Biography of Steffi Graf, tennis player. She is German and is considered to be one of the best tennis players in the world and on seven occasions was the World Champion of women’s tennis.
In 1999 the Associated Press named her “Best Tennis Player of the 20th Century“
What sporting merits does Steffi Graf have?
During 1988 Steffi Graf participated in the Grand Slam.
This consists of four major tournaments on the international circuit, organized by the International Tennis Federation:
- Australian Open – hard tennis court
- Roland Garros tournament – clay
- Wimbledon Championship – Lawn
- United States Open – hard tennis court
In that year 1988, Steffi Graf won all 4 Grand Slam tournaments. In addition, at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, she won the Olympic tennis gold medal.
These five triumphs obtained that year earned her the coveted “Golden Slam” award.
The Golden Slam is an honorable mention made to tennis players, when in the same year, in addition to winning the four Grand Slam tournaments consecutively, they also win the gold medal at the Olympic Games that same year.
Until now, Steffi Graf is the only tennis player in history who has achieved the “Golden Slam”.
Character of this extraordinary German tennis player
Steffi was known for her sense of humor. During an arduous semifinal at Wimbledon, she was preparing for the serve, when a spectator shouted “Steffi!”.
Everyone present, including Steffi, started laughing. When she was ready to do the service again, the viewer yelled again, “Steffi! Would you marry me?”
The entire stadium was laughing and the game was delayed for a few minutes. Steffi prepared to serve again, bounced the ball on the ground, turned to the viewer, and yelled “How much money do you have?”
Life of the remarkable tennis player Steffi Graf
Steffi Graf, baptized Estefanie Maria Graf, was born on June 14, 1969 in Mannheim, German Federal Republic. Her mother’s name is Heidi.
Her father, Peter Graf, owned a tennis school and took advantage of the free time left by the sale of cars and insurance to be a monitor.
Peter Graf set out to make his daughter a champion.
Steffi started practicing at the age of three, with a racket with a trimmed handle.
She started by throwing the ball against the wall of her living room; At the age of five she already participated in her first tournament. She was defeated.
The following year, she took the victory. Her father, who had already realized that she had a special talent for tennis, started training her in the morning, before taking her to school.
Steffi wins in international tennis
In 1981, she won the German Junior National Championship. The Orange Bowl, an international tournament for girls under the age of twelve, was also awarded.
In 1982, she won the European Championship for players up to fourteen years old.
Peter Graf had a dirt track, a grass track and a cement track built near her house. In this way his daughter was able to prepare for all tournaments, without having to spend time traveling.
On October 18, 1982, after winning the “Junior” cups from Germany and Europe, Steffi started playing professionally. She had just turned 13 years old.
Steffi Graf left school to devote herself completely to tennis. Peter Graf directly managed his daughter’s career.
Steffi’s younger brother Michael was left in charge of the calendar, the choice of coaches and the administration.
In this way, Steffi was able to fully concentrate on her career.
Steffi’s Olympic tennis career
Two years later, when she was 15, Steffi Graf participated in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. She won her first gold medal by defeating Yugoslavian Sabrina Goles in the final.
Steffi won her first title at age 16, on April 13, 1986, beating Chris Evert at the Charleston Tournament in South Carolina, United States.
In 1988, she was awarded the BBC Sports ‘Personality of the Year‘ award.
In these years of intense competition, the only thing she regretted her success was not being able to lead a normal life.
She took advantage of her trips to visit museums and always took a private teacher with her, with whom she tried to make up the time dedicated to training.
Steffi Graf’s family problems
In August 1995, she was in great pain over the imprisonment of her father, accused of tax evasion.
Steffi had once said that she owed everything to her father. At that moment she felt desolate and was thinking of leaving everything: tennis, Germany, everything. But, despite the family problems, she kept going.
Peter Graf was finally released from prison in November 1996, much to his daughter’s relief.
Sadly, in 1997, Steffi had to undergo a knee operation.
It took her eight months to recover, she began to lose her shape and left the ranking for the first time since 1983.
In August 1999, during the San Diego Tournament, due to a series of injuries, she was forced to leave competitive tennis.
She was 30 years old and was number three in the world.
As she confessed shortly after, she had lost the joy of playing. For the first time, she had no illusions about playing tennis. It was a strange feeling that she had never experienced before.
