** Andre News Articles & Interviews !! ** [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

** Andre News Articles & Interviews !! **

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01-12-2004, 04:39 PM
A new year, a new thread to post all the Andre :worship: Agassi interviews and articles we come across! :bounce:

TENNIS: Agassi's lead draws top guns to Kooyong
By BRUCE MATTHEWS in Melbourne

ANDRE Agassi has unwittingly become tennis promoter Colin Stubs' greatest ally for his Australian Open lead-up tournament at Kooyong starting tomorrow.

It's follow-the-leader to the Commonwealth Bank International with Roger Federer and Andy Roddick signing up to make their debuts long before they won Wimbledon and the US Open last year.

Agassi has used Kooyong as the base for the past several years and his strike rate of three of the last four Australian Open singles titles – he was a late withdrawal in 2002 – has prompted several main challengers to adopt the same build-up to Melbourne Park.

Argentine David Nalbandian, already a Wimbledon runner-up and US Open semi-finalist, is another first-timer to the eight-man round-robin event along with rising American Robby Ginepri while Taylor Dent, Sebastien Grosjean and Younes El Aynoui are back a second time.

"We haven't had any trouble putting the field together this year. In fact, I had stitched up Roddick and Federer around April," Stubs said.

"There's no doubt Agassi's continued support for this event has had an impact on other players. He has had remarkable success following a four-day stint here.

"The other factor is that Brad Gilbert, who coached Agassi, is now with Roddick and he knows it worked well for Agassi and he's taking the same formula with Roddick.

"And Sampras was a good ambassador for us too. There was only one year when he didn't play here.

"It's significant that the people who play here do well at the Australian Open. They may not win it, but they're generally around the semi-finals stage. We've been able to hang our hat on that a number of times."

Stubs and his team yesterday put the finishing touches to Kooyong as Agassi, Federer, Roddick and 2000 US Open champion Marat Safin fine-tuned at Melbourne Park with the main stadium's roof rolled back to prepare for the Open starting next Monday.

"It's a little different to last year when I had to replace three or four blokes with only about 10 days to go. But this year I'm quite relieved that I didn't have to do any work in that respect. They're all here," Stubs said.

2002 Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson is the first alternate at Kooyong and he's expected to be among the impromptu extra matches for fans this week.

01-12-2004, 06:33 PM
Thanks tangy. Yeah, this event has become a hot exhibition --- I wonder if it could ever evolve into an official ATP tournament. The players seem to take it that seriously.

J. Corwin
01-13-2004, 10:11 AM
Thanks Tangy Sox. Very nice read.

01-13-2004, 07:45 PM
In praise of Andre Agassi
By Mike Steinberger
Published: January 13 2004

When the Australian Open begins next week, the spotlight will be squarely on Greg Rusedski thanks to his positive testing for nandrolone and his allegation that he and other players were given the banned substance by ATP trainers.

With men's tennis perhaps facing its worst scandal ever, what might otherwise have been the biggest pre-tournament story - the possibility that this could be Andre Agassi's last appearance at the Australian - will probably be relegated to the inside pages, which is a shame.

No, Agassi, the defending Australian champion, has not announced retirement plans, and it seems a bit ludicrous to be on the gold-watch watch for a player who only four months ago was a US Open semi-finalist and who finished 2003 ranked fourth in the world. Yet he is nearly 34, has a wife and two kids, and a limited number of miles left in his legs. Age will catch up with him sooner rather than later.

So while it may be too early to bury Agassi, it is not too early to praise him, or to try to put his career in some perspective.

Giving him his due is all the more important because there is a danger that once he is put on diaper patrol full time, he may not be looked back on with quite the appreciation he deserves.

Agassi will always be in the shadow of Pete Sampras. No shame there: Sampras may well be the best player ever. But when tennis buffs discuss the all-time greats, they inevitably categorise them by grand slam titles. With eight majors, Agassi is no slouch in this regard, but the numbers will never quite do justice to his career.

Apart from Rod Laver, Agassi is the only male player in the modern era to have won all four majors, and while Laver had only to contend with two surfaces, grass and clay, the American did it on three.

The Agassi legacy will also include some life lessons. When the youngster from Las Vegas, with his earrings, denim shorts, rat-tail hair and smug attitude emerged in the 1980s, his gift for the game was obvious, but for a long time his enormous potential remained just that. He lacked discipline and focus, and even after he had won a few majors it seemed he would never live up to the early promise.

The turning point was the 1999 French Open. Agassi had nearly disappeared from the game 18 months before, and entered the tournament seeded just 13th. His victory surprised him as much as anyone, and it was at this point that he seemed to realise how much time he had wasted and how much talent he had nearly let slip away. Since then, his commitment has been unwavering.

Most players pass their careers in a state of arrested development. Not Agassi; he has grown up on the court and will leave the game a fully formed adult, which is not something that can be said of a lot of tennis stars.

Reached in Melbourne, Agassi's coach Darren Cahill sidestepped the issue of retirement: "There is no sign of it, no talk of it, no suggestion of it." Cahill said Agassi had followed his usual brutal training regimen for the new season.

Cahill said the player was not sticking around simply to add to his grand-slam haul, nor does he have expectations that, if not met, might prompt retirement. "For him, the biggest motivation at this point is simply love of the game."

Yet it seems a safe bet that once his results start to slip, Agassi will not do an extended farewell tour.

American tennis has found its new saviour in Andy Roddick, who won last year's US Open and has more than enough charisma to fill the void Agassi will leave. Once he is gone from the game, Agassi will certainly not be forgotten; what matters, though, is how he is remembered.

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01-13-2004, 07:48 PM
It ain't easy, Andre Agassi
by Shaun Phillips
14 jan 04

ANDRE Agassi may be the big daddy of tennis, but a second child is a whole new ball game he is yet to master.
The four-time Australian Open champion yesterday admitted he was sometimes overwhelmed by his expanding family.

Wife Steffi Graf gave birth to the couple's daughter Jaz -- a playmate for two-year-old son Jaden Gil -- more than 14 weeks ago.

"Going from one to two -- it's like going from one to 10," said the one-time tennis punk turned elder statesman.

"When you have two, it's like, now I can't sort of run and hide when things get tough."

Asked how he had handled the challenge of his growing family, Agassi replied: "I'm not convinced I'm handling it at this point in time."

Complications are magnified by regular world travel.

Agassi, 34 in April, said the dynamics of his relationship with his wife had changed and that, too, was taking some getting used to.

"I have to say that the most difficult challenge is with one child, you sort of do everything together, whether you're going to play with the child or go out to do something," Agassi said.

"When you've got two, you find yourself spending such a good part of your day apart from each other -- meaning me and my wife -- so that, at this point, is the tough part.

"But we will quickly get by that and get on with the good stuff."

When it was suggested that in light of his earlier statements, he may as well have 10 children, Agassi's response suggested Graf may have decided two was a splendid number.

"You talk my wife into that one -- it's not a hot topic in our house at the moment," he said.

Melbourne in January provides a degree of familiarity for Agassi and Graf as they confront new experiences.

Agassi has been coming here since 1995.

Graf, 34 and retired four years, first played in the Australian Open in 1983. Like her husband, she has four Australian singles trophies.

Agassi steps up his 2004 Open campaign when the Commonwealth Bank International starts at Kooyong today.

The eight-man Kooyong field also includes world No. 1 Andy Roddick and Wimbledon champion Roger Federer.

Pat Rafter will play a doubles match at Kooyong on Saturday as part of his temporary return to tennis.

Find this article at:

01-13-2004, 07:51 PM
thanks! I especially like the "in praise of" article! :)

01-14-2004, 04:14 PM
Andre at a "loss for words" over McEnroe revelation


Eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi, defending the integrity of tennis dented by the Greg Rusedski nandrolone affair, on Wednesday said he was at a "loss for words" over John McEnroe's comments about drugs in the sport.

Former world number one McEnroe, now a respected broadcaster and tennis pundit, told a British newspaper on Sunday that he had been given steroids without his knowledge during his career.

"For six years I was unaware I was being given a form of steroid of the legal kind they used to give horses until they decided it was too strong even for horses," McEnroe said.

"So people have to become more aware of what they are putting into their bodies. In general people are administered drugs too readily."

Agassi, in Melbourne before the defence of his Australian Open crown, was incredulous.

"Well, you try to find the understanding in why some people choose to say the things that they do and in reference to those specific quotes or admissions, I am not quite sure who that benefits.

"I just find myself (at) a bit of a loss for words when it comes to that sort of stuff being expressed. I'm not sure what to say about that."

With the media focus on Rusedski and the Briton's admission last week that he had tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone at a tournament in the U.S. last July, Agassi once again leapt to the defence of the sport.


"Our game is built on sportsmanship, it's built on respect for the game and I think there were many years when it wasn't the business that it is today," he said.

"As the nature of the game has changed I think it has left room for the potential, like any other sport, for the odd person to look for an advantage, even an unfair advantage.

"But with that being said, I believe the game has evolved every bit as quickly when it comes to the process of detecting the cheats.

"I just find that every positive test that may come out is a reflection of just how serious our drug testing programme is.

"I think we have moved with the times, I think it is a very healthy approach towards the drug testing process."

Rusedski says he is convinced he will be cleared of any wrongdoing at a hearing in Montreal on February 9.

The Canadian-born British number two says that over 40 top tennis players have shown "elevated levels" of the substance, and argues that he is being singled out.

01-14-2004, 04:16 PM
I have to say that I thought it was bad timing and unfair of McEnroe to come out just before the AO and claim that he was on steroids---because now everybody else is catching his heat and having to defend themselves for something they didn't do! :(

01-14-2004, 07:52 PM
Agassi strikes ominous form
Mark Stevens

HE'S already in the groove, toying with opponents and declaring he's fitter than ever.

Amid so much uncertainty in the build-up to the first grand slam, some things never change -- Andre Agassi's love affair with January rolls on.

Agassi yesterday disposed of world No. 10 Sebastien Grosjean 6-3 6-3 on day one of the Commonwealth Bank International at Kooyong, looking much sharper than the dangerous baseliner eight years his junior.

The 33-year-old later delivered an ominous warning that all indicators show his off-season training regime had been his most successful ever.

"I trained hard. All my numbers and training is much better than it's ever been," Agassi said.

"You measure yourself on strength and you measure yourself on the intensity of your program and I can tell you that in both cases it's better."

Agassi played just 13 tournaments last year, taking a two-month break which included the birth of his and Steffi Graf's second child, Jaz.

"I think the (break) was a great decision for me, professionally and personally -- the birth of my daughter, an opportunity to train and get my body to feel good again . . . I think I feel pretty ready for hopefully another great year," he said.

After the lay-off, he reappeared at the Masters Cup in Houston, only to be dismantled by Roger Federer in the final.

Since then, he has barely stopped, spending most of the Christmas/new year period with strength coach Gil Reyes.

"Every year I don't put much time on the court early in my training and then I start bringing the tennis into it as I get closer," Agassi said.

"In Houston, I was in shape, I was fighting hard, but never sort of felt like I got over the hump of feeling really comfortable and, needless to say, against the best players in the world it's not easy to do.

"But coming quickly down here, I've quickly found a nice rhythm and (I'm) feeling comfortable on the court."

Agassi, world No. 4, has won the Australian Open title the past three times he has played. He missed 2002 through injury, helping Swede Thomas Johansson break a stunning sequence.

The fact Andy Roddick, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Roger Federer emerged as giants of the game last year has only added to Agassi's motivation to make a statement at Melbourne Park next week.

"I approach it from the standpoint of being so challenged by the next day that I don't look at it as a mountain to climb, it's sort of one step at a time," he said.

"I feel very motivated to be down here and try to take that next step . . . put myself in the position to hopefully win."

Agassi isn't about to flag that is will be his last Australian Open. Like every other year, he's not sure if this is it or not.

"I'm constantly tempted to look at it as my last year, but I don't because I can't say it is," Agassi said.

"It's very possible this could be a great year for me . . . I could be down here next year answering the same question."

01-15-2004, 05:07 PM
Agassi ready for youthful onslaught at Aussie Open


MELBOURNE: Andy Roddick has the power, Lleyton Hewitt the heart and Roger Federer the almost supernatural ability.

It is Andre Agassi, though, who has the track record and the form as he launches his bid to retain the Australian Open tennis title next week.

The American has hit the Australian ground running once again, weeks spent training hard in heat back home are already paying dividends.

Looking lean and powerful and hitting the ball with unerring accuracy, Agassi knows better than anyone what it takes to win the Australian Open having done it four times.

"I've been doing this for almost 18 years now so I feel like I've learnt a few things about myself, how to get myself to be at my best," he said.

"I wouldn't call it superstitious but it is ritualistic," he says, looking every inch the pre-tournament favourite.

"It is about pushing the buttons that you need to push in order to come here ready."

He certainly has been pushing the right buttons.

Where others have come off their Christmas breaks a little rusty, the 33-year-old father of two has looked sharp and ready. His form at the Kooyong International, the traditional Melbourne warm-up event, has been little short of inspirational.

To stop him at Melbourne Park will take something special.

Wimbledon champion Federer failed to come close at Kooyong yesterday, but a grand slam is a grand slam and he is sure to be in better form once it kicks off on Monday.

Federer, who won his first slam last July at Wimbledon playing sublime tennis, knows he has work to do.

"I'm not happy with my game so far," was his candid response after losing 6-2 6-4 to Agassi.

"I have got a few days left and I am going to use them."

Ranked No 1 in the world, Andy Roddick also won his first grand slam last year, the US Open, and is the leader of the new breed of players.

He readily admits Federer has more shots and natural ability, but with a serve that should carry a health warning and a game suited to hard courts it must only be a matter of time before he triumphs in Melbourne.

"I like (the surface) Rebound Ace a lot," the top seed said this week. I like how the balls take off, you can get some good spin on it and I definitely enjoy playing in it."

Last year's success has only made him more hungry.

"It's like when you get a taste, a good bite of a sandwich when you're hungry and you want to see what the rest of it is like as well that's what I went through," he said.

Roddick has surprises up his sleeve as he heads the seedings in a grand slam for the first time.

"It will probably suit me best if I keep it under wraps for the time being, but lets just say it was time well spent during the off-season," he said.

Tucked in behind Roddick and Federer, and just ahead of Agassi, at number three in the seedings is Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero whose defeat in the first round in Sydney left him lost for ideas.

"I think nothing, especially like I can practise tomorrow and after tomorrow," he said.

"Of course it's better to take rhythm with winning matches."

Without a grand slam victory last year, Hewitt is eager to get back in the winners' circle and would like nothing more than to achieve it at his home grand slam.

Seeded 15th - his ranking dropped from world number one when he decided to focus on slams and the Davis Cup rather than other point-earning events - he feels in good shape.

"So far, so good," he said at the Sydney International.

"I feel like I'm playing well, but you still have to go out and do the job next week.

"It's good. I keep winning. I think going into big tournaments and having that winning feeling and being match-hardened is definitely a good thing."

01-15-2004, 05:10 PM
Agassi still the man to beat
By Mark Stevens

AUSTRALIAN Open favourite Roger Federer can't believe the bookies are rating him ahead of rampaging veteran Andre Agassi.

The Swiss star, blitzed by Agassi 6-2 6-4 at Kooyong yesterday, said he had no right to be above the old master in the betting.

"I was surprised to read it because [Agassi's] hardcourt record is better than mine," Federer said. "He's definitely still one of the best and one of the big favourites for the Open."

SportsTAB last night still had Federer a $4.25 favourite for the first grand slam of the year, ahead of world No.1 Andy Roddick ($4.50), Agassi ($7) and Lleyton Hewitt ($7).

Agassi, who claims he is fitter and stronger than ever, has sent out a warning by dropping just 13 games in his two Commonwealth Bank International matches this week.

"This is everything I've hoped it to be so far," Agassi said.

"I think it just sort of proves to me that the pieces are in place ... you still need to execute, but it gives you the reassurance that you're ready to get the tournament started.

"I feel really good about the way this year's going."

Agassi, 33, has won the Australian Open at his past three attempts - each time using Kooyong as a launching pad. He has now made the final of the eight-man round-robin event five times in a row.

"There's no question the conditions are conditions I enjoy," Agassi said.

"For me, my best tennis has always come after a fair amount of training time and a little bit of away time.

"I feel good about the way I'm striking the ball. I feel like I can step on to court and do it from start to finish and make somebody play a good match to beat me."

Agassi barely drew breath during the Christmas-New Year break and has again stolen a march on his rivals for the year's first grand slam.

Although yesterday's encounter had a practice match feel to it, it clearly gave Federer much to ponder.

"I have got to go out on the practice courts a little bit more ... I'm not happy with the game so far," he said.

Asked which facet of his game needed work, Federer said: "Just in general ... everything."

But Federer said he wasn't worried about his form and for the most part yesterday it looked as if he was playing without a care in the world.

He lacked intensity against Agassi, who has again has slipped into the "zone" ahead of his younger rivals.

Asked if Agassi's ability to stay fresh and firing amazed him, Federer said: "No, he's a professional. His attitude on the court, his game and everything, is perfect for these events and for the whole season," Federer said.

"There are not too many better players around than Andre so this is good to play him today."

Although Federer had a major breakthrough on hardcourts in last November's Masters Cup in Houston, beating Agassi in the final, he has never got beyond the fourth round in the Australian or US Opens.

J. Corwin
01-16-2004, 07:48 AM
i'm enjoying reading all these articles...keep them coming

01-16-2004, 05:08 PM
Agassi seeks strong start to season
Veteran bids for his fifth Australian Open title

Andre Agassi of the United States has celebrated winning the Australian Open four times in his career and his winning this major for a fifth time is a strong possibility, says Bud Collins of NBCSports.com.

By Bud Collins
Jan. 16, 2004

Out with the old, and in with the new? Will that be the theme of the initial major of this new tennis season, the 99-year-old Australian Championships on the mean green slabs of Melbourne Park? Could be. More on that as we look at the men to watch.

The old champion and getting older –- yet nonetheless bolder -- by the minute is “Father Timely,” Andre Agassi, on the prowl for a fifth Aussie title to accompany those of 1995, 2000, 2001, 2003 in his racket bag.

Although he turns 34 in three months, Andre benefits from the fitness of a racehorse and more than half a lifetime of experience on the big league track.

I could see him winning the Aussie again and at last surpassing his spouse in at least one major phase.

Agassi's wife, Steffi Graf, won the Aussie four times: 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1994, and retains the family’s overall bragging rights when it comes to majors with her 22 singles titles to Andre’s eight.

“I think Andre can win another major,” says U.S. Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe.

“And the Aussie is his best opportunity. Andre’s well rested, and obviously knows how to pace himself. He loves the extreme Australian summer heat.”

The fresher faces start with ramrodding American Andy Roddick, shooting from the hip and the No. 1 position.

Andy might have won the Aussie a year ago if he hadn’t injured his right wrist diving for a volley during that colossal quarterfinal win over Younes El Aynaoui, covering five hours, a saved match point, and climaxing in a 21-19 fifth set.

Andy had nothing left to combat Rainer Schuettler in the semis, and missed the chance to pressure Agassi more than Schuettler could.

For Roddick -- blending old and new years with an Aussie championship tied to his 2003 U.S. Open title –- would put him in rare, illustrious company.

The first American to do it was Californian Don Budge on his way to the original Grand Slam, which Don launched with the 1938 Aussie, having won the U.S. Open the previous September.

Fred Perry, the dashing Brit (the last known English male tennis player?) succeeded in turning the trick with the U.S. Open in 1933 and the Aussie in 1934.

Then, after World War II, came Aussie Roy Emerson, 1964-65; Pete Sampras, 1993-94, and 1996-97, followed by Agassi, 1994-95, and 1999-2000.

Can Roddick become the sixth in that select fraternity?

No surprise if he does.

A growing ability to capitalize on his groundies with more daring volleying could be the edge for a guy whose thundering serve and forehand are proven.

There was almost unanimous agreement that Roger Federer was the planet’s finest at the close of the year as he brushed aside all opposition among the elite eight in Houston to seize the Masters.

Roger, though but 22, stocks everything in his arsenal.

The Wimbledon champ has created a style that seems a throwback to the more elegant days of shotmaking: backcourt solidity, serve-and-volley prowess, pinpoint serving -– all of it done with a seemingly effortless smoothness that is such a contrast to, say, the high-intensity slam-banging of Roddick.

But will Roger, never a factor in four previous shots at the Aussie, be haunted by his most recent appearance in Rod Laver Arena?

That was Switzerland’s Davis Cup semifinal against Australia when he folded before Lleyton Hewitt, even though leading 2-0 in sets and serving for the match in the third.

Hewitt's my pick to walk away with this major.

This quivering young mass of relentless heart and legs is surely far better than his current No. 15 status.

Wasn’t he No. 1 in 2001 and 2002, winning the Masters both years?

He will be 23 in February, and his best accomplishments, I believe, are ahead.

He set his sights on the 2003 Davis Cup, and, that accomplished, Lleyton’s mission is to retrieve the Aussie Open title for his beloved homeland.

I feel that challenge will rekindle his flame-throwing personality.

Twenty-eight years have passed since an Aussie last wore the crown –- a lightning-striking almost anonymous Mark Edmondson coming through startlingly over the bodies of all-time Aussie greats Ken Rosewall and John Newcombe.

Hewitt probably got sidetracked in 2003 by his wacky lawsuit against the ATP, and –- pleasantly –- by his romance and engagement to Kim Clijsters.

Illness prevented a serious challenge in 2002.

Now I think he’s ready to restore an Australian luster to the winner’s circle.

Another Aussie with the same idea, the gargantuan Mark Philippoussis, has possibilities of bringing the title back to his hometown, Melbourne, where another townie, Patrick Cash, failed in the 1987 and 1988 finals.

Philippoussis, on his way to last summer's Wimbledon final, may have cost Agassi that title with his avalanche serving.

Carlos Moya has showed Melbourne a thing or two in bulling his way to the final in 1997, and illuminated Laver Arena with his volleying in beating Philippoussis during the recent Davis Cup final.

His Spanish teammate, Juan Carlos Ferrero, the French Open champ, has shown improvement on the hard stuff, beating Agassi to reach the U.S. Open final.

But he was a Davis Cup flop at the Laver venue, via five-set defeats to Hewitt and Philippoussis.

Don’t overlook Argentine David Nalbandian, Wimbledon finalist in 2002, and holder of a match point against Roddick in a U.S. Open semifinal.

Three-time French Open champ, Brazilian Guga Kuerten, could march a ways, gradually regaining his post-hip-surgery form and confidence.

But the best Argentine, Guillermo Coria, a U.S. Open quarterfinalist to Agassi, pulled up hors de combat days ago, withdrawing from the New Zealand Open with an abdominal strain.

Where’s Russia’s “Headless Horseman,” Marat Safin?

The guy who should have won in 2002, and casually blew the title bout to a considerably lesser Swede, Tom Johansson, is mired at No. 86.

He ought to be in the top five, but will Marat ever get his brain together to make a run for it again?

There will be early upsets, as always in a major.

Remember qualifier Ivo Karlovic of the Croation Karlovics booting champ Hewitt from Wimbledon’s starting gate?

I expect young Americans Mardy Fish and Taylor Dent to cause some damage.

Possibly James Blake and Robbie Ginepri will rise to the occasion.

Among the troublemakers will be Dutchman Martin Verkerk, Thai Paradorn Srichaphan, Belrus Max Mirnyi, Moroccan El Aynaoui, France’s Sebatien Grosjean and Arnaud Clement, the German Schuettler.

But the champ, in my mind, must come from this group of headbreakers: Agassi, Roddick, Federer, Philippoussis and Hewitt –- with Lleyton getting my nod.

01-25-2004, 10:56 PM
No sweat for controlled Agassi
By Andrew Castle
BBC Sport tennis commentator

While Agassi plays in a small part of the court (shaded area), his opponent has to work hard to cover the whole baseline

When Andre Agassi is on court, he is the star of the show, and the game needs players like him.

He looks like a little guy when you're facing him on court - but he's not. He may be just 5ft 11, but he's an absolute rock.

He refuses to budge, and he's now gone 25 matches unbeaten at the Australian Open.

It just goes to show if you do the right training and are motivated, you can stay out there.

I've knocked up with him a few times - half an hour is fine, but it's an absolute killer playing against him.

What Andre does is to control and dictate the game at all times.

If you watch him when he's in action, the amount of court space he covers is comparatively small.

Agassi works in a three-metre section at his end, but his opponent has to move across the whole length of his baseline.

The reason he's able to do this is that he has the accuracy and power to knock his opponent from side to side.

Eventually he forces the error.

So what he is saying is: 'If you can hit a clean winner - fine'.

'If you can't, I'm going to tire you out and you're going to make mistakes'.

And he very rarely hits a bad shot.

Agassi does have his weaknesses. Roddick can serve him off court and Federer can stay at the baseline and trade ground-strokes and win.

When Agassi played Roddick at Queen's, Roddick served four aces past him in one game, beat him for the first time in five and cruised the rest of the year.

But there are only two or three people who are likely to beat him, and he hasn't faced any of them yet.

Story from BBC SPORT:

02-02-2004, 03:46 PM
Cover story on Andre in this month's Tennis Life magazine. :D

Agassi's Odyssey


02-02-2004, 08:30 PM
thanks! :)

02-04-2004, 03:16 AM
Excellent news! Andre insists that he'll still be heavily involved in tennis even after he retires! I'm so happy to hear this! :banana: :woohoo: :bounce:

Tuesday, February 3, 2004
One governing body interests Agassi

Associated Press
Andre Agassi would like to stay involved in tennis once he's no longer on the court -- perhaps in a major leadership role.

If the sport's governing bodies one day consolidate, Agassi is interested in being part of the process. Currently, tennis is managed under several different umbrellas: the ATP Tour, the WTA Tour and the United States Tennis Association. Many believe the sport would run more smoothly with a unified organizing system.

But Agassi doesn't want some fancy title, such as "Commissioner of Tennis."

"I would have a tremendous amount of interest in helping the sport that's been so good to me," Agassi said Tuesday during a conference call for next week's Siebel Open in San Jose, Calif.

"I have no interest in having some token job title. There's a lot of help the sport needs right now. ... It can go a long ways in a short amount of time."

He said change would require sacrifice from everyone involved, especially the players.

"I would enjoy very much directing the potentials of where that could lead," he said. "I think tennis is in for serious improvement, even from here."

While the women's game has gained significant popularity since sisters Venus and Serena Williams arrived, American men's tennis is finally on the rise again.

That's thanks to energetic young stars such as Andy Roddick, James Blake, Mardy Fish, Taylor Dent and Robby Ginepri.

And the 33-year-old Agassi, of course.

Last year, two of Agassi's longtime rivals retired. Pete Sampras, who won a record 14 Grand Slam titles, and Michael Chang both said goodbye during the U.S. Open.

While Agassi and wife Steffi Graf now have two young children, he is still going strong. He acknowledges there are more scheduling conflicts these days.

Agassi is ranked No. 5 in the world this week after losing in the Australian Open semifinals to runner-up Marat Safin, a three-set loser to Roger Federer in the final.

Agassi is the defending champion at the Siebel Open and is making his 12th appearance in the Bay area in 15 years. He knows he can still win Grand Slam events.

"For me, I have to believe that my best will get it done," he said. "I'm still believing in (my game)."

02-05-2004, 11:54 PM
Really nice Andre article, and very true. He is going to be the biggest loss to the ATP tour ever, in my opinion.
Guru Agassi is irreplaceable

January 31, 2004

JOHN McENROE posed Andre Agassi a hypothetical question. Say in 20 years, if the child of Agassi and his wife Steffi Graf met the child of Lleyton Hewitt and Kim Clijsters in a match at the Australian Open, who would win?

The champion wasn't sure other than that the winner would probably meet him in the next round. As Agassi methodically steered his way to the semi-finals this fortnight, it did not seem so far-fetched.

Reality returned at Melbourne Park on Thursday night. At 33 years of age Agassi has limited time at the top. There will be no public slide. When he realises defeats like the one he suffered at the brutal hands of Marat Safin are inevitable then Agassi will walk away. That's official. "I come here with the belief I can win," he said last week. "My motivation is the fact that, if I play my best tennis, can I still win? I need to be able to answer that question 'yes'."

So those famous short little steps will soon take him to retirement.

Agassi has been everything to tennis. Brash and belligerent in youth, a wise and considered veteran. The freaky kid in denim, the guru in old age. He has won a Grand Slam on grass, clay and hard court. He has confronted the greatest players - McEnroe, Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg - and he has beaten the new generation of Andy Roddick, Hewitt and Roger Federer. He has been ranked No.1 and as low as 141.

Most of all he has been sensible when the game has been silly. He is leaving when the sport fines Fabrice Santoro threepence for spitting in the direction of a linesman, when no action at all is taken after Karol Kucera suggests Australian linesmen and women cheat.

God knows what he thinks of the argument that has raged around Mark Philippoussis and his loss to Hicham Arazi. It has been nonsense yet it has lasted days. Pat Cash apparently now all but fears for his life.

There is no ready replacement because the sensible Todd Martin has probably played his last Australian Open, too. Roddick would seek to speak for the game but cannot see the difference between fact and propaganda. A furious Hewitt has taken the game to the legal court over, of all things, a television interview. The women's game is lucky it has Lindsay Davenport.

Tennis will miss Agassi the ambassador just as much as it will miss Agassi the player.

Players are seeking to take more and more control of the game. Hewitt was influential in the establishment last April of a breakaway players' union, the International Men's Tennis Association. Agassi is moving on at the very moment he is required.

During this tournament Agassi has been asked to comment on matters as varied as the weather to the death of David Hookes.

There were two questions and answers that best sum up Agassi.

"Have you ever been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn or a king? Each time you find yourself flat on your face, do you just pick yourself up and get back in the race? That song is one of your favourites. Would that sum up Andre Agassi in some ways?"

Agassi: "Yeah, I suppose I leave that for others to read into more than I ever have. I just have a strong sense of appreciation for anybody that has experienced a number of areas in their life, lived it, learned it, gotten themselves through some tough times. That's why I've connected to the song. I'm not quite sure I would flatter myself with the power of those words. But you certainly strive for that."

Question: "What do you say to people to inspire them to reach their dream?"

Agassi: "Any dream, just by definition, is a long way off. It's something that you dream about. You need to sort of work backwards from it. To me, you have to first understand what it is you want to accomplish. You have to then sort of look at yourself and be honest about where it is you actually are. Then you have to set up a plan that keeps you focused on a million small steps that need to happen that continually build that momentum for your life. So you set your plan, and then you work your plan. And your plan should include a lot of little victories every day ... Long live dreams."

He always had a great return of serve.

Link. (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,8538306%255E12270,00.html)

02-06-2004, 12:09 AM
thanks for the article, l_mac! it's a nice one. :)

02-12-2004, 01:55 PM
Hope this hasn't already been posted. It's from right before the AO, but I wanted to post it anyway because it's a nice tribute!

Final verses in sweet redemption song
By Rohit Brijnath
Another View
January 17, 2004

One day next week I'll be there. Without a notebook. With no pen. No break point noted, or forehand winner circled in red. One day it will be fitting to go there not as reporter but as spectator. Just to watch, to admire, to take him - Andre Agassi - in like one last deep breath.

To note the impossibly abbreviated strokeplay. The swift, short steps between points like a man late for dinner with Steffi Graf. The unfussed serve. The forehand so quick he would leave Billy the Kid for dead. The pate polished with a towel, the glinting earring a reminder that the maverick is not all dead. The return, a product of some sophisticated radar, that brings to mind Newton's third law of equal and opposite reaction.

This is history walking pigeon-toed, this is player as era in himself, this is geometry practised at full speed. Connors, McEnroe, Lendl, Becker, Edberg, Wilander, Sampras, Courier, Chang, Rafter, Stich, Mecir, somewhere, sometime, he has played them all, chastised many, an encyclopedia on shot-making, an almanac of audacity. This you have to see.

This you have to see because as the past few years suggest, he is at his most complete here (he has not won a slam elsewhere since 1999), legs fresh, mind alert. On hardcourt, too, his game these days finds its fullest expression, his repertoire is at its most damaging.

This you have to see because it could be the beginning of the journey's end, although if you said that to him, he might still spit at your feet.

Perhaps he will play on, and on, "34 in April" just another number of many affixed to his name (like more than 1025 matches played . . . over three decades).

He suggested, last Open, that if he found his best was not good enough to win, then the racquets would be mothballed. It has not come yet, but that cowboy Roddick, that matador Ferrero, that artist Federer, that marathoner Hewitt, all just out of nappies when he began, they are going to gang up and tell him to pick up his pension cheque.

He is not ready to listen, but eventually it's not them but time that will stand as an unconquerable opponent. On his day, he is still master of his universe, but how many days in succession he can summon up greatness, even he will not know. The curtain is threatening to begin its slow-motion fall.

He will not, you think, go easily into the dying light, intent on squeezing every last victory out of his second coming.

If we can casually slate sportsmen into heroes and sinners, winners and wasters, then few men are able to cross that divide and erase what is part-truth and part-stereotype. Only George Foreman, perhaps, who journeyed from bristling, surly brute to jesting, jabbing preacher, has reinvented himself more completely.

Years ago, an American writer constructed a haunting appraisal of Jimmy Connors, that read in part: "There will come a time when Connors is 50, that he will be sitting alone in an airport between flights over a cup of coffee faced with the shards of his past. He will be a man then and he will wish that as a boy he had done it better." For too long, it seemed that epitaph would capture Agassi as well.

He was born to extraordinary gifts but seemed oblivious to them. It was as if F. Scott Fitzgerald were satisfied writing supermarket flyers. He was style sneering at substance, a long-haired rebel with no adequate cause, genius gone wild. When, later on, he was appraised in the shadow of Pete Sampras - all silent, disciplined desire - this shallowness was heightened.

But there must be courage to a man who turns a cautionary tale into an inspiring one. Agassi might still wish he had done it better as a boy, but he has compensated for it as a man. The poser who showed us his aerodynamic hairless chest now has us gawp at his musculature; the utterer of inanities like "I'm as happy as a faggot in a submarine" now is tennis's resident philosopher.

The player who won only three grand slam titles of the 34 he contested between 1986 and 1998 won five of 19 from 1999-2003. The dilettante who earned headlines for his girlfriends is lauded for his humanitarian work. The mutineer against tradition has become its embracer.

The showman lives through his post-match blown kisses, the last residues of his petulance occasionally surface (his 2001 comment of a lineswoman who complained of his audible obscenity was "I blame her husband for that"), but as a transformation it is compelling. It is appropriate that only Agassi could shave his head and grow in strength.

Is he slower now, more attracted to domesticity, less taken by tennis's grinding schedule? We do not know. But this we do: he will see this Roddick and Federer and Hewitt and Ferrero, with their winged feet and youthful ambition, and he will want to have a final say, provide one reminder that at disciplining babies he is well-versed.

It's why you have to be there, to hear what could be the final verses of this redemption song.

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/01/16/1073878026542.html

02-14-2004, 03:19 AM
a snippet of an article from tennisx:

Agassi Wins, Shrugs Off Retirement at ATP San Jose
Posted on February*12,*2004
Andre Agassi won in his opener at the ATP stop in San Jose, but not without some effort. The former No. 1 beat Georgia's (the country, stupid, not the state) Irakli Labadze, who he had lost to in 2001 at Shanghai, with a grinding 7-6(4), 6-4 effort featuring one service break.
"I'm going on 34, and I feel if I do things right I'll keep myself in position to win," said Agassi, indicating he will play beyond the 2004 season. "I would tend to believe there are a few years left."
Labadze, who earned the nickname "Freak Show" for his vast array of shots and unpredictability, kept Agassi off balance with a big lefty serve, and an variety of backhand slice and topspin.
"That was an awkward match," Agassi said. "I felt like I was playing better than him in most departments except I couldn't quite get over that hump of breaking his serve." Agassi will face Weslie Moodie on Thursday.


02-14-2004, 10:51 PM
I hope he plays on for a while yet!

02-25-2004, 06:07 AM
Amid titles and trophies, family ranks No. 1 in Agassi's life

The things in life that most of us crave -- fame, fortune, being the best in our chosen field -- hometown tennis star Andre Agassi has had in abundance for much of the past 15 years.

Ironically, it is the things you and I have in abundance but often take for granted -- family, normalcy, stepping into a noisy, busy house after a hard day's work -- that Agassi has long craved.

Funny world, isn't it?

We want to be him. He just wants to be us.

Agassi is the first to admit he has grown up a lot over the past four years. His love-love match with retired tennis great Stephanie Graf, to whom he has been married for 2 1/2 years, is the primary reason.

From the wild-maned tennis lion we first met at age 16 to the sex symbol that had girls swooning from London to Paris to Melbourne, from the corporate pitchman who told us "Image is everything," to the wildly gifted player who occasionally courted a petulant image, Agassi aged before our eyes.

It was in private, however, where Agassi, two months shy of 34 years old, finally grew up.

First, wife. Then, family.

Now, fulfillment.

"It puts everything in perspective. There's nothing more important than the time you get to spend with your family," Agassi said Monday, his handshake firm, his smile warm and genuine, as he went through a series of interviews at the new 24 Hour Fitness Agassi Super-Sport Club in Summerlin.

The lifelong Las Vegas resident is in partnership with 24 Hour Fitness chief executive officer Mark Mastrov on the lush, upscale workout facility located in Village Center Circle.

"Everybody can identify with coming home from a hard day's work and getting a chance to look at your babies, even if they're sleeping," Agassi continued. "It's an incredible thing, and tennis has given me the opportunity to spend the rest of my life raising my children."

Raising the champion's trophy at center court? Exciting, sure. But nowhere near as fulfilling to Agassi as playfully raising his young son, Jaden, above his head or gently lifting his infant daughter, Jaz, from her crib.

Familiar with those days of 2 a.m. feedings, changing diapers and the tantrums of the Terrible Twos?

The mere mention of those everyday duties of a new parent evokes a giddy laugh from the man who has won 58 singles titles and eight grand slam championships, has been ranked No. 1 in the world on several occasions and has earned, on the tennis court alone, $28.5 million.

"Unless you pay the price with your child, I don't think you're in a good enough position to embrace the reward," Agassi said. "There's a lot to parenting that's not easy, but there are a lot of victories each day -- and a lot of rewards."

Agassi's family travels with him to "about 85 percent" of his tournaments. He wouldn't mind it being more.

"For a day it's great, because I finally get my sleep," he said jokingly of traveling alone. "I'm going, `Man, this is awesome!' But a day later, I'm going, `Boy, this feels a bit empty. This feels a bit meaningless right now.'

"I have to remind myself what I'm doing and why I'm doing it."

What Agassi is doing is playing tennis at a high level, a remarkably high level for a player of his age.

He ended 2003 ranked No. 4 by the Association of Tennis Professionals. With a semifinal loss to Russia's Marat Safin in the Australian Open last month, followed by a semifinal loss to American Mardy Fish at the Siebel Open in San Jose, Calif., this month, Agassi's world ranking has slipped to No. 5.

Not to fear, he explained. He'll be back in action in March, with renewed vigor, at the Franklin Templeton Classic in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Which is to say, there are no thoughts of retirement in Agassi's mind.

"There's not a time frame. My motivation is strictly based on the challenge to be the best any given week, especially the (weeks of the majors)," he said. "As long as I'm out there with the best players in the world having to play their best tennis to beat me, I'm doing everything I've always done.

"I feel an obligation and responsibility to give it everything I've got for the sake of all of those who have supported me, for the sake of the sport that has given so much to me, for the sake of thousands of kids here in the inner city who are reaping the benefits of so much hard work on the tennis court. That's my motivation."

But Agassi knows there will come a time, in the not-too-distant future, when pulling his racket from the bag will be solely for the simple joy of hitting the ball around with his wife and children.

When that time comes, he will go quietly but not necessarily gently, into tennis' good night.

"You don't want to hand the torch off to anybody. It needs to get taken from you," Agassi said when asked about the growing success of American sensation Andy Roddick, an Andre-in-the-making.

"There's such a part of me that looks forward to the day that it is taken because I'll know I can unclench my fist and say, `Fight's over.'

"Until then, I keep working."

Working and living a life not too unlike our own.
Find this article at:

02-25-2004, 05:40 PM
from TennisWeek

Agassi Is A Hit In His Red Sox Debut

Photo By Susan Mullane By Richard Pagliaro
The Red Sox struck out in the A-Rod sweepstakes, but have succeeded in getting an even bigger star to wear a Boston uniform — Andre Agassi. You can see the the eight-time Grand Slam champion show his skills on the baseball field when Agassi, clad in the home white Red Sox uniform, wearing a pair of batting gloves and looking completely comfortable in the batter's box, slaps a sharp single to left field tomorrow night.

It's not a spring training game — it's the latest Nike commercial campaign that features well-known champions competing in different sports. If the sight of Agassi, whose quick hands and rapid racquet-head speed would make him an ideal middle infielder, isn't intriguing enough, consider the prospect of recently-signed Nike endorser Serena Williams playing beach volleyball, another striking scene in the commercial.

In addition to Agassi and Serena, Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong appears as a boxer, Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson is a bowler, Olympic sprinter Marion Jones flies through the air as a gymnast NFL stars Michael Vick and Brian Urlacher are hockey teammates.

Created by Portland, Oregon-based ad agency Wieden & Kennedy, the concept of commercials are "What If?" and are based on the theme that champions share a common will to win that transcends individual sport. Wieden & Kennedy was the same agency that created the famed "Bo Knows..." commercial campaign that showed two-sport standout Bo Jackson interacting with a variety of Nike athletes including an incredulous John McEnroe who uttered the phrase: "Bo knows tennis?"

"The basic premise for 'What If?' is what they all have in common other than hard training and dedication," Nike U.S. advertising director Nancy Monsarrat told The New York Times' Stuart Elliott. "It's the will to win. We asked how we can make that a bigger story and we can make it a bigger story when we show it in multiple ways. What if Tiger Woods' father had handed him a baseball bat (rather than a golf club) or when Lance Armstrong was three years old his mother handed him a pair of boxing gloves instead of a bike."

Agassi, who once told Tennis Week he did not play organized baseball growing up, actually did all his own hitting in the commercial, according to Nike. Red Sox player Jason Varitek appears with Agassi to add authenticity to the ad. There was one a bit of movie magic added to Agassi's commercial — it was actually shot in Dodger Stadium rather than Boston's Fenway Park with Fenway's famed Green Monster added later with special effects.

The commercial campaign kicks off Wednesday night and will be shown hourly starting during the 8 p.m. time slot on cable channels ESPN, MTV, VH1, UPN and Fox. According to the New York Times, the complete 90-second version of the commercial will air through Saturday when the condensed 15 and 30-second commercial versions will begin. The commercials are scheduled to run for six weeks on television and on the Nike web site starting tomorrow.

02-28-2004, 12:29 AM
from Tennis Week:

Agassi Academy Welcomes Presidential Presence

Photo By Cynthia Lum By Tennis Week
Andre Agassi hosted a Presidential prep school appearance on Tuesday. Former U.S. President and avid tennis fan Bill Clinton made a special appearance at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy on Tuesday afternoon.

The Chappaqua, New York resident sat in on a sixth grade class discussion on Civil Rights before conducting an information question and answer session with students in the Agassi auditorium.

"Later in life, you'll be glad that you've worked hard," President Clinton told the students. "Education is vital to your success, and it will help you prepare for the future. Education gives you values and knowledge which, in turn, allows you to make good choices."

Agassi and Clinton once shared the stage at Roland Garros when the President appeared during Agassi's quarterfinal with French man Sebastien Grosjean. Agassi, who annhilated Grosjean 6-1 in the opening set, seemed unnerved by Clinton's appearance and won just five games over the final three sets in falling 1-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3.

The former occupant of the Oval Office said serving as President was a challenging and inspiring experience.

"It's hard work and you try to make the right decisions for future generations," Clinton said of his two terms in the White House. "I enjoyed being the President of the United States, even on the tough days. The key is that you have to find a job that you truly love, that inspires you, and that will make all the difference."

The Presidential visit came 12 days after one of the most tumultuous days in the school's history. A February 12th meeting at the Agassi Academy in which some parents voiced their concern over the expulsion of some students and the fact eight teachers have either resigned or been fired since the school year erupted in emotion. Marzette Lewis president of the West Las Vegas action group WAAK-UP, was arrested at the Academy following a verbal and physical altercation with police, according to a published report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal written by Lisa Kim Bach.

"I'm a 64-year-old woman you're going to drag on the ground," Lewis shouted to police officers escorting her from the meeting, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I have freedom of speech. I live in America."

Some parents criticized both the turnover in faculty and the performance of new principal Kimberly Allen, who assumed her post at the beginning of the school year, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal report

Allen defended the school's staffing decisions as being in the best interests of the school's 250 students.

"When standards aren't met after corrective actions have been taken, when verbal and written reprimands have been given, choices have to be made," Allen told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I have to weigh whether I'm going to have a teacher's bruised ego against what's best for kids. And with me, kids win out every time."

Founded in 2001, The Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy's current curriculum is for students in grades three through seven. The independent public school, which is funded by both the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation and tax dollars, plans to add a grade each year until it features a high school senior class. The Academy's waiting list features almost 300 families, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

03-12-2004, 01:27 AM
They have five nice audio clips of Andre at Indian Wells on the tournament website. Check out the link:

Andre interview clips (http://www.pacificlifeopen.com/10/audio_rx.asp)

OK, I'm going back into hiding, work work work! ;)

J. Corwin
03-12-2004, 01:30 AM
I'm actually "working" too, but this place is too addicting. ;) Provides a nice stress relief though.

Thanks for the link.

03-12-2004, 04:56 PM
AHA! Caught you sneaking in some MTF action, Mr Q. Get back to work and don't come back until you're done! :devil: and thanks for the audio links ;)

American Agassi finds plenty of reasons to keep going

Mar 12, 2004

INDIAN WELLS, United States (AFP) - Those thoughts of retirement keep creeping into Andre Agassi's head, but each time they do he swats them away like a well-placed backhand.

"I'm looking for reasons to quit. I am just not finding them," said Agassi.

The 33-year-old American said he feels confident heading into his opening match at the 2.8 million dollar ATP Indian Wells Tennis Masters Series event which gets underway this week.

"I feel good. I am practising well so I still believe, that if I play the way I know I can, I can still win."

One of the most decorated players in tennis history, Agassi endured a nagging right shoulder injury last year that forced him to withdraw from the Indian Wells tournament. He has also been bothered by right wrist and hamstring injuries.

"I have been injured here two years in a row," said Agassi. "My first concern is just nursing anything these days. I don't want to be nursing something all year long. I want to be at my best."

With his 58 career ATP singles wins, eight Grand Slam titles and more than 28 million dollars in career prize money, Agassi could walk away with his head high.

"I am proud of the fact I am out there still doing it," he said. "There are some handicaps with getting older but there is also some arsenal with getting older. And I don't think much about age when I am on the tennis court."

The fifth seed is also only the fifth player in tennis history to win all four Grand Slam titles.

He won Indian Wells in 2001, beating Pete Sampras in the final 7-6 (7/5), 7-5, 6-1. While Sampras enjoys retirement, Agassi rolls on.

"For me it has always been about the challenge. When I used to come to this tournament and Pete was the No. 1 or 2 seed I used to answer questions about him on Sunday and my answer was 'I don't recognize Pete being in town until our Saturday matches'.

"It has always been one match at a time for me. With the guys on the tour now I am finding enough reasons to be challenged. I don't need Pete as an additional one."

Agassi finished 2003 in the top 10 rankings for the 14th time in his 18-year career and became the oldest player to finish in the top five since 35-year-old Jimmy Connors in 1987.

"When time comes I feel I am playing my best tennis and not winning, there are going to be a lot of things I can feel good about that day.

"When it is over I just don't want to be the last one to know," he said.

03-18-2004, 06:51 PM

03-20-2004, 03:28 AM
from TennisWeek:

Win City: Vegas Continues To Inspire Agassi

Photo By Cynthia Lum By Richard Pagliaro
He has evolved into one of the hardest-working men in tennis — a player who spends holidays sprinting up hills and his labor days patiently pounding penetrating groundstrokes to break down opponents with the force of a jackhammer**jabbing jarring holes in pavement.

Andre Agassi constructs points with a purpose, but the foundation for his world-class work ethic was formed in a city chiming with the sound of silver dollars streaming from slot machines and attracting tourists seeking to strike it rich with a single roll of the dice.

In an interview titled "A Sure Bet" published in American Airlines' American Way magazine, the 33-year-old Agassi assesses the allure of Las Vegas and the influence the city has had on his life.

Like one of its most well-known residents in the day-glow and denim days of his youth, Las Vegas is sometimes derided as a being long on glitz, glamour and gimmicks and short on purpose, perspective and principle. But life-long Las Vegas resident Agassi points to the city as a powerful source of possibility, performance and passion.

"Vegas has been the fastest-growing city in America for more than 30 years," Agassi told American Way. "It's a city of great vision. It's a city where the community believes that if you actually believe in something enough, you can create it and make it happen. It gets a tough rap because it's perceived as an adult Disneyland. But the community of people who actually live here is strong. It is a community that bonds together and looks out for each other. It's an incredibly inspirational city."

As a child, the eight-time Grand Slam champion found a lifetime of inspiration in his own living room. Both of Agassi's parents set an example with the work ethic he would emulate as a tennis player. His father, Mike, a former boxer who competed in the 1952 Olympic Games, arrived in the United States as an immigrant who spoke little English before making his way to Vegas. Mike Agassi worked a 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift at the Jubilee showroom at the MGM Grand Hotel and hired local workers to help him build a tennis court in the Agassi family backyard where he taught tennis to his children. Agassi's mother Elizabeth worked at an unemployment office in the city.

