Steffi Graf is one of the world’s greatest professional tennis players of all time. The German tennis star began her career at an early age and quickly rose to be a star player during the late 1980s and through the 1990s. During her career, she won a total of 22 Grand Slam singles titles. Although she hit some low spots in her career due to injuries, she regained her prestige on the courts. Along the way, she made a lot of money. Here’s how Steffi Graf achieved a net worth of $30 million.
Early Love of Tennis
Stephanie Graf was born in Mannheim, West Germany on June 14, 1969 and grew up in the town of Brühl with parents Heidi and Peter and her younger brother Michael. Her father, a car salesman, was also a tennis coach and began teaching Steffi how to swing a racket when she was just a toddler. Steffi began practicing on the tennis court with her dad when she was 4 years old and played her first game when she was just 5. In 1982, at the age of 13, Steffi became a professional tennis player. That year she won the European Championship. She was soon competing against some of the greatest female tennis players of all time including Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. Through her early career, Steffi’s dad, Peter, coached her. Her dad didn’t want her to burn out, so she practiced four hours a day. While traveling, Peter limited Steffi’s social time, however, because he did not want her to lose her focus on tennis.
Her Tennis Career
Steffi Graf’s first big win in her professional career was the WTA Tournament in the Family Circle Cup in Hilton Head, South Carolina. She beat Chris Evert and went on to win the next three tournaments in South Carolina and Germany. In 1987, Steffi had six tournament victories and defeated Martina Navratilova in the French Open final. The following year, she defeated Chris Evert in the Australian Open and won a gold medal in the Olympic Games. Steffi regularly played singles and doubles in tournaments. During the early 1990s, Steffi Graf hit a rough patch in her career when she was plagued with injuries, illness and personal problems. She contracted rubella and had back knee, calf and foot injuries. She did recover in 1994 and won the Australian Open that year defeating Arantxa Sánchez Vicario. The following year, Steffi was beset with personal issues when she was investigated for tax fraud. Her father, who was her coach, manager and financial manager, was convicted and imprisoned. During the late 1990’s, Steffi Graf was able to overcome her personal issues and injuries and continued to play well, winning several tournaments. She retired from professional tennis in 1999. During 1999 and 2000, Steffi went on a “Farewell Tour”. She played in several exhibition matches in Germany, Spain, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa. Throughout her career, Steffi Graf won many singles titles in major tennis tournaments. She won seven titles at the Wimbledon Games, six titles at the French Open, five titles at the US Open, and four titles at the Australian Open.
Throughout her tennis career, Steffi Graf won many awards and has been honored since her retirement from professional tennis. Between 1987 and 1996, Steffi won the ITF World Championship title seven times and won the WTA Player of the Year Award eight times. Between 1989 and 1999, Steffi won the German Sportsperson of the Year Award. After her retirement from professional tennis, the Berliner Tennis-Arena was renamed “Steffi-Graf Stadion” in 2004. Steffi Graf was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004 and into the German Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Much of Steffi Graf’s wealth comes from endorsement deals during her career. She endorsed Dunlop and wore their apparel. She signed an endorsement deal early in her career with Adidas and and helped create the “St Graf Pro” line. Steffi Graf also endorsed Wilson, car manufacturer Opel and Australian deodorant brand Rexona. Other endorsements included Barilla, Apollinaris, Danone and Teekanne. In 2006, Steffi signed an endorsement deal with Head and helped develop the company’s “Star Series” tennis rackets in 2010. Steffi also appeared in print and television ads for Canon, Inc. and Longines wich she became Brand Ambassador for in 2007. Most recently, Steffi Graf became the Brand Ambassador for Kerala Tourism in 2015. She promotes tourism in North America and Europe.
While playing tennis professionally, Steffi Graf had homes in Brühl, Germany, Boca Raton, Florida and a penthouse in the SoHo district of New York City. She dated race car driver Michael Bartels but would marry tennis pro, Andre Agassi in 2001. The couple has two children, Jaden and Jaz, and live in the Las Vegas Valley. Steffi’s mom and brother live there as well. Neither Graff or Agassi has pushed tennis on their children. Their son Jaden plays baseball and plays for the University of Southern California. Their daughter Jaz tried tennis but didn’t really like it. She enjoys horseback riding and dance. During her career, Steffi Graf gave back to her communities and helped to establish organizations and facilities for children. In 1991 Steffi started the Youth Tennis Center in Leipzig, Germany. She founded a non-profit foundation, “Children of Tomorrow” in 1998 to support children traumatized by war.