Monica Seles

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Monica Seles (born December 2, 1973) is the former Yugoslav world no. 1 professional tennis player and a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

She was born and raised in Novi Sad, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia.

She is an ethnic Hungarian.

She became a naturalized United States citizen in 1994 and also received Hungarian citizenship in June 2007.

She won nine Grand Slam singles titles, winning eight of them while a citizen of Yugoslavia and one while a citizen of the United States.

Seles played her first professional tournament as an amateur in 1988 at age 14.

The following year she turned professional on February 13, 1989 and joined the professional tour full-time, winning her first career title at Houston in May 1989, where she beat the soon-to-retire Chris Evert in the final.

A month later, Seles reached the semifinals of her first Grand Slam singles tournament at the French Open, losing to then world no. 1 Steffi Graf, 3–6, 6–3, 3–6.

Seles finished her first year on the tour ranked world no. 6. During that winning streak she also won the U.S. Hard Court Championships (San Antonio, Texas), the Eckerd Open (Tampa, Florida), the Italian Open, and the Lufthansa Cup in Berlin, Germany (defeating Steffi Graf in the final in straight sets).

Seles then won her first Grand Slam singles title at the 1990 French Open. Facing world no. 1 Steffi Graf in the final, Seles saved four set points in a first set tiebreaker, which she won 8–6, and went on to take the match in straight sets.

In doing so, she became the youngest-ever French Open singles titlist at the age of 16 years, 6 months.

Her winning streak was stopped by Zina Garrison at Wimbledon in the quarterfinals which went to 9-7 in the 3rd set.

Seles then won the Virginia Slims of Los Angeles title against Martina Navratilova 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, and then defeated Navratilova again in winning the Oakland California tournament, in straight sets 6-3, 7-6.

She also won the 1990 year-end Virginia Slims Championships, defeating Gabriela Sabatini in five sets (in the first five-set women’s match since 1901 US National Championships), becoming the youngest to ever win the Season-Ending Championships.

She finished the year ranked world no. 2.

Her career came to an abrupt halt at a 1993 match when she was stabbed in the back by a crazed fan of tennis star Steffi Graf.

The wound was not critical, but Seles was out of tennis for over a year and her days as the game’s dominant player were over.

In January 1996, Seles won her fourth Australian Open, beating Anke Huber in the final.

Her pivotal match was the semifinal vs rising American star Chanda Rubin who led her 5-3 in the final set, and had 2 break points to lead 5-1.

Seles came back from 2 points from defeat to triumph and reach the final.

This was to be Seles’ last Grand Slam title, as she struggled to recapture her best form on a consistent basis. Seles was the runner-up at the US Open to Steffi Graf again in 1996.

Her last Grand Slam final came at the French Open in 1998.

She defeated world no. 3 Jana Novotná in three sets and world no. 1 Martina Hingis in straight sets, before losing to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the three-set final.