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post #46 of 732 (permalink) Old 06-17-2004, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Agassi showing signs of wear and tear

THEY did the Wimbledon draw yesterday but the romance wasn't there.

Great tennis players are all kinds of things - determined, pragmatic, brilliant, brave, even boring. Few are romantic.

Wimbledon will not have Andre Agassi, the game's modern romantic, a man long ago named the Shopping Mall Kid as he brought his Las Vegas upbringing into a world totally unready for him.

And he was unready for it. Precocious -- though never, as I thought at the time, stupid -- he toyed with authority knowing all along what he could do was play tennis. And, as tennis players love to say, what goes around comes around, and there was Andre, at last, a pillar of the establishment.

Only Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Fred Perry and Don Budge have done what Agassi has -- win all four Grand Slam titles. Laver did it twice, each time in the same year, and that marks him as the greatest of all time. When the countdown is done, though, Agassi will be up there somewhere.

I was in Paris watching him when he lost to an unknown young Frenchman in the first round at Roland Garros where all of the things you liked about him were marginally falling apart and he was too stubborn to admit that and to try to adjust.

He stood by or inside the baseline and relied on that terrific eye to whack back any serve; but the trigger-finger was just shy, and the prey skipped free. And that was on slow old red clay.

Igor Andreev, 20, beat Andre Agassi, 34, in the first round at Queen's on grass because of that age gap.

Andreev is a good young player, and may become a very good one, and like all good tennis players he had no respect for his betters. He saw a man not quite there and so put the ball not quite where his opponent was.

That loss so upset Agassi that he declined to face the limited and kindly press corps that turns up for the Stella Artois at Queen's, mainly looking for boring pre-Wimbledon space-filling interviews along the lines of "I think I'm getting right at the right time".

The spectacle of Agassi hanging around for a wildcard at Queen's was worrying enough.In pulling out of Wim bledon with "a hip", Agassi said he was preparing for the US Open. For God's sake, why?

Tennis circles have been twittering away for a long time about Agassi and his endurance. Those who love the game like to believe the innuendos are false, and like to recall the man who was brave enough to stand on the baseline, and then move forward, when Goran Ivanisevic, Pete Sampras and Mark Philippoussis were serving at him.

The reflexes needed to do that are beyond the grasp of almost any sportsman and now they appear to have gone.

The centimetres are now outside rather than inside the lines. That purposeful little step after the double-handed killer, the unblinking commitment to the zone, is still there. But it is no longer enough.

The shots are going wide or long or into the net in a game that once made errors a rarity.

It has been a long trip from the Shopping Mall Kid to today's Agassi, and if he now finds that "the hip" can do no more, then we should all be grateful.

We don't want him hanging around 14 years from now like poor sad Martina, who believes she could, if she had to, still "make a living" on the singles tour.

Me, I want to remember Andre moving closer and closer to Pete Sampras's serve in the 1999 Wimbledon final when Sampras, at his absolute best, beat him in three tough sets but when Agassi just kept on walking up for another punch.

Later, asked about it, Agassi said: "I always knew he was gonna be a pain in the ass out there."

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"I beat him the last time. He's lucky I retired." — Andy Roddick on RF

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post #47 of 732 (permalink) Old 06-17-2004, 05:59 PM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

oh my god.... i stumbled into the wrong forum.

I kept reading that article thinking...... this isn't talking about Andy.

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post #48 of 732 (permalink) Old 07-24-2004, 01:50 AM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Here's the full interview in Vogue.

Vogue – August Edition

He runs up mountains, pushing himself to new bounds of fitness. But the real reason Andre Agassi has defied age on the tennis court, Dodie Kazanjian writes, is the champion he married.

Meeting your match

From their hilltop estate in Tiburon, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf can look across the bay and see San Francisco preening itself in the sun, while one tower of the Golden Gate Bridge rises magically above a puffy cloud bank. The tennis world’s royal couple – the most spectacular example of a marital merger between two number-one athletes – have spent the whole morning being photographed for Vogue. In their mid 30s, tanned and fit, they both project the silky, contained energy of great athletes, athletes who, though blissfully young by ordinary standards, are already considered old in their chosen profession.

The most dominant woman player of her time, Steffi won 22 Grand Slams titles before she retied in 1999, at the age of 30. This July, she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. Andre has won eight Grand Slams so far, but at the astonishing advanced age (for tennis) of 34, he could yet win another. Tennis is increasingly a young man’s game these days, and the odds against Agassi are daunting, but it’s still too early to count him out. His phenomenal comeback is already a tennis legend. In 1997, having slipped to 141 in the rankings, he remade himself through an all-out regimen of rigorous physical training; by 1999, he was number one in the world, and he’s been at or near the top ever since, winning the Australian Open last year and more than holding his own against the newest generation of power hitters. “I have an insane amount of respect for him,” Andy Roddick said recently. “The way he competes-he treats every match like it’s Armageddon.”

Andre, his coach Darren Cahill, his lawyer and close friend Todd Wilson, and Gene Marshall, a Las Vegas friend who is also helping him train, are barreling over the Golden Gate Bridge in Andre’s Lincoln Navigator, with me following anxiously in my rented Pontiac, trying to keep them in sight. Andre, who drives with the same speed and confidence he brings to the court, is headed for the Olympics Club in San Francisco. He’s getting ready for the French Open, which starts in 2 weeks, and he needs to practice on a clay surface like the ones at Roland Garros. His own court in Tiburon has a hard surface, and there aren’t any clay courts in Las Vegas, his real home, in good enough shape. We park on the road above the tennis courts at this famous club, whose golf course has often been host to the U.S Open. For the next hour and a half, Darren feeds him backhands and forehands, and Andre rockets them back, clipping the lines in the corners, grunting vigorously on every shot. “That’s great tennis.” Darren says more than once. (Not great enough, apparently; in the weeks after my visit, Agassi got knocked out in the first round at the French Open and 2 other European tournaments - the first time since August 1997 he’s lost 3 straight opening round matches - and then withdrew from Wimbledon, citing a hip injury.) But Andre is not entirely happy with his game today. His rhythm is a little off, he says, and the surface is too powdery.