In addition to learning the importance of hard work, Agassi's experience growing up in the city of neon gave him an innate sense of showmanship he would bring to the court as a professional.

"A lot of times when I was with my mom, whether we were going to go get dinner or go shopping, we needed some money from dad, who was working," Agassi told American Way. "So we would pull into the old MGM Grand Hotel, and at like eight years old, I would go running through the casino to the Jubilee showroom where they had all the naked dancing ladies, the follies kind of chorus line type stuff...to just wait for my dad to come through his little turn there in the office. He would give us some money and I'd go running back out, go to the grocery store and go home. As a little boy, it felt strangely normal."

The casino culture put food on Agassi's table and the boy who grew into a Grand Slam star continues to contribute to his native city through the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which has raised more than $35 million for charity and the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, his charter school that offers education to 250 students.

Agassi actively promotes the city where he lives with wife Steffi Graf and their children Jaden Gil and Jaz Elle.

"The thing is, excluding the slot machines at grocery stores, there's nothing about living here that would seem more or less odd than living anywhere else," Agassi told American Way. "We have a few casinos that have popped up in different areas of town, but we also have more churches per capita than most cities in America. That's not wedding chapels; that's real churches. We have 27 high schools here. It's a very narrow perspective to think that a person who was born and raised here had an abnormal upbringing. It's like thinking if you live in New Orleans, that you've gotta get drunk every night."

Agassi recalls his first professional tournament experience came in Las Vegas while he was still a child. The young Agassi, who obsessively orchestrates the positioning of ball kids on the court during his matches now, served as a ball kid himself during the annual Alan King Tennis Tournament held at Caesars Palace. The experience provided Agassi with invaluable insight into the thoughts of a pro player during the course of a match.

"Being a ball boy really got me in tune to what the players might or might not be thinking or feeling, and being up close, watching the concentration and seeing the sweat, hearing the movement and the grunting," Agassi told American Way.

The alluring charm of the city where he was born set the stage for Agassi's dreams and taught him the importance of inner strength in transforming those dreams to reality.

"Caesars would give $50,000 to the winner. They would pay you in silver dollars they brought out in a wheelbarrow," Agassi told American Way. "Obviously, that was for show and you would get a check. I remember watching the greats win, and they would bring the wheelbarrow out. It was sort of symbolic: This is a dream world, a dream life. But it only happens if you have the backbone and strength to dream it. Las Vegas made me feel like I can dream."

03-20-2004, 04:22 AM
I found this short little write-up from 1989 issue of "Current Biography" ---- interesting!

Apr. 29, 1970- Tennis player.

Not since Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe dominated the tennis scene has an American player stirred fans the way Andre Agassi has managed to do. With an aggressive topspin forehand, which he hits when the ball is still on the rise, and an equally deadly return of serve, Agassi, at the age of eighteen, won six major tournaments in 1988 and reached the semifinals of both the French and United States Opens, rocketing from number ninety-one, in 1987, to number three in the world rankings. At the same time, he became the tennis world's newest heartthrob and exhibited a flair for on-court dramatics, blowing kisses to the crowd, throwing pairs of his stone-washed denim shorts to spectators, and flicking his long, bleached blond hair. Agassi's earnings in 1988, including tournament wins and product endorsements, totaled over $2 million. But his detractors have continued to wonder if he has real staying power, since he won only two exhibition tournaments in the first ten months of 1989, though he again reached the semifinals of the United States Open, where he lost to Ivan Lend. Ranked number six in the world in late 1989, Agassi has hired a conditioning coach to improve his stamina, and he has worked on varying his strategy away from a predominantly backcourt game. "I am blessed with a talent and I have an obligation to the Lord to make the most of it," he said in a 1988 interview.

here's the site --the write-ups of the other players, especially Monica Seles, are also interesting:

Current Biography (http://www.hwwilson.com/Currentbio/tennis.html)

03-24-2004, 03:58 PM
From the Miami Herald:

Wed, Mar. 24, 2004

Family bragging rights
Ageless wonder Andre Agassi returns to Key Biscayne for an event he has won more times than his wife, Steffi Graf.

The NASDAQ-100 Open is a favorite stop on the tennis calendar for three-time defending champion Andre Agassi, and it's not just because it's the tournament he has won the most times in his career.

The Key Biscayne event also happens to be the one winning record Agassi can laud over his wife, Steffi Graf, a 22-time Grand Slam singles champion who had amassed 107 singles trophies by the time she retired in 1999.

A month shy of turning 34, Agassi lags way behind Graf in the tournament accounting department. Nevertheless, even with his ranking plummeting to the 140s at one point in the late '90s, he boasts eight Grand Slam victories -- he became one of five men to win each slam at least once -- and has won 58 singles titles.

The one statistic in which Agassi owns family supremacy, however, is his six career titles on Key Biscayne, outdoing Graf by one.

''It's really special. It's the only event I've won more than my wife,'' said Agassi, smiling.

In fact, Agassi was so desperate to surpass any of Graf's superlative results that he thought he overtook her when he won his fifth NASDAQ trophy in 2002.

''Two years ago, I thought I passed her there,'' he said. ``I was sort of celebrating it around her. She was congratulating me, only for me to find out a few days later I hadn't passed her, I just tied her.

``She didn't have the heart to tell me that, which I appreciated.''

Agassi arrives in Key Biscayne this week off a semifinal loss at the Pacific Life Open to world No. 1 Roger Federer -- Agassi's third semifinal in as many events this year.

His having failed to capture a title since the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships in April is not worrying the ageless wonder.


While most of his contemporaries -- guys such as Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Michael Chang -- have moved on to the easy chair of retirement, Agassi amazes by maintaining a fiery competitive spirit. A husband and father of two these days, an immense amount of time, effort and thought goes into planning his tournament schedule and training weeks. And while he takes his family role seriously, there's never any doubt that tennis remains a main priority.

''I feel like today's match is so crucial for tomorrow's plan, and these tournaments are so crucial for my lead-up and overall preparation for competing against the best in the world,'' Agassi said. ``I'm still sort of focused on that challenge of doing it. The winning stays every bit as enjoyable, and the losing as you get older is more disappointing because opportunities are rarer.''

Gil Reyes, Agassi's trainer and closest friend the past 15 years and who frequently speaks in the proverbial ''we'' when discussing his prized pupil, marvels at the commitment his ''surrogate son'' extends to the game at his age.

''Every year, there's a defining moment to his training that tells me where he is,'' Reyes said. 'To me, he's still my boy, my kid, and I look at my kid and say, `Where are you with all of this?' And the fact that on New Year's Eve he still goes to bed at 10:30 at night so that he can be up at 7 o'clock to train on New Year's Day in Las Vegas, end of story.''


Yet, Reyes admits that neither Agassi nor he kids himself into thinking the Peter Pan act can continue forever. They understand all too well that the clock is ticking loudly.

Indeed, Agassi recently gave a possible hint to a concession of age after losing at the Pacific Life Open, suggesting he might forgo playing tune-up clay-court events en route to the French Open. The choice to possibly just wing it at the French Open is a luxury he can now allow himself, having finally secured the 1999 trophy after losing two finals in Paris in the early '90s.

''I can say at this stage of my career, I don't have any regrets,'' said Agassi, noting the satisfaction that came to him the minute he won the French Open. ``I think I'm mostly lucky for that. They say it's better to be lucky than good sometimes. That's where I feel like I've been luckier than good, to sort of take the path I've taken.''

While Agassi is the first to admit that he keeps ''pushing'' himself at this stage, he can only joke about an unrealistic goal to find additional equal footing in his marriage.

''I'm shooting for 22 slams. I'm closing in,'' said a laughing Agassi.

Andre Agassi has won more tournaments in South Florida than any other place. Agassi's winning venues:
Miami/Key Biscayne 6 1990, 95-96, 01-03
Washington 5 1990-91, 95, 98-99
S.F./San Jose 5 1990, 93, 95, 98, 03
Australian Open 4 1995, 00-01, 03
Scottsdale, Ariz. 4 1993-94, 98, 02
Los Angeles 3 1998, 01-02
TMS Canada 3 1992, 94, 95

03-26-2004, 01:19 AM
Ignore the lame headline and check out the quotes from Roddick and Safin. :D

March 26, 2004

Nearing 34, Agassi Is Pacing Himself Toward Retirement

EY BISCAYNE, Fla., March 25 — His conversation was more about the next generation than his own, about conserving energy to postpone the inevitable farewell tour. Andre Agassi's words are dotted with reminders that as he is nearing his 34th birthday without a retirement announcement — and can still summon sublime tennis — almost every one of his decisions to play is calculated against the cost to his longevity.

He is the defending champion of the Nasdaq-100 Open, but Agassi, the winner of 58 singles titles and 8 Grand Slam events, has not won a tournament since last April. His last Grand Slam title was at the 2003 Australian Open, and while his determination to continue astounds some of his younger peers, his waves and blown kisses as he departs a court carry a bit more finality now because no one knows when he will join his contemporaries Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Michael Chang in retirement.

Andy Roddick and Marat Safin each scoffed Thursday at the idea that they would still be playing when they are Agassi's age, but Agassi's game shows significant signs of life. Last Saturday he lost a close match to the world's No. 1 player, Roger Federer, in the semifinals of the Pacific Life Open. It was the third semifinal Agassi reached in three tournaments this year, an indication that his scaled-back schedule may extend the shelf life of a player who, after 18 years on the Tour, has eased into the role of elder statesman.

"It's a bit of a Catch-22, because I need to make sure I don't play too much so I stay fresh physically and mentally, but then you get into the close matches with the best players and that might be the difference in the match," said Agassi, who will begin play here Saturday.

After Agassi said at a news conference Thursday that he would do whatever he could to help the Davis Cup team, he quickly demurred when asked if that meant he would make himself available to play. He spoke wistfully of the closeness of the current crop of Davis Cup players — like Andy Roddick and James Blake — a bond Agassi said he and his peers did not enjoy because they were so intensely competing to be the No. 1 player in the world.

Still, Agassi said he believed that the energy that the Davis Cup matches require would sap him and shorten his career timeline.

"I'm trying to give as much to the game that I can for as long as possible," he said. "I just don't want to burn the candle at both ends."

Roddick said that when he is 34 he intends "to be eating Cheetos and watching football."

"I have an insane amount of respect for him," Roddick said of Agassi. "The way he competes — he treats every match like its Armageddon."

Agassi remains passionately connected to the game, even as his court appearances dwindle. He is a member of the ATP's task force on supplements, which met for the first time Tuesday to discuss the Tour's drug testing and the dangers of players unknowingly ingesting tainted supplements. Eight players have tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone, and all were exonerated because they took contaminated supplements distributed by Tour trainers.

Agassi may be long gone from the game by the time the drug-testing debate is resolved. But it would surprise no one if Agassi is still bowing to crowds for a few more years.

Safin said the number of players who love tennis as much as Agassi could be counted on one hand.

"His character is completely different than most of the people," Safin said. "That's why he's one of the million."

03-26-2004, 02:02 AM
LMGDFAO @ the Cheetos line.... it's good to have goals, Andy ;)

03-26-2004, 03:56 AM
Funny, that's my goal too. :lol:

03-29-2004, 08:47 PM

Key Biscayne is kind to Agassi
Dave Hyde

March 28, 2004

KEY BISCAYNE -- Another Nasdaq-100 Open. Another opening weekend. And there was the amazing Andre Agassi, back again Saturday night and hitting the unlikely trifecta of winning his first set in 14 minutes, hitting a final serve of 122 mph and being cheered for flashing his bare torso while changing shirts a month from his 34th birthday.

"I don't know if that's sort of sympathy applause by now or not," he said.

From pop idol to proud papa, from teenage hairball to thirtysomething cue ball, from Barbra to Brooke to now Steffi Graf and their two boys, what a journey it has been through tennis and time for Agassi. And continues to be. And promises to remain for as long as Agassi keeps threatening titles, which he still does by stepping on any court -- especially this one.

Pete Sampras got bored. Boris Becker grew tired.

Agassi is still going. He ranks fifth in the world. He won four titles last year.

Do you grasp what's at work here? Do you understand the rare body of work being put out by this body of Agassi?

It doesn't do Agassi justice simply to say he's the oldest active player on the tour. Let's put it in fuller context. The second-oldest player is Todd Martin at 33. He is ranked 62nd. Meanwhile, the four players ranked above Agassi are all at least a decade younger, starting with top-ranked Roger Federer at 22.

Agassi once was criticized for wasting his talent and now deserves notice for squeezing every drop from the calendar. The closest player to Agassi in the top 25 is eighth-ranked Tim Henman. He's 29. Nearly five years younger.

"When I came out, they considered me the hardest-hitting player," Agassi said. "I hit the ball so hard. Now that's not what makes me better than some guys. It's other things. Because everybody hits the ball so well."

Growing up has rewards. Growing older has rewards. But staying on the stage long enough for everyone to watch you grow up, then older, while winning all the way must be Agassi's ultimate reward. Ours, too. The image-is-everything teen has bloomed into as good a spokesman as tennis star.

How many times has a player dropped out of sight either to injury or incompetence before being allowed to mature into full-fledged adulthood?

Tiger Woods and Serena Williams are now in the news for branching their lives beyond their respective games. This is met with anguish by those needing their names to drive these games. Williams took time off for fashion design and acting. Woods got engaged, watched Stanford basketball and said when asked what he'd do after having three over-par rounds last week at Bay Hill last week, "Have a beer."

"You start to realize that golf is not the end of all things," Woods said recently, like that universal truth was a personal revelation.

Agassi saw that light years ago. He never allowed his life to be stunted by greatness or stifled by expectations. He skipped 10 Australian Opens and three Wimbledons either because life was too short or grass was in play. All of it fed the idea he didn't care enough, wouldn't win as much.

But the fascinating part by now is how he keeps going past the point anyone expected. He made some concession to age and family, playing in a career-low 14 tournaments last year. But he won four.

"I don't think it's about the accomplishments that keeps me out here," he said. "It's about pushing myself to get better and still feeling like I can do that, still feeling like I can win if I play my best tennis."

On Saturday, Agassi beat the 26-year-old Mariano Zabaleta, 6-0, 7-6 (1). In windy conditions, he missed one first serve in the first set. He made one unforced error. He then was asked whether he considered the first match the most important for gauging play in a tournament.

"The next one is always important," he said.

This is his 18th trip to Key Biscayne, same as the U.S. Open. He has won five titles here, starting in 1987, when he was 17 and would detour through a kitchen with his bodyguard after matches to sidestep the screeching teenage girls.

On Saturday night after winning he walked down a line of mostly children, signing autographs for several minutes. Graf had left a few minutes earlier with their children. How times have changed. How Agassi has changed with them. But how, oh how, does he keep playing like this?

Blowing a kiss to the crowd
Andre Agassi blows a kiss to the crowd after his straight sets victory over Mariano Zabaleta during the second round of the Nasdaq-100

04-03-2004, 11:48 AM
I'm not sure where to put this, but I thought you Agassi fans would appreciate these admiring words.

Q. Obviously, you've patterned a lot of your game after Andre Agassi. Can you talk about his influence on your game, from when you were a kid until now.

GUILLERMO CORIA: I believe that everybody kind of mirrors Agassi because he's an example on and off the court. But in reality, it's impossible to play exactly like him so...

But he's an example for me.

J. Corwin
04-08-2004, 07:26 AM
yep, Guille always had a lot of respect for the double A. :)

04-08-2004, 09:43 PM
Aah, how sweet of Guille :banana: I always wondered where he got that nasty DTL backhand. ;)

04-10-2004, 09:15 PM
An old article from 2002, but I found it interesting because it shows that Andre can play a little bit of piano! :music:

“Night at the Net” Nets Cash, Laughter

Jessica Stamp
Mirror contributing writer

** The 76th Annual Mercedes-Benz Cup tennis tournament, held from July 22 through 28 at UCLA’s Los Angeles Tennis Center, kicked off the competition with the “Night at the Net” charity event Monday, July 22. The event featured Andre Agassi, Gustavo Kuerten and celebrities Matthew Perry, Dennis Miller, Kelsey Grammar, James McDaniel, Bruce Vilanch, Michael Bolton, and Dr. Phil McGraw in a match designated Team Agassi vs. Team Kuerten.
** The event began with musical appearances by the group Musiq, and a song sung in Italian by Michael Bolton. Before the main event began, Tournament Director Bob Kramer honored Pam Shriver for her admittance into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
** Gibson Guitar and Baldwin Piano were title sponsors of “Night at the Net,” which benefits the Recording Academy’s Musicares Foundation, an organization which focuses on health and human services for the music community.
** Baldwin Pianos presented Andre Agassi with a grand piano for the Andre Agassi Preparatory School in Las Vegas. Andre, wearing the white jacket of Henry Juszkiewicz, the Chairman and CEO of Gibson and Baldwin, sat down and played the first few bars of “Lean On Me” for a surprised audience. He then posed for a few pictures with the gift before heading back into the locker room to prepare for his match.
** Finally, Pat Shriver took the helm and introduced the featured players of the celebrity match. First up was the chair umpire, comedian Bruce Vilanch. After almost tipping the unstable ref’s chair, Vilanch finally got situated and took out his guide, Tennis for Dummies, to aid him through the game.
** Shriver then introduced Agassi once again, and his opponent, Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten. The rest of the celebrities were introduced and everyone shook hands.
** The match would last 21 points with the two teams alternating serve every 5 points. Agassi and Kuerten remained on the court for the match’s duration while the personalities subbed in and out.
** The most exciting bit of tennis as well as the most amusing was the teaming of Agassi and Dennis Miller vs. Kuerten and Matthew Perry. Everyone wore microphones and used them constantly. There’s no doubt that the banter exchanged between Agassi, Miller, and Perry was the highlight of the night. It took a while before Agassi served the first point as he teased Perry on the other side of the net, delaying play. Finally, Agassi sent a bullet serve Perry’s way, but Perry, a veteran player himself, returned the serve to everyone’s surprise and won the point.
** The points were all well played, consisting mainly of volleys at the net. Miller hilariously ran back in forth in front of the net, letting most go for Agassi but then capitalizing on volleys when least expected.
** Agassi definitely revealed his growth as an entertainer. His wit matched that of Miller and continued even when the comedian left for the bench.
** Kelsey Grammar, James McDaniel, Michael Bolton, and Dr. Phil took to the court in succession. Team Kuerten ended up winning the match 21-14 greatly due to Bolton and Dr. Phil’s winners. Though the match was short, it amazed a crowd who never knew tennis could be so funny.


04-12-2004, 08:46 PM

I read in the local paper today that Andre has committed to play this year's TD Waterhouse Cup, the tuneup event just before the US Open, at the Hamlet Golf and Country Club in Commack!!! :D

I *must* go to that one! :banana:

tickets 516 876-0400

04-12-2004, 08:54 PM
I heard that's a very intimate venue, tangy (well not as intimate as you may like, lol ;) ), so sounds like a good idea to catch Andre while he's there.

in fact, maybe I will go! ---- but I don't know yet whether I will be back in NYC from my summer job yet at that point...

04-15-2004, 03:16 PM
I definitely want to see it -- I'll go alone if I have to! :lol: Gotta see Andre in action up close and personal before he retires. ;)

And Q, I asked you this in GM but I don't think you saw my message: who would you say was the last best clay-courter the USA has had? Agassi or Courier? Or somebody else?

04-15-2004, 05:40 PM
I definitely want to see it -- I'll go alone if I have to! :lol: Gotta see Andre in action up close and personal before he retires. ;)

And Q, I asked you this in GM but I don't think you saw my message: who would you say was the last best clay-courter the USA has had? Agassi or Courier? Or somebody else?

Oh, I must have missed that question.

Definitely Agassi and Courier. And they are a very close, almost a tie. For accomplishments Courier has more wins, but Andre has just as many finals and a better record over time at RG. I guess if you pressured me I would have to say Courier. If only Agassi had managed to win that fourth set in the 1991 RG final against Courier (the damn rain delay changed everything),

Agassi: Roland Garros 1 Win, 2 Finals, 2 SF, 4 QF
Rome 1 Win, 1 Final (he had a championship point too!)

Courier: Roland Garros 2 Wins, 1 Final, 1 SF, 1 QF
Rome 2 Wins

J. Corwin
04-17-2004, 09:34 AM
nice one, Q. I agree.

06-17-2004, 04:08 PM

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."

06-17-2004, 05:59 PM
oh my god.... i stumbled into the wrong forum. :o

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

:haha: :haha: :haha:

07-24-2004, 01:50 AM
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.”

08-16-2004, 07:10 PM
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. :hearts: Did anyone see it yet? If not, I'll see if I can scan it in and post it here. :)

08-17-2004, 12:20 AM
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. :hearts: Did anyone see it yet?

If not, I'll see if I can scan it in and post it here. :)

We would appreciate that...

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

08-18-2004, 11:09 AM
I already posted the article here. see post 49. that is august vogue edition right?

08-19-2004, 08:21 PM
hey check this out!:

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

andre serve and forehand (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sportacademy/hi/sa/tennis/skills/newsid_3438000/3438165.stm)

08-19-2004, 10:21 PM
hey check this out!:

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

andre serve and forehand (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sportacademy/hi/sa/tennis/skills/newsid_3438000/3438165.stm)

Thanks MisterQ!!!
I like it very much..

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

08-28-2004, 03:33 PM
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.

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

08-30-2004, 09:31 AM
_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?

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

08-30-2004, 02:50 PM
"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.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39929000/jpg/_39929844_agassi_getty_270.jpg 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).


:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

09-03-2004, 11:28 AM
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.'''
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

09-03-2004, 11:45 AM
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...

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

09-05-2004, 02:28 AM
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...

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

09-05-2004, 02:53 AM
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."

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

Agassi Fan
09-05-2004, 09:43 AM
Thanks for the interview!

09-05-2004, 01:31 PM

more pictures and interviews you could find :

http://temp.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?p=751805&posted=1#post751805 ;)

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

09-08-2004, 02:12 AM
_Agassi Handles Friend; Now Faces Tougher Foe

Published: September 7, 2004

Before facing an opponent, particularly a top-flight one, Sargis Sargsian sometimes receives advice from Andre Agassi. In a telephone conversation the night before the match, Agassi will break down the opponent's game and give Sargsian a blueprint for victory.

Sunday night, however, the two friends did not speak.

Sargsian's opponent in the fourth round of the United States Open yesterday was Agassi himself, a two-time Open champion who did not want to take any chances.

The sixth-seeded Agassi came away with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory, advancing to the quarterfinals in Flushing Meadows for the 12th time in his 19 trips and setting up a high-profile match tomorrow with top-seeded Roger Federer.

"I'll go out there with the intention of having to play my best tennis," said Agassi, whose last match against Federer was a 6-4, 3-6, 4-6 loss at Indian Wells in March. "That's the good news playing him, if that is good news. There's not a whole lot of thinking. You better shoot for your best stuff right away, not take your foot off the pedal.

"But if I can hit my shots aggressively and play to the standard I know I can, I have every intention of winning the match."

Federer, who is from Switzerland, could be a bit rusty. He received a walkover yesterday when his fourth-round opponent, Andrei Pavel, withdrew because of a herniated disk in his lower back.

"I think not playing in four days is not ideal for him," Agassi said. "I think that going out there in a big environment is something that he has proven to be the best at this year. I'm going to try to give something for the crowd to cheer about."

The crowd may be behind the 34-year-old Agassi, who is winding down a brilliant career.

Fifth-seeded Tim Henman also advanced to the quarterfinals after 19th-seeded Nicolas Kiefer retired three games into the fifth set with a wrist injury. Henman won, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (4), 3-0.

Sargsian, 31, who was in the fourth round of a Grand Slam event yesterday for only the second time in his career, simply could not figure out - or carry out - a plan of attack.

"For me, it's strange to play Andre, to be honest," said Sargsian, who is 0-6 against Agassi. "I really hope this is the last time I play him. I don't feel like I have a game plan against him, like I don't know how to win the points.

"You cannot serve and volley, you cannot play him from the back, you cannot hustle because you know he's not going to miss. He's going to make you run until tomorrow morning."

Sargsian had seemingly been running all tournament long, logging 12 hours 5 minutes of court time - seven hours more than Agassi had played - through the first three rounds. His second-round victory over 10th-seeded Nicolas Massu lasted 5:09 and was the second-longest match in United States Open history. Two days later, he edged Paul-Henri Mathieu of France, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (4), in a match that lasted 4:44.

Sargsian, who is Armenian, and Agassi met seven years ago in California. Agassi said he was a bundle of nerves while watching Sargsian's match with Mathieu on television.

"I've never been so nervous in my life," he said. "It's a lot easier playing than watching when you really care about it. I was pulling for him. It was a great display of tennis and heart, by both players."

Against Agassi, Sargsian could not display the same level of tennis acumen. He committed 43 unforced errors, more than double the amount Agassi committed.

Although perhaps not at the top of his game, Agassi was sharp. Playing at his typically torrid pace, he seemed to have Sargsian off balance. Despite his feelings for Sargsian, he held nothing back.

"I don't think it's quite as comfortable playing against somebody that you root for," Agassi said. "I mean, if I were to lose, I probably wouldn't want to lose to anybody more than him, if that makes any sense at all.

"But you have a lot of respect for each other personally - professionally, too. In order to maintain that respect, both guys have to go out there and lay it on the line and give a hug afterwards."

But no advice before.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

09-08-2004, 03:07 AM

After 13 years, Gil Reyes is still the man behind Andre Agassi's muscle

At 33, Andre Agassi is as fit and strong as anyone on tour. What's the secret behind his age-defying body? The question, actually, is who. You've probably seen this mountain of a man sitting in Agassi's box at tournaments. He's Gil Reyes, Agassi's strength and conditioning coach.
Reyes, 52, who can bench nearly 10 times his age, grew up outside Las Cruces, N.M., 40 miles from the Mexican border. His father, Rito, a farm-equipment mechanic, and mother, Alicia, taught him two guiding principles.
"My dad stressed the importance of hard work," Reyes says. "My mother stressed that dreams exist to be realized. I remember her saying, 'que lindo es sonar dispierato'--how lovely it is to dream while you're awake."
By the late 1980s, after having worked at a fitness club and at New Mexico State, Reyes was a strength and conditioning coach at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. During the 1989 - '90 basketball season, he met a local kid named Andre in the weight room who asked about adding strength training to a tennis regimen.
"I told Andre, 'I know nothing about tennis,'" Reyes says. "He said, 'That's OK, I do. Now I want to get bigger, faster, and stronger.' He said he was willing to do whatever hard work was needed to fulfill his dreams. I remember thinking, 'My mother will appreciate the journey we're about to take.'"
That journey has become the game's most enduring training partnership. Reyes left UNLV in early 1990 to work with Agassi full time, and he has kept daily handwritten journals of Agassi's training ever since. "From the books, you can pick any date from the past 14 years and you'll find documentation of Andre's work, his weight, the fire for his dreams," says Reyes, who has no career plans beyond training Agassi. "We're now developing a two-year plan, but Andre is capable of playing longer.
"Trust and friendship are the main reasons our bond has lasted," adds Reyes, whom Agassi honored two years ago when he gave his first-born son the middle name Gil. "Andre is an incredible tennis player, but as a friend and a man of compassion he's even better."

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

09-08-2004, 03:26 AM
Agassi sends out timely reminder

When you get to Andre Agassi's age you don't like to waste time. So his straight sets victory over former world number five Jiri Novak was one for the greybeards on the men's tour, of which the American is the soul-surviving member, following the retirement of Todd Martin.

US OPEN: Agassi schools Novak

The question on everyone's lips at Flushing Meadows, now, is whether the 34-year-old can carry the mantle of the Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Michael Chang and David Wheaten generation and win a ninth major title?

http://www.eurosport.com/imgbk/TENNIS/ALL/MD-I157398.jpgAgassi proved mentally inconsistent against Robby Ginepri and Florian Mayer in the first couple of rounds, but against Novak of the Czech Republic, he started to believe.

This year, the press have doubted Agassi in the same way as they did Sampras, prior to his 14th major singles victory at the U.S. Open, two years ago.

But on Saturday afternoon, the 1994 and 1999 champion, "turned the corner," insisting, with a smile on his face, "If I can continue that standard, that's pretty good". http://www.eurosport.com/imgbk/TENNIS/ALL/MD-I135948.jpg

In a season marked with inconsistency since his exit in the semi-finals of the Australian Open, Agassi's confidence levels have taken a series of dents.

http://www.eurosport.com/imgbk/TENNIS/ALL/MD-I143393.jpgPoor preparation, self-inflicted through lack of tournament play, prior to Roland Garros, saw the Las Vegan exit at the first hurdle. This preceded a hip injury that forced him out of Wimbledon, the setting for his first major victory in 1992.

Victories over Carlos Moya, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt at the Cincinnati Masters last month, his first title since May 2003, reminded everyone that he wasn't a spent force.

Agassi may be one yard slower; http://www.eurosport.com/imgbk/TENNIS/ALL/MD-I152844.jpghis ability to master the early return not as consistent as his prolific best, but the talent of the eight-time major champion has re-ignited.

Restored at where it really matters: the Grand Slams.

http://www.eurosport.com/imgbk/TENNIS/ALL/MD-I98331.jpgWhile Agassi remains one of the best conditioned players on the men's tour, his trainer Gil Reyes and coach Darren Cahill , will be hoping that the shorter his workload against Sargis Sargsian , his fourth round opponent, the better.

Talk has already begun about http://www.eurosport.com/imgbk/TENNIS/ALL/MD-I157360.jpga potential quarterfinal meeting with top seed Roger Federer.

But as the former world number one said at his post match press conference on Saturday, "I don't really look ahead.

It's a great problem to worry about, when it's time to worry about it."

Eurosport - James Buddell – 05/09/2004

09-16-2004, 06:26 AM
Another "Andre's Story" link...

09-22-2004, 03:46 AM
The Tennis Week Interview: Mike Agassi Andre's father

The Agassi Story Cover By Richard Pagliaro

In 1959, an Iranian-born immigrant waiter of Armenian descent served some American tennis players dinner in Chicago. After dinner, the waiter delivered his dream to one of the players.

"One day, my son will play on the Davis Cup team and he will win Wimbledon and every major title," the waiter, speaking in slightly broken English, confidently confided in U.S. Davis Cup member Barry MacKay, who smiled, patted the waiter on the back and wished him good luck.

It was an ambitious prediction, particularly since the waiter didnt have a son nor was he even married at the time.

Forty-five years later, the man who made the vow, Mike Agassi, is sitting at the National Tennis Center discussing his life story and explaining how his son, eight-time Grand Slam champion, Andre Agassi, fulfilled his dreams. Out of the corner of his eye, Agassi spots MacKay seated on a nearby bench and immediately walks over to shake his hand and remind him of the promise made more than four decades ago.

It is one of those rare occurrences where a memory thats lived in a mans mind since the day it happened comes to life right before your eyes.

In his recently-released autobiography, The Agassi Story, Mike Agassi traces his life from his impoverished childhood in Tehren where he shared a single room with his mother, father, three brothers and a sister in a home that lacked electricity, running water and a dinner table as the family ate on a dirt floor. A slightly-built street fighter who, who would represent Iran as a boxer in two Olympic Games, the man born as Emmanuel Agassi developed a love for tennis watching American servicemen play the sport and his willingness to pick up stray balls and clean the court caught the eye of one who handed him a racquet, beginning Agassis life-long love affair with the sport.

Intent on escaping a bleak existence to build a better life, Agassi left his home and family ≈ a day he describes as the "saddest moment of my life" ≈ and flew to America. He landed in New York at the age of 22 with $26 in his pocket and a more meager English vocabulary. He was the type of man whose idea of settling a dispute was pounding his fist in your face.

Spending $22 on a bus ticket to Chicago, Agassi began his journey with $4 in his pocket and a wealth of dreams in his head. Six years after arriving in Chicago, Agassi met and a shy, blue-eyed beauty, Elizabeth "Betty" Dudley and the couple soon married and moved to Las Vegas where they raised four children.
Characterizing his first three children ≈ Rita, Phillip and Tami ≈ as tennis ⌠guinea pigs for his training of Andre, Mike Agassi found his youngest child to be both extremely gifted and willing to work hard in his daily hitting sessions on a court his father helped build with the ball machines set up to sharpen his strokes to their explosively-compact state.

"Andre wasnt just the most talented of my four kids, he was the most willing," Mike Agassi says. "He had the desire. I dont know if it was the desire to play tennis or if it was simply the desire to please me, but he had it."

The youngest Agassi also had the challenge of dealing with a domineering dad who drove his sensitive son relentlessly to reach his own expectations of excellence.

"I know I have a reputation," Mike Agassi says. "People say Im abrasive. Domineering. Fanatical. Overbearing. Obnoxious. Temperamental. Aggressive┘People say I pushed my kids too hard, that I nearly destroyed them. And you know what? Theyre right. I was too hard on them. I made them feel like what they did was never good enough. But after the childhood I had, fighting for every scrap in Iran, I was determined to give my kids a better life. I pushed my kids because I loved them."

The book offers the elder Agassi's view on the emotional barrier built between father and son and the efforts of both men to bridge that gap with honesty and mutual respect.
Clad completely in a black HEAD sweatsuit with a black t-shirt, the 74-year-old Agassi exhibits the same short-stepped stride his famous son has while walking on the court. Its the purposeful walk of a man whose toes seem to be snuffing out a lit cigarette butt under his feet with every step he takes. Father and son share other traits, both have the same deep eyes that seem to look into you rather than just at you and both own remarkably fast hands. When Mike Agassi delivers a punch to punctuate his point about hitting a forehand it arrives amazingly quickly.

Gracious and polite to all the fans who approach asking his autograph, Agassi is very direct in conversation, offering candid answers. In this interview, conducted at a table at the Heineken Bar, Mike Agassi discusses how he trained his son to be a tennis champion, offers his opinion on his sons current and former coaches, identifies the best player hes ever seen, why he went nearly 14 months barely speaking to Andre and how Steffi Graf helped bring father and son back together.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

09-22-2004, 03:57 AM
The Tennis Week Interview: Mike Agassi

The Agassi Story Cover By Richard Pagliaro

Tennis Week: What was the inspiration for writing this book?

Mike Agassi: The idea came when I was thinking I dont know anything about my grandparents. I thought I should leave some sort of biography for my children and grandchildren. The opportunity was right and I was all for it.

Tennis Week:Have your children read the book? What do they think about it?

Mike Agassi: My daughter, Tami, has read the book and she loved it. Andre, I dont know (if hes read it), but I know Steffi has read it. Andre has been too busy. My wife has read it. Theyve liked it.

Tennis Week:Reading the book, I was struck by how tough your childhood was and how you literally had to fight your way out of that place. How do you think your circumstances and environment shaped the man you became?

Mike Agassi: Let me explain something to you: you take a man from the free world and you put him in jail and after two months he will get used to living in jail. Thats the type of life he lives and he will get used to that life. I was born to that life. It was OK with me, it didnt bother me. That is my life! I didnt know any other life. I can see my friend come to school in a car, but I had to walk four miles to school. When you dont have something in life, it doesnt bother you.

Tennis Week: But doesnt that also influence the way you raise your children because as a parent you dont want your children to grow up the same way?

Mike Agassi: Everybody wants to give a better life to their children. We had so much food on the table that anytime we had five or six kids come over to play tennis with my kids I would feed all of them and take them to the movies afterward and theyd be happy and come over and play with my kids again.

Tennis Week: How did your life and experience as a boxer influence your approach to teaching tennis? There are some similarities between the sports and Ive heard people say Andres forehand is based on your right uppercut?

Mike Agassi: The guy with the funny pants, Bud Collins, said that. I studied Bjorn Borg, the way he hit the ball with topspin and an open stance. He hit like this (Mike Agassi stands up and simulates the Borg forehand), you follow me?

Tennis Week: Right.

Mike Agassi: That stayed with me. And I worked with the kids ≈ not because of the boxing ≈ but because I studied and what I taught my kids was shorter backswing, the faster contact you have the more solid contact you have hitting the ball.

Tennis Week: I have an old instructional tape Andre did with Nick Bollettieri and on the tape, Bollettieri says that you set up the ball machine and told Andre "Hit the hell out of the ball ≈ dont worry where it goes ≈ just hit the hell out of the ball." Is that what you stressed when Andre was a kid?

Mike Agassi: That is a story he says. What he left out is its hard to hit hard. You have 200 fighters, for example, and you have maybe six who have a knockout punch. Why cant the other 194 do it? Its hard, thats why. Hitting hard, that is an art. It is a talent. I got the idea from the whip you see a jockey use on a horse ≈ when you get the speed going from the end of that handle the tip will be even faster. To hit the ball hard you have to get the racquet head speed going. To know how to hit hard is not (saying) "Son, go out there and hit as hard as you can." The fighter throws the punch like this (Mike Agassi throws a straight punch) then its like 80 pounds (of force), but if he hits the punch like this (Mike Agassi throws another punch but twists his wrist at the end) and twists his wrist at the end then you get 110 pound punch that can knock the guy out.

Tennis Week: Right. Look at Larry Holmes jab, Ive seen him nearly knock guys backwards with a jab because his jab was so sharp.

Mike Agassi: Yes, sure, sure. Boom, boom, boom (simulates a jab).

Tennis Week: The last time I interviewed Michael Chang, he said if you saw Andre play tennis at 10 years old, even if you knew nothing about tennis, you would immediately say "This kid has a God-given gift." When did you realize that my son is very, very talented or when did you know that my son has the potential to be the best player in the world?

Mike Agassi: Let me explain it to you this way: if you have a child who is born with a great medical mind; lets say your child could grow up to be a doctor who could find a cure for AIDS, lets assume. If the kids parents didnt send him to school, that guy would be as dumb as the guy you could find cleaning a backyard. Thats wrong. The kid had the talent, correct. But somebody brought the talent out. I worked on eye-hand coordination before he was 2 years old, when he was 11 months old, with my technique. My technique was when he was in the crib, I had a tennis racquet and a tennis ball and the head doesnt move, but the eyes move. Thats teaching eye-hand coordination because the eye is going after the object as it moves.

Tennis Week: Youre training his eyes to follow the object.

Mike Agassi: Yes. He would sit in the high chair with a ping-pong paddle in his hand. I had a balloon. I would blow the balloon and he would hit the balloon. If you hit the balloon late, then the sound is not so good. But if you hit the balloon in the right place, good sound! good sound! He was learning from the sound and the eyes following the balloon. I studied a lot of physics. I would tell him good sound and he would learn, as a baby, how to hit it to get that sound. Those are the things that you wont learn from a pro. Those are the things that you wont learn in your home. Those are things you learn from someone who loves the game, who studies the game, who learns the game through a different magnifying glass.

Tennis Week: Was there any particular player you studied who you used as a model for Andre?

Mike Agassi: I watched all the pros. From every great pro, I tried to pick one thing that was right and put it all together in combination. My first two kids (Phillip and Rita) were guinea pigs for the success of Andre. Because teaching them I learned an awful lot. Teaching them, I learned you dont have to push the kid. The other two, they were pretty much under pressure because Dad is watching the matches, seeing the mistakes and were going to talk about it. The bottom line is to win the point. If you win the point with hard hitting, if you win the point with your angles, if you win the point with the drop shot, the main thing is you won the point. But you have to learn to do all those things to win the point.

Tennis Week: In the book, you write that when you were coaching Andre you stressed taking the ball early on the rise, coming forward and actually concluding some points at net with the volley. You suggest in the book that when he went to Florida, he kind of lost that part of his game?

Mike Agassi: Thats a little bit wrong. We talk about serve-and-volley like bread-and-butter, you know what I mean?

Tennis Week: Right, that they go together.

Mike Agassi: Yes, that they go together. Serve and then use the serve to go to net. Here, we have a great server like (Taylor) Dent. If I was working with Dent, he wouldnt go to the net after every serve. He hits the serve so hard the ball comes back even faster. If he had a coach who could convince him to do it (mix it up), it would work better. I once talked to (U.S. Davis Cup captain) Patrick McEnroe about the young Americans coming up ≈ Dent, Fish, Blake, Ginepri ≈ and if I had to pick any one of them to teach I would pick Dent. People say Dent? But he doesnt have a service return. That, I can teach him very easily. You can learn to return if you know where the ball is coming. He doesnt have to spend the energy leaning left and moving right. If he knows the ball is coming to his forehand he can play the forehand. I can teach that. Everybody says Andre see the ball this big, like its a soccer ball. Andre sees the ball as the same size you and everyone else sees the ball. When the ball is coming the object is to put the racquet in the line of the ball to hit the ball solid. To hit a solid shot with speed, that takes practice, practice and practice.

Tennis Week: Andre is credited with revolutionizing the game in the sense that he took a style that was typically played behind the baseline and brought it inside the baseline by taking the ball so early. Connors took it early as well, but Andre took the return game to the next level and made it an offensive weapon. Were these concepts you had in your mind as you taught your son or was it a case of you seeing "my son has this gift and I will teach him this game that best fits his ability?"

Mike Agassi: OK. OK. Ive always told my kids, "if you are going to do something, do it right." I used to write beautiful Persian script. The way that we learned was that they had a dotted line with beautiful writing and we would trace that writing over and over and over. And we did so much that we learned how to write beautifully. To learn how to hit a shot properly, you have to hit that shot 50,000 times. A tennis teacher doesnt have that kind of arm to hit that many balls. So what I did was, I bought a robot, a ball machine. The ball machine did the job that I was supposed to do and I was next to Andre saying "you meet the ball here". When you see where the ball is going to bounce, go to the bounce. Everyone says I taught my son to stand in the center of the court. No! I taught him to go to the bounce. The bounce is over there and as the ball is coming up off the ground you go down and get it quickly (take it early). Today, everybody does that.

Tennis Week: So many players have said Andre influenced their style. Is there any one particular player who reminds you of Andre? Coria, for instance, can take it early, has a good return game and has a bit of the eye-hand Andre has though obviously he doesnt hit as hard.

Mike Agassi: You know Coria is very fast. If you are fast and you are there quickly to the ball as he is its by far easier to return than if you are there late. You can hit the biggest ball, but if you are not there its an ace. The biggest problem for players is that they are not there in position. The drop shot is the easiest shot to hit if you are there. If you hit a drop shot and I am there to get it, you are dead. Coria is very fast and puts himself in position to get to the ball.

Tennis Week: So is there anyone who reminds you of Andre or do you see him as unique?

Mike Agassi: No, no, no player is unique. If you are inside the court and you hit the ball on the rise you have to be an open-stance player. If you are side stance, you cant be in the court and hit it on the rise because the follow through is too long. The open stance you hit the ball and follow through like a fighter ≈ a shorter finish.

Tennis Week: Andre has often said he was pretty unhappy when he first left home and got to Bollettieris Academy. Were you ever concerned he might quit?

Mike Agassi: You are always concerned that the kid goes to school and he may not finish that school. If you dont like the subject, if there is one subject you dont like then you dont want to go to that class. Then it wont take long to hate the school and not go to school. But if you love the subject, you still stick with it and get the degree. The bottom line is he loves the game.

Tennis Week: Andre has said he felt when he won the Olympics it was very meaningful and special for you since you fought in the Olympics. Andre has won more than 800 matches, but of all his victories which won is most special to you?

Mike Agassi: When he won the gold medal I was so proud I almost felt I myself won the gold, but I was more proud when he won Wimbledon. Because in 1958, the United States played Australia in Davis Cup. They were in Chicago dining in the Ambassador West hotel. I was the waiter waiting on them. Barry McKay was on that team. Eventually I started talking to the players and I shook Barry McKays hand and I said: "Someday, my son is going to play on Davis Cup and someday my son is going to win all four Grand Slams."

Tennis Week: And that was before any of your kids was born.

Mike Agassi: That was before I was even married. I told him that and I meant it and Barry McKay looked at me and put his hand on me and said: "Good luck." I just told him just now (during the interview in front of the Heineken bar, Mike Agassi spotted McKay on a nearby bench and spoke to him) that story and he remembered. Thats a true story and its a fantastic story.

Tennis Week: What is your relationship like with Andre and your children now?

Mike Agassi: We all get along fine.

Tennis Week: In the book, you wrote that when Andre was with Brooke you did not speak for a while.

Mike Agassi: It was a little bit that way. He got married and I didnt see him for 14 months.

Tennis Week: According to the book, Andre brought Brooke home to meet you and you told her "I hope you two arent planning to get married." You said you knew it couldnt work. Why?

Mike Agassi: No, listen. When he brought her home the first thing he told me was: "Dad, I want you to meet my girlfriend, Brooke Shields. The first real girlfriend I ever had. You know I always played tennis and any girl I thought was my girlfriend wasnt, but this time this girl is my girlfriend." I said "Thats beautiful, but son (and I told this to Brooke Shields that day too), whatever you two do, please dont get married."

Tennis Week: You said it right to her face? Its tough, but I have to respect the candor.

Mike Agassi: I said to them here is the reason: "Marilyn Monroe married Joe DiMaggio and it did not work. All the movie stars they marry each other and it lasts a year. Its not going to work. Oil and water do not mix." Brooke Shields said: "What happens if we love each other?" I said "Everyone loves each other." If you keep that love for 15, 25 years then you are together. She said: "We havent decided to get married yet, but I am going to be the most wonderful wife for your son." I said, if thats what he wants, that what he wants, but I wont recommend it.

Tennis Week: Andre and Steffi seem like such a great couple and in the book it sounds like you really love Steffi?

Mike Agassi: You see, I didnt see Andre for like 14, 15 months. He invite me to go to his house in Malibu for either Thanksgiving or Easter, whatever it was, and I refused. I said, "I havent seen you and I dont care if I see you anymore."

Tennis Week: Why did you say that? How could you say that?

Mike Agassi: Because they didnt come around anymore. They were too busy. They were too busy. They didnt come over to my home, but he came next door, did his exercise, but my house was too far away. He never made a phone call. And we didnt see each other. That was the situation. But when Steffi moved to his house the first time she came to the gym with Andre and I was on the tennis court, she walked down and hugged me and kissed me and spoke to me. And I liked her as a tennis player, I liked her as a human being. I knew she was a lady and a good person. I said "Im very happy to meet you, I have my wife over there." Steffi said: "Ive seen her already." She had already greeted my wife.

Tennis Week: Years ago, I met Alex Haley, who wrote Roots, after a speech and he gave me advice Ill never forget. He said, "When you leave here go home and call your grandparents and learn about their lives because thats your history and their experiences contributed to your character and if you dont talk to them now your family history will be lost forever." Unfortunately, my grand parents were gone by then, but I would have done it had they been alive. What would you like your grandchildren to know about you and your life?

Mike Agassi: Its all in the book. I wrote this book, my biography, to leave it for my grandchildren. Im sorry that I was not able to learn that from my grandparents and great grandparents because your family means so much.

Tennis Week: Its your heritage.

Mike Agassi: Yes.

Tennis Week: For me, the saddest part of your book was the day you left Iran. It was a November day in 1952. Before you left to get the plane to America, you went home to say good-bye to your family. At that moment, you knew youd never see your father again. Thats very sad.

Mike Agassi: When I left it was the saddest day of my life. I knew I would never see my father again. My father was a very shy person. He never hugged or kissed any of the kids. But he hugged me and kissed me and┘ (wipes tears from his eyes with handkerchief) please dont cry.

Tennis Week: Thats so sad. To look your father in the eye and know you would never see him again. Its so sad.

Mike Agassi: Yeah. It was the saddest moment of my life. I was positive I was going to see my mother again. I brought her over to this country and she passed away here. I give her a little (bit of) good life. She was so fascinated with the bathroom (Mike Agassis childhood home had no electricity or running water and his family shared a single toilet with neighbors) that she took a bath three or four times a day. Because over there you go to a public bath once a week. So everyday she would take baths.

Tennis Week: Did you ever consider coaching other players?

Mike Agassi: I thought about it, but then I thought if I did coach another player they are going to fight against my son. I had a chance to work with some pros and develop some good people. But my love, as always, is for my son. I did not want to jeopardize anything with my son. My heart is always with my son.

Tennis Week: Yesterday, we were talking and I asked you to go into the stadium and watch Andres match. You said: "Ill watch it from here (in front of the Tennis Week booth looking at the scoreboard)". Is that because its too nerve-wracking to watch him?

Mike Agassi: No. Listen, they say the success of life is not money, but its money. Do you understand?

Tennis Week: No.

Mike Agassi: When Howard Hughes spoke on radio, the whole country was listening. Heres a guy with millions of dollars and everyone was listening. When Howard Hughes talked, people listened. I have watched and seen Andres success and Im proud of him. He is set for life, his children are set for life, his grandchildren are set for life. The job is done. If he is losing, I dont want him to lose. And if he is losing, you know he is better than that person. He is better than that person. Losing doesnt make the other guy better than you. When (Gilles Muller) beat Andre (in Washington) it doesnt make him better than Andre. Haas beat Andre in L.A. tournament, the next tournament lost in straight sets to Andre. It doesnt bother me, even though he is my son and of course you want to see him win.

Tennis Week: When was the last match that you actually watched Andre play?

Mike Agassi: In L.A. I watched it. I wasnt there, I was in Las Vegas, but I watched. I watched him in Cincinnati. He beat top players.

Tennis Week: I thought he played as well as Ive seen him play in some time in Cincinnati.

Mike Agassi: Yes, yes. He played well. He beat top, top players.

Tennis Week: He played well in Australia.

Mike Agassi: Yes, he did. He made two mistakes in Australia in the Safin loss.

