Steffi Graf won her 7th Wimbledon in 1996. It was also the year Steffi celebrated her 27th birthday. In the women's singles 7th match of the tournament, Steffi played Arantxa Sanchez Vicario for the 7th time in a Grand Slam final. In 1994, Marina Navratilova was asked to make a prediction about what life on the women's tour would be like without her. Martina was matter-of-fact, "It's going to be like Steffi and the 7 Dwarfs."
Steffi's 7th Wimbledon was also her 20th Grand Slam championship and the 100th title of her career. She told the press at the time, "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 it into words. It feels pretty awesome right now. It's just incredible to me how the last few years have been going, how I've always been able to rise to the occasion. This is simply unbelievable. It's just been like a dream. I didn't expect it being possible. I felt physically I wouldn't get through it all the way."
On reflection at the time, Steffi told the press, "To see myself in a place of history, I think it's a little too early for me to do." Martina Navratilova was asked to make a comment, "I'm not a soothsayer, so I never will say what will happen, but obviously she's one of the all-time greats. People have asked me what I think where I fit in and I just say I know I'm in that group and she is certainly in that group, as is Monica Seles and Chris Evert and a few others. But to say anything else beyond that is very subjective. I always thought that if anybody could do it, she could because she got started early. She's still in her prime physically, although she's battling her body all the time...But she's winning the battle. It also depends on if there are any players that can threaten her. Right now (back in 1996) Monica Seles is not up to the challenge. The young ones haven't panned out yet...There are no players that really threaten her."
It took Margaret Court 15 years to win 24 Grand Slams (from 1960 to 1975). It took Steffi 12 years to win 22 Grand Slams (from 1987 to 1999). It took Martina Navratilova 20 years to win 167 singles titles (from 1974 to 1994). It took Chris 18 years to win 157 singles titles (from 1970 to 1988). It took Steffi 13 years to win 107 singles titles (from 1986 to 1999). "Knowing the situation I was in 2 weeks ago," Steffi said after winning Wimbledon in 1996, "physically, it just seems amazing to me to really come through like that. I don't know how I do it. I just keep on doing it. I don't care how. I was in pain before the tournament started. My leg wasn't right. But somehow when I'm in there, I just rise to the occasion." Although Steffi won 6-3, 7-5, it took her 1 hour and 28 minutes on Center Court to win the women's singles final.