Steffi Graf (age: 47) is former No. 1 tennis player who became the first and only to achieve the Golden Slam and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year.
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Steffi Graf Bio
Graf won 22 Grand Slam singles titles. Her 22 singles titles is second all-time behind Margaret Court (24), and marks the record for most Major wins by a tennis player (male or female) since the introduction of the Open Era in 1968. In 1988, she became the first and only tennis player (male or female) to achieve the Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam singles titles and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year, furthermore, she is the only tennis player to have won each Grand Slam event at least 4 times.
Graf was ranked World No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) for a record 377 total weeks—the longest period for which any player, male or female, has held the number-one ranking since the WTA and the Association of Tennis Professionals began issuing rankings. She won 107 singles titles, which ranks her third on the WTA’s all-time list after Martina Navratilova (167 titles) and Chris Evert (157 titles). She and Margaret Court are the only players, male or female, to win 3 grand slams in a calendar year 5 times (1988, 1989, 1993, 1995 and 1996).
A notable feature of Graf’s game was her versatility across all playing surfaces, having won each of the four Majors at least four times, the only player to do so, and she is best known for her great footwork and for her powerful forehand drive. Graf won six French Open singles titles (second to Evert), seven Wimbledon singles titles, and five U.S. Open singles titles. She is the only singles player (male or female) to have achieved a Grand Slam since hard court was introduced as a surface at the US Open in 1978. Consequently, Graf’s Grand Slam was achieved on grass, clay, and hard court while the previous five Grand Slams were decided on only grass and clay. Graf reached thirteen consecutive Grand Slam singles finals, from the 1987 French Open through to the 1990 French Open, winning nine of them. She won 5 consecutive Majors (1988 Australian Open to 1989 Australian Open), and 7 Majors out of 8, in 2 calendar years (1988 Australian Open to 1989 US Open, except 1989 French Open). She reached a total of 31 Grand Slam singles finals.
Graf is regarded by some to be the greatest female tennis player of all time. Navratilova included Graf on her list of great players. In 1999 Billie Jean King said “Steffi is definitely the greatest women’s tennis player of all time”. In December 1999, Graf was named the greatest female tennis player of the 20th century by a panel of experts assembled by the Associated Press. Tennis writer Steve Flink, in his book The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century, named her as the best female player of the 20th century. In March 2012, Tennis Channel picked Graf as the greatest female tennis player ever in their list of 100 greatest tennis players of all time.
Graf retired in 1999 while she was ranked World No. 3. She married former World No. 1 men’s tennis player Andre Agassi in October 2001. The couple have two children – Jaden Gil and Jaz Elle. Graf was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004.