Tennis Week: Giants outfielder Barry Bonds supposedly used to talk to his father, Bobby Bonds, about his swing. Does Andre ever say to you "Dad, what do you think about my game?"

Mike Agassi: Do you know any son in the world that wants advice from their parents?

Tennis Week: No.

Mike Agassi: Hes no different.

Tennis Week: What do you see for Andres future. Would you like him to keep playing? Do you think he will keep playing?

Mike Agassi: Andre has a great future. It doesnt mean you have to play tennis to have a great future. You dont have to play tennis to have a great future. They have two children to raise and they will raise them as good as he was raised himself. More power to him in whatever he does.

Tennis Week: Do you think he appreciates the way you raised him?

Mike Agassi: He has talked that "Without my dad, I wouldnt be where I am." Andre has said that. Its nice to hear, but I dont expect to hear it. I dont want him to say it. Every parent tries to do their best for their kids except some who go the wrong way themselves. I dont understand how a person gets married, has a child and then leaves the children and goes. I still dont understand. You see these guys have a child and leave, no child support, no alimony, nothing. The guy left. Then the kid, with no support no love, ends up on the street smoking marijuana doing drugs. Its bad. Parents should support their kids. I believe that very strongly.

Tennis Week: Andre has contributed so much with his charity work and his school. Do you see him pursuing that even more after tennis?

Mike Agassi: I think he will continue doing that. I hope he does not go into politics. Its very easy for a famous person to be elected in this country, even if you are a dummy.

Tennis Week: True, but hes a smart guy.

Mike Agassi: We have a lot of stupid people in the Senate who are very famous. You have to be smart enough to start thinking about everybody and not for me and me alone if you are in politics. Some of them think because I have money I will vote this way so they dont take my money away, screw the poor man. I talked to Andre and he told me "No dad, I wont go into politics" even though they have approached him. They have approached him, but he wont do it.

Tennis Week: Do you still hit every day?

Mike Agassi: Every day. I live tennis. I play every day. I use the ball machine a lot because it doesnt talk back (smiles).

Tennis Week: In the ESPN Sports Century biography of Andre, they told a story where Andre took second place in a big junior tournament and you supposedly took his trophy and threw it in the trash as you and Andre were leaving the tournament saying something to the effect that "second place is not enough in this family". Ive always wondered: is that a true story?

Mike Agassi: I am so happy you asked me that. Im so happy you asked me that question.

Tennis Week: I dont mean it to be disrespectful, I just always wondered if it was true?

Mike Agassi: No, no, its not disrespectful. I am so happy you asked me that. Heres what happened: Andre was playing Jim Courier. Andre hit the ball, the ball lands in, Jim Courier doesnt say anything and the umpire calls it out. Andre loses the game. Anything Andre hit was out. Anything Jim Courier hit was in. It was four-love, Jim Courier was ahead, so I stepped on the court and said, "Andre, you lost the game, lets go." The head of the USTA junior event came down and he removed the umpire. I was embarrassed to take Andre out, but everything he hit was called out. So Andre went back and he lost, 6-4, 6-4 and he was crying. They were giving trophy and he didnt want the trophy. So I said "Out of respect pick up the trophy and theres a big creek there, throw it in the creek, something like that." Andre said, "OK." So he went and got the trophy, brought it back and he said, "Dad, I cannot do it, you do it.". I said, "Thats what you want me to do?" Whoop, I threw it in the creek. They asked me why I did that and I said I didnt want to wake up in the morning and see that losing trophy. Ten minutes later, I see Jim Courier and his mother and the chair umpire sitting there laughing and talking together. I told that to Jim Courier and reminded him of that. First, we tried to give that trophy to a couple of kids, but that didnt want it. So I said "whoop" and threw it in the creek. Everybody saw it.

Tennis Week: Nick Bollettieri was quoted on that biography saying you could be a very, very tough and demanding tennis parent. What do you think about that?

Mike Agassi: Nick Bollettieri was trying to be the sole coach, advisor, king┘but he was on the phone with me five times a week saying: "What do I do? What do I do? You stay away. Im doing it." After a year and half I go there and find a kid who is not going forward and finishing at the net game, hes playing 15 feet behind the baseline. I said "Whats that?" And he said, "Well, what do you want, hes winning."

Tennis Week: How do you see tennis evolving in the next five to 10 years? Will there be another player who comes along with an Agassi-like impact on the game?

Mike Agassi: If they keep letting it go like this, tennis is going to be no good. No one will be watching. Its serve, serve, serve. They have to shorten the service box. Right now they have to bring it in closer to make so that a 140 mph serve doesnt go in then you bring out the true talent in the game rather than having a one-shot game. You bring in a guy whos eight-feet tall and can serve 160 mph and it goes to a tiebreaker hes going to win every tiebreaker.

Tennis Week: Of all the rivals Andres had, is Pete Sampras the toughest?

Mike Agassi: Andre lost a crucial match to Sampras in a stupid way to Sampras. Remember when Sampras was sick (prior to the Miami final)? Andre gave him a break and let him wait and (it was like) "Come back and beat me." When somebody is sick, you cant play your game. Ill give you an example that happened here, when Sampras was sick and playing Corretja. He was sick on the court and walking around like a dead body then walking to the other side of the court and hitting an ace. How about Olympics. The guy was so tired he would lay down in his chair, but he came back and won.

Tennis Week: What do you think about Federer?

Mike Agassi: I think hes one of the best players weve ever had. Hes bringing another dimension to the game of tennis. The guy is fantastic. The guy is proving something I always said: a person doesnt have to have a coach to be a great player. You can study the players yourself a lot better than the coach would do. Once you put your trust in the coachs hand, its like putting your trust in your stockbroker, you know what I mean? That was the problem with the coaches Andre has had, I told them they didnt switch Andre to a mid-size racquet. Ive said it so many times and I still say it: using a mid-size racquet would help his serve. Its simple physics.

Tennis Week: Do you like Gilbert and Cahill as coaches?

Mike Agassi: They were both good players, but I told both of them: "Andre doesnt need someone to tell him how to play. Andre doesnt need someone to go to watch how Federer plays. Andre wants to win so let Andre go see it himself. But Andre needs someone to work with him on his serve and with his weakness." What is his weakness?

Tennis Week: His net game.

Mike Agassi: His net game. I said to (Cahill): "Gilbert didnt do it (improve Agassis serve and net game) and you are not doing it." He said: "What do you want me to do? Pack and go to Australia?" I said: "Listen, I didnt hire you." I said: "You do this, stay. If you dont do this, go."

Tennis Week: After winning Cincinnati, Andre credited Cahill with believing in him so strongly, in fact, that he said Cahill believed more in Andre than Andre believed in himself at one point. I thought Cahills strength was as a net player and that, as well as his work ethic, tactical skills and positive attitude, were the main reasons Andre hired him in the first place?

Mike Agassi: All these things you say are true. But to have somebody to play net is not because you are a good net player that he is going to learn. What you have to do is learn the net. What is the road to learn the net?

Tennis Week: Well, youve got to work on your volley and your transition game to get to the net in the first place.

Mike Agassi: I tell you what you have to do like I told them: what you have to do is get two great players on one side, not one, but two and he has to volley against two players. Not one, because volleying against one its easier to make a point, but you have to work volleying against two players on the other side of the net.

Tennis Week: Tennis parents often get a reputation as being too drive and too disruptive yet there are several success stories of parent-coaches, including Chris Everts dad, Jimmy Connors mother, yourself, Richard Williams. What do you think of tennis parents in general and some of those names in particular?

Mike Agassi: The parents are the reason the kids have success. Maybe they didnt do it themselves, but like Tommy Haas, they sent them some place where the kid could learn and did everything they could to support that kid and his dream. What do I think of Richard Williams? I think he is the greatest tennis coach in the whole world. He took two kids, feed them, raise them, teach them to walk, teach them to talk, educate them, teach them tennis and took them both to No. 1 in the world. In my lifetime, we will never see one family have two kids become No. 1 in the world. And I give Richard Williams another credit: he did not let anyone come between him and his kids like I did. Do you know how many times Nick Bollettieri was sitting next to Venus and Serena Williams mother and father talking to them to try to bring them to the Nick Bollettieri Academy? I knew what he was talking about because he talked like that to me. He wants to get some names and some talent. If it wasnt for Jimmy Connors mother, Jimmy would be working somewhere for $8 an hour right now. Chris Everts dad was a great, great coach and without him who knows she might be working somewhere as a secretary right now for some boss she doesnt like. Without your parents, you would never have graduated from school and doing the job you are doing right now. The doctor who takes care of my heart wouldnt be a doctor without his parents. Now, there is so much divorce in this country the kids dont get the love and support they need and they grow up thinking it is OK to get divorced because their parents got divorced.

Tennis Week: Do you think Andre can win here at the Open? Does he have another Australian Open title in him?

Mike Agassi: Thats what we are hoping for. Thats what we are hoping for.

Tennis Week: Do you think Andre himself knows right now when he wants to stop playing? Do you think he has an approximate retirement time set in his head?

Mike Agassi: Ill answer you with an example: do you think Muhammad Ali knew when to quit?

Tennis Week: No, he didnt.
Mike Agassi: No, he didnt know when to quit and now he is punch drunk because when you are sitting outside, you think "Oh, I could do this or I could do that and knock the guy out." Then he goes in the ring and he finds himself two steps behind. So thats an example, he sits outside and watches these guys play and he thinks about what he can do.

Tennis Week: But the difference is Andre still beats the best players. He beat three former No. 1 players ≈ Moya, Roddick and Hewitt ≈ in succession to win Cincinnati and he looked impressive doing it. I mean, he is beating the best guys on his best days, lets be honest.

Mike Agassi: No doubt. No doubt. He had the right coaching, the right way of hitting, the right thinking. To beat Andre, Andre has to play bad and the other guy has to play good. And that always happens. Anybody who comes to the tennis court is ready for Andre. It is very important for them to get Andre. They get excited.

Tennis Week: For his fans, Andres presence, his charisma, his ability to connect with his fans and make them feel part of his experience, is part of what separates him from other players. Do you see another player out there with that ability to connect with fans the way he has over the course of his career?

Mike Agassi: You know to make somebody to become this way you have to start in childhood. Andre was 12 years old and he went to Australia to play United States vs. Australia junior event. The gave Andre the microphone and he spoke for almost a half an hour to that crowd and he was good. When he was in sixth grade, we thought he was gonna be a preacher because he had memorized the whole bible and anytime they would talk about the bible, he was there and could talk about it. Thats the time to start to make somebody a somebody, when they are a child.

Tennis Week: Would you ever consider doing an instructional book or video?

Mike Agassi: After Andre is done playing, and if I find someone smart enough, who doesnt tell me what to do, but who allows me to teach what I am saying, then I would. But you cannot do an instruction book or video without having a great player demonstrate the teaching. So then its possible.

Tennis Week: Do you ever look back on your life and just think about where you started and what you went through to get to where you are at this point? Does it surprise you how things turned out? You told me when you met Barry McKay in 58 you told him "My son will play Davis Cup and win Wimbledon and every major." But I mean, was that really the plan all along or was it more a dream that came true?

Mike Agassi: Yes, that was the plan all along. I studied physics, chemistry and took practically post-graduate courses. Ill tell you something right now: if I live again, I wouldnt make tennis my life.

Tennis Week: What would you do?

Mike Agassi: Baseball, golf. They dont have to be 12 months a year in condition. Not only do you have an offseason in those sports, its that my way is much easier to make a person the greatest golfer in the world or greatest baseball player in the world. But I wouldnt make him a pitcher ≈ it destroys your arm ≈ I would make him designated hitter. No one tells Bonds what to do, they give him respect to do what he wants because hes such a great hitter and thats what theyd do (with my son). Its so much easier than making a great tennis player if they go the road that I taught: to hit 500 balls a day with different pitching machine and change it to make a fastball, sink ball. Baseball is like tennis that way: you bring the bat in the line of the ball to hit the ball solidly. That becomes second nature after you hit 15 million balls. Dont become a switch hitter, hit one way like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, DiMaggio. These people who switch hit are guinea pigs for the rest of the team.

Tennis Week: Last question: who do you consider the greatest tennis player and where do you rank Andre among the greats of the game?

Mike Agassi: In 1997, I had 12 players at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas by the tennis court. It was Bjorn Borg, Roscoe Tanner, Gottfried, Kramer and that was the question to ask. One of them said Don Budge, one of them said Tilden. But I told them the greatest player ever, so far, was Peter Sampras. And they laughed at me, some of them laughed, and I told them then "You sit and watch. He is the only person who has the serve, that has a volley, has the greatest forehand and hes gonna develop the great backhand too." Today, I would say the best is Federer. If Roddick wants to be great, he shouldnt keep going after his fast serving record. The fast serve, if it doesnt go in, doesnt get you anywhere. But Sampras would hit the serve 130 miles an hour in the corner and it goes in and if you do that youre going to win 85 or 90 percent of the points on your serve when you can serve that big.

Tennis Week: Listen, I really appreciate you taking this time to sit and talk to me. I enjoyed the book and really felt I learned a lot about you and your family. From what Ive read and learned talking to you, its been a fascinating life.
Mike Agassi: Thank you. I enjoyed this too and I tried to put my life in this book.

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

09-22-2004, 04:17 AM
Encyclopedia: Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi (born April 29, 1970, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA) is a notable American professional tennis player (1986-). As of 2004, he has won over $29 million in prize money and achieved a number 1 ranking on the ATP tour.

Agassi, an ethnic Armenian, was born and raised in Las Vegas, and still lives there when not on tour. His Armenian-born father, Emmanuel "Mike" Agassi, was a boxer for Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics before emigrating to the U.S. When he became a U.S. citizen, he changed his name from Agassian to Agassi.

Mike Agassi was a tennis fanatic, to put it nicely, determined to turn at least one of his four children into a world-class player. He hung tennis balls over Andre's crib, and gave his son a full-sized racket at age 2. Growing up, young Andre and his siblings had to hit 3,000 balls every day, seven days a week. Mike had Andre practice with Ilie Nastase and Jimmy Connors. His sister, Rita, finally had enough of their father, and moved in with Pancho Gonzalez (their son, Skylar, played on Bishop-Gorman High School's tennis team). When he was 14, Andre was shipped off to teaching guru Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy in Florida. He surpassed $1 million in career prize money in December 1988 after just 43 tournaments -- the quickest player in history to do so.

Agassi keeps in exceptional physical shape and can outlast many players over the course of a long match. He typically employs a baseline style of play, rarely serving-and-volleying. His serve is average at best among the top players on the men's tour, but his return-of-serve may be the best in tennis. He was the target of the fastest serve recorded at that time, a 149-mph (240 km/h) blast from Andy Roddick—and returned it into play.

Andre Agassi has won eight Grand Slam singles titles: Wimbledon, 1992

US Open, 1994, 1999

Australian Open, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2003

French Open, 1999 He is one of only five male players to have won all the Grand Slam tournaments in a career, along with Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and Fred Perry. He has also won the Olympic gold medal in singles at Atlanta in 1996. Agassi has represented the USA in Davis Cup play many times, compiling a lifetime record of 30-5 in 21 tries.

Some of Agassi's most famous matches include the following:
• French Open final 1990: lost to Andr mez, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, in his first Grand Slam final.
• Wimbledon final 1992: defeated Goran Ivanisevic, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 for his first Grand Slam win and only Wimbledon championship.
• Wimbledon semi-final 2000: lost to Patrick Rafter, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, in a tense five-set match.
• French Open final 1999: defeated Andrei Medvedev 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, in a spectacular come-from-behind victory to complete his career Grand Slam.
• U.S. Open final 1999: defeated Todd Martin 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2, in another come-from-behind thriller.
• Australian Open 2000 Semi-final: defeated Pete Sampras, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-1, en route to his second Australian Open championship.
• U.S. Open 2001 Quarter-final: lost to Pete Sampras, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6, despite not losing a service game.
• U.S. Open 2002 Final: lost to Pete Sampras, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, in what turned out to be Sampras' last competitive match.

In 1992, Andre was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award.
Agassi married actress Brooke Shields in a lavish ceremony on April 19, 1997. That February, the couple filed suit against The National Enquirer claiming it printed "false and fabricated" statements: The October 8, 1996 Enquirer claimed Brooke was undergoing counseling, binge-eating and taking pills; the October 29 story claimed Agassi "lashed into" Brooke, Agassi and Brooke's mother, Teri, "tangled like wildcats," Teri demanded a prenup, and Brooke "threatened" to derail the wedding. The case was dismissed, but the headlines were indictive of the union. Although their divorce was granted on April 9, 1999, Agassi co-operated with Shields's quest to obtain an annulment so that she could marry her current husband, Chris Henchy, in the Catholic Church.

By the time the divorce was final, Agassi was dating Steffi Graf. With only their mothers as witnesses, they were married at his Las Vegas home on October 22, 2001. Their son, Jaden Gil, was born 6 weeks prematurely on October 26. Their daughter, Jaz Elle, was born on October 3, 2003.

Few athletes have so completely overhauled their public persona. As a youngster, Agassi embraced a rebel image. He grew his hair to rock-star length, wore colorful shirts that pushed the era's still-strict sartorial boundaries, and sported a dangling earring. He boasted of a cheeseburger-heavy training diet and endorsed the Canon Rebel camera. "Image is everything" was the ads' tag line, and it became Agassi's as well. In the mid-90s, his career and ATP ranking slumped. Agassi eventually rededicated himself to the sport, shaved his balding head, and began a conditioning program that returned him to the game's top levels, able to compete with players a decade younger. Perhaps most remarkably, he has emerged as a gracious and thoughtful professional athlete, and something of an elder spokesman among the sport's active players. After winning a match, he bows and blows a two-handed kiss to the spectators on each side of the court, a gesture most take as a rather humble acknowledgement of their support for him and for tennis.
Grand Slam titles
1992 Wimbledon Goran Ivanisevic 6:7, 6:4, 6:4, 1:6, 6:4 1994 U.S. Open Michael Stich 6:1, 7:6, 7:5 1995 Australian Open Pete Sampras 4:6, 6:1, 7:6, 6:4 1999 French Open Andrei Medvedev 1:6, 2:6, 6:4, 6:3, 6:4 1999 U.S. Open Todd Martin 6:4, 6:7, 6:7, 6:3, 6:2 2000 Australian Open Yevgeny Kafelnikov 3:6, 6:3, 6:2, 6:4 2001 Australian Open Arnaud Clement 6:4, 6:2, 6:2 2003 Australian Open Rainer Schuettler 6:2, 6:2, 6:1
External link
• Profile on atptennis.com

Agassi, Andre nl:Andr Agassi
Related Stats
• India: Sports
• Sports - FIFA World Ranking
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

09-22-2004, 04:29 AM
Driven by his love of tennis, Mike Agassi decided to teach his children how to play the game. It was his son Andre’s talent that shone through the brightest, and Andre became dominant in the world of men’s tennis.

The Agassi Story begins on the streets of Iran, where Armenian Mike Agassi was born. Learning to defend himself at an early age, Mike developed a punch that quickly got noticed by the boxing community. After participating in two Olympic Games and getting a taste for a better quality of life, Mike set his eyes on America. It was in Chicago that he decided to focus on tennis, and he moved to Las Vegas so he could play year-round. Knowing that it was too late for him to pursue a tennis career, he made sure to develop his children into great players, and fulfill his dream that way. But his teachings came with a high price, and tensions between Mike and his children threatened to pull the family apart.

The Agassi Story is a heartwarming look at one family’s turbulent relationship, and their ultimate reconciliation.

Dominic Cobello is a Montreal-based television, film, and music event producer, writer, and editor, who encouraged Mike to tell his story. The Agassi Story is his first book.
Mike Agassi immigrated to the United States in the 1950s, ultimately settling in Las Vegas where he found work in casinos. He lives there with his wife, Betty.

ISBN 1-55022-656-8
6 x 9”, 260 pp, cloth
8 colour & 40 b&w photos
$ 29.95 CDN, $24.95 U.S.
September 2004

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

09-27-2004, 02:06 AM
Here new article on Graf:

Graf back on court -- and still boasts that big forehand

By ROY KAMMERER, Associated Press Writer
September 25, 2004
BERLIN (AP) -- Five years after her retirement, former world No. 1 Steffi Graf returned to the court Saturday and showed off the stroke that once dominated tennis.

Graf, who earned the nickname ``Fraulein Forehand'' in winning 22 grand slam titles, pounded old rival Gabriela Sabatini 6-1, 7-5 with her favorite weapon in a benefit match for her organization, Children for Tomorrow.

The 35-year-old German, who has kept a low profile since quitting the tour, admits she prepared hard for her one-day return.

In the past four weeks, she trained with Darren Cahill, coach of husband Andre Agassi.

``I was incredibly nervous at playing this match,'' Graf said. ``I tried to catch up on all the things I haven't done these past five years.''

Graf, kept busy raising two children with Agassi, has turned down all offers to play publicly again.

She relented this time after promoters promised proceeds would go to her charity, dedicated to children who are victims of war and persecution.

``That's really close to my heart -- that made up my mind,'' said Graf.

Sabatini, who once pushed Graf for the No. 1 ranking, admits she didn't have much chance against her old nemesis, although she too worked out for the benefit match.

Graf, cheered on by 6,500 spectators, didn't look far removed from the form she boasted before injuries forced her retirement on Aug. 13, 1999.

``She's just hitting the ball very well. It was like old times. Nothing's changed,'' said Sabatini, who won just 11 of their 40 career meetings.

The match was broadcast live on television across Germany, where Graf remains one of the country's biggest sports heroes.

Earlier in the day, Graf had the center court named after her at Berlin's LTTC Rot-Weiss tennis club, home of the German Open.

The court was the site of Graf's win as a teenager in the 1986 German Open final against Martina Navratilova, which first thrust her onto the international stage. She captured the event nine times, the most of any tournament.

``I'm surprised at the honor -- I'm only 35,'' Graf said. ``But I have some special memories associated with Berlin.''

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

Agassi Fan
09-27-2004, 02:07 PM
Well done, Steffi. :-)

10-03-2004, 07:02 AM
Andre Agassi Grand Slam For Children
October 2005 tbc (1st Sat of every Oct)
Every year tennis superstar Andre Agassi invites his showbiz pals to the MGM Grand for the biggest single-night charity fundraiser in Vegas - the Andre Agassi Grand Slam For Children.

All the money raised goes to benefit underprivileged, abused and at-risk children in the Las Vegas community. In 2003, when the entertainment celebfest featured Elton John, Billy Joel, Robin Williams and Sheryl Crowe, a massive US$6.3 million was raised, with that figure doubled by a matching contribution by Ty Warner, of the Ty Beanie Baby company.

There are four levels of sponsorship - Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond, based on the amount for buying a table of ten seats - and it's all done on a first-come, first-served basis.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

10-03-2004, 12:42 PM
Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick Bring Rock-N-Racquets to 'Bama
Tennis Extravaganza Also Highlights Members of the US Davis Cup Team
MOBILE, Ala., Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Get Ready to Rock!

SFX Sports
Group, the world's premier sports marketing conglomerate announces that tennis
legend Andre Agassi and 2003 year-end world No. 1 Andy Roddick will
participate in Rock-N-Racquets at The University of South Alabama's MITCHELL
CENTER December 17, 2004.
Rock-N-Racquets has been designed as an annual fundraising tennis
exhibition like no other. The event features the world's most exciting tennis
players with a musical component woven throughout the evening's line-up. The
synergy of athleticism and music capitalizes on the growing trend towards
providing fans with the ultimate sports/entertainment experience. Rock-N-
Racquets benefits The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation and The Andy Roddick
Tickets will go on sale October 2, 2004 at 10 a.m. CDT and will be priced
from $35 to $85.
The format for the evening consists of three components: A Celebrity
Exhibition -- Team Agassi vs. Team Roddick composed of celebrity stars in a
friendly and fan-interactive competition. A Doubles Competition -- Agassi and
Roddick will team up in a rare occurrence to take on the world's #2 ranked
doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan. The evening concludes with an exciting
Agassi vs. Roddick competitive singles match for bragging rights until next
year ... Agassi and Roddick are currently tied at 1-all in this exhibition
The Bryan Brothers are identical twins who won the 2003 French Open and
reached the finals of the 2003 US Open. Roddick, Bryan, and Bryan all
represent the United States on the Davis Cup team, and all participated in the
2004 Olympic Games as members of Team USA. In addition to the night's fun
activities, Olympic Silver medallist and Davis Cup member Mardy Fish will also
make a special appearance.
Rock-N-Racquets, the brainchild of tennis phenom Andy Roddick,
successfully debuted in 2002 in Miami, FL and was followed with another great
exhibition in 2003 in Little Rock, AR. Roddick's hopes for making this
charitable exhibition an annual event have come to fruition, with the Mobile
event marking the third year.
"I'm excited to bring Rock-N-Racquets to Alabama," said Roddick. "I am
always pumped to bring tennis to areas that don't currently have a tournament;
I hope my enthusiasm for tennis, along with Andre, the Bryans and the rest of
our program, provides the ultimate fan experience."
"Similar to our success in Little Rock, our intention is to bring this
unique event to a market that typically has not had the opportunity to see
professional tennis," said Agassi. "We felt that the people of Alabama would
really embrace Rock-N-Racquets, and couldn't be more pleased with the
overwhelming support displayed to date. I am looking forward to coming to
"The Mitchell Center loves excitement!" said Victor Cohen, Arena Manager
of the state-of-the-art facility. "I am extremely excited that we will host
the annual Rock-N-Racquets event featuring Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, and the
Bryan Brothers. The facility is ideal for this type of event, and it promises
to be an exceptional occasion for everyone in the University and Mobile
Don't miss your chance to see Roddick, Agassi, and The Bryan Brothers.
Plan now to buy your tickets Saturday, October 2nd before they are sold out!
Tickets will be available at The Mitchell Center Box Office, charge by phone
at 251-434-0033, all Ticketmaster outlets, or online at
http://www.ticketmaster.com and http://www.CC.com.
For additional information please see website located at

SFX Tennis is part of SFX Sports Group, a global talent management and
marketing agency that represents several hundred of the world's elite
professional athletes in baseball, basketball, football, golf, tennis, soccer
and Olympic sports. SFX Sports Group, which also develops and produces a
number of nationally televised sporting events including: 84 Lumber Classic of
Pennsylvania; Legg Mason Tennis Classic; ADT Skills Challenge and the American
Century Golf Championship, offers a wide range of corporate hospitality
services, and is an independent subsidiary of Clear Channel Entertainment, a
leading producer and marketer of live entertainment and also a leading live
entertainment venue owner/operator.

SOURCE SFX Sports Group
Web Site: http://www.sfxsports.com http://www.rocknracquets.com

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

10-03-2004, 01:00 PM
Andre Agassi's Ninth All-Star Celebrity Gala Raises More Than $6.1 Million For At-Promise Children
Agassi Continues His Commitment To Assisting Youth In Need

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Andre Agassi and a superstar lineup of
entertainers took the stage Saturday evening at the Grand Slam for Children
presented by Aramis and Designer Fragrances to benefit at-promise youth
organizations in Southern Nevada. The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation
(AACF) raised more than $6.1 million during the weekend benefit, which
featured a black-tie VIP dinner, live auction and concert held at the MGM
Grand Garden Arena.
More than 5,300 fans crowded the arena Saturday night to see performances
by India.Arie, Josh Groban, Faith Hill, John Mayer, Tim McGraw, Ray Romano and
Robin Williams. Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster served as the
musical coordinator for the ninth year.
"Once again, I am overwhelmed by the ongoing support the Grand Slam for
Children receives each year from fellow Las Vegans, national business leaders
and the entertainment industry," Agassi said. "It is gratifying to know that
the money we raised tonight will directly benefit children who require our
immediate assistance."
More than 2,200 VIPs and corporate sponsors attended a pre-concert
reception and dinner. Following the pre-event celebration, the AACF hosted a
live auction with items including a private tennis clinic with Agassi and
Stefanie Graf; dinner with Robin and Marsha Williams; a custom-designed meal
prepared and served by Chef Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans; and a trip for
eight to an exclusive private villa in Anguilla, West Indies.
The Grand Slam for Children concert fundraiser benefits the AACF, a not-
for-profit organization established in 1994 to assist at-risk youth in Las
Vegas, where Agassi was raised. More than 77,000 fans and VIP guests have
attended nine Grand Slam events, raising more than $42.2 million for charity.
Specific charities benefiting from the AACF fund raiser include: The
Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club; Assistance League of Las Vegas' Operation
School Bell; Child Haven; Cynthia Bunker Memorial Scholarship Fund; The Las
Vegas Inner-City Games; Class! Publications; Las Vegas Sun Summer Camp; Boys
Hope/Girls Hope of Nevada; I Have a Dream Foundation; and the Andre Agassi
College Preparatory Academy, a model charter school in West Las Vegas.
Since its inception in 1995, the Grand Slam for Children has been
distinguished by its roster of cream-of-the crop entertainers including: Sir
Elton John, Robin Williams, Don Henley, Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Gloria
Estefan, LeAnn Rimes, Celine Dion, Babyface, Dennis Miller, Stevie Nicks,
Lionel Richie, Martina McBride, Jamie Foxx, Carlos Santana, Rod Stewart,
India.Arie, Luther Vandross, Seal, Vanessa Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger,
Tim McGraw, Wynonna, Jay Leno, Clint Black, Ray Romano, Mick Fleetwood, Amy
Grant, Marc Cohn and The Boys Choir of Harlem. For more information, please
contact the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation at (702) 227-5700.

About the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation
The AACF, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity, was created to
provide recreational and educational opportunities for at-risk boys and girls.
The Foundation strives to assist those underprivileged, abused and abandoned
children who may be deprived of basic options in life. The AACF also offers a
combination of emotional, physical and academic programs designed to enhance a
child's character, self-esteem and career possibilities.

About Aramis and Designer Fragrances
The Aramis and Designer Fragrances division of The Estee Lauder Companies
creates and markets fine and designer fragrances and skin care under the
Aramis and Lab Series names and under license for Donna Karan, Tommy Hilfiger,
Toni Gard and Kiton. The Estee Lauder Companies is one of the world's leading
manufacturers and marketers of quality skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair
care products. The Company's products are sold in more than 130 countries
under well-recognized brand names, including Estee Lauder, Clinique, Aramis,
Prescriptives, Origins, M7A7C, La Mer, Bobbi Brown, Tommy Hilfiger, jane,
Donna Karan, Aveda, Stila, Jo Malone, Bumble and bumble and kate spade beauty.

SOURCE The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

10-05-2004, 07:31 PM
Tuesday October 5, 08:08 PM

Agassi coming back Down Under

The centenary Australian Open will be graced by Andre Agassi, Martina Navratilova and a historic men's night final.
Agassi's bows to a packed crowd after losing an epic semi-final to Marat Safin in January prompted speculation he had played at Melbourne Park for the last time.


But the four-time Open champ has committed to at least one more year on the circuit and wife Steffi Graf confirmed recently he was coming back Down Under.

The 48-year-old Navratilova's initial response after losing the 2004 Australian mixed doubles final with Leander Paes seemed unequivocal.

"Losing in a final stinks - it's almost better to lose earlier," the ageless legend said at the time.

"But at the same time, it's nice to be on that stage and be able to say goodbye properly."

But she has had a change of heart and will again enter the doubles competitions.

"What I heard was that she was potentially going to do a bigger commentating role (with Channel Seven) but because of her on-court duties she's not going to," Open chief executive Paul McNamee said on Tuesday at the 2005 tournament launch.

The situation surrounding Australian-turned-Serb Jelena Dokic is less clear.

Dokic has not played at Melbourne Park since falling out with organisers in 2001 after claims by her father Damir that the draw had been rigged.

The former world No.4 planned to end her Australian exile this year, only to withdraw at the last moment saying her preparation was inadequate.

Since then Dokic's ranking has slipped to 43 and she hasn't won a tour match since April.

"Unfortunately she's really struggling with her tennis," said McNamee.

She'd be really welcome if she did come, but I've had no definitive word."

The biggest change for the 2005 Open is a first-ever men's singles night final starting at 7.30pm (AEDT) on January 30.

That moves it into a better time zone for Asian and European TV viewers, although it will take place in the middle of the night in the United States.

Both men's semi-finals have been played at night for several years.

McNamee said there was no plan to move the women's semis and finals from its current daytime slots.

Total prizemoney has been increased by $100,000 to $19.1 million, while the price of finals tickets has risen $20 to $145.

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

10-18-2004, 12:18 AM
Article on Andre in the American Way MagazineA SURE BET


When he's not competing, tennis ace Andre Agassi heads home to Las Vegas, which he says is much more normal than people think. http://americanwaymag.com/aw/article_content/3_15_2004/Travel/031504cw_agassi.jpg

Andre Agassi is a Vegas boy, born and raised. But he’s not from the bright lights, roll ’em side of town. He’s from the Vegas of neighborhoods, churches, and schools, the Vegas that the 33-year-old tennis vet says taught him that anything is possible. The son of a mother who worked at an unemployment office and a dad who helped run the Jubilee show, Agassi got his first taste of pro tennis as a ball boy for tournaments at Caesars Palace, and began his rise to what has become almost two decades in the upper rankings of his sport. Although he once blazed across the court in long hair and day-glo clothing, Agassi is now as down- to-earth as the next guy, living in Vegas with his wife, retired tennis pro Steffi Graf, and their two children. Although he still travels to tournaments much of the year, Agassi has left a legacy to his hometown: the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which has raised more than $35 million for children’s charities, and the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, which educates some 250 students. Here’s a weekend in the city where Andre Agassi learned to win.

Where do you go first after returning home from a tournament or appearance?
“A good restaurant, because Vegas has come so far in their cuisine and dining options. I love Nobhill at the MGM Grand. It’s a phenomenal restaurant. For steak, I love Delmonico at the Venetian. Go for the filet, charred medium. With the family, go up in Summerlin to a place called Sedona. Actually, I’m a partner in it, and it feels like home to go to the place that you helped create.”

You’re also part owner now in the Golden Nugget.
“Yeah, I’m involved with some friends that I grew up with, which is exciting. I’m second generation here, and the people I’m involved with are third generation Vegas. The Nugget is a lot of fun because it’s such old Vegas. You’re talking about a place that has been there for a lot of years and has a great feel.”

Do you have any other favorite hotels/casinos?
“It’s hard to get nicer than the Bellagio. But that said, every hotel offers its thing. Caesars Palace now has Celine Dion camped there. You’ve got Mandalay Bay, which has an incredible bar and lounge at the top of the hotel called The Foundation. There’s a deck there overlooking the whole city. The Hard Rock Hotel has The Joint, with incredible music acts that come through. This city is about targeting what it is you are looking for, because you’re going to find it. It’s not about one place having it all and you never leave; there’s just too much to experience.”

What else should every visitor know about Las Vegas?
“Vegas has been the fastest-growing city in America for more than 30 years. It’s a city of great vision. It’s a city where the community believes that if you actually believe in something enough, you can create it and make it happen. It gets a tough rap because it’s perceived as an adult Disneyland. But the community of people who actually live here is strong. It is a community that bonds together and looks out for each other. It’s an incredibly inspirational city.”

Most people think of the Strip when they think of Vegas, but there’s also a lot of activity downtown, right?
“Downtown is a place where you can park your car and walk around and experience that old feeling of just stepping two feet off the street into a casino that basically has no doors. And the lights are incredible. There are more lights downtown than you will see in New York at Christmas.”

Where do you go then to get away from all the glitz?
“There’s a lot to be offered in the outskirts — the Red Rock Canyon, going hiking and biking. If you’re on the Strip, you’re probably about 35 minutes away from Red Rock. You just take Charleston as far west as you can possibly go. There are trails all back through there with waterfalls and beautiful red rock and great hiking.”

Tell us a great local spot that people don’t know about.
“Out where we live, there’s this place called Desert Shores, where there are these little lakes. There is a real cute French eatery called Marché Bacchus there on the lake where you can sit outside. You would never know you were in Vegas. Jaden, our two-year-old, entertains himself by feeding the ducks while we’re eating.”

With all the money in Vegas, there’s got to be some good shopping.
“Yeah, we have all the great shops: the Aladdin shops and the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, which are incredible. Go with the family. You go from having dinner to taking your kids to FAO Schwarz to looking around at different high-end retailers. You can’t imagine how many thousands of pairs of jeans there are to choose from until you go to the Forum Shops. It’s a lot of fun. But I don’t know if you should trust me with shopping.”

Okay, what about something you know a little more about, like sports. What are your favorite golf courses?
“Shadow Creek is pretty amazing. It’s the course Steve Wynn built through the Mirage Resorts. He put about $43 million into it and made it look like you were on some holes in Hawaii and some in Colorado. You just can’t believe the terrain and the way he built this course. The thing that blows you away about it is that it’s in the middle of the desert. There has been such a big boom in courses here. There’s Bali Hai, a great course right on the Strip. But I am a creature of habit, and usually play at the courses closest to where I live, Shadow Creek and Red Rock.”

I bet your wife likes all the spas. Which ones are the best?
“There is a great one at the Bellagio, and Canyon Ranch has a spa at the Venetian.”

Speaking of your wife, is there a place the two of you go for a special evening?
“My wife and I are pretty similar. We think a great evening out together is to get some good sushi, so we go to Nobu. We enjoy sitting at the sushi bar because it’s only the two of us. We just sort of take our time and pick through a lot of different flavors and tastes.”

Any other restaurants to recommend?
“Seablue at the MGM is amazing. It’s a fish restaurant. Emeril’s is fantastic. Prime at the Bellagio is pretty amazing. There’s also an old French restaurant downtown called Andre’s. It’s in an old house and has been around for decades. We used to go there when I was young, and I still go back. It’s really clean and nice.”

Where can you get a great meal for $25 or less?
“Twenty-five dollars would be an expensive meal at most of the casinos. There are some nice restaurants now; we have so many five-star restaurants it’s crazy. But as far as being able to fill your stomach as cheaply as possible, there’s probably no city in the world that offers more. I have heard speakers at colleges talk about when the kids travel in and out to compete, whether it’s a tennis team or what have you, that Vegas is the only place in the country that they can eat on the per diem. You can go to all of these $3.99 buffets, where their only goal is to get you in the door.”

Which shows do you like?
“You’ve gotta see O. It’s incredible. O is a Cirque du Soleil show, but it’s done in water. You find it so amazing that you are sitting in the middle of a showroom with a stage basically made out of water. The showroom is in a casino, and the casino is in the middle of the desert. It just blows you away that you’re watching this. Another show I love is Danny Gans. He does impersonations of hundreds of legendary performers and singers. The show is really nostalgic; it almost brings to life these characters that you always used to think about so fondly — the Frank Sinatras, the James Deans, and scenes from movies.”

Where can you go to hear some great music?
“Vegas gets more music acts coming through than any other city in the world. We have concerts nonstop. So the options for music are endless. The MGM Grand Garden is a concert hall here. They use it for a lot of things. Mandalay Bay has the tenors there; it’s a big, 14,000- to 15,000-square-foot indoor hall. The Joint at the Hard Rock always has musical acts there. But I’m a family guy. I don’t quite go out and hit it like I used to.”

What do you remember about growing up in Vegas?
“When I was a boy, my dad used to work from 4:00 in the afternoon until like 2:00 in the morning, and my mom worked from 8:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon. So we were with my dad all day and my mom all night. A lot of times when I was with my mom, whether we were going to go get dinner or go shopping, we needed some money from Dad, who was working. So we would pull into the old MGM Grand Hotel, and at like eight years old, I would go running through the casino to the Jubilee showroom, where they had all the naked dancing ladies, the follies kind of chorus line type stuff. I knew all the captains and maitre d’s and used to just wait for my dad to come through his little turn there in the office. He would give us some money and I’d go running back out, go to the grocery store, and go home. As a little boy, it felt strangely normal.”

Could you ever live in a normal town?
“The thing is, excluding the slot machines at grocery stores, there’s nothing about living here that would seem any more or less odd than living anywhere else. We have an industry here: the gaming and tourism industry. We have a few casinos that have popped up in different areas of town, but we also have more churches per capita than most of the cities in America. That’s not wedding chapels; that’s real churches. We have 27 high schools here. It’s a very narrow perspective to think that a person who was born and raised here had an abnormal upbringing. It’s like thinking if you live in New Orleans, that you’ve gotta get drunk every night.”

So, how did growing up in Vegas affect you?
“Caesars used to have the Alan King Tennis Tournament, and I was a ball boy there. The top 32 in the world played there. I played tennis hard almost as soon as I could walk. I was competing at seven years old, playing tournament after tournament. But being a ball boy really got me in tune to what the players might or might not be thinking or feeling, and being up close, watching the concentration and seeing the sweat, hearing the movement and the grunting. Caesars would give $50,000 to the winner. They would pay you in silver dollars that they brought out in a wheelbarrow. Obviously, that was for show and you would get a check. I remember watching the greats win, and they would bring the wheelbarrow out. It was sort of symbolic: This is a dream world, a dream life. But it only happens if you have the backbone and strength to dream it. Las Vegas made me feel like I can dream.”

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

10-18-2004, 01:56 PM
A Smash Hit at the Bren
It was a fun-filled night at the Bren as top tennis players competed at the WTT All-Star Smash Hits. by: Marissa Botello
Staff Writer


Professional tennis player Andre Agassi entertained the crowd at the Bren by taking his shirt off to screaming and adoring fans.


Professional tennis player Andy Roddick takes a quick break before resuming play against veteran tennis star Andre Agassi at the Bren on Oct. 11.

On Oct. 11, World TeamTennis hit the Bren Events Center for its 12th annual All-Star Smash Hits. The event, benefitting the Elton John Aids Foundation, included a star-studded lineup of professional tennis players hosted by Billie Jean King and Sir Elton John.

The WTT has traveled across the country for over a decade and finally decided to make it’s mark in Irvine, Calif. John commented that a reason they decided to come to Irvine was because “Southern California’s always been good for support for tennis,” and because the Newport Beach Breakers won the WTT Pro League this year.

The night proved to be a success. The Bren was packed not only with tennis admirers, students and families, but with a great tennis game and lighthearted fun.

Andre Agassi, who has become a regular in the event the last few years, likes “to see a lot more involvement with the fans.”

This is one of those events where there is interaction between the players and the crowd, which is uncharacteristic of sporting events. But Agassi also feels that the event is also about bringing “tennis to places who don’t see this level [of play] ... It’s a great way to expose it.”

Before the event, a silent auction of sports memorabilia, including an autographed picture of Anna Kournikova and an autographed piano chair from John, were ready for bids.

Andy Roddick, Tracy Austin, Billie Jean King and John made brief appearances at the auction to greet the crowd and answer a few questions. Afterwards, the Bren began to fill up for the highly anticipated event.

The occasion was marked by the traditional competition between two coed teams. Team Billie Jean King included Agassi, Agassi’s current coach Darren Cahill and Kournikova; team Sir Elton John was made up of Roddick, Roddick’s own coach Brad Gilbert and Austin.

First, there was a celebrity match with John and Roddick versus Agassi and Kournikova. The tennis rules were also tweaked a little for the event. The match proved to be a warm-up for both the players and the crowd.

“I’m living a fantasy tonight by being on the court,” John said.

It was the only time he would play for the night and he performed well considering the company he was in. Team Elton won the match, but the score would not count toward the final team score.

Next, in one of three matches which would count toward the final score, was the men’s doubles. It featured Roddick and Gilbert against Agassi and Cahill. It ended with Agassi and Cahill taking the match to put Team Billie in the lead.

Next was the mixed doubles match. The players let loose and had fun with each other and the fans. Gilbert and Austin started out against Cahill and Kournikova, but the score once again started to go towards Team Billie. Agassi came in to substitute for Cahill and Roddick followed his lead by substituting for Gilbert.

Agassi was poking fun at Kournikova regarding all the attention she was receiving from the male audience members, but that’s not to say that Agassi didn’t have a lot of female fans rooting him on.

At one point he even took off his shirt to take some of the limelight away from Kournikova and everyone loved it.

Roddick also got into the action by showing off his dance moves at one point and imitating the way Kournikova yells after she hits a ball back to her opponent.

But after everyone calmed down and got back into the game, not even Roddick’s dance moves were enough to overtake Agassi and Kournikova who won the match and kept Team Billie in the lead.

The final match was two sets of play from men’s singles players Roddick and Agassi. This powerhouse match-up proved to be one of the night’s highlights as fans gasped with amazement and clapped in admiration for the competitors.

During the match, one fan even yelled a comment at Roddick saying that his serve looks faster on TV. Roddick answered by getting the fan to come down to the floor and receive a few of Roddick’s lightning serves.

Agassi lent the fan his racket, which was his only form of protection against Roddick’s 135 mph serves. It was entertaining and both Rodick and the audience member were good sports about it.

Roddick was making a good comeback for Team Elton and won the first set, but in the second set it was Agassi who took a commanding lead and went on to win the match.

Overall, the final score for both teams was 12-17, with another win for Billie’s team, making it three years in a row and the seventh overall win during the event’s 12 year history.

It was a memorable night for tennis fans and players who, in the end, all helped a good cause, the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

10-19-2004, 12:52 AM
Madrid absences boost Ferrero, Henman, Agassi
MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Defending champion Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain will not have to face the world's top three players to retain his title at the Madrid Masters, which starts Monday.

Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt all pulled out of the euro2.4 million (US$3 million) tournament citing injury, fatigue or personal reasons.

The absence of those players should also help Tim Henman of Britain and Andre Agassi of the United States, who are trying to earn enough points to qualify for next month's Masters Cup.

Federer, Roddick, Hewitt and Gaston Gaudio of Argentina have already qualified for the Masters Cup. Carlos Moya of Spain and Guillermo Coria of Argentina are next in the points race, but they are also skipping the Madrid Masters.

With the withdrawals, Henman is seeded first in Madrid, followed by Ferrero and Agassi. The top 16 seeds have byes until Wednesday.

The winner gets euro360,000 (US$450,000) and 100 points in the Champion's Race.

The weeklong event was to start at 11 a.m. (0900 GMT) Monday with Robin Soderling of Sweden facing Florian Mayer of Germany in the opening match.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

10-29-2004, 03:47 PM
Agassi says drug cheating impossible in tennis

2 hours, 25 minutes ago U.S. National - AFP

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - After undergoing an estimated 20 drugs tests last season, tennis icon Andre Agassi says there's no way anyone playing the sport can cheat the system.

Despite the earlier 2004 furore over the Greg Rusedski positive Nandrolone test - successfully appealed - and the continuing mystery of trace elements of the banned, performance-enhancing substance which have shown up in repeated ATP player tests, Agassi maintains his faith in the system.

"It's an incredibly strict (anti-doping) policy we have," the 34-year-old said as he bids for a title at this week's Stockholm Open.

"Last year I was tested 20 times, maybe eight times blood, possibly more. You don't have opportunity in tennis to take time away to use drugs to enhance your performance.

"We play all the year around all over the world. If there are any positive tests that come around it is more likely that it is a function of international teenagers - people are giving them something, maybe they think it's vitamins."

Agassi admitted: "The issue of ignorance is a high possibility."

But the holder of 59 career trophies is firm in his belief that the sport is clean.

"To actually think that with our policy and testing it's possible to cheat and get away with it - it's absurd.

"It's a question of when, not if you get caught."

Agassi said that the anomaly of the spate of tiny, but positive Nandrolone tests remains a scientific puzzle.

"It makes you wonder if there some vitamin or whatever that have some contamination in it (supplements) that are showing signs. For somebody to cheat in our sport, (it) would be a miracle if you get away with it."

He added that the safeguards and due process which allowed Britain's Rusedski to successfully prove under law that his positive didn't come from illegal ingestion, are a critical part of the equation.

"As a player with your livelihood, your life and career - everything you've worked your whole life for - (can be destroyed).

"We have to make sure this doesn't happen, that it's a fair and just system that we have in the testing and the due process of appealing. In any part of a free society you have to be able to count on this."
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

11-16-2004, 02:52 PM
Other type of business by Andre:

Expansion Planned Before Wynn Even Opens
Island Could Be Added To Lake Las Vegas
Rick Garman, Vegas4Visitors.com

UPDATED: 10:30 AM EST November 15, 2004

The biggest of the big new nightclubs is opening at Caesars in December. With two levels and 36,000 square feet, Pure is aiming to offer a little something for everyone.

Owned in party be Celine Dion, Shaquille O'Neal, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, the nightclub will go into the space once occupied by Caesars Magical Empire. The main nightclub area will feature three bars, oversized beds for seating and a VIP area overlooking the huge dance floor.

The Red Room is a separate VIP area with its own bar, restrooms and dance floor. The Terrace is above the main nightclub, a four-story, indoor/outdoor club of its own with more bars, private cabanas, a waterfall, a fire pit, another dance floor and what is being billed as "incredible panoramic views of the Strip."

A few months after the opening of Pure, the Pussycat Dolls Lounge will open, adjacent to the main nightclub. It will feature a nightly, adult-flavored cabaret show and more drinking and partying space. I'm exhausted already, and the place hasn't even opened yet.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

12-03-2004, 06:54 PM

How Brooke shook Andre's world


December 4, 2004


ANDRE Agassi began dating US actor Brooke Shields in 1993 – a relationship that caused a media frenzy wherever they went.

But, as Andre's dad, I had his reservations about the beautiful star right from the start.

Despite plenty of opportunities, by the time he was 24, Andre had been interested in only three women in his life: Amy Moss, a member of the hospitality team at a tournament in Memphis; Wendi Stewart, a neighbour of ours on Tara Street in Las Vegas who, for a time, travelled with Andre on the tour; and Barbra Streisand, who . . . well, you all know who she is. For the record, as far as I know anyway, Barbra and Andre really were just good friends.

