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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 02:47 PM   #706
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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.

(Picture)

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 ?
SG :
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?
SG :
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?
SG :
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 ?
SG :
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?
SG :
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?
SG :
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 ?
SG :
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?
SG :
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 ?!)
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 04:33 PM   #707
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Sure you can post it on SGT (without the mistakes )
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 05:30 PM   #708
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Djul - very good and quick. Very impressive in your third language!

This was another interview from that same media day they did in LV apparently - how many did they do that day? And the second one at least where she said she's more in love with him than ever. That's the most telling point she wants to make about the book I think ...

I'd translate for meaning rather than literally the "je savais que ca ete difficile" (how do you make accents here?) as "I knew what had been difficult" and the "sacerdoce" as a commitment/vocation - I'm wondering what word she used that they translated like that! Kind of funny game of telephone there - German speaking (excellent) English as a second language to French and back to English!
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 06:07 PM   #709
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Ps A curious thing about their relationship is this I think: they describe the dynamic in very different ways. He often says she's a kind of brake on him (which god knows he can obviously use. lol...) and he's described that in various ways - she's the safety net on the trampoline for him, she's the governor on his engine etc. But she always acts like she gives him a long long leash as it were - here saying it's his life and she didn't try to control what he said in the book, and I remember at the Hall of Fame when she said they hadn't talked about what he was going to say in his speech introducing her which I found astonishing. Especially because they both seem to have a clearly established penchant for control ... Not sure how their two versions of their relationship actually work out, but apparently they do of course.
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 07:11 PM   #710
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

From my perspective, I think it is more from emotional stand point when Agassi says she is in control (from his book, looked like he hated people taking control of him even from a very young age, be it his father or Nick and he had very strong relationship with Gill who told him that he would not ask him to change for him). When he lost FO to a player ranked in 280s, a British journalist asked him how it felt to go home and face his wife who could easily give a player ranked 283 a good beating, his answer sums up her affect on him "Steffi can say a lot without saying anything. She does not even bother talking about it when she knows that I did not give my best" (something similar since my wording can be a little bit off). I was suprised to hear that she was not involved in writing the book as well but even JR Moehringer stated the same and Agassi even said that she did not read the final edition as he wanted her input to be fresh and objective.
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 07:59 PM   #711
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Actually she and Agassi both said she was involved with the book. She didn't read every version of it - I think he said she read three of nine versions (which more or less lines up with what she said in this interview) - but yes he didn't have her read them all so that he could keep her perspective fresh. I'm sure she made lots of comments and for sure read the last version before they went to press with it... I don't think Moerhinger said she wasn't involved - he said she was initially reluctant but totally on board once they got going with it. Apparently what she didn't say "Don't tell it this way" or "Let's leave the part about the drugs out" etc but that's much different to not being involved at all.

Not sure what you mean she's in control from an emotional standpoint - over him?
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 09:42 PM   #712
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

She does have control but not wittingly, if that makes sense. When he said he wanted her input to be fresh, I interpreted it as the final version and still do. May be she read it before the final print, but do not think she made any changes.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 12:27 AM   #713
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I think it was Andre who described his and her personalities as "different sides of the same coin". But not in the context being complete opposites.
But in a balanced way like: Her Strengths to His Insecurities and His Strengths to Her Insecurites.
One example, and I think it was in an SI article I read, where Andre was described as someone who had a tendency to trust the opinions of others more than his own, doubting himself where Steffi trusts herself more than she trust's others. Because of Steffi's life experiences she had to come to this because the failings of those she had trusted the most and make her own decisions thereby learning to trust herself.
In Andre's life experiences he was never really pushed to have to do this.
Nor during Andre's career or life was he really forced to deal with real serious matters concerning life and death, security versus personal freedom. These were issues that she had to deal with fairly early on that he didnt. Even though perhaps it is maybe part of her personality to do so she was forced to be more reflective on life, to learn about herself, what is meaningful to her. etc.
Whereas Andre writing the book provided him with the opportunity to reflect, learn about himself more,and so on.
I am really not surprised that Steffi did not involve herself in his book more, or in Andre's speech because I think with Steffi, trust is extremely important and I don't think in fact I know it is not something she gives freely and without any clearly defined reasons. For Steffi to trust someone, that trust has to be earned, and the reasons for that trust clearly defined to herself. So the mere fact that she does trust him is why, I think she didn't find it necessary to have to involve herself in the book more than he asked her to,or in his HOF speech.

Last edited by Lynz : Jun 22nd, 2010 at 12:35 AM.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 01:03 AM   #714
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Lynz - agree with you that she trusts him and trust is very important to her. I can remember her saying that she trusted him very quickly at the start and him saying she trusts him to take care of the things that are important to her. That seems the key.

