Steffi Graf - the True Champion
Biography of Fraulein Forehand

steffi graf biography
What are the first words in your mind when you think about Steffi Graf? Is it discipline, professionalism, hard work, sportsmanship, respect, courage, determination, perseverance or all of the above?

She was (and probably still is) and extraordinary athlete who combined fantastic natural abilities with unbreakable mental toughness

Her story began at the age of 3 when her father Peter taught her to swing the racquet in her living room. She was soon hooked on tennis and so was her father.

One of her first coaches was Boris Breskvar, a Slovenian tennis coach, who taught in Germany. I read a short report he wrote when he was working with Boris Becker and he insisted on hard work and discipline. But what shocks you the most is that he said that Steffi Graf's discipline was incredible even for his standards.

What can you learn:
Discipline means staying focused on the task. You need to put the blinders on, decide for your goal and go for it. Everything else is a waste of your time and talent.

Steffi was soon very successful and won the European under 12 championships. She became a pro at the age of 13! She and her father Peter knew exactly what they wanted. They didn't go on the tour to try and see what happens. They went for the top.

Steffi's rankings steadily improved and she won her first title at the age of 17 beating Chris Evert in the final in the Hilton Head tournament.

What can you learn:
You don't become a champion over night. It takes hard work and years may pass. And when you get the chance, take it. Steffi could have easily seen Chris Evert as unbeatable at that time when she was one of the best. But Steffi Graf did not allow the fame of her opponent get to her. She wanted to win no matter what. So she did and won 6 more titles in that year (1986).

steffi graf photo
The pinnacle of her career came in 1988 when she won all four Grand Slams and completed that year winning the Olympic Games too. Her achievement was called the "Golden Slam".

Graf continued her domination of the women's tour and won all together 22 Grand Slam titles and she was ranked nr.1 for a total of 377 weeks including a record 186 consecutive weeks. She also won 107 singles and 11 doubles titles in her career.

What can you learn:
Steffi Graf was a champion when she was at the start of her career. She never ceased to be one. She continued her professionalism and dedication to tennis even when she won many Grand Slams and earned millions of dollars. If you acquire the traits and beliefs of a champion, they stay with you.

Steffi had her ups and downs in her career too. She lost some very tough Grand Slam finals especially against Monica Seles. All together she lost 9 Grand Slam finals and won 22.

She also had personal problems with German authorities and many injuries that kept her from her top form most of the time. She even burst into tears in one of the interviews after the match when she was in that tough period of her career. But she persevered and stayed on top of the women's game longer than any other player of all time.

What can you learn:
There are no perfect careers even though Steffi's career is unbelievable. You still lose Grand Slam finals and you still have to deal with life's problems and challenges. Don't let that stop you, follow your dream.

steffi graf picture
Steffi Graf retired in August 1999 when she was still ranked nr. 3 in the world. She finally found the man of her life – Andre Agassi and married him in 2001. They have a boy Jaden Gil and a daughter Jaz Elle.

Steffi Graf is still playing an occasional exhibition match, she is the founder of "Children of Tomorrow" and continues to be a role model of integrity and sportsmanship for every athlete and person.



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