Andre still trains harder than anyone on the men’s circuit, running up mountains and putting in countless hours in the gym. “Tennis is as physical as sport as any you’ll ever play,” he says to me. “I train as hard as ever, just a bit smarter. You listen to your body, because it talks to you. It tells you when it’s thirsty, when it’s hungry, when it’s tired. It tells you when to stop. I understand how to make my life a lot easier now on the court. It’s a question of shot selection, and awareness of situations, of controlling your intensity and knowing where to give yourself some breaks and where to dig deeper.”

I ask him whether he’s changed his game at all in the last 5 years. “I’ve gotten stronger, which has allowed me to play more aggressively and to have more of my own will out there, as opposed to my opponent’s . I’ve had to up the ante from a physical standpoint.” His training routine is surprisingly flexible. Sometimes he will work for 6 weeks on strength and endurance exercises alone, never even picking up a tennis racquet. “To be honest, I’ll never learn to hit a tennis ball better, but I can learn to get stronger, fitter, faster.”

Back at their house in Tiburon, showered and changed into black shorts and T-shirt, Andre leads me out past the main swimming pool (there’s another one off the master bedroom) to an outdoor sitting area by a huge stone fireplace. Steffi, who’s just back from a shopping trip to Mill Valley with their son and daughter – 2 and a ½ year old Jaden and Jaz, 7 months – comes to join us, carrying Jaz on one hip. The nanny takes Jaz so that we can talk, over an obbligato of shouts and laughter from the artificial waterfall where Jaden and Todd Wilson’s 2 kids are splashing around. I start by asking Andre and Steffi how they met.

“Well,” says Andre, “for as many years as we’d played together, on the same tours and crossing paths in our profession, we never really spent time together until March of 1999.” (This was around the same time as the end of his 2 year marriage to Brooke Shields.) The person who put them together was Brad Gilbert, his coach at that time, who knew how much Andre admired Steffi and wanted to get to know her. “He arranged for me to practice with her. Later in the year, we ended up talking more, and then on August 1, we went out for the first time.”

I reminded Steffi that in 1990, she had told Vogue that she wouldn’t want to be married to a tennis player. Andre bursts out laughing. “Yeah, all those years,” Steffi says, “I knew exactly what I wanted. And then he came strutting into my life.”

“And ruined everything!” says Andre.

“The first dinner we had, he asked me, “Do you want to have children?” And I said, “No, I may want to adopt, but I don’t want to have my own children.”

Andre: “ And I’m thinking to myself, Oh, great. This is really doomed.”

Steffi: “ My plans were traveling the world, being a semi-photographer, seeing animal life as close as possible. I had a lot of plans, but I changed my mind very quickly.” Steffi, who actually retired from tennis 2 days after their first dinner, had been thinking about doing so all summer in 1999. She had won the French Open that year, for her 22 Grand Slam title, and had been in the finals in Wimbledon. “I felt pretty sure after Wimbledon that I didn’t want to play anymore,” she tells me. She had been through 2 bouts of knee surgery, and she was feeling “really exhausted.” She entered 1 more tournament after Wimbledon, in San Diego, “and it was there I realized I didn’t want to practice anymore. I had no more passion for it left, and I felt there wasn’t anything more that I wanted to achieve.” No second thoughts? “Not one, no. It was as clear as can be at that point. I just felt at peace with where I was with my sport, and what I’d achieved.”

“And that’s where I enter,” says Andre. “One of the things I’ve always marveled at with Stef is her ability to be very clear on her goals and objectives, and to be focused and committed to them. She went through the transition that every athlete has to go through, including me. Leaving a world where you don’t even have a memory without tennis in your life, and all of a sudden you’re done with it. But she’s handled that like she’s handled everything else, with tremendous grace.”

Four years ago, when Agassi turned 30, he thought his own tennis days were numbered he bought the house in Tiburon in 2000 because he and Steffi both loved the San Francisco area and “just because I assumed, at my age, for sure I was close to not playing anymore.” But his continuing success on the pro circuit (last year, he was number 4) kept them from spending much time there.

Las Vegas remains their home base. Andre was born and raised there, one of four children in a middle-class family. “We didn’t have a lot of things we wanted, but we had everything we needed,” Andre says. His father, who worked in the casinos, was a former Olympic boxer from Iran (he’s Armenian) and a tennis fan who got Andre started playing when he was barely out of diapers. At four, he was hitting balls with Bjorn Borg, Illie Natase, and other visiting pros. Andre has a deep-seated love for his hometown, and in recent years, he’s been doing a lot to make it better. His main project is the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a charter school for disadvantaged children that opened in 2001. Supported by the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which has raised more than $23 million through private contributions and gala benefits, the school now has 250 students in grades three through seven. It will eventually go from kindergarten through 12th grade – a new class is added each year – and there are more than 300 prospective students on the waiting list. Agassi devotes a lot of time (and money) to this school. He recently signed a multi-million-dollar deal with Estee Lauder to promote a new Aramis men’s fragrance; in return, Aramis has become the leading sponsor of the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation. “The school is a model for what I believe can change our education system in the country,” he says. “The parents have to sign contracts saying they’re going to give volunteer time and that they’re going to sign off on every homework assignment. The children have to sign contracts saying they commit to a certain standard of behavior as well as a work ethic. The teachers have to be able to be reached 24 hours a day. And it doesn’t cost these children a dime to go to school.”

