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View Full Version : 10/27/07: Graf vs Henin Exhibition in Mannheim, Germany at SAP-Arena for Charity


Forehand_Volley
Oct 4th, 2007, 11:55 AM
http://www.womenstennisblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/steffi-and-henin-1.jpg

Graf to play Henin in show match for charity

Former number one Steffi Graf is to play the current women's top player Justine Henin in an exhibition match in Germany next month for a children's charity foundation.

Graf, 38, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in an exclusive interview that Henin had immediately agreed to the showcase match in Mannheim on October 27.

The 22-times Grand Slam winner's rare return to the court is to help the Children for Tomorrow foundation she formed nine years ago to support children and families in Africa who have been traumatised by war, violence or repression.

Graf retired from tennis eight years ago, but the German played a similar charity exhibition match in Mannheim against Argentina's Gabriela Sabatini two years ago.

Graf won that encounter 6-4, 6-2, but said it would be "ridiculous" to think about beating 25-year-old US and French Open winner Henin.

"I haven't played any tournament tennis for eight years. Sure, I've tried to keep myself fit but playing tennis is different to going jogging, cycling or training with weights."

Graf said she had now started playing some more tennis to get in better shape for the event, but finding time for the court was difficult in her daily schedule with husband Andre Agassi and their children Jaz Elle, three, and Jaden Gil, five.

"If I've had a racquet in my hand eight times this year it's a lot. That's why I can't seriously measure up to someone like Justine. Of course, I will try on October 27 to keep up with her.

"But that's not the point of the event. We want to have some fun, to please the spectators and most of all to do something for the children."

Graf, who was world number one for an uninterrupted 377 weeks between 1987 and 1991, said the idea of playing Henin came after she had built up a friendly relationship with the Belgian over the past few years.

"When I phoned her up at the beginning of the year it was no question for her. She looked in her dairy and immediately agreed to play," Graf said.

Henin has established her own charity foundation to help children suffering from cancer.

The possibility of husband Andre joining the event in a mixed double has not been completely ruled out, although Agassi has his own children's charity event next month.

Since Agassi retired following last year's US Open, there was more time for family life in Las Vegas, although the couple are also busy with hotel and holiday centre projects.

"We were mostly travelling as a family so it's not the time which is the biggest change but the inner calm which Andre in particular has much more of now.

"He no longer has the stress and his calm radiates on the family. Family life is much more balanced. It is the way I wanted it and what I had also thought it would be like from my own experience."

Proceeds from the exhibition match will go to a number of projects including a new therapy centre for traumatised children, new therapy rooms for child victims of violence in townships near Cape Town and the first nursery in Eritrea to include therapy care support.

Forehand_Volley
Oct 4th, 2007, 12:00 PM
Current #1 vs the former #1...it should draw a great crowd and lots of $$$$$ for charity.

Its also nice to see Graf embracing one of the best of this generation to play with. Its nice to see their friendship expanding into something which does good for others.

mauresmofan
Oct 4th, 2007, 12:04 PM
Frauline Forehand vs the Belgian Backhand should be interesting!

Juju4ever
Oct 4th, 2007, 12:05 PM
That's great! :bounce:

Stavie
Oct 4th, 2007, 12:05 PM
Its gonna be wonderful :hearts: :)

Kworb
Oct 4th, 2007, 12:10 PM
Nice :drool:

I wonder how Justine will handle those treacherous slice backhands

Zhao
Oct 4th, 2007, 01:29 PM
take it with a pinch of salt

Pureracket
Oct 4th, 2007, 01:32 PM
I'm surprised Graf is even considering playing doubles with Andre since the last time they played, Andre f*cked her up in the mouth with his racket.

FrOzon
Oct 4th, 2007, 01:41 PM
Current #1 vs the former #1...it should draw a great crowd and lots of $$$$$ for charity.

Its also nice to see Graf embracing one of the best of this generation to play with. Its nice to see their friendship expanding into something which does good for others.

€€€€€

but otherwise you're right! :D

*JR*
Oct 4th, 2007, 01:51 PM
I hope they'll both emulate the great Bruce Springsteen in one respect. Unlike most performers who do a big charity concert now and then, The Boss (sorry Justine) ;) doesn't just donate his time, but contributes $10,000 or so himself. Sure most of the money raised is still from ticket sales, merchandise auctions, and donations, but its nice 2C ppl like that "pony up" themselves. I hope these 2 will follow that example. (Andre has personally funded his Las Vegas program for @ risk youth a great deal BTW).

I also hope that neither takes a dollar, Euro, etc. (though their expenses will properly be paid). It was written somewhere that when Anna K designated St. Judes Childrens Hospital to receive the 30K she won in a skills competition where the $ was going to go to a charity a few years ago, she was paid an appearance fee by the Memphis tournament to show up and present it, money she needed like Siberia does more snow. If this is true, not telling them to add it to what St. Judes got was classless.

Helaena
Oct 4th, 2007, 01:53 PM
yay!!! this would be so fun!!!

