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“Steffi Graf is my favorite player, Venus and Serena Williams would be my 2nd & 3rd”- When Richard Williams spoke about his admiration for German icon

Venus and Serena Williams’ father Richard Williams once said that Steffi Graf was his favorite player ahead of his daughters.The year was 1999 and the German faced Venus Williams in the semifinals of the Lipton Championships (now known as the Miami Open) in Key Biscayne, Florida. The American triumphed 6-2, 6-4 to set up a title clash against her sister Serena Williams, who beat Martina Hingis in the other semifinal.

Richard Williams spoke to reporters after the match and was asked how he felt about his daughter’s wins over Graf and Hingis. He replied by saying that Steffi Graf was his favorite player and his daughters were second and third. Williams said that the reason he admired the German so much was because she carried the tour at a time when the other players didn’t in his opinion.
“Actually, Steffi Graf is my favorite player on the Tour, and Venus and Serena would be my second and third. I admire Steffi Graf more than any player. The reason I admire Steffi Graf so much, when other players was not there, Steffi Graf was there,” Williams said.
“Steffi Graf, as far as I’m concerned, took the WTA, the Tour, and everyone else on her shoulder and did a marvelous job. I wanted to see my daughter beat Steffi Graf, but I guess I was hoping Steffi would win, too. But in reality, I really wanted to see Venus win. Steffi Graf is my favorite player,” he added.

Steffi Graf faced both Venus and Serena Williams during the latter stages of her career.She locked horns with Venus Williams five times, the first of which came in Los Angeles in 1996. Graf won the match 6-4, 6-4, before beating the American again in the quarterfinals in Sydney three years later. Venus Williams won the next two fixtures between her and Graf, including the aforementioned semifinal in Key Biscayne.The last meeting between the two came in the quarterfinals of that year’s Wimbledon Championships, and the German won 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.Graf faced Serena Williams just twice, both of those encounters coming in 1999. The first meeting between the two came in the Round of 16 in Sydney, with the German edging out the American 6-2, 3-6, 7-5. Their second encounter came in the final of the Evert Cup (now known as the BNP Paribas Open) in Indian Wells, and this time, Williams triumphed 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.


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