NO TIME FOR RETIREMENT !!! [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

NO TIME FOR RETIREMENT !!!

Gigan
09-09-2005, 02:23 AM
No time for retirement
Agassi too busy creating memories to hang it up
Posted: September 9, 2005

Even in his 20th year on tour, Andre Agassi is showing why he's one of the best ever.
AP

http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2005/tennis/specials/us_open/2005/09/08/bc.ten.usopen.agassi.ap/p1_agassi_0905.jpg
NEW YORK (AP) -- Too busy still performing magic with his racket and creating memories for a new generation, Andre Agassi doesn't have the time or interest to think about retirement.

He left the U.S. Open in the wee hours Thursday morning after one more stirring match in a 20-year career filled with them.

This time, spry as ever at 35, he absorbed a beating from speedy James Blake for two sets late Wednesday night, spun the match around in the next two, then came up with scintillating shots in a fifth-set tiebreaker to win 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (6).

The victory made Agassi the oldest semifinalist since Jimmy Connors performed his own magic tricks in similarly thrilling matches on the way to the semis in 1991. On Saturday, Agassi faces another young American trying to make his mark, unseeded 22-year-old Robby Ginepri.

For the moment, any talk of Agassi retiring, playing his last match in the U.S. Open this weekend, win or lose, is premature.

"I'll gladly take somebody along the ride with me," Agassi said. "I don't know for a long time how my career is going to end. I don't know what I'm going to do, how I'm going to do it, when I'm going to do it.

"When I get that question, I'm just a bit numb to it really. I don't know what's going to happen."

Agassi owns eight Grand Slam titles, two of them at the U.S. Open in 1994 and '99. He's threatened here in recent years, reaching the final three years ago, the semis two years ago and the quarters last year. Now he may be ready to reverse that slight spiral.

"Everyone keeps asking when he's going to retire," Blake said. "He has no reason to retire. He's one of the best in the world, still chasing Grand Slams. If he's still enjoying it and still finding ways to motivate himself, I say let him play forever."

Agassi said before the tournament that he would wait until the end of the year to decide whether to play on or quit. He will weigh his desire to keep challenging himself and giving back to the game, versus his desire to spend more time with his wife, Steffi Graf, and their two young children. Of concern, too, are questions about his fragile back, which required two cortisone injections in the spine this year to calm down sciatic nerve pain from a herniated disc. That injury led to his first-round loss in the French Open and his absence from Wimbledon.

There is no doubt, though, that Agassi can keep playing at a high level when he's healthy.

"I question myself every day," Agassi said after beating Blake. "That's what I still find motivating about this. I don't have the answers, I don't pretend that I do just because I won the match. Just keep fighting and maybe something good happens."

Agassi, playing in his 20th straight U.S. Open, said that a match like this one against Blake "means as much to me as doing it in the finals."

"It's about authentic competition, getting out there and having respect for each other's game, respect for each other's person, letting it fly and letting it just be about tennis," he said.

"It's all a bit surreal. I get out there and I try to work and I come off the court and many times in my career I feel like it's been a dream. That's how it is here. It's a dream to be doing this. I feel same way with the my children, feel same way off the court. It's all surprising to me."

Agassi said he was still buzzing with energy a couple hours after the match and finally fell asleep about 4:15 a.m. He awoke a few hours later feeling "a little sleepy" and had a typical morning with his family.

"In this particular case, I told Stef I wanted the kids jumping on me as soon as they can," Agassi said. "She fought them off until about 8:15. Jaden comes in and wants to get under the blankets and make a house out of it, and my little daughter asks me if I want coffee, because she's big on helping me make my coffee."

By 4 p.m., Agassi was out at the National Tennis Center having a casual 30-minute practice session with coach, Darren Cahill. The two were on P-1, the farthest practice court from fans, but that didn't stop a group of spectators from gathering to squint at Agassi in the distance.

When he left the court he rewarded the loyal fans by heading over to sign autographs and say a few words.

"It was some of the best energy I ever felt -- I never heard a crowd that loud," Agassi said of the fans at the Blake match. "I thought it was just perfect, actually."

Before the tournament, when asked what the Open meant to him, Agassi described a scene, two sets to love down, some people going home, others staying because they have hope. And hours later, thousands of people pulling him through.

"It's quite ironic that it turned out that way," Agassi said. "Last night I can honestly say, after having a good think about it all night and morning, that that was the most passionate I ever heard a crowd in a tennis court. I certainly have never been a part of one louder. I stopped counting the standing ovations after three.

