Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Monica Seles (born December 2, 1973), originally Monika Seleš, is an accomplished female tennis player and the winner of many tournaments including nine Grand Slam titles. Monica Seles was also the first female "power player" with her powerful two-fisted shots and her Andre Agassi-like serve return. Seles paved the way for current players like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Monica Seles is considered one of the greatest tennis players male or female ever.
Seles was initially coached by her father Karolj Seles. In 1986, she left Yugoslavia for the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. She trained there for two years before joining the professional tour in March 1988. After only four WTA tournaments she beat tennis legend Chris Evert to take the Virgina Slims of Houston tournament in 1988.
On April 30, 1993, during a match against Magdalena Maleeva in Hamburg, Germany, Seles was stabbed in the back on court during a break by Günter Parche, a 38-year-old German who was a deranged and obsessive fan of Seles's principal rival at that time, Steffi Graf. Seles, who was ranked No. 1 in the world at the time of the attack, did not play competitively again for more than two years. However, Parche was never jailed for his offence. During her exile from competitive tennis, she became a United States citizen in 1994. Although she won her first tournament back at the 1995 Canadian Open and the 1996 Australian Open within months of her return, Seles remained a consistent Top 10 performer for many years, yet she struggled psychologically with the death of her father, Karoli, in 1998 but managed to get to the final of the 1998 French Open, where she lost to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.
The 5ft 10 1/2 (1.79 m) Seles plays left-handed, and uses two hands on both her forehand and backhand.
One of the trademarks of Seles's play was her grunt when she hit the ball. The grunt was part of a controversy when an opponent Katerina Maleeva of Bulgaria officially complained and asked Seles not to grunt during a game. This also happened in the quarter-final of Wimbledon 1992 where Seles's opponent Nathalie Tauziat complained about her opponent's noise. Seles was given a verbal warning, and remained virtually silent to win the match.
After winning 53 career titles up to 2003, she sustained a nagging foot injury that sidelined her from June 2003 to the present. She is expected to return sometime in 2005, but recently postponed a return to the 2004 Australian Open, where she was granted a wildcard entry in the draw. In February 2005, Seles played two exhibition matches in New Zealand against Martina Navratilova. Although Seles lost both matches, she played competitively and it has been reported that she was free of pain in her problematic foot. She is expected to return to the tour during the spring of 2005, provided that her injury is completely healed and will allow her to play without pain.
Grand Slam titles (9)
1990 Roland Garros Steffi Graf 7-6, 6-4 1991 Australian Open Jana Novotna 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 1991 Roland Garros Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-3, 6-4 1991 U.S. Open Martina Navratilova 7-6, 6-1 1992 Australian Open Mary Joe Fernandez 6-2, 6-3 1992 Roland Garros Steffi Graf 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 1992 U.S. Open Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-3, 6-3 1993 Australian Open Steffi Graf 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 1996 Australian Open Anke Huber 6-4, 6-1
- Monica Seles Unofficial Website
- Seles at the 2000 Sydney Olympics
- Current WTA Tour player profile for Monica Seles
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