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Steffi Graf

The Big Year

Winning all four Grand Slam events in one year (which is also called winning the Grand Slam) is an amazing feat in tennis. The difficulty of winning the Grand Slam is legend. Graf achieved this feat in 1988, becoming only the third woman ever to complete the honor. She started her run with a victory over Evert in the Australian Open (6-1, 7-6), and then beat Natalia Zvereva 6-0, 6-0 in the finals of the French Open. This was the first time that a player had completely shut out an opponent in a Grand Slam final. In fact, Graf lost only 20 games throughout the tournament, and, at its conclusion, actually apologized to the crowd for winning so easily.

The next tournament in Graf's Grand Slam tour was Wimbledon, where she looked to a showdown with Navratilova, who had won the previous eight Wimbledon championships. The grass at Wimbledon was Navratilova's preferred surface, and many people, in spite of Graf's amazing run, were expecting Navratilova to come out on top.

Awards and Accomplishments

1986 Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Newcomer of the Year
1986 West Germany's Sportswoman of the Year
1987-88 International Tennis Federation's Player of the Year
1987-90, 1993-95 WTA Player of the Year
1989 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year
1994, 1996-97 Wins ESPY for Outstanding Women's Tennis Performer of the Year
1995-96 Tennis magazine's Player of the Year
1998 Voted WTA "Most Interesting Player of the Year"
1999 Receives Prince of Asturias Award (one of most important awards from Spain)
1999 Receives German Television Award
1999 Wins "Athlete of the Century" honors in Germany
1999 Awarded "Female Sports Award of Past Decade" at the ESPYs
1999 Awarded Olympic Medal of Honor
2002 Receives Medal of Honor, decorated by Prime Minister of Federal German State Baden-Wuerhemborg, in Stuttgart, Germany When Graf retired she had 902 wins, 115 losses, and 107 career singles titles. She amassed 22 Grand Slam singles titles

And indeed, it looked that way at first, as Graf lost the first set 7-5. But she persevered and ended up winning 12 of the last 13 games of the match, defeating Navratilova in the final two sets, 6-2, 6-1. It was almost anti-climactic later that season when she won her fourth Grand Slam victory in the U.S. Open, and then followed that phenomenal feat with a second gold medal only days later at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsTennisSteffi Graf Biography - Growing Up, The Young Professional, The Big Year, Awards And Accomplishments, Dominant Throughout The 90s - CONTACT INFORMATION