Jaden, soaking wet and stark naked, streakes past us. “Hey Rudey,” his father calls out. (Rudey, he tells us, is an Aussie term for “rude.”) Steffi says something to him in German as he darts back to the waterfall. When Andre is on the road-last year, that was about 80 percent of the time-Steffi and the kids go with him. (For the US Open, the family will stay in a rented house in Westchester.) “We haven’t been apart from the kids one night,” he says. “I mean, one of us has been with them. The only reason I can still be playing to the standard I am is because of Stef and her support and commitment. If the choice were between being on the road or being with the family, I couldn’t walk away from the family week after week. It would boil down to an ultimatum. But I don’t have to make that choice right now, because of Stef.”

Andre would like to have more kids-6 or 7 would be just right. “Well,” Steffi says, “I’m turning 35. 2 is great just now. I can’t see having another one.”

Having been the number-one woman player for so many years, Steffi knows all about the physical and mental demands that this requires. “People might assume that we talk about the profession,” Andre says, “but it’s quite the opposite. It’s about the things you don’t even need to say, because the other person understands. I can just go through a day thinking, God, she absolutely knew what I needed to hear or didn’t need to hear. It’s more about what’s not said than what is said.”

When they play tennis together these days, it’s for fun, not practice. It was widely reported last year that Steffi had promised to play in the mixed doubles with Andre at the French Open, if he won the Australian Open. He did win it, but Steffi’s pregnancy with Jaz ruled that out. He would still love them to be a team sometime. “I couldn’t imagine being on the court with a greater tennis player, let alone somebody I could kiss when the match was over.”

The sun has gone down, and the air is suddenly much cooler. Andre turns on the gas jet to light the fire. He’s clearly a happy man, leading a full and happy life – so why doesn’t he settle down and enjoy it? What drives him to keep playing at an age when his great rival Pete Sampras and virtually all their contemporaries have hung up their Nikes? Andre doesn’t really have an answer, but he replies, “The good news is that when it’s time to give up the fight, I’ll be ready, I picture taking a very slow approach toward things. Also, going to cities around the world we’ve been to but never experienced.”

I asked John McEnroe, who encouraged Andre as a young player and later coached him on the Davis Cup team, what he thought motivated Andre to stay in the race. “It’s tough to walk away when you’re still playing well. You get addicted. To me, he’s like a better version of jimmy Connros – a little stronger, a little more powerful, and a little better return of serve.” No player was ever as competitive as Connors, according to McEnroe, but Connors, who kept playing until he was 40, didn’t win any major championships in his later years. “Andre still has hunger, and I haven’t played a big tournament in 12 years. So Andre’s always going to have hunger.”

But can anything in life ever equal the excitement of being the best tennis player in the world? “Do you want me to take that one?” Andre asks Steffi.

“It’s an easy one.” She says.

“Go ahead, please.”

“There’s so few who can actually say it, that they’ve been the best in the world at anything,” Steffi Says. “I feel like that’s something you’ll have for the rest of your life.”

“To add to what Steffi is saying, this has been a journey for me,” Andre says, “one of challenging myself. Being number one really makes it about yourself, making yourself better than you were the day before, and taking joy in that. I believe you can take that with you and apply it to so many other aspects of life.”

Cooking, for example, Andre and Steffi took a lesson last night from Michael Mina, a 4 star chef whom Andre has backed at a number of high-end restaurants. Andre, whose diet is heavy on proteins, has been pursuing a private quest for the perfectly cooked steak. (When he’s on the road, he makes sure to take along a charcoal burner.) “Ok, here’s my approach to it,” he says. “If I serve a steak to anybody, anybody, and they don’t say it was the best steak they’ve ever had, I’ll feel like I failed. That’s the standard I work with.”
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post #49 of 732 (permalink) Old 08-16-2004, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Did you guys know that Andre and his family are featured in the September issue of VOGUE (the one with the Presley women on the cover)? Several page article with terrific glam shots of him and Steffi, plus their adorable spawn. Did anyone see it yet? If not, I'll see if I can scan it in and post it here.

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post #50 of 732 (permalink) Old 08-17-2004, 12:20 AM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Originally Posted by tangerine_dream
Did you guys know that Andre and his family are featured in the September issue of VOGUE (the one with the Presley women on the cover)? Several page article with terrific glam shots of him and Steffi, plus their adorable spawn. Did anyone see it yet?

If not, I'll see if I can scan it in and post it here.
We would appreciate that...

Andre Agassi forever
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post #51 of 732 (permalink) Old 08-18-2004, 11:09 AM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

I already posted the article here. see post 49. that is august vogue edition right?
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post #52 of 732 (permalink) Old 08-19-2004, 08:21 PM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

hey check this out!:

andre is part of the bbc's tennis "academy"

andre serve and forehand

Last of the moon-and-volley specialists.

I believe in luck. How else can you explain the success of those you don't like? ---Jean Cocteau
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post #53 of 732 (permalink) Old 08-19-2004, 10:21 PM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Originally Posted by MisterQ
hey check this out!:

andre is part of the bbc's tennis "academy"

andre serve and forehand
Thanks MisterQ!!!
I like it very much..

Andre Agassi forever
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post #54 of 732 (permalink) Old 08-28-2004, 03:33 PM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Love match keeps Agassi playing to win

John Roberts in New York
28 August 2004

At every point in Andre Agassi's flamboyant career, from his early
days as a long-haired, garish under-achiever to his maturity as a
balding master of the courts, showmanship has been his hallmark.

Steffi Graf, in contrast, bestrode the sport with a panache that
belied her introverted nature. When she and Agassi married in his
home town of Las Vegas in 2001, some wondered if the bond was strong
enough to last. Two children later, Agassi has revealed that at the
end of every day he chalks on a small blackboard in the kitchen,
trying to express the many things Steffi means to him. And he does
not mind who knows it.

It may seem soppy to the less romantically inclined, but Agassi
reduced his wife to tears recently with his tribute to mark her
induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport,
Rhode Island.

With reference to the notes he chalks in the kitchen, Agassi
said: "Sometimes just a brief line, sometimes a short story, but
always just the overflow from a grateful heart, and yet after these
months and years of writing to you each night, I have never been at
a shortage of ways to reflect the light you've brought into my life."

