Dominant Throughout The 90s
On the court, Graf compiled Grand Slam title after Grand Slam title. In between the major championships she amassed singles tournament victories as if they were just another stop on her way to becoming one of the greatest tennis players in history. In 1991, however, she fell to number two in the world rankings after an amazing 188 weeks at the top. She lost her ranking to Monica Seles, which meant more to her than having the record stopped. She did not like losing, and she was frustrated at having not won a Grand Slam event in over a year and a half.
Graf soon ended her dry spell with a 1991 Wimbledon victory, defeating Gabriela Sabatini 6-4, 3-6, 8-6. In 1992, Graf lost to Seles in the finals of the French Open, but regained her composure and defeated Seles handily at Wimbledon (6-2, 6-1).
Seles again defeated Graf in the finals of the 1993 Australian Open, and it appeared that Graf would remain at number two for a while. Then, in a bizarre and tragic occurrence, Seles, seated courtside at a German tennis match, was stabbed in the back. The authorities learned that the perpetrator was one of Graf's fans, and he claimed later that he had done so in order to restore Graf to her number one ranking.
The news of Seles's attack shocked Graf, as well as the tennis world. Graf was the first person to see Seles in the hospital. Seles remained away from tennis for over two years, and—though it was an unfortunate incident that put her back on top—Graf in fact did regain the number one ranking by dominating the last half of 1993, winning the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. But she was distraught over Seles's stabbing. Graf went on in 1994 to win the Australian open, and then—suffering from allergies—lost a major upset to Mary Pierce in the semifinals of the French Open.