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Steffi Graf and Monica Seles inspired me to play tennis: Kim Clijsters and other WTA players reveal role models on occasion of Women’s Day



Former World No. 1 Kim Clijsters recently said that tennis legends Steffi Graf and Monica Seles inspired her to pursue a career in the sport. Clijsters, along with Billie Jean King and Garbine Muguruza, talked about the role models who inspired them to become number one in the sport on the occasion of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.

In a tweet shared by the official handle of the French Open, Kim Clijsters lauded both Steffi Graf and Monica Seles and said they were the two tennis players she admired while growing up.

“The women, it wasn’t just one woman. It was multiple women who inspired me to play tennis and to keep going and who I looked up to and wanted to be like and move like and have the same footwork like were Steffi Graf and Monica Seles. For her grit and her fighting spirit. Those were the two women that I admired growing up,” she said.

Billie Jean King named Althea Gibson as her inspiration, who was the first African American to win a Grand Slam title.

“I was inspired to become the number one player in the world by the iconic Althea Gibson. She won the first of her five Major titles at Roland Garros in 1956,” Billie Jean King said.

Garbine Muguruza revealed that Switzerland’s Martina Hingis was her source of inspiration in the sport.

“The woman who inspired me to play tennis was Martina Hingis,” Muguruza said.

Sabatini named multiple players as her inspiration, with Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert being her role models in her early days. She added that when she started playing, she was inspired by Graf.

“In my early days I was inspired by Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. And later in my career, even though she was my rival, I was very inspired by watching her and playing against her – Steffi Graf,” she said.

WTA shares rare pictures of Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and other legends to commemorate Women’s History Month

Graf at the Wimbledon Championships 2012. (PC: Getty Images)
Graf at the Wimbledon Championships 2012. (PC: Getty Images)

Steffi Graf, along with Monica Seles and Martina Navratilova, were featured in a recent social media post by the WTA commemorating players who elevated the sport with their contributions.

The WTA shared throwback pictures of the former champions from their archives.

Those champions include 22-time Grand Slam winner Graf, 18-time Grand Slam winner Navratilova, former World No. 1 Seles and 12-time Grand Slam winner Billie Jean King.

“Vibin’ since 1973 and we’re #𝐉𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠,” the WTA captioned the post.

The post also featured former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna, who passed away in 2017 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.

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