And then he met Brooke Shields.

She wasn't as flashy as many Hollywood types. She was sweet natured, well mannered, reserved, sensitive, and rather bright.

Both Andre and Brooke are very spiritual people. Both were child prodigies. Both were powerfully motivated – some would say browbeaten – by their parents to succeed, Brooke by her mother and Andre by me. Both had high-profile careers, ones that had experienced serious bumps over the years. However, those high-profile careers limited their time together; Andre was a slave to the tour, and Brooke had movies – mainly of the direct-to-video variety – to shoot.

As nice as Brooke seemed, I did have reservations about the relationship from the very beginning.

In particular, the media frenzy their union had spawned concerned me. When their relationship became public, even Andre, hardly a stranger to the press, was stunned by the circus that followed Brooke's every move. Any time Brooke was in the stands while Andre played a match, the camera focused on her at least as much as it focused on him.

Even though Andre had decided beforehand to take it easy in 1993 it had wound up being a lousy year. He'd been left by Bollettieri. He'd endured a string of bitter losses. He dropped to No. 24 in the rankings and ended the year laid-up and overweight after wrist surgery.

In 1994, Andre proved my fears – about his game, anyway – unfounded. After five months away from the tour, during which he'd done some hard thinking about his future, he blazed back.

In April of 1995, amid a 26-match winning streak, Andre squeaked into the No. 1 spot for the first time in his career. Even better, thanks at least in part to Brooke's influence, he drastically improved his training regimen and eating habits. By clocking in 2½ hours of gym time a day (he could bench press nearly 300 pounds!) and eschewing Taco Bell and Big Gulps, Andre shed the weight he'd gained.

Perhaps most amazing of all, he cut his hair off. In one swift motion, the over-processed rat's nest that had come to symbolise Andre's flash, his flamboyance, was gone. He'd started balding anyway, so he decided it was time to bite the bullet.

In 1996, Andre called home and told us he was planning to propose to Brooke. "If that's what you want," I said, "you have my blessing."

I wasn't happy about it, but then again, it wasn't my life. And who knew? Maybe I'd be proven wrong about Andre marrying Brooke.

The wedding was to be in Monterey on April 19, 1997, 10 days before Andre's 27th birthday.

At the reception, I sat down for dinner with my family – except for Andre, of course, who was with Brooke. We ate an obscenely expensive meal after which I felt sick. Not sick physically, but sick. The stress of the day, my misgivings about Andre's marriage – it all rumbled in my gut like fish.

So I left.

In retrospect, I see that leaving your own son's wedding halfway through the reception isn't the greatest move a father could make. But I just had to get out of there, to breathe a bit. I think Andre viewed my early exit as some sort of protest statement, and maybe it was. I've never been great at hiding my feelings, especially when I see a problem. One thing I do know is Andre was terribly angry and hurt afterward, and I was sorry about that. Really I was. But it was done. I couldn't undo it.

Andre tanked in 1997.

It didn't take a brain trust to figure out the problem: Andre was torn. He loved Brooke. He wanted to be with her. Chasing the tour meant spending weeks, even months apart. He just didn't want it.

As for Brooke, she was busy with her show, with other acting jobs. She wasn't about to sacrifice that for Andre. After all, if history was any judge, she might never find work again. And so Andre made the sacrifices, following Brooke from location to location.

Andre, sometimes referred to as "Mr Brooke Shields" by the press, was not happy.

Finally, after bottoming out at No. 141, Andre had had enough. With Brooke's blessing, he re-dedicated himself to tennis in late 1997. But by then, his confidence was so shattered, he opted to play the satellite circuit instead of the ATP tour. Andre took a lot of guff for that in the press, but I was proud of him. A lesser man would have retired. Through hard work, through steady effort, Andre turned things around in 1998.

One night, in April of 1999, the phone rang. It was late. As always, Betty picked up. It was Andre.

She listened, nodded as he spoke, and then hung up the phone. "He's filing for divorce," she said, her eyes wide. The next day, just 10 days shy of Andre and Brooke's two-year anniversary, it was final. Just like that.

Andre never told us what had happened, why he'd wanted a divorce, why he'd wanted it so quickly. I had a few suspicions; at my job, I occasionally heard things about Brooke that weren't exactly favourable, but I never passed those stories along to Andre. The fact the couple had barely spent more than a week at a time together during the course of their 2½-year marriage couldn't have helped.

In any case, as far as I was concerned, the divorce was good news. Very good news.

Not long after the papers were filed, he called me. "You were right," he said. He sounded sad. "You had the vision. I didn't have it. I didn't see clearly."

"I'm sorry," I said. I knew he was hurting. "I did know." "But it's over now," he said. "It's done."

A special reader's offer: purchase a copy of The Agassi Story (published by Allen and Unwin) for only $22.95, plus $5 postage if applicable. (RRP $29.95). Call toll-free 1300 306 107, or post a cheque or money order to The Agassi Story, PO Box 14730 Melbourne, Victoria, 8001.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

12-07-2004, 06:39 PM
December 06, 2004

Agassi foundation has helped an estimated 184,000 youths
By Ed Koch
Of the $42 million raised by the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, $25.9 million has been spent or is being spent on projects that in the past 10 years have benefited an estimated 184,000 Las Vegas youths, project officials say.

Agassi Foundation President Perry Rogers, Agassi's manager and longtime friend, said the other $16.1 million that has been raised will go to an endowment that eventually will total $35 million and will operate the foundation in perpetuity.

"The way we designed this was for our fundraising to be intense now but only for a short time," Rogers said. "We do not want to be raising money many years down the road. Our goal is for the endowment to become large enough to sustain the foundation forever."

Rogers said his salary and the salaries of a half-dozen other foundation workers are paid by Andre Agassi from funds funneled through the charity. But no donated money is used for salaries or administrative costs, Rogers said.

"When a person donates a dollar to the foundation, the whole dollar goes to helping the children," he said.

Here's how nearly $26 million of the funds raised to date have been spent, according to foundation officials:

Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy: $17.5 million. The school serves 300 disadvantaged youths and provides an accelerated curriculum, focusing on technology and cultural activities.

Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club: $3.5 million. About 1,600 youths per year have gone to the clubs since their opening in 1997.

Assistance League of Las Vegas' Operation School Bell: $1.2 million. More than 3,700 children received clothing from the 30-year-old program in 2003.

Boys Hope/Girls Hope of Nevada: $280,000. Since 1997, the Agassi foundation has helped 16 boys go through the program that provides disadvantaged children with nurturing homes and quality education through college.

Child Haven: $1.5 million to build the Agassi Center for Education in 1997 and the Andre Agassi Cottage for Medically Fragile Children in 2001. Child Haven is a temporary shelter for abused, neglected or abandoned children.

Class! Publication: $43,000. About 83,500 high school students have access to the 11-year-old monthly publication produced by and for Clark County students.

Cynthia Bunker and Joy McClenahan Memorial Scholarship Fund: $1 million. 25 students have received the scholarship that for 10 years has benefited students enrolled in UNLV's Fine and Performing Arts classes.

Greater Las Vegas After-School All-Stars (formerly Inner-City Games): $525,000. More than 40,000 children have participated in the athletic program.

I Have a Dream Foundation: $200,000. There are 60 students enrolled in the 8-year-old program that is designed to help disadvantaged children with tutoring and an opportunity for higher education.

Las Vegas Sun Summer Camp Fund: $125,000. More than 500 local children have been sent to summer camp from Agassi Foundation contributions to the program that was started by the newspaper 35 years ago to serve disadvantaged children.

Las Vegas Philharmonic Youth Concert Series: $25,000. About 55,000 4th and 5th graders throughout the valley have participated in the six-year-old program that encourages development and appreciation of fine music.

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

12-07-2004, 06:44 PM
December 06, 2004

Charity goals keep Agassi on his toes

Tennis star wishes he'd started foundation sooner
By Ed Koch

On the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, the pro tennis star laments that he's not celebrating the 15th.

"The only regret I have is that I did not start the foundation sooner," Agassi said last week following an event to thank volunteers at Andre Agassi College Preparatory, a charter school he founded in 2001 to help disadvantaged youths excel in technological studies.

"Unfortunately I listened to advisers who told me that I should start a foundation near the end of my career."

The foundation, which has raised $42 million to help more than 184,000 Southern Nevada youngsters, began at a crossroads in Agassi's life -- a time when he was shedding his bad boy persona -- and much of his hair -- for a more mature, conservative image on and off the court.

Still, 34-year-old Agassi, who has more than $29 million in career match earnings, says starting the foundation was not the result of an epiphany.

"The only epiphany I had was that my hair fell out," said Agassi, who was born and raised in Las Vegas.

"As teenagers, Perry (Rogers, his agent and head of the foundation) and I discussed plans to one day help other kids. As time went by and I came to realize (in 1994) that I had to make the foundation an objective then. But by waiting so long I missed out on helping a lot of other kids who needed help."

In addition to the school on Lake Mead Boulevard and J Street, the foundation assists nearly a dozen local charities, including the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Clubs that he opened in 1997, also in economically depressed West Las Vegas.

Still, the winner of 59 major pro titles, including eight Grand Slam events, said he has learned in his 18-year pro career that "timing is most important" and that things have fallen in place during the foundation's first decade.

Agassi vowed to the first Agassi Prep students in 2001 that the school would grow from the original third through fifth grades and, in 2009, many of those students would be part of the institute's first high school graduating class.

To accomplish that, the final phase of a $12.5 million expansion project to build the high school is under way to go with the second phase's 6th-8th grades and the original elementary school.

Today 300 students attend the school. By 2008, 500 are expected to be enrolled.

Agassi said the pressure on him to keep the school's growth on the scheduled pace is intense, perhaps as intense as any of the 822 pro singles matches he has won or the 254 he has lost.

"I made a promise to these children and they expect me to keep it -- they expect to graduate from here," he said.

Skylar Dunn, 13, a seventh grader at Agassi Prep, and, like Agassi, a native Las Vegan, has attended the school since Day 1. He says he expects the promises that were made to him and his family to be fulfilled because he is fulfilling his end of the bargain by working hard at his studies.

"Of course I will be disappointed if I put in all of the time here and then get told I have to graduate somewhere else because of construction delays or other problems," said Dunn, who wants to be a sports agent like his mentor, Perry Rogers.

"But I don't think that (delays) is going to happen, at least hopefully not."

To help ensure that there is enough money funding to finish the project, Agassi, for nine years, has hosted the Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children spectacular.

This year's event in October raised $6.1 million, down slightly from the $6.3 million raised in 2003. The gala included an auction, gourmet dinner and a concert at the MGM Grand Garden that included performances by comedian Robin Williams and country music superstars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.

Despite his demanding schedule on the pro tennis circuit, where he is ranked as the eighth best men's single player in the world, Agassi visits both the school and clubs as often as possible and has a deep understanding of what is lacking in his community.

"My dream is for this school to be a footprint for the nation's education system," Agassi said. "We fund this school to the national average ($7,200 per pupil, compared with the Clark County School District at $5,200).

"Southern Nevada is a leader in all of the wrong statistics -- high school student dropout rates, teen pregnancy, drugs and crime. Something has to be done to turn that around."

Agassi, who has two children with his wife, tennis legend Stefanie Graf, said the foundation already has accomplished far more than he had dreamed.

"Based on our original goals we figured we would have raised about $10 million by now," he said. "I'd be a fool to guess where this will go in the next 10 years. But I know that to be successful, we have to stay focused."

It is that focus and drive that has influenced many of the students who attend Agassi Prep to make the school and themselves a success.

"This is an opportunity for me to get a better education so that I will be somebody," said 11-year-old MeShayla Ennis, an Agassi Prep sixth grader and native North Las Vegan.

"This is much better than my old school. We had no textbooks there, just photo-copy handouts (from texts). Here we have textbooks for every subject."

Kiara Taylor, who was born a year after Agassi started his foundation, says she believes the school exists because its founder cares.

"I think Andre Agassi loves kids and wants to help us," said the fourth-grader and lifelong Southern Nevadan.

Future sports agent Dunn says that while Agassi might not be the best tennis player in the world, "he plays the best players and he always gives 110 percent" -- something Dunn says Agassi Prep students emulate.

Agassi has been recognized for his philanthropy. He won the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 1995 and 2001 for helping local disadvantaged youths and was honored along with pro basketball star Alonzo Mourning as the 2001 USA Today WEEKEND "Most Caring Athletes."

Rogers says when the high school is built it will have a sports program, including eight-man football, basketball and, of course, tennis.

Reminded that a large segment of the public probably would expect a school named for Andre Agassi to win a string of state prep tennis titles, Agassi laughed and said, "That's all I need -- more pressure."

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

12-14-2004, 02:10 PM
Forbes Magazine

King of the Court

Andre Agassi is nearing the end of his playing days, but marketers remain eager to pay him top dollar.

Andre Agassi burst onto the professional tennis scene at age 16 in 1986, sporting long spiky hair and Nike denim shorts. He quickly became known for his passion and ferocity, fearlessly charging the net and smacking down serves speeding toward him at 130mph.

Eighteen years later Agassi is bald and 34, and his charges to the net aren't quite as ferocious as they used to be. The world's top players are a decade younger than he is. Since miraculously rising to the number one ranking in the world a year ago, he hasn't won a single tournament; after losing in the opening round of three consecutive events, he has dropped to number nine.

Yet off the court, as a celebrity pitchman, Andre Agassi--ranked seventh on FORBES' list of the 50 highest-paid athletes--has never been hotter. In two decades he has reaped $200 million in endorsement deals. This year sponsors will pay him $28 million, the richest year of his career; only Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan will outearn him.

And though he is nearing the end of his career, in the past two years he has landed American Express, Aramis, Genworth and KiaMotors. In November his longtime racquet sponsor, Head, signed him to a lifetime deal. In March he signed a ten-year pact with 24-Hour Fitness, which will open five Andre Agassi fitness centers by year-end; the pay starts at $1.5 million a year.

Agassi is a notable exception to the overall decline of sports-star endorsement deals. A decade ago sneakermakers handed out deals like lollipops, but today the bulk of the money goes to only a few ubiquitous superstars: Woods, Jordan, LeBron James. Ten years ago the best-paid athletes earned half of their income from endorsements; since then the 50 top earners have tripled their pay--with combined earnings of $1.1 billion--but only 40% comes from marketing deals.

Yet the largesse of Agassi's sponsors has little to do with his tenacity at the net. He had a lucrative deal with a nontennis sponsor (Canon) before winning his first Grand Slam event (Wimbledon in 1992). Today's top American tennis star, Andy Roddick, earns only $5 million a year off the court. Pete Sampras won 14 Grand Slam titles to Agassi's 8 and beat Agassi four of the five times they played a Grand Slam final. Yet Sampras' endorsement income peaked at $8 million, less than a third of what Agassi will reap this year.

"Agassi has tremendous personality and charisma--in a sport that wasn't known for those things," says David Carter, founder of Sports Business Group, a marketing firm in Redondo Beach, Calif. "He can speak to a couple of generations of consumers, which gives him a great platform for deals as his career winds down."

Next year Agassi will likely turn in the highest-earning year of his career, boosted by an estimated $40 million he is set to receive in Nike stock, a final balloon payment on a ten-year, $120 million deal. Nike was Agassi's first corporate sponsor, handing him $25,000 in his first year as a pro. Riccardo Colombini, Nike's tennis-marketing chief, says the flashy star helped make the Nike "Swoosh" logo an icon. "He embodies the Nike philosophy of being both irreverent and innovative. He changed the game of tennis and certainly its dress code." But will Nike sign him again when the deal ends next year? The company declines to comment.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

12-15-2004, 04:45 PM
The Tennis Week Interview: Mike Agassi (Andre's father)

By Richard Pagliaro

It's been said one man's trash is another man's treasure, but garbage was more than a gold mine for the future Grand Slam champion. Andre Agassi and his father and first coach, Mike Agassi, dug down deep daily into green garbage cans to form greatness from the roots of refuse receptacles.

In the backyard tennis court built by Mike Agassi with local help behind the family home in Las Vegas, father and son took the court for daily training sessions that would commence with Mike Agassi loading one of the 60 green garbage cans containing about 300 tennis balls into the ball machine. As the ball machine spit out shots at varying speeds and spins the young boy, barely tall enough to peer over the net, boldly stood on the baseline blasting everything right back with the defiance of one refusing to relinquish ground to the tireless tennis machine that showed no signs of slowing down on the other side of the net.

No shot was a throwaway.

In those backyard practice sessions, Agassi struck thousands of shots every day, sharpening his strokes, taking the ball early on the rise and refining the short back swing that made his shots so difficult to read while producing the punishing, penetrating deliveries darting deep into the corners.

He has evolved into one of the hardest-working men in tennis — a player who spends holidays sprinting up hills and his labor days patiently pounding penetrating groundstrokes to break down opponents with the force of a jackhammer jabbing jarring holes in pavement. Andre Agassi constructs points with a purpose, but the foundation for his world-class work ethic was formed in a city chiming with the sound of silver dollars streaming from slot machines and attracting tourists seeking to strike it rich with a single roll of the dice, while the boy paid his dues with old-fashioned fervor on the backyard court.

"Vegas has been the fastest-growing city in America for more than 30 years," Agassi once said. "It's a city of great vision. It's a city where the community believes that if you actually believe in something enough, you can create it and make it happen. It gets a tough rap because it's perceived as an adult Disneyland. But the community of people who actually live here is strong. It is a community that bonds together and looks out for each other. It's an incredibly inspirational city."

As a child, the eight-time Grand Slam champion found a lifetime of inspiration in his own living room. Both of Agassi's parents set an example with the work ethic he would emulate as a tennis player. His father, Mike, who grew up from an impoverished childhood in Tehren and grew into an Olympic boxer for Iran, arrived in New York at the age of 22 with $26 in his pocket and a more meager English vocabulary. He was the type of man whose idea of settling a dispute was pounding his fist in your face. Spending $22 on a bus ticket to Chicago, Mike Agassi began his journey with $4 in his pocket and a wealth of dreams in his head. Six years after arriving in Chicago, Agassi met and a shy, blue-eyed beauty, Elizabeth "Betty" Dudley and the couple soon married and moved to Las Vegas where they raised four children.

Mike Agassi worked a 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift at the Jubilee showroom at the MGM Grand Hotel and hired local workers to help him build a tennis court in the Agassi family backyard where he taught tennis to his children. Elizabeth Agassi worked at an unemployment office in the city, instilling her compassionate character in her children.

The youngest Agassi child also had the challenge of dealing with a domineering dad who drove his sensitive son relentlessly to reach his own expectations of excellence. Mike Agassi admits he was a demanding father in his autobiography, The Agassi Story, which was released in the summer.

"I know I have a reputation," Mike Agassi says. "People say I’m abrasive. Domineering. Fanatical. Overbearing. Obnoxious. Temperamental. Aggressive…People say I pushed my kids too hard, that I nearly destroyed them. And you know what? They’re right. I was too hard on them. I made them feel like what they did was never good enough. But after the childhood I had, fighting for every scrap in Iran, I was determined to give my kids a better life. I pushed my kids because I loved them."

In addition to learning the importance of hard work, Andre Agassi's experience growing up in the city of neon gave him an innate sense of showmanship he would bring to the court as a professional.

"A lot of times when I was with my mom, whether we were going to go get dinner or go shopping, we needed some money from dad, who was working," Agassi once said. "So we would pull into the old MGM Grand Hotel, and at like eight years old, I would go running through the casino to the Jubilee showroom where they had all the naked dancing ladies, the follies kind of chorus line type stuff...to just wait for my dad to come through his little turn there in the office. He would give us some money and I'd go running back out, go to the grocery store and go home. As a little boy, it felt strangely normal."

The casino culture put food on Agassi's table and the boy who grew into a Grand Slam star continues to contribute to his native city through the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which has raised more than $35 million for charity and the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, his charter school that offers education to 250 students.

Agassi actively promotes the city where he lives with wife Steffi Graf and their children Jaden Gil and Jaz Elle and spends some of his off season time training right next door to the house where his parents live.

The boy whose game was created in the backyard has brought his skills to the biggest courts around the world at age 34 he shows no signs of slowing down. Agassi, who beat a trio of former top-ranked players in succession — Carlos Moya, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt — to capture his record 17th Tennis Masters Series title at Cincinnati in August is committed to playing the 2005 season and may well play a year or two more.

The Agassi Story has all the elements of a Hollywood movie and someday it might just make it to the big screen.

Mike Agassi's co-author, Montreal resident Dominic Cobello — a former concert impresario who produced rock concerts by bands ranging from The Who to Cream to Steppenwolf in the late 1960s and can be heard singing background vocals on the John Lennon classic "Give Peace a Chance" — is shopping the book around to Hollywood studios. Though no studio has optioned the rights yet, Cobello believes the recent resurgence of sports movies, both studio releases and made-for-television movies, bodes well for a future Agassi film that already boasts a built-in audience of avid Agassi fans all over the world. The author already has cast the leading roles in his head: Al Pacino as Mike Agassi and Colin Farrell as Andre Agassi.

"Andre Agassi is one of the most well-known and well respected athletes in the world and Mike Agassi's story of coming from such a tough life in Iran where they didn't have an indoor bathroom in his house and where he fought his way out of poverty to the Olympics and came to America where he raised his kids to reach their dream — that's the ultimate American success story," Cobello told Tennis Week. "I would love to see Al Pacino in the role of Mike Agassi because both are expressive, look you right in the eye and talk with their hands a lot. And Colin Farrell, if you see photos of him with his head shaved, he looks very much like Andre Agassi and has a bit of the presence Andre has. People have loved the book and I think the interest will be there for this project."

Shortly after publishing his life story, Mike Agassi sat down with Tennis Week in the shadow of Arthur Ashe Stadium during the U.S. Open for an extensive interview. Reader response to the first Mike Agassi interview was positive, with many readers requesting another interview with Mr. Agassi.

In this second interview, Mike Agassi discusses why he believes Andre may play two more years, what former No. 1 player most reminds him of his son's style, coaching advice he would offer to Andy Roddick and the Williams sisters and changes he advocates for improving tennis. To read the interview, please click this link: The Tennis Week Interview: Mike Agassi, December 2004.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

12-15-2004, 04:47 PM
The Tennis Week Interview: Andre's father, Mike Agassi (December 2004)

By Richard Pagliaro

Tennis Week: Andre has said he plans to play the 2005 season and we've been hearing, if his health holds up, he could play even two more years. How much longer do you think he will continue playing and what motivates him after all he's achieved in the game?

Mike Agassi: He could play another few years, another two, three years or more. He is in pretty good shape. He is top five, six, seven in the world. All these people who are top 50 in the world want to play another five, six years. There’s no reason for him to retire, that’s one (reason not to). Rosewall played to age 39, Connors played well at 39. Some good players played into their 30s and he (Andre) has proven that he is just as good, maybe better, and so there is no reason for him to retire.

Tennis Week: Andre showed in Cincinnati that at his best he can still beat some of the best players as he beat Moya, Roddick and Hewitt in succession to win another Masters title. Andre almost always gives Federer a tough time, he took Federer to five in that windy U.S. Open match and Federer has told us he considers Andre to be his toughest opponent. Do you agree?

Mike Agassi: He has always given Federer more trouble than anyone else. Yes, I agree. Why should he retire? That’s my idea. His physical shape is fantastic. You know he works out at the gym every day and he loves the game.

Tennis Week: Do you think Andre will focus on the Grand Slams and play a limited schedule basing his season around the majors or do you think he’ll play a full schedule?

Mike Agassi: He has to play all Grand Slams and many of the Masters Series for sure. But the other ones, it’s a business, you know what I mean? It depends on other things.

Tennis Week: Patrick McEnroe has told us he asks Andre to play Davis Cup before each tie. I know Andre has said repeatedly his Davis Cup career is over, but he is friendly with the captain and guys on the team and he has a tremendous Davis Cup record. Do you think he will ever play Davis Cup again?

Mike Agassi: I talked with the new president of the USTA, Franklin Johnson. I had a nice talk with him. He wanted Andre to play at least one Davis Cup (tie), which was the last one. I talked with Andre, but my daughter was getting married on the same day, which was on the Saturday. He said, "I have to go to the wedding."

Tennis Week: Family comes first.

Mike Agassi: Yeah, that was exactly what his answer was. He didn’t answer whether he would play or not, but he said he had to go to his sister’s wedding.

Tennis Week: Do you think we will see any small adjustments in Andre’s game this season? Or will we see the classic Agassi style, taking the ball early, taking control from the baseline and playing high percentage shots to punish opponents?

Mike Agassi: I had a talk with him. I said: "When you are playing the backhand to backhand (rally) too long, they make a change of direction…"

Tennis Week: Right, they take it down the line.

Mike Agassi: Yes. I said: "Try to think about it, get a rhythm yourself and make a change.". He said, "Yes, but that’s not that easy." But he’ll try it — if that’s what he wants to do.

Tennis Week: I want to ask you about Brad Gilbert in light of Roddick’s recent dismissal of him. What are Brad’s strengths and weaknesses as a coach?

Mike Agassi: Brad is a constant talker, you know. If you can sit and listen to him continuously, after a while, he repeats himself. If you can take it, he’s OK. But if you cannot take it, then it’s annoying. Myself, I had such a little problem with Brad. He used to work with Andre’s serve. He would tell Andre to serve 115 miles an hour to the T then next serve, the second serve, would be 92 miles an hour wide to the backhand. From 115 you go to 92, I would say try to between five to nine mile differences in the serves. Brad is a good talker. He always had answers. He once told me: "Everybody is two or three inches taller than Andre, that’s why they serve that big." I said: "Then here is a racquet two inches longer and it’s gonna give Andre a longer reach.". And his answer was: "Yeah, he’s gonna have a better serve, but he’s gonna lose seven and a half percent of his forehand and nine and a half percent on his backhand." And once you listen to someone and believe in him, then you believe in him. That’s the way it works.

Tennis Week: Roddick’s still number two in the world, so it's not like he's had a dramatic drop in results, but if you could coach Roddick what would you tell him?

Mike Agassi: If you talk to him, let me tell you what you say to him: forget about the 150 mile an hour serve, forget about the 140 mile an hour serve. Serve 130 mile an hour first serve on the corners and serve a 122, 123, 124 mile an hour second serve hitting the corners and I’ll bet you if he served 130 mile an hour first serve a lot more are going to go in, but he can place it better. People are acing each other with 115, 120 mile an hour serve so you need to use your placement and not just go for the fast serve all the time.

Tennis Week: Do you see anyone out there who can challenge Roger Federer, long-term, for No. 1?

Mike Agassi: There is a (player) who needs to be able to serve and volley, not necessarily serve and volley together, but they need to serve and be able to come in and put away the volley during the point. For instance, if someone out there had the game Sampras used to have, he had the first and second serve almost the same speed and he placed them so well in both corners. And his first volley was very effective, so if someone had that game they could do it (challenge Federer). But the way it goes, everybody knows he’s gonna lose before they play Federer so it’s like they give up before they go play the guy. He only loses when he doesn’t play his best and the other guy plays over his head.

Tennis Week: The last time you and I spoke you said Federer was proving something you always said: that a champion doesn’t need a coach to be successful. Do you believe Federer can continue to dominate the game without a coach?

Mike Agassi: Can I ask you a question?

Tennis Week: Sure.

Mike Agassi: What is your job?

Tennis Week: Journalist.

Mike Agassi: Do you need a coach to do your journalist job?

Tennis Week: No, but I get a lot of unwanted coaching at home anyway.

Mike Agassi: Let me say one thing: if a person does not have a coach then he needs to have enough time to study the tapes himself. You follow me? He has to study his game and other people’s games. When I learned tennis, I didn’t learn tennis because someone told me how to hit the ball. I watched and I took one point from this player, one point from that player and one point from the other player and I put that together and I made a package gift for Andre. You follow me?

Tennis Week: Yes, you took the best quality from each player you saw and passed it on to Andre.

Mike Agassi: I taught Andre to take the ball on the rise because I saw Boris Becker once do that. I taught Andre to hit swing volleys because I once saw Lendl do that. He did that once in a year or two years, it was very rare, but he did do that. I saw players hit the inside out forehand and I did that with Andre. Play inside the court, I did that with Andre. Go to the ball and pick up the ball on the rise, I did that with Andre. Get on the guy’s serve with a short back swing on your return, I did that with Andre. Once in a while, players will do something that they don’t know they just did. They don’t realize it. And if you’re outside the court and you can study the game and see that and you can work on it the kid becomes a hell of a player.

Tennis Week: Do you see any player out there whose style reminds you of Andre? You know, who can take the ball early, take command from the baseline, punish returns?

Mike Agassi: Rios was like that. He reminds me of Andre and in one way he was something better than Andre: you couldn’t read his contact point and direction of the ball. Do you know the beauty of a mirror? If you throw light at a mirror at five degrees, then the light comes back five degrees the other side, correct? Now if the ball comes at your hand and if you meet the ball with an angle on the racquet then they cannot read your shot and where the ball is coming. Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you understand?

Tennis Week: Yeah, I understand what you’re saying. You’re saying the angle of the racquet face can be deceptive to the opponent and make it tougher to read the shot?

Mike Agassi: Yes, you can change the angle of the racquet head, some players. But if Roddick hits the ball crosscourt, before he hits, you know he’s hitting crosscourt. If you have the same swing and you meet the ball with the angle, then the guy crosscourt cannot read if you’re going to his backhand or forehand.

Tennis Week: Yeah, but that takes incredible timing and technique to do that.

Mike Agassi: Yeah, listen the guys who can do it are making a hell of a lot of money. You wanna do that? Go work on it. That’s what you have to work on it. My practice was the ball machine. I couldn’t give him 5,000 balls like that. I would put the ball machine on serve and ask Andre to change the direction on his return without telegraphing where the ball was going.

Tennis Week: How many balls would Andre hit a every day when he was growing up, training with you in the backyard?

Mike Agassi: I had somewhere around 60 garbage cans and there were around 300 balls in each garbage can and he would go through many of those garbage cans each day. Maybe 3,000 to sometimes 5,000 balls he used to hit.

Tennis Week: When did you know "My son is going to be something special. He’s going to be one of the best in the world?"

Mike Agassi: When he was two or three years old. When he was three and a half years old he gave a hell of an exhibition with Bobby Riggs. Then when he was four or five years old, he was playing with Jimmy Connors, Roscoe Tanner, Brian Gottfried, Vitas Gerulaitis, Panatta. You name it, he probably played with them. All those pros, when they used to come through Las Vegas, they’d say "Where is Andre? Where is Andre?"

Tennis Week: Andre is such a popular presence in tennis, probably one of the most popular players in the history of the sport, with that in mind would you like to see him keep playing as long as he can? His presence generates interest in tennis.

Mike Agassi: It’s not what I like, you follow me? As long as he’s happy, that’s the main thing. I’ll tell you something: the key of his drive is his wife (Steffi Graf). Because she understands the game of tennis, she knows what a tennis player goes through and she makes his life comfortable for him. Because he has to live from suitcases and she knows how it is and what that life is.

Tennis Week: Remember when Andre won the Australian Open and there was talk of Andre and Steffi playing mixed doubles? Will that ever happen at any point?

Mike Agassi: Steffi’s knees — she’s had three times knee surgery — and now that she has the kids and (pain in) her knees I don’t know if that will happen. Maybe some exhibitions, you know what I mean. Some exhibitions to play Andre and Steffi against Hewitt and his girlfriend if they hadn’t broken up. It could be, yes, but as far as playing together on tour, I doubt it.

Tennis Week: Steffi has told us their son, Jaden, loves sports. Would you like to see your grandchildren get into tennis in the future?

Mike Agassi: The little kid is already hitting balls, follow me? But very few great players have had their kids become great tennis players. Very few, like Taylor Dent is one, and a couple other people. But anybody else, like Pancho (Gonzalez) had five or six boys and none of them played tournament tennis. They played OK tennis. May I say something?

Tennis Week: Sure.

Mike Agassi: Behind the success of all the children are parents. If the father spends time with the kids, takes them to practice, take them here and there and show the kid to like the game, then the kid becomes a good player. But like if a pro's son plays tennis, big deal? So do my neighbor's son. These kids grow up and some live off the name of the parents, you follow me?

Tennis Week: Yes, and I'm sure there's a lot of pressure on the kids of accomplished athletes, there's a lot to live up to when you carry that name.

Mike Agassi: Well imagine if you're the son of a famous player saying "My father did this, he did that." Well what the hell did you do? Nothing. That's the problem.

Tennis Week: For his fans, Andre's character and charisma may be as much of an appeal as his tennis. Why do you think Andre has been able to connect with so many people around the world and emerge as such an influential person, not just in terms of tennis, but in terms of his work with charitable causes, education and children?

Mike Agassi: The story goes back to the childhood. I didn't send him to school, I took him to school. I drove him to school. I brought him home. I took him to church. Spend time with your kids, that's number one. Second of all, he brought the game of tennis a unique style of game, which people started copying him. He used to have a few thousand people following him around the world to see him play. You follow me?

Tennis Week: Yes. He's an attraction.

Mike Agassi: Yes. Mentally, you develop a unique personality and then whatever you do, they see it. Now you have to think: I can do good and they (will) see that and think good about you or you just don't give a damn.

Tennis Week: Your co-author, Dominic Cobello, told me he's interested in turning your book into a movie with Colin Farrell cast as Andre. What do you think about that?

Mike Agassi: I don't know that. I tell you the truth, I don't know if he has read the book yet.

Tennis Week: Would you like to see the book become a movie of your family story?

Mike Agassi: I don't care. Listen, I'll be 75 this December 25th.

Tennis Week: Wow. I thought you were in your 60s?

Mike Agassi: No, I'll be 75. My book is not yet complete. If I knew I would write the book two years ago, I would have just kept taking notes every day. There is more to the story.

Tennis Week: Andre has had some of his greatest success at the Australian Open, winning four titles including three of the last four years he's played there. How do you think Andre will do in Australia in January and will you go to watch him there?

Mike Agassi: There is a chance I will go with a lawyer we have in town. I may go with him and his son for a few days, there's a very good chance.

Tennis Week: You've been in tennis — either as a player, student of the game or coach — for six decades now. You've seen and studied some of the greatest players of the game, including your son. If there is anything you could change about tennis to make it better, more popular, more enjoyable for players and fans, what would you change?

Mike Agassi: I am so happy you asked me that question. I am so grateful you asked me that question. Thank you. I have talked to several presidents of the USTA and a lot of tennis pros about that question. The first thing I would do is bring the service line a foot and a half in closer to the net. You follow me?

Tennis Week: Right. You want to create a shorter service box to theoretically reduce the impact of the big serve?

Mike Agassi: Yes. Doing that, you see, you're not changing the game. The people that are watching cannot see that the service box is smaller so they don't even know or notice. Players like Roddick and someone else may not like it, but a lot of players did not like the tiebreaker when they started it. But they had no choice: take it or leave it. You have to have the service box shorter because the tennis game is becoming too much serving and people are losing their interest. The sponsors (are losing interest), on television, not too many people are watching it. If you are going to have the game just bang! — you hit the big serve to win, I can set the ball machine that serves 175 miles an hour and whoever returns more serves is the world champion.

Tennis Week: Right, but that's not playing tennis. That's a serving contest.

Mike Agassi: That is the truth. This is why women's tennis is more interesting now than the men's to many people because they enjoy seeing the ball going back and forth like they see in the women's game. But when you're serving so hard and the ball is out and they call it in because no one can see it, then you have lost the glory of the game, the excitement of the game, you have lost a lot. That's the one thing people want to see. Then some people say "how about we make the net higher?" Then still the short man has no advantage, you know? Plus you are changing the game. But bringing the service line in would help and everything is still symmetrical. Why not make it all equal for everyone? It took the British people years to go from the white ball to the yellow ball. Why are we so stubborn? Let's bring the service line in and let's have tennis be tennis again.

Tennis Week: If you were coaching Venus and Serena what would you do? I believe in Serena's game; what would you do to help her get back to the top?

Mike Agassi: I would love to have them both over my house. Let me ask you a question: why is the depth of men's tennis so great? The guy who is 112 in the world can beat the guy who is number 3 in the world, right?

Tennis Week: Right. Federer's losses were all to guys outside the top 10 this year.

Mike Agassi: Why? Because they always practice against men and they hit the championship ball the men hit and therefore they are used to the pace of the top 10 men and they can return their ball. I was talking with Serena's father and I said: "the reason your daughters are losing is because they are practicing with men." With the men, they hit the big shot that would be the winner against the women, but the men return it. You hit the big serve and the man returns, hit bigger and the men still returns it. You try to hit bigger and bigger until the ball goes out. Then you lose your serve and you lose your confidence. You hit crosscourt big ball and the man is going to return it, you hit another big ball and the man returns it again and the third ball you try to hit even bigger and it goes out. Why? Because you are muscling it. That's the way your game goes down. Their game has gone down. They hit, once in a while, great balls, but their game has gone down a bit. The Russian girls compete against each other and you see Russian girls win three of the four Grand Slams this year. They are absolutely not half of the talent of Serena Williams and Venus Williams. Serena Williams and Venus Williams don't have their confidence on their shots anymore.

Tennis Week: But doesn't that confidence come from success on the court? Winning matches gives you confidence, right? So what's the solution?

Mike Agassi: Stop practicing with the men. Serena and Venus, stop practicing with the men. Most of our American girls think if they practice with the men, he's a better player, then I'll get better. In some ways, yes, you get better playing with the better player. But you have to hit the ball — not just the big ball, but other shots (angles) — to see if the women can return it or not. I would like to see them play one women, Serena or Venus, against too good players on the other side in practice. Practice against two of them and if you can make the point against two good women then you can make the point against any of these girls in the world. I have told Andre and Brad Gilbert a hundred times: play one against two to improve your volley, but no, Brad Gilbert goes there and hits against Andre. I said: "Brad, if you were good enough to play against Andre, you would go on the tour and make more money." He always had answers. He hit one ball, he talks 10 minutes. He hit one ball, he talks 10 minutes. Then in two hours, Andre has only hit 30 balls.

Tennis Week: Last question: is there anything you want to share with the readers we haven't covered? Anything about your life or your book?

Mike Agassi: The book is easy reading. It's honest. It's very honest and whatever I get out of the book, my share, goes to charity.

Tennis Week: Has Andre read your book yet? If so, what does he think?

Mike Agassi: I believe he has read it, but we have never sat and talked about it.

Tennis Week: Maybe around Christmas — it's the holiday, it's your birthday — it's a time to be together and celebrate family.

Mike Agassi: Yeah, I would like to (talk), but I don't know.

Tennis Week: Listen, I really appreciate you taking this time to talk to me. It's always a pleasure to talk to you and I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share your thoughts.

Mike Agassi: Thank you. Good luck to you.

Related story: The Tennis Week Interview: Mike Agassi September, 2004

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

12-15-2004, 06:10 PM
Thanks for that interview, Gigan!

12-17-2004, 05:29 AM
other sort of articles:

Armstrong and Agassi are part of 2004's best.

Ten sports commercials that delivered and delighted

By Don Steinberg

Inquirer Staff Writer

What makes a great sports commercial?

A successful ad, of course, has to sell something - a shoe, a financial service, the image of a brand. But the unforgettable ones transcend mere commerce. They connect with fans on a gut level. The best sports commercials of 2004 - as ranked by us, here - reminded us why we love to play sports, and why we love to watch great athletes compete.

They're about intensity, determination, adrenaline, heroes and virtuosity. They get us riled up. They're about how insane and funny and agonizing it is to be a fan, and how much we realize we're being crazy.

"The emotion of sport is what most of the people who work in this business respond to," says Mike Byrne, creative director at Wieden + Kennedy, an ad agency that happened to create six of this year's top 10 commercials for Nike, ESPN and Powerade. (We chose the top 10 without knowing who made them.)

Byrne, a mastermind at perhaps the most influential sports advertising firm, is a Narberth native whose sports passion began right here.

"I grew up in a family that was diehard Eagles, Sixers, Phillies, Flyers," he says. "And, you know, any fan can tell you: There's not many businesses in the world where a guy can go out one day and pitch in a game, and be hated by everyone in an entire city or state - and then the very next day be the ultimate hero, and never pay for another meal again."

The best sports commercials make us gasp and delight - and make us want to grab a glove and get in the game. Here are our picks for 2004.

1. "Makeshift" (Client: ESPN, Agency: Wieden + Kennedy)

Watch this ad, part of ESPN's self-promotional "Without Sports" campaign, and you immediately want to run outside and play. In a series of quick cuts, backed by crazy, driving percussion, scruffy kids do whatever it takes to get neighborhood ball games going: They draw white lines on pavement using rocks, use pizza boxes for home plate, crush soda cans for use as hockey pucks, and use lawn chairs as baseball backstops, laundry baskets as hoops, and garage doors as soccer goals. It's intense, nostalgic and funny.

2. "What if" (Nike, Wieden + Kennedy)

A sports fan's dream sequence, but these athletes really did this stuff: Lance Armstrong boxes against a real opponent. Andre Agassi plays for the Red Sox at Fenway, slapping a hit to right field. Serena Williams is a volleyball pro, Marion Jones an Olympic gymnast. Randy Johnson bowls against, and beats, Pete Weber. Michael Vick and Brian Urlacher skate as hockey teammates on the Colorado Avalanche. Wow. Don't wake us up.

3. "Laila" (Adidas, 180TBWA)

Digital effects create a father-daughter boxing match: Muhammad Ali, in his prime, against his daughter and current boxer Laila. The creators spliced together segments from historic Ali fights, including the 1960 Rome Olympics and 1974 Rumble in the Jungle versus George Foreman. Laila then mimicked the moves of her father's opponents, and technicians pasted her into the vintage films.

4. "Every Day Is Sunday" (MasterCard, McCann Erickson)

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is an excellent comic actor, especially when gently mocking fans.

"Cut that meat!" he cheers for a worker behind the deli counter. "Tommy, please, you're my favorite worker!" he yells while begging to get a high-five from an accountant.

5. "Magnet" (Nike, Wieden + Kennedy)

It's Lance Armstrong's America, serene and beautiful, as the cyclist pedals through deserts, winding mountain roads and crowded cities, backed by acoustic guitar and heart-tugging piano. Along the way, he's also accompanied by migrating birds, a buffalo stampede, joggers, a motorcycle gang, fellow cyclists, and lots of happy kids.

6. "The Squeeze" (Miller Brewing, Ground Zero)

This touching, wry, six-minute film, spread over four 90-second spots on ESPN, was made before the miracle Red Sox season. It presents the dilemma of a pair of blue-collar Boston guys when their beloved Uncle Mac, a lifelong Sox fan, dies just as the Sox win Game 6 of the World Series. Guess when the funeral is scheduled for? Where would Uncle Mac have wanted the guys to be during the game?

7. "Michael Vick Experience" (Nike, Wieden + Kennedy)

An amusement park ride simulates, for a screaming rider strapped into a mechanical seat, what it's like to be Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, scrambling furiously around would-be NFL tacklers. His terrifying 360-degree flip into the end zone is hilarious.

8. "LeBron Practice" (Powerade, Wieden + Kennedy)

A TV announcer preps for a broadcast while LeBron James warms up on the basketball court behind him. James sinks a half-court shot that hits nothing but net, then backs up again and again to make one shot after another, each from farther back, until he swishes a soft jumper from the full length of the court. Yes, LeBron is amazing, but special effects were used.

9. ":24 to Live" (ESPN, Wieden + Kennedy)

This music video for the NBA playoffs on ESPN captured a cool vibe, featuring nonstop graphics and movement by people of all shapes, shades and uniforms, to the tune of the funky "Let's Get it Started" by the Black Eyed Peas with guest star Carlos Santana.

10. "Tennis Kid" (Genworth Financial, Klamath Communications)

Tennis tour pro Taylor Dent is frustrated as he gets thrashed by an opponent who is a toddler. Then a minivan pulls up, with parents Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf inside, and Andre calls to his son: "Hey, buddy. You ready?" The idea is that the little Agassi has good genes, just like this financial firm, a spawn of General Electric.

But the kid in the ad isn't the real Jaden Gil Agassi; he's an actor.

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

12-17-2004, 05:32 AM
Agassi To Headline Benefit
By EDUARDO A. ENCINA eencina@tampatrib.com
Published: Dec 17, 2004

TAMPA - Former world No. 1 tennis player Jim Courier likes to joke about how he's washed up, always finding time to fit in a self-deprecating jab about how he's ranked No. 1 on the senior circuit, or as he calls it, ``The old-geezer circuit.''
Courier is five years into retirement, but the love for tennis is still there, and so are the connections. So when Courier needed a headliner for his annual tennis benefit event, he needed to make just one call - to Andre Agassi.

Agassi, a winner of eight grand slam titles, will highlight the second annual Mercedes-Benz Classic on March 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Proceeds will benefit the Raymond James Courier's Kids Foundation, which funds an after-school tennis program for underprivileged youth at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center. Last year's event raised $335,000.

``It's phenomenal,'' Courier said of drawing Agassi. ``He's the biggest draw in tennis.

``Andre has never failed to step up to help someone he's close with,'' Courier said of the fellow 34-year-old. ``There weren't any questions other than, `What date is it? When do I need to be there? What do I need to do? OK, I'm in.' ''

The event will mark Agassi's first appearance in the Tampa Bay area in nearly 15 years, since he played in the Davis Cup in December 1990 at Tropicana Field.

Courier coined the event ``The Battle of the Ages'' because he will team with Agassi to face young bloods James Blake and Mardy Fish in doubles play. The players will also participate in singles matches.

Fish is coming off a season in which he won the Olympic silver medal and was pivotal in the U.S. Davis Cup team's ride to the final. Blake didn't have as memorable a year. Injuries have held him out of all but three tournaments since July.

Three years ago, owners of the St. Petersburg Tennis Center organized an after-school youth tennis program. Nearly two years ago, Courier was invited to the tennis center to do a clinic. It captivated Courier so much that he dreamed up last year's first Mercedes-Benz Classic.

The program began with six children, but has grown to 250 registered participants, said Rick Crockett, the program's director. On any given day, 70 to 100 young players fill the courts. Other than tennis, the program offers academic tutoring and computer training.

``To me it's kind of a recycling of the opportunity that I've had,'' Blake said. ``I started in a program similar to this in the Harlem tennis program, where the goal is to raise good citizens. ... For me just to be able to help out is just amazing.''

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

12-17-2004, 05:37 AM
Shoulder forces out Capriati; Agassi coming to Forum in March

A shoulder injury has forced Jennifer Capriati to pull out of Saturday's Hurricane Tennis Slam at the St. Pete Times Forum. But the marquee attraction Maria Sharapova will still be there for the 3 p.m. event.

Meanwhile another big tennis event was formalized on Thursday. Andre Agassi will headline the Mercedes-Benz Classic, March 2 also at the Forum. Agassi will be joined by Tampa-area residents James Blake and Mardy Fish in a charity event spearheaded by Jim Courier.
Angela Haynes replaces Capriati and taking on Sharapova. Other future stars according to the WTA, Nicole Vaidisova and Maria Kirilenko, will take part in an event that will benefit the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund.

Capriati will be unable to compete but will still be at the Forum Saturday, and will be involved in the various activities throughout the day, all helping to raise funds for the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund.

World No. 4 Sharapova will meet Haynes in the featured singles match. The doubles match will follow, with Sharapova teaming with Maria Kirilenko against Rennae Stubbs and Nicole Vaidisova. Former ATP world No. 1 Jim Courier will offer commentary and entertainment during the star studded doubles match.

Haynes, 20, hails from California and is an exciting young player to watch. She enjoyed a great run at the US Open, reaching the third round as a wildcard and defeating former Top 10 player Magdalena Maleeva in the second round. Haynes is being acclaimed as one of the future American stars in women’s tennis.

"I am proud to be a part of this event and assist with the rebuilding efforts in Florida." Haynes said.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

12-18-2004, 04:09 PM
Thanks to karenpoon's group for this article:

Two for the ages

Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi are as different as two players — and two people —
could be. That's what made their rivalry so compelling, and why their individual
legacies will be forever entwined.