"You feel inspired by it -- the hair on the back of your body is standing on end and occasionally it leads to some magic."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

Gigan
09-09-2005, 01:36 PM
Tennis: Agassi sends a reminder to the younger set
Christopher Clarey International Herald Tribune

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2005


NEW YORK The better moment for Andre Agassi may be yet to come at this U.S. Open.

Yet whatever happens against Robby Ginepri in the semifinal round or perhaps even Roger Federer in the final round, Agassi has given himself the sort of buzz that validates his decision to keep putting his 35-year-old body through the wringer against the younger, quicker, ever-more-powerful set.

When you have won eight Grand Slam singles titles and played scores of big matches in various time zones, it is no mean feat to add to your greatest hits list in the quarterfinals of a major. But Agassi's 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) victory over James Blake, which began Wednesday night and ended very early Thursday morning, was - without question - one of the most dramatic and satisfying of his 20-year career.

"Pretty amazing," Agassi said. "I don't know if I can put in context how this compares with some of my greatest experiences on the tennis court, but I know it's right up there, because this is what you work so hard for."

As the seventh-seeded Agassi gradually erased a two-set deficit and then rallied again in the fifth set, it was difficult for longtime Agassi observers not to let their minds spin back to other flash points in his career: to the 1992 Wimbledon final where, with his still-long hair flowing out of his cap, he managed to ambush Goran Ivanisevic on the grass for his first significant title; to the 1999 French Open final, where with a full beard and increasingly wide eyes, he managed to wipe out another two-set disadvantage against Andrei Medvedev and win the only major trophy missing from his collection.

The match Wednesday (and Thursday) had less urgency to it. At 35, with a wife and two young children and millions upon millions in the bank, Agassi is not playing the game with the same acquisitional objectives. He maintains that it is more about process now: about exercising the craft and enjoying the point-by-point challenges. Blake, with his phenomenal quickness and often enormous groundstrokes and returns, presented plenty: particularly in the first two and a half sets when his barely controlled risks kept paying off and jerking Agassi from corner to corner.

"To be honest, with the way a mentality like mine sort of works, this means as much to me as doing it in the finals," Agassi said. "This is what it's about. It's about just authentic competition, just getting out there and having respect for the other person and letting it fly and letting it be just about the tennis.

"Unfortunately, it doesn't happen as often as you'd like. Two guys need to play well and then the balls need to fall at the right place at the right time to create that sort of drama, and it all came together tonight."

The match's magnetic appeal did not lie entirely with the tennis, however. It was also about the back stories. Agassi is playing on borrowed time, having resorted to multiple cortisone injections - most recently last month - to calm the pain caused by an inflamed nerve in his lower back. Unable to move or swing away without discomfort, he lost in the first round of the French Open and withdrew from Wimbledon. But with help from his coach Darren Cahill and fitness trainer and friend Gil Reyes, Agassi has been able to push himself to the five-set limit in his last two matches.

Blake, an unseeded 25-year-old who was a regular spectator at the Open as a youngster growing up in Connecticut, only made it into this tournament after receiving a wild card. After breaking into the top 25 in 2003, he fell out of the top 100 in 2004 when he had to cope with both physical and psychological blows.

But Blake has roared back this summer on American hardcourts and after upsetting No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal and No. 19 seed Tommy Robredo here, he came into the match with Agassi playing the best, most focused tennis of his life.

The crowd greeted both players with warmth, and it was only in the final stages of this match, as an appreciation for Agassi's staying power increased, that the majority of the crowd were clearly and audibly leaning in the elder American's direction.

Blake served for the match at 5-4 in the fifth set and started with an ace but then lost the next three points as Agassi took control with return winners or returns that forced errors. At 15-40, Agassi hit a forehand that clipped the net cord and landed in. Blake ripped a forehand down the line that landed just wide. That was a harbinger of shots to come.

Though Blake took a 3-0 lead in the ensuing tiebreaker and still led 5-4 with two of his own serves to come, Agassi held firm. He made it 5-5 with a forehand return winner off a second serve and then took the lead 6-5 when Blake just missed another huge forehand.

Blake saved Agassi's first match point with a forehand winner, but Agassi then showed just how fresh he still was despite the years and the injury fears by winning an extended exchange. He hit a backhand drop shot that Blake reached and then ripped a backhand down the line, a passing shot for a winner that left some in the crowd jerking their hands to their heads in disbelief.

Agassi had another match point, and after Blake missed his first serve, Agassi guessed right on the second and nailed a clean forehand return winner.

At the net, after the handshake, Blake said to him, "It couldn't have been more fun to lose."

It could not have been much more fun to watch, either. "Let me just first say this," Agassi said in his post-match remarks to the crowd. "It's 1:15 in the morning and for 20,000 people to still be here, I wasn't the winner, tennis was."

