Amy translated a part of the interview on our Steffi board!
The tennis star Steffi Graf is sports history. In spite of that, may I still call you Steffi or have I put my foot in it?
Steffi Graf: For God's sake, no. I really don't care if you address me with Stefanie or Steffi.
dpa: What name is on your passport?
Graf: Stefanie Maria Graf.
dpa: What is your son doing now while we are talking with each other?
Graf: Papa is standing in/helping out and is keeping an eye on him. Jaden Gil is really quite calm/quiet, an angel. He loves to be carried, would like to look at everything and always be in motion. And he laughs a lot.
dpa: Your farewell from the tennis stage was almost three years ago. Do you miss Wimbledon and the other top tournaments?
Graf: Honestly, no. That belongs to a period of my life that is in the past.
dpa: Completely without regret?
Graf: Yes. I've been happy to have the time after my professional career in order to be able to be busy with other things. Nonetheless, I was surprised that it was so easy.
dpa: So you haven't fallen in the hole, like so many others?
Graf: No, not at all.
dpa: That's enviable.
Graf: Naturally. I know to appreciate it, too. But I believe it also has a lot to do with that I was always fascinated by many other things apart from tennis. Then, of course, there is also that I got to know Andre exactly at the same time that I quit tennis.
dpa: Steffi Graf, the child of good fortune?
Graf: Yes, I can put it that way.
dpa: You had many injuries. Do you still play tennis?
Graf: In the last two years, I have played relatively little. But in the past few days, I have hit some balls a few times with Andre because he is just slowly getting back into the feel of playing again after his hand injury. I enjoyed that immensely.
dpa: Are you able to hold your own against Andre?
Graf: Hitting balls is sufficient. When we play tennis together, of course I make a special effort.
dpa: Then as before, you can give no ball up as lost?
Graf: Understandably, I want to play fairly well and then I get angry at myself if doesn't go right. But I've become much more calm. No, it is no longer as it was before.
dpa: Do you play basketball like other tennis players?
Graf: No. I still keep myself fit with jogging, cycling, or weight training. But at the moment, obviously, it's not so easy with the little one.
dpa: So are you still as very fit as always?
Graf: Well, I wouldn't say very fit. After the birth, I don't have the time. The little one determines the schedule, of course. But I do try to exercise a little bit two or three times a week. I also need time for myself.
dpa: Boris Becker plays exhibition tournaments; Michael Stich is Davis Cup captain. Can you imagine something comparable for yourself?
Graf: No, even less actually. Maybe playing an exhibition. But to take part on a senior tour? That's impossible for me to imagine. Just as I don't see becoming the captain of the Fed Cup team or becoming more involved with that in my future. I lack the interest and the time. If I wanted to, then I would want to do something professionally again. But that would mean being involved at the big tournaments. And I can't and don't want to do that.
dpa: Do you feel your bones and all the injuries when you get up in the morning?
Graf: No. I'm glad that my body finally could finally recover a little bit. I notice that in everyday life, too, since I retired. I have absolutely no more problems with my back. Before, I had to get it treated daily and I was constantly worried.
dpa: That sounds good.
Graf: Well, I can also imagine that problems will come when I'm 50 or 60. When you participate so hard in professional sports, you will certainly show the signs of wear and tear much sooner. But at the moment, everything is great with me.
dpa: You and Jaden Gil accompanied Andre to Australia. How long will that go on?
Graf: We will see. That all depends on Jaden's development. If it ever gets to be stressful for him, then it's pointless.
dpa: Your son is almost four months old and loves to travel?
Graf: At the age in which Jaden is now, you can still easily travel with him. He was an absolute angel on all the flights. People even came up to us and said, We didn't even notice that a baby was on board. Naturally, we're glad, because on long flights you have reservations that you'll disturb other people. Flying to and from Australia, he cried for maybe 30 seconds, but only because he was hungry.
dpa: How was it with the time zone change?
Graf: It was only five hours to get to Australia. That was certainly no problem, and after two days he was already used to the time zone change.
dpa: Do you follow the happenings in German women's tennis?
Graf: Of course I still have a certain interest. Not as keenly as before, understandably. Since I'm still frequently on the spot at the big tournaments, I look at the results of the German women, but I only know a few any more.
dpa: Can't German tennis hope for your help in the search for your successors?
Graf: I have a few under my wing. But in the end, it is difficult. Since if you really want to bring your influence to bear on a player, then you must be completely involved. Above all in the most important phase, when she is at the beginning of her career.
dpa: And how is it with a job as an adviser?
Graf: I do that for my junior players. Certainly I have a certain influence, but in the end, the coach and the parents are the decisive people.
dpa: The Olympics are in your vicinity. Were you in Salt Lake City?
dpa: But don't winter sports interest the Olympic champion?
