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Last Updated: Monday, 31 May, 2004, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Wimbledon legends: Steffi Graf
Steffi Graf
Born: 14/06/69
Bruhl, Germany
Wimbledon titles:
1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996
Runner up: 1987, 1999
Grand Slam titles: 22
Prize money: $21,895,277
Steffi Graf is arguably the greatest female player ever, with the "Golden" Grand Slam in 1988 the peak of her notable achievements.

She won 22 Grand Slam singles titles, including seven at Wimbledon between 1988 and 1996.

Margaret Court won 24 in total, but 11 came in Australia where the competition was weak in the sixties.

Graf first topped the world rankings in 1987 and was only eclipsed 10 years later after 374 weeks as number one.

Graf became the second woman in the history of Open tennis, after Court's efforts in 1970, to win the Grand Slam of all four majors.

But her 1988 haul, at just 19, had an extra ingredient, a gold medal from the Seoul Olympics.

She is the only player ever to have won each of the majors at least four times.

Known as 'Fraulein Forehand', Graf could hit that shot like a hammer. Her sliced backhand was also the best in the game.

Added to a powerful and accurate serve and a determination to win that put everyone else to shame, she had a lot going for her.

For 10 years she dominated women's tennis, but there were also huge pressures on her.

She had surgery four times and it was persistent problems with her knees that eventually forced her out of the game at the age of 30, having recently reached the Wimbledon final for the first time in three years in 1999.

Her father was a controversial figure and was eventually sent to prison for tax fraud, costing her $20m in reparation.

When Monica Seles was stabbed in Hamburg in 1993, attacker Gunther Parche said he attacked her so she would no longer be a rival to Graf.

It is a testament to the German's strength of character that she managed to carry herself with such dignity throughout those tough years.





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SEE ALSO
Classic Matches: Graf v Novotna
31 May 04  |  Wimbledon History
Classic Matches: Graf v Vicario
31 May 04  |  Wimbledon History


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