Fan’s take: Why Steffi Graf is the greatest women’s U.S. Open player

Steffi Graf is arguably the best female tennis player of all time. The West German holds numerous records in wins, grand slams and No. 1 rankings. She is the only player of all time to win the "Calendar Year Golden Slam"—four grand slam titles and an Olympic title in 1988. Graf dominated the U.S. Open from the beginning of her career in 1982 to her retirement in 1999.

Graf was the greatest women's U.S. Open player.

Record

At the U.S. Open, Graf amassed a career singles record of 73-10 for an 88-percent winning percentage. She won the U.S. open five times through her career and reached the finals an additional three times. She played in 15 separate U.S. Opens, reaching the semifinals in 11 of those appearances.

Domination

Graf not only won tournaments, she obliterated the competition. In the 1988 U.S. Open, Graf lost only a single set the entire tournament and had four matches where she lost three games or fewer. In 1989, she didn't lose any sets until the semifinals and only lost two total sets in the tournament. The 1993 event saw Graf again only lost two sets throughout the tournament.

Significance of U.S. Open wins

A number of U.S. Open win had great significance in Graf's career as well as tennis. In 1988, Graf's U.S. Open title made her the only person, male or female, to win all four grand slams and an Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year. Her 1995 U.S. Open championship made her the only person to win every grand slam a minimum of four times.

Longevity

Graf's career lasted from 1982 to 1999, and she was a force at the U.S. Open throughout that time. Her first U.S. Open title was in 1988 and her final was in 1996. Graf had two separate periods of absolute tennis dominance. From 1987-1990, Graf won the U.S. Open two times. From 1993-1996, she won the U.S. Open three more times.

Top seedings

When Graf got a high seed, she got her money's worth. Graf received the U.S. Open top seed every year from 1987 to 1996 with the exception of 1992, when she was seeded second. During that 10-year period, she won five titles, reached three more finals, and a semifinal. Her "worst" U.S. Open during that 10-ear seeded stretch was a quarterfinal loss in 1992.

Graf was the top player of her era and is arguably greatest female U.S. Open player of all time.

This Author is has been a tennis fan for the past twelve years.

Source: Staff, Steffi Graf, WTA Tennis.com

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Updated Thursday, Aug 25, 2011