Lawn Tennis, Paris Open, Lawn Tennis Magazine
When I Ruled The World
By Tripp Mateschitz , Lawn Tennis Analyst, Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009 7:47am PST USA
When I Ruled The World, Monica Seles, Tennis Hall of Fame, Lawn Tennis Magazine Newport, R.I.--( In 1990, a 16 year old named Monica Seles won six WTA Tour tournaments in a row, destroying most opponents and in between matches spoke at her press conferences and interviews at lightening speeds punctuated by Woody Woodpecker giggles.

Seles, originally from Yugoslavia, in the early nineties won most every tennis tournament she entered seemingly with ease as she threatened to completely rule the WTA Tour before tragedy struck.

At age 12, Seles moved from Europe to Florida to train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy and at the academy began beating 15 year old male junior tennis players including Jim Courier of the USA who would later become the world number one and a French Open champion.

Then in 1989, a 15 year old, 90 pound Seles, playing in only her fifth WTA Tour tournament ever beat the clay court queen Chris Evert 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 on clay in Houston, Texas in the championship final to win her first WTA Tour tournament.

The next year in the spring of 1990, Seles met her soon to be arch-rival and the current world number one Steffi Graf of Germany in the final of the German Open at Berlin and snapped Graf's 66 match winning streak 6-4, 6-3.

Only weeks later in June, Seles at age 16 became the youngest French Open champion ever as she saved four set points in the first set tiebreaker against Graf to win the championship match 7-6(8-6), 6-4.

Monica Seles of the USA
A 15 year old, 90 pound Seles, playing in only her fifth WTA Tour tournament ever beat the clay court queen Chris Evert 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 on clay.

Graf in the last several years had dominated the WTA Tour, hitting the most stunningly powerful female forehand ever. But now Seles was hitting with extreme pace and angles from both the forehand and backhand while Graf's slice backhand was not nearly as overpowering.

With her confidence soaring, Seles dared her opponents to face her laser-like two-handed groundstrokes at the net, saying in a sponsor's tennis racket print ad, I don't know how to lob.

Seles replaced Graf in 1991 as the top ranked female tennis player and won the French Open three years in a row and before being stabbed in the back during a changeover in 1993 at Hamburg by a deranged Graf fan.

From January 1991 through February 1993, Seles had won 22 titles, posted a 93% winning percentage and reached the finals at 33 of 34 of the tournaments she played.

In 1995, Seles made a return to professional tennis, but she would never dominate the tour again due in part to her personal struggles with weight, injuries and her father's sickness.

Better on clay and slower hardcourts such as in Melbourne, Seles never defeated Graf on a fast surface in their fifteen meetings, but took US Open titles in 1991 and 1992.

The left-hander won her last grand slam title at the 1996 Australian Open for a total of nine career singles grand slam crowns.

Monica Seles, who became an American citizen in 1994, was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame Saturday at Newport, Rhode Island.

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