NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
Being a Grand Slam winner would be the pinnacle of anyone’s life. So what do you do with yourself, not only after you’ve won one, but after you have retired? Whether former champs are channeling their competitive spirits elsewhere or shying away from the limelight, it’s interesting to see what some of the former Grand Slam champions are up to.
The 11 time Grand Slam Champion is happily retired now in sunny California but his legacy lives on. You often see Laver attend Grand Slam championships, especially at The Australian Open where center court is named after him. Laver showed his champion spirit after his career ended considering he had to learn how to play tennis all over again after he suffered a stroke in 1999. Even to this day he has a contribution on pop culture and style, especially considering earlier this week Adidas announced that they were bringing back the Classic Rod Laver Super. Even while he’s taking it easy in retirement his contribution to the game lives on.
Another 11-time Grand Slam champion, Bjorn Borg disappeared from the professional tour at the age of 26. Since that time he made short lived and long-haired comebacks, married and divorced a super model and even auctioned off his Wimbledon trophies during tough financial times. Living in the suburbs of Stockholm with his family, and owner of his own clothing line, he partakes in a much quieter life from the one he once did. Even though he left the game much too earlier it still looks like he could hold his own on center court.
Stefi Graf and Andre Agassi
These two crazy kids are still going strong. Married since 2001 they still hit the court for charity and exhibition events, own and invest in businesses and raise two children together. They formed a company called Agassi Graf Holdings which has done everything from invest in Las Vegas nightclubs, launch a furniture lined named Agassi Graf Collection and secure a 49% stake in the water park Wet’n’Wild Las Vegas. Besides their various business ventures they both still boast lucrative sponsorship and brand ambassador deals with companies such as 24 Hour Fitness, Jacobs Creek and Longines. Agassi and Graf are also very involved in their own foundations, The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education (AAFE) and the Children for Tomorrow respectively. This Grand Slam power couple doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.
At only 19 years of age Monica Seles had already won 8 Grand Slam titles and she was well on her way to becoming on of, if the greatest, female tennis players of all time. If not for the infamous on court stabbing in Hamburg by a crazed Steffi Graf fan which kept her away from the game for two years, we may be talking about Serena breaking her all time record for Grand Slam titles. In 2009 Seles wrote a book that chronicled her trials and tribulations which also included a struggle with an eating disorder and her father’s battle with cancer. She still speaks publicly concerning her struggles, hoping to help other who find themselves dealing with similar hardship. In 2014 she also got engaged to billionaire Tom Golisano. She had a tough but ultimately successful career and end up with a super rich husband. It could be worse.
Sampras was one of the all-time gamers, someone who only really seemed concerned with playing tennis. Even today, you’ll most likely only see him in the public spotlight playing exhibition matches or out on the Champions Tour. He’s also been spotted helping out at clinics, as shown below, but is mostly full time dad. In an interview with CNN earlier this year he said, “It’s definitely much different from my life as a tennis player. Everything was about me. What I was eating, what I was doing. I was traveling. Now it’s about my kids.” Never known for being on the cutting edge of fashion or making splashy headlines off the court it’s no surprise that his website looks like it is straight out of the 90’s.
Known for his fiery temperament on the court, the two time Grand Slam winner Marat Safin took a path not many would have predicted for him. Safin, the same Safin who was wildly inconsistent in play and demeanor, was elected to the Russian Parliament in 2011. He is a member of the United Russia Party, the same party of the US’s good buddy and meme legend Vladimir Putin. Just this month he was recognized for his prodigious, if not fleeting, talent with his induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame. In his fitting speech he lamented, “I’m a part of the last generation that could enjoy going out together. We lived like a family. We traveled like musicians. It was more rock and roll.” Ah, the good old days.
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