News from 2010

Bloomsbury Nabs Young Adult Series by Monica Seles


In a two-book deal, Bloomsbury Children's Books acquired world rights to a new young adult series by former tennis star Monica Seles called "The Academy". Melanie Cecka at Bloomsbury bought the titles from John Steele at IMG, who brokered the deal for Seles.

The books will follow a group of young sports prodigies at an elite facility known for breeding Olympians and other world-class athletes. Steele, who confirmed that currently Seles is attached to the project without a co-writer, said of the world depicted in the books: "It is the boarding school where the rich and famous send their kids to fulfill their own vicarious dreams or the kids' sometimes delusional aspirations."

The first book in the series is scheduled for 2012.


Monica Seles Wimbledon Flashback


21 years ago this week...

1989 Wimbledon 2nd Round: Seles vs Porwik.

Another interview from Rockefeller Center...


Monica's Appearance on "Good Day NY"


One of the questions being raised ahead of the 2010 Wimbledon Championships is 'who will dominate?'

With the tennis tournament beginning today, we hit the 'court' with tennis great Monica Seles on Monday for her take on who to look out for.

Seles also told us about her new book: 'Getting A Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self.'

Champions Monica Seles & Jim Courier To Play Tennis with Fans at June 21 Kick-off Event at Rockefeller Center:

WHAT: HSBC, "The world's local bank" and official Wimbledon sponsor, brings an authentic tournament experience to NYC with "HSBC presents Wimbledon 2010 at Rockefeller Center." To celebrate the first day of Wimbledon on Monday, June 21 from 12-1pm, former world #1 ranked players Jim Courier and Monica Seles will play with select fans on a specially-developed grass court. Emcee Luke Jensen will call the plays. Week of free activities continues through Friday, June 25; details below and at

WHO: Jim Courier, Monica Seles, Luke Jensen (former French Open doubles champ, Syracuse coach)

WHEN: MONDAY, JUNE 21 12-1pm Monica & Jim play with select fans

WHERE: ROCKEFELLER CENTER HSBC outdoor venue at North Plaza between 50th/51st St between 5th/ 6th Ave


Monica Seles To Be On "Good Day NY"


Good Day New York

One of the questions being raised ahead of the 2010 Wimbledon Championships is 'who will dominate?'

With the tennis tournament beginning next week, we're hitting the 'court' with tennis great Monica Seles on Monday (June 21) for her take on who to look out for.

Seles will also tell us about her new book: 'Getting A Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self.'


My Toughest Opponent Was Always My Weight


Monica Seles won't attend Wimbledon next week. She may watch a few games on television but when it comes to tennis the former world No 1 can take it or leave it. The days of being a professional sportswoman are over, killed in part by the stabbing she endured at the hands of a fan of her rival Steffi Graf in 1993 and a 10-year battle with her weight.

It is 31 years since a five-year-old Monica spent afternoons hitting balls with her father Karolj in a car park in her home town of Novi Sad in the former Yugoslavia (now Serbia). It sounds like a tough childhood but it was she who had the drive, not her father.

"I'm so thankful dad encouraged it because in those days girls weren't allowed to play in clubs. I didn't see a court until aged eight. I was ambitious and I loved to play."

By the age of 16 Monica had become the youngest ever French Open champion and a year later she was ranked world No 1. Then in January 1993 she defeated Steffi Graf in the final of the Australian Open. Three months later during a match in Hamburg, Germany, Günter Parche, an obsessed fan of Steffi's, stabbed Monica in the back with a boning knife during a break between games. He later said it was to help Steffi regain the No 1 spot.

After the attack 17 top players were asked to vote on whether or not to freeze Monica's ranking while she recuperated. Each one, aside from Argentinian Gabriela Sabatini who abstained, voted no.

"At that moment I learned tennis was a business," says Monica, now 36. "Everybody wanted that top position. The stabbing changed the course of my career as I was away for two‑and‑a‑half years. Then I learned my father had cancer. It was one blow after another."

For years Monica had lived as a nomad travelling to tournaments so being told to do nothing but rest at home in her newly adopted Florida was difficult. She started to eat bags of crisps, bowls of ice-cream, Pop-tarts and pretzels.

