It may be troublesome to understand that two of the world’s biggest tennis professionals with 30 Grand Slam singles titles between them can really feel ache and struggling so deeply. Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf have tasted actually all the things there may be on the platter on the greatest stage of tennis: Grand Slam success, world No. 1 rating, Olympic gold. And but, for them, wrestle remained a companion even on the high.
“All of us wrestle. It’d appear like a lovely mattress of roses since you’re holding a trophy, however the ache and struggling that goes into it creates the identical anxieties in all of us,” mentioned Agassi, who has given a riveting account of his fall from the highest within the mid-Nineteen Nineties as a consequence of accidents, drug use and a damaged marriage wth Brooke Shields in his autobiography, Open.
“That’s why I made a decision to write down my ebook, as a result of I wished to grasp my struggles and specific it. I consider all the things ought to clear in our journey. It may well solely assist one another to know that we’re not alone in it,” mentioned the eight-time Grand Slam winner, who overcame these adversities and fought his method again to the highest.
No such emotional roller-coaster for Graf, a 22-time Grand Slam champion who was glued to the highest of the world rankings for a file 377 weeks, it’s protected to imagine? “I used to be actress, then,” Graf quipped.
“Oh, I’ve had my ups and downs and challenges. In tennis, day by day you exit on the courtroom and attempt to achieve your limits. And it’s troublesome to search out that emotional steadiness. You may need it bodily, however generally emotionally it’s laborious to, day after day, ask the most effective of you. Whenever you get nearer to the highest, the expectations and calls for that you’ve got, you don’t at all times really feel that method however you’ve nonetheless obtained to ask the most effective of you. It’s laborious, and also you don’t realise the quantity of strain that generally you ask of your self, not even from the skin. You’re removed from having that equilibrium that you simply hope.”
Equilibrium is what they present in one another. Agassi, an unfiltered persona wrapped in lengthy hair and vibrant garments throughout his youthful days, met his calming affect in Graf, and the 2 married in 2001 to grow to be tennis’ most outstanding couple. Agassi mentioned his solely remorse in life was that the union occurred 10 years too late.
“There’s lots to be mentioned for being interested in what you respect and what you’re not,” Agassi mentioned. “The self-discipline she has at all times proven in her profession is one thing that my persona couldn’t abide. Her persona and skill-sets allowed her to go about issues in a different way. And that’s enticing. It’s the identical, nevertheless it’s completely different.”
Graf agreed. “I feel we got here collectively at a time once we knew one another fairly properly already,” she mentioned. “There may be sure variations in how we deal with issues and personalities, however in the entire proper issues I discover that we’re related. Our priorities and ideas are very aligned. By elevating youngsters too you be taught a lot about one another. Between the worth, respect and belief for one another, it’s working rather well, let’s simply put it that method.”
The 2 have additionally discovered their calling in philanthropy of their post-tennis life. Whereas Agassi has shaped the “Andre Agassi Charitable Basis” to offer instructional alternatives for youths, Graf has established the “Kids for Tomorrow” that helps kids from war-torn locations.
“I felt like my lack of selection, being pressured into tennis at a younger age and out of faculty, left me very disconnected with my life,” Agassi mentioned about taking the plunge into charity. “At one of many lowest factors of my profession is once I determined to present kids with no selection that chance. Getting concerned on this gave me the platform to maneuver ahead with my instructional aims.”