Monica Seles was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame today.
I was a Graf fan, I didn’t like the way Seles grunted, I found the fact that she hit a double-handed forehand extremely weird. But yes, except on grass where that legendary Graf slice was really, really effective, Seles was kicking some serious ass. I remember matches where Graf switched to hitting top-spinners on that backhand coz Seles used to kill the slice. I willed Graf to overcome, I was vociferous in my support.
And then that idiot in Hamburg ruined one the greatest women’s tennis rivalries forever. It took Seles two and a half years to recover from the stabbing and by the time she did, tennis had moved on. From Jan 1991 to Apr 1993 (when she was stabbed), she won 7 grand slams tournaments and had overall been the world number 1 for 178 weeks. To put it in perspective, in men’s tennis, such a phenomenon is called Roger Federer.
She did come back, it took her 2 years to take the courts again. She reached the ’95 US Open final, she won the ’96 Aus Open. I remember I had stood up and clapped. But that was her last grand slam win. Her form was patchy, you’d see her in the quarters and semis for a few years after, and she never went all the way.
I was never a fan. But you didn’t need to be one.