You have 19 years you are there number 1 on the WTA ranking and you already have eight Grand Slam tournaments under your belt (three Australian Open, three Roland Garros and two US Open). only Wimbledon, but last year you made it to the final In short, you have everything to be the best at tennis. but you are Monica Selesand for some this is not good.
Not for a rival on the field, but for a fan. That puts you in a game to protect “his” Steffi Graf The moment of madness happened 29 years ago, on April 30, 1993 in Hamburg: around 5 pm on a sunny Friday afternoon, at the break for a field change in the quarterfinals against Bulgarian Magdalena Maleeva, Seles gets stabbed in the back
The attacker, a certain Günter Parche, makes his way through the spectators, approaches the sideline and lowers the knife between the shoulder blade and the lungs. Clinical damage is relatively minor – a one and a half centimeter wound when the knife was 20 cm -, psychological damage will mark the career of the young Serb.
«… My world suddenly collapsed….I remember sitting, wiping my sweat with a towel and then leaning forward to drink some water; the break was almost over and my mouth was dry – he says in his autobiography since 2010 «I have regained control. Of my body, of my mind, of myself », Libreria dello Sport edition -. As soon as I bring the glass to my lips I feel a huge pain in my back I suddenly turn around and see a man with a cap baseball player, grinning at me. His arms were raised above his head and he held a long knife in his hands. He was about to sink it back to meAnd then he remembers his happiness again: “The doctors later told me that if I hadn’t leaned forward at that time, I would be at risk of severely paralyzed.”
Günter Parche was immediately arrested and will soon discover a real stalking against Seles in the previous days, and his passion for Steffi Graf, Monica’s great sporting rival (it was the German who defeated Seles at Wimbledon). «I didn’t hit her with all my strength – he admitted – I didn’t want to kill her, but only hurt her. She would never be in the standings for my Steffi . againHe also added that the tennis player’s nationality – Serbian, ex-Yugoslavia, precisely in the years of the tragic war between the Balkan republics – had great weight: “If she had been German or American, I would have have not done so,” he said. at the trial.
Parche gets away with it two years in prison with parole for “serious injuries”, when he would have risked 20 years with the attempted murder. He will be released after only six months because before the judges are intellectual level was too below average and the man was not considered socially dangerous And Seles will promise never to play in Germany again.
Graf, four years her senior, clearly had nothing to do with the incident and visited her rival and colleague at the hospital. Then he became number one in the world, thanks to his own merits. But it must be remembered how the tennis players, except Gabriela Sabatini, were against granting an exception to the protection of the ranking of Seles The meeting in this sense took place in the Internazionali d’Italia the week after the final in Hamburg (for the record: Graf reached the final, losing to Arantxa Sanchez).
Seles recovered clinically perfectly in a few weeks, but not of the psychological one No rackets for two years and a heartfelt letter to the Hamburg judges (“I want justice, he ruined me. He ended my career as the best player in the world, for which I had worked all my life”). they followed various forms of depression, a bulimia causing her to gain up to 30 pounds, and a lot of pain. What added to thethe illness of the father and coach Karolj (died of cancer in 1998). However, in 1995, the return to the fields and other successes, including his last Grand Slam in 1996 (Australian open) and an Olympic bronze medal. It was yes again number one in the world but as a “bis”, a concession given the exceptional nature of the event, for several weeks. But it’s not never returned from sporting point of viewand retired in 2003.
Today she assures that she has in fact found herself in her biography. But we’ll never know what tennis really lost.
I am Ruby Schultz, a journalist and author with experience in the news industry. I have worked at several top-tier publications, such as The News Dept., where I primarily cover technology news. My work has been featured in prominent outlets like The New York Times and Wired Magazine.