"I still don't know why my anguish found solace in food that summer," she writes in her autobiography Getting A Grip. When her assailant received just two years' probation she became overwhelmed with sadness and frustration and took comfort in junk food. Less than a year later and almost three stone heavier Monica was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"In the beginning I had counselling but when I started having food issues I thought it had to be sorted out by a trainer. I'd look at these trainers and think if this guy is in such great shape he can probably get me in great shape too. It would have helped if someone had understood how connected my emotions were to my binge-eating.

"When I started playing tennis the issue was not just how you played but also how you looked. Food helped me deal with the stress that came with that. Eating made me feel better for a short period."

The Monica Seles who returned in 1995 was greeted with a different response. "I used to have a great body and now every article started with the word 'heavyset'. They'd say: 'If only she lost the weight she would be so much better.'"

Wimbledon with its all-white dress code didn't help. "You can't hide a thing. I was carrying all this extra weight, especially in 1997 when I had a terrible year with my father's illness. I still had to play otherwise my ranking would drop and my sponsors fall off."

Her father died the next year and Wimbledon would be the only Grand Slam to elude her. As tennis pressures piled up and comments about her weight upset her, Monica looked for a quick fix. "My mentality was to go on another diet. It was one thing after another – the cayenne pepper diet, eating protein only or just fruit."

Seven-hour workouts would be followed by 5,000-calorie binges and she would gorge secretly in her car. "I couldn't control my eating. I battled with my weight for almost 10 years and it was the toughest opponent I ever faced."

Despite her issues Monica clawed her way back into the top 10. Then in spring 2003 a stress fracture on her right foot flared up repeatedly until ­ a bone shattered. She never played competitively again. "I paid for the weight as the injury ended my career and ­ I truly believe it happened because I was heavier."

When Monica said farewell to tennis she also waved goodbye to her nutritionist, her coach and her trainer. She stopped planning meals, stopped the crazy diets and no longer fixated on her weight. Instead she walked her dogs and tried yoga. She still ate bread, pasta and chocolate but in smaller amounts.

Slowly the weight dropped off and Monica lost 1st 7lb in a year. She was down to her ideal weight of 9st 10lb by 2007. "I'm between a size 8 and 10. I don't step on the scales. I used to think the world would end if I was 2lb overweight but I stay between those sizes and I feel great. I can look at a Vogue cover and think, 'Wouldn't it be great to have a size zero body?' but I'm 5ft 10in so I'd have to starve myself. I'm happy as I am."

Now Monica spends her time doing charity work and giving motivational talks to women, many with weight problems. Her only exercise is walking for 45 minutes four or five days a week although sometimes she plays tennis for fun. "I'm still trying to discover another passion like tennis. I'm keen for adventures."


Monica Seles and Rafael Nadal: Similar Paths To the Top of Tennis


Monica Seles and Rafael Nadal have similarities not only in the way both players have risen up the rankings so dramatically in their respective generations, but also how they both approach the game of tennis and their attitude toward the sport.

To recap, let's take a look at Seles first.

It's actually been 20 years since she won her first Grand Slam Title at the French Open at the age of 16. Seles turned pro in early 1989 and bagged her first title within months. In a small tournament in the United States, Seles defeated Chris Evert in the final and then went deep in the French Open later that year losing, to Steffi Graf.

In 1990, Seles defeated Graf in the final of the German Open and then went on to defeat her in the French Open final to become the youngest ever winner of the tournament.

What Seles was able to do so quickly and dramatically was break Steffi Graf's stranglehold on the world No. 1 position and establish a rivalry at the Grand Slam level for three years, claiming the No. 1 position for two years until the stabbing incident in 1993.

Nadal had a similarly dramatic rise up the rankings as a teenager. Nadal first got people talking when he defeated Roger Federer in Miami in 2004 as a 17 year old.

A year later, in 2005, Nadal took the first two sets of the final in Miami before Federer went on to win the thriller in five sets.

That served notice to Federer because two months later, Nadal went on to beat Federer as an 18 year old in the semi final of the French Open, winning the tournament two days later on his birthday against Mariano Puerta.

Like Seles, Nadal went on to dominate Roland Garros for the next few years until his shocking loss to Soderling in 2009.

Like Seles, Nadal rose dramatically as a teenager to challenge Federer at the top of the world rankings and create a rivalry when Federer was threatening to dominate the tour by himself for years to come. Nadal eventually usurped Federer's spot as the decisive world No. 1 in 2008 before injury interrupted his progress.

The similarities don't end there however.

