T365 Recalls: Steffi Graf announces retirement, saying ‘I have the feeling I have achieved everything I could’
On this day in 1999, 22-time Grand Slam winner Steffi Graf announced her immediate retirement from tennis.
The 30-year-old German stunned the sporting world when, just months after winning the French Open and finishing runner-up at Wimbledon and still ranked three in the world, she decided to hang up her racket.
Graf, who had fought her way back from knee surgery two years earlier, had indicated that 1999 would be her last year in the game, but 10 days after what proved to be her final tour match and with the US Open – where she was among the favourites to claim the title – looming, she confirmed her decision to walk away with immediate effect.
Her decision came at a watershed moment for the game with compatriot Boris Becker having also announced that he would retire at the end of 1999.
Graf, however, had no qualms about turning her back on the sport which made her a household name across the world.
She said at the time: “I have no regrets because I have the feeling I have achieved everything I could.”
It is difficult to disagree with Graf’s assessment.
— Andre Agassi (@AndreAgassi) July 2, 2021
The Mannheim-born player, who had become the youngest to be awarded a WTA ranking at the age of 13, claimed the first of her 22 Grand Slam titles – two short of Margaret Court’s record – when she triumphed at Roland-Garros as a 17-year-old in 1987.
By the time she had decided to call it a day, she had added five more French Open titles, four in Australia, five at the US Open and seven at Wimbledon to establish herself as one of the greatest players of all time.
Her statistics make for hugely impressive reading – in all, she won 107 career singles titles and earned $21,895,277. She was ranked world No 1 for a total of 377 weeks, 186 of them consecutively between August 1987 and March 1991.
Graf married American star Andre Agassi in October 2001 and they have a son, Jaden Gil and a daughter, Jaz.
Which ATP star was the king of the comeback in 2023?
Alexander Zverev looks set to be named the comeback player of the 2023 season.
Trio of former World No 1s go straight into Australian Open draw with Special Rankings and wildcard
Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki have been handed main draw entries.
Brisbane International sports ‘best-ever’ field with nine Grand Slam winners headed to Queensland in January
The Brisbane International in 2024 will include nine Grand Slam champions.
Ben Shelton thrives on personal attention from Roger Federer’s On Sports
Who backs rising star Ben Shelton?
Historic clay-swing tournament already drawing big names with Jessica Pegula and Ons Jabeur entered
Ons Jabeur and Jessica Pegula have signed up for the Charleston Open.
Iga Swiatek’s 2024 tennis schedule: Where will the world No 1 begin her new season?
Which tournaments are likely to feature on Iga Swiatek’s 2024 tennis schedule?
Novak Djokovic takes protégé Hamad Medjedovic under his wing again in another act of kindness
Hamad Medjedovic to join Novak Djokovic in Dubai.