:bounce:

keinimod
Oct 4th, 2007, 02:21 PM
I hope they'll both emulate the great Bruce Springsteen in one respect. Unlike most performers who do a big charity concert now and then, The Boss (sorry Justine) ;) doesn't just donate his time, but contributes $10,000 or so himself. Sure most of the money raised is still from ticket sales, merchandise auctions, and donations, but its nice 2C ppl like that "pony up" themselves. I hope these 2 will follow that example. (Andre has personally funded his Las Vegas program for @ risk youth a great deal BTW).

I also hope that neither takes a dollar, Euro, etc. (though their expenses will properly be paid). It was written somewhere that when Anna K designated St. Judes Childrens Hospital to receive the 30K she won in a skills competition where the $ was going to go to a charity a few years ago, she was paid an appearance fee by the Memphis tournament to show up and present it, money she needed like Siberia does more snow. If this is true, not telling them to add it to what St. Judes got was classless.

Justine has set up a whole foundation for sick children, more specificially cancer patients, years ago. It's called "Les vingt coeurs de Justine" which is a double entendre in French with "vainqueur", the former meaning "twenty hearts" and the latter "winners".
Not only does a lot of her money go to it, she also spends some of her time off with the kids. Check it out:
http://www.20coeursdejustine.be/public/index.asp?lg=e

*JR*
Oct 4th, 2007, 08:24 PM
Justine has set up a whole foundation for sick children, more specificially cancer patients, years ago. It's called "Les vingt coeurs de Justine" which is a double entendre in French with "vainqueur", the former meaning "twenty hearts" and the latter "winners".
Not only does a lot of her money go to it, she also spends some of her time off with the kids. Check it out:
http://www.20coeursdejustine.be/public/index.asp?lg=e
Justine is one of my favorite players, and this is one of the reasons. (Presumably she founded 20 Coeurs largely in honor of her late mother, who died of cancer of course). Again, if Kournikova accepted anything other than direct expenses for showing up in Memphis to present that $30,000 check (which wasn't even from her own funds anyhow) to St. Judes instead of saying "add my fee to the contribution" it not only sucks, its virtually a pathological addiction to money.

pigam
Oct 4th, 2007, 08:32 PM
Graf was one of the first persons to call Ju on her cell phone after she won RG this year :D. Ju regulary calls steffi for advise.
It'll be great to see them play against eachother

faboozadoo15
Oct 4th, 2007, 08:38 PM
What great words from Steffi. She seems so peaceful. Good on Justine for accepting to play without hesitation too.

Sounds like a fun event.

gentenaire
Oct 4th, 2007, 08:42 PM
Now this is a match I'd love to see.

Mephisto
Oct 4th, 2007, 08:52 PM
Some days ago there was a big interview with Steffi Graf on eurosport.de and she stated that they both developped a really amicable relationship. She also said that she has great respect for Justine because despite all injuries, illnesses and personal problems Justine faced she always successfully bounced back (esp. this year.) I think those words and their relationship are very important for Justine as Steffi is her childhood idol ...

mauresmofan
Oct 4th, 2007, 10:41 PM
I'm not surprised Justine calls Steffi for advice every once in a while because there are striking resemblences between their games - anyway who better to call than Steffi who beat anyone who was anyone in tennis.

tobe
Oct 4th, 2007, 11:17 PM
wow, what an event! Hopf i get to see it somewhere! Go both!

Steffica Greles
Oct 4th, 2007, 11:46 PM
What's SO interesting is that Graf's already thought of her disclaimers: I haven't had time to practice, I'm too busy, etc. Implicitly, it's almost as if Graf is suggesting that had she more time to practice, she could still reach Henin's level.

Of course, that's ludicrous, but perhaps not in the mind of a 22-time grandslam-winning champion; her ego is built on those achievements. In her mind, she can't bear to think that she's past it. Although, Steffi is, and always was, far too self-effacing to make any explicit claims to have Henin's level within her own scope for improvement.


....But anyway, I always think it is such a shame these two great players' careers did not intersect. Should be great to watch, even if Steffi is too busy to practice! :)

Holden Caulfield
Oct 5th, 2007, 02:37 AM
can't wait

ZeroSOFInfinity
Oct 5th, 2007, 02:53 AM
Wow... Federer vs Sampras exhibition in my country, and now Justine vs Graf... :drool:

Gonna be a month that I won't forget!

(P.S: I really would like to watch a mixed doubles match between Fedex, Agassi, Justine and Steffi... :sad: )

Wtaa
Oct 5th, 2007, 03:15 AM
What's SO interesting is that Graf's already thought of her disclaimers: I haven't had time to practice, I'm too busy, etc. Implicitly, it's almost as if Graf is suggesting that had she more time to practice, she could still reach Henin's level.



Graf's tacky behavior is one of the reasons why I was never a big fan of hers. This just reminded me on what happened in 1997 when her EXCUSE-MACHINE was in full gear. Before, during and after every single tournament. No, after every single match. No, after every single set! It was silly; all the press releases, all the well-timed medical time-outs, etc. And in all those defeats by Coetzer, she never once showed respect for her opponent, never once said her name or admitted to defeat. Coetzer ALWAYS had been a headache for Graf (although Graf won most of their pre-1997 matches), and Graf couldn't stand it.

RJWCapriati
Oct 5th, 2007, 03:31 AM
Hope to see that!