Both Seles and Nadal are left handers who were a few years younger than the player they challenged. I would also add that both Graf and Federer have similar game styles based on their forehand, serve, and single handed backhand, and are seen by the tennis community as natural talents who are smoothly athletic in movement.

In contrast, Nadal and Seles were the foil, the players who were totally dedicated to improving and trained for hours on end, whilst deriving real pleasure in just going out there to play day after day.

Nadal and Seles added a different dimension to the classic style of Graf and Federer, often prompting the rather conservative media and tennis community to almost brand them as somehow anti-tennis due to their approach to the game—in terms of their never say die attitude and willingness to take on the best player in the world and overcome their rivals.

The attitudes displayed by Seles and Nadal in their respective generations has ensured that the tennis world was given a great rivalry in 1990 and 2005, just when it seemed that one player would dominate the sport unchallenged for five to ten years.

In both cases Seles and Nadal were great not just for their time, but also for the subsequent history of the game.


Looking Back at a Legend...Monica Seles


Weeks at No.1: 178...5th on all-time list
Year-End No.1 Finishes: 2… 1991, 1992
Tour Singles Titles: 53…9th on all-time list
Grand Slam Singles Titles: 9…8th on all-time list
Career Match Win-Loss: 595-122 (.83)

Tennis didn't know what hit it when Monica Seles burst onto the scene as a 14-year-old prodigy in 1988. One minute Steffi Graf was mopping up the Golden Slam; the next, the sport had a noisy new phenom on its hands. All matchstick limbs and frizzy bangs, her double-fisted-off-both-sides groundstrokes were unusual enough. But most noticeable - and offensive to traditional ears - was the otherworldly shriek emitted by the lefthander when she hit the ball.

Seles' rise to the top was meteoric: she won the fifth Tour event she ever played, beating Chris Evert in the final at the Virginia Slims of Houston in the spring of 1989, and by the time she was 18 had already won seven major singles titles and captured the No.1 ranking. No player has gone so far, so fast - nor seemed to have so much fun doing it.

As well as being an athlete in his younger days, Seles' father, Karolj, was a professional cartoonist. To make sure his daughter enjoyed their coaching sessions he used to draw faces on tennis balls for Monica to swat away. This helped instill in Monica a love of the game that was infectious; her rambling, giggly speeches charmed fans while reminding everyone of her youth.

On court, of course, Seles was ruthlessly efficient. Concentration written all over her pixie features, she tackled each ball with relish, striking it earlier than any other player to produce unprecedented ferocity off both wings. In this way, she made the return of serve a weapon, her unorthodox grip producing the most acute angles. It didn't matter that her volleying was limited, as she was almost always the one dictating the play.

That Seles' innocence, and some of her capabilities, were stolen perhaps before she had even reached her prime is one of sport's great tragedies. On a changeover during a match in Hamburg in April 1993, Seles was stabbed in the back, below her left shoulder blade, by a fanatical supporter of Graf who wanted to see the German star back at No.1.

The physical injury could have been much worse - the knife narrowly missed her spine - and Seles admits she probably could have returned to the Tour later the same year. Harder to heal was the psychological impact on her sense of security and, having grown up on the Tour, her identity. What's more, as Seles lay in hospital her father, who had always been the main steward of her game, was diagnosed with stomach cancer. And so she was gone from the circuit for 28 long months, until the summer of 2005.

Girl, Interrupted

Though she was never quite the same - how could she be - Seles now recognizes the pointlessness of wondering what might have been. "Monica is never one to dwell on what-ifs," said Betsy Nagelsen McCormack, a long-time friend and mentor, at Seles' induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009. Indeed, the Seles resume deserves unemotional evaluation, because it is still one of the most impressive in the history of the sport.

Seles was barely a teenager when her family moved from Yugoslavia to Florida, where she trained at the Nick Bolletieri Tennis Academy. She played her first professional tournament in 1988, at the age of 14. She finished her first full year on Tour, 1989, ranked No. 6, highlights including the win over Evert in Houston and a semifinal run at the French Open, where she pushed Graf to three sets.

Twelve months later, and still aged just 16 years 6 months, Seles faced Graf in the final of the 1990 French Open. After fending off four set points in the opener she prevailed in straight sets, 76(6) 64, becoming the event's youngest champion. Later that year she beat Gabriela Sabatini in the first five-set final women's tennis had seen since 1901, and ended the season at No.2.