Steffi Graf withdrawn from international competitions
In announcing her retirement, Steffi Graf reported on the creation of a foundation called “Children for Tomorrow”. In this way, she wants to help the physical and human training of underprivileged youth around the world.
A month after announcing her retirement, Steffi Graf was awarded in Oviedo, on September 23, 1999, with the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Sports, “for being an exceptional champion and for her humanity.”
In the award presentation speech, Antonio Samaranch said that Steffi Graf, “has always set an example of conduct on tennis courts.”
On October 22, 2001, Steffi Graf married the world’s number one tennis player, Andre Agassi.
It was an absolutely private ceremony, at Steffi Graf’s house in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On November 29, 2001 Jaden Gil was born, a son much loved by the couple. Happiness was full on October 3, 2003, when her daughter Jaz Elle was born.
Steffi Graf’s tennis career from 1982 to 1999
Steffi Graf’s career in world tennis is truly impressive.
Steffi Graf holds the record for 377 total weeks as number one in the ranking of the “Women’s Tennis Association” (WTA) between 1987 and 1996.
She won a total of 107 tournaments of the “Women’s Tennis Association“, WTA. She occupies the third position in the list of tournaments won, behind Martina Navratilova (167) and Chris Evert (157).
Steffi won 7 Wimbledon titles during her career:
- 1988 (against Martina Navratilova in the final),
- 1989 (also against Martina Navratilova),
- 1991 (against Gabriela Sabatini),
- 1992 (against Mónica Seles),
- 1993 (against Jana Novotna),
- 1995 (against Arantxa Sánchez Vicario), and
- 1996 (against Arantxa Sánchez Vicario).
Between 1987 and 1999 she conquered 22 individual Grand Slam titles.
- Four times at the Australian Open,
- six at Roland Garros,
- seven at Wimbledon and
- five in the United States Open.
On August 17, 1987 Steffi Graf became the number one player in the world. She remained in that position until March 10, 1991, that is, 186 consecutive weeks, which is an unequaled record.
In 1988 she became the first and only male or female tennis player to have won the true Golden Slam. She defeated:
- Chris Evert at the Australian Open,
- Natasha Zvereva at Roland Garros,
- Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon,
- Gabriela Sabatini at the United States Open and
- Gabriela Sabatini in the final of the Seoul Olympics.
She is the only male or female tennis player to have won each of the Grand Slam tournaments 4 times and on all surfaces.
In addition, during the 1987, 1988 and 1989 seasons, she lost only seven games (three against Sabatini, two against Martina Navratilova, one against Pam Shriver and one against Arantxa Sánchez Vicario).
Between June 1989 and May 1990, she chained 68 consecutive victories, which constitutes the second best streak in history, surpassed only by Martina Navratilova, who in 1984 chained 73 consecutive victories.
Among her greatest rivals, Yugoslavian Monica Seles stands out, against whom she played six Grand Slam finals between 1990 and 1996.
Three games won by Steffi and three by Monica.
The most memorable was at the 1992 Roland Garros, in which Mónica Seles won 6-2, 3-6, 10-8, in a match considered one of the best in the history of women’s tennis.
On April 30, 1993, Mónica Seles was stabbed in the back during one of the game breaks. She disputed it against the Bulgarian tennis player Magdalena Maleeva, corresponding to the Hamburg Open.
Steffi visited Monica at the hospital, but never made public comments about the incident.
Solidarity dedication of the athlete Steffi Graf
Steffi Graf is “Ambassador” to WWF (World Wildlife Fund).
WWF is the world’s largest independent conservation organization.
Its mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and build a future in which human beings live in harmony with nature: conserving the world’s biological diversity.
Steffi Graf is founder and president of the “Children for Tomorrow Foundation”. She is dedicated to assistance projects for children and families victims of war and persecution.
The Foundation funds projects in Uganda, Eritrea and Kosovo. In addition, “Children for Tomorrow” funds the Outpatient Clinic for Refugee Children and Adolescents in the clinic of the University of Hamburg-Eppendorf.
There, traumatized children from crisis areas receive psychological and psychiatric treatment.
In April 2011, “Children for Tomorrow” moved to the premises of the University of Hamburg clinic.