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The popular and most valuable Grand Slam tournament Wimbledon 2022 in London has been running since Monday of this week. Millions of tennis fans around the world will sit in front of the TV for hours during the two weeks up to July 14th and follow the games with excitement. We use this as an opportunity to take a look at the lives and professional careers of well-known tennis players. On our website you can read interesting articles about the absolute tennis stars Roger Federer and Steffi Graf. Today we want to remind you of former world number one Monica Seles. Find out below how tennis influenced the personal life of the now 45-year-old and who or what her real opponents were.
Monica Seles suffered severe physical and psychological trauma and yet fought her way back to life.
The way to big tennis was not easy for Monica Seles, like for many other well-known tennis players. As a 13-year-old girl from former Yugoslavia, she came to Nick Bollettieri's famous tennis academy in Florida without her parents. At that time she knew about 30 English words, but the young tennis talent worked tirelessly on the playground.
Her trainer was enthusiastic about her skills and called her "workaholic". Her trademarks were the two-handed and powerful forehand and backhand and the moaning when hitting hard balls. The latter bothered her opponents in the game and the fans weren't too keen on it either. Despite everything, Monica Seles made it and played her first professional tournament at the age of 14. She won her first Grand Slam title at the age of 16 and shortly thereafter she was at the top of the women's world rankings.
"They worked like crazy," said top coach Nick Bollettieri of young tennis talent Monica Seles.
Monica Seles' biggest rival in women's tennis was undoubtedly Steffi Graf. The great German tennis player dominated every tournament until Monica got involved in power tennis. Already in May 1990 she won against Steffi at the German Open in Berlin. That was Monica's breakthrough into professional women's tennis. In the period between 1991 and 1993 she was even superior to the Germans at every major tournament. Until a terrible incident changed her life completely.
The games between the two rivals Steffi Graf and Monica Seles were always very exciting.
The attack in Hamburg in 1993 and the time afterwards
On April 30, 1003, a terrible incident happened at the tournament in Hamburg's Rothenbaum, which caused the tennis world to be horrified and astonished. Günter Parche, a fanatical follower of Steffi Graf, stabbed Monica Seles in the back. Two years later, the then 19-year-old talented tennis player was off the tennis court because her physical injury had to heal first. But it was even worse with the emotional wound, which completely changed Monica's life. She is supposed to live on with the consequences today and is still trying to overcome them. But the pain is deeper than you think. In her autobiography, Monica writes: “I was stabbed, on the tennis court, in front of 10,000 people. It irrevocably changed my career and damaged my soul. A fraction of a second turned me into a different person".
It wasn't easy to fight your way back into tennis.
For Monica Seles there is now the time before and after the attack in Hamburg. She can never recover from the aftermath of the assassination, developed depression and was supposed to fight against binge eating. "I was out of control," writes the former number one in women's tennis of this period in her life. Today she knows it well, her binge eating was her biggest and toughest opponent in life. Despite the difficulties, she managed to return to professional tennis. In 1995 she made it to the final of the US Open. In this match she again played against her rival on the tennis court Steffi Graf. However, Monica Seles has decided to resign. In 2003 she played her last tournament. In 2008 she declared her decision to leave professional tennis for good.
Today, Monica lives somewhat secluded in Florida.
The ex-tennis player has lived in Florida for years with her very we althy husband, entrepreneur Tom Colisano. They married in 2014 and now lead a rather secluded life. Monica found a new hobby she writes books and wants "eating disorders to get into the public consciousness". Speaking to People magazine, she said: "It took me a while to talk about it. That's why I want to draw attention to the fact that overeating is a disease." She is a great example of how you can overcome such illnesses and also heal deep emotional wounds yourself.
The young tennis talent on the playground.
1992 she made it to the final at the Australian Open and was delighted with her victory against Mary Joe Fernandez.
Head to head with Gabriela Sabatini!
Monica Seles can laugh again today!