78 Facts About Steffi Graf

1. In 1988, Steffi Graf became the first tennis player to achieve the Golden Slam by winning all four major singles titles and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year.

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2. Steffi Graf was ranked world No 1 in singles by the Women's Tennis Association for a record 377 total weeks: the longest period for which any player, female or male, has held a singles number-one ranking since the WTA and the Association of Tennis Professionals, respectively, began issuing rankings.

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3. Steffi Graf's won 107 singles titles, ranking her third on the WTA's all-time list after Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert (157 titles).

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4. Steffi Graf's won six French Open singles titles, seven Wimbledon singles titles, four Australian Open titles, and five US Open singles titles.

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5. Steffi Graf's is the only singles player to have achieved a Grand Slam across three surfaces (grass, clay, and hard courts).

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6. Steffi Graf reached 13 consecutive singles major finals from the 1987 French Open to the 1990 French Open, winning nine of them.

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7. Steffi Graf's won five consecutive singles majors, and seven out of eight, in two calendar years (1988 Australian Open to 1989 US Open, except 1989 French Open).

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8. Steffi Graf's reached a total of 31 singles major finals.

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9. Steffi Graf retired at the age of 30 in 1999 while she was ranked world No 3.

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10. Steffi Graf was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004.

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11. Stefanie Steffi Graf was born on 14 June 1969, in Mannheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, West Germany, to Heidi Schalk and car-and-insurance salesman Peter Steffi Graf.

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12. Steffi Graf's began practising on a court at the age of four and played in her first tournament at five.

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13. Steffi Graf played in her first professional tournament in October 1982 at Filderstadt, Germany.

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14. At the start of her first full professional year in 1983, Steffi Graf was 13 years old and ranked world No 124.

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15. Steffi Graf's won no titles during the next three years, but her ranking climbed steadily to world No 98 in 1983, No 22 in 1984, and No 6 in 1985.

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16. In 1985, for instance, she played only ten events leading up to the US Open, whereas another up-and-coming star, Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina, who was a year younger than Steffi Graf, played 21.

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17. Peter Steffi Graf kept a tight rein on Steffi Graf's personal life.

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18. In 1985 and early 1986, Steffi Graf emerged as the top challenger to the dominance of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.

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19. On 13 April 1986, Steffi Graf won her first WTA tournament and beat Evert for the first time in the final of the Family Circle Cup in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

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20. Steffi Graf's started the year strongly, with six tournament victories heading into the French Open, with the highlight being at the tournament in Miami, where she defeated Martina Navratilova in a semifinal and Chris Evert in the final and lost only 20 games in the seven rounds of the tournament.

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21. Steffi Graf was the first player other than Navratilova or Evert to hold the top spot since Tracy Austin in 1980.

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22. Steffi Graf lost twice to Sabatini during the spring, once on hardcourts in Boca Raton, Florida, and once on clay at Amelia Island, Florida.

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23. In reaching and winning all four Grand Slam finals, Steffi Graf became the first player in history to contest and win 28 Grand Slam singles matches in a single year; albeit including the unplayed walkover against Evert in the US Open.

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24. At the year-ending Virginia Slims Championships, Steffi Graf was upset by Pam Shriver, only her third loss of the year.

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25. Steffi Graf's was named the 1988 BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year.

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26. Steffi Graf went on to add, "I saw what Steffi did to Sabatini at the Australian Open this year, and that was it.

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27. The Washington, DC tournament was notable because Steffi Graf won the first twenty points of the final against Zina Garrison.

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28. Steffi Graf warmed up for the US Open with easy tournament victories in San Diego and Mahwah.

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29. Victories at Zurich and Brighton preceded the Virginia Slims Championships, where Steffi Graf cemented her top-ranked status by beating Navratilova in the four-set final.

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30. Steffi Graf defeated Mary Joe Fernandez in the final of the Australian Open, which was her eighth Grand Slam singles title in the last nine she contested.

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31. Shortly after winning in Tokyo, Steffi Graf injured her right thumb while cross-country skiing in Switzerland and subsequently withdrew from the Virginia Slims of Florida and the Lipton Championships.

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32. The difficulty of answering questions about the matter came to a head at a Wimbledon press conference, where Steffi Graf broke down in tears.

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33. At Wimbledon, Steffi Graf lost in the semifinals to Zina Garrison, who with this victory broke Steffi Graf's string of 13 consecutive major finals.

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34. Steffi Graf lost an Australian Open quarterfinal to Jana Novotna, the first time she did not reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam singles tournament since the 1986 French Open.

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35. In Boca Raton, Florida, Steffi Graf reached her first final of the year, where she faced Conchita Martinez for the title.

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36. Seles won the match on her fifth match point; Steffi Graf came within two points of winning the match a few games earlier.

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37. Steffi Graf began 1993 with four losses in her first six tournaments of the year: two to Sanchez Vicario and one each to Seles and the 36-year-old Martina Navratilova.

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38. Since Steffi Graf skipped the Italian Open, she did not take part in the vote.

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39. Steffi Graf's won her first French Open title since 1988 with a three-set victory over Mary Joe Fernandez in the final.

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40. Steffi Graf's won there, comfortably beating Helena Sukova in the final after needing three sets to eliminate Gabriela Sabatini and Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively.