In conclusion, he said: "Stefanie, you have spent many years of your
life competing, but right here where we stand, in the ears of your
children, and right now in my heart, you have no rival."

It will be five years at the earliest before Agassi qualifies for
the Hall of Fame (current players are ineligible), even if he
decides to retire at the end of his 19th consecutive US Open, which
starts here at Flushing Meadowon Monday. Due to turn 35 next April,
he is asked when will he hang up his rackets every time he is seen
with one in his hand.

"Oh, man, I don't know," was his latest response when asked if he
was ready to join his American peers, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and
Michael Chang, in retirement. "You miss the guys you came in with,
but you have to choose your own road. And I'm still trying to do

Agassi's reluctance to be drawn on retirement was understandable,
given that he had just won his first Masters Series title since
March 2003. His win against Lleyton Hewitt in Cincinnati on 8 August
brought his career singles tally to 59.

"If it's possible," he added, "[Winning in Cincinnati] certainly
gives me new life. All you want to know when you're out there is
that you have the chance to win. It gives me a lot of belief going
into the Open. It's a function of work ethic and commitment and
focus. That allows me to feel great about the journey that I'm on.
That's what it's always been to me. It's the same challenge at 18 as
what I'm feeling now."

Agassi has not expressed such belief since losing in five sets to
Marat Safin, of Russia, in the semi-finals at the Australian Open in
January. "It's a lonely world out there when there's no one to sort
of pass the ball to," he said. "You get exposed if you don't believe
in what you're doing. You can't hide out there, and we've seen that
over a number of months with me. But Darren [Cahill, his coach]
stood right by me. He's had a lot of belief at times where I've had
a lot of questions.

"I found it actually comical when he's telling me that I can turn
this around and start winning these tournaments and beating the best
guys. It sounded comical to me, just because I felt that far from
it. But I've kept trust in him, and you need excellence around you
to succeed."

Even his ardent admirers would be stunned if Agassi added a third US
Open title to those he won in 1994 and 1999, especially since fully-
fledged Grand Slam champions number, among the younger generation,
such as Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, who is defending here, and

"I saw a great stat," Agassi said, "about the amount of players that
served over 120 miles per hour in 1992 versus the amount of players
that do it now. The discrepancy is huge. It was 50-some-odd players
in 1992 served over 120. Now there's 174 of them that can do it. So
the game has elevated in pace and power and athleticism. And it
forces you to not just be able to beat a variety of players, but to
do it at a high standard.'

Asked if the newcomers called him "Pops", Agassi smiled. "No - don't
give them any ideas, please. I don't sense age when it comes to
these guys until life sort of throws you those curves. You're having
dinner and you want to order a glass of wine and you ask and then
you say, 'never mind', because they can't - they're not old enough
to have a glass of wine. And then when I see some of them preparing
in front of video games, that also reminds me of my age. But other
than that, there's a healthy respect for what goes on inside those
lines, and that carries on in the locker-room as well.'

Tennis's most famous couple have more in common than personal wealth
and a vault of silverware. Both were driven by ambitious fathers and
spent their adolescence locked in the sport. Peter Graf's handling
of his daughter's finances ended with a jail sentence for tax
evasion. Mike Agassi taught Andre the rudiments of hitting a tennis
ball and then sent him to Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy in
Florida. Agassi Snr's version of events is about to appear in a
ghosted biography, The Agassi Story, due to be launched here next

Steffi Graf, 35 last June, retired in 1999, having won 22 major
singles titles - seven at Wimbledon - including a Grand Slam and
Olympic gold medal in 1988. She seems to have settled smoothly into
the role of wife and mother. She says: "Nobody that knew me would
ever have thought I would have ended up in Las Vegas - growing up in
Germany, with the green forests, and ending up in the desert. But
I've been so blessed with my husband and my children. Life couldn't
be any better for all of us."

For the moment she appears content to cheer on her husband as he
continues to tread the courts. Soon, however, it may be Steffi's
turn to chalk a message on the blackboard.

Andre Agassi forever
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post #55 of 732 (permalink) Old 08-30-2004, 09:31 AM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

_Reaching Serenity by Grasping What's Important

August 30, 2004

”No retirement questions," Andre Agassi was assured. "Promise."

Andre Agassi, who was a colorful figure in the 1990's, has
grown comfortable in his role as an elder statesman in tennis.

