Now 29, Seles still loves the game, but she has never been the player she was before the attack. Parche carved a hole in her career: 27 months lost; weight problems and distraction ever since. But what's usually forgotten is that just before Hamburg, her life had hit its stride: She was 19 years old and No. 1 and loving it, striking a perfect balance among tennis, family and friends. "I was really happy for the first time," she says.
Seles's bitterness has lost some of its bite. She insists she'll never play in Germany again, but her hitting partner is a young man from Hamburg, and she might visit the country again, as a tourist. "It's one thing I'll never forget," she says of the stabbing, "but I've moved on. I have my days when it's not so great, but what's past is past. It's gone."
But never for long. Last July the US Federation Cup team of Seles, Davenport, Lisa Raymond and Meghann Shaughnessy played Israel in Springfield, Mo. Terrorism fears and the presence of Israeli athletes made the unheralded event seem as attractive a target as the Super Bowl. Each morning search teams with dogs would scour the players' rooms. Police escorts flanked the players at meals. Snipers manned rooftops. The night before play began, two security men met with the U.S. team as a group.
The men spoke of what to do in case of attack: Run for the tunnel; run for the van; worry about yourself. Three of the women gasped and said, "Omigod." No one spoke to Seles; no one dared. They all watched her out of the corners of their eyes, but she didn't speak. Until the men stopped talking, she kept her head bowed, staring at the floor.