updated 12/25/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/25/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST
Two years older, an inch taller (5'10½") and a century wiser than when she was carried from a tournament in Hamburg, Germany, after a deranged spectator plunged a knife into her back, Seles has fought hard to regain her confidence. The wound healed, but the echoes of her screams, she told SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, "stayed with me a long time." While undergoing physical and psychological therapy, she also learned French, fell in love with Jimi Hendrix's music and began to empathize with the wounded of the world. "Parents of disabled children write to ask me to encourage their kids to keep on fighting," she says. Seles doesn't waste time grieving over what she has missed. "If you're going to be mad, it won't make it better," she says. "Just try to solve the problem." Now co-ranked No. 1 with Graf, Seles is looking forward to the Olympics. "I think it's important to forget the dark period," says her father and coach, Karoly Seles, "and live every day in the sunshine."