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Agassi, Graf open up about their careers and pressure
Published Dec 05, 2020
Tennis' most prominent couple Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf recently sat down with Ayaz Memon of the Hindustan Times, to talk about their careers and the pressure they endured being at the top of the game.
The power couple holds 30 Grand Slam titles between them (Graf captured 22 while Agassi won eight). But Graf and Agassi said it was not always rainbows and butterflies, the dedication and commitment to a grueling lifestyle was at times painful.
"We all struggle," Agassi said to the Hindustan Times. "It might look like a beautiful bed of roses because you’re holding a trophy, but the pain and suffering that goes into it creates the same anxieties in all of us."
Graf touched on how demanding it is to not only reach the top, but to stay there, and the pressure she put on herself day in and day out.
"In tennis, every day you go out on the court and strive to reach your limits," she said. "And it’s difficult to find that emotional balance. You might have it physically, but sometimes emotionally it’s hard to, day after day, ask the best of you."
At just two years of age, Agassi was out on the court, and by 16, he was playing his first professional event. His life revolved around tennis and there was never any option to not play. This narrative is what he deems as very harmful, and the couple is trying to change that pattern through their philanthropy and foundation work.
“I felt like my lack of choice, being forced into tennis at a young age and out of school, left me very disconnected with my life,” Agassi said.
Graf agrees with her husband, but also sees it as an opportunity to gain experiences that can better prepare you for life after tennis.
"There's a lot of challenges but I do have to say there's a lot that helps you later in your next career," the 51-year-old said. "I mean it's unusual if you think about it, people normally start their careers when they are 28, 30, we have already been through a career."
Graf and Agassi are working in education these days, helping to create options and opportunities for children through the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation.
The power couple also discussed their relationship, how it started and how their marriage is going.Throughout the rollercoaster journey of his career, Agassi's only regret in life is that his relationship with Graf happened 10 years later than it could have.