Monica Seles – winner of life


ON APRIL 30, 1993, WORLD NO. 1 TENNIS STAR MONICA Seles, nineteen, was stabbed in the shoulder by deranged spectator Gunther Parch. She spent only two days in the hospital, but the psychological wounds lasted much longer.

She had nightmares, mental anguish, depression—all aggravated when the German courts found Parch not guilty in October of that year. Her sponsor, Fila, sued Monica during her convalescence, saying it had lost income due to her time away from the game. 

It would take two years of physical and psychological therapy, but Seles came back. She won the 1995 Canadian Open and then the 1996 Australian Open, her fourth Down Under win. Her father and coach, Karoly, contracted cancer and died in 1998, and in a great show of mental resiliency Seles rallied from the loss a few weeks later by winning her way to the French Open final. She competed for the U.S. Fed Cup (the national team female equivalent of the men’s Davis Cup) in 1996 and 2000 and won a bronze medal at the 2000 Olympics. She continued competing into the new millennium, sometimes beset by injuries. 

Looking back on the tragic stabbing, she told one interviewer she didn’t believe in holding onto anger, saying if you’re going to be mad, it won’t make it better— use the energy to try to solve problems instead.