Settling onto a couch, he rolled his eyes and nodded, wearily and gratefully. People have been popping the "R" question lately with near-maddening regularity, but what, exactly, is the point? Agassi is bound to quit tennis sooner than later, though perhaps not too soon, based on his hardcourt play this summer and how he punished the ball during a shirtless workout with Andy Roddick last week at the National Tennis Center.
The oldest and baldest star of the Tour was preparing for his 19th consecutive United States Open but was asked specifically about the moments preceding the conclusion of No. 18 last summer.
I mentioned to Agassi that I had watched him fall two sets behind in his semifinal against the Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero while in the company of a man who knew something about such predicaments in advanced tennis age.
"It's not the tennis so much at that stage of your career," Jimmy Connors said. "It's your comfort zone. You're down two sets to love and you're asking: 'Do I really want to stay out here and do what it takes, or do I really need this?' "
So I wondered if Agassi had had anything like that pass through his mind against Ferrero, or at any time during a Grand Slam tournament victory drought that stands at six. At 34, with a wife, two children, eight Grand Slam victories that cover the four majors, an acclaimed charity foundation and a firm historical standing as one of tennis's greatest players and most appreciated entertainers, does he really need this?
Thus a more probing query, beyond when Agassi plans to stop playing: why is he still playing?
His short answer, rifled like a forehand up the line, is simply, "Because I can." The long version speaks to one of the more remarkable remakings in all of modern sports.
"I've never allowed myself the luxury of going, 'Where do I want to be?' " Agassi said. "For me, one part of life affects the other so dramatically. My whole life is not going to be as enjoyable if I don't feel like I will leave everything that I've got on the court. I'll enjoy myself so much more at home. I'll sleep better at night. And I think everyone around me benefits from me being more comfortable with myself.
"So I am actually using how good my life is away from tennis as a motivation, and the only way to protect that life is to live up to the standard that I set for myself."
Agassi didn't always know the good life from the best life, and certainly not when he was plummeting like an Olympic diver through the ranking, all the way down to No. 141 on Nov. 10, 1997. Which Las Vegas casino would've even given odds that Agassi, at that time well into tennis middle age, would come back to win five additional Grand Slam events and set new standards for physical conditioning in the process?
A few weeks ago, after Agassi beat Roddick and then Lleyton Hewitt at the Tour stop in Mason, Ohio, for his 59th career title, someone asked Hewitt how it felt to lose to a tennis geriatric, 11 years his senior.
Hewitt said, "I don't think anyone's ever doubted, you know, his fitness."
Forgive Hewitt's ignorance, for he was a babe in the Australian bush when many people doubted Agassi's fitness, among other things. Agassi is married to the retired tennis champion Steffi Graf, who was focused on winning from her first professional stroke to her last. His generational rival, Pete Sampras, blazed through the distractions and complexities of young adulthood, wearing peripheral blinders that helped track him to a men's record 14 career majors.
Was it unfair for the tennis critics of the early 1990's to lampoon the young Agassi as a Vegas lounge act, to castigate him for not maximizing his formidable gifts according to a schedule they set? Just when you think Agassi will expound on the iniquity of the one-size-fits-all human developmental scale, he goes crosscourt in making his erstwhile critics' argument his own.
"As I look back on it, I don't think the media and the public should have taken a different approach to it," he said. "I should have been accountable a lot earlier."
For what, specifically, he was asked, and the example that came immediately to mind was how he made himself allergic to the finest tennis tradition, the Wimbledon grass, not playing the tournament from 1988 through 1990.
"I didn't want to go to Wimbledon because I wanted time off," he said. "I didn't have the ability to take a step back and look at it through the lens of the people who are being affected by your choices. I was only looking at life through my lens."
Interesting, isn't it, that Agassi should have used that particular phrasing, given the scorn heaped upon him for starring in a television commercial for a brand of camera and becoming closely identified with its marketing mantra: Image is Everything.
That was the Agassi with the streaked blond mane flowing from under his cap, the grunge iconoclast who drew comical platitudes from one celebrity, Barbra Streisand, and married another, Brooke Shields. Even as the Wimbledon champion in 1992, and the United States Open winner two years later, Agassi conceded that he left himself exposed to the accusation that he would forever be more tacky stylist than true sportsman.
On the best day for him and Sampras, we know that Sampras wins and we also acknowledge that Agassi would probably be closer than 14-8 in the Grand Slam count if full-blown maturity had set in sooner. Fine. Whatever. This is not about judgment as much as it is about the journey.
Two years ago, Sampras defeated Agassi in a charged United States Open final, climbed into the stands to embrace his actress wife and rode off into a sunset that only Hollywood could script. Agassi, for his part, was remarried to a camera-shy woman who won 22 Grand Slam singles titles. For the career rivals, character role-play had blurred almost to the point of reversal.
In July, Agassi went to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., on the day of Graf's induction and, while addressing a 50th anniversary crowd that included many of the sport's greatest living players, told his teary-eyed wife, "It has taken my breath away to see how you have quietly laid down your racket to pursue love and motherhood with the same zeal and high standards you have always demanded of yourself."
The unlikeliest of elder statesmen gave tennis an "everything image" it won't soon forget. At 34, Andre Agassi showed more heart than ever. More than his projected departure date, isn't that the point?

Andre Agassi forever
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post #56 of 732 (permalink) Old 08-30-2004, 02:50 PM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

"End of the line for Agassi?" --- Gigan says - Never
Go, go Andre!!!

By Piers Newbery
Saturday, 28 August, 2004

Agassi made his first US Open appearance in 1987
The 2004 US Open could give Andre Agassi the boost he needs to prolong his career, according to former world number one Jim Courier.
Agassi made his first US Open appearance in 1987

Agassi has been the subject of increasing speculation this year as his form has dipped and injuries have taken their toll.

At 34 years old, and with eight Grand Slam titles already won, will this be the last time we see the Las Vegan at Flushing Meadows?

"I think it depends on his results," Courier told BBC Sport. "I think if he has good results he will be encouraged and he'll continue to go.

"He loves a challenge and when you tell him he can't do something it only motivates him to try more.

"I hope it's not his last US Open because he's such a charismatic champion that all the public around the world enjoy watching, and he's the last in my generation really around, so it would be sad to see him go."

If anyone can understand what Agassi is going through, it is Courier.

The man from Orlando is only four months younger than his compatriot and the pair met 12 times on the tour.

Courier, who retired in 1999, was one of the few players to have a winning record against Agassi at 7-5.

He won four Grand Slam titles - two French and two Australian Opens - but admits he was no match for Agassi in terms of natural talent.

To answer what has made him such a special player,

"I think Andre's hands are as good as anyone that I have ever seen play, perhaps that has ever played, and that's something that you can't teach," - said Courier.

So can Agassi follow the example set by Pete Sampras two years ago and win the US Open when everyone is writing him off?

Agassi and Courier played 12 times, with Courier coming out on top 7-5
"I think it might be an advantage for him that this year he did not travel to the Olympics, and some guys might come back a little bit fatigued from going back and forth to Europe - that's hard to say.

"He needed to win some more matches this summer to boost his confidence because he hasn't played that much this year, and when he has played he hasn't won as much as he would have liked."

Only Agassi himself will know when he steps onto court at Flushing Meadows if this is the last time.

"It will be interesting to see," said Courier.

"Sometimes players get nostalgic as they get towards the end of their career and become a little bit more sensitive, a little bit more emotional.

"That could be a scenario for Andre - wondering if it's his last go.