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41. Steffi Graf developed a bone spur at the base of her spine due to a congenital condition of the sacroiliac joint.

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42. Steffi Graf's made it to the final and took the first set against Sanchez Vicario but lost the next two sets — Sanchez Vicario's last victory over Graf.

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43. Seles and Steffi Graf met in the final, with Steffi Graf winning in three sets, saving a set point in the first set.

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44. Steffi Graf played only one warm-up event ahead of the US Open, the Acura Classic in Manhattan Beach, California, where she lost to Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals.

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45. Steffi Graf's repeated the feat in 1993, 1995, and 1996.

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46. Steffi Graf's lost the world No 1 ranking to Martina Hingis and failed to win a Grand Slam title for the first time in ten years in 1997.

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47. That year Steffi Graf lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open in straight sets to Amanda Coetzer.

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48. At the first round of the season-ending Chase Championships, Steffi Graf defeated world No 3, Jana Novotna, before losing in the semifinal to first-seeded Davenport.

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49. At the beginning of 1999 Steffi Graf played the warm up event to the Australian Open in Sydney; she defeated Serena Williams in the second round and Venus in the quarterfinals before losing to Lindsay Davenport in the semifinal.

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50. In Indian Wells Steffi Graf lost to Serena Williams in three sets.

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51. At the French Open, Steffi Graf reached her first Grand Slam final in three years and fought back from a set and twice from a break down in the second set to defeat the top ranked Hingis in three sets for a memorable victory.

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52. Steffi Graf became the first player in the open era to defeat the first, second, and third ranked players in the same Grand Slam tournament by beating second-ranked Davenport in the quarterfinals and third-ranked Seles in the semifinals.

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53. On 13 August 1999, shortly after retiring with a strained hamstring from a second round match against Amy Frazier in San Diego, Steffi Graf announced her retirement from the women's tour at age 30.

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54. Steffi Graf's was ranked No 3 at that time and said, "I have done everything I wanted to do in tennis.

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55. Steffi Graf's played her last Grand Slam doubles tournament at the 1999 Australian Open with Gorrochategui, losing in the second round.

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56. Steffi Graf's partnered with doubles specialist Mark Woodforde at the Australian Open in 1994, with Henri Leconte at Wimbledon in 1991 and at the French Open in 1994, and with Charlie Pasarell at the US Open in 1984.

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57. At the 1999 Wimbledon Championships, Steffi Graf formed a much-publicized partnership with John McEnroe, with whom she reached the semifinals before withdrawing due to concerns that her uncertain hamstring, coupled with a bout of bronchitis, would affect her in the singles final.

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58. In late 1999 and early 2000, as part of her Farewell Tour, Steffi Graf played a series of exhibition matches against former rivals in New Zealand, Japan, Spain, Germany and South Africa.

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59. In February 2000, Steffi Graf played against Kimiko Date at Nagoya Rainbow Hall in Tokyo, winning in three sets.

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60. In September 2004, Steffi Graf dispatched her former doubles partner Gabriela Sabatini, in straight sets, in an exhibition match played in Berlin, Germany.

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61. Steffi Graf's was in Berlin to host a charity gala, as well as inaugurating a tennis stadium renamed the "Steffi Graf Stadion".

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62. In July 2005, Steffi Graf competed in one tie of World Team Tennis on the Houston Wranglers team.

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63. Steffi Graf's was beaten in two out of three matches, with each match being one set.

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64. In 2008 Steffi Graf lost an exhibition match against Kimiko Date at Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo.

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65. Steffi Graf played a singles exhibition match against Kim Clijsters and a mixed doubles exhibition alongside husband Andre Agassi against Tim Henman and Clijsters as part of a test event and celebration for the newly installed roof over Wimbledon's Centre Court in 2009.

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66. Steffi Graf's lost a lengthy one-set singles match to Clijsters and the mixed doubles.

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67. In 2010, Steffi Graf participated in the WTT Smash Hits exhibition in Washington, DC to support the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

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68. Steffi Graf won seven singles titles at Wimbledon, six singles titles at the French Open, five singles titles at the US Open, and four singles titles at the Australian Open.

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69. An exceptionally versatile competitor, Steffi Graf remains the only player, male or female, to have won the calendar-year Grand Slam on three surfaces or to have won each Grand Slam at least four times.

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70. Eighteen-time Grand Slam champion and former rival Chris Evert opined, "Steffi Graf is the best all-around player.

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71. Early in her career, Steffi Graf wore Dunlop apparel, before signing an endorsement contract with Adidas in 1985.

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72. From 1992 to 1999, Steffi Graf dated racing driver Michael Bartels.

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73. In December 1999, Steffi Graf was named the greatest female tennis player of the 20th century by a panel of experts assembled by the Associated Press.

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74. In July 2020, The Guardian polled its readers to determine the greatest female tennis player of the past 50 years, and Steffi Graf was the clear favorite, picking up nearly twice as many votes as any other player.

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75. Steffi Graf was voted the ITF World Champion in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995 and 1996.

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76. Steffi Graf's was voted the WTA Player of the Year in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996.

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77. Steffi Graf's was elected as the German Sportsperson of the Year in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1999.

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78. In 2015, Steffi Graf was the recipient of the International Club's Jean Borotra Sportsmanship Award.

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