Without question Seles was the queen of women's tennis in 1991 (finishing with a 74-6 match record) and 1992 (70-5). Having begun 1991 by beating Jana Novotna to win the Australian Open for the first time, she usurped Graf as No.1 in March, achieving what was at the time another 'youngest' record (since outdone by Martina Hingis). Later that year she won her second French Open - by now sporting a cropped blonde hairdo not unlike the singer Madonna's - and first US Open, finishing the year by beating Martina Navratilova in four sets at the Tour Championships.

In 1992 Seles again won three of the four majors, only Wimbledon eluding her. There, she defeated Navratilova in the semis but was clobbered by Graf in the final, 62 61. During the tournament several players had officially complained about Seles' grunting, and the media had whipped the issue into a frenzy. Seles, who to that point had only lost one match all year, was curiously subdued in the final.

In any case, by the time she edged Graf for a third consecutive Australian Open trophy in January 1993, Seles had won seven of the last eight Slams she'd contested, and eight of 14 she'd ever played.

A Woman of Substance

At first when Seles - by now a US citizen - returned to tennis in 1995 it seemed she might just be able to pick up where she left off. There was a collective sigh of relief when the 21-year-old won her comeback event at Toronto (the first of 21 Tour titles she'd win in this second phase of her career) and marched to the final at the US Open, falling to Graf in three sets. She even won a fourth Australian Open title the following January, beating Anke Huber in the final.

"When I decided to come back, I had to realize [the stabbing] was out of my control," Seles later said. "It was up to me to take control. That's when I decided to play again and return to the sport I loved. I didn't want it to be taken away."

The big wins had become harder to close out, however. Seles reached a further two Grand Slam finals, falling to Graf at Flushing Meadows in 1996 and, just three weeks after the death of her beloved father, to Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario at the French Open. Capturing the overwhelming public mood of sentiment for Seles, the Spaniard even apologized to her victim during the trophy ceremony.

Indeed, while Seles remained a force for nine seasons post-stabbing - finishing in the Top 10 each year until 2002, helping the US to three Fed Cup triumphs, winning bronze at the Sydney Olympics - she was never quite as consistent, never quite as unshakably confident, never quite as single-minded. Her feet and ankles hurting, she stopped playing following a first round loss to Nadia Petrova at the 2003 French Open, but only later did it really become clear how hard those years had been.

Seles, who could only bring herself to officially retire in 2008, has spoken and written movingly about her struggle with depression and the eating disorder that came with it. Without bitterness she has admitted to feeling let down by the tennis world's initial response to her predicament (she was eventually given co-No.1 status with Graf, but at first her ranking was allowed to slide) and of the German judicial system's handling of the matter (though he eventually stood trial, psychological reports kept Guenther Parche out of prison).

It is also clear Seles can see the value of her difficult journey. The tennis trophies have been replaced by humanitarian awards; she is a Goodwill Ambassador Facilitator to United Nations efforts to fight malnutrition, and an Ambassador for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, promoting the positive influence sport can play in addressing society's problems. Even if they don't know everything she has been through, when Seles talks to women's groups or youngsters, they listen.

Gracious in victory and defeat, Seles dazzled with her fearless play, but even that pales next to the courage she has shown off court. Still, this sometimes insecure all-time great can be confident of one thing: When she was admitted to the Hall of Fame, she certainly didn't need the sympathy vote.


Monica Seles French Open Flashback


In honor of the French Open this week...

1996 French Open 1st Round: Seles vs Dhenin.

Find the Balance in Your Life


by Monica Seles

Professional tennis is all about control. Control the ball, the power, the placement, the point, the set, the match. Control yourself. The tennis season circles the globe for about 11 months a year. Those months are packed with airports, training, matches, sponsors, the press, and then more airports. There's often an entourage with you to maintain that control: coaches for your game, agents and managers to handle the business, nutritionists and trainers for your body, family and psychologists for mental support. All there to keep you focused, to keep you winning, and to keep you in control. For the most part it works. It won me the French Open at 16 and seven other majors in the next three years. And then you find yourself in that moment where you have no control.

That moment for me was April 30, 1993, when Günter Parche, a fan of my rival Steffi Graf ran from the crowd and stabbed me in the back at a tournament in Hamburg, Germany. I was 19. In a split second my world spun out of control, and it took me years to recover. It was again out of my control when my father, who taught me how to play tennis, got stomach cancer. There was nothing that I or anyone else could do. My dad was unable to eat as the cancer worsened, and I started to binge-eat. As I tried to regain control of my game and career, I also gained a lot of weight. I practiced six hours a day. The trainers had me in the gym. The nutritionist fed me protein shakes. They tried to control every calorie, every workout, and every practice session. But when the day was over and we all went back to our rooms, I ate and I ate, out of control. From bags of potato chips to pasta, I would eat to try to find comfort. I tried every diet known to man, but the weight kept coming back.

