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post #1018 of (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 2010, 02:16 PM
country flag R-K-M
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

From The Telegraph,India

My Fundays
Steffi Graf
This tennis legend from Germany became the first tennis player to win all four Grand Slam singles titles and the Olympic gold medal in the same year in 1988. She is the only player to have won all four Grand Slam singles tournaments at least four times each

I grew up in Mannheim on the eastern banks of the Rhine, the second largest city in Baden-Worttemburg, Germany. I had a beautiful childhood but it was short and rather different from that of other children in our country and elsewhere.

I started liking tennis when I was very young. After I was born, my father Peter started playing tennis and giving instruction in it to supplement his income. So, at home, tennis was in the air. I was only three years and nine months when I was given a wooden racket. I would tie a rope between two chairs and that would be the net, our living room was the court and I would play with Dad. Soon I got the basement as the court and there was a sofa which served as the net. I received all sorts of encouragement from Papa. Everyday he would give me sweets or toys as prizes for playing well.

Papa discovered my talent in the game and took me to Munich for a tournament when I was only five years old. That was 1974 and the tournament was for the under-seven age group. I lost and left the court in tears. But very soon I started winning in my age group, and sometimes I even defeated girls who were senior to me.

The very next year Papa contacted the head coach of the Baden Tennis Centre, the regional centre of our national tennis federation. The head coach rejected me first but after playing with me he was rather pleased.

Early in the morning Papa would drive me out of bed and I would practise till 8am. Then I would go to school. This was my life till I turned 13, when I turned professional and had to travel around the world for a lot of tournaments.

For the sake of tennis, I missed out on many things as a child. I loved music and keeping pets. Both my parents were very caring and my younger brother was my playmate. Grandma was affectionate and also a good cook.

Ever since I turned pro, I did not find the time to meet my schoolmates. I missed them very much.

I love peace and hate wars. I am concerned for all children distressed and displaced due to wars. If you like you can also join me in helping them overcome the trauma of war.

Steffi Graf - My Best: "Steffi is the goddess of Tennis" : John McEnroe
"She let her racket do the talking. I've always looked up to her and the way she approached the game" : Pete Sampras
"In my opinion she 's the best lady that has ever played" : Andre Agassi
"She's one of the greatest players, maybe even greatest" : Richard Krajicek
"Steffi is the best all around player of all-time, regardless of surfaces" : Martina Navratilova
"Steffi is definitely the greatest singles player ever" : Billie Jean King
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