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:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

RebelNYC
09-09-2005, 02:27 PM
Why should Andre retire? Anyone playing well enough to be in the semi-finals at the
US OPEN should not retire. I think as long as Andre's back/health is fine, he should
continue to compete. GO ANDRE GO!!!!

Gigan
09-10-2005, 01:19 AM
All Eyes Will Be on Agassi in Open Semis
By SANDRA HARWITT, For The Associated Press
47 minutes ago



NEW YORK - Although Roger Federer is the defending champion and No. 1 seed, all eyes will be on Andre Agassi in the U.S. Open semifinals. Agassi, 35, is the senior citizen among Saturday's four semifinalists. He's 13 years older than his opponent, fellow American Robby Ginepri, and 11 years older than Federer and Lleyton Hewitt, who will play each other in a repeat of last year's final.


Only Ginepri is an unfamiliar face at this stage of the Open, with Agassi winning the title here in 1994 and '99, Hewitt winning in 2001, and Federer taking last year's trophy.

The seventh-seeded Agassi has won eight career Grand Slam titles, and if he's able to usher Ginepri aside as he's done in their three previous meetings, he will be playing in his 15th career Grand Slam final.

That would make him the oldest Grand Slam finalist since 39-year-old Ken Rosewall lost the 1974 U.S. Open to Jimmy Connors.

The appearance of Agassi in the semifinal is impressive considering that a sciatic nerve injury in his back crippled him in the first round of the French Open, and forced him to skip Wimbledon. He came back in July, winning his 60th career title at his first summer stop in Los Angeles.

"I always worry about health — is everything holding up?" Agassi said Thursday, a day after his epic five-set quarterfinal win over James Blake. "Mentally, it's hard to get fatigued with the love I've been shown here.

"I've gotten through two five-setters, and feel surprisingly good. It's a sprint now around the turn and down the homestretch. I'll be in position to give it a good run."

Ginepri, 22, who spent a lot of physical and emotional energy in three successive five-set matches to reach the semifinal, didn't hesitate to pay homage to Agassi ahead of their semifinal.

"He's the king," said Ginepri, who won his second career title at Indianapolis in July. "He's done so much for the game. He's been inspirational to so many people. I've loved watching him growing up and play the game.

"Hopefully this won't be his last run here, but I wouldn't mind to be the one to take him out from the Open."

If the 46th-ranked Ginepri upsets Agassi, he will become the lowest ranked U.S. Open finalist since rankings began in 1973.
________________________________
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

AgassiFan
09-10-2005, 02:43 AM
Why should Andre retire?

I take it you're not familiar with this thing we call 'herniated disc'.


Back in '03, before the back/hip issues, I thought Andre could preserve his skills at least until 2007. I remember WyveN basically calling me crazy before 2004 AO - as in, Andre would be lucky to play top-20 caliber tennis for the remainder of the yearn and should just retire afterwards to save the embarassment. Granted, the injuries pretty much wiped out his RG/Wimbly season, but Andre did give Marat and Roger run for their money at both Aussie and USO. He is competitive again in 2005, despite needing cortisone shots just to run.

So, while I atill think his skills aren't close to deteriorating, Andre's body IS deteriorating, which I think is sad as if he was reasonably healthy, he could still play some high-quality matches another couple of years....

varar
09-11-2005, 07:23 PM
Q. Three years ago Sampras won this tournament and then we never saw him again, as you remember the final. Would you rather tomorrow win and say bye‑bye to all of us, or lose and play all next year?
ANDRE AGASSI: (Smiling). I'd rather win and play all next year (laughter).

IMMORTALCHAMP
09-12-2005, 04:17 AM
This US Open was great preparation for the Australian Open. I think AA should go back to the gym, get another injection and come to Australia in peak physical condition. He doesn't drop many sets in Australia, so I can see him cruising to the Semis and having a great shot at winning it.

RebelNYC
09-12-2005, 03:06 PM
I take it you're not familiar with this thing we call 'herniated disc'.


Back in '03, before the back/hip issues, I thought Andre could preserve his skills at least until 2007. I remember WyveN basically calling me crazy before 2004 AO - as in, Andre would be lucky to play top-20 caliber tennis for the remainder of the yearn and should just retire afterwards to save the embarassment. Granted, the injuries pretty much wiped out his RG/Wimbly season, but Andre did give Marat and Roger run for their money at both Aussie and USO. He is competitive again in 2005, despite needing cortisone shots just to run.

So, while I atill think his skills aren't close to deteriorating, Andre's body IS deteriorating, which I think is sad as if he was reasonably healthy, he could still play some high-quality matches another couple of years....

If you're going to quote me, quote me. I referenced as long as his health
was fine.