"That could create some complications as regards his mind-set going into matches. It will be interesting to see how that plays out."

Courier is now playing on the Delta Tour of Champions and hopes to qualify for The Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall (30 Nov - 5 Dec).


Andre Agassi forever

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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Agassi "Retirement Not Imminent"
NEW YORK -- Maybe it's time for Andre Agassi to pick on someone his
own age. These kids just can't keep up with him.

Fit as a rookie at 34, Agassi advanced at the U.S. Open on Thursday
by running ragged a player more than a dozen years younger for the
second straight match. Then he made perfectly clear this will not be
the final tournament of his career.

Agassi, playing in his 19th straight Open, weathered a one-set blip,
regained control, and led 7-5, 2-6, 6-2, 1-0 when Florian Mayer
walked to the net to quit with a left hamstring injury.

``I just don't want to play old. That's what I'm concerned about out
there,'' said Agassi, the most, ahem, experienced man in the field.
``I feel like if I can still play my tennis, then I'm proud of

All around him, his peers and pals keep retiring: Pete Sampras, Jim
Courier, Michael Chang and, this week alone, Todd Martin and Wayne

That -- plus a 16-month title drought he only recently ended -- led
to a buzz that Agassi might be contemplating walking away, perhaps
after the Open. Asked Thursday if his post-Open tennis schedule were
set, and whether that might be a signal of his plans, Agassi left
zero wiggle room.

``Well,'' he responded, ``let this be a signal: I'm not considering
retiring at the end of this tournament.''

Smiling, he added: ``Let that be a big flare.''

Agassi got past Mayer, 20, three days after a straight-set win over
Robby Ginepri, 21, in his pursuit of a ninth Grand Slam title. At a
major, with potentially seven best-of-five-set matches over two
weeks, Agassi knows it helps to get off the court quickly.
Especially when the temperature tops 75.

``You don't want to spend anything unnecessarily,'' he said.

He hasn't reached a Slam final since the 2003 Australian Open; this
year, he skipped Wimbledon with a hip injury and lost in the first
round at the French Open.

Novak, 29, takes a 1-4 head-to-head record into his third-round
match against Agassi. Mayer sounded thrilled to share a court with
the former No. 1.

``Nobody knows how long he's going to play,'' said Mayer, a
Wimbledon quarterfinalist who jumped from 254th in the rankings at
the end of 2003 to 37th.

As is his wont, Agassi dictated the tempo during and between points,
quickly moving to the baseline to get things restarted. In the
second set, Mayer's mix-it-up style -- Agassi called it ``awkward'' -
- worked brilliantly because he couldn't miss, making just two
unforced errors, compared with 28 the other sets. The German hurt
his hamstring in the first set, dealt with the pain, then had his
leg wrapped at 5-2 in the third.

From the warmup to the end, Agassi was cheered on by a group of
about a dozen fans who call themselves ``Netheads'' and were given
upper-deck tickets by the Open. They chanted his name, rang a cow
bell and pounded ThunderStix.

Agassi was appreciative. He also noticed a woman fanning herself in
the front row.

``As the ball goes up, I see this fan as I'm trying to watch the
ball. It was right there,'' Agassi said. ``I just felt like
going, 'Would it be appropriate to ask her to stop cooling herself?
We're all hot out here.'''
Andre Agassi forever
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Andre Interview on Sept.2, 2004
A. AGASSI/F. Mayer

7-5, 2-6, 6-2, 1-0 (ret)

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. When they introduced you today, they said this is your 19th US Open. That stunned me. Does it seem like that many to you? I was just shocked.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, I mean, I suppose so. There are a lot of times where it sort of hits you when you don't expect it, how long you've been out here doing the same thing, you know. That's certainly a stat that jumps out when you hear it.

Q. Does it make you feel old? I mean, you're not old.

ANDRE AGASSI: I just don't want to play old. That's what I'm concerned about out there. You know, I feel like if I can still, you know, play my tennis, then I'm proud of that.

Q. When you hear guys like Wayne and Todd retire, does it make you think any more about your own future, make you feel lonely at all?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, listen, you miss a lot of the guys you grew up with, your peers that you competed with in some cases since you were eight years old. So you do miss them. You do feel like the game misses them. The challenges are still the same out there, though. You got guys that have a lot of weapons they bring to the table. I feel like that distracts me from getting too lonely.

Q. How surprised were you when you saw Florian walk towards the net shaking his head?

ANDRE AGASSI: I sort of feel like I've seen it all. You know, I mean, you don't come to expect anything one way or the other. You just sort of deal with what's going on out there. I definitely noticed the edge come off his game a little bit, and he started living more dangerously on all his shots. I settled into my game after playing not a good second set. So I felt like I was only thinking about improving and finishing the match off strong. I still felt like I had a good 40 minutes of tennis left in me to finish that one off. When he said that was it, I just shook his hand. Wasn't a whole lot of thinking I was doing at that point. But, you know, you never expect that. That's for sure.

Q. Ran the young guy into the ground.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't know what his injury is, but it didn't sound good. He said he had that before.

Q. Last year you didn't play between the end of The Open and the Masters championships in Houston. At Wimbledon, Perry said you were considering playing a couple tournaments after The Open. Are you rethinking that?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't make any plans after The Open yet one way or the other. I mean, I think it's very possible I'll play a full fall schedule. I think it's possible I won't. It's all sort of new to me right now. I have no specific game plan. It's a delicate balancing act through the year. I ask a lot of my family to be able to still be out here giving myself a shot. I also feel like I do much better when I make sure I'm doing right by them, as well. So my priorities have shifted over the last few years. It leaves me to make decisions a little bit more on the go. You know, I'll have to wait and see on that.

Q. The importance of the question was if you play after The Open, it would be a signal that you're certainly not considering retiring at the end of this tournament.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, let this be a signal: I'm not considering retiring at the end of this tournament (smiling). Let that be a big flare.

