The red parts = my thoughts
Steffi Graf : "Why would Venus and Serena change their games ?"
Interview by Sylvie Marchal 21/06/10
This May in Las Vegas, Steffi Graf, very rare in the media has forgotten his shyness for an exclusive interview with France-Soir.
After Navratilova, she is the second player to have won the most Wimbledon titles. Steffi Graf, seven titles (1988, 89, 91, 92, 93, 95, 96), has left his mark on this legendary tournament that begins today. From Las Vegas, where she moved with Andre Agassi, she will follow as usual the matches, probably with her two children (I don’t think so but lol)
. Now, "Steffi" or "Stef", spends most of his time with Jaden Gil, 8, and Jaz Elle, 6 years. She spends the rest of her time working for the associations in which she’s committed. Not very comfortable with the media, Graf was very discret while the release of her husband’s book, Open
. For the first time, the former German champion, more in love than ever with the American (lol "more than ever")
, speaks about this shock autobiography.
France-Soir : In his book, Andre Agassi said that you prefer us to call you Stefanie, and not Steffi, why?
Stefanie Graf :
Stefanie I think is a nice name, but throughout my career I was known as Steffi, so this name fits me very well too (ah ah so we can keep on calling her Steffi !)
. For my family and my friends, it has always been Stefanie or Stef. For Andre, it’s Stef. But I answer to both names.
F.-S. : Are you involved in Andre’s foundation ?
We both have our own foundation and we help each other. Unfortunately, the headquarters of mine, Children for Tomorrow, is in Germany, so that I have to travel several times a year. I also travel to different countries that are away from here, like Uganda, Eritrea, Kosovo. I was lucky last year to work for National Geographic and we built a kindergarten in Eritrea. In November, another big project will be launched. We will open a psychological center for children who have experienced trauma in Hamburg, including children of refugees. Actually, I come back three to four times a year in Germany, mainly for business. I have some partnerships there. During the summer holidays, I can take the kids with me.
"It's his life and his way, so I let him bring all his memories together and speak about it as he wanted to"
F.-S. : What did you think of Andre’s book ? Did he speak about it with you before writing?
When he decided to publish a book, he didn’t know what he was going to tell. Writing is difficult. You have to analyze, understand your life and open yourself. I saw him working on his book for three years. He made me read a lot of extracts. There have been different versions. It's his life and his way, so I let him bring all his memories together and speak about it as he wanted to. He asked me several times about different parts of the book, but it’s his life. There was absolutly no probems for me, him writing it.
F.-S. : Did you realize that his career had been so difficult?
Of course, we had already tell each other about our lives, our experiences. Je savais que ça avait été difficile. I knew it had been difficult for him.
F.-S. : Would you write a book like your husband did ?
Oh no, it takes too much time! Ecrire, c'est un vrai sacerdoce et je n'en ressens pas le besoin. Writing is a real priesthood (ok I don’t know if this word exists, it’s “sacerdoce” in French, = really really hard, lol)
and I don’tfeel the need. I'm fine. (me too)
F.-S. : Do you still follow the tour?
I don’t watch it every day, but when there is a Grand Slam, I try to be a little more aware, and to follow some matches. I was asked to comment, but this is not something in which I am very comfortable and actually I don’t have time. It’s a lot of traveling. Andre travels already often for businesses. Tennis gave me the opportunity not to work and to raise my children. I am very happy like that.
"My children will never be number one '
F.-S. : Do your children play tennis?
Yes, a little bit, but they will never be number one. Jaden prefers baseball. They also love music. They play guitar and piano.
F.-S. : What do you think of the German team who lost against France in Fed Cup ?
It’s a generation issue. I have discussed several times about it with Barbara Rittner, the Fed Cup captain. There was a time when there were more players, while now there is only a few.
F.-S. : Don’t you think that all the girls play the same way today?
I think that tennis has become more athletic and faster. The players start to play very early on tour. But it takes time to develop, find your game, and learn to vary. But Venus and Serena are dominating the tour by playing the same way for years. So why would they change their game? (because it’s boring ?!)