The press was unrelenting. Even though I was winning again, including the Australian Open in 1996, and reclaimed my No. 1 world ranking, that extra weight, I suspect, was the ultimate cause of the foot injury in 2003 that ended my career. Then the speculation really got ugly. If I had put on that much weight as a player, they said, just imagine what would happen to me when I stopped the hours of practice and was left alone without the nutritionists and trainers.

But I found something just as important as control: balance. I didn't have to spend hours in the gym. I liked walking, so I'd take a walk every day and maybe hit the gym once or twice a week. I didn't have to live off protein shakes and deprive myself of the pasta and cookies I loved. If I wanted a cookie, I allowed myself to have one, because food is there to be enjoyed. But it was all about finding the balance in my life so I could take control again. 

I love the game and the life it has given me. I have seen triumph and tragedy and survived them both. If there is any advice I could give to a young world-class athlete, it would be: as you try to find the level of control that will make you a winner, also try to find the balance in life that will make you happy.

Seles, the winner of nine Grand Slam titles, is a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy (, a group of 46 of the world's greatest living sportsmen and -women. She is the author of Getting a Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self.


Seles predicts a golden 2010 for tennis


Monica SelesMonica Seles, who made one of the bravest comebacks in sporting history after being struck down in her prime by a knife-wielding lunatic, is delighted that two of the women who succeeded her as the world No 1 tennis players are also making a successful resumption of their careers.

Seles, 36, who two years ago retired from the game that brought her international stardom and nine grand slam titles, expects the outstanding Belgian duo of Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters to enjoy the kind of appealing rivalry she had with Germany's Steffi Graf 20 years ago.

That Belgian rivalry was on course for a 25th showdown in the latter stages of the French Open, which begins on Sunday at Roland Garros, until a disappointed Clijsters was forced to withdraw from the second major of the year because of a left foot injury.

Clijsters, who has taken giant strides up the rankings ladder since coming out of retirement last year after giving birth to a daughter, brought the score in the prolonged duel for national bragging rights back to parity at 12-12, winning her last two engagements with Henin in thrilling fashion.

The manner of the two marathon victories – both going to a deciding set tie-break, in a Brisbane final and a Miami semi-final – reminded the public what they had been missing.

Seles was as captivated as anyone by the seamless return of both Belgians to their former high standards.

"Having Kim and Justine back in harness and ready to challenge the Williams sisters and the top Eastern Europeans for the big titles is just what women's tennis needs at the moment," said Seles, during a recent visit to Abu Dhabi as an ambassador for the Laureus Sports Awards.

"Tennis needs rivalries," said Seles, who had expected a stronger one to develop between the Serbian compatriots Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion, and Jelena Jankovic, who rose to No 1 in the world without winning a grand slam.

"You want to see the best players meeting each other and needing a third-set tie-break to separate them," she said. "That's when you see the highest level of tennis.

"I think for Kim to have a child and then come back and win her first grand slam after her return [last year's US Open] was really amazing. Watching her play with such conviction and mental toughness at Flushing Meadows was inspiring to all women, irrespective of whether they have children.

"I think Justine coming back [from a retirement announced two years ago] was also a wonderful development for the game. As soon as she gets back properly into the swing of things she is going to be winning grand slams again.

"That's why 2010 is as good as it gets for women's tennis."

Clijsters' unfortunate absence from the 128-woman line-up in Paris significantly improves Henin's chances of triumphing for a fifth time on the red clay of Roland Garros, according to Seles, who completed a tremendous hat-trick there from 1990 to 1992.

"Justine owned the French Open before she retired so you must favour her for Roland Garros," Seles said. "I can't wait to see her play again there because the French has always been one of my favourite tournaments."

She said: "The French is always going to hold a special place for me. That was the grand slam that I watched as a little kid growing up [in Novi Sad, in the former Yugoslavia] and for many years I thought it was the only grand slam.

"When at 16 I ended up winning my first grand slam there, that was very special. I never believed that so early in my career I could win one."

