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Academy Member

Monica

Seles

The dominant player in women’s tennis in the early 1990s, Monica Seles burst on to the scene in 1990, becoming the youngest ever winner of the French Open at just 16.

With a punishing two-fisted forehand, fierce backhand and a strong return of serve, she is considered by many to be the first power player in the women's game, paving the way for subsequent champions like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
In her career Monica won nine Grand Slam titles – the Australian Open four times, the French Open three times and the US Open twice.  She would have won even more, but in 1993 she was attacked by a deranged fan of rival player Steffi Graf and did not play for over two years.
Born in Novi Sad, Serbia (then Yugoslavia), she began playing tennis at the age of six, coached by her father. She won her first tournament at nine, despite not fully understanding the scoring system, and in 1985 at the age of 11, she won the prestigious Orange Bowl junior tournament in Miami, where she caught the attention of tennis coach Nick Bollettieri.  In 1986, the Seles family moved to the United States, and Monica enrolled in the Bollettieri Tennis Academy.
She played her first professional tournament in 1988 at the age of 14 and won her first title at Houston in May 1989, where she beat Chris Evert in the final.  She also reached the semi-finals at the French Open, where she lost to World No.1 Steff Graf, and finished her first year ranked No 6.
Her victory at the French Open the following year made her an instant star.  Facing Graf in the final, she saved four set-points in a first-set tie-breaker, which she ultimately won 8-6, and went on to take the match in straight-sets and become the youngest-ever French Open champion at 16 years 6 months.
From 1991 to 1993, Monica dominated women's tennis, winning 22 titles and reaching 33 finals out of the 34 tournaments in which she played.  She won the Australian Open three times in that period, the US Open twice and the French Open twice.  She had a 55-1 win-loss record in Grand Slam tournaments, the only defeat being in the 1992 Wimbledon final where she lost to Steffi Graf.  She was unable to play at Wimbledon in 1991 because of injury.
After returning to tennis following the attack in 1993, Monica won one more Grand Slam title, the Australian Open in 1996, when she beat Anke Huber in straight sets, and reached three more finals, the US Open in 1995 and 1996 and the French Open in 1998, but she struggled to recapture her best form on a regular basis.
After becoming a US citizen, she helped the United States to win the Federation Cup in 1996 and 2000 and also won a bronze medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.  After winning 53 career titles up to 2003, Monica sustained a serious foot injury that ended her career.
She was elected to the Laureus World Sports Academy in 2012.