The tennis player, 53, on Naomi Osaka and mental health, lion-hearted Andy Murray and defying corny cultural stereotypes
I’m mentally consistent. It comes from my upbringing. My mother was a tough cookie; my dad was a hard worker. They were both 10 when the war ended, and those first few years living in Germany were very difficult for them. This mental consistency has helped me navigate the ups and downs of life. It’s also helped me stay grounded when I’ve been winning. I’m never too satisfied or happy and I’m never too desperate. I’ve tried to always keep a middle ground.
I didn’t always think I was going to make it. I broke my ankle in 1984, during my first professional tournament, playing against Billy Scanlon. My parents didn’t want me to become a tennis pro, and when I called my mother she said to me, “I told you so, you should have stayed in school.” I questioned myself a lot during the next few months of my rehab. That’s when you find out how much you want it.
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