Q. It's been noted that you have this extraordinary recall of virtually all of your matches. Can you think of the most bizarre ending in your matches, where it ended in a bizarre way?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, there was like 200 some odd times where I lost (smiling). It just shocked me. I mean, I was blown away by it. No, I really don't even -- I really wouldn't even know how to register that question. What's bizarre? To me it's always bizarre when a match doesn't finish. You can't run out the clock, you got to get past the finish line. Like today, it's a strange way for a match to end. I've seen defaults out there. I've been on both ends of that. So it's a lot of strange stuff.

Q. How important is it for you to get through the first week, the first three matches, relatively easily given that your last four, should you make it, will be extremely tough?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you don't want to spend anything unnecessary, that's for sure. Certainly I don't. But I've always taken that approach: get off the court as soon as you can. Don't mess around out there and don't take a three-set match and turn it into a possible five-setter by getting a little careless. You never want to do that. But you have to approach it as one match at a time because you never know when, in hindsight, that match won you the tournament. You know, you can look back at a lot of different matches where somebody wins a second round, and they just get through it by the skin of their teeth, save a few match points. The next thing you know, they find their game, they get the easy match after the tough match, so their body recovers, they're in the semis playing for the championship on the weekend. You never know when that match is going to happen, when it's important to play your best. You always sort of got to prepare yourself for that. So you hope things go a certain way. And I certainly hope that I don't play too long out there the first week. But I'm out there with a plan of getting through it any way I have to.

Q. You've been through one season of the US Open Series. Can you assess it from a player, fan, overall sport perspective?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think the US Open Series is a win-win for everybody involved in the sport of tennis. It's a win for the players because it gives us something to really focus on and to care about, to be motivated by. I think it's great for the fans because they have a way of understanding what tournaments we're playing, what importance they do have. It's a great thing for the fans as far as that goes. It's a great thing for all the governing bodies of the sport to send a signal that we can work together. If we actually use each other, the sport benefits as a whole. It just gives us a bigger pie that gets divided up as opposed to thinking that we're, you know, stealing from each other, even recognizing the other one. So for the US Open to sort of step forward and say, "Let's do a series which highlights all these other tournaments in lead-up to the US Open," it takes a lot of integrity and a lot of class. I think the other Slams would be remiss not to follow in those footsteps.

Q. Do you think this working together could start a trend instead of all the Balkanization that is common to tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think so. I think it's a clear sign that if we all work together, the sport benefits, which benefits us all. And that's the important part. I think that's the part that has been tough over the years. You know, ever since I've been a part of this sport, it feels like one governing body feels like they have to look out for them self and they don't want to sort of support something. The Grand Slams are the pillars of the game. Nothing's ever going to change that. They're not going anywhere. They are the sport. But year-round, we have these tournaments that are important for the players and are important for the fans. It's a sport that gets to be brought to the world all year round. If we can somehow work together, it just reaches a broader network of people. It makes it a bit more of an understandable sport from the average sport fan who sits in the bar trying to figure out, "Okay, how important is this tournament? One is going on in LA, one is going on in Washington, Indianapolis." There's so many, that you sort of need a measuring stick. The US Open Series gives the sports fan a chance to understand it. I think it reaches more people. I think it's more exciting. I think the whole sport needs to keep taking these steps to become unified, so we're all about the one product, because it's one heck of a product.

Q. When you look at the horizon, the younger men, obviously there's good tennis there, but do you see anybody who is ready to be sort of a statesman of the game, ready to speak for tennis off the court also?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, that's hard to sort of put your finger on. It's a learning process. You know, it's understanding and having the desire, the motivation, the capacity to sort of look at the sport through the lens of many different needs. You know, I think Andy's been great. I think a guy like this has come in with a lot on his shoulders. I feel like he always gives back. He always leaves his heart out there on the court, which is where it needs to start. He always has time for the fans. I've never seen him not have time for people, which is also a great sign. And he has a good heart. He seems to care about a lot of things passionately. So you see that. You see the way Federer goes about his business. You see the best in the world. You know, there's a lot to look forward to.

Q. Can you talk about how well he played against you, considering he actually hurt himself the first set? Were you surprised at the unorthodox shots?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, he's an awkward player. He's a player that plays real awkward shots. The way he delivers his backhand, you're convinced he doesn't have time to bring the racquet head around and hit it cross-court, yet he can hit that thing like a fireball cross-court. But sometimes when you have something ailing you, it gives you sort of a green light in your own mind to take any opportunity you get. And sometimes it actually helps you as far as living on the edge. I felt like he was playing dangerously and coming up with a lot of shots that you would bet over the course of time one can't continually pull off. But he was doing it for a stage there. It's very possible that the fact that he was feeling handicapped, he knew that he had to. Sometimes it's harder when you're trying to make the decisions out there.

Q. How aware are you of the raucous crowd? Does it affect you? Did you enjoy the cow bell?

ANDRE AGASSI: The cow bell? There was a cow bell out there?

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

Andre Agassi forever

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post #59 of 732 (permalink) Old 09-05-2004, 02:28 AM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Transcribed Interview


6-4, 6-2, 6-3

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. As you look at today's match specifically, what are the things that you've done so far that you need to carry on into the second week to succeed, and what do you need to do differently?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, today was an important day for me because Jiri is the kind of player that requires you to put together a quality match. He does a lot of things really well out there and he makes you make good decisions because if you try to go through him, he really settles in the pace pretty well, and it's hard to get through him. If you play off anything, he's able to take the ball early and redirect it. So I had to make good decisions out there. I served real well today. Felt like I did most things well. I turned a corner that I needed to turn going into the second week. If I can continue that standard, that's pretty good.

Q. Can we say you were at the same level as Cincinnati today?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, you know, to beat somebody like Jiri in straight sets is a great match. You know, had some great wins in Cincinnati, and I consider today another great win.

Q. Lleyton said racquet technology is not an issue, but you're using the latest Headline. Do you think it's something that's eventually going to have to pull the reins in, or do you think players will always just adjust?

