Monica Seles: Tennis Star's Off-Court Battle With Depression, Food Addiction

Former tennis champ tells "20/20" about her struggle with food and depression.

ByABC News
April 14, 2009, 2:44 PM

April 15, 2009— -- Nine-time grand slam champion Monica Seles once ruled women's tennis.

At 16, Seles became the youngest woman ever to win the French Open and in a two-year stretch, she won seven out of nine grand slam tennis championships. Many thought she was destined to be the best women's tennis player in history.

But her career came to a screeching halt on April 30, 1993, when she was stabbed by a deranged fan during a break in a match in Germany . Now, Seles has chronicled her long journey back in her new memoir, "Getting A Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self." Click HERE to read an excerpt.

"I was just sitting down and leaning forward, and that's when I suddenly just like I felt a sharp pain in my back," she said. "And I I looked back and and I saw a person, you know, having his hand and a knife, and then, 'Oh my, this guy put a knife in my back.'"

The German, a fan of Seles' chief rival, Steffi Graf, wound up being sentenced to two years on probation.

It would take longer than that for a traumatized Seles to return to tennis. While she was recuperating at her home in Florida, fellow players voted to strip her of the No. 1 ranking. That shifted millions in endorsement dollars from Seles' pockets to theirs. Seles was disappointed in her fellow players' decision.

"Tennis is a business. So, you know, it's cutthroat as anything, because you're playing in the world stage and anything can go."

Chris Evert remembers when Seles lost her ranking. "She was on the top of the world, and then she was in the gutter after that."