On April 30, 1993, the Hamburg tournament was the scene of one of the most tragic moments in tennis history. Monica Seles, queen of the WTA tour, was stabbed in the middle of a match in the quarter-finals.
A phenomenon of precocity never stopped collecting trophies.
At the time, world number 1 crushed everything in her path. A phenomenon of precocity, the Yugoslavian champion (she became an American citizen in 1994) never stopped collecting trophies. The one who has not yet blown out her 20 candles. She won her third consecutive Australian Open in January, thus reaching the eighth Grand Slam title mark. While the girls of her generation were competing on the junior circuit. Seles had already won her first major title at the 1990 French Open at 16.
The day Monica Seles was stabbed in the middle of a match.
She enters the Hamburg tournament as the overwhelming favorite. She swept her first two opponents before meeting Magdalena Maleeva in the quarter-finals. The Bulgarian is a solid top 10 player, but the difference in level between the two women is enormous. Seles handled the match perfectly, leading 6-4, 4-3, and was poised to close out an uneventful match.
Seconds after sitting down at the side change, a person emerges from the stands. A shrill cry split the crowd. It all happened so fast. Seles held her back, winced before collapsing on the court. A man was tackled to the ground in the stands, knife in hand: he had just stabbed the world number one. The author of the attack is called Günter Parche, a German lunatic, an unconditional fan of Steffi Graf. He explained that, by his gesture, he wanted his idol to recover the place of world number one, stolen by Seles, her great rival.
Monica Seles got depressed for more than two years after she got stabbed.
Fortunately, the wound was only superficial, but the psychological after-effects left by this cursed April 30, 1993, were irreversible for the Yugoslavian. She sank into depression for more than two years in the months that followed this tragedy. Monica said she felt as if “her attack had never happened,” so much so that the tennis world acted as if nothing had happened. The tournament in Hamburg went on to its conclusion. The players voted almost unanimously not to protect her position as world number one during her absence.
Monica Seles never regained her former level.
Monica Seles returned to the circuit in 1995 but never regained her former level. The following year, she won her ninth Grand Slam title in Australia, but her counter remained stuck on this number until the end of her career in 2008. Meanwhile, her great rival Steffi Graf wrote her name into the tennis pantheon.
An inevitable question arises. What would Monica Seles’ career have looked like if that fateful April day in Hamburg had not occurred? Unfortunately, it remains unanswered.