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Social invitations on the tour were often declined as Graf's focus was kept on practicing and match play.
Working with her father and then-coach Pavel Složil, Graf typically practiced for up to four hours a day, often heading straight from airports to practice courts.
This narrow focus meant that Graf, already shy and retiring by nature, made few friends on the tour in her early years, but it led to a steady improvement in her play.
She did not win a tournament but consistently reached tournament finals, semifinals and quarterfinals, with the highlight being her semifinal loss to Navratilova at the US Open.Her 22 singles titles put her second on the list of major wins in the female competition since the introduction of the Open Era in 1968 and is third all-time behind Margaret Court (24) and Serena Williams (23).In 1988, she became the only tennis player to achieve the Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam singles titles and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year.When she was nine years old, her family moved to the neighboring town of Brühl. She began practicing on a court at the age of four and played in her first tournament at five.She soon began taking the top prize at junior tournaments with regularity, going on to win the European Championships 12s and 18s in 1982. In 1984, she first gained international attention when she almost upset the tenth seed, Jo Durie of the United Kingdom, in a fourth round Centre Court match at Wimbledon.
The match was played over two days with Navratilova finally winning after saving three match points 6–1, 6–7, 7–6.