Steffi Graf announced her immediate retirement from tennis on this day in 1999, aged only 30.

It was something of a surprise decision, given that the German had won the French Open just a couple of months before and then finished runner-up at Wimbledon.

But Graf, ranked third in the world at the time, said at a press conference: “I have no regrets because I have the feeling I have achieved everything I could.”

She won 22 grand slam titles, including seven at SW19, 107 tour titles, claimed Olympic gold at the 1988 Games in Seoul and spent a record 377 weeks as world number one.

Born in Mannheim in 1969, she was a teenager when she made her breakthrough and a maiden French Open crown, aged 17, proved a launchpad.

By 1990 she had already won nine grand slams and dominated the game, with a powerful forehand and reliable backhand slice.

A fascinating rivalry with Monica Seles developed in the early 1990s, but it was cut short as Seles was stabbed in the back by a Graf fanatic who made his way courtside during a match in 1993.

Her domination continued well into 1996, winning three grand slams, but injuries began to take their toll and after ending a barren couple of years, her French Open success and run to the Wimbledon final proved a fitting end to a glorious career.

She went on to marry fellow tennis player Andre Agassi and have two children.


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