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Tennis player stabbed on the court – Monica Seles.

Posted by tennisplanet on March 4, 2007


Seles was the top women’s player heading into 1993. In January 1993, Seles defeated Graf in the final of the Australian Open, which was her third win in five Grand Slam matches with Graf.

However, everything changed following an incident that shocked the tennis world on April 30, 1993. During a quarterfinal match with Magdalena Maleeva in Hamburg that Seleš was leading in 6-4, 4-3, a 38-year-old deranged fan of Graf, Günter Parche, ran from the middle of the crowd to the edge of the court during a break between games and plunged a steak knife between Seleš’s shoulder blades. She let out a piercing scream and was quickly rushed to a hospital. Her physical injuries took a few weeks to heal, but the psychological scars from this incident left a much deeper impression on Seles. She did not return to competitive tennis for over two years. Parche was charged following the incident but was not jailed because he was found to be psychologically abnormal and was instead sentenced to two years’ probation and psychological treatment. The incident prompted a significant increase in the level of security at tour events.

23 Responses to “Tennis player stabbed on the court – Monica Seles.”

  1. She also win the Australian Open in 1996, isn’t it ?

  2. Shane said

    I remember seeing it on the news in the evening. It’was the most unbelievable thing!

    I used to dislike Graf because I was a Seles fan and after this incident I hated Graf (as if she made that madman stab Seles herself). Now that I know that Graf had nothing to do with it, I don’t hate her.

    Seles was the first screamer and I used to like her screaming because it used to sound like she wanted to give everything she had to every shot she played. It was a new thing then. But now I don’t like Sharapova screaming.

    That stabbing incident was the saddest thing in tennis that I could remember.

  3. Mario said

    Monica Seles was meant to be the best tennis player ever…


  4. siva said

    Bad day for the legend

  5. Elizabeth said

    I remember seeing it live and then later on the news crying and holding my husbond close. It. was the most horifing thing what kind of person would do such a thing.

  6. Tennis said

    There is essentially no way Steffi Graf would have been the top player of the 90s without a fan of hers stabbing Monica Seles in the back with a knife.

  7. Rob said

    This terrible incident changed tennis history. Graf would not have won 22 grand slam singles titles if Seles had not been stabbed. The only surface Graf could have dominated on would have been grass.

  8. Peter said

    The stabbing incident effectively ended Seles’ career and Graf became dominant. But before the stabbing, Seles was beating Graf consistently. To me Seles is the second greatest woman tennis player of all time, after Navratilova. I would put Graf at fourth, after Margaret Court.

  9. peter said

    Graf still had a positive H2h against Seles before the stabbing, so she didn’t beat Graf consistently.
    Graf hardly showed up at most Grand Slam finals, because she was already beaten.
    If you look at the head-to-head you’ll see that Graf had the edge on faster surfaces and Seles on the slower ones (Australian, French Open)

  10. saurabh said

    Graf had a one match edge on Seles because 3 of Graf’s wins came in 1989 when Seles was just a 15 year old girl on her first year on tour. Fancy graf beating up on the little ones !!

  11. Molly said

    It was a sad day for tennis to think that someone could do that. What kind of deranged lunatic would do that? I think he should have had a lifelong ban, Poor Monica Seles,, she had such a career ahead of her, all ruined by some stupid JERK!!


  12. Tony said

    such stupid posts! are these REAL tennis fans? here is what you do. check the number of times Graf and Seles played against each other from 1990 to 1993. you will find out that, though Seles had an edge, it was a slight one. They did not get to play against each other as much as one would have hoped.

    Finally, nobody seems to have noticed how Seles has played the victim card too long. Everybody loves a victim…and she wanted love. Instead of going out and playing tennis, she played the damaged victim for far too long. so long that when she got back into the game, Graf beat her more times than Seles would have cared to admit. Two US Open finals, and Graf won them clean.

  13. Emily said

    So Tony you’re saying that she wasn’t traumatised by the event that she wasn’t mentally scared and that if this happened to you then you would be fine with it and back on your feet after weeks. She was 19 and for that to happen to anyone is evil, but a 19 year old with a great career ahead of her it was horrific. So think hard about what you say next time Tony and to be honest you come across as a spinless coward- does anyone agree with me.

    I think for Seles to of come back at all shows tremendous courage and she isn’t playing the victim card, she is a victim and i feel that you need to respect others feelings before yours. It would be a horrible and really hard thing to happen to anyone.

    I respect Monica Seles for getting back to what she is good at and betting fears.

