28-year-old Lena Klenke: “Steffi Graf? Whoa, she was one amazing woman.28-year-old Lena Klenke: “Steffi Graf? Whoa, she was one amazing woman.

The actress discusses “Perfect Match,” where she plays tennis legend Steffi Graf. The movie narrates Graf and Agassi’s love affair. starting on June 29th, on Prime Video.

Steffi Graf, a seven-time Wimbledon champion from Brühl, Baden, is a German sports legend and among the all-time greatest tennis players. “Perfect Match” is a biographical feature film that focuses more on the fictional love story of the reclusive German and the eccentric Las Vegas resident Andre Agassi than it does on Stefanie Graf’s athletic career up until her career ended in 1999. The two former tennis pros have been married since 2001. The film stars Lena Klenke as the 55-year-old Steffi Graf. To Lena Klenke, Cornelia Wystrichowski spoke.

Ms. Klenke, you portray the legendary German tennis player Steffi Graf in a recent movie when she’s still playing. Before this, were you able to play tennis? Lena Klenke: I had to actually learn how to play tennis for the movie because I had never played before. I also had to train with the opposite hand because Steffi Graf is right-handed and I am left-handed. I worked out three or four times a week, and it required a lot of physical effort. Fortunately, I was rather fit already. However, it was enjoyable, and I can now see why the sport is so fascinating. Did you have a personal encounter with Steffi Graf? Did she play a part in the movie?

Klenke: Naturally, we asked Steffi Graf whether she would like to participate, but she simply replied, rather graciously, “No thanks.” We must honor her desire for privacy as she values it greatly and rarely participates in interviews.

What elements, only from the outside, were crucial to your transformation into Steffi Graf? Klenke: There was a total change. We decided that the face needed something to give it that distinct Steffi Graf look, so we trimmed my hair and created a prosthetic nose. We searched for a long time until we discovered the ideal nose (laughter). I had to wear it every day. I would often stay in the makeup area for two or three hours. Additionally, the costumes were crucial; we had to replicate Steffi Graf’s training attire precisely. Everything needed to appear as authentic as possible.

Did you consider if Steffi Graf would approve of your performance if she saw the movie while it was being filmed? Klenke: You must set yourself free from such things. I made an effort to find my own Steffi Graf, ignoring the expectations of others. Even whether events actually transpired as they are portrayed in the movie is unknown to us. The movie narrates Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi’s love affair. What constitutes poetic license and what is fact?

Klenke: Certainly, we can base our arguments on actual occurrences and thoroughly recorded public appearances. We address in our film the claims made by contemporaneous witnesses that Agassi harbored feelings for Steffi even before his marriage to Brooke Shields. However, the specifics of how the two met are only known to Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi. When Steffi Graf announced her retirement from professional tennis in 1999, you were only three years old. How much did you know about the name before you started the job?

Klenke: Although I was aware of her name, I didn’t know anything about her. The more I studied her, the more I thought, This is such a wonderful woman, and I’m so honored to be able to play her.

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