Note:Graf’s semifinal match at the 1988 US Open was walkover (so not counted as win)
Grand Slam finals
Singles: 31 finals (22 titles, 9 runner-ups)
ResultYearTournamentSurfaceOpponentScoreWin1987 French OpenClay Martina Navratilova6-4, 4-6, 8-6Loss1987WimbledonGrass Martina Navratilova5-7, 3-6Loss1987US OpenHard Martina Navratilova6-7(4-7), 1-6Win1988Australian OpenHard Chris Evert6-1, 7-6(7-3)Win1988French Open (2)Clay Natasha Zvereva6-0, 6-0Win1988WimbledonGrass Martina Navratilova5-7, 6-2, 6-1Win1988US OpenHard Gabriela Sabatini6-3, 3-6, 6-1Win1989Australian Open (2)Hard Helena Sukov6-4, 6-4Loss1989French OpenClay Arantxa Snchez Vicario6-7(6-8), 6-3, 5-7Win1989Wimbledon (2)Grass Martina Navratilova6-2, 6-7(1-7), 6-1Win1989US Open (2)Hard Martina Navratilova3-6, 7-5, 6-1Win1990Australian Open (3)Hard Mary Joe Fernndez6-3, 6-4Loss1990French OpenClay Monica Seles6-7(6-8), 4-6Loss1990US OpenHard Gabriela Sabatini2-6, 6-7(4-7)Win1991Wimbledon (3)Grass Gabriela Sabatini6-4, 3-6, 8-6Loss1992French OpenClay Monica Seles2-6, 6-3, 8-10Win1992Wimbledon (4)Grass Monica Seles6-2, 6-1Loss1993Australian OpenHard Monica Seles6-4, 3-6, 2-6Win1993French Open (3)Clay Mary Joe Fernndez4-6, 6-2, 6-4Win1993Wimbledon (5)Grass Jana Novotn7-6(8-6), 1-6, 6-4Win1993US Open (3)Hard Helena Sukov6-3, 6-3Win1994Australian Open (4)Hard Arantxa Snchez Vicario6-0, 6-2Loss1994US OpenHard Arantxa Snchez Vicario6-1, 6-7(3-7), 4-6Win1995French Open (4)Clay Arantxa Snchez Vicario7-5, 4-6, 6-0Win1995Wimbledon (6)Grass Arantxa Snchez Vicario4-6, 6-1, 7-5Win1995US Open (4)Hard Monica Seles7-6(8-6), 0-6, 6-3Win1996French Open (5)Clay Arantxa Snchez Vicario6-3, 6-7(4-7), 10-8Win1996Wimbledon (7)Grass Arantxa Snchez Vicario6-3, 7-5Win1996US Open (5)Hard Monica Seles7-5, 6-4Win1999French Open (6)Clay Martina Hingis4-6, 7-5, 6-2Loss1999WimbledonGrass Lindsay Davenport4-6, 5-7
Doubles: 4 finals (1 title, 3 runner-ups)
ResultYearTournamentSurfacePartnerOpponentsScoreLoss1986French OpenClay Gabriela Sabatini Martina Navratilova
Andrea Temesvri1-6, 2-6Loss1987French OpenClay Gabriela Sabatini Martina Navratilova
Pam Shriver2-6, 1-6Win1988WimbledonGrass Gabriela Sabatini Larisa Savchenko
Natasha Zvereva6-3, 1-6, 12-10Loss1989French OpenClay Gabriela Sabatini Larisa Savchenko
Natasha Zvereva4-6, 4-6
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- These records were attained in Open Era of tennis.
- Records in bold indicate Open Era peer-less achievements.
