Graf Has Foot Operation, Pulls out of Australian Open
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Steffi Graf will miss the Australian Open again after undergoing surgery to remove bone splinters from her left foot.
Graf, 26, co-No. 1 in the world with Monica Seles, had the surgery Friday at the Alfred Krupp Hospital in Essen. She had a similar operation two years ago.
``The patient wants to take enough time to complete her recuperation and rehabilitation program without problems,″ said Dr. Hartmut Krahl, who frequently acts as Graf’s physician.
She is a four-time winner of the Australian Open, the first of the year’s Grand Slam events. She also missed the 1995 tournament in Melbourne because of injury.
The surgery comes at the end of a bizarre year for Graf. She won all three Grand Slam events she entered, compiled a 47-2 record and still could consider 1995 a frustrating year because of injuries and family legal woes.
She won the French Open and Wimbledon, then stopped the triumphant comeback of Seles with a classic, three-set victory in an emotion-charged final of the U.S. Open in September.
But even during the U.S. Open, Graf was bothered by the sore left foot.
Physical problems were just part of Graf’s traumatic years.
In August, Graf’s father and long-time manager, Peter Graf, was arrested on suspicion of tax evasion on more than $30 million of his daughter’s earnings.
Peter Graf remains in investigative custody. Investigators also are looking into Steffi Graf’s role in the affair and trying to determine how much about her father’s alleged tax schemes she knew about.
She was interrogated at least twice at length by Mannheim investigators conducting the probe.
On Tuesday, a Mannheim judge will rule whether to release Peter Graf on bail or keep him in prison.
The affair put Graf under an uncomfortable media scrutiny in Germany, and she has largely stayed out of the public eye.
After winning the thrilling U.S. Open final for her 18th Grand Slam title, Graf said:
``This is the biggest one I have ever achieved. Nothing can ever come close to this one. I had a lot of obstacles to climb over. Every time something else was coming up. I just didn’t expect it.″
She then broke into tears at the post-final news conference when questioned about her father.
In the little she played this year, Graf had remained unbeaten through Wimbledon, but in her first tournament after the arrest of her father, she lost in the opening round at the Canadian Open.
She recovered to win the U.S. Open, but again took an extended break to deal with injuries and the tax affair.
Graf reappeared, only to lose in the first round at Brighton in October.
But she bounced back, winning in Philadelphia, then taking the season-ending WTA Championship.
``It’s an incredible end to an unbelievable year,″ Graf said after that victory in November.