Graf: To be sure. I try to keep abreast daily of the events at the Olympics. But in the USA, not a whole lot from Salt Lake City is televised live. It isn't like with us in Germany. But some of Claudia Pechstein's victory and Georg Hackl's silver medal was shown here, too.
dpa: Do you know Sven Hannawald and Martin Schmidt?
Graf: Sure. I follow all the sports. That's also the reason why I always liked taking part in the Olympic games. It was something totally special, to be able to experience the atmosphere in the Olympic Village or the many different competitions up close. Sport was my life and will always remain a part of my life.
dpa: And you care about emotionally traumatized children. Is there still enough time for your charity "Children for Tomorrow"?
Graf: It isn't direct, daily work for me. It's mostly selected functions. But I keep contact from a distance with the doctors and other people responsible in our charity because the work for the children is very important to me.
dpa: is the foundation going well?
Graf: Yes, even very well. We have tripled the number of children we care for. We have done a lot and that only increases the motivation to do more. You can see again just how important and necessary the work is. For years, we've been caring for children from Afghanistan in our Hamburg refugee clinic who were able to flee the Taliban regime with their families. Incidentally, Afghan refugees were always the largest ethnic group which were treated in Hamburg.
and another part from Stephanie, the whole interview is at http://www.yahoo.de(but german)
Q: Where did the name Jaden Gil come from?
Graf: I have always immensely liked "jade." In order to make it somewhat more masculine, it became Jaden. Gil comes from Andre's friend Gil Reyes who has been his trainer for 13 years."
Q 3 Years ago you left the tennis circuit. Do you miss Wimbledon and the other top tournaments ?
A Honestly, no. They belong to a different part of my life, which is over.
Q Without any regrets ?
A Yes, I was looking forward to have time to enjoy other things after my career. It has me surprised though, that it was so easy.
Q You didn’t have an empty feeling, as many others did ?
A: No, not at all
Q: That is enviable.
A: Indeed, it is, and I appreciate it. However I believe, that this has a lot to do with the fact that many other things have always fascinated me apart from tennis and of course also the fact, that I met Andre at the time, when I stopped playing tennis.
Q: Steffi Graf , the lucky woman ?
S: Graf: „You can say that, yes.“
Q: You have had many injuries, do you still play tennis ?
A: In the last two years I didn’t play very often. I have hit some balls though with Andre recently, because he started to play again very slowly after his wrist injury. That was a lot of fun.
Q: Do you feel your old injuries ?
A: No. I’m glad, that my body was able to relax finally. My back doesn’t hurt anymore. In the past I had to get daily treatments and always had to worry.
Q: Do you feel topfit ?
A: Well, I wouldn’t say topfit. Afther the birth I didn’t have much time for that. Our baby determines our daily schedule. But I try to do some sports 2 or 3 times aweek. I need that for myself too.
Q: Boris Becker plays show tournaments, Michael Stich is captain of the Davis Cup team. Could you imagine to do something similar ?
A: „No, not that much. Maybe I would play in a show tournament. But I can certainly not imagine to participate at a senior tournament. Neither do I see a future as team captain of the Federation Cup team. I am lacking the interest and time.
Q: So you won’t help finding your successors as player in German tennis ?
A: I am supporting some young players. But it is difficult to have real influence on a player, because if you really want to be of influence, you always have to be present.
Q: And what about a job as advisor ?
A: That’s what I’m doing for my young players. Of course I do have a certain influence, but the essential persons are the trainer and parents.
I am glad that Steffi is happy and so well adjusted to life off the circuit. It sounds like there is no way she is going to make a misguided comeback and I am glad. I just want to remember her slapping that amazing forehand, forever in motion. (sorry Bjorn Borg!!)
I doubt that you read these boards but I just wanted to say that you are truly classy and a wise lady with a great husband too. You brought soooo much magic to all tennis fans and I am so happy that you are happy. I like too hear that you still have some interest in tennis and German sports too. You will always be a tennis legend and an extraordinary Mensch.
Treufreund (the world#1 fan of future world#1 Martina Hingis )
here is the rest
dpa: Is there involvement with your husband's charity, which likewise cares for disadvantaged children?
Graf: Certainly. We often visit the schools that are funded by him and his charity. And our conversations frequently center on this topic.
dpa: What's new with the designer Steffi Graf?
Graf: It's going forward. My first leather collection will go on the market this year. It consists of two areas: luggage and fashionable bags made from wonderful material. I've always had a liking for creating and design, and I have an unbelievable amount of fun doing it. I'm already excited about when my first line will come on the market.
dpa: Has your life changed since September 11th?
