There’s supporting an athlete, and then there’s being so psychotically devoted to that athlete, you endanger somebody’s life in their name. The assailant in the Monica Seles backstabbing story is decidedly the latter.
As ESPNW recalled, on April 30, 1993, tennis superstar Monica Seles (then the top female player in the world) was taking a break during a tournament match changeover. A man named Gunter Parche came from behind and plunged a knife into her back. Thankfully, he didn’t cause much more than a torn muscle, and was stopped before he could do any further damage. It seems his motive was as basic as it was asinine: He was a huge Steffi Graf fan, hated that Graf was merely the second-ranked player in the world, and wanted to stop Seles by any means necessary.
Sadly, Parche mostly got what he wanted. Seles missed 28 months of action, as the attack completely destroyed her will to compete. She sunk into depression, which only worsened after Parche got off with probation, due to a psychiatrist testifying he wasn’t mentally stable. Ultimately, she eked out just one Grand Slam title post-stabbing (she had won seven out of eight before it), and retired in 2003 having accomplished significantly less than what people expected from her. Gunther Parche didn’t just screw up a sporting event — he screwed up a whole sporting career.