Steffi Graf, Novak Djokovic’s next “rival”

Steffi Graf, Novak Djokovic's next "rival"

In the early years of the unified world the name of Steffi graf it was synonymous with effectiveness and success. A sober and enigmatic personality as well as numerous triumphs were part of the legacy of the one who was born in Bruhl, Mannheim, in southern West Germany, on June 14, 1969.

Graf it was 377 weeks Number one of the women’s circuit, including a spectacular run of 186 consecutive between August 17, 1987 and March 10, 1991. The record of consecutive weeks could only be matched by Serena Williams between 2013 and 2016, but in the total of weeks, the Germanic still holds the highest figure in the WTA.

Steffi also finished on top of the world for eight seasons, the all-time high, and was the most dominant player of the 1990s, when she ranked first in 253 weeks, 75 more than the 178 of one of her archrivals. Monica Seles.

She also won 22 Grand Slam titles between 1987 and 1999, a figure that currently maintains her as the third best player of all time behind the American Serena Williams (23) and the Australian Margaret Court (24). His 22 Majors They allow her to be the only tennis player, male or female, who has won at least four times each of the Grand Slam. Neither Federer, who has only one Roland Garros, or Nadal, who has an Australian Open, can overshadow him.

Her overwhelming figures led her to be declared by the AP agency as the best tennis player of the 20th century, ‘Personality of the year’ by the BBC in 1998, in addition to receiving the Prince of Asturias Award in 1999, just the year in which she retired winning a Roland Garros on Martina Hingis, then, 18 years old. “This is the most incredible memory that I will have when I remember my tennis career”, said the German after saving a couple of match points in that duel.

His story began at three years of the hand of his father, Peter, who soon realized what a diamond Steffi was, so he pushed her to debut on the professional stage where she started with a loss but ended with a record of 900 wins and 115 losses, according to WTA records, and 107 tournaments won.

In Seoul 1988, Graf won the golds in singles (to Gabriela Sabatini in the final) and doubles (along with Claudia Kohde-Kilsch) to become the first and only woman to have won the Golden slam, which includes all four Grand Slams and gold at the Olympics in the same season (something Novak Djokovic recently traveled to Tokyo for and was left wanting). In Barcelona 1992, Steffi was Silver when falling in the final before the American Jennifer capriati.

Steffi retired at age 30, being number three in the world. Shortly after, he began a relationship with André Agassi, whom he later married in Las Vegas, in a totally private ceremony. The year of her retirement, another monster of women’s tennis emerged: Serena Williams, who won his first “big” tournament in 1999, the US Open and later surpassed it in the number of Grand Slam titles. And still looking for the longed-for 24 …

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