Tennis players, like NFL running backs, get old quickly. In any other sport, a 27-year old superstar like Roger Federer would just be entering his prime. On the tennis court, having a 1981 birthday practically qualifies you for AARP benefits.
That's why Steffi Graf turning 40 on Sunday seems really strange. It was ages ago that Graf was winning Grand Slam tournaments by the handful. Her last major was the 1999 French. The last time she was truly dominant was in 1996. Graf been out of the limelight for so long, living a very private life in Las Vegas with her husband, Andre Agassi, and their two children. So, how can she be only four months older than Brett Favre?
That's what happens when you break out onto the scene at such a young age. Just ask Kobe Bryant (age 30) and LeBron James (24). The younger-than-you-expect phenomenon is most prevalent in tennis, though. Agassi is 39. Pete Sampras, 37. Boris Becker is only 41. And John McEnroe just turned 50.
Anyway, for the occasion of Graf's 40th, the Daily Mail in London has an exclusive interview with the 22-time Grand Slam champion which is well worth your time. Graf talks about being a mother, the emotions she felt during the infamous Jana Novotna breakdown in 1993 and what it's like to live in Las Vegas.
The best anecdote from the story: During the 1988 Seoul Olympics (where Graf won gold to cap her so-called "Golden Slam") she ran a practice 800 meters with the West German track team and was told that she could switch sports immediately.
- Steffi Graf