June 14 ~  Focus on Enjoying Sports Greats

"As long as I can focus on enjoying what I'm doing, having fun, I know I'll play well." ~ Steffi Graf

tennis

Born on this day in Bruehl, Germany, statuesque tennis star Stephanie Maria Graf (1969-), called "Fraulein Forehand," was considered by many to be the greatest player of her generation. She is best known for her powerful forehand and amazing court play.

"When I come onto the court, I have definite goals and expectations. I couldn’t enjoy playing with only limited hopes or with a handicap. It wouldn’t satisfy me," she explained.

The winner of the women's singles title at Wimbledon seven times, Graf had over 20 Grand Slam titles. Through it all, she overcame debilitating knee surgery and rose above her father's highly-publicized tax evasion conviction.

"I have put up rather well with that stress because I could always focus on tennis and use it as a valve for letting off steam," she said. "I have learnt a lot from the past. It has helped me to get a clearer vision of my life."

Since her 1999 retirement from tennis, Graf married tennis champ Andre Agassi (2001) and continued to score as chairwoman for Children for Tomorrow, a non-profit foundation that helps youngsters who have endured a range of violent experiences: "victims of war, persecution, or organized crime."

"Even if our actions are only one drop in the ocean, it is still worth every effort," she said of her new advocacy. "Every single child in Africa, Germany, Turkey, or Kosovo that we help makes a colossal difference. If we can give their inner balance and their smiles back to them, then we've already won a great victory."

affirmation: celebrate life's excitementHave fun with what you're doing.