German news outlet Welt reports that Gunter Parche, the man who stabbed Monica Seles on the tennis court 30 years ago, died last year at the age of 68 in a nursing home.
For the last 14 years of his life, Parche resided in a nursing home located in Nordhausen, Thuringia, Germany where he received palliative care in a single room. During his final four weeks, Parche remained in bed until he peacefully passed away one night in August 2022.
Gunter was a die-hard Steffi Graf fan who couldn’t handle the fact that Seles had dethroned his heroine from the No.1 position in the WTA rankings. As he testified in court, he wanted to “hurt Seles so much that she couldn’t play tennis for a long time.”
On April 30, 1993, during a break between games in the quarterfinals of the Citizen Cup in Hamburg, the mentally disturbed man approached Seles from behind and stabbed her in the back with a boning knife. Fortunately, the 19-year-old tennis phenomenon had leaned forward to grab a water bottle, which resulted in a less severe injury than it could have been.
Even though she recovered physically in several weeks, Seles struggled with psychological consequences for years to come. Her career was never as successful as before, although she won one Grand Slam title after the attack, the 1996 Australian Open, improving her total number of major titles to nine.
Seles, now 49, is by far one of tennis’ greatest lost potentials. She was on equal playing fields as 22-time Grand Slam champion Steffi Graf and very likely could have achieved a similar magnitude of success. The absence of Seles during her hiatus as well as her loss in form upon her return surely gave Graf the advantage of having fewer obstacles on her path to Grand Slam glory. The fact that Seles managed to beat Graf on the big stage even after her hiatus is a sure sign she had what it takes to have stolen some of the German’s titles during those lost years.