involving Graf's father. The difficulty of answering questions about the matter came to a head at a Wimbledon press conference, where Graf broke down in tears. Wimbledon authorities then threatened to immediately shut down any subsequent press conferences where questions about the issue were asked. Whether this scandal affected Graf's form is open to debate.
    Speculation was rife at the beginning of 1989 about the possibility of Graf winning another Grand Slam.
    More Details Hide Details Some noted observers, such as Margaret Court, suggested that Graf could achieve the feat a couple more times. And the year began as expected, with Graf extending her Grand Slam tournament winning streak to five events at the Australian Open, defeating Helena Suková in the final. Her 6–3, 6–0 defeat of Argentina's Gabriela Sabatini in a semifinal was described by veteran observer Ted Tinling as "probably the best tennis I've seen". He went on to add, "Then I saw what Steffi did to Sabatini at the Australian Open this year, and that was it. She is better than them all." Graf followed this with easy victories in her next four tournaments at Washington, D.C., San Antonio, Texas, Boca Raton, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina. The Washington, D.C. tournament was notable because Graf won the first twenty points of the final against Zina Garrison. In the Boca Raton final, Graf lost the only set she conceded to Chris Evert in their final seven matches.
  • 1988
    At the year-ending Virginia Slims Championships, Graf was upset by Pam Shriver, only her third loss of the year. She was named the 1988 BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year.
    More Details Hide Details
    Graf's 1988 Grand Slam remains the only one in history completed on three surfaces (grass, clay, hard court), as all other Grand Slams in tennis history were achieved prior to the introduction of hard court at the US Open in 1978.
    More Details Hide Details Graf then defeated Sabatini 6–3, 6–3 in the gold medal match at the Olympic Games in Seoul and achieved what the media had dubbed the "Golden Slam". The feat has only been achieved by Graf to date. Graf also won her only Grand Slam doubles title that year—at Wimbledon partnering Sabatini—and picked up a women's doubles Olympic bronze medal.
    Graf started 1988 by winning the Australian Open, defeating Chris Evert in the final 6–1, 7–6.
    More Details Hide Details Graf did not lose a set during the tournament and lost a total of only 29 games. Graf lost twice to Sabatini during the spring, once on hardcourts in Boca Raton, Florida, and once on clay at Amelia Island, Florida. Graf, however, won the tournament in San Antonio, Texas and retained her title in Miami, where she once again defeated Evert in the final. Graf then won the tournament in Berlin, losing only twelve games in five matches. At the French Open, Graf successfully defended her title by defeating Natasha Zvereva 6–0, 6–0 in a 32-minute final. That was the shortest-ever and most one-sided Grand Slam final ever and the only double bagel in a Major final since 1911. Zvereva, who had eliminated Martina Navratilova in the fourth round, won only thirteen points in the match. Next came Wimbledon, where Martina Navratilova had won six straight titles. Graf was trailing Martina Navratilova in the final 7–5, 2–0 before winning the match 5–7, 6–2, 6–1. She then won tournaments in Hamburg and Mahwah (where she lost only eight games all tournament).
  • 1987
    Graf was voted the ITF World Champion in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995 and 1996.
    More Details Hide Details
    Graf had a win-loss record of 75-2 for a 97.4 winning percentage in 1987, both losses coming to Navratilova as they split the four matches they played during the year.
    More Details Hide Details On August 17, after defeating Evert in a straight set final in the Virginia Slims of Los Angeles, Graf overtook Navratilova for the world number one ranking for the first time in her career, a ranking she would hold for the next 186 consecutive-weeks, a record that has not been broken. Graf was the first player other than Navratilova or Evert to hold the top spot since Tracy Austin in 1980.
    Graf's Grand Slam tournament breakthrough came in 1987.
