Tennis - Former world no. 1 and 22-time Grand Slam winner Steffi Graf was known to be a shy and private person during her playing days - often preferring to escape the attention of the media and the fans off the court. But, post her playing days, the 45-year-old German has been interacting with her fans often through her Facebook account.
Earlier this week, Graf held a Q&A session with her fans on Facebook and revealed some interesting insights such as a birthday present from husband Andre, her desire to visit India, her kids involvement with tennis, her thoughts on playing legends doubles and her charity foundation - Children For Tomorrow.
Here are some of the interesting excerpts from the Q&A session - Gumiel Bonjour - Steffi Can you tell me what represents the key pendant on your neck ?? Stefanie Graf: Hi, it was a birthday gift from Andre. I hope a key to his heart Kristina Baldovino - I admire you Steffi! You are not just a great tennis player but a selfless and dedicated person as well.
You could have continued To have a career in tennis (sports analyst etc) and yet you chose to focus on helping others. Was there an event that made you decide to help people and focus more on the world outside of tennis? Stefanie Graf: I think my desire to give back came from traveling the world through tennis and seeing the difficulties and struggles that exists throughout the world.
I got involved in different charities along the way before starting Children for Tomorrow. It's heartbreaking to see so much hurt in a child's eyes,who through no fault of their own are suffering from the consequences of war and violence. Tapasya Sen Chunder - Do your children play tennis too? I mean with you and Andre being the parents tennis is the most natural option.. Stefanie Graf: No, they have their own interests.
Jaden plays more baseball tournaments than I played at that age and Jaz is really getting into hip hop dance. They also enjoy art, photographer and like any kid - summer vacation…which in America at 11 weeks can be a little long! Richard Oliver - Stefanie ,when you will come to India ? Stefanie Graf: I've never been to India but I'm hoping soon...maybe once the kids are a little older. Colin Lin - Hi Steffi , nice seeing you here with us .
Could you please describe more details how the foundation help heal the children mentally ( or probably physically ? ) any specific programs or professional psychological therapy ? Stefanie Graf: Children for Tomorrow provides intensive psychotherapy and also offers art therapy for those children who need to express their feelings in a nonverbal way.
Their inner wounds of these children are often so deep that a therapy usually takes months, sometimes over a year, until they feel better and regain hope for a better future Mark Anselm Go - Hi Steffi, ever consider playing legends doubles? Stefanie Graf: No plans at this time but I'm always open to an event that supports my foundation or other helpful causes. Kerstin Letendre - What inspired you to start the foundation? Stefanie Graf: Thank you for asking.
It's usually a longer story but the short version is I met Professor Peter Riedesser, a passionate, caring child-psychotherapist late in my career. I learned of his work to heal the emotional scars left on the children who had experienced war and violence.
I was incredibly moved and in 1998 founded Children for Tomorrow to help raise awareness and treat their invisible inner wounds.