Monica Seles, a prominent women’s tennis player, faced a horrifying incident during a match in Hamburg when she was stabbed by a disturbed German fan Gunter Parche.
Seles known for her powerful play and loud grunting, had become the youngest woman to win the French Open in 1990, defeating Graf in the finals. By 1991, she had replaced Graf as the top-ranked player.
On April 30, 1993 Seles, during a match against Magdalena Maleeva at the Hamburg Open, Seles, then 19, was stabbed between the shoulder blades by Parche.
Seles was leading 4-3 when Gunter Parche, a 38-year-old German fan of Steffi Graf, emerged from the crowd and stabbed Seles between her shoulder blades with a knife. Parche, a fan of Steffi Graf, hoped that by injuring Seles, Graf could reclaim her No.1 ranking.
Seles writhing in pain, required immediate medical attention. Parche was swiftly apprehended, and Seles underwent surgery at the hospital. The aftermath was chaotic, leading Seles to withdraw from tennis for over two years, with physical and mental trauma.
Seles returned to tennis in 1995, but the incident had a lasting impact on her. Despite winning more titles, she struggled with anxiety and fear of another attack, ultimately retiring in 2008. The stabbing prompted a collective mourning from the tennis community, regarding athlete’s safety and the mental stability of fans.
Novak Djokovic honors Monica Seles after matching records at the 2024 Australian Open
Novak Djokovic expressed the significance of matching an Australian Open record held by Monica Seles after advancing to the semi-final of the tournament. The world No.1, who considers Seles one of his childhood idols, described the achievement as even more special because it aligns him with the nine-time major champion.
Djokovic secured his 33rd consecutive win at the Australian Open by defeating Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals, equalling Seles for the Open era record of most consecutive wins at the event. The Serbian, a 10-time Australian Open champion, has not lost in Melbourne since 2018.
Seles, a four-time Australian Open winner in consecutive appearances in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1996 had her streak halted in the 1999 semifinals.
In the press conference after beating Fritz, Djokovic was told that his Australian Open streak had matched a milestone held by Seles.
“Of course, of course, it means a lot. I didn’t know that I’m sharing this achievement, this record with her. It makes it of course even more special for me. I really love Monica.”-Novak Djokovic in the post match press conference
Novak Djokovic on equaling Monica Seles’ record, says she was one of his childhood heroes:— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) January 23, 2024
“It means a lot. I didn't know that I'm sharing this achievement, this record with her. It makes it of course even more special for me. I really love Monica.
I have had Monica in my head… pic.twitter.com/8OBtIp8tgA