Her name is Monica Seles ~
Born 12/02/1973 is someone whom I've long admired on & off the Tennis Court. Although I proclaim that Steffi Graf was my alltime favorite female Tennis Player during the era that I became obsessed with the game. Upon Monica's rise to the top of Women's Professional Tennis, the only time I rooted against her was if Steffi were standing on the opposite side of the Net. And I will openly admit had Monica emerged before Steffi Graf, it would probably have been Monica as my favorite instead of Steffi Graf, however by time Monica came along, Steffi's place in my eyes of admiration was firmly planted and all Monica could hope for was an honorable acknowledgment within myself that she was indeed great for the Women's Game.
I have long proven to myself that I am every bit a Sports Fan in its' truest sense. When I like someone or some team, that's it, no one else can come along and replace them no matter how good or bad my person or team is performing. So in no way was I ever going to allow myself to be caught up in the hype about this new Tennis phenom named Monica Seles. At best, she was clearly my #2.
When Monica was stabbed, I recall my personal feelings at that period of the Women's Game where Monica was equal to what Rafael Nadal represents today to Roger Federer. It appeared to not only myself but to most that Steffi had a very difficult time beating Monica and as long as Monica was strong & healthy, Steffi Graf may have to resolve at being the 2nd best Female Tennis Player given Steffi didn't seem to change her approach to the game in order to regain her foothold on the top spot.
Of course that was disappointing to me but when Monica was stabbed by a man who probably felt as I and many other committed Graf Fans, that Steffi was never going to break Margaret Court's Grand Slam total record we had hoped she would with Monica Seles around, I discovered something about myself.
In as much as I wanted Steffi to achieve that goal above all else, I found out that there was something else. [Not in that way] If Steffi was going to break Court's Record, it had to be by sheer dominance of the Game and those who played it. Not by eliminating players that stood in Steffi's way. This is exactly how I feel about Roger Federer at this very moment. I would truly love to see Federer break Pete Sampras' Grand Slam total being that he is so very close as Steffi was so very close but he absolutely has to do it by being the very best, beating the very best. That means to me that should Roger Federer finally win the French Open, in my eyes unless it's by beating Rafael Nadal in the Finals, it will be a hollow victory. And should Roger regain his Wimbledon Crown, it without doubt must be against the man who took it away.
Point is, although I too saw Monica's dominance standing between Steffi Graf's ability to achieve the goals of her career, I felt it would be meaningless if Steffi finally did achieve these goals by beating someone other than the best in the game and at that time, Monica Seles was clearly the best in the game.
You see the thing about Monica that I took note of right from the beginning was, even at the time she was 17 years old, she was incredibly sincere, genuine and humble. All you had to do was listen to her speak of her game, her family and her opponents. Nobody gave as much acknowledgment to the achievements of her opponents as Monica did. If on paper it appeared Monica would win a match in straight sets with very little problem, a pre-match interview would have Monica claiming that she will need to fight as hard as she can because her opponent was a great player, etc.
Some could think it was patronizing but if you really listened to her, Monica was always of the opinion that if she let down, she could lose. Monica never felt she was so good that she could simply walk onto a court with no preparation and win.
After awhile Monica left the game, made a few attempts to comeback and finally realized that her window had closed. Professional Tennis was no longer there for her. Thank God, Monica made enough money to live comfortably and it would be very easy for her to slide into a private wealthy lifestyle like most and enjoy but the ongoing beauty of this woman is, she is now sharing her struggle with the World as inspiration to others suffering with emotional disorders that effects people physically at times.
Monica's emotional state has proven to be as strong as it always was. Monica is a fighter. She wasn't taught to be a fighter, it was there when she was born apparently. I firmly believe Monica Seles can accomplish anything she sets her mind to. She is without doubt a Woman of the Year and an obvious advocate for anyone who is allowing their emotional disorders to dominate their lives. You can win any match if you have a clear view of what you're facing and making small achievable goals, step by step as Monica did.
Now this tall slim, sleek, elegantly beautiful Woman is a Poster Child for those who are hoping their depression doesn't totally ruin their life.
Monika Szeles - I am one individual that looks at you now as I did before, with a smile.