Steffi Graf on topic


Steffi Graf
Stefanie Maria "Steffi" Graf (German pronunciation: [ˈʃtɛfiː ˈɡʁaːf], audio ; born 14 June 1969) is a German former professional tennis player. She was ranked world No. 1 for a record 377 weeks (more than 7 years) and won 22 Grand Slam singles titles, which ranks second since the introduction of the Open Era in 1968 and third all-time behind Margaret Court (24) and Serena Williams (23). In 1988, she became the only tennis player to achieve the Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam singles titles and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year. Furthermore, she is the only tennis player, male or female, to have won each Grand Slam tournament at least four times. Graf was ranked world No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) for a record 377 total weeks—the longest period for which any player, male or female, has held the number-one ranking since the WTA and the Association of Tennis Professionals began issuing rankings. She won 107 singles titles, which ranks her third on the WTA's all-time list after Martina Navratilova (167 titles) and Chris Evert (157 titles). She and Margaret Court are the only players, male or female, to win three Grand Slam tournaments in a calendar year five times (1988, 1989, 1993, 1995 and 1996). Notable features of Graf's game were her versatility across all playing surfaces, footwork and powerful forehand drive. Graf's athletic ability and aggressive game played from the baseline have been credited with developing the modern style of play that has come to dominate today's game. She won six French Open singles titles (second to Evert), seven Wimbledon singles titles, four Australian Open titles, and five U.S. Open singles titles. She is the only singles player (male or female) to have achieved a Grand Slam since hard court was introduced as a surface at the US Open in 1987. Consequently, Graf's Grand Slam was achieved on grass, clay, and hard court while the previous five Grand Slams were decided on only grass and clay. Graf reached thirteen consecutive major singles finals, from the 1987 French Open through to the 1990 French Open, winning nine of them. She won 5 consecutive major singles tournaments (1988 Australian Open to 1989 Australian Open), and seven out of eight, in two calendar years (1988 Australian Open to 1989 US Open, except 1989 French Open). She reached a total of 31 major singles finals. Graf retired at the age of 30 in 1999 while she was ranked world No. 3. She is regarded as one of the greatest female tennis players of all time. Navratilova included Graf on the top of her list of the greatest players ever. The year of her retirement, Billie Jean King said, "Steffi is definitely the greatest women's tennis player of all time." In December 1999, Graf was named the greatest female tennis player of the 20th century by a panel of experts assembled by the Associated Press. She married former world No. 1 men's tennis player Andre Agassi in October 2001. They have two children. Graf was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004. Along with countryman Boris Becker, Graf was considered instrumental in popularizing tennis in Germany, where it has remained a highly popular sport ever since.
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