Monica Seles was one of the greatest female tennis champions the sport has ever seen. Few players have dominated the game as she did in the early 1990s. The Yugoslav turned American received a big blow after she was stabbed amidst on the court during a Hamburg Open match. We take a look at the remarkable career of this unlucky tennis superstar that could have been much more successful of she did not lose those prime years after the stabbing injury.
Monica Seles; Perfect Tennis Prodigy
Monica Seles started her professional career in 1989 and continued to be one of the best tennis champions until 2008. She won 585 professional singles tennis matches and 53 titles. Seles was among the greatest tennis champions at Grand Slam level as she won 9 singles major titles in her career. Her 1st slam title came at French Open 1990 where Monica Seles became the young female major champion in Open Era. This record was later improved by Martina Hingis.
The powerful lefty baseliner had a dream between 1991 and early 1993. During this time she would lift 7 of the 9 slams contested. She even finished as a finalist at the Wimbledon 1992 edition. In her great career, Monica Seles won 9 major titles. Among these 4 wins came at the Australian Open, 3 at the French Open, and 2 at US Open. The only Grand Slam Monica failed to win was Wimbledon. She could have won a few more if those precious years of her career were not lost due to stabbing injury and consequent rehabilitation from the game.
Monica Stabbing Incident
During the spring of 1993, Monica Seles was playing the Hamburg Open quarter-final. She was then rate as world number 1 among female tennis champions. At one of the changeovers, a Steffi Graf fan stabbed Seles with the knife on her back. Those horrific scenes continue to haunt tennis fans. Monica was taken to the hospital and later forced to be away from the tour for more than 2 years. This gave a significant blow to her form and confidence.
Monica Seles came back to the tour in 1995. She was never the same player after that long break. She did reach the finals of the 1995 US Open but lost in the final to familiar rival Steffi Graf. Seles then won the 1996 Australian Open thus giving hints of another era of dominance on the tour. However, that turned out to be her last slam victory. The talented starlet who was one of the most determined tennis champions win the Bronze Medal in the Sydney Olympics of 2000 by finishing 3rd.
Monica Seles also won the WTA year-end championship 3 times in her career during those dream years of 1990, 1991, and 1992. Her game was solid in attacking as well as defensive skills. She was one of the great tennis champions and may even have finished the greatest if not for the stabbing injury. Her mastery on the slow surfaces was rarely again seen in the game. The great superstar rightfully earned her place in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009.