Stef-fan - they have both said clearly that she read several versions of the manuscript while he was working on it.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 01:55 AM   #715
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Not to sound like one of her "I can control how I feel" Teekanne commercials, but I always got the impression of Steffi that self-control , maybe not necessarily controlling others, is something that was more important to her. I wonder if she would want the responsibility, maybe, I don't know.
She said she learned "self-control" on the tennis court at an early age. A process that she admitted was hard at her young age. But something as we saw over and over again she was greatly aided by it on the court.
I was always impressed by her ability to be in control in the most chaotic circumstances on court.
99 R.G, "midnight" Lipton semis v Gaby (can't remember the year but the crowd was crazy, and against her,when Serena complains about the crowd at IW, that crowd's behavior was mild in comparison to how it got that night. The crowd was out of control and the chair could do nothing about it. At one point Steffi walked to the chair,and said "I wish you could do something". She did lose the match but not her emotions or her dignity.)
or the Mazda "there's going to be a riot if another call is reversed" final v Sanchez Vicario. (That quote was what one of the commentators said during the match. The other commentator replied, "what, in San Diego,no,not here". To which the 1st replied to that something like ,I don't about that,hope your right. What happened was Sanchez-Vicario was complaining a lot about calls,which she did in so many matches that it got to be thought of in some circles as an "oh, it's so unfair,the officials are against me" act, both to get calls, and to get the crowd with her. Well during that match she was working the officials hard and the crowd bought it, and turned on the officials and to her side. But Steffi won both the match and the crowd over by joking with them after the match, in fact she had the same people that were booing earlier laughing)

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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 07:22 AM   #716
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynz View Post
Not to sound like one of her "I can control how I feel" Teekanne commercials, but I always got the impression of Steffi that self-control , maybe not necessarily controlling others, is something that was more important to her. I wonder if she would want the responsibility, maybe, I don't know.
She said she learned "self-control" on the tennis court at an early age. A process that she admitted was hard at her young age. But something as we saw over and over again she was greatly aided by it on the court.
I was always impressed by her ability to be in control in the most chaotic circumstances on court.
99 R.G, "midnight" Lipton semis v Gaby (can't remember the year but the crowd was crazy, and against her,when Serena complains about the crowd at IW, that crowd's behavior was mild in comparison to how it got that night. The crowd was out of control and the chair could do nothing about it. At one point Steffi walked to the chair,and said "I wish you could do something". She did lose the match but not her emotions or her dignity.)
or the Mazda "there's going to be a riot if another call is reversed" final v Sanchez Vicario. (That quote was what one of the commentators said during the match. The other commentator replied, "what, in San Diego,no,not here". To which the 1st replied to that something like ,I don't about that,hope your right. What happened was Sanchez-Vicario was complaining a lot about calls,which she did in so many matches that it got to be thought of in some circles as an "oh, it's so unfair,the officials are against me" act, both to get calls, and to get the crowd with her. Well during that match she was working the officials hard and the crowd bought it, and turned on the officials and to her side. But Steffi won both the match and the crowd over by joking with them after the match, in fact she had the same people that were booing earlier laughing)
Didn't Steffi lose that 1992 match 6:3 6:7 1:6 after leading 6:3 5:3?
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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 01:09 PM   #717
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Would have been interesting to get her reaction to the Andre-Pete Hit for Haiti 'disaster'. I'm guessing if she's ever asked that question, she'll say it was a mistake on AA's part, but he's apologized for it, respects pete etc and it's time to move on?
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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 02:07 PM   #718
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The midnight match? Did you see it?
I don't remember the score, but yes, she won the 1st, led in 2nd and lost the 3rd. Didn't pull out the win,Ok, probably not the best example I could give for self control.

Last edited by Lynz : Jun 22nd, 2010 at 02:34 PM.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 03:05 PM   #719
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Irma, I see you are in the Nederlands. I have in-laws in Almere that I adore. I have always enjoyed my visits to your country. So much so that I decided to try to learn the language. I know I don't have to, because everyone that I have conversed with in my trips over the years speak english so well.( In fact people always say," sorry for my english",and then they speak my language perfectly.) But it's something that I want to do.
So I have been studying and there was an interview I saw posted on youtube with Kim Clijsters and I thought ok, Flemish, i think is similar to Dutch so I listened. I could not understand one word she said. Now then yesterday I saw the new Actimel commercial with Steffi, and I understood most of what Steffi said and clearly understood.
I was thinking if Flemish is closer to Dutch than German is, why am I understanding Steffi and not Kim. The only thing that I can fiqure is maybe Kim has an accent that I just can't understand? I don't know.
Before anyone points out the obvious, what I did was I listened to Steffi's commercial first without seeing what she is doing in it to see if I could follow what she is saying without visual clues. And I did. Then I watched it. (Before I started studying Dutch rarely could I fiqure out anything Steffi said German even knowing the context.)
And usually when I am in the Nederlands after a few days I can follow some conversations or if I am watching a program without text, I can understand enough to fiqure out, ok, this is what this is about. Sometimes it's easy but sometimes I have to really concentrate.
And if I am asked something, by someone on the street, or wherever I usually understand what I am being asked, but most of the time I can't reply in dutch.
But listening to Kim, I cant pick up anything that I can fiqure out what she is saying. It is not a knock on Kim, I support her and am enjoying her comeback. But that's why I am a bit puzzled.

Last edited by Lynz : Jun 22nd, 2010 at 04:29 PM.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 04:19 PM   #720
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

http://www.gala.de/starbase/40157/St...ady.html?cp=1#
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