THE relationship between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi is that of two men so
different that, in a way, each serves as a looking glass for the other. Andre
and Pete; Pete and Andre. Never mind that their on-court rivalry has been less
exciting at times than their off-courts struggle for the loyalty and affection
of tennis fans, that their personal exchanges are merely cordial — they are not
great friends or, for that matter, great enemies. The intriguing thing is that
in the eyes of the public they are nearly inseparable, each of them the measure
of the other.
For some 15 years, theirs has been a fabulous game of trump: Sampras' nonpareil
serve against Agassi's stunning returns; Sampras with the running rope of a
forehand, Agassi with the steam-press stroke that is his backhand; Agassi with
flair, Sampras with discipline; Sampras all feel, Agassi all fight. Finally,
they've attained a like stature. If Sampras' legacy is 14 Grand Slam titles,
Agassi's testament is having won all four major trophies. And each can boast a
unique claim to the No. 1 spot: Sampras finished the season on top for an
unprecedented six consecutive years, while Agassi, at 33, is the oldest man in
the modern era to be ranked the highest.
They are opposite, these two titans, even in mannerisms: Sampras, long and
tensile in a white shirt buttoned to his neck, his ancient Wilson racquet black
and dull as an iron skillet; Agassi a darty-eyed, pigeon-toed pirate in denim or
black, his untucked V-neck shirt billowing around his waist as he waves a bright
ceramic racquet. Sampras was always by the book, more self-willed and
accomplished. Agassi was ever the hooky player, or maybe the actor searching for
motivation, evading responsibility; and breaking rules. They are similar in two
ways: They both wear white socks, and they both want to win everything,
including a conversation.
Agassi's early brassiness, the dyed blond mane and exhibitionism, disguised a
more stubbornly substantial nature than anyone could have predicted. His
knee-jerk honesty and a surprisingly searching mind have not permitted him to
give up on a career that, despite long hiatuses, has been one long
self-exploration. Sampras' rebelliousness was buried beneath a cropped,
introverted neatness, his equanimity concealing an ulcerous hypersensitivity.
He's far more profane and driven than most would suspect. Sampras liked to
celebrate wins at the U.S. Open by going to the Peter Luger Steak House in
Brooklyn and eating so much he made himself sick. His favourite book remains The
Catcher in the Rye, the story of a desperate, smart-alecky loner who says,
"Don't ever tell anybody anything."
Perhaps this dissimilarity accounts for the peculiar fact that Pete and Andre
have rarely played their best against each other on the right occasions. When
Sampras was great, Agassi was absent. When Agassi was finally fully present,
Sampras was already tired. Or so it seemed. Their overall record is 20-14,
advantage Sampras, and of their 34 matches only five were Grand Slam finals. But
in the last three years they finally made the rivalry a material thing — both of
them ready to live up to the moments they shared in the spotlight. And in the
2001 U.S. Open quarterfinals they created an epic, just when we thought they had
begun the long, slow fade into retirement. It was as though they made a private
accord to play for a final prize.
The scoreboard on that September day in New York read 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-2), 7-6
(7-2), 7-6 (7-5) Sampras. They may have been the best four sets of either
player's life, and even announcer John McEnroe was nearly struck speechless. "I
am lucky to be a commentator," he said humbly. "I am lucky to be here." Then
they went two rounds better in 2002, meeting in the final. Again Sampras won in
four, but it hardly mattered, both were victors over time and over a field that
was growing ever younger. As Agassi said, "We're still out here and there's no
getting around it."
Curiously, though, the only other period in which both players were at their
best at the same time was in a short but splendid span in 1995 when their match
record was square at eight wins apiece and they were at a youthful peak. In late
March of that year, they also agreed to a brief dйtente in their rivalry to play
a Davis Cup tie in Italy. It was an obscure but telling episode, this
uncharacteristic decision to take a buddy trip together to play for their
The Italians had chosen a slow red-clay court in Palermo, and the Americans knew
that without a strong team they could easily lose. So Agassi and Sampras struck
a deal with the USTA: Each would abandon his Grand Slam preparation to play only
if the other agreed to as well, and if they could take the Concorde to London
and a private plane from there to Palermo. The USTA acceded to their demands and
booked the flights.
But first, a day before they were scheduled to leave, Agassi and Sampras met in
the final of the Lipton Championships (now the Nasdaq-100) at Key Biscayne,
Florida. Agassi won a three-setter and two weeks later attained the No. 1
ranking. After the match, he offered Sampras a lift to New York on his private
jet so they could get a decent night's sleep before travelling to Europe.
The two of them took so little time to shower and change that when they jumped
into Agassi's rented car, traffic leaving Key Biscayne was still backed up.
Agassi casually veered onto the breakdown lane and bypassed the traffic, waving
at the other drivers and the occasional bemused cop.
While Agassi drove, he and Sampras made awkward small talk, trying to find
something they had in common.
"Do you like Neil Diamond?" Sampras hazarded.
"You know, I do," Agassi said. "I do like Neil Diamond."
They moved on to talk shows. "Do you watch Sally Jessie?" Agassi asked.
"I watch her," Sampras said. "But I like Montel better. Do you like Montel?"
"I like Montel."
Soon they arrived on the tarmac at Miami International Airport where Agassi's
Citation 10, a burning tennis ball emblazoned on the tail, was waiting. They
climbed aboard and a flight attendant greeted them with food and drink. Sampras
was awed. He unwrapped a turkey sandwich and bit into it.
"You travel like this all the time?"
"It's the only way to do it," Agassi said. "It's going to add years to my
Sampras' habitual austerity gave way. He rocked back in his deep leather seat
and swivelled it. "Oh man," he said. "I like the way you travel. What does this
cost?" They lapsed into a discussion of chartered hours versus time in airports.
Gradually, they relaxed and spent the rest of the flight trading ATP tour
gossip, and their strategies against players such as Michael Chang, Boris
Becker, and David Wheaton.
The next morning they met at Kennedy Airport and boarded the Concorde. As they
sat together they evaluated each other's and their own games. Sampras wondered
about Agassi's reliance on his coach of the time, Brad Gilbert. "What does he do
for you?" Sampras wanted to know. Agassi said that Gilbert gave his game
structure; previously, he had been a belter with no idea of shot selection — he
just "wracked it." Now, he had a blueprint to build points and matches.
Sampras shrugged; all he wanted a coach to do was check his toss.
They were met in London by a VIP escort who gave them expedited forms to get
them through immigration quickly. Agassi, typically, figured that meant they got
to skip the paperwork. But Sampras paused at a counter to fill out his entry
card. Agassi waved him on, impatient. "Come on, we don't have to do that."
"Yeah, we do," Sampras replied, correctly.
Outside, a limo waited to take them to a private terminal for the flight to
Palermo. But Agassi was hungry. He said, "Let's go to McDonald's."
"I don't think they have one here."
"Sure they do," he said. "It's on the outskirts of the airport."
Agassi directed the driver to McDonald's. Sampras and Agassi placed their order
at the drive-through window: Agassi wanted a couple of burgers. Sampras ordered
the same, and they both added Chicken McNuggets as an afterthought, along with
large fries and apple pies.
They spent four days in Palermo sitting side by side in identical USA
sweatshirts. Pete and Andre; Andre and Pete. But in the end the difference
between them showed, as it always did. After the USA won 3-0, the question of
dead rubbers arose. For Sampras it was a question of responsibility: having
decided to do this thing, he was going to do it right. For Agassi it was a
matter of love; he could only play if he cared, and he didn't care about an
Agassi came down with a case of the tweaks and a doctor's note. Sampras played.
"How old do you have to be before people forgive you for your past?" Agassi
wanted to know.
This was a couple of years ago, after he had finished an exhaustive interview in
Las Vegas in which ESPN's Roy Firestone had brought up all the old bad-boy
episodes, the blurted insults and the tantrums and the tanks and the weird
haircuts. Agassi answered the questions, but afterwards, as he left the studio
and climbed into his SUV to drive home, the conversation still bothered him. "At
what point do people let you move past your childhood?" he wondered. "Is that
ever going to happen?"
Agassi drove through Vegas at a sedate speed. Against all odds, he had made a
man out of himself and he took pride in that. He wanted a little credit for
that. He pointed to the left while passing the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club,
established to benefit at-risk kids. His foundation also had funded a shelter
for abused children and a charter school, the Andre Agassi College Preparatory
Academy. Agassi liked to say of the school, "It's not the first two words that
matter, it's the last three."
Agassi, himself, did not grow up as a normal kid taking college-prep classes.
His childhood had been surrendered to the obsessive desire of his father, Mike,
to make a tennis champion. Andre was a certified prodigy — on the junior circuit
at 7, shipped off to Florida to train with Nick Bollettieri at 13, and by the
time he was 18 the No. 3 player the world. In that taxing process, he also had
become his own biggest opponent.
Later that afternoon in Vegas the question of the past came up again, in a
meeting with Nike over the design of new sneakers. Andre wasn't pleased with the
cartoon-like shape and colours of the shoes. He was stripped down now, to a
basic and unpretentious adult. "Look what they're trying to take me back to," he
lamented mockingly. He wanted a design that reflected the lean, clean lines of
his adulthood, not the thrashings and yowlings of his adolescence.
Still, Andre knew that much had been given as well as taken by the singular way
Mike Agassi taught tennis. Other kids had the schooled strokes grooved by
country-club teachers, $25-an-hour backhands with proper mechanics and
racquet-back preparation. Not Agassi. He stood at mid-court while his father
stood at the net and fired balls at him as hard and fast as possible. Shot
after, the boy would whip his racquet around more tightly, shortening his swing
and picking the ball up earlier and earlier, until he was almost volleying his
ground strokes. Then Mike would order his son, "Faster!"
As Rita Agassi, Andre's older sister, once said of the way Mike taught tennis,
of the kind of man he was, "My father was a sober drunk."
But if Mike was drunk on tennis, he was also inspired. His methods were based on
his intuitive grasp of velocity and speed-to-power ratios. Several years ago,
Mike privately expounded on the theory underlying Andre's strokes. Standing in
his Vegas living room, with a tennis court and desert dunes visible beyond the
picture window, he held up a gauzy cotton handkerchief and waved it around.
"See," he said, "is that going to hurt anyone?"
Then he twirled the handkerchief around and around until it formed a tightly
wound whip. He snapped it in the air and said, "Now that will hurt someone."
Mike stared out the window, at the court with the ball machine at the far end.
It mostly went unused now that Andre was grown, had a home of his own, and
rarely played at his father's.
"I wish there were some little ones to teach," Mike said sadly.
But maybe it's just as well Mike didn't put his mark on any more children.
Agassi remembers being paraded around on a tennis court at the Tropicana in Las
Vegas, his father advertising his prodigy to visiting pros. Once, when Agassi
lost a junior tournament, Mike took the runner-up trophy and hurled it into a
nearby garbage can.
In that moment, a lifelong mutineer was born. "You know what?" Agassi has grown
fond of saying. "I'd rather feel I missed out on some good tennis than some good
He always has been a great killer of momentum, all but his own.
He abbreviated so many points, squelched so many hopes, with that great blast of
a serve. He lulled opponents and audiences alike with the trancelike rhythm of
his game and the monotony with which he acquired titles and records. But Sampras
played complete and deeply realised tennis, too; he never bored the connoisseurs
or those who understood that beneath the seeming indifference lay a craving for
the game so powerful that he twice vomited on the court and once even wept on
it. As his former coach Paul Annacone said, "Pete makes it look too easy. People
watch him win and think, `That doesn't look too hard.'"
The ease of his game did Sampras a disservice: It obscured his supreme
professionalism, no common commodity these days. We thought Sampras would always
be there. He's been more than just great; he's been dependably, reliably great.
For more than a decade, we could count on him: 64 singles titles, while the
lurkers and bangers and transients came and went. He never really changed.
Sampras won the U.S. Open as a 19-year-old in 1990 with a thoroughly unaffected
manner and a quirky sense of humour. When told the President might call him, he
smiled, grimaced shyly, and said, "The phone's off the hook."
Asked to describe himself at the time, he said, "I'm a normal 19-year-old with a
very unusual job, doing very unusual things."
But that was only partly right. He was a fragile, touchy creature, too. Before
he became an invincible champion, he was all lethargy and sensitivity, not a
good player in the heat, or in the mornings, and not yet insensitive to
pressure, either. Two years would pass before he won his second major, and of
them he says, "I had to learn how to play tennis. I was the greenhorn, the kid
who had to do it all by himself, learn it all by himself. Nobody told him
Sampras has always felt this curious sense of isolation, almost as if he were
orphaned on the court. And if Pete and Andre seem different, what about Mike
Agassi and Sam Sampras? What of the way Sam would drop little Pete off at junior
tournaments and then simply turn and leave? Pete remembers being abandoned, the
sight of Sam's back, moving away. Sam was too nervous to watch, sure. But he
also wasn't certain he approved of this whole costly and troublesome junior
circuit. Sampras would stand on the court, watching his father retreat, and
years later he said, "I still remember feeling alone."
Sam made a self-sufficient player of him, and a self-effacing one, too. On the
afternoon Sampras had a big win and was interviewed by the press for the first
time, his father cautioned him: "just tell them you were lucky."
The next day Sampras lost. As he sat there, brooding, his father tapped him on
the shoulder, pointing to the winner — and new darling of the press.
"See that?" he said. "That's what happens."
They are what tennis needs more of: grown men. Over the years, the public has
developed a relationship with them, a continuous connection that it doesn't have
with any other players. Maybe one day we'll know Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick
this well, but for now they are superficial characters, rude bashers with sticky
Agassi and Sampras have known each other for two-thirds of their lives. We have
known them for half.
They start as two small boys, Sampras 8 years old, Agassi 9 or 10, and they are
on a court in Northridge, California, about to play each other for the first
time. Agassi, if you can believe it, is the bigger of the two, recalling years
later that Sampras "comes up to about my chin." But Agassi has no real ground
strokes yet, and Sampras remembers saying of him, "He's all trick shots." Then
again, Sampras has no serve, and with his two-handed backhand he's a tiny
baseline grinder.
They could not be more different, and the same will be said of the way they will
go about things from this point on. Sampras will worship tradition and study the
greats and attain a pure classicism. Agassi will become a work of junk fiction
and then mature into an artist.
Neither can remember who won that first match.
We cannot remember, or imagine, the game without them.

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

12-18-2004, 05:04 PM
American needs to figure out how to topple
dominant Federer from No. 1 ranking in 2005


Has Andre any magic left?
Roddick's eager and anxious to take it a few notches higher in 2005, append major titles to his U.S. Open of 2003, and he also hopes that other compatriots will follow his lead, particularly his buddy, Mardy Fish.

That isn’t happening.

Other than his Olympic silver medal, Fish has been a disappointment, and Roddick faces a new year as probably the lone American in the top ten.

That’s unless “Father Timeless,” Andre Agassi, hangs tough past his 35th birthday in April.

Everybody hopes he will because Andre is the most popular and respected American male in the game since Arthur Ashe.

Given his demanding training regimen, competitive drive, shotmaking verve and experience, he just might present himself and his public with a 16th top-10 finish.

Incredibly gifted in size, speed and shotmaking, Russian Marat Safin, if he keeps paying attention, could follow up favorably on a fine Masters.

Determined Lleyton Hewitt has the heart, legs and youth to stay near the top.

Watch out for the 18-year-old Spanish southpaw Rafael Nadal, whose first day jolting of Roddick made it certain that the U.S. wasn’t going to overcome Spain in the Davis Cup final.

Burly Carlos Moya, also a Cup hero, appears set to do big things, but will Juan Carlos Ferrero, considered the best of that Spanish crop, regain his confidence and prime fitness?

Olympic gold medalists, Nicolas Massu, 25, (singles and doubles), and Fernando Gonzalez, 24 (doubles), have lifted Chile to the prominence it once had momentarily in the person of retired Marcelo Rios.

They could go further than the difficult Rios.

The Argentines should do well, although Guillermo Coria and David Nalbandian are looking brittle physically, and French Open champion Gaston Gaudio (thanks to Coria blowing two match points in their Paris final) may be a one-shot wonder.

Desperate for a Wimbledon champion, the Brits shouldn’t give up on 30-year-old Tim Henman just yet.

He’s living up to the old Jack Kramer adage that a man should reach prime after 30.

Four young guys who ought to cause trouble are 6-foot Russian Igor Andreev, 21, and biggies 6-foot-5 Croat Mario Ancic, 20, 6-foot-4 Czech Tomas Berdych, 19, and 6-foot-6 Swede Joachim Johansson, 22, who deposed Roddick at the U.S. Open.

Brighter Davis Cup outlook for Americans
For the U.S., bereft of a Davis Cup since 1995, the new season looks better, a schedule with the possibility of playing four matches at home.

That means Roddick and the Bryan twins, Mike and Bob, could pull it off without a reliable second singles player.

That’s the dream of U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe.

Meanwhile, with the offseason lasting all of 28 days, another endless campaign begins Jan. 3 in Adelaide, Doha and Chennai, with the first major looming in Melbourne Jan. 17: the Australian Open, celebrating its centennial.

Defending champion Federer and Safin were the finalists a year ago, but Hewitt, straining to break the Curse of Eddo, would be worth a few bucks with an Australian bookmaker.

Not quite the 86-year-old Curse of the Bambino that the Red Sox buried, but Australians are moaning and hoping within a 29-year drought.

The last native to capture the title was Eddo -- Mark Edmondson -- in 1976.

© 2004 MSNBC Interactive

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

12-28-2004, 08:26 PM
Behind the scenes at Flushing Meadows



Up close each player is distinctive, and none more so than Andre Agassi.

The 34-year old must be one of the most superstitious players on the Tour. He needs the same towel that helped him win the day before, placed by the ball boys in exactly the same spot as before.


When he's done, precisely 45 minutes pass from the moment Agassi shakes the hand of his opponent to the moment he enters his limo.

Story is here:

Eurosport - 23/12/2004 glanzenberg@eurosport.com _________________________________
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

01-10-2005, 01:55 AM
some new ideas from Scud "side"

Scud's battle to mix love and sport
By Stephen Corby
January 9, 2005


"Sportsmen are in a situation where people want to get a piece of them all the time and they are surrounded by garbage distractions," Crampton said.

"A partner can help them with these distractions and keep them focused, but sometimes it can be the case that the partner is creating the distraction, as I think Philippoussis has found in the past."

Crampton said Andre Agassi had benefited from a partner.

"Obviously Andre and Steffi Graf are a good act together. Probably it's because Steffi understands the sport.

"With a girlfriend who wants to go to the beach, or go shopping, or wants to go partying when you should be on the practice court, it's obviously not a good distraction."

Agassi, whose world ranking slumped to 134 during the late '90s, when he was with Brooke Shields, credits Graf with his return to prominence.


The Sunday Telegraph

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

01-17-2005, 10:57 AM
Andre Agassi is a 100% starter for the Australian Open

Andre already won his first vs. German Kindlmann!


00:37 2005-01-17
Andre Agassi is set to play in the Australian Open despite a hip injury that forced him to quit an exhibition match leading up to the year's first Grand Slam tournament.

Agassi, a four-time winner of the Australian Open, said the small tear in a tendon in his right hip didn't trouble him too much. He lost in three sets to Tim Henman on Saturday and is a "100 percent starter" for the Australian Open, which begins Monday, reports San Francisco Chronicle.

According to the Times of India, the 34-year-old American was hurt on Thursday but came through an exhibition match against Tim Henman at the Kooyong Classic on Saturday and pronounced himself ready to go after a practice session at Melbourne Park on Sunday.

"I pulled up pretty well after two hours of play yesterday so that's a good sign," Agassi said.

"I'm a 100 percent starter and I'll be out there giving it everything I've got. The 34-year-old American, winner at Melbourne Park in 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2003 and seeded eighth this year, is due to face German qualifier Dieter Kindlmann in the opening round on Monday.

Agassi is seeded eighth for the Australian Open v the first Grand Slam event of the season v where he reached the semifinals a year ago.

On the women's side, Belgian stars Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters, who played for the 2004 championship, are both sidelined with injuries. Two-time titlist Jennifer Captriati of the U.S. withdrew earlier this week, citing a nagging right shoulder injury.
The main draw of the Australian Open begins Monday, says CBC News.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

01-19-2005, 05:48 PM

It Takes A Thief
By Richard Pagliaro
Tennis Week

He is a power player on and off the court, a philanthropic force whose extreme effort on the court is matched by his willingness to dig down deep in his pockets and contribute to charitable causes, including the foundation that bears his name. But don't let Andre Agassi fool you. A man can change his clothes, but altering his competitive character is a much more taxing task.

Whether he's willing to admit it or not, Agassi is rapidly reverting back to his old habits.

Put the 34-year-old Las Vegas native between the lines he immediately starts positioning the ball kids as if they're lookouts on his latest competitive caper. Agassi does more than play tennis, he turns major matches into Grand Slam larceny.

The second-round Australian Open clash between the eighth-seeded Agassi and Rainer Schuettler was a rematch of the 2003 final, but tennis' top thief turned it into stick-up conducted in broad daylight before thousands of witnesses and a slew of surveillance cameras.

Stealing more than the show, Agassi stole the strength from Schuettler's legs with crisp crosscourt combinations, pilfered his power by ripping shots on the rise, robbed the veteran workhorse of his resolve by forcing him into a constant state of retreat and walked away with the cheers of an adoring crowd ringing in his ears after completing a 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 conquest to cruise into the third round.

"I felt like I was playing good tennis and that's a great feeling," Agassi said. "It's only the second match, but it's certainly a great one for me."

Agassi, who did not surrender serve in the match, stole Schuettler's serve seven times and shook Schuettler down so thoroughly, you half expect him to swipe the German's wristbands and watch during the post-match handshake — if he'd been wearing them.

The match began in oppressive heat, which Agassi welcomes. Since retiring from last week's Kooyong exhibition with Andy Roddick due to a strained right hip flexor, Agassi's movement has been monitored more than a man wearing an electronic ankle bracelet. But the former No. 1 has shown no signs of slowing down in surrendering just 11 games in his two tournament victories.

"I felt as the match went on I was getting more comfortable with my movement, and that's a good thing," Agassi said. "To say it was 100 percent would probably be overstating it, but to be able to have the time to get it better up to this point is a great sign that it will be 100 percent."

The four-time Australian Open champion raised his record in Melbourne to 46-4.

Fellow American Taylor Dent, who scored a 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Michal Tabara in the second round, is Agassi's next opponent. Dent's serve-and-volley style has been tailor-made for Agassi's penetrating passing shots in the past. Agassi has swept their three prior meetings, but Dent posed problems for Agassi in their most recent encounter. The classic clash between tennis’ top returner and one of the game’s biggest servers came to a premature conclusion as Agassi held a 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-5 lead when a hobbled Dent retired from their fourth-round 2003 U.S. Open match with tightness in his lower right hamstring.

In that match, Dent handled Agassi’s kick serve effectively by taking it early and knifing biting backhand returns that landed deep in the court and gave him the opportunity to approach. Agassi, who owns the best two-handed backhand in men's tennis, typically exploits opponents' backhands and opens the court in the process by pounding crosscourt backhands. The combination of Dent's variety off the backhand side and his repeated runs to the net nullified that tactic somewhat and Dent's seismic serve earned Agassi's respect.

"First of all his serve speaks for itself — it’s a real big serve," Agassi said. "He has great hands at the net and he was getting great length on his returns and not just coming forward on a bluff, but coming in on a real good shot. He was playing close to the lines, he was playing real well. It was hard to deal with."

Since that meeting Dent has played a bit more predictably on his backhand side — he tends to chip his backhand return and employ the standard backhand slice as his approach rather than mixing in topspin backhands as he did in that match — but if Dent can serve effectively and mix up the depth, pace and spins on his approaches he could test Agassi. Dent must make Agassi feel apprehensive on his second serve by attacking that shot, which can be challenging given the fact Agassi's second serve can kick shoulder high and serve as a strait jacket to a player with a one-handed backhand.

As an attacking player, Dent is capable of dictating the course of points, but his conditioning remains questionable and he's going up against one of the fittest players in the sport. Agassi played many memorable matches with another serve-and-volleyer, Australia's Patrick Rafter, and should Dent ever completely commit to a conditioning program and build his body into Rafter-type shape there's no question he could be a force at three of the four majors. But the son of former Australian Open finalist and Aussie Davis Cup player Phil Dent, is not yet at his physical peak and tennis' top thief should make him pay the price.

The winner of the Agassi-Dent match could face big-serving U.S. Open semifinalist Joachim Johansson in the round of 16 if the 11th-seeded Swede beats 24th-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. An Agassi-Roger Federer meeting looms large as the marquee match of the quarterfinals, but the eight-time Grand Slam champion knows there's more work to be done before he gets there.

"It would be nice to play against him because that means a couple more matches I would have won," Agassi said. "All these guys are real talented and if you don't show up and aren't at your best then anybody can beat you — and that includes Roger. Roger has to show up and be at his best. When he is, he's proven it's better than everybody else so you have to play a great match against him. Like any great player, you can't point to a weakness, but you can point to maybe one side that's not as strong as his other side, which is not very optimistic for his opponents. But you have to go after him, you have to take your chances, and you have to play a great match."

01-29-2005, 08:21 PM
Saintly lucre
By Barry Dickins
January 29, 2005

There is definitely a saintliness about Andre Agassi's income. And a spirituality also when he gestures in a kindly way towards his parish, those worshipful followers of his bankable lobs. He is genuinely shy, but not shy of $30 million, which is what he's made from the art of hitting a cloth ball. If he's ever broke, I hope he remembers me - that's all. I made him what he is today.
When he was just 15, he conquered Vitas Gerulaitis, whose first name's the same as my sacred breakfast cereal, just about. I used to gnaw whole boxes of Vita Brits as I watched Vitas strike the ball with surrealist panache. It is next to unbelievable that Vitas played for Clifton Hill Tennis Club in the late 1980s. Right next to the old railway station, it is. If you venture in there, you can easily read his name on the gold mementoes and posters. And Martina played for them, too!

I was saddened to learn of Gerulaitis' death. He dabbled in the witchcraft of supernatural sports income as well as drugs, and I just hope his spirit discovers a repose not possible on high-octane sports money.

AdvertisementI wondered, not that it's any of my business, how much Andre's entourage cost him, his masseuse as well as his spiritualist, his mind-reader, toenail preparer, wig-maker (not that he needs one). His French chef alone must set him back a few centimes. But tennis isn't big money anymore. It's just outside the realm of ordinary understanding.

The divinity of Andre is depicted wholeheartedly when he puts his talented fingertips to his lips and blows the sweetest kisses to those on less than $55,000 a year. The crowd loves him eternally.

But what phenomenon links Agassi and Dickins? Well, we both are very bald. We're both pretty old. He has extremely bandy legs, while my bandiness is often remarked upon, not merely in the street but wherever my family is. "Geez," I overhear them, "Look at that guy, would you! Look at his legs! He looks like a mattress fell on him!"

We had a few foaming pots and agreed it was for the best to remain ourselves.This morning I lay in my bed dreaming of Lleyton Hewitt's income. He and I, in my momentary summer concussion, actually traded identities, and I trained with his new coach, swam a few chloride lanes at Carlton baths, signed a million-buck contract for Sorbent lavatory rolls to promote their exquisiteness in TV ads, then I swapped his youth for my decrepitude. He laughed like a good sportsman and said: "Yes, why not trade?"

So, in my half-dream state, there we were, the two of us, outside the National Australia Bank in Smith Street, Collingwood, and I wondered really why he bothered trying on a new identity as me. I hit the ATM with Lleyton and it went into a tie-breaker. My first serve at the digits was a foot-fault and I received a warning for racquet abuse, or was it card?

"Advantage mortgage," said the forlorn printout, and I haplessly appealed to the umpire for another printout. This time I was sent off the court for verbal abuse of a machine.

It just didn't work, him being broke, no matter how novel it was. We had a few foaming pots and agreed it was for the best to remain ourselves. Then we had a hit in Smith Street.

Dreams can prove exhausting and so it was at the completion of my dream that he was happiest rich and I was happiest rich in love of family, where nothing goes into deuce and there is no advantage given or expected. The real serve in tennis, as well as life, is to love your wife and son more than a tennis ball, and much more than temporary envy, one of my most awkward sins.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

02-03-2005, 01:14 AM
speculations on Andre's Davis Cup participation

McEnroe, Agassi Share Steak In Davis Cup



Patrick McEnroe has discovered the cure for jet leg: tennis. As soon as the United States Davis Cup captain got off the plane from Australia, he stepped on court in Los Angeles. A few hours before meeting the media for Monday's Davis Cup luncheon, McEnroe squeezed in a hit on the hard court of the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

"It the best way to get over jet lag," said McEnroe, who spent the past two weeks in Melbourne serving as a tennis analyst for ESPN2's coverage of the Australian Open. "I make it a point to try to get in hit in as soon as possible whenever I’m on the road."

The next time McEnroe hits at the Home Demo Center will be during Davis Cup practice week. McEnroe met with local members of the press to discuss the opening-round Davis Cup tie between the United States and Croatia, March 4-6th at the Home Depot Center. The captain was accompanied by several former and current Davis Cup players: 1939, 1946 and 1947 U.S. Davis Cup team member Jack Kramer; 1962 and 1963 U.S. Davis Cup captain Robert Kelleher, 1997, 1999 and 2000 U.S. Davis Cupper Alex O'Brien and current U.S. Davis Cup team members Bob and Mike Bryan, fresh off their runner-up men's doubles showing at the 2005 Australian Open.

McEnroe's passion for playing tennis matches his excited exuberance in exclaiming "the Dropper!!" during tennis telecasts.

The man who led the United States to the Davis Cup final last December may look forward to another hitting session today with a Las Vegas legend who knows his way around the grill better than George Foreman and still hits like a heavyweight.

McEnroe is scheduled to sit down with Andre Agassi at his Las Vegas home to discuss the eight-time Grand Slam champion's prospects of playing future Davis Cup ties. To be sure, a first-class feed awaits him during the recruiting dinner.

"I'm heading to Las Vegas tonight and will sit down with Andre," McEnroe said. "He’s going to have a nice steak on the grill ready for me, knowing him it will be the best steak you can find. And then I’ll head back to New York tomorrow."

While McEnroe places the possibility of Agassi playing at "less than 50-50" he's excited that Agassi has initiated the discussion for the first time in his tenure as captain.

"I don't have any expectation other than I hope he says yes. In my mind, it's probably a less than 50-50 chance that he will play," McEnroe said. "He opened the door as far having a discussion and hearing what I had to say and that's the first time that's really happened since I've been the captain. In my mind, I have to field the best team I can and I have to exhaust all possibilities. That means that getting on a plane and sitting down with him face to face, that's a small price to play for trying to get him to join up."

The 34-year-old Agassi, who owns a 30-5 career record in 10 years of Davis Cup competition, has not played a Davis Cup tie since sweeping his singles matches in the United States' 3-2 quarterfinal conquest of the Czech Republic in 2000. Since his last Davis Cup appearance nearly five years ago, Agassi has reiterated his decision to step aside from Davis Cup play to devote more time to his family, raise money and awareness for his charitable organization, the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, and focus on the final stage of his tennis career. But Agassi has remained a supporter of the U.S. players and the team and has consulted with McEnroe prior to almost every tie.

Agassi has said his Davis Cup success remains a highlight of his career and the prospect of playing with the younger generation of Americans — third-ranked Andy Roddick and twins Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan — in a team competition is appealing.The Bryan brothers, who have not dropped a set in four career Davis Cup victories, welcome the possibility of Agassi playing.

"Everyone’s excited about the possibility of Andre playing," Bob Bryan said. "He’s been really big supporter of Andy and us. Right when we came on tour he took us under his wing."

Traditionally, Agassi has enjoyed success at the March Masters Series events in Indian Wells and Miami. Agassi has won a record six Nasdaq-100 Open championships, including three Miami titles in the past four years. Since Agassi uses those events as a springboard to his spring season, it seems unlikely he would play the opening-round Davis Cup tie as he'd be committing himself to competing the entire month of March. Given the chronic hip condition that can cause him pain, it's unlikely Agassi would subject his body to the pounding of playing hard court tennis for four weeks without much of a break.

Still, the ongoing dialogue between Agassi and McEnroe is more than a Davis Cup dance. The mere fact Agassi is willing to talk to McEnroe about it suggests he is considering playing a future tie that would suit his schedule. If the United States beats Croatia and Romania defeats Belarus, the U.S. would host Romania in the Davis Cup quarterfinals, July 15-17th.

Agassi remains one of the most popular players in the sport, which is another reason the USTA is pleased he's willing to discuss Davis Cup participation: Agassi's appeal is so strong that his interest in Davis Cup competition raises awareness of the event for the both the press and the public, which can't hurt tickets sales even if he opts against playing the opening-round tie. Additionally, Agassi's interest could inspire some of the young Americans to improve on their recent disappointing results.

Clearly, McEnroe has been hoping one of the young Americans who have played singles in prior ties — Mardy Fish, Taylor Dent, Robby Ginepri or James Blake — would step up and seize the second singles spot or that Vince Spadea, who has publicly campaigned for a position on the team, could compete for the spot. But none of those players have been able to solidify their status as the No. 2 singles starter. Illness and injury have set Blake back. Ginepri, who bowed in the opening round of the Australian Open, has not reached a tournament final since winning Newport in 2003. Dent shows signs of his prodigious potential, but has not yet sustained it over the course of a season. McEnroe has been a big believer in Fish's game, but may be growing disillusioned with his inability to translate his talent into results and the captain points to Spadea's struggles in Grand Slams (Spadea has succumbed in the first or second round in seven of his last nine majors) as a reason for his reluctance to start Spadea in a best-of-five set Davis Cup match.

Should Agassi skip the first-round tie as expected, Dent is the top candidate for the second singles spot.

"Taylor Dent has had the best start to the year out of the potential second players," McEnroe said. "He had a win over Hewitt in Adelaide and had a pretty good Australian Open. James Blake looked pretty good and is trying to get back into shape. Those guys looked good. There are a few tournaments over the next few weeks that could determine who that second guy would be if Andre can' make it."

With no clear candidate, it's no wonder why McEnroe wants to keep an open dialogue with Agassi and continues to listen in the hopes that one of the greatest Davis Cup players in American history may just talk himself back onto the team.

Tickets for the U.S. vs. Croatia Davis Cup First Round can be purchased be calling (888) 484-USTA (8782). The transcript of McEnroe's press conference with the media is reprinted here:

Who is line to be on the team if Andre Agassi decides not to return to the U.S. team?

Patrick McEnroe: Taylor Dent has had the best start to the year out of the potential second players. He had a win over Hewitt in Adelaide and had a pretty good Australian Open. James Blake looked pretty good and is trying to get back into shape. Those guys looked good. There are a few tournaments over the next few weeks that could determine who that second guy would be if Andre can't make it.

What are Andre Agassi's feelings toward Davis Cup?

Patrick McEnroe: When Andre played Davis Cup, he was committed to it. He was committed to playing not just when it fit in his schedule. I think he finds that right now, it's hard for him to commit to every match because of his family and his responsibilities and because he is going to be 35 and it's a little taxing on him. My job is to alleviate his fear that we don't necessarily have to have him play every match. That's the way I look at. It rarely happens that you have the same four players for every match. It's how the system is set up. The way the schedule is and the way it is when you play on difference surfaces. As a captain, you have to be malleable. You have to be willing to adjust. I want make it clear to Andre that irrespective of where he's coming from that's the way I look at every match. The last couple of years, whether it was James Blake, Mardy Fish or Robby Ginepri who played. I don't need to hear from Andre "I'm going to play every match." My feeling is, let's see how it goes. Let's get you to play in the first round and let's see what happens and take it from there. The second round is right after Wimbledon, if we win, let's cross that bridge when we get to it."

Can you comment on the new buzz that surrounds the U.S. Davis Cup team?

Patrick McEnroe: "People see and the press see how much our guys care about Davis Cup. When I took over as captain, I wanted the guys who wanted to play, period. I wanted to focus the attention on them. There's a buzz back because people see how committed these guys are. They see their passion and they see how devastated they are when they lose. When we lost to Spain in the final, we were big underdogs there, and we went over there and gave it our best shot and we lost. People respond to them. They are not doing because they are supposed to or because they have to. They are doing it because they really want to be there.

What type of arguments will you present to Andre to encourage him to play?

Patrick McEnroe: Andre expressed interest in playing to me because he's seen what these guys have done to the team. He's seen the chemistry, the camaraderie and the commitment that our young guys have. I think he'd like to be a part of it. He genuinely thinks "This could be something fun and something good for me and good for where I am in my life." I take that as a compliment to what we've done and what specifically our players have done, where he's watched for afar and taken a keen interest. Obviously, having him on our team helps our chances. We've had a good couple of runs, making the semis in 2002 and the finals last year, but we'd like to win it. Having him as part of our team will certainly help our chances, not to mention what it would do for tennis, period. It would be a positive thing for the sport and tennis overall in this country in having people see our young guy, Andy Roddick, with a legend playing together with the Bryans. It would really take the interest up a notch or two.

Do you expect Agassi to say yes?

Patrick McEnroe: I don't have any expectation other than I hope he says yes. In my mind, it's probably a less than 50-50 chance that he will play. He opened the door as far having a discussion and hearing what I had to say and that's the first time that's really happened since I've been the captain. In my mind, I have to field the best team I can and I have to exhaust all possibilities. That means that getting on a plane and sitting down with him face to face, that's a small price to play for trying to get him to join up.... Our press sort of look at "Hey how come everyone doesn't play Davis Cup", which is not entirely accurate. Andre has played Davis Cup for 10 years and is the second winingest player after my brother in Davis Cup. Sampras came and went, but he still played, although he didn't play every match. We oversell that aspect of it. These guys really love it and love playing with each other and being part of something as a team.

On the camaraderie of the U.S. Davis Cup team

Patrick McEnroe: These guys are buddies. They hang out together, support each other, play doubles together and go out with each other when they are at tournaments. I've been very lucky. We brought them up together. When Roddick played his first match my first tie as a captain, he was a teenager and just turned pro. We experienced a lot these things together as a group. There's a real sense of a team. That's hard to get in tennis since tennis is such an individual sport.

When do you expect Agassi will make a decision on possibly returning to the Davis Cup team

Patrick McEnroe: I think it will be relatively soon. My guess would be that it would be by the end of this week. Maybe if Andre comes, we may bring in an extra guy, a fifth player, just in case. I like to include as many guys as possible. Dent would be one possibility, based on his success. James Blake and Mardy Fish are also possibilities. Vince Spadea didn't play well in Australia, but his ranking is up there.

What do you think about the Home Depot Center in Carson as a facility?

Patrick McEnroe: This is great facility. I came out here last summer to look at it. I saw the women's event on TV and they had great crowds. It's a great court. It's a great stadium court. As for the surface speed it really depends on who plays the second singles. If it were Taylor Dent maybe we make it not quite as slow. It's the perfect size. The facility is outstanding. The key for us to get the awareness of tennis fans out here that this is a big-time venue. That's the challenge, is to get the fans that are used to going to UCLA or what used to be Manhattan Beach to come here.

How do you feel about the the way the Bryan twins are playing?

Patrick McEnroe: The Bryans are consistently getting to Grand Slam finals. They would love to win another one, and I'm sure they will based on how well they are doing. They get so pumped up for Davis Cup matches. They bring so much energy and it helps the whole team, knowing that they are going out there on Saturday. Their record speaks for itself. They haven't lost a set yet. At some point, I've said to them, that they are going to lose a set and maybe lose a match. They are going to have a tough match this time. The Croatians (Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic) have a very good doubles team. This may be their toughest test.

What are your thoughts on the Croatian team of Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic?

Patrick McEnroe: We played them there in Croatia on fast indoor courts (in the first round in 2003). Roddick got injured at the Australian Open so he couldn't come, so we had a tough go of it over there. The crowd was crazy so we want to give them a taste of their own medicine. Their players are both solid players. They are both ranked in the top 30 and both have big serves. Ancic played well at Wimbledon last year, reaching the semifinals and played a very tough match with Roddick. They are serious players. They are guys that when they are playing well, will beat you, but they are also two guys that if we play our best, we're in good shape.

The Tennis Channel's Brad Falkner is a Tennis Week contributing writer. Brad's last story for Tennis Week magazine was an interview with Brad Gilbert in the January issue. An accomplished teaching pro, Falkner recently won the Tennis Angels celebrity singles title, executing "The Dropper!" on match point to take the title.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

02-24-2005, 12:53 PM
The Tennis Week Interview: Patrick McEnroe Part II

Photo By Susan Mullane By Richard Pagliaro

Tennis Week: Taylor Dent shows flashes of top-level tennis, but he's never been able to sustain it over the course of a complete season. Do you think part of that is the fact it takes serve-and-volleyers longer to develop because they have to master more shots or in his case is it just he has to learn to consistently train hard, get in shape and do it week after week?

Patrick McEnroe: It's both. To be a serve-and-volleyer in this game you've got to be incredibly, fit, agile and explosive. If you're not in phenomenal shape it is very difficult to play that style and be consistently successful match in and match out week in and week out. Clearly, Taylor's got the game that can trouble anybody — there's no question about that — but as far as having the game that can sort of steam roll people, he's not able to do that yet. I think a lot of that is physical and just how fit he is point after point. That's something only he can decide: how much he wants it.

Tennis Week: Do you think he's reached the point where he's realized: "I can't keep procrastinating on the fitness issue if I want to be a top 10 player?"

Patrick McEnroe: Only he can answer that question for you.

Tennis Week: Last month's Australian Open was one of the most exciting majors in years. The Australian fans seem to supply an energy and enthusiasm unique to that tournament. Is there anything we can learn and take from that tournament and apply it to the U.S. Open to make the Open a more fan-friendly experience?

Patrick McEnroe: It's hard, Richard, because down there the Australian Open is basically like our Super Bowl. Imagine this: Channel 7, which is the host network at the Australian Open hosts a national news program from the Australian Open. So imagine Dan Rather hosting CBS's nightly news from the U.S. Open site. I think the U.S. Open is a tremendous event and I think the USTA has taken it to another level in recent years as far as the entertainment goes, etc. I love the fact that the Australian Open had that night final, which was tremendous. We showed up at about 4 o'clock for that 7:30 match and I walked into that plaza area and the place was jam-packed at 4 o'clock. I mean, it was like a tail-gating situation.

Tennis Week: I remember the crowd for Serena's first-round match being so big and loud and Mary Carillo said something to the effect of: "Can you imagine this type of crowd on opening day of the U.S. Open at 11 a.m. in Arthur Ashe Stadium?"

Patrick McEnroe: Obviously, the problem is that it (Arthur Ashe Stadium) is too big and that's never going to change. But Arthur Ashe Stadium is filled for the final weekend. And it's filled quite often for the night matches during the week. Look, they (the USTA) paid for that stadium with all their own money. It's not like the city built the facility for them, so they have to pay their debt off on that. So you have to understand that part of the equation..

Tennis Week: I understand: they spent a lot of money building it and they have to make the money back to pay for it.

Patrick McEnroe: Obviously it's too big for a tennis stadium — we all know that — but at the same time it is packed for the final weekend. But the environment for the U.S. Open is good and the Australian Open has a few advantages: they've got two roofs so if it rains they've got two matches, its easier to get to because it's right in the middle of the city, the people there are sports crazy and tennis is the second or third biggest sport in Australia.

Tennis Week: And they had two popular Aussies — Hewitt and Molik — go very far as well.

Patrick McEnroe: All of the majors sort of learn from each other and I think the Australian and U.S. are most similar in the way they have night matches, they have entertainment, they try to make it more fun, etc. Clearly, they're not going to do that at Wimbledon or the French Open, not in the same way. You can't argue with any one of the Grand Slams — they are all incredibly successful events.

Tennis Week: ESPN produced its best Grand Slam coverage in years, I thought, during the Australian Open in showing so much live tennis. Do you think they've established a standard they will strive to maintain at Roland Garros and Wimbledon?

Patrick McEnroe: I certainly hope so. It was more exciting, it was better television...

Tennis Week: And it was better ratings.

Patrick McEnroe: It was better ratings, which for the Australian Open is the most challenging to get people to pay attention. It's a hard time of year, it's the middle of winter in the north east. The Australian Open got a tremendous buzz back here and I think ESPN really did a great job with a lot of live coverage and going over our scheduled coverage time many times. I think the fact we were on one network — ESPN2 — really helped because people knew where to tune in.

Tennis Week: How close is the U.S. Open to using instant replay this year?

Patrick McEnroe: Very close. I would be very surprised if they don't use something this year.

Tennis Week: On Ashe Stadium court or all the stadium courts?

Patrick McEnroe: On all the TV courts.

Tennis Week: Before your first tie as Davis Cup captain in February, 2001, I remember talking to you and you saying then you thought Federer was a future number one. Now you saw Nadal in a big spot in the Davis Cup final in December. I'm not saying Nadal is going to be another Federer — two totally different styles of play — but would you agree that Nadal really has that big-match presence and that he is a guy who gets up for the big moments and can rise to the occasion?

Patrick McEnroe: He's got that presence — definitely. I mean to show up and play one hell of a match against Roddick in the Davis Cup final was just a tremendous performance. It was a physically-demanding match. Both guys killed themselves physically. Roddick gave everything he had and Nadal gave the same. He handled the pressure well. I don't think he has the power in his game to be a serious factor on a surface other than clay. But I think that on clay he is a serious threat. I don't think he hits the ball through the court enough just yet. His serve is terrible, which is not a huge factor on clay, but you put him up against a great clay-court player who has got a big serve and then he might have some trouble.

Tennis Week: But look at the two guys in the French final last year: neither of them is a big server.

Patrick McEnroe: That's true. That's exactly true. So clearly on clay, he's going to be a factor on clay this year. So I put him as maybe not the favorite, but certainly a contender for the French Open, but on any other surface absolutely not until he first of all can serve a little bit better or hit the ball a little bit flatter off the ground. Because he hits with so much spin guys can really get to him on a faster court.

Tennis Week: But don't you think those are adjustments he can make over a period of time?

Patrick McEnroe: I think they are, I mean I saw him take the ball earlier in that match against Roddick. His tendency is to hit a heavy topspin shot and I just don't think in the men's game right now, that's enough.

Tennis Week: If you had to pick any one shot in tennis — Federer forehand, Roddick serve, Agassi backhand, a Safin stroke — as the biggest weapon in tennis right now what would it be?

Patrick McEnroe: Federer's mid-court forehand. Anytime he gets a forehand in that area it's over. The Roddick serve is up there. Safin can hit some returns that are pretty amazing. I mean any of those guys you mention, but if I had to take one, I'd take the Federer forehand.

Tennis Week: Mats Wilander told me last year if Safin matured mentally he could envision Safin having an Agassi-type surge in the second half of his career and play some of his best tennis as he got older. Given his great effort in Australia, do you think Safin can do that?

Patrick McEnroe: I think he played his best tennis in Australia. He played an incredible match to beat Federer, which still tells you Federer is the best because he was still down match point, came up with a miraculous shot and played about as well as he could play, I thought. I don't think Safin will be able to have the focus Andre has had over the years to sustain it as he gets older...

Tennis Week: But then again he serves bigger so theoretically he can make his life easier on serve.

Patrick McEnroe: Yeah, but he's also a bigger guy so it's harder for his body to hold up. So I don't see him playing in his mid 30s.

Tennis Week: Maybe not playing tennis, but I'm sure he'll be playing something else.

Patrick McEnroe: He'll be having a blast whatever it is he's doing. To me, if he has his head on straight why can't he be a serious threat at Wimbledon?

Tennis Week: Because he hates grass and goes into it doubting his ability to win there.

Patrick McEnroe: So did Lendl. So did Sampras, who said he didn't like the bounce on grass. I'm not predicting he will have a Sampras-type career on grass, but I think if he comes into Wimbledon with the right mind set, which is a big if, obviously, he could be a real threat to win.

Tennis Week: What's your view on Nalbandian? He hits the ball so cleanly when he's playing well and can look so good yet he never quite gets that big win a major and in fact he's only won two tournament titles.

Patrick McEnroe: To me, here's the story with Nalbandian: if he goes up against a great player in a major match it seems to me that the great player has that little bit extra whether its Federer with a bigger forehand, Roddick with a bigger server or Hewitt with that competitive x-factor. It's almost like certain players when they get to a semi or final — players like Chang, for instance — Chang would get to a semifinal of a major and would play Sampras or Agassi or Becker and if those guys are in the semi or a final they're playing their best tennis at that point and he's not going to beat them. He might beat them in the quarters of San Jose or in early-round matches, but when you get to the semis or final of a major, most of the time the best players are playing their best tennis. So I think that's what happens to Nalbandian.

Tennis Week: So you're saying Nalbandian's just a shade below those top guys?

Patrick McEnroe: Yes.

Tennis Week: If Coria is healthy I like his chances at Roland Garros. Who do you see as the favorite there and what do you see for Coria, who made the decision to play indoors in Europe rather than the clay these past couple weeks.

Patrick McEnroe: Well, that was probably a financial decision. For me, it's a little hard to know with him because of how well he's recovered from shoulder surgery. I mean, he doesn't rely on his serve, but it's still a factor. He ran out of gas against Nalbandian in Australia. He's got to get his fitness level at an extremely high level because he relies on his legs so much. Certainly, on clay, he's a favorite. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see him back dominating on clay again, but there's still a couple of question marks about him that he has to answer in the next few months.

Tennis Week: Ferrero plays Federer next in Dubai. Do you see Ferrero bouncing back this year?

Patrick McEnroe: I think he's got to bounce back somewhat, I mean it was such a terrible year for him last year.

Tennis Week: He can really only gain points and go up the next several weeks if he wins.

Patrick McEnroe: Bounce back? Yes, he will. Whether he will bounce back to be top five is questionable.

Tennis Week: People tend to compare Agassi and Connors as charismatic American champions, great returners, take the ball early and have had longevity. You know and have played both of them. Do you think it's a valid comparison and how would you compare them?

Patrick McEnroe: Agassi is a little more offensive. Connors was more consistent though I'd say Agassi later in his career has obviously gotten more consistent. Agassi has more firepower, but certainly similar kind of game. Connors can pick you apart with precision whereas Agassi can pick you apart with precision and power when he's really got it going. I think the comparisons are valid. Obviously, they are different mind sets as far as Connors is in your face in his attitude. Agassi does it without sort of flexing his muscles the way Connors did.

Tennis Week: Not as abrasive?

Patrick McEnroe: Certainly not as abrasive. Andre's whole attitude is one of respect of the game and respect for his opponents. Connors' attitude was more of a "me against the world" type of attitude.

Tennis Week: Going back to your point about Agassi being too aggressive against Federer in Australia, don't you think sometimes against the elite players, playing the percentages just isn't always going to get it done and in those matches, he might be better off playing closer to the lines and taking a bit more risk?

