Steffi Graf was chasing history in 1996. "I realized that I have been No. 1 for an extremely long time, but I never really was the kind of person who counted the weeks or the years. But to hear the number (377 weeks), it is pretty amazing," Steffi acknowledged.

November 1975 marked the start of the computer rankings. The 21 years between 1975 and 1996, only 7 women tennis players had been ranked No. 1: Steffi, Martina Navratilova (332 weeks), Chris Evert (260 weeks), Monica Seles (178 weeks), Tracy Austin (21 weeks), Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (12 weeks) and Evonne Goolagong (2 weeks).

Steffi's 20th Grand Slam championship was also her 100th career singles title, "It didn't catch me until I went to the locker room, about the 100th title, winning 7 Wimbledons. It is something I've never imagined I would be able to do and be capable of doing. You can't really put into words."

The 1996 U.S. Open men's and women's championships were won by Pete Sampras and Steffi. Pete conceded, "This definitely saved my year…It wasn't a bad year, but this will definitely make the rest of the '96 season very enjoyable to play…I always measure my year by these tournaments. It's crunch time. I've got to use every ounce of energy."

Steffi also won the 1996 year-end Championships. In comparison with 1995, Steffi said, ''In that perspective, I really outdid myself again. It was like a little dream came true.'' Jana Novotna admitted, ''In my generation, I don't think there's anybody except Steffi who can play under no matter what circumstances. The worse the score is, the better she can get. I guess that's what champions are all about." Steffi remarked, ''To win a match in 5 sets is a little ironic, absolutely. It's been a really, really long year for me.'' The best of 5-set final was reintroduced to women's tennis in 1984 for the first time since 1901. At the time, Chris confessed, "The final is 3-out-of-5. I've never played 5 sets in a row. I think physical conditioning obviously is a factor, and then mental concentration. I'm not saying that if I concentrate and I'm out there for 5 sets I’ll win. You've also got to make the shots and play good tennis. But I think that since it is a first, Martina and I will be concentrating." Martina added, "To play a best 3-of-5, mentally you have to be tough. You have to concentrate for a long time. Yet you can't look too far ahead. You've got to play one point at a time."

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