Time spanSelected Grand Slam tournament recordsPlayers matched1988 Australian Open
1988 OlympicsGolden Slam (4 majors + Olympic gold in same calendar year)Stands alone1988 Australian Open
1988 US OpenGrand Slam (4 majors in same calendar year)Margaret Court1987 French Open
1988 OlympicsCareer Golden SlamSerena Williams1987 French Open
1988 US OpenCareer Grand SlamMargaret Court
Billie Jean King
Maria Sharapova1993 French Open
1994 Australian OpenNon-Calendar Year Grand SlamMartina Navratilova
Serena WilliamsNon-Calendar Year Grand Slam in addition to already winning a Grand SlamStands alone1988 Australian Open
1990 Australian OpenWinner of 8 of 9 Grand SlamsMargaret Court1988, 1995 & 1996100% match winning percentage in 1 seasonMargaret Court
Billie Jean King
Serena Williams100% match winning percentage in 3 separate seasonsStands alone1983 French Open
1999 Wimbledon89.67% (278-32) match winning percentage overallStands alone1988 French OpenDouble bagel win in a Grand Slam finalDorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers1987 French Open
1995 US Open4+ titles at all four MajorsStands alone1987 French Open
1989 US Open2+ consecutive titles at all four MajorsStands alone1988 Australian Open
1996 US Open5 calendar years winning 3+ Grand Slam titlesStands alone1988 French Open
1989 US OpenDefended all four Majors on first tryStands alone1987 French Open
1999 French Open6+ titles on clay, grass and hardcourtStands alone9+ finals on clay, grass and hardcourtStands alone1987 French Open
1990 French Open13 consecutive Grand Slam finalsStands alone1999 French OpenDefeated the top 3 seeded players in the same tournamentStands alone1988 Australian Open
1993 US OpenReached the final of all four Grand Slams tournaments in a calendar yearMargaret Court
Justine HeninReached the final of all four Grand Slams tournaments in a calendar year three timesStands alone1988 Australian Open
1996 US Open3 different Grand Slam titles won without losing a setChris Evert
Serena WilliamsGrand Slam tournamentsTime SpanRecords at each Grand Slam tournamentPlayers matchedAustralian Open1988-19903 consecutive titlesMargaret Court
Evonne Goolagong Cawley
Martina Hingis1988-1989, 19943 titles won without losing a setEvonne GoolagongAustralian OpenFrench Open19882 titles won without losing a set in the same calendar yearBillie Jean King
Justine HeninFrench Open1987-19999 finals overallChris Evert1987-19904 consecutive finalsChris Evert
Martina Navratilova1983-199984 match winsStands aloneWimbledon1984-1999Career match winning performance 91.35% (74-7)Stands aloneTime spanOther selected recordsPlayers matched17 August 1987
10 March 1991186 consecutive weeks at No. 1Serena Williams1987-1997377 total weeks at No. 1Stands alone1987-1990
1993-19968 years ended at No. 1Stands alone1988-1990, 1994, 19965 years as wire-to-wire (all 52 weeks) No. 1Stands alone1987, 1989Reached the final of every tournament played in a calendar yearMonica Seles1986-1990
1992-1996Two streaks of 5 years with winning percentage of 90%+Stands alone1986-19969 German Open titlesStands alone1986-89 & 1991-944 consecutive German Open title winsStands alone1985-199611 German Open finalsStands alone1986-199611 consecutive German Open finalsStands alone1987-19956 Virginia Slims of Florida titlesStands alone1986-19959 Virginia Slims of Florida finalsStands alone1992-19954 consecutive Virginia Slims of Florida titlesStands alone1990-19985 Sparkassen Cup titlesStands alone1986-19926 Zurich Open titlesStands alone1987-19936 WTA Hamburg titlesStands alone1989-19944 Southern California Open titlesStands alone1986-19893 WTA New Jersey titlesStands alone1986-19926 Brighton International titlesStands alone1988-19984 Connecticut Open titlesVenus Williams
Caroline Wozniacki1992-19983 WTA Philadelphia titlesLindsay Davenport
Gabriela Sabatini1986-19903 Amelia Island titlesAmlie Mauresmo1988-19968 WTA Tier 1/Premier-5/Premier Mandatory clay titlesConchita Martnez1992-199589.63% win rate (147-17) in WTA Tier 1/Premier-5/Premier Mandatory eventsStands alone Steffi Graf Farewell World Tour 2000
The main weapons in Graf’s game were her powerful inside-out forehand drive (which earned her the moniker Frulein Forehand) and her intricate footwork. She often positioned herself in her backhand corner and although this left her forehand wide open and vulnerable to attack, her court speed meant that only the most accurate shots wide to her forehand caused any trouble.Graf’s technique on the forehand was unique and instantly recognizable: generating considerable racquet head speed with her swing, she reached the point of contact late and typically out of the air. As a result, she hit her forehand with exceptional pace and accuracy. According to her coaches Pavel Sloil and Heinz Gnthardt, Graf’s superior sense of timing was the key behind the success of her forehand.