Patrick McEnroe: I think it's true, but not from the first swing of the match. I remember the first game when Federer hit a second serve out wide in the ad court and Andre ran into the doubles court and took a full swing at a forehand which was completely out of character and to do it particularly that early in a match. Yeah, if you get to four-all, 15-30 and you think "Hey, Federer's going to come up with a couple of aces here if I don't go for something" and you get a look at a second serve you take a shot at it. But I felt that he just did that too early and almost showed Roger too much respect in that match. He was excited and Andre looks forward to that type of match. Andre has been playing top five tennis in the last couple of majors, he just happened to run into Federer in both of them. I also think that obviously he was a little unsure about how his movement would hold up and he's not as quick as Federer is anyway so that played a factor and that's why I believe Davis Cup will help him.

Tennis Week: You led the U.S. to the Davis Cup final in December, you were in the semis in 2002 and you signed a two-year contract extension as U.S. captain. Do you feel a sense of urgency to win the Cup in the next two years?

Patrick McEnroe: Definitely I feel an urgency. It's time for us to win it. We obviously came close without Andre last year, we had a great run. We should win it.

Tennis Week: You mean you should win it this year?

Patrick McEnroe: Yeah, I mean this year, next year, both. We certainly have a good shot. We're one of the teams favored to win it. Do I feel a sense of urgency to win it? Definitely.

Tennis Week: Of the teams in the draw, who is most dangerous?

Patrick McEnroe: Obviously, Argentina at home, Spain is defending champion and will be tough. And Russia with Safin and Davydenko and Youzhny has a solid second guy. Look, Croatia is tough. Ljubicic is top 15 and Ancic is tough so they have a good one-two punch.

Tennis Week: You are one of several captains and former players who have proposed alternatives to the current Davis Cup format. Yet, the ITF continues to do nothing about it and we're seeing top players pull out of Davis Cup because they can't commit to the scheduling demands. Do you think it will take more top players like Federer, Henman and Moya pulling out to compel the ITF to make a format change or do you think this is the format we will have for the foreseeable future since the ITF is resistant to change?

Patrick McEnroe: What it will take is for countries to pull out. That's the only thing that will do it (force the ITF to change). Because their attitude is: "Oh, Davis Cup is bigger than individual players..." which to some extent is true, but you don't see individual players bypassing Grand Slams. I mean, they bypass Grand Slams if they're hurt, but they don't make a conscious decision to skip a Grand Slam. I believe that Davis Cup deserves to be as prestigious as the Grand Slams with all the top players playing and the way the format is now it is simply unrealistic to expect that.

Tennis Week: Well, why wouldn't the ITF at least experiment with changing the format? To me, Federer, who has always played Davis Cup, not playing is a pretty big deal. I mean not having the best player in the world in what is supposed to be the world's best team event should tell them that they should re-examine the format?

Patrick McEnroe: Well, I think it's a calendar issue to be honest. They see these other tournaments going on every week and then you go to the Davis Cup final in Spain and see over 27,000 people a day show up and you've got to say to yourself: "There's something wrong with Davis Cup? What?" I still think that Davis Cup could become a bigger event and go from a regional event to a big global event like the Slams. If you had it every other year you'd play the final and you could still play home and away matches in between and that would give them some income and you create sort of a final four type event where four teams come to one location.

Tennis Week: Last question: of all the young players coming up is there anyone who really stands out to you, like a Tomas Berdych, who is potentially a big-time player?

Patrick McEnroe: Berdych is certainly one. He's been a little shaky since the Olympics, but he's got a great game. He's very smooth and easy, you know Federer-like in sort of the way he feels the ball, not as good, obviously. Monfils is one. You know, Monfils knows how to win matches.

Tennis Week: Monfils seems like he gets up for playing the big players and rather than stressing it, he looks forward to it.

Patrick McEnroe: He does. And the other factor is he also wins. He just won a Challenger and beat some good good players. I watched him play Ginepri at the Australian and he just has a knack of knowing how to win big points at crucial times and that's something you can't necessarily teach so certain guys know how to win. Nadal is already there basically, but I think Berdych and Monfils have bigger games than Nadal, they're not as consistent yet and maybe not as good on clay, but they've got games that are explosive and they hit the ball big.

Tennis Week: When you're not commentating on tennis do you watch a lot on TV and what do you like to see or hear from commentators? Before you actually do a match on TV do you go in with a game plan of what you're going to focus on or do you let the match tell you the story?

Patrick McEnroe: I watch tennis as much as I can. I have the Tennis Channel, which is nice and I think they've been doing a very good job so I love that. I come to my own TV work with two things: trying to educate and trying to entertain. I try to have some fun and not take myself too seriously. I really follow tennis and try to get into the heads of the players. Because it's hard to sort of emulate what Andy Roddick does on his serve or the movement of Roger Federer, but what you can do is say: "the reason he's trying to do that is because this player doesn't like that or he's most comfortable doing that under pressure." I try to bring those things to the table and I come into it with an idea of what I want to talk about, but I come in and let the match speak for itself or let the match dictate. I look at the strategy of the match and what the guys are trying to do because to me that's what's interesting about tennis: it's one-on-one. And when people say "this guy is playing terrible" most of the time that's not true because of what the other guy is doing so I don't really come in with pre-set agenda.

Tennis Week: Have you ever said something on air that really pissed a player off?

Patrick McEnroe: Definitely.

Tennis Week: What?

Patrick McEnroe: There's been plenty of times where it gets back to me in one way or the other or where someone will give me the cold shoulder. Of course I have to walk a bit of a fine line, and sometimes a tricky one, as far as being a captain and being supportive of the guys who are going to play for the U.S. and I have to do that and I want to do that, but I have to be critical when it's necessary. I am not criticizing guys for the sake of criticizing them. I'm criticizing them for the court. I try to go on what I see on the court and that's it.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

03-13-2005, 03:32 AM
The Agassi Story - Mike Agassi
By Edmund Tadros
March 12, 2005

When parents don't achieve their dreams, their children suffer. That's the main message of this book by Andre Agassi's father, Mike.

The book, an easy and interesting read, charts Mike's obsession with moulding his children into champion tennis players.

Mike grew up in poverty in Iran but developed a childhood love for tennis. He put the sport aside to become a boxer, representing Iran in two Olympics. Tennis stayed in his heart, however, as shown by reaction to visiting the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, home of Wimbledon, during the 1948 London Olympics: "My social position, my family's financial situation, had denied me my shot at tennis greatness."

But, he writes, "someday, somehow, somebody from my family would win this tournament". Mike forced his tennis dreams onto his four children by coaching them virtually from birth.

"People say I pushed my kids too hard, that I nearly destroyed them," he writes. "And you know what? They're right. I was too hard on them."

AdvertisementBut for Mike, "it was worth it", with Andre's success, including his 1992 Wimbledon win, justifying the price. Mike's other children might think differently.

Published by Allen & Unwin. RRP: $29.95

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

03-14-2005, 02:08 AM
An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Andre making his 17th appearance here in the desert. He has the most match wins in the field with 33.


Q. I asked Federer about the little exhibition you had at the top of the Dubai hotel. Tell us about that, please. How was the feeling?

ANDRE AGASSI: It was an incredible experience. Pretty intimidating. Everything they do in Dubai they do in a spectacular way. This was the most interesting place I've ever played tennis.

Q. The proceeds went to UNICEF, that is my understanding?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I don't know. I don't know.

Q. Was there very much seating?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no. You actually had to sign waivers before you went up there. There was two of us and a cameraman.

Q. We missed you after Friday in Carson . Can you talk about your feelings Saturday and Sunday.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, that was needless to say a pretty disappointing weekend. Every point is so huge in Davis Cup . Getting started off 1-0 down was difficult. Losing the doubles put us really behind it. We were up against it at that point on Sunday. You know, we needed a few good things to happen.

But the way Ljubicic played, you can really only tip your hat to him. It was a brutally tough court to make any progress on with your shots. He still have an ability to do that, which was a credit to the way he's playing. Somehow if Andy had gotten through, maybe we had a chance there. But, you know, we all contributed to that loss, and so did Ljubicic because he really earned it.

Q. It sounds like you're being critical of the surface choice.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, no. I'm just saying that it was -- the choice was a hard court, and the choice was at slow to medium pace. But, you know, you need to get -- it needs to be executed properly. You never quite know with the sand in there. It was the slowest hard court I've ever played on. I think it was a difficult assignment for all the players.

I think Ljubicic's ability to play better than us was a function of his confidence and his ability to make adjustments. It's easy to sort of call things in hindsight. Any time you lose, you'd change anything and do it again.

Q. What were you going through during Andy's match? It was very topsy-turvy.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it was not easy. I committed to not watching most of it, and I don't think I missed a point (smiling). You know, four hours of sort of nail-biting tennis, it's draining. You know, I've been through it before. The temperature had gotten really cold by the end. It would have been quite a challenge to win both those matches on Sunday.

Q. It's quite a few months away, but how would you feel about playing again in September?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, like I said before, I think every decision is made leading up to it. This is a great team. I loved being a part of it, and I would look forward to doing that again, for sure.

Q. I think everyone knew that Ljubicic was playing very well. He came in hot. He's obviously accomplished and has proved a lot. Looking back, should the US have won that tie anyway? Really, how disappointing is it given, at least on paper, how good the team is? You have you, Andy , Grand Slam titleist, the Bryans , Grand Slam titleists. Is that a tie the US should win on home soil?

ANDRE AGASSI: I believe we should win that tie no matter where I play, because that's how I approach stepping out on the court, that we should figure out a way to win this. But you've still got to do it. It still boils down to the guys getting out there, executing what it is they know how to do.

You've seen a lot of shocking things happen through the years in Davis Cup . I think it's the result of inspiration on some players' sides and nerves on other players' sides. In this case, I think it was clear that Ljubicic outplayed us both and even raised his level quite significantly in the doubles.

It wasn't like the boys played bad at all. I mean, they played a quality match, and were outplayed. It's not easy to say you should have won after seeing that happen.

Q. On a positive note, you're the most winning active player in the Masters series. Does that give you more confidence? Do you think your opponents give up a little bit when they step on the court with you now?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, they don't. Maybe make that suggestion to them. I wouldn't mind.

No, I've had 20 years of playing these things. I'm sure if anybody else had 20 years, they'd have a lot of titles, too.

Q. How is the back and hip?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's been doing good. I've been working hard. It feels about 10% of what it used to be. That's a great sign.

Q. You mean, the pain?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. The cool-down, I'm aware of it about 10%, which is that's how it was three years ago. Hopefully it will last for a while.

Q. Any exhibitions with you and Steffi still in the works?


Q. Is it possible when World Team Tennis comes this summer that your team would play Steffi's team? Is it possible that you'd both be playing?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I suppose it's possible, seeing that we're from the same house. We might as well travel together, right (smiling)? I suppose it's possible, yeah.

Q. It would sell a lot of tickets.

ANDRE AGASSI: Might be our first fight.

Q. How often does she manage to get out on the court?

ANDRE AGASSI: It goes through stages, depending on where she is. For example, here she's been out on the court every day either with myself or Darren or Darren's wife Victoria . She'll go hit balls. Still has better footwork than me and better legs.

Q. Is she completely recovered from all the leg injuries she had in '99?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I mean, she wouldn't be the same if she had to play and then recover and play again. Her knees have taken quite a good pounding. She claims to feel that difference, you know, getting down as easily for the backhand slice.

But her high end is still pretty darn special to watch.

Q. There's absolutely no temptation before you retire in 2010 or whatever it's going to be to go out and play maybe one mixed doubles? Even with the knee, doubles and singles are different.

ANDRE AGASSI: Temptation for me or temptation for her?

Q. For you.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I've tried to talk her into it a lot. I'm the good guy here.

Q. You're just not going back there again; you know when to stop asking?

ANDRE AGASSI: She has a very quiet way of communicating. She says a lot without saying much at all. They wrote a song about that, didn't they?

Q. How about somebody else in your family playing tennis besides the two of you? The youngsters, see them getting into competitive tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know.

Q. I understand you've been giving lessons this week. Like a good father, you're very joyful at the good shots and so on.

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure, sure. We have a lot of fun out there. I mean, I don't know how it's all going to go really. Once he starts showing any competitive spirit to do it, I certainly would nurture that because I believe in what tennis has offered me. But tennis has given me a lot because I've poured a lot of myself into it. Unless the decision is yours to really give of yourself, it would never be the same experience anyhow.

Q. Do you golf?

ANDRE AGASSI: I've golfed before.

Q. Can you put Scott Draper's accomplishment in any perspective?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, unfortunately I can only sort of speak to one side of his accomplishments, which is the tennis. I mean, golf, I don't know if I really have a perspective of just how difficult that is. But it is pretty amazing. I don't know if that could ever be matched. You're talking about a sport that's year-round, both of them. You know, while we hit a ball like they do in golf, I mean, everybody knows it's a lot easier to hit a ball that's moving than the ball that's just sitting there. So it is amazing.

I've never seen him hit one golf ball, I've just heard about it. I don't know exactly how hard that accomplishment is. I just know it would be impossible for me and I'd be really surprised if we ever saw that again.

Q. Ellsworth Vines , champion of both golf and tennis.

ANDRE AGASSI: What kind of champion in tennis?

Q. He was a Slam winner.

ANDRE AGASSI: What year was that?

Q. '31.

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah, I remember watching that match (smiling). That's a good effort.

Q. Andy was speaking about this yesterday before Donald Young played today, that he thinks maybe he's been playing pro matches at this level, Masters Series , too early. He's won something like 11 or 12 games in three matches. For a 15-year-old kid who is not that big physically, is it maybe a better idea to play ITF Juniors a little more, Futures? Is there a danger of him being pushed too fast, maybe losing his way?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I have never actually seen him hit a ball yet, so I would look forward to that.

I think it's important to have good direction for one's career at all stages, but especially sort of this stage. I wouldn't say it's necessarily a mistake to be out here taking your lumps because it's what you have to face ultimately. And if there's areas of your game that are suffering, it will be highlighted. I think it can wear on you mentally if you're not being directed and responding, sort of making the adjustments necessary where you could feel the improvement and the motivation in it.

But I don't know who's even guiding him. I'm not even sure, outside of what I hear, about what he even plays like.

I don't think by definition it's a mistake, no.

Q. How is the class of 2008 for your college preparatory academy doing?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's doing amazing. I watched them grow. Most of those kids were there since third grade. Now they all know how to fill out college applications. They're all dreaming about where they're going to go. It's going to be an emotional time, 2009, first graduating class.

Q. Can you talk about the Top 4 that have emerged in tennis, Andy Roddick , Roger Federer , Lleyton Hewitt , and whatnot. Is there a motivation for everybody else to catch up to that pack?

ANDRE AGASSI: The "whatnot" would be Safin , right (smiling)?

I think it's great for a sport to have the best that are out there be so sort of recognized and appreciated by tennis fans for one reason or another. I think the way Roger's played separates him. I think Lleyton's competitiveness and persistence on the court is easy for people to appreciate. Certainly Andy lets it all hang out out there. That's always admirable. Safin is always good value. You've got a great group of guys there that can help push the sport forward, while at the same time they all can play pretty darn well.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

03-14-2005, 12:03 PM

March 12, 2005

A. AGASSI/W. Arthurs
6-4, 6-1



Q. What have you got against Wayne's serving streak?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I've been sort of the long list of players in
his wake. I mean, I just have to deal with it. You know, it's
nothing short of luck sometimes when you do get that break.

It was a bit breezy tonight. I think maybe he couldn't serve as
close to the lines in the second as he might have wanted to, a few
double-faults. If you don't serve close to the lines, you push to
get forward a little quicker, and maybe it caused a few foot-faults,
as well. I was seeing the ball good, I was hitting it clean. I was
down three set points at Love-1 in the first set. That was a bit
nerve-wracking. I don't know if I've ever been down three set points
in the first game of a match, but that's certainly how I was looking
at it at the time.

Q. Breakpoints?

ANDRE AGASSI: Set points. I call them set points against him. Set's
over if you lose one of those.

Q. Ending two long streaks like that, does that say something about
your service returning game?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, I don't know. I mean, listen, I've had plenty of
matches -- I mean, I'm on the receiving end of the most aces ever
hit. So that doesn't speak too highly of my return, does it? It was
nice to get ahold of a few tonight.

Q. Second set, you seemed to be reading them well. Broke him three

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think he probably got discouraged, too. It was
important against a player like that, that you return the second
serve well. I mean, he has such a fast arm, so versatile with what
he can do with the first serve and the second. But the second, if
you get your racquet on it, you've got to put a good cut on the ball
to make an impression. Tonight I was doing that well.

Q. It's probably rare to say about you, but it's just nice to get a
W. Must feel pretty good to go out there. Last couple matches must
have been rough.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I was certainly disappointed last week. But, you
know, I felt pretty good coming here. The whole week's been a great
week of practice. It would be nice to string a few good matches
together. I was playing well in Dubai. Don't let my score against
Federer deceive you. I played pretty well.

Q. Aside from breaking Wayne four times, the rest of the game you
made five unforced errors the rest of the match.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, he's not the type of player that you can hit a
lot of unforced errors against because he's pressuring you, so every
shot is sort of a forced shot. But, you know, I walk that line
pretty well of being aggressive but yet not taking too many chances.
And that's important to do against a guy that can play some pretty
scrappy points. I mean, he can take you out of your rhythm as good
as anybody out there.

THE MODERATOR: Andre will play Pavel or Carraz next.

ANDRE AGASSI: I play both of them (laughter)?

Q. In Dubai, there's a photo of you looking way down. What is going
through your mind?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, that was pretty nerve-wracking. I wanted to get
close to the end, but I didn't want to get so close that a little
gust of wind would push me over. Just looking down to get a sense
for exactly how high we were. I concluded we were pretty high.

Q. Throughout your Grand Slam for Children, we've seen how Hollywood
stars can help raise some money for the charities. Last night we saw
how the tennis players can be entertaining. Are you going maybe also
to initiate or join any other future events like last night to help
the causes all around the world?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I certainly wish I could do a lot more than I
do. You have to be, unfortunately, selective just based on schedules
and everything else you're trying to balance. You've got to
designate the time you're going to give throughout the year and
focus on the change you want to make. You know, it's not possible to
do it all. But last night was a great opportunity, being here,
getting in front of the crowd that supported this event for so many
years, to come together for such a great cause is a great feeling
amongst your own peers. Something like that, it's a great thing to
be a part of. I would love to do it again.

Q. A couple days ago Charlie told the Los Angeles Times that the
tournament was in financial trouble, that he possibly might have to
sell the tournament after the '06 event. What are your thoughts on
that possibility, the impact for the community here and for tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, this event has been certainly a staple of the
desert over so many years. That would be an unfortunate thing. You'd
hate to see it move. But, you know, you certainly would hate to see
Charlie not be a part of it either. I mean, he's been great for our
sport. I certainly hope he stays heavily involved. If the tournament
did go anywhere, I would hope it to be Vegas, to be quite honest.

Q. According to rumor, it would go overseas. Do you think that would
be a problem for American tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, the sport is growing internationally. Seats
are filled. American market has been a little bit tougher on our
sport the last number of years. Certainly losing tournaments here
wouldn't help that. We definitely need the market here. So I'm sure
that would have somewhat of an impact. But we'd be picking up a lot
of support internationally. But we need it here, for sure - not only
the tournament, I mean the market of America and tennis.

Q. It was reported somewhere, did you have a direct financial
interest in Scottsdale?


Q. Why didn't you just pick up that tournament and move it to Vegas?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's not so easy as doing that. You know, you
have relationships and you have certainly a lot of things to
consider. Plus Vegas isn't sort of prepared just to take on an
event. It would require some good thought as to how it can happen
there. I mean, you're talking about the entertainment capital of the
world. Not easy to compete with all that entertainment for a week
and get some arena to sign off on a week of tennis. Weather's not
terribly ideal at that time of year. You know, there's just a lot of
relationships to consider.

Q. Have you ever gone down that road a little bit? You mentioned all
the problems of bringing something to Vegas. But some sort of tennis

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure. Originally worked hard to have the Masters Cup
here the two years that it went to Shanghai. We brought the Davis
Cup there, as you know, as you remember, in '95. Davis Cup's a great
format for the Vegas market. Nice way to spend your weekend. Yeah,
my comment's it's just hard to do everything you want to do right
now when you feel like you're treading water.

Q. Having said what you just said about the fact that Scottsdale
could necessarily go to Las Vegas, but you also said you'd like to
be able to see this one go to Las Vegas. Do you think you need
something of this size and magnitude on the tour to be able to fit
in over there? If that is the case, would you support it by whatever
means? Do you think this could go to Dubai, because they're
screaming for a bigger event there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, first of all, I'll say the common sort of thread
in all these questions is me really wanting to have tennis and Vegas
correlated. Both have been such an important part of my life. Do I
think like an event like Scottsdale or this could succeed in Vegas,
would it need to be sort of this size? You know, I don't know. I
really don't know. We're a city that you come into town for a week
and you'd be able to see, you know, 12 different bands coming
through at any given intersection. The competition for
entertainment, it's pretty tough. You know, you have to bring a
strong package, for sure. I think this event is a great event and
would have the potential. It would need to be a big tournament to
have a chance. I played Dubai for the first time this year, and was
blown away with their tournament and how they run it. They certainly
have a great platform to host a big event. Whether it was this or
something else, I'm a big fan of it over there. To see all those
cultures sort of living together, living together peacefully, is an
amazing thing. I think it's something the world should be more aware

Q. When you were in Dubai, did you mention you might want to visit

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I was back in LA on Monday for the Davis Cup.

Q. I mean, in the future maybe.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it's something I would see, absolutely.

Q. I've watched you from age six to when you were throwing your
shirt in the crowd. Last decades you've done wonderful things. Do
you sense you're a role model now for other players hopefully going
in the same direction and giving back what you're giving?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think we're all role models, to be quite
honest with you. I mean, I don't think it's just players. I think
it's people. I think everybody needs to assume a level of
responsibility and accountability to making, you know, this world a
better place. If I've done anything to help inspire somebody else to
give more of themselves, whether financially or with their time,
then I'd feel honored by that. I'd feel very flattered by it. I
think it's part of why I do what it is I do. It's not just to raise
awareness and money, to change children's lives, but it's also to
create the belief in people's minds and hearts that change can be
made if you step up and do it.

Q. Every time you come out to play, you put on a show. It always
looks good. It never looks like you lack any motivation. Deep down
inside playing so many years, so many tournaments, do you ever have
problems motivating yourself for another tournament, another day,
another year? What do you do to deal with it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, if you say I haven't struggled with that, then I
should be a poker player in my next life. Looks can be deceiving,
you know. It's not easy. It's never easy. Some days feel better than
others. Some days go according to plan. You know, in between all the
fun you have, there's work. Work isn't always something that comes
easy. But those are the days you ultimately can feel most proud
about yourself if you see it through.

Q. Do you have any mental training to psych yourself up? Does your
family, does your base help you? What is it that you have that
others don't that helps you doing it so many years?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know what others have. I can say the days I
don't feel like it, if I just find a way, that's what makes me most
proud. It's a challenge. That is the battle. That is the difficult
part. It's easy to play great tennis when you're playing great, you
know. It's easy to play well when things are going well. It's all
those other matches that happen, all the other reasons for why you
might not feel good, whether it's the traveling or the rest or the
injuries that one might have. I mean, there's a lot of reasons not
to feel good; but it's never a reason not to give your best. And
that's something I always strive for and quite often don't succeed

Q. Does the cyclical part of the game get to you or is it no more
cyclical than other sports? Is it not a problem?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I think it's a great part of our sport. I mean, in
any sort of normal life of not traveling around and playing tennis
for a living, once a year or New Year's you take stock in your life.
You look at yourself and say, "Where was I a year ago? Where am I
today?" You know, we have that opportunity week after week. You're
going back to the same places, to the people that you've known for
so long, to the places you've seen for so long. You've seen them
change; you've changed. And every week is sort of a real opportunity
to take stock in your own life. That I'm pretty thankful for. I
mean, I know exactly, last year sitting out by the pool, I know how
scared my son was to jump in the water. I remember it well. It was
just a year ago. It's pretty amazing. Pretty amazing opportunity to
be so aware of the passing of time week after week. That makes up
for any redundancy that might exist.

Q. Something really special has been built here since the La Quinta
days, the Hyatt, this new site. It also means a lot in a lot of
people's lives. Attendance is actually up. An argument could be
built that the first thing to do would be to somehow try and make it
work here. Is that something that rings true to you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, no question. I mean, I think a place that has
been so successful at running a tournament and created an incredible
facility in the middle of a desert, I mean, deserves that chance. I
don't know the accounting of it. I don't know sort of the inherent
stumbling blocks that exist. And I would be very open to helping and
figuring out how maybe we can manage it. Listen, I'm sure there's a
lot of intricacies about it that at this present moment I'm not
aware of that I couldn't speak to.

Q. I want to find out how Steffi spends her day. We love her and we
miss her.

ANDRE AGASSI: How do you think somebody spends there day with a
three-and-a-half and one-and-a-half-year-old? It's really busy. []

Q. Is she happy with that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, she's no different than her tennis. You're
convinced there's no other place she wants to be than where she is.
That's a testament to who she is. Tennis was just merely an arena
that we all got to witness it in. But that exists day after day. I
mean, it's amazing watching the kids grow. As long as she gets in
her good hour of exercise, not a whole lot can throw her off course.

03-29-2005, 04:59 PM
for all agassi fans, here's a nice article from espn classic. hope you all enjoy it, much as i enjoyed reading it...

By Mike Puma
Special to ESPN.com

"You're from Vegas, you understand show business. You know what the people want and you know how to give it to them. And Andre came from the school of giving the people what they want. He understands that innately. He just knew something we didn't know about pleasing crowds," says Jim Courier on ESPN Classic's SportsCentury series.

Early in his career, he was the renegade of tennis who once promised to "wake up the country club." Andre Agassi did just that, making a name for himself with his long hair, loud apparel and rambunctious behavior as much as his talent. He also drew headlines for his "image is everything" commercial and with his romance -- and marriage -- to actress Brooke Shields.

Early in Andre Agassi's career, he made a name for himself with his long hair and loud apparel as much as his talent.


Now into his 30s, Agassi has mellowed. The mention of his name no longer evokes thoughts of a rebel, just one of the game's top performers, someone who has won eight majors, which is one more than John McEnroe did. After his divorce from Shields, Agassi is in love again, this time with former tennis star Steffi Graf, whom he wed in October 2001.

Agassi is one of only five men to have won a career Grand Slam -- Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open. Not even his arch-rival, Pete Sampras, has accomplished this feat.


Agassi also has an Olympic gold medal from 1996 and helped the U.S. to Davis Cup titles in 1990, '92 and '95. Once a staunch supporter of the U.S. Davis Cup team, Agassi says he doesn't have it in him to continue playing the event despite a lifetime 30-5 singles record.

The winner of more than $26 million on tour, Agassi had 55 singles titles through the 2003 Australian Open.

The defiant Agassi skipped Wimbledon for three years early in his career because of his discontent with the playing surface and what he deemed a stuffy atmosphere. He's also seen his career plummet twice, only to both times recover and regain his place among the elite.

"I've had these years where tennis hasn't been the top priority," Agassi said after winning the 2001 Australian Open. "There can be some regrets there, but that has saved me for the long run. My best tennis can still be ahead of me."

The youngest of four children, Agassi was born on April 29, 1970 in Las Vegas. His father Mike boxed for Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics before immigrating to Chicago. But Mike, who concentrated on tennis after ending his boxing career, couldn't tolerate the cold winters and moved his family to Las Vegas in 1962 so he and his children could play tennis year round. Mike took jobs in the casinos while his wife Betty worked as an alien certification specialist.

As soon as Andre could stand, he was given a full-sized tennis racket. When he was four, he hit balls with Jimmy Connors and played an exhibition match against Bobby Riggs. Growing up, Andre and his brother and two sisters hit thousands of balls every week. By Andre's count, he hit 3,000 shots a day, seven days a week.

"Dad raised me to play," Agassi said. "I never considered doing anything else."

Early in 1984, Mike Agassi sent him to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The 13-year-old wasn't happy about leaving home, but his father was determined to make his younger son a champion.

"It was impossible to ignore Andre for long," Bollettieri wrote in his autobiography, "My Aces, My Faults." "He was too talented. He was a short, skinny kid who tried to kill every shot, who never held back. You could also see that he was a scrapper, a street fighter, and that he would scratch and claw to win."

Turning pro two days after his 16th birthday, Agassi's first Grand Slam event was the 1986 U.S. Open, where he lost to Jeremy Bates in the first round. He finished the year ranked No. 91.

Agassi is one of only five men to win a career Grand Slam.
Agassi's Wimbledon debut came in 1987, when he lost to Henri Leconte in the first round. A disgusted Agassi -- he hated playing on grass -- later said, "This isn't tennis."

Agassi's career took off the following year as he won six singles titles and made a dent in the Grand Slam events, reaching the semifinals of the French and U.S. Opens. He finished the year ranked third.

In 1989, Agassi surpassed $1 million in career earnings in only his 43rd tournament, faster than any player before him. At the 1990 French Open, Agassi's black denim shorts covering his pink stretch pants and his multicolored headband raised some eyebrows. But that didn't stop him from advancing to the final, where he lost to Andres Gomez.

Later that year, he beat Boris Becker in the semifinals of the U.S. Open before losing to Sampras in the final.

After refusing to play Wimbledon from 1988-90 because of his distaste for the surface and atmosphere -- including the all-white dress code -- Agassi returned in 1991. The next year, as the 12th seed, he won the tournament, beating hard-serving Goran Ivanisevic in the final for his first Grand Slam title. "If my career was over tomorrow, I had a lot more than I deserved," Agassi said.

But he couldn't immediately feed off the success. He was struggling in 1993 when Bollettieri quit as his coach, citing a strain in their relationship and that he wasn't happy with their financial arrangement. After losing in the first round of the U.S. Open, Agassi underwent surgery to remove scar tissue from his right wrist, ending his year.

Just as Agassi was being written off, he pulled a stunner in 1994 by becoming the first unseeded player since Fred Stolle in 1966 to win the U.S. title. Agassi, now coached by Brad Gilbert, beat Michael Stich in straight sets in the final.

And Agassi wouldn't let down after this Grand Slam victory. Four months later he made his first appearance at the Australian Open and won, defeating Sampras in a four-set final.

Agassi ascended to No. 1 for the first time and assembled a streak of 26 straight victories, a career high that was halted by Sampras in the U.S. Open final. "In 1995, I proved to myself that I can go day in, day out, week after week, winning," Agassi said.

The highlight of 1996 for Agassi took place in Atlanta when he became the first American man to win the Olympic gold medal in singles since 1924, defeating Spain's Sergi Bruguera in the final.

Agassi missed most of 1997 due to a recurring wrist injury. On April 19, he married Shields in Monterey, Calif. With the love of his wife taking precedence of his love of the game, Agassi's performances dimmed and by November his ranking had slipped to No. 141.

But Agassi was about to prove once again that there's no overestimating his desire to be the best. With the love having gone out of his marriage, Agassi resurrected his game on the tour challenger circuit. Returning to the ATP tour, he continued his outstanding play and was ranked No. 6 at the end of 1998.

Agassi has won eight Grand Slam tournaments.
In April 1999, his divorce to Shields was final. That June, he defeated Andrei Medvedev in the French Open final, enabling him to complete a career Grand Slam.


A month later, he reached the Wimbledon final, but was crushed in straight sets by Sampras. Despite the defeat, a week later he regained the No. 1 spot -- from Sampras -- for the first time in three years.

Agassi's big year continued with his second U.S. Open championship. In beating Todd Martin in the final, Agassi became the first man in 26 years to rally from a 2-1 deficit in sets.

Agassi made it four straight appearances in a Grand Slam final -- the first time a player had accomplished that since Rod Laver in 1969 -- by beating Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the 2000 Australian Open final. Agassi successfully defended his Australian title in 2001 when he defeated Arnaud Clement in the final.

Two years later, he won his fourth Australian Open with a rout of Rainer Schuettler. At 32, Agassi was the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title since Andres Gimeno in 1972.

03-29-2005, 05:33 PM
thanks for the article joice!

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

03-29-2005, 06:25 PM
here's another one...


He is a great champion, one of the most talented ever. He has been a professional tennis player for more than 18 years now, this is more than half his life ! And he is still alive and kicking, beating all the "new balls".

His story is a really long one. He has been eating, drinking and breathing tennis since he was born. During his amazing career, he has had ups and downs. But he always managed to find motivation, work hard and come back at the top level.


This is Andre Agassi's story...

The first balls, the school, and the professional circuit

Andre's story begins like an American Dream in Las Vegas, the city of gambling and casinos. His father - Emmanuel Agassi(an) - is an Armenian from Iran who decided to come to the United States in 1952 to become a professional boxer. Before that, he had already been selected for the Olympic Games of London (1948) and Helsinki (1952), competing for his native country.

As he was not able to become a champion himself, Mike (his "new" first name) decided his kids would become champions. The legend says he offered baby boy Andre a little tennis racket so that his son could begin to play in the cradle (!). Before that, Mike tried to teach tennis to Rita, Tami and Phillip and his children would hit balls every day before and after school. Andre appears to be really talented and plays with Pancho Gonzales, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors or Ilie Nastase before his tenth birthday !!

At the age of thirteen, he enters the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida. As a former paratrooper, Nick Bolletieri believes in disciplin, hard work, mental and physical condition. During five years, Andre trains hards and builds his game. The daily program is a mix of tennis, muscle-developing exercises, tennis, golf and tennis. In this "training camp", Agassi meets Aaron Krickstein, Jimmy Arias, David Wheaton or Jim Courier. A list of names proving that Bolletieri's method is not THE method...

But Andre is talented and willing : he wins several junior championships and is certainly one of the best players of his age. Thus he decides to become professional at the age of sixteen only ! He wins his first ATP title in not later than 1987 in Itaparica. 1988 is his first really great season as he wins six titles (out of seven finals played) and reaches two Grand Slam semi-finals in Roland Garros and Flushing Meadow. His long hair and his denim shorts become famous as well as his forehand. At the end of this amazing season, Andre is ranked number three in the world and his win/loss ratio is 63/11 !!!

Tennis player or star ?

Agassi's climb is really astonishing, but things tend to become a bit more complicated. While his forehand is still feared by his opponents, Andre's first weaknesses reveals themselves : sometimes he cannot stick to a tactic plan throughout his matches, so when his opponent offers too much resistance, his seems to give up and not fight as hard as he ought to. And a sort of fear of winning seems to paralyze him in the main events. In the 1990 Roland Garros final, Agassi should have won against veteran Andres Gomes, but he loses in four sets. A few months later in Flushing Meadow, a young unknown Pete Sampras easily beats him in the US Open final 6-4 6-3 6-2.

In 1991, Andre is one more time the favourite of the Roland Garros final against Jim Courier. But Battle Jim (and the rain !) get rid of Agassi in five sets. Another major loss that leads to the question : will Agassi ever be able to win a Grand Slam tournament and become number one ? Andre does not seem physically so sharp as he used to be and rumor says he prefers eating pizzas and junk food rather than training… Some say Agassi is more a star, an idol or a commercial icon rather than a tennis player.

They are wrong. The biggest surprise and the greatest victory for Agassi occurs during these difficult times. He wins his first Grand Slam tournament where nobody would have expected him to : on the Wimbledon grass. During two extraordinary weeks, Andre beats some of the best grass-court players like Boris Becker, John McEnroe or Goran Ivanisevic. His returns, his passing-shots, his vicacity and his reflexes disconcert his opponents. Agassi then wins the Toronto tournament and the Davis Cup.

But in 1993 a chronic tendinitis on his right wrist keeps him from playing his highest level. In december of the same year, he has an operation of the wrist and points only 32nd when he comes back to competition in 1994. Once again, many doubt he will be capable of winning again. And once again, Agassi will prove them wrong. In March 1994, Brad Gilbert becomes his trainer. This meeting will be decisive.

Brad the Alchemist

Brad Gilbert was not one of the greatest players of all time. He did not win any Grand Slam tournament, but he managed to climb up to the 4th place in the ATP ranking. He was not the fairest and recently wrote a book entitled "Winning Ugly", which is clear enough. From 1994, Brad teaches Agassi how to win even when not playing his best tennis. By keeping Andre focused, he enables him to get his self-confidence back.

Agassi is back and wins his second Grand Slam "at home", at the US Open before winning in Vienna and Paris. He goes on in 1995 winning the Australian Open for his first participation, beating Pete Sampras in the final. Andre wins six more tournaments throughout the season and becomes for the first time number one in the world in April.

But things will get more complicated again and the 1996 season is not so good for Andre, although his gold medal in the Atlanta Olympic Games is a great one ! Then, in 1997, Agassi's drop is massive as he does not win any tournament which did not happen to him since 1986. Agassi seems to be happy with Brooke Shields but not on the court anymore... In November 1997, he is ranked 141st in the world !

At this stage, nobody believes Agassi can reach the top again. Even Andre is doubtful about that. That is why he, Brad and Gil Reyes - his assistant and friend - go back to the basics. Andre even plays a couple of challenger tournaments and after a while recovers his game, his will of playing as well as his self-confidence. Back to the top, he wins six tournaments in 1998 ! But no Grand Slam.

Agassi and Gilbert decide to focus on these four main events. Winning Grand Slam tournaments, here is the goal. What about the results ? Andre wins Roland Garros and the US Open in 1999. He also plays a final in Wimbledon losing to a great Pete Sampras. During the 2000 season, he wins the Australian Open again and reaches the semi-final in Wimbledon. Then in 2001, Andre won in Melbourne again, successfully defending a Grand Slam title for the first time in his career, reached one more time the semi-final in Wimbledon. Thus, Agassi confirms once and for all he is a great champion and one of the greatest of all time :-) He wins in Indian Wells, Miami and Los Angeles as well.

The end of his season is not so good, as he gets married with Steffi Graf and they have a son, Jaden Gil. Agassi is now happy on and off the court.

"Is Agassi invincible ?". This is the title of the French Tennis Magazine
after Andre's incredible beginning in 2001


The show goes on

He is now a husband, a dad, with 16 years of professional tennis as a career, but Agassi still feels like playing and winning. He and Brad Gilbert decide to split up (as friends though). Agassi is now working with Australian Darren Cahill, former coach of Lleyton Hewitt. There is a big threat in the very beginning of the 2002 season when he withdraws from the Australian Open because of a wrist injury (the same as in 1993 when he had to have surgery). But after a few weeks of rest, Andre is back again, reaching the final in san Jose and winning in Scottsdale, Miami and Rome, thirteen years after his first final in the Italian capital !

Andre plays very well during the summer as he wins in Los Angeles and reaches the final in the US Open where he meets long-time rival Pete Sampras who has not won a tournament in two years. Twelve years after, Pete wins again in four sets. This is an incredibly high-standard match. After that, Andre wins in Madrid and is close to finishing the season as the number one.

In 2003, Andre wins the Australian Open for the fourth time. He also wins in San Jose, Miami and Houston. On the 3rd of October, Steffi gives birth to a little girl named Jaz Elle. Agassi chooses to put tennis aside for a while. He is back on the court for the Masters Cup and reaches the final ! But he loses to an extraterestrial Roger Federer.

In the Australian Open 2004, Andre reaches the semi-final and loses in five tough sets to Marat Safin. A hip injury then keeps him from playing good tennis… until the summer. Andre wins in Cincinnati for the third time ! He wins his 17th Masters Series tournament !!! He plays a semi-final in the Madrid TMS and reaches the final in Stockholm, but does not qualify for the Masters Cup (for the first time since 1997).

In 2005, Andre is still thirsty to win. He plays a good Australian Open until an extraordinary Roger Federer beats him in the quarter of final.

"Agassi. Tennis and after ?". The Tennis Magazine asks this question in February 2004.
This is not relevant so far. Agassi is stil focused on tennis !


03-29-2005, 10:46 PM
Andre Agassi calls for change in format

It’s difficult for all players to play all the time, says Agassi
Miami: American veteran Andre Agassi believes the Davis Cup is too time-consuming for top players and wants a change in format to entice the biggest names in the sport to take part.

“It’s not realistic to expect all the players to play all the time,” said Agassi, who came out of Davis Cup retirement for his country’s first-round defeat to Croatia in California earlier this month.

“The schedule is difficult as it is. The wear and tear on one’s body these days versus when I first came on is a whole different animal.

“Guys hit the ball bigger, every movement is more violent. There’s much more injury. It’s harder to do this for a long period of time, playing Davis Cup every year.

“For all the players to play all the time, a change would have to be made.”

The top 10 players like Swiss Roger Federer, Spain’s Carlos Moya and Britain’s Tim Henman have all chosen not to play Davis Cup this seaon — Henman has retired from the competition altogether — in order to save their bodies for Grand Slam and Tour events.

Agassi said he has not spoken to the ITF about a change in the format and admitted that he has no suggestions as to how the competition should be restructured.

“We all sort of agree in bigger terms that it would be great to have all the players playing, it would be great to have a format that works,” he said.

“Davis Cup does also take tennis to a lot of places in the world that wouldn’t normally get a chance. It generates a lot of interest and economics. So there’s a lot to be considered.”

“I certainly wouldn’t claim to know even 50 per cent of that. Calling a problem and solving a problem are two different things,” he added.

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

03-30-2005, 12:33 AM
A. AGASSI/G. Gaudio
7‑6, 6‑2

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. "Execution" and "closing the deal" are two of your favorite terms. How well do you feel you did that today?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, real good. The first set was as hard a set as you'll ever have, about an hour and a half almost. A match like that can just turn into a first‑class battle, you know, I mean, all the way through from start to finish. Or if you take your right chances, you can maybe break a match like that open. Today, that's what happened. I played a few good points when I had to, and a couple things went right for me. I took advantage of it, and that makes life a lot easier.

Q. It took you a while to close out that first set. You needed quite a few set points there.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it was sort of the story of the entire first set for both of us. I think we both had a lot of chances to break serve. It was hard to get over the line. We were both fighting hard for those points and coming up with some good shots.

It was just keeping the big picture in mind. I wasn't getting too hung up on any given point. I just kept trying to execute. You know, breaker happened to go my way, which felt pretty good.

Q. When he tried to make that shot between his legs, was that kind of a sign to you that you were going to win?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I knew I was one game closer when he attempted that. That's all I was thinking. I mean, I was glad he tried it, but it's an odd shot to play in that situation.

You know, when he made that error, I mean, it was just an unforced error really was what it was. I thought to myself, "Okay, here we go. It's 4‑2, just go to work. Maybe break again." I managed to do that.

Q. Does that signify to you he's almost throwing in the white flag?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you don't want to read too much into the situation. You just take it for face value. I mean, he threw away an important point that he could have capitalized on, and that gave me a 4‑2 lead.

So as far as I was concerned, it was 0‑0 and we were going to work. I'm just a little bit closer to the finish line. So I don't read too much into it. I don't know why he tried that. I've seen him make it, though. It's an amazing shot when he makes it.

Q. You're past the stage I guess most of us would be in, "God, I've missed seven breakpoints, how can this go on?" Do you ever think about that or is it on to the next point?

ANDRE AGASSI: Ideally, it's on to the next point, but I do think about it, sure I do. You learn through a lot of experiences that the most important point is the next one, regardless of what's happening out there. Nothing you can really do about what just transpired, but you can control what is about to happen. That's the difficulty in it all, is keeping that focus.

But that is the goal, and sometimes I accomplish it. A lot of times I don't.

Q. When you go up against Roger, you've got your game, you know what you do best, you just try to execute it better than you had the last time? Or do you consciously think about making some significant changes?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you have to have an awareness of what his ridiculous strengths are, and you have to make him beat you with his average strength. Really, that's all you can do. You just don't want to ‑‑ there's few given times you don't want to play into what he does best.

But overall, you have to play your best tennis. You know, it's a fine line you walk, making slight adjustments, but making sure you're not taking yourself out of what it is you're comfortable with.

Q. Because he's so good, can he make you overanalyze what you're going to do out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, it's not the analyzation that's a problem, it's his ability to keep you from executing. I mean, he just can keep you from doing that when he's playing that standard of tennis.

But you have to do it every day.

Q. Will you be watching the Williams sisters tonight?

ANDRE AGASSI: I hadn't really thought about my evening plans, but something tells me they're going to revolve around a three‑and‑a‑half and a one‑and‑a‑half‑year‑old.

Q. This rivalry has fizzled a little bit. To what extent at this point does it interest you, when the two sisters get together?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, to be quite honest, it's always been difficult for me to watch that. I think it's gotten easier sort of as they've gotten more experienced with doing it. I just couldn't imagine what it's like competing against a sibling. Certainly in the house and the home that I grew up in, it would have been an emotional drama to go through that. So to watch them have to face that has been, to me, a difficult thing to watch. It's just unfortunate to imagine you or your brother winning or losing, you know, especially when they've been competing for world titles.

So I've never been comfortable watching it, to be quite honest.

Q. Gaudio was the fall guy at the Tennis Masters Cup. Of course he took your place by virtue of the fact that he was the French Open place, even though you were ranked 8 you didn't make it, much to the dismay of Jim and all the local fans. What do you feel about this? Do you feel it should be the top eight that qualify, or do you think they should stick with this present rule?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it can work the other way, too. You can have four people that won Slams that aren't in the event, and that would be sort of a tragedy as well. So you can't quite have it both ways. I don't mind the rule, I just ‑‑ we all need to know the rules, and we do. That's fair enough.

You know, I had to finish top seven to make it, as it turned out, and I didn't do that.

Q. Did you miss playing last year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure, I did. I don't know if we'll ever have it back here again. I missed it tremendously. I think Mattress Mack puts on one heck of an event, made all the adjustments necessary to make it a great event for the players and the fans, and I'm sorry I missed it.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

03-30-2005, 07:03 PM
do we have this article fans?

Posted on Wed, Mar. 30, 2005

Playing 20 questions with Andre Agassi


Miami Herald

1) Were you an insecure superstar?

"I don't know about the superstar part. I can attest to the insecurity, which I still fight pretty much by the day. Being objective about yourself is a very hard thing to do. But when you are on the world stage, you can't help but hear the truth quite often, and in a pretty harsh way. That's been a curse and a great blessing because I deal well with honesty and try to evolve from it."

2) The character trait you most admire in others?

"Empathy - the ability to look at any given situation through the lens of someone else. Understand the full capacity of that emotion. It holds you accountable and leaves you fulfilled."

3) You were around Steffi Graf for a long time before you began a relationship. How did you figure out you loved her?

"Laughter Same way anyone else does, I guess: I had the opportunity to understand how and who she was. I've marveled at her from a distance, like so many. For a lot of reasons. The looks are something I always responded most to when I didn't know her. ... Such a caveman ... Hey, an honest question deserves honest answer. But then you notice the pillars in her life that are a testament to who a person is. The saying is so true: You are what you do. I've always respected how she goes about her work, business, relationships. Companies. Coaches. People she has been so loyal to. The people in her life. Then I basically stalked her. Then I got to know her. And it has been a joy since."

4) Three athletes anywhere you most respect?

"Wow. That's not an easy one. Alonzo Mourning has impressed me a lot through his foundation and what he cares about. His heart and commitment, pretty amazing. And seeing what people can do when they are 40 is pretty darned inspiring. Jerry Rice or Karl Malone. That hits the spot for me."

5) During the last 15 years of growth from child star to introspective adult, what are you most embarrassed by?

"Laughter Probably my mullet. My hair. Sometimes it is better to not have any options anymore. He is bald now. Early on, I'm rather embarrassed about not understanding the world stage and that things you say and do in a casual sense get perceived in a grand sense and you can get boxed in. I've tried to make sure that everything I say and do now has some sort of reflection on who I am. It's a discipline."

6) You look back at photos of yourself with that hair and think what?

"Boy, I would like to burn those. The hardest part is after games, when you are signing autographs and there are loyal fans who have been with you since the beginning. And they are pulling out pictures taken of you when you started. Laughter I mean, I want to be there for you and sign it, but I'm having a hard time signing that for you."

7) You got much better older. What is the difference between the second half of your career and the first?

"I grew up. I started choosing my battles and realizing I could only expect a commitment from myself to be the person I aspire to be. That's not an easy thing. Still isn't. The effort and the journey is something people can respect and identify with, I hope."

8) What are you proudest of professionally?

"I've taken a sport I've had a rough time with, and I've allowed it to make me better as a person. Tennis has been so good to me. Taught me a lot about myself. I've allowed it to become quite a friend. To play it at a time in my life when I'm old enough to appreciate and embrace the opportunity is probably my greatest joy."

9) What do you love and hate most about tennis?

"Here's what I love about it: I love that tennis is a one-on-one sport only about problem solving. There are so many parallels between those lines and life. It taught me how to dig deep and take that next step even if you question it. That helped me in other parts of my life when I thought I was on the ropes. Get back to the fundamentals and know the most important point is the next one. And, to be quite honest, the hardest part is the grind - putting yourself in position to do it every day. The traveling. The commitment. Takes its toll. But that's what makes the good times special."

10) Where do you place yourself among the greatest male tennis player of all time?

"It's hard to argue with stats. Rod Laver, what he accomplished, every slam in the same year twice. And Pete Sampras, most slams ever. Hard to argue with that. Where do I put myself? I don't know. I was privileged to be on the other end of the court with Pete. I expected to win every time and, most of the time, I didn't. Thirty-five times, he beat me 19. You sort of marvel at everyone else. If you aren't watching the ball and moving your feet, it's a useless conversation. So I put my effort there."

11) You are forever linked with Sampras. You like him? Respect him? Describe that relationship.

"I respect him tremendously. We've done battle. What surprises most people is how little I knew him off the court. He was a very single-minded man, and we only dealt with each other across that net. Hard not to respect someone like him. Liking him? He was always easy to get along with. Laughter But I think both of us would say that both of our greatest nightmares would be to wake up and have the other one's life."

