Monica Seles - Early Life

Early Life

Seles was born in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia in an ethnic Hungarian family. Her parents' names are Eszter and Károly and she has an older brother, Zoltán. She began playing tennis at age five, coached by her father. Károly Szeles, a professional cartoonist, drew pictures for her, to make her tennis more fun. He is responsible for developing her two-handed style for both the forehand and backhand. Later, her coach was Jelena Genčić. In 1985 at age 11, she won the Orange Bowl tournament in Miami, Florida, catching the attention of tennis coach Nick Bollettieri. In 1986 the Seles family moved from Yugoslavia to the United States, and Seles enrolled at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, where she trained for two years.

Seles played her first professional tournament in 1988 at age 14. The following year she joined the professional tour full-time, winning her first career title at Houston in May 1989, where she beat the soon-to-retire Chris Evert in the final. A month later, Seles reached the semifinals of her first Grand Slam singles tournament at the French Open, losing to world no. 1 Steffi Graf, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6. Seles finished her first year on the tour ranked world no. 6.

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