Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Legends I : Steffi Graf

I have lost interest in women's tennis. I, who at one point of time, used to be glued to the television for all women’s tennis matches. That was when I was in school and Steffi Graf was the reigning women’s tennis champion.

Oh, I used to idolize Steffi Graf. And like any other pre-teen who wants to emulate his/her idol, I too wanted to become like her.

She won 22 Grand Slam singles titles, second among male AND female players only to Margaret Court who won 24. She is, to date, the only player to achieve the "Golden Slam" by winning all four Grand Slam singles titles and the Olympic gold medal in the same year (1988). She was also ranked World No. 1 for a record 377 total weeks - the longest any player has held that position.

Steffi Graf’s biggest strength was her versatility across all surfaces, her most powerful shots being her forehand & backhand slice. Her main competitors were Monica Seles, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario & Gabriela Sabatini.

She got involved in two controversies in her life – one, when a mentally ill fan of hers stabbed Monica Seles in the back so Steffi Graf could regain her No.1 spot, and two, when her dad got imprisoned for tax evasion.

There hasn’t been a champion like Steffi Graf yet in women's tennis, nor will there be for a long long time. The reason I’ve lost interest in women’s tennis is due to the lack of a champion. Every Grand Slam is won by a different player and the World No.1 tag is being passed on from one player to another faster than a baton during a relay race!

There were people, such as Martina Hingis & Maria Sharapova, who showed glimpses of their potential to become successors to Steffi Graf but they fizzled away without even matching up to one-fourth of what she was. I'm hoping her (and Andre Agassi's) kids grow up to be great tennis players as their iconic parents...true to this ad.

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