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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2004/11/30/stmysp30.xml


My Sport: Michael Stich

Interview: Gareth A Davies
Last Updated: 12:06am GMT 30/11/2004

Earliest tennis memories?

My parents always took me to the tennis courts at Lawn Tennis Club Elmshorn, our local club, and one of the oldest clubs in Germany.

They were members there, who had taken up the sport late in life. I would have been six or seven. They gave me a racket, and I would play against the wall for hours. After I'd got a bit bigger, I started running around the club asking all the adults to play against me. I was always hassling them.

My earliest memories are of watching Wimbledon with Connors, Borg and McEnroe, and in particular the Borg-McEnroe final. In those days in Germany, they only televised the semis and the finals.

Sports watched?

Still quite a bit of tennis. I worked on the French Open for Eurosport as a commentator, and on Wimbledon for the BBC a few years ago. To be invited back again is great. It's always great to see who is really progressing by following a whole tournament through to the finish.

What are you involved in these days?

I have the Michael Stich Foundation - working with HIV-infected children in German-speaking countries - and a company in the medical field, which treats chronic back problems, helping people to get back into a normal way of life. Apart from that, I play some seniors tennis, which is great.
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Is competing to win still a big part of your make-up?

The Royal Albert Hall is such an incredible place to play tennis, and it's great to play against my old rivals without the same level of pressure. We all want to win in seniors tennis, but if we don't we won't be depressed.

Sports played?

I played football and tennis until I was 18. I basically had to make a decision at 18. I became the German junior champion, and I was encouraged by my coaches to become a professional.

I had never really had the goal of making it a career, but I thought `I'll try it'. I played fourth division football in Germany, at my club, but I have no clue if I would have made it. It was such a long way from the Bundesliga. Nor was it a goal to be a football professional, and the tennis just happened.

What was the toughest part of your 11 years as a professional?

The toughest part was being away from home, not being able to keep friendships, not really having a home. On the other side there were also so many benefits, so no complaints, I accepted it.

Defeat was a difficult thing, but that did depend on the manner of the defeat. If your opponent was better and had a good day, okay. But if you had a bad day, that was different. Most guys at that level are perfectionists, and it is easy not to be happy with your performance.

Most memorable career moment?

The most important win in my career was the singles title at Wimbledon. Winning it changed my life, but with winning, the expectation level from everyone grows. The most emotional win in my career was at the Rotherbaum, Hamburg. I had visited it as a child, I had been playing there in qualifiers, and winning there was like a dream come true.

Wimbledon is still the most important tournament in the world with the players, it has the most history, it is played on grass, it is the toughest one to win. It is just the biggest. Winning it changes your life, and can change your personality. Thankfully, I did not lose contact with who I am.

Worst sporting moment?

Losing in the French Open final to Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1996, and losing the last rubber in a Davis Cup semi-final for Germany in which I had nine match points. If we'd won, Germany would have played the United States in the final, in Germany, against Pete Sampras, Agassi and co.

Sporting heroes?

Jimmy Connors was a hero when I was coming up, but after playing him and seeing his behaviour on court I lost a lot of respect for him.

Favourite sporting location?

London, Queen's Club is wonderful, as is Wimbledon. I also used to like playing in Stockholm, which is a beautiful city, and New York, which is amazingly international.

Sporting event you would pay the most to see?

For me, I would love to see some of the players again from the Rod Laver era. There is no comparison with now, in terms of being players, but they were gentlemen tennis players, real personalities, and did everything to make tennis what it was. These days it is more like business.

Toughest opponent you faced?

Andre Agassi. I played him nine times, and never beat him. I got close, but close is not winning. I never liked his game, but he was the most outstanding, the most talented player in my time in the game. He also had the guts to come back out of nowhere.

Greatest change you would like to see in the running of your sport?

A return to more traditional, purist values in tennis. I like to see people playing in white, with shirt sleeves and the rest. I just like the way it developed as a sport with great traditions.

Like cricket with its whites. There's something great in all that, and it does not need to be questioned. Some of these traditions make the sport what it is.

How is tennis covered in the media?

A lot. Too often the coverage is not about the sport these days. There are a lot of bad commentators in different countries who are unable to get the game across to the public, to explain the different ways that Hewitt, Federer or Moya plays.

Sporting motto?

Have fun. A game is supposed to be played, not worked.

Who would you most like to invite to dinner?

Not sportspeople. I want to get away from sport at home. So it would be the artist Jackson Pollock, Clint Eastwood, my partner - and I hope my future wife - Alexandra, and one of the leading business people. Probably Bill Gates. I'd like a politician, too, if you could get a guarantee of seeing the real person.
 
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It was so good you just had to post it twice :p
 

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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It was so good you just had to post it twice :p
Technology, my computer froze and didn't know that it came through already. Well it's Ok, I can use that locked thread, change the title for something else.

Stich was a bit of a prick, but he was honest about it and as for Connors, well no surprise.
 

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How is tennis covered in the media?

A lot. Too often the coverage is not about the sport these days. There are a lot of bad commentators in different countries who are unable to get the game across to the public, to explain the different ways that Hewitt, Federer or Moya plays.
Couldn't agree more :hatoff:

Thanks for the interview.
 

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Ace Loveforty
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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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Ace Loveforty
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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is true Genci, but at least they didn't fix matches.

Stich loving football as he did, supports HSV Hamburg and he is playing in the Blackrock Masters in London.
 

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How about a Roddick vs. Stich poll? :p

Roddick made 1 more Slam final and won more titles (vast majority of them low-level MM) but Stich's excellent ability on all surfaces (most notably clay) puts him in a different league IMO (not to mention his huge triumph at the 93 YEC).

Always nice to have another shot at the duck :p
 

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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You can start that poll Rogiman, but don't forget Houston is the 2nd biggest clay title.

Stich was so moody, could play on everything when in the mood. He gave Sampras plenty of worries, but couldn't handle Agassi and struggled against the real Kafelnikov.
 

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Hehe good old Stich

not a guy who minds dishing out some comments about todays players like he did about Serena the Diva at Wimbledon.

he said he played and lost to Agassi 9 times but it was 6 :confused:
 

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he said he played and lost to Agassi 9 times but it was 6 :confused:
He also said he came close to beating Agassi but he never did :confused:

He was really Agassi's bitch :(
 

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Rogiman said:
He also said he came close to beating Agassi but he never did :confused:

He was really Agassi's bitch :(
True, infact he only won a couple of sets

just like Becker, Wayne Ferreira.... these guys could beat Sampras no problem yet got hammered by Agassi time after time.
 

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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Stich is normally back working for BBC at Wimby in the summers
good thing too, someone needs to shut up Pat Cash :tape:
He was stuck with Tarango this time around.
 

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Thanks for this
Stich :worship:
 

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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Stich could play on all surfaces when they were truly different.
 
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