"The mental toughness puts (Graf) right up there with the Michael Jordans, the Wayne Gretzkys and the John Elways.
"It's a great loss for women's tennis, but I love the fact that she's doing it on her terms."
_ TRACY AUSTIN
Former U.S. Open champion
"Chris Evert might have been steadier, Martina Navratilova might have been a stronger, more versatile athlete, but Graf brought to bear a combination of intensity and quickness even they couldn't match."
_ STEVE WILSTEIN
Associated Press tennis writer
"She never even waved goodbye. Earlier this summer Steffi Graf stepped off the court at Wimbledon, the tournament that will now go down as her final Grand Slam, without any fanfare. Graf said she didn't want to upstage Lindsay Davenport, who had just won, so instead of sentiment, Graf left with just a smile. And then Friday, she simply left."
_ RACHEL ALEXANDER
Washington Post tennis writer
"If it hadn't been for her perpetual ailments, who knows how many more titles Graf would have won? Graf excelled on all surfaces _ clay, hard courts, grass and indoor carpet.
"Others may have hit the ball harder, served faster or volleyed better, but Graf didn't need to change."
_ STEPHEN WILSON
"When you're at the top, it is not easy to maintain it. She had an unbelievable career, did it with a lot of class. She made the racket do the talking. I have always looked up to her the way she approached the game."
_ PETE SAMPRAS
Men's top-ranked player
"What I thought was really great was the older she got and the more she was winning, probably in the mid-'90s, the happier it seemed to make her. When she was playing in the '80s and just dominating, she never looked that happy and I think she really learned to appreciate the game the older she got and more she played."
_ LINDSAY DAVENPORT
Woman who beat Graf in '99
"(Graf's retirement) gives me goose bumps. Also knowing I will never have the privilege of playing against her makes me sad. Steffi Graf was always my measure of greatness."
_ ALEXANDRA STEVENSON
1999 Wimbledon semifinalist
"Graf's motivational forces were internal, not external. She never longed for the sort of rivalry shared by Navratilova and Evert because her main opponent was always herself. Perfection was her goal in every match."
_ ROBIN FINN
New York Times tennis writer
"Steffi is the all-time greatest singles player."
_ BILLIE JEAN KING
Six-time Wimbledon champion
"She's been a great player, a great champion, a good person and a friend. No one can replace Steffi. It's kind of hard to think she isn't going to be there anymore."
_ ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO
Rival who was 2-5 against
Graf in Grand Slam finals