The Moment Steffi Graf Made Tennis History
It all started on January 24th, 1988 — Steffi, just shy of 19 years old, was already world number one at the beginning of the season and the start of the Australian Open. She stormed passed Hana Mandlíková in the quarter-finals, and Kohde-Kilsch in the semi-finals, and then she took her first Grand Slam victory against American star Chris Evert in the finals. Five months later, Steffi took her second Grand Slam after a mere 34-minute 6-0;6-0 Roland Garros final against Natasha Zvereva.
After the red courts, came time for Wimbledon and the grass season where Graf was, once more, victorious. She managed to beat Martina Navratilova in three sets. Then, on September 11th at the US Open, Graf became the first woman in tennis to win all four Grand Slams in the same astrological year after a 6-3,3-6,6-1 victory over Argentina’s rising star Gabriel Sabatini.
The Elusive Golden Slam Title Was Born
A day after her win at US Open, Steffi Graf flew to the ‘88 Seoul Olympic Games. She seamlessly breezed through the rounds and reached the finals. Once more, she had to play Sabatini, merely three weeks after their Grand Slam final match. On October 1st, 1988, Steffi took home the gold in just two sets, with 6-3, 6-3. Four Grand Slams and an Olympic title, all in the same year — an achievement that no female or male player had achieved before or has yet achieved to this day.
Outside the match venue in Seoul, there is a commemorative plaque that will forever serve as the testament to that incredible achievement — “Historic Place for Golden Slam.”