That victory, she said, gave her enormous self-confidence. She said it made her realise she could play against Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Graf and "maybe I could beat them, too".

"As a player you tend to look forward to certain tournaments and not be as keen as you approach other events. I always used to look forward to the French.

"I tended to play about 22 tournaments a year. Ten of them I couldn't wait to get to, five of them I couldn't care if I never went there and the others I just got on with the job.

"I was really very lucky at Roland Garros because they always cheered for me, even if I was playing [local favourites like] Amelie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce. I always appreciated that. You like to play in places where the crowd enjoy watching you. I think the Paris crowd enjoyed my game. It was the only place at the start of my career where nobody complained abut my grunting on court!"

Seles, is still tormented by the harrowing experience she endured in Hamburg in 1993 when Gunter Parche, an obsessively fanatical supporter of Graf, made his crazed attempt to remove his idol's biggest threat by thrusting a knife between Seles's shoulders.

The serious injuries kept Seles off the world circuit for more than two years, but she showed remarkable courage by winning her comeback tournament – the 1995 Canadian Open – and went on to complete her grand slam haul of nine by adding the following year's Australian Open.

She hopes that hers will be the last such on-court assault.

"I really don't know how good security is nowadays because I haven't played for such a long time," she said.

"After what happened to me I just hope it never happens to anybody else. You want athletes to be comfortable whenever they step into the arena that they are going to perform in, whatever sport it may be."


Meet Monica Seles In New York City


Two weekends after the French Open ends, you can share a cocktail with a French Open champion in New York City.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame will present a special evening with 2009 Hall of Famer Monica Seles on Saturday, June 19th. A cocktail reception will be held with Seles from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the River Club at 447 East 52nd Street in New York.

Tickets cost $150 apiece with all proceeds benefitting the International Tennis Hall of Fame. For more information please call Marguerite Jonest at (401) 324-4057 or email


Seles coming to Family Circle Cup


CHARLESTON, SC - The Family Circle Cup announces that Monica Seles, former World No. 1, nine-time Grand Slam champion, and Family Circle Cup finalist in 1997, has been added as the fourth player in Game, Set, Rock! Tennis. Amplified., an evening of music and tennis entertainment featuring John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Anna Kournikova.  Game, Set, Rock! Tennis. Amplified. is scheduled to begin at 7:00pm on Saturday, April 17, 2010 during the Family Circle Cup, a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Premier Event, currently underway at the Family Circle Tennis Center in historic Charleston, South Carolina.

This tennis exhibition is designed as the keystone of the tournament’s week-long celebration of its 10th year in Charleston. The Blue Dogs, Charleston’s favorite country, bluegrass, and roots-rock sons, will entertain the crowd throughout the event, and will conclude the evening with a special performance in Family Circle Stadium.

“Monica Seles has recommitted herself to fitness and a healthy lifestyle, which is strongly aligned with Meredith Corporation’s dedication to empowering strong and healthy women,“ said Bob Moran, Family Circle Cup General Manager.  “Monica is a great champion who has enjoyed tremendous success throughout her career, and we know our fans will be very happy to see her return to the tennis court at the Family Circle Cup.“


“I’m so excited to be a part of this event at the Family Circle Cup,“ said Seles. “I have so many great memories of playing this event, and I’m really looking forward to coming to Charleston.“

Monica Seles is one of the greatest Sony Ericsson WTA Tour players of all time. Her resume includes nine Grand Slam titles (four Australian Opens, three French Opens and two US Opens) and 178 career weeks as the No.1 player in the world (fifth-most all-time and the second-youngest player ever to rise to No.1 after Martina Hingis).

Seles reached the semifinals or better in three out of five appearances at the Family Circle Cup, her best showing being a runner-up finish to Martina Hingis in 1997 in an absolutely electric final, pushing then-world No.1 Hingis to the limit before falling in a third set tie-break.  Seles was a semifinalist in 1998 and 2000.

Game, Set, Rock! Tennis. Amplified tickets are available as a stand-alone ticketed session via, Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone (800) 745-3000, local Publix outlets, and at the Family Circle Tennis Center ticket office weekdays from Monday through Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm.  Box Level seating is available for $35, Terrace Level for $25, and Grandstand for $15.


Monica Seles: Why I believe Serena Williams will be The Greatest


Monica Seles believes Serena Williams can become the greatest women's tennis player of all time by beating Margaret Court's incredible record of 24 Grand Slam titles.

