Steffi Graf – the first racket of the world for 377 consecutive weeks
German tennis player Steffi Graf won all the Grand Slam tournaments in 1988 and, in addition, became the champion of the XXIV Olympics in Seoul the same year, winning singles. In addition to these great sporting achievements, she also has other tennis records.
The full name of the great tennis player Stephanie Maria Graf, but she went down in the history of sports, like Steffi Graf, – the journalists slightly shortened her name, just like it was with Don Budge and Rod Laver. She was born in 1969 in the German city of Mannheim, and the first who was able to discern her outstanding tennis abilities was Steffi Graf’s father. He became her first coach, having managed to instill in her a selfless love for this difficult sport and fostered a fighting spirit in her – an inalienable quality of a tennis player.
Steffi’s brilliant ascent to the biggest tennis peaks began when she was only 12 years old – then she won the Orange Bowl tournament. Four years later, in the semifinals of the US Open, the 16-year-old tennis player made a sensation by defeating the first racket of the world, which had long been the legendary Martina Navratilova. True, in the final, Steffi Graf was then defeated, losing to American K. Evert-Lloyd.
But in 1987, when she was 18 years old, Steffi Graf still won the US championship. In June of that year, she won the French Open. Then she reached the finals in the Wimbledon tournament, but lost in two sets to the same Martina Navratilova, who then won this prestigious competition for the sixth time in a row, and in total for the eighth!
Well, then came the most stellar year of Steffi Graf – 1988th. She was not yet 19 when she won the Australian Open in January. In early June, she won the French Open. Finally, after her 19th birthday, Steffi won her first Wimbledon tournament. In the finals, she played with the same legendary Martina Navratilova and, losing in the first set, won the next two. To become the winner of the Grand Slam, having repeated the achievements of Maureen Connolly and Margaret Smith-Court, Steffi Graf had only to win the US Open, and Steffi Graf got her way.
Immediately after that, she went to the Seoul Olympics. None of the winners of the “Grand Slam” have been able to win the Olympic gold medals that same year. But Steffi managed to conquer this peak. So she became the most titled tennis player in the history of this sport.
This was followed by victory after victory. Steffi Graf had the most at the Wimbledon tournament – in 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996. She won six times at the French Open – in 1987, 1988, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999. Five times at the US Open – in 1987, 1988, 1993, 1995, 1996.
The most difficult victories were given in Australia – the Australian championship takes place in the midst of the Australian summer, which falls on January, and it is necessary to play in the heat that is unbearable for many Europeans. Nevertheless, Steffi Graf won victories here in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1994. And now, when comparing the statistics, it becomes clear: had Steffi Graf won in Australia in 1993 and 1995, if she had won the Grand Slam three times! Indeed, in these years she won all three of the remaining major tournaments …
However, its achievements are already phenomenal. And some others were added to them: in 1991, a German tennis player set a record: she held the title of the first racket of the world for 186 consecutive weeks. In 1997, she brought this achievement to 377 weeks.
By an amazing quirk of fate, Steffi Graf celebrated the last big victory in 1999 in Paris, at the French Open – in the same place where in 1987 she won her first victory in Grand Slam tournaments.
After this victory of the great Steffi Graf, the century has already changed, but no one is equal to her in the tennis sky.