Steffi, Andre's Olympic memories

Jul 21, 2012, 08:04 IST | Agencies

The biggest names in tennis are back in London to retune their grass court game at the Olympics. The All-England Club of Wimbledon hosts the tennis event this year, with Federer and Serena hoping to add more medals to their Olympic legacy.


Patrick Snell, World Sports Anchor: She was known as Fraulein Forehand for her trademark shot. Steffi Graf won twenty two Grand Slams singles titles, second on the all time list. He brought flair, flash and style to the men’s game. Andre Agassi won every Slam there was to win. And in 1988 she was grand, winning all four Slams and an Olympic gold medal in Seoul. He followed suit in 1996, winning an Olympic gold medal in Atlanta. I caught up with the pair inside the gym where Agassi trained for that gold.

Andre Agassi in full flow during the 1996 Games at Atlanta. Pic/Getty Images

Both of you are so decorated in your field of expertise. Thirty Slam titles between you. How does that (gold medals in Olympics) stack up against all of those Slam titles?
Graf: To me that was bigger than a Grand Slam, this was more special, you know, standing on the podium and listening to the National Anthem, having the medal around your neck, having other athletes there to support you, it is a different feeling, it is very unique and definitely more special.

Agassi: I think it puts your life and your hard work and your profession, it puts everything into perspective. When you are stuck in the context of all these amazing athletes who dedicate their lives for this sort of, one moment.

Steffi Graf waves to the crowd after winning gold at the 1988 Olympics. 

Graf: I have a lot of great memories, starting with, I left Frankfurt on that flight with a lot of athletes, and I grew up admiring track and field, that was one of the sports we watched a lot of on television, and I loved track and field myself. There were a lot of track and field athletes on board and it was just, for me, just being part of the Olympics. I stayed in the village for quite a few days but it got too loud and noisy and then I had to move back to the hotel, and just experiencing being among everybody and I was out with some of the boxing — I went to see some of the track and field, the swimming competitions, I really was trying to take it all in, but also tried to play and be able to get through the first few rounds and playing for the gold medal, it was extraordinary.

Agassi: I remember how much I was so thankful for the preparation I put in, and I remember being on that podium, I remember feeling - seeing so many times over the years what someone might be feeling when that gold medal is around their neck and tears came to my eyes. My father in the crowd was an Olympic boxer so I was enjoying it on a lot of levels.

Snell: You mentioned your father and his past Olympic experiences, how special was that to actually have him there on that occasion?
Agassi: It was a real big deal for me, it was a big deal because tennis is a sport that is so lonely and to be able to play it for someone else, for something else, for something bigger than you, yet still connected to you, it is a great sense of fulfillment. It was an out of body experience. When I was a boy, tennis was not in the Olympics, but it was one of the many things that my father had predicted in my life, that tennis should be in the Olympics, will be in the Olympics and you are going to win a gold medal. So being on that podium was a boyhood dream in many respects.

Courtesy: CNN’s Open court 

Go to top