While Williams, at 28, is only halfway to that total, Seles, the former world No 1 and winner of nine Grand Slam titles herself, insists that the achievement is still not beyond her.

'If Serena can stay fit she'll beat all the records,' said Seles after Williams became Sportswoman of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards.

'I appreciate she's got a bit to go yet, but really think she'll do it because she has the potential to be the greatest player of all time. Serena now possesses every attribute required to be the best, and to stay the best.

'She has a great serve, a sweet return, fantastic movement and all this is combined with awesome power. As if this is not enough, no player comes close to being as mentally strong as her.'

To beat the Grand Slam record of Australian legend Court, Williams would have to increase her annual tally of titles considerably.

Since the 'Serena Slam' of 2002-2003, during which she won an incredible five titles, injuries and erratic form have restricted her Grand Slam wins to six in seven years

But Seles is adamant that -despite the evidence of her abusive outburst against a line judge at last year's US Open, for which she received a suspended three-year ban from the tournament - Williams has matured professionally and personally.

'We all know that Serena has had some difficult moments, especially the passing of her older sister, as well as some injury and motivational problems,' said Seles.

'But she has proved how tough she is to bounce back in such style when everyone seemed to have written her off.

'Now I believe she's matured as a woman and has a balanced life.

'She used to be criticised before for not committing every single minute of the day to tennis, but believe her other interests have kept her mentally fresh and her love for the game intact.'

Williams won two Slams last year, including her third Wimbledon title, and started 2010 by winning the Australian Open in emphatic style.

Seles believes that not even the return from retirement of the two Belgians, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, will stop the American from dominating the women's game.

'I reckon Serena's playing her best tennis ever right now,' said Seles. 'She seems to have moved up a gear. She's moved on.

'You can't really make comparisons with previous eras, but it's hard to see any of the greats living with Serena when she's playing as well as she did in the Australian Open.'

Seles could well have doubled her own tally of major titles, such was her dominance of the women's game in the early Nineties. But her career was derailed by the knife attack on her by an obsessive fan, and her subsequent depression saw her become addicted to food and her weight balloon.

'I was No1 in the world, then a terrible thing happened to me and the stabbing, together with my father battling with cancer, made me very depressed,' she said.

'That was when I turned to food and suddenly was carrying an extra 40lb of weight.

'It was only when stopped playing tennis that was able to deal with my addiction.

'I'm not one to ask "what if?" The truth is I'll never know what might have happened. What I do know is that I'd won eight Grand Slams before was even 20 years old, so it's reasonable to assume might have won a good many more if it hadn't been for the stabbing.

'To think about that, however, would be dangerous, depressing and not achieving anything.

'I prefer to go around schools in America and address the rising obesity problem. As I suffered from it myself, know what I'm talking about.

'I bring a 10lb weight vest with me and ask kids to run around wearing it, pointing out that this, and much more, was the extra weight carried while playing tennis.

'With the President's Council in America they're really looking to combat childhood and female obesity and I'm very committed to helping the cause because I know how much misery it causes.'

Seles is also keen to promote skill over looks in tennis.

'I was bombarded with a certain image of a glamorous tennis player when I started out,' she explained.

'I went the other way, always wearing a hat because all I was interested in was winning, not looking pretty. It's important for girls to know this.

'Sport is about winning, not how you look, and girls need to understand this for their own self-esteem.'


'Can't wait to watch Kim and Justine play'


It was a much happier Monica Seles that one saw during the Laureus World Sports Awards function here on Tuesday. The horrific past — a man stabbed her from behind in 1993 when she was the No. 1 ranked women's tennis player during a break between games in Hamburg — is well behind her.

As an Ambassador of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, Seles is seriously into quite a few social initiatives. In this interaction with the media, the 36-year-old, winner of nine Grand Slam singles titles, says why she believes 2010 will turn out to be very interesting for women's tennis.

On Laureus: Though I have attended the awards function many times before, I became an Academy member recently when Edwin Moses, Chairman, Laureus Academy, requested me. I believe in the message of Laureus and what it stands for.

I am honoured to be invited for the function. I have been involved in a project in South Africa and two different projects in New York. I went to the White House this year to push for equality for women's sports.

On sports making a change: The life skills that sport teaches you are really invaluable. From discipline to having a good body, there are a lot of things young girls can learn from sports.

On Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin's comeback: I think for Kim to have a child along the way and come back and win a Grand Slam (US Open) last year was really amazing.

