Every athlete has a hidden dream: to dominate their sport and make their mark on its history. In tennis, for example, one woman made her mark in the 1990s : Steffi Graf.
The German legend is internationally renowned for having dominated women’s tennis between 1987 and 1998 and is still the icon of the world’s debutantes. To find out just how much Steffi Graf has left her mark on the history of the game, you have to request a trip back to 1925! Even if this date seems very, very far away, it is still very important because it is from this year that the French internationals admitted foreign players. Thus, for 95 years, it has been possible for a single person to win a singles title in the four modern “Grand Slam” events.
This is how Steffi Graf made her name. Between 1987 and 1998, a period of ten years, the German legend became the only player to win more than 20 of the 40 possible titles. As bwin reports in a survey of the most dominant champions in modern sport, she has won a Grand Slam 21 times: seven out of ten Wimbledons, five French Opens, five US Opens and four Australian Opens. Currently, no one in the tennis world has broken that record, not even Roger Federer and Martina Navratilova, who have won 17 singles championships over ten years. Recently, Serena Williams has been impressive on the WTA Tour, but never at this level!
By comparison, Graf is even better than Tiger Woods in golf. As in tennis, four major competitions are held each year and the American champion has scored 15 victories in 10 years: four times the PGA and three times the other trophies. The only man to have triumphed more often in golf is Jack Nicklaus, who has done so 18 times. However, he has never had a 10-year period of total domination as he has never won more than 10 titles in a decade.
In Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton is not far from writing a new page in his legend and in the world of sport in general. If the British driver wins one more world championship title before 2024, he will surpass Michael Schumacher’s record of six in the space of a decade. The German had his big period of dominance between 1994 and 2003, while the Mercedes driver has won six of the last seven titles.
In 2021, he is well on his way to lifting another world championship trophy, even if he is not first in the standings. He will have to do better than bookmakers’ favourite Max Verstappen by the end of the season if he is to add another title to his tally. Apart from Hamilton and Schumacher, only one driver has managed to win at least five F1 World Championship titles over a ten-year period: Juan Manuel Fangio, more than 50 years ago. The Argentinian won the second title in history in 1951 and then four consecutive titles between 1954 and 1957.