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Steffi Graf

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Steffi Graf started playing tennis at age 3, coached by her father. Under the local tennis program, as the best girl player, she was matched up against the worst boy player -- who was usually Boris Becker. After winning the German Juniors and the European Juniors, she turned pro on October 18, 1982. The next day, she lost to Tracy Austin, who was less-than impressed with the 13 year old, telling reporters there were "hundreds of girls" like Graf back in the States. Peter kept a tight rein on Steffi's schedule to ensure that she wouldn't "burn out" as she climbed up the rankings. She finally won her first title on April 13, 1986, defeating Chris Evert at the Family Circle Cup. In total, Graf won 107 singles titles (third all-time behind Martina Navratilova and Evert), including 22 majors (second all-time).She found herself at the center of a near-tragedy on April 30, 1993. As arch rival Monica Seles was resting during a changeover at the Hamburg Open, a man made his way through the stands, and plunged a knife into her back. At first, it was thought the attack was prompted by the conflict in Seles's native Yugoslavia. But it turned out Guenter Parche was a Graf fan, and reasoned that if he took Seles out, Graf would regain the #1 ranking. The attack reverberated across sports. It also changed the course of tennis history. Seles was off the court for 27 months. Although she won the 1996 Australian Open and was a finalist at the 1996 US Open and the 1998 French Open, Seles never regained her dominating form. Graf visited Seles in the hospital, but didn't comment publicly about the incident until 2004.Graf retired on August 13, 1999 after beating Martina Hingis in the French Open, then losing to Lindsay Davenport at Wimbledon. By this time, she was dating Andre Agassi, whom also won the French Open, but was a finalist at Wimbledon that year. With only their mothers as witnesses, they were married on October 22, 2001 at his Las Vegas home four days before the birth of their son, Jaden. Daughter Jaz was born on October 3, 2003.Famous for her killer instinct and business-like approach, at times she displayed a sense of humor. During a tight 1995 Wimbledon match against Kimiko Date, she was serving when a man yelled out "Steffi!" Everyone, including Steffi, laughed. Composing herself, she readied to serve when the man shouted "Steffi! Will you marry me?" The fans burst into peals of laughter, and play was delayed for a couple of minutes. Steffi readied to serve, tossed the ball, caught it, turned, and yelled to the man "How much money do you have?" Graf lost the set, but won the match to face (and defeat) Arantxa Sánchez Vicario for the title.  See full bio on IMDb »

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