    More Details Hide Details She started the year strongly, with six tournament victories heading into the French Open, the highlight being at the tournament in Miami, where she defeated Martina Navratilova in a semifinal and Chris Evert in the final and conceded only 20 games in the seven rounds of the tournament. In the French Open final, Graf defeated Martina, who was the World No. 1, 6–4, 4–6, 8–6 after beating Sabatini in a three-set semifinal. Graf then lost to Navratilova 7–5, 6–3 in the Wimbledon final, her first loss of the year. However, in the Federation Cup final in Vancouver, Canada, three weeks later, she defeated Evert easily 6–2, 6–1. The US Open ended anti-climactically as Navratilova defeated Graf in the final 7–6, 6–1.
  • 1986
    She was elected as the German Sportsperson of the Year in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1999.
    More Details Hide Details Graf was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004 and the German Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
    On 13 April 1986, Graf won her first WTA tournament and beat Evert for the first time in the final of the Family Circle Cup in Hilton Head, South Carolina. (She never lost to Evert again, beating her a further seven times over the next three and a half years.) Graf then won her next three tournaments at Amelia Island, Charleston, and Berlin, culminating in a 6–2, 6–3 defeat of Navratilova in the final of the latter.
    More Details Hide Details Illness caused her to miss Wimbledon, and an accident where she broke a toe several weeks later also curtailed her play. She returned to win a small tournament at Mahwah just before the US Open where, in one of the most anticipated matches of the year, she encountered Navratilova in a semifinal. The match was played over two days with Navratilova finally winning after saving three match points 6–1, 6–7, 7–6. Graf then won three consecutive indoor titles at Tokyo, Zürich, and Brighton, before once again contending with Navratilova at the season-ending Virginia Slims Championships in New York City. This time, Navratilova beat Graf 7–6, 6–3, 6–2.
  • 1985
    In 1985 and early 1986, Graf emerged as the top challenger to the dominance of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.
    More Details Hide Details During that period, she lost six times to Evert and three times to Navratilova, all in straight sets. She did not win a tournament but consistently reached tournament finals and semifinals, with the highlight being her semifinal loss to Navratilova at the US Open.
    Graf's schedule was closely controlled by her father, who limited her play so that she would not burn out. In 1985, for instance, she played only 10 events leading up to the US Open, whereas another up-and-coming star, Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina, who was a year younger than Graf, played 21.
    More Details Hide Details Peter also kept a tight rein on Graf's personal life. Social invitations on the tour were often declined as Graf's focus was kept on practicing and match play. Working with her father and then-coach Pavel Složil, Graf typically practiced for up to four hours a day, often heading straight from airports to practice courts. This narrow focus meant that Graf, already shy and retiring by nature, made few friends on the tour in her early years, but it led to a steady improvement in her play.
  • 1984
    In August as a 15-year-old (and youngest entrant) representing West Germany, she won the tennis demonstration event at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details No medals were awarded as this was not an official Olympic event.
    In 1984, she first gained international attention when she almost upset the tenth seed, Jo Durie of the United Kingdom, in a fourth round Centre Court match at Wimbledon.
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  • 1983
    She won no titles during the next three years, but her ranking climbed steadily to World No. 98 in 1983, No. 22 in 1984, and No. 6 in 1985.
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    At the start of her first full professional year in 1983, Graf was 13 years old and ranked World No. 124.
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  • 1982
    Graf played in her first professional tournament in October 1982 at Stuttgart, Germany.
    More Details Hide Details She lost her first round match 6–4, 6–0 to Tracy Austin, a two-time US Open champion and former World No. 1 player. (Twelve years later, Graf defeated Austin 6–0, 6–0 during a second round match at the Evert Cup in Indian Wells, California, which was their second and last match against each other.)
    She soon began winning junior tournaments with regularity, and in 1982 she won the European Championships 12s and 18s.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1969
    Stefanie Graf was born on 14 June 1969, in Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany, to Heidi Schalk and Peter Graf (18 June 1938 − 30 November 2013), a car and insurance salesman.
    More Details Hide Details She has a younger brother Michael. Graf was introduced to tennis by her father, an aspiring tennis coach, who taught his three-year-old daughter how to swing a wooden racket in the family's living room. She began practicing on a court at the age of four and played in her first tournament at five.
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