The way she played with such mental toughness and conviction in the US Open will be an inspiration for any women.

Justine's comeback is great for the sport. She has already shown her mettle in the Australian Open this year (she lost to Serena in the final). I think 2010 is going to be as good as it can get.

With the two pushing Serena, Venus Williams, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic and Dinara Safina, it is going to be really good. To me all this is going to be great as a tennis fan.

On rivalries: Definitely, as a former player when I watch, I'd like the best players to play against each other. That's where you see the highest level of tennis being played. The Australian Open was great.

The French Open will be even more interesting. Justine will be the favourite to win the French Open. But Kim is a great mover and a fantastic player. I can't wait for the French Open to start and watch Kim and Justine play.

On highs and lows: I have faced my share of highs and lows. I have no regrets. The highs were in my control while the lows were not.

Other activities you are involved in: I do tennis clinics for kids in the USA as I like them to get involved in sports. I also give motivational speeches for women on weight loss issues.


Seles recalls pain of being cut off from the game


Monica Seles during a press conference at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi Tuesday on the eve of the Laureus Awards. March 9, 2010.

Abu Dhabi: Recounting one of the darkest moments in the history of sport, former tennis great Monica Seles recalled her struggle to stage a comeback after being stabbed by a stalker on court while still at the peak of her game.

Seles was world number one when she was stabbed in the back during the quarterfinal of a tournament in Hamburg in 1993 and was rushed to hospital with a wound half-an-inch (1.5cm) deep in her upper back.

Speaking to Gulf News in an exclusive interview during her visit to Abu Dhabi in connection with the Laureus Awards, Seles said, "It was definitely a very difficult period. At that time I was only 19 years old. And at the top of the sport."

"But one of the things I am so proud of is that I tried to come back and do something that I really enjoyed doing, which is playing tennis," said the American star.

Seles said she has managed to put that incident behind her now and never even thinks about it now.

"Not at all, that was in 1993, it is history, I am very much happy now."

No regrets

"I retired from sport officially two years ago. And I look back at how wonderful my career was.

"As a little girl I picked up a tennis racket when I was six years old. And never dreamt of where tennis would take me.

"Now I am 36, life comes with a lot of highs and a lot of lows and I definitely had both.

"The Bottom line is that I got to do something I loved. And enjoyed it," said the winner of nine Grand Slam titles, eight of them as a Yugoslavian and one after taking US citizenship.

When asked is she felt she had any unfinished business, Seles said, "Not really, never thought of it that way.

"One of the things I knew when I stepped out each time on the tennis court was to give 110 per cent, so for me that was very important and now when I look back, I really don't have any regrets."

"I had a wonderful set of parents who helped me in sports, education, they gave me a wonderful balance."

Seles, who took part when the inaugural Dubai Open women's tennis was played said she would love to be here in Abu Dhabi as a fan the very first year there is a women's tennis event.

"Well it [Abu Dhabi] is just beautiful. I wish we had a women's tournament here in Abu Dhabi . I very much hope we will. It will be wonderful to have a tournament here. I played during the first tournament in Dubai and I hope I will come here as a spectator when it is held here for the first time," she said.


Laureus World Sports Awards to feature world's best in sports


Abu Dhabi: The who's who of the sporting world will descend on the UAE capital when it hosts the 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards on March 10.

Among the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy and the Laureus Friends and Ambassadors programme expected here are a host of names from the world of cricket, athletics, motorsports, football, golf and many more.

From the racing fraternity, there is Giacomo Agostini, the Italian multi-time world champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and Mika Häkkinen, the two-time Formula One World Champion.

Also coming are British racing legend David Coulthard and tennis and cricket stars, Sir Ian Botham, OBE, who was recently inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame; and Kapil Dev, one of India's greatest cricketers.

Brian Lara, widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time; and Monica Seles, former World No. 1 professional tennis player and a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame are also expected to attend.

Also flying in for the event will be football legend Franz Beckenbauer; golf stalwart Gary Player; American professional skateboarder Tony Hawk; and English rower Sir Steven Geoffrey Redgrave, who won gold medals at five consecutive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000.

Morne du Plessis, the former South African rugby union player who is often described as one of the Springboks' most successful captains is also flying in.

In addition, a wealth of athletic stars will also be present such as Sergei Bubka, the Ukrainian pole vaulter who was repeatedly voted the world's best athlete, and many others.