  14. Tennis said

    In addition to leading Steffi Graf head-to-head in the 1990s before the stabbing, Seles had dominated the major events other than Wimbledon.

  15. Anonymous said

    i dont like knives

  16. Jim said

    Tony must be German or a HUGE Graf fan. The fact is that Seles was clearly the most dominant female tennis player of her time. Saurabh is completely correct…. Graf was(is) 4 years older than Seles. Seles was just barely starting to come into her own. Had this incident never happened, chances are Graf may have never won another major championship.

  17. Anonymous said

    I loved monica seles syle of play. She was unstoppable until that horiffic incident in Hamburg. She would have been the best tennis player of her generation-with Steff Graff among her generation.I can’t imagine someone stating that Monica was using the victim card throughout those traumatic period.I sill beleive that her career was puntured by a lunatic who punctured her shoulder blades.

  18. Andy said

    Although I’m no Graf fan, whenever this topic comes up I feel the need to remind people that Graf didn’t suddenly have a “free pass” to Grand slam Titles when this unfortunate incident happened. She still had to go out there and win 7 matches at Grand Slams against some great players to pile up her titles.

    This site reduces tennis to 2 or 3 players too much!

    Having said that, I do think it is fair to speculate that had this incident not happened Graf’s career numbers probably wouldn’t have been as impressive, and Seles would have, at the very least, ended up with better career numbers.

    Still, it happened. We can’t change that. It happened and Graf went out there and won, and won a lot! That’s the history. Graf did all she could in the circumstances and deserves credit for that.

  19. roger said

    I still cant believe such an idiot would stab herr
    she wuz the greatest woman tennis player ever

  20. pitt said

    Seles would have ended her career with more GS titles, Graf with less, that’s a fact.
    But stating Seles was going to be the GOAT, is “easy” (as we’ll never know) and hard to believe.
    Don’t look at the numbers, or stats, only her game.

    I am neutral here, not a Seles or Graf fan, but GABY !!!

    But it’s still surprise me how pro Seles forget the H2H.
    And in case someone remind them, they are so prompt to not taking into account their early meetings (?) (i mean LOL cmon, so let’s just take the matches that suit you the most)

    Before Hamburg 93, they played 10 matches :
    6-4 Graf.
    4 of this matches on fast surfaces that favored Graf (us open, Wimbledon like, 4 straight sets vicories for Graf.
    6 on slower surfaces that favored Seles(AO, FO…). 4-2 Seles = 2straight and 2 3setters.
    Fact is, that Graf has been able to win against Seles on “her” surface(s) or at least pushed her to 3setters (except May/June1990), while Seles has been unable to take Graf a set on faster courts.

    Seles never beat Graf more than twice in a row, actually she even only beat her twice in a row (clay), one time, Berlin and FO 1990.

    So sorry, that’s not what I call consistent, or dominant with a rival.

    BUT I can understand (i can understand doesn’t mean i agree with it) how Seles’ fans feel towards Graf. Even if, actually it wasn’t her should, and what should she have done ? Stop playing ? Waiting ?

    Finally I think it’s harsh for the other players, Sanchez, SABATINI, Novotna, etc, who have been and still are constantly denigrated.

    The real drama here, is that because of a crazy stupid man, it ruined this rivalry.
    I would have so much liked to see more of their matches on faster courts, and even more on clay, where the gap was so slight at their last h2h (on this surface) at the FO. What a match !

    • Prabu said

      Pitt, I do agree your point here. When Rafael Nadal started winning the grand slam championship, he was even good at the slower courts and was unable to dominate on the grass court and hard courts as well. Nadal was able to adapt the game very well on the faster surfaces as well.

      I would not hesitate to say that “Seles would have done more damage to Graf”.

      Federer was unable to adapt his game on the clay courts. Nadal was able to adapt quickly. I would not be surprised if Seles would also be able to adapt her game on the faster courts as well.

  21. Gordon Kruger said

    I’ve watched tennis for many years. I believe Seles would have taken some slam titles away from Graf. Graf would have ended up with 16 to 18 (approx.) titles. Seles may have gotten into the teens. It is impossible to say. Other injuries could have happened to Seles too. It is to bad Seles left the game for such a long period (over 2 years). That is normally to long to be out of a sport and come back. Eight slams or more she could have competed in. If she took 4 of the 8 she would be at 13 and still been a very young player. Maybe she would have won more slams than Graf had they competed the whole time. It is to bad that it happened. What if Nadal couldn’t compete for 2 years. Do you think Federer would win more slams? Yes. He probably has a French title because Nadal was out and maybe one more because Nadal was out with knee problems.

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