12) You have been trying to convince Steffi to play doubles with you. Why won't she?

"I'm the good guy in that part. I try to talk her into it. She's convinced we have a very happy life together. She doesn't want to risk that, I don't think. It just might be the only real argument we get into will be over something trivial, so she chooses to avoid that."

13) You have built an inner-city school in Las Vegas. Why?

"It's the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. It gives the highest standard of education to children who wouldn't normally have that. When you see a child who has no hope or opportunity or the ability to even dream, and to watch them take ownership of their future, it is probably the greatest feeling you can have in your experiences with people."

14) What is the most moved you have been by something that project has produced?

"We have certain rules at our school. Parents have to sign contracts that they are going to volunteer and sign off on homework because we want to include the home environment. One young man called and said he understood the rules. But he said he had only one parent, his father, and that his father would not live up to this standard, but he didn't want it to cost him his chance. The child was the parent. His father was too irresponsible. One of the most touching stories I've ever heard."

15) What is the greatest thing about your hometown of Las Vegas?

"Its soul and culture. I've done press conferences defending the city. And the one thing you don't ever hear in the recording is the chuckles when I defend it. It's the fastest-growing city the last 30 years running. It is a city that believed something, dreamed it, then did it. And it's a mentality instilled in everyone there."

16) You have won $29 million in career prize money alone. What's the dumbest money you have spent?

"Laughter Brutal question. As a teenager, on the vehicles getting you from one destination to another. So much energy put into the car you rode in. At any given time, I'd have half a dozen cars on the expensive side. Learned real quick, it's not the ride to get somewhere - it's where it is you are going. I have the minivan now. Greatest car in the world. Doors open on the keychain. Awesome with grocery bags and two children hanging on you."

17) How has being a dad changed you most?

"Taught me to do more listening than talking. The more you know me, the more you know that's a skill I have to work on. You can't teach unless you are willing to learn. There's no space greater than a child's life. Learned how to learn. Be receptive to who they are. Discover that before going to what I believe.

18) When you were young, didn't you go to the mailbox and find checks for $1.4 million that you weren't even expecting?

"I don't know where any of this money has come from. It's a yellow, fuzzy tennis ball. I've learned real quickly to keep my eyes focused on that."

19) Five adjectives you would use to describe yourself to a stranger?

"I was never good in English class. I don't even think I know what an adjective is, honestly. I just always hope to come across as somebody willing to take that step every day to become more of who I want to be. That's what it is about. It's about not accepting yourself not getting a day better. And being patient enough to understand you can't get more than one day better in one day. That's what I try to live by."

20) How much longer you going to do this? When will you know to walk away?

"The simple answer is `I don't know' and `I don't know.' As long as I'm healthy and able to be out there playing my best tennis with the real expectation of finding a way to win, I've got to believe I'll keep pushing myself to do it. When the day comes that I don't feel my best tennis could get the job done, that would be my signal. If you had asked me six years ago where I'd be today, I could never have imagined this. I feel like I burn out every day. That's the given. Everyone gets tired of punching the clock and struggles. But it is what I do. I have to look for ways to fuel those batteries. And I don't have to look far anymore. Beautiful family and friends. Those batteries get recharged."

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

03-30-2005, 07:08 PM
somebody did post it already in general messages section...

Andre is very popular now in the forum!!!
i like it...
Go Andre! do nice wins this year!!!

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

04-01-2005, 02:24 AM
7-5, 6-0

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Andre advances to his 10th semifinal here in Key Biscayne and improves his career record to 61-12.

Questions for Andre.

Q. Federer is coming. What is your tactic?

ANDRE AGASSI: What is my plan, tune in tomorrow and see.

Q. Your serve was somewhat low, you had trouble closing the deal in the first set. Was there a reason for that?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think he puts a lot of pressure on your second. You feel more pressure to make your first serve, which sometimes causes you to disrupt your rhythm a little bit. I think I forced it a few times.

But I don't want to get too careful with it; I want to keep executing it. But I was probably pushing a little too close to the lines. He has a real good reach about him, too, when he's out there on the court. To get away with a cheap point, you got to hit a real good serve because he has a real good lunge.

I think that's a strong part of his game, believe it or not, his return is quite a factor.

Q. Did you sense him at all losing composure in the second set, getting frustrated by the calls?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, it would have been hard not to notice that. It was pretty disruptive to his game. You know, it was obviously not something you ever really want to wish on anybody, the feeling that, you know, that bad calls are happening.

Q. Did you try to help Taylor? He had the argument with the chair umpire. When you went to your side, you said something to him.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I was just clearing up -- at out of the corner of my ear, I caught the umpire suggesting to Taylor what I had said to him when I hit the shot that's in question. I just wanted to make sure that he wasn't miscommunicating anything I was intending to say to him, because between players, there's just an unwritten rule out there that you -- if somebody has an issue, you leave them alone with it. You know, if he's fighting the umpire on a call, you don't interfere. I didn't want Taylor to have the impression that I was actually trying to interfere with his complaining of the call. I was just clearing up the fact that I said to the umpire, "I just thought it was going out when it left my racquet, but I actually didn't see it bounce. I didn't see if it could have been in or out. I felt like I missed it."

I started walking because it felt like I missed it. Then when it bounced and they didn't call, you always leave room, “maybe it hit the line.” I was just surprised because I really thought I missed it and so did Taylor.

Q. Was that the turning point?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it certainly helped to get the break in the first game in the second. That was game point for him. Then I hit two good returns and I'm off to a break already. He was getting more frustrated as it went on from there.

Q. Were you unhappy with yourself for not closing it out early in the first set?

ANDRE AGASSI: I would have liked to. I mean, I think the bigger game -- he played a real good game at 5-4 in the first set to break me back. I was playing well just to hang in that game actually.

But the 2-1 game was a big game. I was in control of it. Eventually was a few errors that cost me the game, and that's -- that was a bit below what I was hoping for out there as far as my standard.

But I got it together well after that and felt good the rest of the match.

Q. Is it a factor that you just don't see many serve-and-volley players like him anymore? I know there's a few out there.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you sort of have to walk a fine line. It's breezy conditions. He's just sort of poking the ball in play, keeping it low with underspin. You're thinking, "If I'm playing a good baseliner and they hit a shot like this, I'm going to just let it rip," because you don't want to get behind in the point.

When you're playing somebody that's just sort of chipping it back, you're telling yourself "Don't take an unnecessary risk, because it's breezy." Sometimes that causes you not to hit a clean swing on the ball. You're almost better off getting a little bit more aggressive.

And that game I just made a few errors based on that.

Q. What do you need to do well tomorrow? What will be foremost in your priorities?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, seeing his form over the last year and a half, I'd say I'd have to be doing a lot of things well - no question about it. I'll have to be working my serve well, returning well, picking my shots, executing them. But, you know, I don't go out there really with any other expectation anymore at all against anybody. So I'll have to really step it up tomorrow, that's for sure.

Q. Is there something different that you can bring to the table tomorrow in the way of strategy that can take Federer out of his comfort zone?

ANDRE AGASSI: Maybe. If I do, I think we're going to have about 128 other guys be pretty excited to learn that one themselves.

Q. What did you do just so well to disrupt his game at the Open last year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it was just a quality match all the way around. We played three sets of high-standard tennis. Third set being one that I had chances in all the way through it until the very end. But that's what makes him so dangerous, at any point he can really step it up, so you have to always be respectful of that.

Then the next day was a bit of Russian roulette with the wind. It was pretty much a hurricane. So regardless of what happened that day, it wasn't going to be a true testament to the quality of tennis.

Q. In the junior competition there was a player that I saw named Seguso. It made me think, "one pair of tennis players produced another," do you think we'll see Agassi children in the event?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine, you know. I hope they care about whatever it is they choose.

Q. If you had to narrow down tomorrow's matchup, what would you say would be the decisive factor?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, the two things that he obviously does better than arguably anybody in the world is his movement and his forehand, you know. They're both big factors. So you have to know when to take your chance and not hesitate, and that's the way it is with all the guys. Except with him, it's what you consider your chance, you know. Certain guys you get a lot of looks. With him, you don't get many. So you have to recognize whatever does seem like a chance and be willing to execute it. I mean, you got to play a good match, unless he's not playing his best tennis.

Q. Does playing a night match affect your preparation in any way? Is there any difference between night and day when you play a guy like Roger?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, night plays slower, heavier than the day.

Q. Can that work towards your advantage?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know if it would be much of a factor. I would prefer to be in extreme conditions, you know, 142 degrees and crazy humidity and, you know, 12-mile-an-hour winds with 20-mile-an-hour gusts.

Q. The last time you beat him was in the final here in 2002. How much has he changed since then?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, he's evolved as a player incredibly. It's been something to watch. I mean, he makes a lot less errors in his game now, more firepower. Certainly more confidence.

Q. Did you have any inkling that maybe he would evolve the way he has that day? Did you think of it?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I'm not the best guy to ask with regard to that. As much as one might think I would know a lot about tennis based on my history with it, I remember watching Pete when I was 18 years old saying, "Why did he go to a one-handed backhand? He'll never, never win a match."

There you have it (smiling).

Q. How's your toe?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's good. How's yours? It's doing good. The toe is no longer something I hesitate on because I've pushed through it and it's maintained. It's not getting worse.

Q. Can I ask you something about your previous match against Gaudio.


Q. You have said many times that some players, when you were playing against them they were bringing the best out of you. Can we say that that first set against Gaudio brought the best tennis out of you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, where I consider -- best tennis to me is playing the biggest points with 100% freedom, choosing your shot and letting it go. There were a number of times that set where I had the chance and I missed a forehand up the line in the net because I pulled off of it a little bit, and he had some chances. So it was very competitive in the hardest set of tennis, the hardest one set of tennis that I've ever been a part of physically.

But to me, the best set of tennis is one where every time the set gets -- the game gets important, you do what it is you do best and you do it without any hesitation.

Q. Do you feel like you have a better shot against Roger here in Miami with all your success and home court advantage than you did in Dubai or Australia earlier in the year?

ANDRE AGASSI: I hope so, yeah. That's the plan. I mean, I can't pick anything more than a hard court with little wind, little humidity. It's good. That's what I've always performed well on. I've always played well here. Tomorrow I'm going to have to go out and play well again. So you can't hand-pick it better than Australia or here, and the court in Dubai I actually liked, too.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

05-14-2005, 01:56 AM
Agassi: 'Wetter größte Herausforderung'


Bei seiner Rückkehr zum grimmig kalten Rothenbaum fürchtet Superstar Andre Agassi das Hamburger Schmuddelwetter mehr als die versammelte Tennis-Elite.

Andre Agassi nebst Gattin Steffi Graf und Sohnemann Jaden Gil (dpa)

"Das Wetter ist die größte Herausforderung", meinte der Amerikaner, der seit 2001 einen Riesenbogen um die Hansestadt gemacht hatte. Erst am Dienstag greift der von der Sonne verwöhnte Spieler aus Las Vegas gegen den spanischen Sandplatzwühler Feliciano Lopez ins Geschehen der Masters-Series-Veranstaltung ein. Aber schon jetzt ist die Hansestadt in Aufruhr. Denn der 35-Jährige ist nicht allein nach Hamburg gekommen.

Auch Steffi Graf und die beiden Kinder Jaden Gil (3) und Jaz Elle (1) sind dabei, "schließlich haben wir uns zehn Tage nicht gesehen". Und das hat in der Medienstadt an der Elbe Folgen: An jeder Ecke, hinter jedem Strauch lauern die Paparazzi und lassen der berühmten Tennis-Familie keine Ruhe. "In Hamburg ist es immer besonders extrem und belastend", erzählte ein Freund der Familie.

Um so erstaunlicher ist die Gelassenheit, mit der Agassi den Rummel erträgt. "Das gehört nun mal dazu", meinte der achtmalige Grand Slam-Sieger und wandte sich den sportlichen Aufgaben zu. "Ich bin mit meiner Leistung auf Sand ziemlich zufrieden", sagte der French Open-Sieger von 1999, der in Hamburg bei bislang vier Auftritten nie übers Viertelfinale (1995) hinaus kam, in Rom am vergangenen Samstag aber im Halbfinale stand.

Nach den schlechten Erfahrungen des vergangenen Jahres, als er sich ungenügend auf die French Open vorbereitet hatte und in Roland Garros prompt in Runde eins auschied, geht der Weltranglisten-Siebte die Aufgabe diesmal seriöser an. Zum Glück für den Deutschen Tennis Bund, der jahrelang vergeblich um Agassi gebuhlt und sich wiederholt eine kurzfristige Absage eingehandelt hatte.

Ob es sein letzter Auftritt in Hamburg sein wird, wollte Agassi nicht verraten. In Deutschland bestimme seine Frau, was gemacht wird, meinte er grinsend. Doch im Ernst gestand der 35-Jährige: "Es wird härter jeden Tag. Und wenn man zwei Kinder hat, ist es erst recht nicht so einfach."

Wann wirklich Schluss ist mit dem Tennis, werde "eine Entscheidung der Familie sein", sagte Agassi in seiner Muttersprache English. Sein Deutsch reiche dafür nicht aus: "Aber es wird immer besser. Meine Frau sollte sich hüten."

Hier wetten - Deutschlands größtes Wettangebot!
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

05-17-2005, 08:23 PM
Americans in Paris? Not for long

Sandra Harwitt / tennisreporters.net
Posted: 1 hour ago

May 17, 2005

Like it or not, when it comes to the upcoming French Open, the clay court surface does not thrill any of the Yanks on the circuit.

Last year, the U.S. men and women combined for one of the worst performances in a decade, with no American man making it past the third day of play and Russian Anastasia Myskina embarrassing American standouts Venus Williams and Jennifer Capriati in back-to-back matches.
Since Andre Agassi stunned the world with his miraculous comeback over Andrei Medvedev in the 1999 final, the U.S. men have been all but insignificant at Roland Garros. This year may not be any different, as only the 35-year-old Agassi has been competitive during the European clay court warm-ups and his best result was a semifinal showing in Rome — not exactly a surefire recipe for French success.

With only seven American men among the Top 100 ranked players in the world, the U.S. men are hard pressed to compete with the rest of planet on any surface, let alone clay. Sure, it's hard to overlook the fact that two Americans — No. 3 Andy Roddick and No. 7 Agassi — sit within the elitist top 10. But after that, there's a serious drop off, going down to No. 30, where Taylor Dent, gifted with an explosive game and, unfortunately, a lot of injuries, is located. Then there is the declining veteran Vince Spadea, who rounds out the Top 50 in the No. 43 slot. Bringing up the rear is No. 52 Mardy Fish, who has yet to live up to the potential that many, including U.S. Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe, expected from the Floridian. In the "Who is he?" department, we have journeyman Kevin Kim logging in at No. 67 after a good Australian Open. And Robby Ginepri, who played runner-up to Roddick in the 2000 US Open Junior Singles Final, weighs in at No. 71, but he hasn't produced a notable result in more than a year.

It's pretty clear that outside of Roddick, no U.S. pro who has been on tour more than two years has any hope of joining Agassi as a consistent top-five player — something that success-spolied U.S. fans demand. U.S. tennis officials have now turned their eyes to raw teenagers like Donald Young, Timothy Neilly and Sam Querry when looking for the next U.S. Slam champ.

Of all the U.S. men who will play in Paris, it would only be fair to characterize Agassi, who also reached the final at Roland Garros in 1990 and '91, and Spadea — who has reached the second week there more than once — as having a natural feel for the dirt.

Sure, some can look to the fact that Roddick just won his third Houston title, the only clay court event played in the United States, and think he has a good shot at Roland Garros. Certainly, that accomplishment had McEnroe stating only a couple of weeks ago that "I still believe Andy Roddick can make a major run at the French. He's capable of getting into the second week or better." Of course, it wasn't hard to take note that McEnroe wasn't suggesting that former No. 1 Roddick would conquer Roland Garros well enough to hoist the trophy, only play well enough to avoid another embarrassing early round defeat.

But while Houston might be held on imported red clay, winning the title there isn't exactly the optimum preparation for Roland Garros. To be considered a real major threat on the terre battue, you have to fare well at the big French tune-up events — Monte Carlo, Rome, and Hamburg — where clay-court specialists such as Rafael Nadal, Guillermo Coria, Gaston Gaudio and Guillermo Coria hang out.

Roddick, whose best result at Roland Garros was a third-round appearance in his first visit back in '01, has not fared in Europe this year. While he reached the third round in Rome, beating former French Open champ Albert Costa in the second round, he lost to Chilean Nicolas Massu in Hamburg in the first round last week.

As for Agassi, he was feeling confident after reaching the semis in Rome, but went down in the opening round of Hamburg to Spanish serve-and-volleyer Feliciano Lopez, which had to put at least a bit of a dent in Agassi's enthusiasm.

"I'm considerably pleased," Agassi said. "(Rome) was a lot more than I could have hoped for. I felt good back on the dirt. I got pretty comfortable. This is when it really begins for me because I'm starting to believe now that I can play some more good tennis out here. And this is how you handle that pressure you put on yourself."

.................................................. ..........

A replay of last year's sorry U.S. performance is sadly probable.

Sandra Harwitt is a FOXSports.com contributor.

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

05-24-2005, 08:55 AM
Agassi's long service record won't be broken,

says Moya Mon May 23, 8:23 PM ET

PARIS (AFP) - Andre Agassi is setting a new record of 58 Grand Slams played at the French Open this year and it's a mark that most agree will never be broken.


Former French Open champion Carlos Moya believes such a landmark is safe with modern day tennis young guns Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova facing short, sharp careers as the gruelling demands of the tour take their toll.

The 35-year-old Agassi has been on the tour since 1986, but Moya, a comparatively youthful 28, is convinced that record will never be broken.

"When we talk about Andre, we are talking about a great champion," said Moya, the champion here in 1998.

"He's amazing, he's one of the favourites. I admire him and I think he's great for tennis.

"But besides Andre, you don't see too many players over 30 now. That's a sign. It's really hard to be playing at such a high level every week."

Agassi, bidding to become the oldest men's French Open champion, has now gone past the 57 Grand Slam mark shared by himself, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Michael Chang and Wayne Ferreira.

"If you compare the situation 10 years ago compared to now, there were more older players then," added Moya.

"It's increasingly difficult to travel all the time, change the type of court you are playing on, to play increasingly difficult matches."

Agassi's achievements, which have included eight career Grand Slam titles, were also praised by women's top seed Lindsay Davenport.

"Andre's on a level of his own. It's insane what he's been able to accomplish at his age," she said.

"Men's tennis is ridiculous, three out of five sets is just crazy. He's pretty much a physical specimen. I don't know what he puts his body through but it seems like a lot."


:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

Agassi Fan
05-24-2005, 05:01 PM
No celebration for Agassi

On the day he broke the major championship appearance record, Andre Agassi suffered his second successive first round defeat at Roland Garros. The 1999 champion limped out as Finnish qualifier Jarkko Nieminen triumphed 7-5 4-6 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 6-0 on Philippe Chatrier Court on Tuesday.

With three clay court tournaments under his belt in the build-up to the Paris major, Agassi seemed to have learnt his lesson from 2004 when he played just one red dirt match in St Pölten.

Twelve months ago he lost to French qualifier Jerome Haehnel in the opening round, and while he had his chances against Nieminen the American suffered an inflamed muscle in his back.

"You know, it's bad. It's something that needs to be addressed because I can't be out there like that. I mean, I literally hurt," the American said afterwards.

"It was getting worse by the minute... I mean, that's not good, you know, to be out there and to not be able to play for four or five hours" he confirmed. "Doesn't leave you with high hopes."

Agassi, seeded sixth for the championships, was unable to move freely during the final two sets and hit a backhand return long on the first match point after three hours of play.

The 35-year-old Las Vegan was playing his 58th major, one more than Michael Chang, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Wayne Ferreira.

Agassi left the centre court bitterly disappointed and appeared to have tears in his eyes as what could be his final French Open championship came to an abrupt end.

World number 95 Nieminen rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the first set and lead Agassi by a break in the second, before the American rallied back with three successive games to draw the score level at one set apiece.

He struggled again in the third set, saving a set point in the tie-break but was able to take the third set 8-6 with a topspin return winner.

The last two sets were a one-sided affair with Agassi, obviously in pain, not even bothering to run to reach some balls. In the end, Nieminen just had to be patient to prevail.

Agassi refused to be drawn on his future in the post match press conference.

"Something tells me I'm at a stage of my career where I'm going to be living with these [cortisone] injections because this is unplayable when it feels like this," Agassi said.

"There's nothing you can do to get comfortable. To be out there against some of the best athletes in the world, it's impossible. I mean, to feel this, it's impossible."

06-02-2005, 07:43 AM
Will Andre Agassi Retire by Dec 31st and Will He Win Another Grand Slam?
COSTA RICA -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- It is almost hard to watch when a sports legend struggles on the court, field, or diamond. But it is inevitable for all athletes to struggle at one time or another. This time it was tennis legend Andre Agassi After hurting himself in his first-round match at the French Open while up two sets to one, he lost to qualifier Jarkko Nieminen It was only the latest in Agassi's French Open struggles -he has lost two years in a row in the first round to qualifiers and has not advanced further than the quarter finals since winning the tournament in 1999.

Agassi is easily one of the greatest tennis players of all time and after being near the bottom of the game less than a decade ago has had one of the most impressive and successful comebacks in tennis history. The question now becomes, when will the 35-year-old Agassi hang it up for good? Thirty-five may not seem old in other professional sports, but in tennis it is almost unheard of to compete at Agassi's level at his age. No matter when he retires his career will be one of the most celebrated in sports history.

"Andre Agassi is truly a special athlete and a special person," said WagerWeb.com CEO Dave Johnson. "It is tough to see him struggle as he has done lately, but Agassi has enough in him to make one last run at a CHAMPIONSHIP and our customers agree by making a large amount of wagers on Agassi to win another Grand Slam before he retires."

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:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

06-02-2005, 04:59 PM
Vegas casino introducing Agassi-themed slots

Tennis Sensation and Philanthropist Andre Agassi and Aristocrat Technologies announce a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for Launch of New Agassi Video Slots Thursday June 2, 11:37 am ET.

Legendary tennis player and philanthropist Andre Agassi, the inspiration for Aristocrat's new Agassi-themed video slots, will launch the game on Tuesday, June 7 with a press conference and ribbon-cutting ceremony in conjunction with the game's debut at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Aristocrat's sophisticated new Agassi video slot games feature dual monitors and other cutting-edge features like four themed bonus games and a standalone two-level progressive.

As a result of this joint venture, Aristocrat Technologies and Andre Agassi will provide a financial donation to the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which was created to provide educational opportunities for at-risk children.

When: 3:45-4 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, 2005
Where: On the casino floor outside the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino's Centrifuge Lounge, located between the Poker Room, the Race and Sports Book, and Studio 54.

06-05-2005, 02:10 AM
Men's Preview: Week of June 6 (Exclusive)
Men's Look Forward: Queen's, Halle
It is, when you think about it, rather an interesting approach to the grass season. The ATP has, in total, four warmup events available: Queen's, Halle, Nottingham, 's-Hertogenbosch. Two of them -- Queen's and Halle -- stand fairly high on the optional events ladder. The other two are at the bottom of the scale.

At first glance, it might seem logical to schedule one big and one small event in each of the two weeks leading up to Wimbledon. But that isn't how it works. Halle and Queen's share the first week after Roland Garros, with the two small events getting the second week. That means this is the week when most of the top players turn out to get in their grass warmup, and the week's two events have to beg, cajole, and, perhaps, offer appearance fees to get as many big names as they can.

For years, the balance of power seemed to be tilting toward Halle in the contest to get the top players. It had, at the time, as many points, and more money, and it was only a 32-draw as opposed to the 56-draw at Queen's, so it wasn't as tiring.

But the decline of German tennis cost Halle a little of its prize money, and unlike Queen's, it's not a Gold event. So now the money is equal, and Queen's has more points. The balance shifted back. This year, it's close to a draw. Halle has the world's #1, but Queen's has #2. It also has the guy who was #3 going into Roland Garros. Halle had the then-#4 and #5. And so forth.

Certainly no one would call Halle weak. Roger Federer will be trying to bounce back from his ugly French Open semifinal as the #1 seed. Marat Safin will be attempting to overcome his ugly whole-year-since-Melbourne as #2. Rafael Nadal, despite his long fortnight at Roland Garros, is in the initial draw as the #3 seed, meaning that the tournament has three of the Top Five. It has a fourth Top Ten player in #4 seed Guillermo Canas. David Nalbandian's ranking just took a hit, but he gets the #5 seed even so (and, as a former Wimbledon finalist, he probably deserves it even if he doesn't "deserve" it). Big-serving Joachim Johansson, who missed Roland Garros because of an elbow problem (plus, one suspects, the fact that he had no chance on clay) will return to action as the #6 seed. Germany's current #1 player, Tommy Haas, is #7, and big-serving Feliciano Lopez, who has had his best Slam results at Wimbledon, is #8.

There is plenty of unseeded talent, too, including several guys who serve so well that they have to be considered threats on grass even if nowhere else. That includes two German wildcards, Alexander Popp and Alexander Waske. Also big in the serve department is Robin Soderling. More known for their all-around games are Mikhail Youzhny and Florian Mayer and Jiri Novak and Andrei Pavel (at least if he's over his stomach injury). Fernando Verdasco is a solid young player, though he needs to prove it away from clay. Germany has a solid veteran in Nicolas Kiefer, who won this event in 1999 and made the finals in 2002 and 2003. They also have Rainer Schuettler, though he wasn't much of a threat on grass even before his current decline. Fabrice Santoro can drive anyone crazy. Olivier Rochus has had some of his best results on grass, and he's having a pretty good year, as has brother Christophe. Jurgen Melzer has talent to burn -- at least on the days when he and it both take the court together. Michael Llodra, as befits a good doubles player, likes grass very much. And then there is Juan Carlos Ferrero, who took a wildcard here; it's ironic to see the one-time #1 trying to use grass to get back into the Top 30.

It's one of the oddities of the grass season, although everyone concedes the surface is hard to maintain, half the events have oversize fields (in all, men and women, there are eight grass events: Birmingham, Eastbourne, Halle, Newport, Nottingham, Queen's, 's-Hertogenbosch, Wimbledon. Birmingham and Queen's are 56-draws: 16 seeds, with the top eight seeds getting byes. Wimbledon is Wimbledon. 's-Hertogenbosch has normal-sized draws, but both men and women play, so it needs about as much court space as a 56-draw). That means that some of the lower seeds at Queen's are at the low end of the Top 50. But the top few are strong: Lleyton Hewitt will at last return to action as the #1 seed. Defending champion Andy Roddick is #2. Tim Henman, who has never won a grass event but who usually does well here, makes a last attempt for the #8 Wimbledon seed here; he's #3 at Queen's, and is the last of the Top Ten players. Radek Stepanek takes advantage of his recent strong results to earn the #4 spot. 2004 Wimbledon semifinalist Mario Ancic is #5. Thomas Johansson, who in his last 100% healthy year of 2001 won both Halle and Nottingham, this year plays Queen's as the #6 seed. Sebastien Grosjean, who absolutely loves grass (first title was Nottingham 2000; he made the Queen's final and the Wimbledon semifinal in both 2003 and 2004) is the #7 seed. The final bye goes to Fernando Gonzalez, seeded #8 even though he's really never done much on grass.

Taylor Dent, who like Hewitt skipped Roland Garros, returns to action as the #9 seed. Richard Gasquet, who has almost no grass history, will try to change that as the #10 seed. Paradorn Srichaphan, who won Nottingham last year, is #11. The listed #12 is Mariano Puerta, even though he's never done anything on grass and will be fresh off the Roland Garros final; he'd be seeded higher based on this week's rankings, of course. Igor Andreev is #13; Greg Rusedski, who has four career grass titles but none here, is #14; big-serving Max Mirnyi #15; and Karol Beck, who beat Henman here last year, is #16.

Notable unseeded players include last year's semifinalist Hyung-Taik Lee, 2002 Wimbledon semifinalist Xavier Malisse, once-promising Tomas Berdych, the recovering James Blake, netrushing expert Jonas Bjorkman, fastcourt-loving Arnaud Clement (who made the 's-Hertogenbosch final in 2002 and 2003) and power servers Wayne Arthurs and Mark Philippoussis -- the latter a wildcard, and iffy; he pulled out of Surbiton because his back was still not right. Plus Gael Monfils, who has finally gotten his ranking high enough that he earned direct entry.

Noteworthy First Round Matches

At Halle, both our top seeds could face trouble in the first round if their return games aren't on. #1 seed Federer faces Swedish power broker Robin Soderling; #2 seed Safin faces Alexander Popp, who is probably Top 15 on grass and maybe #200 or so on everything else. #3 seed Nadal will have to take on Alexander Waske, another German wildcard known mostly for his serve. #4 seed Canas -- who has a grass final and some semifinals in his career -- will have to face Fernando Verdasco. #5 seed Nalbandian will face yet another German -- though the German is Rainer Schuettler, so that may not pose much of a problem. #6 seed Joachim Johansson faces, yes, a German, Philipp Kohlschreiber; if Johansson is 100%, that shouldn't prove too difficult, but Kohlschreiber is steady enough to be some threat if the Swede isn't right. #7 seed Haas faces Jiri Novak, who hasn't done much on grass in singles but who made the 2001 Wimbledon doubles final. #8 seed Lopez has perhaps the easiest opener, against Kenneth Carlsen, but the Dane does like fast courts; he had a final at Newport in 1999, and Wimbledon is historically his best Slam.

The most noteworthy unseeded match is probably between Mikhail Youzhny and Florian Mayer, both of whom started this year slumping badly but both of whom have shown some signs of life lately. And both like grass; Youzhny made the fourth round of his first two Wimbledons, and Mayer made the quarterfinal of his only Wimbledon, last year. We also have an all-veteran match between Andrei Pavel and Fabrice Santoro. Santoro's grass record isn't great, but he did make the final here in 2001 -- and Pavel hasn't really been able to play for a couple of months.

Queen's, because of the byes for the top seeds, loses a few potentially-nice openers, but we will see Hyung-Taik Lee and Malisse face off in the first round; that's obviously very big for Lee, given what he has to defend. Tomas Berdych has had most of his success on slower surfaces, but he does have talent if he can ever find it again -- and he opens against Max Mirnyi, who hasn't had the success on grass that his serve and doubles skills would seem to imply. #12 seed Puerta, just in from Roland Garros, will have to take on wildcard James Blake, who is in solid form this year and much happier on grass. #16 seed Beck will take on Wayne Arthurs in a match that could hardly feature more contrast: The quicksilver Beck against the slow but powerful Arthurs. The other Australian power server, Philippoussis, will make his comeback against Raemon Sluiter, who is Dutch and has a fair amount of grass experience. The match between Marcos Baghdatis and Paul-Henri Mathieu also feels interesting, though neither has done enough on grass to justify our interest.

The Rankings

The part at the top is easy: Roger Federer stays #1.

Below that -- well, there is more to it than just the rankings. There is the Wimbledon seeding formula. With Andy Roddick being last year's Queen's champion, and Rafael Nadal having pretty well filled his optional card, it appears Lleyton Hewitt is safe at #2 -- but who gets the #2, #3, and #4 Wimbledon seeds? It's obvious that the #2 spot comes down to Hewitt or Roddick. In the two years that will probably be the basis for the formula, Hewitt has a first round loss to Ivo Karlovic at 2003 Wimbledon, a semifinal at Queen's 2004, and a quarterfinal at Wimbledon 2004. Roddick has a semifinal at Wimbledon 2003, a title at Queen's 2004, and a final at Wimbledon 2004. That's obviously a big advantage to Roddick, but the seeding committee could always adjust the seeding formula (one is tempted to say they will adjust the seeding formula). They may well feel that Hewitt -- the 2002 Wimbledon champion, and the winner of Queen's 2000, 2001, 2002, and 's-Hertogenbosch 2001 -- is the better grass player. The one thing that's nearly certain is that every point either man earns at Queen's counts twice: Once toward his ranking, if it's big enough to go toward his optional five, and again (guaranteed) as a grass point. A good enough result for Hewitt might make it possible for the committee to find a formula to seed him #2.

The contest for the #4 seed is even more complicated, because there are no really strong contenders. The gap from #5 Safin to #6 Agassi is so wide that it can't be crossed (particularly with Agassi hurt and unable to play this week, and #7 Davydenko also not playing); either Nadal or Safin will be the #4 seed. Nadal's sole grass result in the past two years is a third round at Wimbledon 2003. Safin missed the 2003 grass season, and lost first round at both Halle and Wimbledon in 2004. Again, points earned this week count double. That means that the results this week will settle it.

Whoever fails to get #4 will certainly be #5. It appears Andre Agassi is also safe in the top eight seeds, assuming he's able to play. That leaves two Top Eight spots. Right now, Nikolay Davydenko and Guillermo Canas are #7 and #8, with Tim Henman a rather distant #9 going into the Roland Garros final and Joachim Johansson a still more distant #10. But Davydenko lost first round at Wimbledon 2003, first round at Halle 2004, first round at 's-Hertogenbosch 2004, first round at Wimbledon 2004. Canas was injured in 2003; he made the second round at 's-Hertogenbosch 2004 and lost first round at Wimbledon 2004. Henman made the quarterfinal at Wimbledon 2003, lost his opener at Queen's 2004, and made the quarterfinal at Wimbledon 2004. That's enough points, assuming Wimbledon uses a formula similar to recent ones, to move him past Davydenko and Canas. So it's Canas playing to try to overtake Davydenko. Best guess is that he needs a semifinal.

At least one guy will take a big hit: Halle finalist Mardy Fish, who isn't playing this week, will probably fall to around #65. Queens finalist Sebastien Grosjean won't be hit as hard, but he could fall to the #30 range.

Key Matches
It's hard to know just what is key when we don't know what formula players are being measured against. So all we can do is note which players have a lot on the line and what matches are most likely to get them in trouble.

This week doesn't really matter much to Roger Federer; he's #1 in rankings and Wimbledon seedings no matter what. But one suspects he wants the chance for a rematch with Rafael Nadal -- which could happen in the Halle semifinal. It's a rough road for Federer: Robin Soderling, then Mikhail Youzhny or Florian Mayer, then Joachim Johansson or Michael Llodra. Nadal's is a bit easier: Alexander Waske, them maybe Juan Carlos Ferrero, then potentially Tommy Haas.

The other guys with a lot on the line at Halle are Marat Safin and Guillermo Canas. Safin opens against power server Alexander Popp, then gets a complete change of pace in Fabrice Santoro or Andrei Pavel. Then it's potentially another power guy in Feliciano Lopez.

Canas's path is tough also. He starts against Verdasco, then faces Nicolas Kiefer, who just loves playing here. Then, potentially, the Argentine could face Argentina's other good grass player, #5 seed David Nalbandian. For Canas, winning that would probably earn him the #8 Roland Garros seed; for Nalbandian, it's just possible that winning could make him #12 there. If he could beat Safin in the next round, "possible" becomes "probable."

The biggest thing for Lleyton Hewitt is just to get back. His first match will be against Hyung-Taik Lee or Xavier Malisse -- not an easy task, in this context. Then, probably, Max Mirnyi. He won't have earned many points up to that point. It gets serious after that, when he faces Paradorn Srichaphan or Fernando Gonzalez or somebody. It gets really serious after than, when he faces Tim Henman or Thomas Johansson or Taylor Dent.

Henman, on paper, looks pretty good in the early rounds. The first really big threat, on grass, is Johansson or Dent in the quarterfinal, then Hewitt.

Poor Sebastien Grosjean has lost to Andy Roddick in two straight Queen's finals. It won't happen again -- because they meet in the quarterfinal. Assuming Grosjean stays healthy, he really ought to at least make it to the meeting with Roddick.

The American has a tougher path, on the whole: First Philippoussis or Sluiter, then maybe Karol Beck (in another of those opposites-attract matches), then Grosjean. Then, maybe, Mario Ancic or Greg Rusedski. The good news for Roddick is, he's probably going to be the Wimbledon #2 no matter what.


:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

06-07-2005, 12:56 PM
Press Release Source: Aristocrat Technologies, Inc.

Aristocrat Technologies, Inc., Tennis Sensation Andre Agassi, Announce Today's Debut of Agassi Video Slots at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas

Tuesday June 7, 6:00 am ET
Station Casinos Chooses Aristocrat's Cutting-Edge Agassi Games for All Eight of its Las Vegas Valley Station and Fiesta-Branded Casinos

LAS VEGAS, June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. and tennis phenomenon Andre Agassi are bringing the excitement and sophistication of Agassi's winning tennis career to casino floors this summer with today's debut of Aristocrat's Agassi-themed video slot game at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Aristocrat's Agassi game has been approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board and will debut this month in a number of Las Vegas and Reno area casinos, including all eight of Station Casinos' Station and Fiesta-branded casinos in the Las Vegas valley.

The penny game combines Aristocrat's surefire math with a slot theme reflecting the celebrity personality of international tennis star Agassi, only one of five men in the history of the sport to win all four Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open Championships). Agassi also won an Olympic gold medal for the U.S. in 1996.

"Aristocrat's game designers truly outdid themselves with the design and entertainment aspects of the game," Agassi said.

"We couldn't ask for a better partner than Andre Agassi, whose life epitomizes the kind of sophistication reflected in Aristocrat's video slots," said Gavin Isaacs, President of Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. "We worked closely with Andre and his team to ensure that this game met their high standards and reflected Agassi's reputation for excellence."

Deutsche Bank Managing Director of Gaming and Lodging, Marc Falcone, said in a June 2, 2005 industry bulletin, "We expect that this product, much like other [Aristocrat] products, will be well received in the marketplace (particularly LV locals) given the company's unique approach to game design and math modeling."

"We're rolling this game out to all of our Station and Fiesta-branded properties in Las Vegas this month, and we are confident the game is going to be extremely well-liked with our players based on the popularity of Andre Agassi and our players' appreciation for Aristocrat's entertaining style of game play and second-screen bonus features," said Jay Fennel, Station Casinos' Corporate Director of Slot Operations.

Aristocrat's Agassi slot machines feature a sleek and sophisticated cabinet design with a 19-inch, flat-screen LCD monitor on the top box that incorporates the progressive jackpot meters. Interactive colors and graphics animate and change during jackpot wins and bonus rounds.

The games include a standalone, two-level progressive that delivers frequent jackpot wins. Players can add even more excitement by betting maximum lines and making an additional wager, which makes them eligible for one of four interactive, mystery bonus games incorporating multipliers, free games, and player's choice features.

"The top-box LCD monitor in the game's sleek cabinet celebrates jackpot wins to the player, inspiring play and adding excitement to the casino floor," said Kent Young, Aristocrat's Vice President, Marketing.

"The cabinet design, when combined with our bonus and progressive features and Agassi's globally recognized image, gives these games the strong potential to perform very well for casino operators," Young said.

About Andre Agassi

Still one of the world's elite tennis players at the age of 35, Andre Agassi is an international sports icon. One of only five men in the history of the sport to win all four Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open Championships), Agassi also won an Olympic gold medal in 1996. Agassi's on-court performance has earned him an inimitable place in the game's history, and his off-court charisma and charitable reputation have allowed Agassi to garner long-standing international endorsement deals and a fan following throughout the world.

The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation (AACF) is perceived by many to be the nation's most successful foundation created by an athlete. Established to "make the world the way it ought to be," AACF benefits a number of children-oriented organizations and programs, including the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club; Assistance League of Las Vegas' Operation School Bell, which helps to clothe children in need; Boys Hope and Girls Hope of Nevada, which helps children who are hurt and at risk; Child Haven; Class! Publications; the Cynthia Bunker and Joy McClenahan Memorial Scholarship Fund; and the I Have a Dream Foundation. AACF's largest event, the Grand Slam for Children, has become an annual event where entertainment's elite gather to share a Las Vegas stage. More than 77,000 fans and VIP guests have attended nine Grand-Slam events, raising more than $50 million for charity. The most prominent beneficiary of AACF is the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a public charter school in one of the most socio-economically challenged neighborhoods of Las Vegas. The school's mission is to provide each child with the vision, skills, resources, and attitude necessary to get a college degree, to achieve his/her dreams, and to empower the surrounding community. Agassi is married to international superstar Steffi Graf and they have two children. For more information about Andre Agassi or the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, please contact Catherine Levy with R&R Partners, Inc. at 702-318-4212.

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

06-15-2005, 08:02 PM
:eek: Rogi actually said this? For shame, Roger :smash: He gets a raspberry from me for this one :ras:

''I regard Hewitt, Roddick, Safin and now Nadal as the big dangers at Wimbledon. You normally have to include Andre Agassi but I've beaten him so often lately that I feel more confident against him nowadays." -- Roger Federer, on who his biggest obstacles at Wimbledon will be.

06-15-2005, 10:07 PM
AP Agassi losing fight
against Father Time

Kevork Djansezian /

8-time Slam champ withdraws from Wimbledon due to chronic nerve condition
A chronic nerve condition could very well prompt Andre Agassi to retire before the end of the year, says Bud Collins of NBCSports.com.
By Bud Collins
NBC Sports
Updated: 2:50 p.m. ET June 15, 2005LONDON - Andre Agassi has outlived his time as a major champion, and his attempt to battle on as tennis’ most popular entertainer at least until the end of the year is looking less promising after his debilitating sciatic nerve condition forced him to pull out of Wimbledon.

Painful to play
Agassi is a former Wimbledon champion whose appearance would have meant the most to fans at the All-England Club. But he won't be making it to his 14th major on the lawns in London and that is sad.

Agassi won Wimbledon in 1992 and was runner-up in 1999.

But the inflamed nerve in his back has not responded to treatment as Agassi had hoped after he was an almost immobile first-round loser to Jarkko Niemenen at the French Open.

Perhaps it's all over for Agassi, but I hope not.

Numerous sporting legends have played beyond their time and the 35-year-old Agassi is approaching that precipice. But despite being hampered by the painful sciatic nerve, he is trying not to quit until he is satisfied that all his opportunities for major crowns have dried up.

It was difficult to watch the 1999 French Open champion limp through the last two sets of his 7-5, 4-6, 6-7, 6-1, 6-0 loss to Nieminen at Roland Garros.

Agassi was a near corpse out there, dragging his throbbing right leg around and unable to get any push off on his shots. When he was leaving the court, Agassi choked back tears of emotion and anguish.

He’s taken a cortisone shot in hopes that it will pull him through the rest of the summer, but he’s only masking his pain and even he knows that the shot might not get him through the rigors of two weeks at the U.S. Open.

He’s living at the end of a hypodermic needle, which isn’t a place an eight-time Grand Slam champion wants to be.

The American legend has been suffering from a nerve injury in his back for the past two and half years, which also creeps into his right hip and leg. He’s been visiting chiropractors that have tried to push his bones away from the inflamed nerve, but it only appears to work for a short amount of time.

Surgery not in the cards
Agassi doesn’t want to be operated on and then try to come back at age 36 next year so this season might well be all he has left in his magnificent career.

Agassi wants to go out in the top 10, not as a suffering, broken down man falling out of the top 50. That’s why he’s hoping the cortisone will enable him to get one more whiff of glory at the U.S. Open.

As he showed earlier this year at the Italian Open when he reached the semifinals, Agassi is fine in best two-of-three-set matches. Had his Paris match against Nieminen been that, he would have been able to shuffle off the court yelling, "Doctor, Doctor!" and get another shot of cortisone to help him through the rest of the French fortnight.

But unfortunately for Agassi tennis in the Grand Slams is best three out of five sets and for the man who just set the Open-era record with 58 appearances in majors, no one knows that better than him.
Decision time nears
Agassi has yet to comes to terms with what his life will be like after tennis. While his wife, former champion Steffi Graf, and his two kids may want him to stop now, he still defines himself as a player.

"It's what I do until I don't do it any more and it's given me a lot. I'll assess the necessary components at the end of the year," said Agassi. "But I can't afford to pollute the potential of my winning matches or tournaments with sitting on the fence, with where I am, what I'm doing, why I'm doing it.

"Some things you have to question; other things you have to not question. You have to just put your head down and work. So I don't use every day as an opportunity to second guess myself, as easy as it is sometimes. I choose to put my head down and work and look at it at the end of the year."

Leaving on his terms
I agree that Agassi needs to take a hard look at his career at year’s end. It’s unlikely he’ll make the Masters Cup so we could see Agassi retiring after the U.S. Open.

Agassi has become such a popular figure worldwide through his play, words, wisdom and charitable work that it will be nearly impossible for him to spoil his legacy.

But he can’t just keep flailing at windmills when it comes to fighting Father Time because 19 years after he made his pro debut at Stratton Mountain, Vermont, his body is clearly telling him that it needs a rest.

He may be able to drag it up the mountain one last time this summer, but unless they come up with a miracle cure for a touchy nerve and worn down bones, he’ll need to rest it in 2006.

Graf knew when it was time to quit in 1999 after she could no longer stand pain.

Agassi will likely soon come to that conclusion too, but he hopes not until he walks away the way he wants: competing hard for one last major title and leaving the court with his head held high.
© 2005 MSNBC Interactive

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

06-17-2005, 10:20 AM
http://img293.echo.cx/img293/7376/e10254sr.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)

06-17-2005, 04:41 PM
A replacement for the AA forum on the out of action peoplesforum is here:


06-17-2005, 04:49 PM
:eek: Rogi actually said this? For shame, Roger :smash: He gets a raspberry from me for this one :ras:

''I regard Hewitt, Roddick, Safin and now Nadal as the big dangers at Wimbledon. You normally have to include Andre Agassi but I've beaten him so often lately that I feel more confident against him nowadays." -- Roger Federer, on who his biggest obstacles at Wimbledon will be.

I hate the way Federer said. :rolleyes: I think at lease he should "include" that Hewitt too. :o Doesn't he always beat him and even give him bagel? :shrug:

06-22-2005, 03:14 AM
this article was written by "stupit" reporter to make the win of his Hennman more valuable...
he tried to compare no-name player with our great Andre...

June 21, 2005Slow this down
I’m completely confused by all the talk about slowing down the game at Wimbledon.

No respect

Even in defeat to Tim Henman, Jarkko Nieminen should have gained some required respect from the tennis community. This guy is not only a very good player, but he was outplaying Andre Agassi at the French Open when Agassi’s back went out.

Jark the Shark never got his due at the French, however. Agassi’s loss was blamed on his sciatica and, while there’s no guarantee that Jark would have won that match if Agassi was fit, he was the better player when Agassi starting hurting (can you imagine, fans ???
i posted my comments on that article,- gigan).


:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

06-22-2005, 03:23 AM
I hate the way Federer said. :rolleyes: I think at lease he should "include" that Hewitt too. :o Doesn't he always beat him and even give him bagel? :shrug:

don't worry guys, there is one player who could speak in the same way about federer himself: my David

David Nalbandian 5 -2 !!! Roger Federer

Go David, beat him again!!!


:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

06-22-2005, 09:39 AM
while there’s no guarantee that Jark would have won that match if Agassi was fit

Up two sets to one, a healthy Agassi is likely to win, even on clay.

06-22-2005, 11:58 AM
Agassi would have won in four if he stayed healthy.

06-22-2005, 06:22 PM
don't worry guys, there is one player who could speak in the same way about federer himself: my David

David Nalbandian 5 -2 !!! Roger Federer

Go David, beat him again!!!


:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

I hope he will beat Federer again. :rocker: And someone even I dislike has to beat him too. :cool:

Also I don't understand what that article. :rolleyes: I'm sure Andre 100% wins if he doesn't get injury. :sad:

07-04-2005, 04:27 PM
Andre Agassi


why we like him?

He has given us so many memorable moments on the court over the course of his career. Like many of us, Agassi has had his struggles, but it is his persistence and determination that sets him apart in most of our minds.

why is he famous?

Agassi is part of popular culture because of his athletic ability and his natural charisma, both on and off the tennis courts. He is a great entertainer and loves the spotlight. It is this lack of shyness that has propelled Agassi into international stardom. His many Grand Slam victories have carved a permanent place for himself in sports folklore, not just the tennis Hall of Fame.

Andre Agassi embodies the modern tennis player. He has been at times flamboyant, emotional and cocky. His numerous endorsements and public relationships have made him a favorite of the media. After a down period in which Agassi didn't contend for major tournaments, he has simply been dominating.

Agassi seems to be improving with age, something that is unheard of in tennis. His reincarnation started in 1994, when he hired Brad Gilbert as his new coach. He and Agassi have a great rapport, which has resulted in many tournament victories for Agassi.
More on page 2 >>


"If this was disappointing, I hope to disappoint 20,000 people at the US Open this year."
-Andre Agassi, after it took him only 50 minutes to win a 1998 tournament final.


Andre Agassi was born April 29, 1970 in Las Vegas, Nevada. His Iranian-born father Mike Agassi was an Olympic boxer in 1948 and 1952. Andre, the youngest of 4 children, was deemed a tennis prodigy at age three.

Trivia: How did Agassi open up to audiences after winning his first Grand Slam title?
More on page 3 >>


http://forum.hayastan.com/style_emoticons/default/flag.gif Andre Agassi forever http://forum.hayastan.com/style_emoticons/default/flag.gif

07-04-2005, 11:19 PM
what they say....

... fellow baldies Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel and Andre Agassi,...

ye-ha coolest baldies in the wld...

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

07-05-2005, 04:43 PM
vin diesel PLEASE
with hair is still better looking than bald

07-05-2005, 06:16 PM
I think we might be talking about 'In the eyes of the beholder" here...there are a number of highly ranked pro tennis players, for example, who have LOTS of hair, yet would better serve (no pun intended) their fans by wearing a paper sack over their faces...

