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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Laureates  

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Steffi Graf

Prince of Asturias Award for Sports 1999

Steffi Graf (Mannheim, Alemania, 1969) one of the most successful players in the history of tennis, with over a hundred titles to her name, outstanding amongst which are four Australian Opens, six Roland Garros, seven Wimbledon titles, and five United States Opens. At the age of 13, she was ranked 214th by the LOTA , at 15 she was already 22nd, at 16 she was sixth and at 17 was third, thanks to her consistency, and despite not having won many championships. Her major successes began in 1986, when she beat Chris Evert at Hilton Head (South Carolina) and Martina Navratilova in the German championship in Berlin. In 1987 she beat both of them at Cayo Vizcaíno. That same year she beat Navratilova at Roland Garros, becoming the youngest ever winner of the world´s premier clay court prize. Martina did however gain the upper hand at Wimbledon, which did not suffice to stop Graf becoming number 1 in the 1987 PTA ranking.

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In 1988 she won her first Grand Slam, with victories at the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, making her the third woman in the history of tennis to achieve a Grand Slam. That same year - the most successful of her career - she won a gold medal at the Seul Olympics.

On the 13th August, 1999 she announced her permanent retirement from tennis, after the most successful career of all time: 22 victories in Grand Slam tournaments, and 377 weeks heading the world rankings. She has established the "Children for Tomorrow" Foundation, providing help to young people who are victims of violence, depression, persecution, wars and armed conflict, as well as physical and psychological assistance.

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