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Steffi Graf

Overpowering

Graf's dominance might be considered one of her many contributions to tennis. She unseated some of the best players, and then consistently returned to top form throughout her professional career, scaring opponents with her forehand storke. "[It] puts fear in everybody," tennis professional Zina Garrison said of her forehand in Sports Illustrated. Tennis commentator Bud Collins even went so far as to dub her "Fraulein Forehand." When she retired following a series of injuries that made playing the game more burden than fun, Graf compiled an incredible record of 902 wins and 115 losses on the professional tour, with astonishing 107 career singles titles and 22 Grand Slam singles titles. She is one of only five players in the history of the game to win tennis' Grand Slam.

The Trials of Steffi Graf

Their bond was unbreakable, and as Steffi became a force in tennis, Peter was right beside her—controlling her life and business off the court while she controlled the rhythms on it. He picked and fired her coaches, mapped her schedule, traveled with her…. By the time Steffi, at 17, won her first Grand Slam event, beating Martina Navratilova in the French Open final in 1987, she was well on her way to her first million-dollar year in earnings. Together she and Peter were on an inexorable climb to the tennis summit. A perfectionist driven by her father and by her own relentless will, Steffi would don her stoical mask and use her cannon of a forehand, the most powerful weapon in the women's game, to overwhelm her opponents. As true as that forehand was, the mask was no less a lie. Highly emotional and sensitive, with a temperament more suited to a poet than to a professional athlete, Steffi had a poignant sadness about her. There were days when defeat would plunge her into despair. "She never appreciated a win as much as she was devastated by a loss," says Jim Fuhse, the WTA's publicity director and a longtime friend of Steffi's.

Source: Nack, William. Sports Illustrated 21 (November 18, 1996): 74.

Where Is She Now?

When Steffi Graf retired from tennis in 1999, she told Tennis magazine that "I feel I have nothing left to accomplish…. I'm not having fun anymore. After Wimbledon, for the first time in my career, I didn't feel like going to a tournament." In spite of her private past, Graf has now become more outspoken and is involved with marketing her own line of handbags in her native Germany, as well as represeting a mobile phone company. She also does work with the World Wildlife Foundation.

After spending much of the 1990s in a relationship with race car driver Michael Bartels, Graf eventually found that she had more in common with tennis superstar Andre Agassi, whom she married in 2001. Together they have many homes, but prefer to spend much of their time in Las Vegas. Steffi gave birth to their first son, Jaden Gil Agassi, in October of 2001.

Additional topics

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