Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2
This is an old article from Amy Cotrell's google group and might have been posted here as well but thought would post it anyway.
Steffi is referred as 'Stefanie' whole through the article, also she talks about being mad at herself despite winning a match at 6-0,6-0 score as it was just not that good. Loved the last few lines though.
The Most Beautiful in the Land
Ten minutes more, then she will be here. She had just called to announce
that from her car. Stefan, the photographer, nearly looks like he needs to
puke. And yet, he is used to dealing with supermodels. A clear case of
Steffi-fear. But why should we fare any better than her opponents? They are
also petrified before the match and must madly pluck at the strings of their
tennis racquets in order to calm themselves a little.
At least if it wouldn't be so damn hot! 40 degrees Celsius and greenhouse
humidity. At any rate, our heads are as red as lobsters on the boil. Not
exactly ideal conditions for a meeting with Germany's most famous star. If
Stefanie doesn't politely tear us to pieces herself, then her bodyguards,
press advisers, and manager are bound to. Of that we are quite sure. Soon
they'll all be here and then we'll catch it.
If she could read our minds, Stefanie would presumably burst out laughing at
the top of her voice. She likes to do that when something is embarrassing or
awkward, like a designer dress with black shoulder spaghetti straps [? =
Puscheln?], for example. She looks captivating when she laughs, by the way,
because then all the muscles and tendons that one never notices on less
sculpted people seem to laugh along. It's always said she's a melancholy
person. You must be joking!
But since Stefanie can't read minds, naturally, she gets a out of her black
Jeep Cherokee a little skeptically; she has driven up to West Palm Beach all
alone, no trace of minders or guards. She will later ask if we cannot
imagine that she most prefers to lead a completely normal life, like
everyone else, and wouldn't feel at all comfortable otherwise? We were a
little ashamed of our over-the-top clichés about famous people and are
tremendously relieved that they didn't prove true. "Feel free to use 'Du'
with me," says Stefanie, it's that simple. We chat a little about the
weather ("It's pleasantly cool today," says Fräulein Graf, completely
without malicious irony), about her Gummy Bear addiction ("I'm a catastrophe
with that"), about her back, which once again misbehaved, and -- the reason
we are here -- about fashion. Astonishingly, Stefanie knows her way around
the most recent collections almost as well as she does the tennis world
rankings. For example, she observes astutely that Helmut Lang has tightened
operations[?] again this season after the last two were reportedly rather
disappointing. Mind you, this doesn't mean that Stefanie herself is
especially stylish. She is just the casual type, she says, likes jeans and
T-shirts the best, at the most she wears fancy things sometimes at sponsor's
banquets. But other supermodels say that just as often.
She is in Florida, at her house in Boca Raton in order to get fit for the
fall tennis season. Training everyday, appointments with the chiropractor,
going out with friends in the evening. A little boring, Stefanie thinks, and
reproaches herself because she threatens to become too domestic -- a
remarkable sentence from her, considering she is out and about for a good
two thirds of the year. But the woman suffers from an incurable combination
of tennis- and travel-fever. When she finally stops with tournaments, she
says, she most wants only to travel on, finally get to know China or explore
South America. But in principle, she doesn't like imagining at all what she
will do and how she will be once she ceases to be the greatest tennis player
in the world. To that, she loves what she does much too much. Tennis -- for
her that is no mundane game, no means for simply earning a living, but
rather a kind of exercise in perfection. First thing this morning, she said,
she did everything perfectly, almost like a dream, she herself was quite
amazed by it. The ecstasy of perfection that leaves one exhilarated and
finally reconciled with the world. She hasn't played only to win for a long
time now; she has already won everything, and sometimes, she admits, she is
downright angry with herself after a cut-and-dried 6-0, 6-0 win because it
just wasn't that good -- something the public wrongly takes as coldness from
time to time.
Enough with that. They must now go to the trailer. Stefanie will have her
hair styled and make-up put on and try out the clothes that have been
brought along. As always, it's uproariously funny when women rummage through
clothes and dress themselves up. Light laughter, sighs of doubt, my
goodness, that looks stupid, that can only be a joke. She finds the black
G-string especially ludicrous, which she must put on/pull tight, so that
nothing shows through, something she would never, ever wear in real life.
One gladly listens to so many reasons.
And then she comes out. Better: she runs on the piece of beach where we have
built our open air studio, like the ones by the stadium court at Flushing
Meadows. Except that she looks much more stunning than in her tennis
uniform, captivatingly beautiful. She's comfortable with herself, no trace
of insecurity in an unaccustomed role can be noticed. Nonetheless she is
impatient as always when she wants to commence something good. Do something
already, her eyes say, let's get started. And for a moment we feel like ball
kids who have dawdled around.
And then they get going, Stefanie and Stefan. She poses for him good and
proper, it can be easily said, and it is well known the man is used to
supermodels. But he has never had a subject like Frau Graf before, so full
of energy that she can barely be controlled. I should move around? I can do
that, Stefan. While he changes his film, she runs on the beach; when he asks
her to please get back to her pose, she smiles with mild forbearance, "You
surely haven't finished getting your film"; and when it is a new outfit's
turn, she sprints to the trailer/dressing room and comes back at breakneck
speed, has just allowed herself a swallow of mineral water. Then you can
understand a little bit why so many of her opponents despair -- against
Stefanie's efficiency, you simply don't have a chance.
And so it goes for a couple of hours. And at the end, we are all worn out,
except our model. "Take one more photo for me," asks Stefanie, "With a
wildlife T-shirt. Of course it's for a good cause." Everything back in the
box? And she's off. And then John, the man who has been watching us with
fascination the whole time, finally dares to say something. "Is she new in
the market?" asks John in his snack-stand uniform, "A new German model?"
"Yes," we say. "She does her stuff damn well," says John. We think so, too.