Today in Sports History: October 24

In 1982, former German professional tennis player, Steffi Graf, played her first tennis match.

Graf turned professional in 1982 at the age of 13. She played one match against Tracy Austin, losing 6-4 and 6-0. The following year she played her first full professional season. Throughout her overall career, she had won 1073 matches and lost 187. She had a record for single matches with 900 wins and 115 losses and a doubles record of 173 wins and 72 losses. 

She won 118 career titles and had a 90% clip at Wimbledon, the Australian Open, the French Open, and the US Open. in 1987, she held the No. 1 rank in the world for 377 consecutive weeks. The following year 1988, was the calendar year that she won a Grand Slam. 

Graf won 11 WTA titles and was a five-time WTA Tour Champion, four-time Australian Open Champion, and six-time French Open Champion. She also was a seven-time Wimbledon Champion, a one-time Wimbledon doubles champion, and a five-time US Open Champion.

She was a member of the German Federation Cup Team from 1986-1987, 1989, 1991-1993, and 1996. The team won the championship in 1987 and 1992. Her overall record with the team was 28 wins and four losses with a singles record of 20 wins and two losses and a doubles record of 8 wins and two losses. 

Graf played in the Olympics with Germany. She won the Singles Exhibition in 1984, and the Gold Medal in singles in 1988. She also won the Bronze Medal for doubles in 1988, and the Silver medal for singles in 1992. 

From 1987 until 1990, she was named the International Tennis Federation World Champion and the WTA Player of the Year. In 1991, she founded The Steffi Graf Youth Tennis Center in Leipzig, Germany. Again in 1993, she was named the International Tennis Federation World Champion and the WTA Player of the Year, along with the following year 1994, named the WTA Payer of the Year. 

From 1995 until 1997, she was again named the International Tennis Federation World Champion and the WTA Player of the Year. But, in 1997, Graf’s knees and back started to affect her and her game, causing her to miss winning a major for the first time in 10 years.

In 1999, she retired after winning a French Open title at the age of 30. She was named the Greatest Female Tennis Player of the 20th Century by the Associated Press, and at the ESPN ESPY Awards, named the Female Sports Award of the Last Decade.

She also founded and still is the Chairperson of Children for Tomorrow which is a non-profit organization with the goal of implementing and developing projects to support kids who have been traumatized by war or other crises.

In 2001, she married tennis star Andre Agassi, allowing them to be one of only two married couples both inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

In 2004, she was enshrined and inducted into the International Hall of Fame for all of her incredible accomplishments and achievements within her career. In 2012, the Tennis Channel chose Graf as one of the top 100 greatest players of all time.

Graf currently resides in Las Vegas with her husband and two kids. Once retired, she announced she was done being a public figure. Meaning, no more interviews, sponsorships, and paid appearances. She constantly respectfully declined offers that would put her in the spotlight… she just wanted to be known as her two kids ‘mother.’

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