Graf also had a powerful backhand drive but over the course of her career tended to use it less frequently, opting more often for an effective backhand slice. Starting in the early 1990s, she used the slice almost exclusively in baseline rallies and mostly limited the topspin backhand to passing shots. Her accuracy with the slice, both cross-court and down the line and her ability to skid the ball and keep it low, enabled her to use it as an offensive weapon to set the ball up for her forehand put-aways. However, Graf admitted in 1995 that she would have preferred having a two-handed backhand in retrospect.
An exceptionally versatile competitor, Graf remains the only player, male or female, to have won the calendar-year Grand Slam on three surfaces or to have won each Grand Slam at least four times. Eighteen-time Grand Slam champion and former rival Chris Evert opined, “Steffi Graf is the best all-around player. Martina won more on fast courts and I won more on slow courts, but Steffi came along and won more titles on both surfaces.” Her endurance and superior footwork allowed her to excel on clay courts, where, in addition to six French Open titles, she won 26 regular tour events, including a record eight titles at the German Open. Meanwhile, her naturally aggressive style of play, effective backhand slice and speed around the court made her even more dominant on fast surfaces such as hard courts, grass and carpet. Graf stated that grass was her favorite surface to play on, while clay was her least favorite.
Equipment and endorsements
Early in her career, Graf wore Dunlop apparel, before signing an endorsement contract with Adidas in 1985. She had an Adidas sneakers line known as the St. Graf Pro line. Early in her career, she used Dunlop the Maxpower pro and Maxpower Kevlar, than Max 200G racquet before switching to Wilson from 1994 to 1999. She first used the Wilson Pro Staff 7.0 lite, then switched to the Pro Staff 7.5 in 1996 and to the Pro Staff 7.1 in 1998. Graf’s racquets were strung at 29 kilograms (64 pounds), significantly above the 50-60 pound range recommended by Wilson. In 2006, she signed an endorsement deal with Head. In 2010, Graf and Agassi collaborated with Head and developed the new line of Star Series tennis racquets.
Graf has signed many endorsement deals throughout the years including a ten-year endorsement deal with car manufacturer Opel in 1985, and Rexona from 1994 to 1998. Other companies she has endorsed include Barilla, Apollinaris, Citibank, Danone and Teekanne. She has appeared in many advertisements and television commercials with Andre Agassi including Canon Inc. and Longines in 2008 (Agassi became Longines ambassador in 2007). In 2015, she was appointed as the brand ambassador of Kerala tourism, for promoting Ayurveda in North America and Europe.
From 1992 to 1999, Graf dated racing driver Michael Bartels. She started dating Andre Agassi after the 1999 French Open and they married on 22 October 2001, with only their mothers as witnesses. They have two children: a son (born 2001) and a daughter (born 2003). Agassi has said that he and Graf are not pushing their children toward becoming tennis players. The Graf-Agassi family resides in Summerlin, a community in the Las Vegas Valley. Graf’s mother and her brother also live there.
In 1991, the Steffi Graf Youth Tennis Center in Leipzig was dedicated. She is the founder and chairperson of “Children for Tomorrow”, a non-profit foundation established in 1998 for implementing and developing projects to support children who have been traumatized by war or other crises.
In 2001, Graf indicated that she preferred to be called Stefanie instead of Steffi.
On 30 November 2013, Graf’s father Peter died of pancreatic cancer. He was 75 years old.
Graf is regarded by some to be the greatest female tennis player of all time. Navratilova included Graf on her list of great players. In 1999 Billie Jean King said, “Steffi is definitely the greatest women’s tennis player of all time.” In December 1999, Graf was named the greatest female tennis player of the 20th century by a panel of experts assembled by the Associated Press. Tennis writer Steve Flink, in his book The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century, named her as the best female player of the 20th century. In March 2012, Tennis Channel picked Graf as the greatest female tennis player ever in their list of 100 greatest tennis players of all time. In November 2018, Tennis.com polled its readers to choose the greatest women’s tennis player of all time and Graf came in first.
Awards and honours
Graf was voted the ITF World Champion in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995 and 1996. She was voted the WTA Player Of The Year in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996. She was elected as the German Sportsperson of the Year in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1999.
In 2004 the Berliner Tennis-Arena was renamed Steffi-Graf-Stadion in honor of Graf.
In season 2 of the show Parks and Recreation Ron Swanson’s character refers to Steffi Graf as a 10 on his perfected 10-point scale of human beauty.