Graf: Actually no. It was an emotional time. Beforehand, we never worried about it when we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge. The thoughts always went back and the shocking pictures remain in the subconscious. It was a warning that something could happen again. But in day-to-day life, nothing much has changed.
dpa: You aren't afraid to fly, either?
Graf: No. Of course, one is glad that security at the airports has been made tighter. You are searched and checked two or three times. I'm glad that people have accepted this and that everyone now finally understands the necessity.
dpa: How are things in the daily routine of the Graf/Agassi home?
Graf: At the moment, our son decides the daily routine. Luckily, I can get by on little sleep; sometimes less than six hours. The good thing is that the trick with the car seat and Jaden works really well. When he can't fall asleep and his [our?] eyes are really red, we go for a few laps -- and he is already asleep.
dpa: Do you need to be as secretive in Las Vegas as you were in Brühl, Heidelberg, or Mannheim?
Graf: Sometimes it's easier. But even here were are followed by photographers. They are professional teams, three or four cars who take turns. Sometimes we notice them, sometimes not.
dpa: But do you need high walls in the USA, too?
Graf: Before, Andre didn't have a gate. The first time I went to his house and saw that you could directly drive right up to it without any kind of security precautions, I was totally astonished. At the time, he had never before had a photographer bother him.
dpa: At the time. And now?
Graf: After a few weeks, that was all in the past,of course. Someone photographed us in the house at night; from a tree over the fences, right into our living room and the kitchen. We put up awnings all over our yard now. That's the only way that you can keep yourself normal at home. Yes, it looks dreadful, but you would also like to have a certain private life somewhere. That isn't so simple in America, either.
dpa: How do you imagine normal life?
Graf: No more awnings in the yard. And getting into a car without needing to see if someone is following you.
dpa: What kind of normality do you want for your children?
Graf: Slow down. He is only a baby.
dpa: How many siblings will Jaden Gil have?
Graf: There are no plans.
dpa: Back to normality for your child.
Graf: He should grow up as undisturbed and as free to make his own decisions as possible
Graf: I have always really liked "jade." In order to make it more masculine, it became Jaden. But we didn't know if there was such a name at all. Gil comes from Andre's friend Gil Reyes, who has been his trainer for 13 years.
dpa: Knowledgeable people said that Jaden means "God has heard"?
Graf: I also read that. And we found it very interesting. But that wasn't the reason we named him.
dpa: Do you speak German or English at home?
Graf: Both, with the little one. We are trying to let him grow up bilingual. I've always found that it is an advantage.
dpa: Can Andre speak a little German?
Graf: He is adding a smattering of German. He has incredibly good pronunciation, which is absolutely not easy for Americans. When he tries to read something, he pronounces it correctly on the first try.
dpa: Where do you feel at home?
Graf: Primarily wherever Andre and Jaden are. But just as much in Germany, too. I have always said: "when I am at home" -- and meant Germany by that. Although I no longer have my own four walls there anymore. But I grew up there and almost all my memories of home are there.
dpa: No more four walls in Germany. Does that mean you plan to live exclusively in the US?
Graf: My private residence, yes.
dpa: What do you need to feel happy with life?
Graf: Quite simply: to be awakened by a cry from my son. And whenever you get a big toothless beaming smile, everything is OK.
dpa: Do you feel happier than you did during your best tennis times?
Graf: Yes. But it's a whole different kind of happiness. As an athlete, you never have the time to enjoy the happiness or satisfaction for long.
dpa: Because another tournament followed right behind every victory?
Graf: Yes. I think there are simply too many tournaments. There was always a certain stress, no time to hold on to the moment of victory. With the constant ups and downs, there is no continuity in matters of happiness. Your emotions are constantly up and down and you never achieve inner peace.
dpa: Has that changed?
Graf: Unlike before, I feel an inner peace and satisfaction today that I never knew as an active athlete. The times spent with my husband and listening to the laughter of our son are incomparably more beautiful moments than those you can experience in sports.
dpa: Cooking, house work, changing diapers. Do you have nannies to do that?
Graf: Oh, good heavens! No, of course not. The only problem is that my mother and father live so far away. For Australia we had help, a nurse. She had the little one at night so that we could both get our sleep, especially Andre. But during the day, we never had anyone.
dpa: Do you do all the chores yourselves?
Graf: Yes, most of them. A big hobby of Andre's and mine is cooking together when we have the time to do it.
dpa: Could you have imagined before that your life would turn out this way?
Graf: Well, I wasn't thinking of a husband and child a few years ago. After tennis, I first wanted to find out about myself and the rest of the world. But everything happened differently, and I couldn't imagine my life without Andre and Jaden at all any more