ANDRE AGASSI: As long as the sport stays mano-a-mano, I mean, you're talking about one person versus another. Give them any rules, and you still got to find a way to get it done. Are you suggesting that the pace of the game has gotten --

Q. I'm saying like the PGA. Do you think the racquets will ever get so powerful and technology so advanced that someone should step in and say, "Wait a minute, we need to cut this off"?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I tell you, a racquet is a very personal thing. You have to grow up with it. I think for any real racquet to make that kind of an impact that needs to be obviously phenomenally powerful, but I also think you need to know it from a young lad. I mean, you can't just sort of pick one up and say, "Geez, I can hit the ball so much harder with this," because you've still got to keep the ball in. And there's still a lot to the sport that requires you to do other things. So until I see a racquet that can win a match for me, I mean, I think it's about the competitors out there.

Q. Specifically, is there any quality of LiquidMetal or technology that you particularly like?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, the subtleties in a racquet are something that you're highly aware of. If you were to grab my racquet from six years ago, I would notice a clear difference as I've sort of evolved with the weight, the balance, the strings, the technology. You don't want a racquet working against you. You want it sort of lending itself to your style of play. And I don't struggle with power. I sort of need more help when the ball is not quite in my strike zone. And that's where I feel the technology of the LiquidMetal really helps me. It sort of gives me a little bit extra on the shots I'm not hitting quite as perfectly. So I think it's -- I don't know if you would notice a difference if you hit with mine now versus six years ago. I can't sort of speak to that. But I certainly would.

Q. You've had a pretty easy road so far. How do you look at where you're going to go in the second week? Do you want to be challenged soon, or do you like the way these three-set matches are going?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, if I can do that four more times, that would be great. Three sets would be great four more times. What do you think about that? Good plan (smiling)?

Q. Are you expecting inviting in different players?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I expected that today. I really did. I go out with every match and expect it to be tough and feel like I need to be ready to step up my game. And it's no different now than when I was 20 years old. I mean, I enjoy getting through the first week uneventfully. But you never know, when you get through that tough match, and that is the match you needed to get through before you go on. Seen people win tournaments down match points in the early rounds. You never know when you need your best tennis. That's why it's always best to save it for when you do.

Q. Do you find it harder at 34 than perhaps 24 to put together your best tennis seven straight matches in a two-week period?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, well, I haven't done it at 34 yet. And I think it gets tougher every year, from the quality of your opponents to the distractions that exist in your own life. You're constantly being pulled with priorities, you're constantly having to balance everything that's important to you. That gets harder and harder. Your body feels differently at 34. I fortunately have been holding up this summer in a way that I haven't felt in a while. So that's a good feeling. But history would show that it so far has been harder.

Q. After Cincinnati, you spoke to confidence. Is there an arrogance that comes with being 24 that makes it easier to have confidence than at 34?

ANDRE AGASSI: That's what I love about tennis. You can't hide from yourself out there. Either you believe it or you don't, and you're exposed when you're out there. I think you have to have the goods regardless. If you lie to the man in the mirror, I mean, you're going to get out on the court, 20,000 people are going to realize it's not all what you think it is. So you need to have the goods. I'd say, generally speaking, it's easier to have the goods at 24.

Q. Could you give us your view on the two books that were released recently by your very closest relatives, one by your father and the second one by your sister? Were you somehow involved in these two books?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I was involved in my sister's book, which is a book designed to raise money for breast cancer, where I lent one of my recipes that I enjoy cooking, pictures of me and the family. It's a great book that a lot of sort of celebrities have given their time and energy towards. My father's book, I had nothing to do with that.

Q. You seemed to show a little skill in the shoemaking and shoe-repairing department. What happened there?

ANDRE AGASSI: I burn a lot of tread out there. I think it has to do with my speed at 34 (smiling). You know, I enjoy a good broken-in pair of shoes, let me put it that way. Sometimes you cross that line and you need to rotate it, but you don't feel like it's that big of a concern so you keep the nice used leather tightly strapped.

Q. And you always carry a bottle of glue in your bag?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I think you'd be surprised to look in the rest of my bag, too (smiling). You never know when you need it.

Q. Do you have a preference for a day or night match? Especially at your age, is your vision affected playing at night?

ANDRE AGASSI: Who is asking the question? I can't see (smiling). No, I haven't noticed any issues with my vision. What age does that start?

Q. 45.

ANDRE AGASSI: 45, okay. Come ask me again in 15 years (smiling). My math is bad, 11 years.

Q. You won the Olympics. I want to know if it was a surprise for you that Massu won singles and doubles?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, I think -- I think it was one incredible accomplishment that he had. Singles and doubles, it's a phenomenal thing he accomplished. He spent a lot of hours on the court, showed a lot of heart. Man, he'll have that to enjoy the rest of his life.

Q. How important was it for you when you won the gold medal?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it's one of the greatest accomplishments in my career for myself personally. I hold that as close to me as anything else I've done.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

Andre Agassi forever

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post #60 of 732 (permalink) Old 09-05-2004, 02:53 AM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Agassi cruises past Novak

Andre Agassi remains on course for a quarter-final showdown against Roger Federer after a commanding victory over Jiri Novak.
Agassi was barely troubled by his opponent from the Czech Republic as he coasted to a 6-4 6-2 6-3 win.

Agassi now faces close friend Sargis Sargsian, who came from two sets down to overcome Paul-Henri Mathieu 4-6 4-6 6-4 6-2 7-6 (7-4).

Sargsian has been on court more than 12 hours in his first three matches.

The Armenian stunned Olympic gold medallist Nicolas Massu in the previous round in another five-setter that lasted five hours nine minutes, the second longest match in US Open history.

"I don't know how I did it, I just kept fighting at the end," said Sargsian, who saved two match points at 6-5 down in the fifth set before winning the tiebreak 7-4.

"I felt a bit stiff before the start but I felt better than I did against Massu."

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