Let me take this moment to whine about translating something from German to English that was first translated from English to German. All kinds of inaccuracies are inevitable.
Secondly, let me laugh that little Miss I-Lost-My-Passport/Wallet/Keys/Any-Important-Item has allegedly turned into a model of organization.
21 May 2013
Q: Is it true that Heinz Günthardt, Stefanie's coach at the time, brought you two together in 1999?
Graf: Yes, Heinz was the middle man.
Agassi: Yes, he was helpful ... (grins)
Graf: Many coaches busy themselves as procurers ... (laughs)
Q: Apropos of Heinz Günthardt, he is participating in your first tennis exhibition in Switzerland. What can the spectators expect at this event?
Agassi: I don't yet exactly know what the format will be. But we will be playing a little mixed doubles ...
Graf: ... And playing doubles. We start the day playing with juniors from the area. Mansour Bahrami, Henri Leconte, Heinz Günthardt and Amélie Mauresmo are in on it. That's a fun troupe, you can expect shots that you never see at tennis tournaments. Bahrami and Leconte are the Harlem Globetrotters of tennis!
Agassi: You will see good tennis and a lot of fun. We certainly don't take it so seriously anymore, but we are still proud of our play.
Q: Which do you prefer, playing with or against each other?
Graf: For me, quite clearly together!
Agassi: (thinks about it somewhat longer and then looks at his wife) Yes, that's fun. She still runs so well. That's why I always worry that she will hurt herself when I'm on the other side of the net.
Graf: True, we both worry about each other a lot. We also want to have fun in the process, and when we play against each other, there is too much pressure.
Q: During your professional years, you both played in Switzerland. Stefanie still holds the record with six victories in Zürich. Andre, you played in Basel. What memories do you have of Switzerland?
Agassi: My most beautiful memory was probably in 1986. I was looking for a tournament in between two other tournaments, and I decided on Basel, although I knew nothing about Basel, not even where it was exactly. It went super for me, I reached the quarterfinals and beat a couple of good players. I felt for the first time that I can hold my own against the better players, too.
Graf: I have many tremendous memories of Zürich -- on and apart from the court. That was my favorite time of the year, because it was indoors and I preferred to play indoors. But probably I have even more good memories away from the court. I flew on a helicopter in the mountains. I love the mountains, the lake, and the food. When we were getting to know each other, I was always enthusiastic about Zürich with Andre. I even thought that I might settle down in the area sometime.
Agassi: Early on I promised her that I would go back to Zürich with her one day, if she stays with me.
Q: But then you were dragged to Las Vegas...
Graf: (laughs) Yes, a little bit further away than I thought.
Q: Never problems with the desert climate?
Graf: No. I'm certainly no sun worshiper. I don't especially like the heat. But you don't spend a lot of time outside when it's hot. In the summer we are often in Europe or otherwise travelling, because the children aren't in school then.
Q: You are athletes. So you wouldn't yet feel advancing age like the rest of us.
Graf: But yet a lot is more difficult.
Agassi: It is more difficult, but when something is important to you, you push on through. Sport is a part of our lives. We know our bodies and are rather efficient concerning our fitness routines. I do fitness training four or five days per week -- endurance and strength. And when I have matches, I spend a couple of weeks on the tennis court. because it's nice to prepare for something and take the time for it.
Q: Your two children, Jaden Gil and Jaz Elle, are, interestingly enough, absolutely not enthusiastic about tennis.
Graf: They love all kinds of sports. Jaden's passion is baseball, but when he's on the golf course, he also likes it. Or basketball. We do a lot together, like snowboarding for example, and it's fun for everyone. They inherited our energy.
Agassi: True, they are very active in sports. And it's also important how we feed/support ourselves. There our children can learn the most from us.
Q: Can you set an example with your children from your own childhood, which you sacrificed for pro sports?
Graf: Apart from tennis, not much time remained for certain things that we prefer now. We ourselves wouldn't have gone for snowboarding, the children brought us to it. Jaz likes to ride. Now I've gotten on a horse once again. For the first time in a long time.
Agassi: Until we had children, I always had the feeling I was missing something in life. Not anymore. Because I can spend my time with my children, which many parents can't do, because their work doesn't allow it.
Q: After the end of your active tennis career, a new life began for you. Does everything revolve around your children today?
Graf: The family is at the center. What surprised me is how active the children are. After school, there's homework, baseball, dancing, painting, piano...
Agassi: ... then dinner, bath, and bed.
Graf: There is always something going on. It's a challenge to coordinate everything along with my work for my charity. I try to deal with that in the morning, when they are in school. But it's great when you can put the children in the top spot.
Agassi: I'm also busier than ever. Between businesses and charities, you constantly have to adjust your appointment schedule. Life is a constant balancing out.
Q: Children in general play an important role in your life. The exhibition in Zug benefits Stefanie's children's relief organization "Children For Tomorrow." Andre operates a school in Las Vegas. Why have you focused your charitable work on children?
Agassi: I find it a simple manner to relate to children. Their innocence speaks to me, and their future is still so unbelievably important. How you can help them is somewhat more complicated. Education is the vehicle for their future. That I landed up in our hometown of Las Vegas with the Agassi Prep School was the result of a long process.
Q: How are the roles allocated at home? Which of you is the more strict and who is more like your own parents?
Agassi: Every generation spends a lot of time on giving their children what they themselves didn't have. And thereby you forget to give them what you did have. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses. Steffi's strength is certainly her talent for organization. She is always a step ahead. And you need that if you want to keep pace in our family. I am the one who loses patience sooner. And the children know when my patience is wearing thin.
Graf: We are in tune with each other. We communicate constantly.
Q: Is that why the relationship works?
Agassi: You need goals and interests that go together, and that's the case with us. Time with family and friends is important for both of us. We are good for each other because our differences complement each other. But we are also similar to each other and attend to each other.
Q: Wouldn't a coaching job appeal to you?
Graf: I always still like to have a look at a game, and I'm involved in the Adidas Team Program. They come for two weeks at a time to Las Vegas, in order to prepare for the hardcourt season. It's fun to help the younger generation and pass on experiences and tips. Sometimes it doesn't even have to do with what happens on the court, but rather what's around it. But in order to coach someone, you have to travel 20 to 25 weeks, and we aren't willing to do that.
Q: Professional tennis is a serious affair. Therefore the question: Aside from the clowning interludes of Bahrami and Leconte, what else makes you laugh?
Graf: (looks to her husband for help) What is that TV series called again? "Bang Theory"?
Agassi: Yes, "The Big Bang Theory" -- it's funny.
Q: Apropos of perspective: Roger Federer will one day retire. You already have that step behind you. Will he have to reckon with a shock then, or what advice can you give him for the time after his active career?
Agassi: We have seen with others that it can be difficult. But with us it went rather well. If I had known how good I would do, I probably would have stopped sooner.
Graf: Roger has such a phenomenal career. So many memories and experiences. Probably it will surprise him what else there is in life. He already has two small children, a wife, a foundation -- he has a full life, it will hardly be boring for him.
Q: Can he still improve this at this late point in time in his career?
Agassi: Roger can't surprise me anymore -- only further impress me. His problem is having to compare himself with the best player of all time. Can he be better at 32 than the best of all time? He set this standard.
Graf: He manages his strength very well, and prepares well for the big events. He knows when and how he can bring out his maximum. His career is unbelievably remarkable.
Q: Previously, your perfect days were defined by victories. How does a perfect day look for you today?
Agassi: Time with the children, with friends, to achieve something at work, to fully devote your body and spirit. When you are surrounded by everything that is good and dear to you, you have a marvelous day.