When the names of legendary women Lawn Tennis players is taken, Steffi Graf would be the first name to be called. The German-born celebrates her birthday today. Stephanie Graf has won a record 22 singles grand slam titles.
There are many other interesting facts about this legendary player who retired in 1999. Let us look at some of them:
Made her debut at 13 years of age: Steffi Graf was just 13 years and 4 months old when she turned professional in Lawn Tennis. Three weeks after she had played her first international match, she became the second youngest player to get an international ranking (124).
Youngest to mark 500 wins: Steffi achieved this feat on October 3, 1991. A super athlete, Steffi maintained the record of winning at least one grand slam singles title in a year till 1997.
Steffi’s father was caught in tax-fraud: Her father Peter took care of her Tennis career for a long period of time. At one point, he was even given the nickname ‘Father Merciless’ as Peter took more than required interest in her daughter’s tennis career. In 1997, Peter was jailed for committing a tax fraud. This was the time when Steffi’s game declined. She retired from the game after two years in 1999.
Steffi was depressed when her contemporary was stabbed: Monica Seles, who was Steffi’s contemporary in the playing days was stabbed by one of her mentally-ill fan after Seles dethroned her from the number one position in 1993. Steffi could not come out of the incident. After some years, she recalled, “To know that it was a fan of mine that did it, even though I had nothing to do with it, gives you a guilty feeling for always. There’s no way out of that.”
Number one player for 377 weeks: Steffi Graf owns a record which is not possible for many of the present-day Tennis legends. She owned the top spot in the WTA ranking for 377 weeks. This means that for 2639 days, there was no one who came close to her.