Steffi Graf reached the peak of her tennis career in the 1900s. Born on June 14, 1969, Graf became known for her powerful serves and for the amazing record of 22 major championships won in the course of her career.
Graf held her first tennis racket at the age if three with the encouragement of her father, a car and insurance salesman. She was soon entering tournaments at the age of five, and later on won the European Championships 12s and 18s in 1982. Her first professional match came in 1982 at Stuttgart, Germany, where she was defeated by American Tracy Austin, a two-time US Open champion and former world number one. Graf eventually defeated Austin twelve years later at the Evert Cup in Indian Wells which was their second and last match with each other.
Graf ranked at World. No. 124 at the young age of 13, making her the youngest player to receive a ranking in tennis, and from there climbed at breakneck speed from 1983 to land at World No. 6 in 1985. Graf won her first Grand Slam when she defeated top-seeded Martina Navratilova in three sets at the 1987 French Open. She eventually reached the top spot in world rankings on August 17, a spot which she held on to for 186 consecutive weeks.
The following year would prove to be one of the best years in Graf’s career. In 1988, she won all Grand Slams, becoming the fifth player to win all Grand Slams. She also won gold at the Seoul Olympics, becoming the first person to win the Golden Grand Slam. This was topped by a victory in doubles with Gabriela Sabatini in Wimbledon.
Graf would go on to win 17 more Grand Slams over the course of her career before her retirement in 1999. She was inducted to the international Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004. Graf is married to former World No. 1 Andre Agassi.