Steffi Graf (born June 14, 1969, in Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany) is a former World No. 1 female tennis player from Germany.
Steffi won 22 Grand Slam singles titles – second among male and female players only to Margaret Court's 24. She is the only player to have won all four Grand Slam singles tournaments (Wimbledon, the US Open, the French Open and the Australian Open) at least four times each. In 1988, Steffi became the first and to date only player to achieve the "Golden Slam" by winning all four Grand Slam singles titles and the Olympic gold medal in the same year.
Steffi was ranked World No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) for a record 377 total weeks – the longest of any player, male or female, since the WTA and the Association of Tennis Professionals begain issuing rankings. She also holds the record for finishing as the year-end World No. 1 the most times, having done so on eight occassions. Steffi Graf won a total 107 singles titles, which ranks her third on the WTA's all-time list after Martina Navratilova (167 titles) and Chris Evert (154 titles).
A notable feature of Graf's game was her versatility across all playing surfaces. Steffi Graf won six French Open singles titles (second to Evert) and seven Wimbledon singles titles (third behind Navratilova and Helen Wills Moody). She is the only singles player to have achieved a Calendar Year Grand Slam while playing on all three major types of tennis courts (grass courts, clay courts and hard courts), as the Calendar Year Grand Slams won by other players before her occurred when the Australian and US Opens were still played on grass. Steffi reached thirteen consecutive Grand Slam singles finals, from the 1987 French Open through to the 1990 French Open, winning nine of them. She played in 36 Grand Slam singles tournaments from the 1987 French Open through the 1996 US Open, reaching the finals 29 times and winning 21 titles. She reached a total of 31 Grand Slam singles finals, third overall behind Evert (34 finals) and Navratilova (32 finals).
Steffi is widely considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time, and is considered by some to be the greatest. Billie Jean King said in 1999, "Steffi is definitely the greatest women's tennis player of all time." Martina Navratilova has included Steffi on her list of great players. In December 1999, Steffi was named the greatest female tennis player of the 20th century by a panel of experts assembled by the Associated Press. Tennis writer Steve Flink, in his book The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century, named her as the best female player of the 20th century.
Steffi retired in 1999 while she was ranked World No. 3.
Steffi Graf is married to the former World No. 1 men's tennis player Andre
This Steffi Graf Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub