The greatest tennis player of all time

It’s time to finally reveal the top player in our series honoring the greatest tennis players of all time!

A well-known anecdote about Steffi Graf from her early career exists. In October 1982, 13-year-old Graf participated in her first professional tournament in Stuttgart and lost to American Tracy Austin, who at the time had already won two US Open titles and held the top ranking in the world. Although Austin prevailed 6-4, 6-0 in that match, he expressed his lack of admiration for the young player by telling reporters that there were “hundreds like her” in the US.

Austin’s errors were infinitesimal. There had never been a player like Steffi Graf in women’s tennis. Graf became the first player to popularize the 1-2 finish from the baseline, using her strong serve and deadly forehand to blow out her opponents at a time when Chris Evert was involved in lengthy baseline duels and Martina Navratilova played an attacking serve-and-volley style of play.The German also possessed one of the best slices in the game. She also had a decent topspin backhand, which she honed in practice, but she hardly ever used it in games instead of sticking to her slice backhand and using her deadly forehand to finish points.

Graf embodied that rare combination of footwork, speed, and athleticism around the court (another famous story tells of the time she clocked 800 meters on the track with a time that would have made the Olympics cut-off), which was evident in every match she played, even while showing subtle glimpses of her sex appeal. This was long before the Williams sisters stormed the tour with their brand of athleticism and Anna Kournikova made the jump from the tennis court to Page 3 (or was it the other way around? Male testosterone shot through the roof when he saw the long-legged German sprint around her backhand, every sinewy muscle on her legs firing in perfect time to unleash that forehand.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.