Sabine Appelmans is, without a doubt, one of the best female tennis players Belgium has ever produced. She won her first title in 1991 by defeating Chanda Rubin in Scottdale. She was also a well-known player on the Women’s Tennis Association tour in the 1990s. She won seven singles titles throughout her career. In addition, she reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in 1997, the same tournament Ashleigh Barty is favoured by the bookies to win in 2022.

Furthermore, Sabine has represented her country at three Olympic Games and replaced Carl Maes as captain of their Fed Cup team in 2007. The well-known online betting site Betway spoke to Sabine Appelmans about her career, specifically her most challenging opponents. This article reveals the players she struggled against the most, including perhaps the best female player ever, and what made them such challenging opponents.

 

  • Steffi Graf

Sabine Appelmans identifies Steffi Graf as the most challenging adversary she faced throughout her career. This admission is hardly surprising, given that the talented German superstar achieved a lot during her active years and is still considered one of the best tennis players ever. Graf won 22 Grand Slam titles, the third-most behind Margaret Court and Serena Williams. She was also ranked world number one by the WTA for a record 337 weeks. 

Steffi Graf also won all four Grand Slam singles titles and the Olympic Gold medal in the same year, making her the only tennis player to win the Golden Slam. Sabine regards Steffi Graf as a complete player, praising her excellent forehand drive and footwork. Appelmans also regards Steffi as an icon and looked up to her throughout her career. Finally, she remembers the first time she played against Graf and how difficult it was, highlighting the fact that she won just one game.

  • Monica Seles

Seles comes in at number two on Appelmans’ list of opponents she struggled against the most for good reasons. Indeed, Monica has a 100% win record against Appelmans, defeating her on all six occasions.

Seles was also a fantastic player in her prime, winning nine Grand Slam titles playing for Yugoslavia and America. Additionally, she was the youngest ever French Open Champion in 1990 and is a former world number one. Unfortunately, her time at the top was cut short after she was stabbed by G√ľnter Parche, an obsessed fan of Steffi Graf who did not take her rapid rise so well.

Appelmans remembers her as a great fighter on the court who could use both hands to play everything. Additionally, she mentions how Monica could reach every ball and bring it back into play. Sabine admits that she liked playing against Seles but considered her a challenging opponent because she never beat her.

  • Dominique Monami

Dominique Monami, who played under the surname “Van Roost” for most of her career, is third on Sabine’s list of opponents she struggled against the most. Monami is also Belgian and was the first player from her nation to appear in WTA’s top 19 rankings. Also, she achieved a career-high number nine ranking in October 1998.

In this video Sabine recollects how close they were in the rankings and what great friends they were despite facing each other often. However, she adds that it was never easy to play against a compatriot, especially one she considered a close friend.