And then there's Andre with no hair...but that great face with the twinkling eyes...and that easy, gorgeous smile!!!

All in all, sometimes bald is better when you think about the alternative....


07-05-2005, 06:53 PM
no I mean short hair is better looking than bald period. But Andre is very cute but he would be cuter with hair. Brad Pitt bald is also less cute than with hair.

07-18-2005, 08:30 PM
Agassi included in W&S Financial Group Masters field
Defending champ expected to join Federer, Hewitt

By Dustin Dow



Andre Agassi won his third title in Cincinnati last year.

The Field consists of 51 players directly accepted based on ranking announced today, four wild cards, eight qualifiers and one special exemption.

Player From Ranking Best Here
Federer, Roger SUI 1 R32 in ’03
Hewitt, Lleyton AUS 2 F in ’02 & ’04
Nadal, Rafael ESP 3 R64 in ’04
Roddick, Andy USA 4 W in ’03
Safin, Marat RUS 5 QF in ’04
Agassi, Andre USA 6 W in ’95, ’96 & ’04
Davydenko, Nikolay RUS 7 R64 in ’03
Canas, Guillermo ARG 8 R16 in ’01
Johansson, Thomas SWE 9 QF in ’98
Nalbandian, David ARG 10 QF in ’03
Henman, Tim GBR 11 F in ’00
Puerta, Mariano ARG 12 R32 in ’00
Gaudio, Gaston ARG 13 R16 in ’03
Johansson, Joachim SWE 14 R64 in ’04
Coria, Guillermo ARG 15 QF in ’03
Stepanek, Radek CZE 16 R64 in ’03
Gasquet, Richard FRA 17 N/A
Gonzalez, Fernando CHI 18 SF in ’02
Ljubicic, Ivan CRO 19 QF in ’01
Robredo, Tommy ESP 20 SF in ’04
Ferrer, David ESP 21 R64 in ’04
Kiefer, Nicolas GER 22 R32 in ’99 & ’04
Haas, Tommy GER 23 QF in ’04
Lopez, Feliciano ESP 24 R32 in ’03 & ’04
Novak, Jiri CZE 25 R32 in ’01
Hrbaty, Dominik SVK 26 R32 in ’02 & ’04
@ El Aynaoui, Younes MAR 27 R32 in ’03
Youzhny, Mikhail RUS 27 R16 in ’03
Moya, Carlos ESP 28 W in ’02
Dent, Taylor USA 29 R16 in ’02
Massu, Nicolas CHI 30 R64 in ’04
Ferrero, Juan Carlos ESP 31 SF in ’02
Ancic, Mario CRO 32 N/A
Mirnyi, Max BLR 33 QF in ’03
Volandri, Filippo ITA 34 N/A
Grosjean, Sebastien FRA 35 R32 in ’00
Rochus, Olivier BEL 36 N/A
Melzer, Jurgen AUT 37 R64 in ’04
Soderling, Robin SWE 38 R16 in ’04
Rusedski, Greg GBR 39 QF in ’01
Andreev, Igor RUS 40 N/A
Pavel, Andrei ROM 41 R32 in ’01
Berdych, Tomas CZE 42 N/A
Srichaphan, Paradorn THA 43 R16 in ’04
Acasuso, Jose ARG 44 R64 in ’03
Chela, Juan Ignacio ARG 45 R16 in ’03 & ’04
Rochus, Christophe BEL 46 N/A
Beck, Karol SVK 47 N/A
Saulnier, Cyril FRA 48 R64 in ’02
Spadea, Vincent USA 49 QF in ’98
Martin, Alberto ESP 50 R16 in ’01

@ Injury Protected Ranking


• Western & Southern boosts its field for Women's Open

MASON – Turns out, Andre Agassi’s triumphant return to Cincinnati last summer might not have been his last go-around in the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters as was widely thought at the time.

Agassi, 35, the defending champion, is expected to be in the field for the upcoming W&S Masters according to the list of players currently committed to play in the Masters Series tournament Aug. 12-21 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.

The field was announced today at the Tennis Center and includes world No. 1 and three-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, French Open champion Rafael Nadal, 2003 W&S Champion Andy Roddick, who lost to Agassi in last year’s semifinals, and last year’s finalist, Lleyton Hewitt.

The top 51 ranked players get automatic entries into the 64-player tournament. Younes El Aynaoui has an injury-protected ranking of No. 27, which prevented the No. 51-ranked player, Fabrice Santoro, from being directly accepted. One of the four wild cards has been given to American James Blake.

Agassi, ranked No. 6 and always a fan-favorite in Cincinnati, has been featured in the tournament’s print and television ad spots, the latter of which includes him saying, "I’ll see you in Cincinnati.”

Two years ago Agassi withdrew from the Cincinnati tournament just days before it started. He returned last year, however, to claim the title in Cincinnati for the third time, resurrecting a career that had begun to decline because of Aggasi’s health. It currently stands as his last tournament championship, though he has reached the semifinals of two Masters Series events this year. In June, Agassi pulled out of Wimbledon because of an injury.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

07-19-2005, 07:50 AM
hope he is well and doesn't need need to withdraw just like the rca championship...

07-24-2005, 09:09 AM
Article created: 07/24/2005 04:21:57 AM

Westhall's buzz cut an ace for the fans
Part 1 of a six-part series recalling men's professional tennis in New Haven: Jim Westhall's close shave

NEW HAVEN — The extension cord snaked its way out to the middle of center court, where a pair of clippers, a chair and one very happy winner waited.
Andre Agassi had made the statement last year. A wager, really. That if he did come back and won the 1995 Volvo International, tournament director Jim Westhall would get the Agassi look. A shaved head. So Westhall took the bet. Heck, Westhall would have agreed to anything to have the greatest American tennis player of the moment come back to his tournament.

At the time, Agassi was ranked No. 1 in the world, the greatest spectacle in tennis. And if Westhall wanted something special to put his event on the map, he got it, with ESPN paying full attention.

Westhall and his bushy gray locks walked onto the Connecticut Tennis Center court and the 12,065 — the second-largest single-session crowd at that time — that had come to see the amazing Andre in that Aug. 21 final roared with approval. Agassi, with clippers in hand, sat Westhall down and with the flair of a military barber, buzzed him.

It was a hell of a show.

"Well, what do you guys think?" Agassi said after completing his work and holding the razor high. The place went wild.

Was the shaved head worth it? Westhall might not have thought so, but because of it, he almost got a full house to his 1995 final, which saw Agassi rally to defeat Richard Krajicek 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 and win the Volvo. What he also got was some incredible tennis — Agassi saving two match points in the second set, and then making every big shot when he needed to in the third to erase Krajicek and capture his fourth straight ATP event.

"I remember that I resisted (the haircut) all the way to the chair," said Westhall, now retired and living in Hale's Location, N.H. "It looked for a while like the big Dutchman was going to win, but he blew a floater,
and the next thing you know, some of my own people are carrying me out to the chair. In retrospect, it was probably one of the better things that happened to me, but at that time, it sure wasn't. It was something I didn't want to do, but in the end, it worked out OK."
It worked out to a stadium full of publicity as Agassi's barbershop handiwork was shown on ESPN's "SportsCenter" all night long, sending the Volvo name out all over the country. "I would never run a tennis tournament without Andre Agassi," a beaming, and balding, Westhall would say after the tournament. "He's probably the best ticket seller around."

Agassi had kept the 1995 Volvo alive when the other big names were falling by the wayside. Michael Chang and Michael Stich had both lost in the first round. Patrick Rafter fell in the third round. Boris Becker departed in the quarters, leaving Agassi as the only remaining star of the show.

He didn't disappoint. Except maybe Westhall, that is.

"I had been sitting with my granddaughter (Kaitlyn) before (the haircut) and as it was happening, she looked at me like, 'What are they doing to my grandfather?'" he said. "And afterwards as I was looking for a hat to put over my bald head, I turned around and saw her sitting on Andre's lap. Her loyalties sure turned quickly.

"But you know, it was a great thing. How often does someone get their hair cut by a star like him? It's a moment that I'll talk about for the rest of my life."

On Monday, Part 2: Music and tennis don't mix


:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

07-25-2005, 10:38 AM
Article created: 07/25/2005 04:21:36 AM

Tennis, rock 'n' roll don't mix
Part 2 of a six-part series: Mad about the music
CHRIS ELSBERRY celsberry@ctpost.com

NEW HAVEN — It was more like Frank Sinatra than Frank Zappa. More like John Cougar Mellencamp than Metallica, but for Andre Agassi and several other tennis players caught in the middle of the 1994 Volvo International's great rock 'n' roll experiment, the result was a failing grade.
"It's a joke," Agassi said then, after his first match, a second-round loss to Jan Simerink. "Why don't we just have some models come out between games? They can wear swimsuits."

The music, ironically, was an idea from the ATP Tour. Too many of these tournaments are boring affairs, they felt. The players play, the players wave, and the players leave. The ATP saw a way to try and lure younger fans into the sport through music and on-court, post-match interviews. Jim Westhall, ever the showman, took that P.T. Barnum attitude and ran with it.

The fans seemed to enjoy it. The players outright hated it.

Agassi just about went into a tirade over the music played during the changeovers after his loss to Simerink. Guy Forget called the Volvo show "a circus." Boris Becker said that this kind of stuff didn't belong in tennis.

"It was an idea that was proposed to me by Larry Scott, who used to work for me as a consultant and who's now the CEO of women's tennis. And he and the people at the ATP said, 'Let's try this,' and they knew that I was always looking for things to be entertaining and be unique and of course, get media coverage," said Westhall, who was the tournament chairman of the Volvo International from 1990 to 1996. "And as a matter of fact, I had someone ask Agassi about it and he said, 'Great, let's do it.' Well, I'll never forget when he lost that match with the music and he was interviewed on center court, he just blasted it. And I was watching the whole thing and I left, I didn't want to take on Andre."

Meanwhile, exit polls showed that the fans thought that the music was a nice touch in-between the games.
Even representatives from the stodgy USTA didn't object. But the music backlash cast a cloud over the entire tournament. Lost in the shadows — or white noise — of the event was the fine play of Becker, who apparently popped in some earplugs and rolled through the Volvo International field, defeating Marc Rosset in straight sets in the finals.
As exciting as the idea was in 1994, today Westhall wonders if rock music has a place in tennis.

"I'm not sure that what tennis needs is rock 'n' roll music on the changeovers. It gets to be a little bit like race car driving, it's ... I'm not sure now that it's a good idea," Westhall said. "It wasn't even my idea, but I had to take the heat for that. The rest of the tennis world said, 'How dare you? Who do you think you are?' And I was like, 'I'll never do it again' and I didn't do it again, I can tell you that."

And while several of the players felt the music was a joke, things turned deadly serious for a while during the middle of the Michael Stich and Daniel Vacek match, when a fire alarm went off, it's siren echoing throughout the Connecticut Tennis Center. Stich, Vacek, and the 10,448 fans who were in attendance for that day's afternoon matches, quickly left the stadium in an orderly fashion before returning some 20 minutes later.

Thankfully, it turned out to be a false alarm. It turned out that the 2-year-old son of doubles player Cyril Suk, Cyril IV, had pulled the alarm in the players' lounge, setting off the automatic emergency system.

No one complained about that noise, however.

On Tuesday, Part 3: Rain, rain go away.


:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

07-25-2005, 03:40 PM
Some odds and ends from Jon Wertheim's recent columns:

Say the tennis commissioner of Mars called you and wanted to put on an intergalactic Fed Cup and Davis Cup. What four men and what four women would you send to represent Earth in this competition?
-- Steve K., St. Louis

What surface to do the Martians prefer? Be nice to know that first. Am I taking the four best players from Earth or do I need to choose one country to represent the planet? (Did I really just write that sentence?)

Guess my team is:

1) Federer
2) Nadal
3) Andy Roddick
4) Andre Agassi if ticket sales are slow; Hewitt if they're not. :haha:

1) Lindsay Davenport
2) Maria Sharapova (just think: an emerging market for potential endorsements!)
3) Serena Williams (passing up the "Venus to Mars" marketing line)
4) Justine Henin-Hardenne

If I had to pick one country, I take the United States. The Spanish and Argentine women don't cut it. The Russian and Belgian men don't either. :yeah:

- - - - - - - - - -

I was watching a replay of Andre Agassi's 1999 French Open championship win, and even as recent as then, watching Agassi play was like watching a totally different person. John McEnroe mentioned Agassi's questionable fitness, and while delivering his acceptance speech, Agassi seemed like a lost kid.

Can you point to a person, a time, a match or an event in which Agassi became the respected statesman he is now, and at which point he accepted this role and began speaking with the confidence and knowledge expected of a player of his stature? It seemed that as late as '99, he was growing into the role he's assumed today. The uncertain Agassi was in stark contrast to the humble, well-spoken, well-respected person that people see today. Any thoughts?
-- Scott Kurtis, New York City

You're talking about an event more than six years ago. Look what's happened to Agassi since then: He turned 30, and then 35. He got married. And not least, he had two kids. You stub your toe on those loose Lego pieces and it puts a trivial tennis injury into perspective. "Baby Beluga" plays in your head throughout a match and you feel invincible, man. (Doubly so if you're sleep-deprived.) You spend hours debating weighty issues -- "You like macaroni. This penne is macaroni, the shape is just different. Eat it!" -- and the mental acuity required for top tennis is nothing.

But to answer your question seriously, I don't think Agassi would point to one seminal moment. You evolve as a person. You learn from your mistakes. Your priorities come into focus. There's a word for this process. Life, I believe they call it.


07-31-2005, 10:56 AM
Agassi Advances To First Final Of Year In L.A.



Andre Agassi felt a sense of urgency at the start of today’s Mercedes-Benz Cup semifinals and a sense of satisfaction at the end. The top-seeded Agassi advanced to his first final of the year with today’s 6-4, 6-2 victory over Juan Ignacio Chela in Los Angeles.

The three-time Los Angeles champion will face either second-seeded Dominik Hrbaty or Luxembourg lefthander Gilles Muller in Sunday’s final. Muller beat Agassi, 6-4, 7-5, in their lone meeting in the 2004 Washington D.C. semifinals. Agassi has won three of five meetings with Hrbaty.

The big-hitting Chela came out playing close to the lines and put pressure on Agassi, who responded by finding his range and ripping deep, clean baseline shots.

"I think I actually felt a little flat coming out," said Agassi, who raised his record to 26-9 on the season in reaching his first final since Stockholm last October. "I wasn’t read for him to be so aggressive. I felt some urgency so I knew, win or lose, the match was going to rely on executing my game. I sort of let me shots go early and when I got those rewards, I stayed with it."

Playing his first tournament since he succumbed to a sciatic nerve and Jarkko Nieminen in the French Open first round in May, Agassi has struck authoritative shots from the baseline to push Chela from corner to corner. With wife Steffi Graf watching the action from behind dark sunglasses, Agassi hit 20 winners against 22 unforced errors and broke serve three times.

The sixth-ranked Agassi was particularly effective on serve as he cracked five aces and did not face a break point in the match.

"I think Chela’s forehand return is a little suspect in the deuce court so I like it when I can get away with 102 mph slider on the deuce side," Agassi said. "Today, I definitely hit my spots on the serve."

The 35-year-old Agassi, who won the L.A. title in 1998, 2001 and 2002, will be playing for his 60th career tournament title tomorrow.


:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

07-31-2005, 10:59 AM
Back in form
Agassi reaches final in first tournament in two months
Posted: Saturday July 30, 2005 9:41PM; Updated: Sunday July 31, 2005 1:09AM

Andre Agassi is one victory away from his fourth Mercedez-Benz Cup title.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Andre Agassi used a dazzling mix of shots to defeat Juan Ignacio Chela in straight sets Saturday and move into the Mercedes-Benz Cup final.

The 35-year-old Agassi, his sights set on next month's U.S. Open, needed 1 hour, 9 minutes to beat his 25-year-old foe from Argentina 6-4, 6-2.

The top-seeded Agassi will go for his fourth Los Angeles title on Sunday, facing unseeded Gilles Muller.

Muller, a hard-serving 22-year-old player from Luxembourg, fought back from being down two match points in the second set to upset second-seeded Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1.

The final will be just the second on the tour for Muller, who defeated Agassi in the semifinals at Washington last summer before losing to Lleyton Hewitt in the title match.

Agassi has surprised even himself with his solid play in the tournament, his first in two months. He lost in the opening round of the French Open in May after aggravating a chronic sciatic nerve injury, and missed Wimbledon for the second consecutive year.

He said he is pain-free, and he looked plenty limber and agile against Chela, who was sent scurrying from side to side much of the match. Agassi mixed in drop shots, an occasional overhead, and hard, accurate groundstrokes down the lines.

Agassi also covered the court well, chasing down shots along the baseline and sprinting to the net several times to reach drop shots by Chela.

"Today was a big day, coming off two hours yesterday of real violent movements and throwing myself at everything I could get my racket on. I was really interested to see how I was going to play today," said Agassi, who beat former top-10 player Paradorn Srichaphan 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

"To be able to go out there and feel that good and move around against a guy that was letting the ball fly [Chela] was a great feeling for me," he said. "It gives me a lot of confidence, certainly for tomorrow but as the summer unfolds, just to go out there and bring my game without hesitation."

Agassi is looking for his first title since winning at Cincinnati last August.

The Los Angeles champion in 1998, 2001 and 2002, grinned and said of the upcoming final, "I hope I'm not nervous," then added seriously, "I'll certainly be excited."

Chela said Agassi "hits the ball so hard it's hard to hit shots back," and "he's very steady."

His three tour titles have all come on clay. Chela had been sidelined by a groin injury, and the Los Angeles tournament was his first since the French Open.

"I was playing very well at the beginning, but then Agassi picked up his game," Chela said through a translator.

Agassi said he realized early in the match that he needed to raise his game a notch.

"He came out firing, and when I sort of weathered that storm, he missed a few shots that he was going for a little too much, I thought," Agassi said. "I served well, especially in the second set, and my game picked up."

Agassi served five aces to Chela's six, but won 27 of 34 first serves to Chela's 27 of 39.

"If there's ever a tournament where you can say, 'Each match I've gotten better,' this is one of those tournaments,"' Agassi said. "I've needed to and have done so."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

07-31-2005, 11:39 AM
It's Personal for This Trainer
Agassi works harder than ever after Paris setback so he doesn't have to retire at 35.
By Jerry Crowe
Times Staff Writer

July 31, 2005

The bald truth, of course, is that the end of Andre Agassi's tennis career is a lot closer than the shaggy-haired beginning.

So when Agassi pulled up lame at the French Open in May, suffering a sciatic nerve injury while losing in the first round, he and his trainer/longtime confidant had to ask themselves a difficult question: Was this the end of the line?

They feared the worst.

"Either we were going to surface and rise above or we were just going to be swept away," Gil Reyes, who has trained Agassi for 16 years, said Saturday. "It was just that simple. Unfortunately, it was that dramatic as well."

At 35, his contemporaries long retired, Agassi knows his days in the sport are numbered, his exit just around the corner, if not right up the street.

One false move could bring the rocking chair.

"We're more scared now than we've ever been," Reyes said after Agassi's 6-4, 6-2 victory over Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina in the semifinals of the Mercedes-Benz Cup at UCLA's Los Angeles Tennis Center. "He understands it: a 35-year-old athlete being asked to not only withstand the rigors of tennis, but, let's face it, [a sport] being played a little differently these days. These guys are coming up awfully big, awfully strong, good athletes. And they've grown up watching guys like Andre play and wanting to knock the cover off the ball. There are no more gentlemanly rallies out there, so the toll it takes on the body is different.

"So, of course we were afraid after the French. My biggest fear was that a doctor would decide when Andre retired. That was a nightmare to me. I've always wanted it to be on his terms. We still fantasize about how to go out, still talk about it, and I had nightmares about a doctor being the one who said, 'He's done.' "

Agassi must have too, because, according to Reyes, he was back in the gym five days after flying home from Paris to Las Vegas. He returned to the ATP Tour this week at UCLA, ran through a watered-down field and today could join Jimmy Connors, Roy Emerson and Frank Parker as the event's only four-time winners.

"I respect him more now, if that's possible, than I ever have," Reyes said of Agassi, "because I know the doubt and the pain and the uncertainty that were inside the four walls of that gym when we came back from Paris."

Because of the pain in Agassi's back, which was injected with cortisone, Reyes said he had to eliminate about 60% of the player's regular exercise routine.

"We could not end his career in the gym," the trainer said.

After a difficult first 10 days Agassi slowly responded and, according to Reyes, "He did not miss one day in training. And he had every reason to take a day or two off. For crying out loud, he's 35, he's paid his dues, he's hurting. But the guy was in there every single morning, same look in his eye, same trust in his eye, that he wants it, he wants it bad. He's hungry right now, he's focused."

Credit Reyes, Agassi said.

"Gil is the reason why I've won more Slams after the age of 29 than I did before," he said. "He's the reason why I'm still out there playing this sport at a time in my life when I can really understand and appreciate it.

"These last eight weeks were just another testament to that. We addressed every question with purpose and got our answers."


Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times

08-03-2005, 04:23 PM
FEDERAL STANDARDS: Agassi school in class by itself

Middle school gets 'exemplary' tag from state


Brian Thomas, principal of the high school at the Agassi College Preparatory Academy, prepares for a faculty meeting Monday. The academy's middle school is one of only five schools in Nevada labeled exemplary by the state for meeting federal standards. Thomas said the school's success can be attributed to advantages not available at other schools, such as longer instructional hours.

The Agassi College Preparatory Academy, at 1201 W. Lake Mead Blvd., opened four years ago and has only 150 students. Some middle schools in Clark County have more than 1,000 students. The charter school's day is about eight hours.


The Agassi College Preparatory Academy's middle school is the only school in Clark County labeled "exemplary" by the state for exceeding federal standards.

An official with the academy said the charter school, which opened four years ago and serves mainly inner-city students, can use tools not readily available to public schools, including more money to spend on each student, longer instructional days, and the ability to get rid of teachers who are not performing up to expectations.

More than that, it is exempt from some standards that larger public schools are required to meet under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The academy's middle school was one of only five schools in Nevada given the exemplary designation. It achieved that status because students exceeded federal standards by at least 4 percent, while decreasing the percentage of students who didn't meet federal standards the previous year by at least 4 percent.

Elementary and middle school students took a criterion-referenced test, which tests students on the state's curriculum. High school students were judged on how well they performed on the state's proficiency exam.

"We are very happy and proud of the exemplary status," said Brian Thomas, the academy's high school principal and former executive director. "But by no means do we feel that we've arrived. We have a long way to go."

Clark County School District Interim Superintendent Agustin Orci last week lamented the fact that he can't use the tools that Agassi has to bring the district up to federal and state standards.

"It's an example of a school that has very small class sizes. It's an example of a school that has an extended day," Orci said. "When you do those kinds of things, you'll have better results. That's the kind of thing we would like to do in the district, but it's cost-prohibitive."

On Thursday, officials announced that more than two-thirds of the district's schools didn't meet No Child Left Behind Act standards for the 2004-05 year. The number of failing schools ballooned to 205 from 141 the previous year.

In an effort to improve standardized test results, Orci said he will halt new educational programs and pledged to get rid of programs that aren't effective.

Orci also said teachers this year will benefit from a districtwide software program called the Instructional Data Management System. The Web-based system will allow teachers to track the performance of individual students and identify subject areas that need improvement.

Orci said teachers will use the software, which cost about $1 million, and give periodic assessments to students so they'll be better prepared for standardized tests.

Thomas acknowledged the academy has some factors that are favorable to students performing well on standardized tests.

He said the school has only 150 students. Some middle schools in Clark County have more than 1,000 students.

The charter school's day is about eight hours, while the average day for the school district is about six hours.

The academy also subsidizes state funding with private donations to increase the amount spent on each student to $7,900, about $2,000 more per student than students at public schools.

Thomas said his school has the flexibility of not retaining teachers based on performance or any other reason. Indeed, the Agassi School Board renewed the contracts of only six of its 18 teachers. Agassi teachers work on one-year contracts

The Clark County School District does not have the option of not renewing teacher contracts. Teachers in the district can be fired for cause, but once hired they're permanent employees.

Unlike Agassi schools, teachers terminated in the Clark County School District can appeal through the teacher's union.

An analysis of the charter school's performance indicates that, because the academy serves a particular population and is smaller than most middle schools in the district, the academy benefited from a state regulation that exempts a group's performance if fewer than 25 students in a particular category are being graded.

School performance is based on test scores on more than two dozen student group categories, including by ethnicity, students whose primary language is not English and special education students.

The academy was exempt from six categories because it didn't meet the 25-person standard. The school didn't have enough students to fill the categories of American Indian and Alaskan native, special education, students whose primary language is not English, Hispanics, Asians and students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals.

There are 36 categories of student assessments. If one category of students do not meet federal standards, the entire school fails.

Keith Rheault, the state's superintendent of public instruction, said the system favors smaller schools.

"There's a better chance they'll have every category filled at the bigger schools, and that's probably a disadvantage," Rheault said. "If you have less than 25 students in a category, it's really not a valid sample."

The five schools from five different counties that were labeled exemplary by the state would be considered small compared with Clark County schools.

Colt Goodman is chief of operations for the Keystone Academy, a charter school which served less than 60 students in Sandy Valley this year. The school met all the federal standards. The school was exempt from several categories.

Goodman said he is more concerned with the students who attend his school than with nitpicking state standards.

"If this school wasn't here, 80 percent of these kids would not attend school," Goodman said.

Three of the four charter schools in Clark County met all federal standards but also had several categories in which they lacked students.


:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

08-07-2005, 01:01 PM
did we post this article?

Pain-free Agassi rocks into Mercedes final
Phil Agassi: 'If he's in enough pain, he's not going to do it anymore'

By Richard Osborn, Special to TennisReporters.net

FROM THE MERCEDES-BENZ CUP IN LA – If Andre Agassi is playing in pain these days, he sure isn't showing it. Following an eight-week layoff due to a sciatic nerve injury, the 35-year-old Las Vegan finds himself in his 88th career final, having run Argentinean Juan Ignacio Chela out of the semifinals of the Mercedes-Benz Cup 6-4, 6-2.

"I was really interested to see how I was going to pull up today. To be able to go out there and feel that good and move around against a guy who was letting the ball fly was a great feeling for me," said Agassi, who registered 22 winners on the afternoon. "It gives me a lot of confidence certainly for tomorrow, but also as the summer unfolds, to be able to go out there and bring my game without hesitation."

Agassi will face the winner of the Dominik Hrbaty v. Gilles Muller semifinal.

Agassi served effectively and never faced a break point as he ran the lanky right-hander from side to side throughout the one-hour, 10-minute contest.

A three-time champion here, Agassi has reached his first final since Stockholm last October when he fell to Swede Thomas Johansson. He is playing for the first time since Roland Garros, having been sidelined by back and hip ailments that many feel could bring his career to a close sooner than later. He has already undergone two cortisone shots this year and says he only picked up a racket on two occasions during his most recent hiatus. However, since arriving at UCLA, Agassi's trademark, grind-it-out intensity has been as prevalent as ever.

"There's always an urgency to win," said Agassi. "I feel it from the first game. I don't know what there is to prove anymore, but that doesn't change my intensity."

Is he in the kind of form that can propel him through the summer hard-court season to his third US Open title come September? Chela, who totaled 27 unforced errors in the loss, says he wouldn't be surprised.

"With Agassi, you can expect anything," said Chela, who was also playing his first tournament since Roland Garros after struggling with a nagging groin injury.

Phillip Agassi on Andre and the Dreaded 'R' Word
TennisReporters.net caught up with Andre Agassi's brother, Phillip, and had this conversation.
TR.net: Is it difficult watching Andre struggle with this hip injury, having to go to the cortisone shots?
Phillip Agassi: He's his own man. He has the pulse on his body. He's going to know when it's time to retire. I don't like to see him in pain, but if he's in enough pain, he's not going to do it anymore. He's in great hands between himself, Gil [Reyes] and Darren [Cahill]. The surreal thing is that after all these years … it's the end of his career. Whether it's 12 months or 24 months from now, whenever it is, it's coming.

TR.net: Do you ever offer advice as far as the timing of his retirement?
PA: One thing I learned a long time ago is to try not to tell anybody what to do. I stay as far away from that as possible. He's a bright guy. He knows this game as well or better than anybody who's ever played it. And he knows his body. He's been out there a long time. I'm just proud to be able to see him do it for so long and be able to ask so much from himself. He hasn't had some of the injuries other players have. His training, his fitness have really helped him.

TR.net: Are you more proud of Andre's on-court achievements, or his development as an individual? He's come a long way from the Andre we knew in '86, '87.

PA: Let me make one thing perfectly clear: Those things are totally separate things. If you had to weigh them out, the on-court achievements weigh nothing compared to the man he is. It doesn't compare. The on-court achievements are just part of a reflection of who he is and what he sets his mind to do.

TR.net: There seems to be a sense that when Andre does decide to call it quits, the game is going to take a significant hit. He's done so much for tennis.
PA: It's a big compliment to him that people say there's going to be a loss. It just shows what he's added to tennis. I think any generation, when they leave, whether it's [John] McEnroe, [Bjorn] Borg, it's not easy to see them go away. But, you embrace the new. There are certainly some pretty big shoes to fill.

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

08-07-2005, 02:19 PM
this one too...

BTW: Do Moya, Umag champ Guillermo Coria and Gaston Gaudio realize that RG is over and it’s time t come to the US?

Speaking of agents, super-agent Perry Rogers, Andre Agassi’s agent, did well by his client, with his new deal. Apparently, Andre received a balloon payment of some $40 million from his former endorser, Nike.

Andre Agassi pulled out of Washington.
With his win at the Mercedes-Benz Cup in Los Angeles, Agassi at least showed that in good health, he has enough game to reach the second week of the US Open. Beyond that, who knows? It’s hard to say how long his last shot of cortisone will last or whether he can take the pounding of a two-week Slam. If he wins the Open, it will be a much greater surprise than Pete Sampras' 2002 run.

As expected, Agassi pulled out of Washington, saying, "At this point in my career I have to be extremely selective about the amount of matches that I play in preparation of the US Open." It’s hard to think he will attempt to play both TMS Montreal and Cincy.


How things change when you have some perspective on the overall landscape.


:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

08-10-2005, 10:55 AM
Here you could bet on Andre:

Tennis : A T P Montreal Masters - Match Betting

Bet Until : 16:00 10/08/2005

Win Match Win

1.50 A Pavel V M Puerta 2.50

1.07 A Agassi V J Bjorkman 7.50

1.33 D Nalbandian V K Beck 3.25

1.53 J Ferrero V D Ferrer 2.37

1.83 J Novak V D Hrbaty 1.83

1.14 M Ancic V F Serra 5.00

1.61 M Mirnyi V G Rusedski 2.20

1.57 N Davydenko V T Berdych 2.25

2.00 O Rochus V R Soderling 1.72

1.61 R Gasquet V S Grosjean 2.20

1.06 R Nadal V R Mello 8.00

1.83 T Dent V N Kiefer 1.83

1.12 T Robredo V Y El Aynaoui 5.50

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

08-10-2005, 01:02 PM
tennis art?


:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

08-10-2005, 10:47 PM
Agassi downs Bjorkman at Rogers Cup

9 minutes ago

MONTREAL (CP) - A windy central court blew together two tennis veterans Wednesday and Andre Agassi came out the winner against Jonas Bjorkman at the $2.45-million US Rogers Cup tennis tournament.


Agassi, 35, a three-time champion whose last Canadian victory was in 1995, used an early third-set service break to down 33-year-old Bjorkman 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 before a large crowd on the hardcourt at Uniprix Stadium.

It improved the American's career record against Bjorkman to 5-0. Agassi has eight grand slam titles and 60 wins overall in his 19-year pro career while Bjorkman has nine tournament titles in 15 years. They are two of the oldest players in the draw.

"There's a lot to like about playing against someone you've known and played against a long time," said Agassi. "There's a lot of mutual respect just for doing it for so long.

"There's so many faces you don't recognize anymore, to play against someone you know makes it that much more comfortable."

It was a gusty, rainy day in which play was halted twice by rain and lightning.

Between showers, No. 5 seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia survived a scare from 19-year-old Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic to win 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.

Sixth-seeded Gaston Gaudio of Argentina, the 2004 French Open champion, got past Kenneth Carlsen of Denmark 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.

Agassi, seeded fourth, said he was more at ease in the wind than in his first-round win over Alberto Martin of Spain on Monday.

"I was slightly more comfortable and more accepting of the conditions out there," said Agassi. "In conditions like that, really anything can happen, so you have to stay positive, keep taking good swings and hope it falls your way."

He will face Nicolas Kiefer of Germany in the round of 16 on Thursday. Kiefer, a semifinalist last year in Toronto, ousted Taylor Dent of the United States 6-4, 6-4.

"That'll be a tough match," Agassi said. "These are tough conditions - quick courts, wind. He's a quick-court player. He uses the pace really well and moves the ball around. I'll have my hands full."

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

08-16-2005, 04:39 AM
andre interview at cincinnati from cincytennis.com:

Agassi All Class
CINCINNATI - Over his 19-year career, Andre Agassi has met historic success across almost the entire circuit of ATP events, and his play in Cincinnati is without exception.

Agassi was scheduled to defend his 2004 Western & Southern Financial Group MASTERS shield this week, but when the 35-year-old rolled into the finals of the Rogers Masters on Sunday questions loomed about his durability. Specifically, a sciatic nerve injury nagged him so much in the first round of Roland Garros in May that he literally walked through the last two sets against Jarkko Nieminen after being up 2-1. There was nothing he could do.

Agassi has legendary credentials in Cincinnati having won shields here in '95, '96 and '04 not to mention 14 other ATP Masters Series titles. He has entered as a seed 13 times (more than any player ever) and is 31-10 over his career here.

Agassi has nothing left to prove, but he was so saddened to have to pull out of this year's event after falling to Rafael Nadal in the Rogers Masters final on Sunday that he came here to express his regret to the media, the fans and tournament organizers.

In an excerpt from the interview at the Lindner Tennis Center on Monday, Agassi discussed the reasons for his withdrawal, why he loves playing in Cincinnati and what keeps him playing at 35-years-old...

Q. Why did you withdraw?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's obviously a disappointing thing for me to have to do. I was really looking forward to coming here. This is certainly one of the biggest tournaments of the year that everybody aims to try and win, let alone defend, so I'll express my disappointment with that."

"But, you know, 10 weeks ago or whenever it was, when I wasn't sure of the state of my health, you know, I made a commitment to not just myself but also to those around me that I would only play under the terms of being 100% physically, because for me that's the only way I can be out there anymore; and I'm not 100%.

Q. Physically?

AGASSI: Physically.

Q. What about mental?

AGASSI: Do I seem a little off to you mentally (smiling)?

No, no, no. Listen, yeah, I mean, mentally is the easy part out here, you know? Again, this tournament is one of the best and you have all the guys in the world here competing for its title. Mentally, I could have stood to give it a go.

But, yeah, physically, just too tough. I cannot afford to take more steps back. As much as I want to get out there and do the best I can, you will not see me on the court anymore if I'm not 100%.

Q. Is it your back, or is it something else?

AGASSI: Yeah, no, it's the same. It's the nerve that after a number of matches back‑to‑back, playing two on Saturday, one on Sunday, how it pulls up, how it responds. Unfortunately, I know this process all too well ‑ so well. A year ago or two years ago I could have made the decision to try to push through it, "Maybe it's gonna go away." I know exactly where it leads, and I'm going to have to be a little bit smarter with how I approach all these tournaments now.

Q. Were you feeling it in Montreal , though?

AGASSI: Not on the court, but in my cool‑downs I was feeling it. And, again, if I have a little pain in my life, that's fine. I just don't want it on the tennis court because I work too hard to get out there and feel helpless ‑ and I wasn't last week, but I would be this week.

Q. Will you play before the Open ? Will you be playing New Haven ?

AGASSI: No, my plan will be just to go to the Open .

Q. When did you make the decision not to come here?

AGASSI: Last night. Late last night, as I was cooling down. With the prospects of getting here and playing more matches back‑to‑back, just wasn't something that I could see through, and I can't start something anymore that I'm not convinced I can finish. I wouldn't be convinced I can be here all the way through with my full health.

Q. When you make decisions like this, how much do you weigh the fact that tournament directors and fans and everybody in the city where you're slated to play is sort of anticipating your presence?

AGASSI: Hmm, that weighs heavily, if anything, in guilt, you know. It's a tough feeling to feel like you're letting down a tournament. Paul Flory has done an amazing job with this event over all these years. He's been great to me and is beyond a class act when it comes to living up to his word and looking out for the players and respecting as difficult a decision as this is. The way that he's respected it means the world to me.

So all those things make you feel bad, unfortunately. But the question that I have to answer when I start to feel that way is, What's the alternative. And, you know, the alternative is me not being at my best, me being out there in a situation where I can do more damage to myself and not be a part of more tournaments. You know, I'm trying to negotiate a career now and how I'm going to go about my profession, and making the wrong decisions can have big ramifications for me at this stage.

But it does feel ‑‑ it does make me feel bad.

Q. You mentioned your career. I guess this development sort of reinforces the notion that you're not going to be playing professional tennis forever. Yet still wherever you go, you're the most popular player. How do you envision the future of the ATP Tour without your presence from a popularity standpoint?

AGASSI: Well, I think this game has a great future when it comes to its potential growth. I mean, this game has survived with a lot of difficult decisions that's been made. And now, with the likes of the guy who beat me yesterday, Nadal , I mean a person like this is just amazing for the game. It's great to see.

I can't be objective as to how I fit into this picture, but I can say that I'll miss it a lot. I'll miss the competition, I'll miss the sport, I'll miss the guys, all the stuff that goes with it.

But how it's effected, I can't speak to. What I can say is there's a lot of hope for the growth of this game.

Q. Yesterday you told the crowd that you'd see them in two years. At this point do you still feel that's a realistic goal?

AGASSI: Well, my plan was to go visit the city of Montreal in a couple of years (smiling).

No, I hope so. I do hope so. I mean, it might have been the loudest I've ever heard a crowd after I won the second set yesterday. That means the world. Those are moments that you appreciate more at 35 than you do at 25. So I hope I am back there.

Q. Playing?

AGASSI: Playing.

Q. Can you talk about being back in Cincinnati again after winning here last year.

AGASSI: No question about it, winning here last year was one of the best feelings I've ever had on a tennis court. I hadn't won in a long time, it was against the best field in the world, and it gave me a lot of life, to win here. That I'll always remember. I might remember last year more than any of the other years ‑ and I've had some pretty darn good ones here.

08-16-2005, 03:49 PM
ATP still searching for the 'Next Andre'

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Aug 16, 2005

MASON - The Western & Southern Financial Group Masters remains stocked with nine of the top 10 players in the world, but there's nothing quite like losing Andre Agassi the night before the start of the tournament.

It doesn't matter if he's in Cincinnati, Hamburg or Dubai: Agassi is the ATP Tour's most recognizable player, with a fan-friendly personality that has endeared him to crowds the world over.

His withdrawal from the W&S Masters on Sunday, however, reinforced what is becoming the central storyline regarding Agassi. The 35-year-old's body is becoming too fragile to play professional tennis for many more years, and soon enough the ATP, as well as the W&S Masters, will be permanently without one of the most popular players in the history of the sport.

"I think this game has a great future when it comes to its potential growth," Agassi said Monday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, where he met with adidas marketing representatives about their new endorsement relationship.

"It's great to see, and I can't be objective as to how I'll fit into this picture, but I can say that I'll miss it a lot. I'll miss the competition. I'll miss the sport. I'll miss the guys, all the stuff that goes with it. I can say there's a lot of hope for this game."

The realization of his own popularity, Agassi said, made the decision to pull out of the W&S Masters that much more difficult, though he called it the right move to preserve his health for the U.S. Open and beyond.

"I'm trying to negotiate a career now, and how I'm going to go about my profession," Agassi said. "And making the wrong decision is going to have big ramifications for me at this stage. But (withdrawing) does make me feel bad."

Agassi still has his moments on the court, such as last week's run to the Tennis Masters Series Canada final that vaulted him into first place in the U.S. Open Series. But he is no longer tennis' best player.

That title belongs to No. 1 Roger Federer, 24, whose gracefulness and skill are unparalleled but whose marketing prowess does not approach that of the sixth-ranked Agassi.

Likewise, the other four top-five players - Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin and Andy Roddick - are young men who have Agassi beat on the tennis court but not in the court of appeal.

"If you are announcing the participation of Roger Federer and Andre in a tournament, I would say Andre is beating him selling tickets immediately," said Horst Klosterkemper, president of the ATP's European division. "Without devaluing Federer, who is in the moment, the top, top player, Andre has got something really special."

Agassi's off-court allure was enough to persuade adidas, the world's second-largest athletic apparel company, to enter into a long-term agreement with him in July, a partnership that includes an adidas pledge to support Agassi's charitable foundation. Agassi's former sponsor, Nike, which had paid him a reported $120 million over 10 years, balked at funding the charity to Agassi's liking.

Agassi said his agreement with adidas has little to do with how well he plays on the court - or even if he continues to play. That only emphasizes his marketing power.

Federer, by contrast, does not even have an agent, which limits the extent of his Nike deal; Reebok dumped Roddick in April (Roddick subsequently signed with Lacoste), and Hewitt, a former Nike player, has no clothing sponsor.

"While we've still got Agassi, we should milk him for all he's worth," said U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe. "He's still the biggest draw in tennis."

One simple photograph attests to that.

An aerial shot of Agassi and Federer playing on top of a Dubai helipad 700 feet above ground was seen this year by more than 3 billion people - half of the world's population.

"He's got a global impact, and it's fascinating, really, because of how late in his career it is," said Kevin Adler, vice president at Relay sponsorship and event marketing "The ATP is doing the right thing by proactively continuing to introduce the next generation to fans.

"But if you look at pro sports in general, Andre has not only delivered on the court, but he's delivered with his personality. I don't think they've got the next Andre yet."

Agassi said he would like to play next year in Mason, the site of his last major title, won last year. He made no guarantee, however, as doubts about his health dictate his future.

"For so long here, he's given people memorable matches," said W&S Masters tournament director Bruce Flory. "They loved it. He's not going to do that very often anymore. We'll miss him, but to have a guy like that around - who'd have thought you'd have somebody like that for so long? It's been phenomenal."

- - - - - - - - - -

Andre Agassi is one of the most successful men's tennis players of all time and arguably the most popular off the court because of his personality and generosity.

On the court

All-time match wins
Player / W / L
Jimmy Connors / 1,222 / 269
Ivan Lendl / 1,070 / 238
Guillermo Vilas / 920 / 281
John McEnroe / 867 / 192
Andre Agassi / 854 / 254

ATP Masters Series titles
Agassi: 17 (three in W&S Masters)

Pete Sampras: 11

Thomas Muster: 8

Michael Chang: 7

Roger Federer: 7

Agassi has 60 ATP titles, good for seventh all time. His 101 weeks at No. 1 is sixth all time.

Off the court

The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation is second only to seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's in its financial impact on the people it helps, according to the most recent published figures.

1. Lance Armstrong Foundation, $13.7 million (2004 figures)

2. Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, $11 million (2003 figures)

3. Tiger Woods Foundation, $1.5 million (2003 figures)

08-18-2005, 12:04 AM
Can someone translate this ??????

Američan Andre Agassi a Nemka Steffi Grafová sú svetovým tenisovým párom číslo jeden. Ako tvrdí hlava rodiny - dokonalým párom!

"Bez Steffi by som už dávno bol z tenisového cirkusu preč. Je mojou inšpiráciou, najlepšou partnerkou, akú si kto môže predstaviť," chváli Agassi svoju životnú partnerku. Zároveň zdôrazňuje, že svoje deti - trojročného Jadena Gila a jedenapolročné dievčatko Jaz Elle - do profesionálneho tenisu nútiť nebudú.

"Napriek tomu, že Jaden Gil má veľký športový talent. Chcem iba to, aby v živote robil niečo, pre čo nájde toľko vášne, ako sme my dvaja so Steffi našli v tenise." Obaja mu však aj dosť obetovali, napríklad detstvo. I preto sa teraz Steffi tak obetavo venuje svojim deťom. Rodinka žije v Las Vegas vo vile s tenisovým ihriskom a bazénom. Manželia spoločne propagujú najrôznejšie firmy - od telefónnej siete až po fotoaparáty - a deväť reklamných zmlúv im zabezpečuje ročný príjem asi 28 mil. dolárov

08-23-2005, 07:09 PM
there is an interview with B. Gilbert, see Tennis week...

Tennis Week: In light of the fact you spent so many years with Andre, is it difficult to retain objectivity as a commentator in Agassi matches? Is there always that feeling of 'I'm a commentator, but this is Andre and I always want to see him succeed?'

Brad Gilbert: Well, I always want to see him win. But if I'm not objective they probably won't put me on TV. But you watch Andre and you know he's still hitting a darn good ball so it's not like he's not in the thick of things. So I feel like when they come down to me, I'm gonna be me and whatever is on top of my head, I'm just gonna wing it.
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

08-24-2005, 10:07 AM
Agassi plans to rest after US Open

Former world number one Andre Agassi returns to the US Open next week for what could be his final appearance at a grand slam after nineteen years strutting into Flushing Meadows as a teenage debutant.

Now 35 and suffering from a sciatic nerve problem, the Las Vegan has dropped several hints he will drag his aching limbs off the ATP Tour and retire at the end of the year.

"As much as I want to get out there and do the best I can, you will not see me on the court anymore if I'm not 100 percent," the eight-time grand slam champion vowed last week. He also admitted that he had worked too hard in tennis court and now he need a rest.

It seemed doubtful Agassi would make it to Flushing Meadows after he withdrew from Wimbledon in June due to his back condition.

By winning the Los Angeles Open and then reaching the final of the Montreal Masters in August, Agassi showed that age and creaking joints have not dulled his lightning reflexes and natural instinct.

However, a full two-week, best-of-five-sets grand slam fortnight is a different matter for the American who is using costisone injections to numb the pain. The backing he can expect from the New York crowd will also strengthen him.

"The US Open is different," he said. "Every one is unique to itself. I do look forward to the Open's personality. It's a great place to play.

In 1986 on his US Open debut, a 16-year-old Agassi lost in the first round to Briton Jeremy Bates, collecting 2,816 US dollars to spend on the peroxide streaks in his hair and garish T-shirts that would soon become his trademark.

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

08-26-2005, 02:31 PM
Agassi feeds off unique New York atmosphere By Simon Cambers
Fri Aug 26, 4:26 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Andre Agassi believes the unique atmosphere at Flushing Meadows can inspire him to a third U.S. Open title.

In a sport where 30 is regarded as old, time is running out for the Las Vegan who continues to defy convention and will be playing his 20th consecutive Open.

"It's the closest tournament to my heart," Agassi told Reuters at a launch for his new sponsors, Adidas.

"I don't think there's any environment like it in the world of sports. It's so unique, especially for a night match."

Agassi, champion in 1994 and 1999, struggled early in the year with a back problem, yet even at the age of 35 he is one of only a handful of players who can realistically win the title.

After missing Wimbledon because of his injury, Agassi returned to take the title in Los Angeles and reach the final of the Montreal Masters a fortnight ago.

Others discuss when he will retire. Agassi prefers to talk of his hopes for another strong showing when the final grand slam of 2005 opens on Monday.

"I feel good. It's been a great summer and I couldn't ask to be in a better position going into the U.S. Open. I'm playing well," Agassi said.

"I had my last injection at the start of the summer and I didn't need another one so that's a good sign.

"The sports fans here are very knowledgeable, they expect you to lay it on the line and I've come to really appreciate that. I have some great memories and some heartbreaks too."

Winner of eight grand slam titles and one of just five men to have won the sport's big four events, Agassi will open against Romanian Razvan Sabau.

"The first round is always awkward, more so when you don't know a player," Agassi said.

"But hopefully we'll get some scouting, get some good practice in. Once I get into the tournament I feel like I can get better quickly and I give myself a good chance."

Promising Czech teenager Tomas Berdych could be waiting in the third round while Rafael Nadal, the French Open champion and the man who beat Agassi in the Montreal final, is a likely quarter-final opponent.

"It's easy to see why he's had such success," Agassi said. "But if I have an opportunity here then I'll look forward to it - I couldn't have a better opportunity than at the US Open."

World number one Roger Federer, who beat him in an epic five-set quarter-final last year, is in the other half of the draw.

"Something tells me you're going to have to beat Roger to win the tournament anyhow," Agassi said. "Seeing that he's won 22 consecutive finals maybe it's better to play him in the semis.

"But look how many former U.S. Open champions are in the field - (Lleyton) Hewitt, (Marat) Safin, (Andy) Roddick and myself.

"A lot of guys have experienced the final weekend. The way Nadal is playing, you have to include him, but it's how you execute when you're asked to play your best tennis.

"There's a handful of guys who have that ability and they're the ones who win."
:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

08-26-2005, 07:40 PM

The Game's the Thing for Andre
By Greg Garber

The passion of the collective roar hit Andre Agassi like a thunderbolt.

More than 11,000 spectators rose to their feet at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal, screaming his name, celebrating his game.

The 35-year-old Agassi had just evened his ATP Masters Series final with 19-year-old Rafael Nadal at one set apiece. The Canadian crowd was grateful -- and so was Agassi.

Less than an hour later, after Nadal predictably wrapped up the match with a 6-2 third set, Agassi told the spectators he'd see them in two years, when the Masters Series next returns to Montreal.

"I mean, it might have been the loudest I've ever heard a crowd after I won the second set," Agassi said later. "That means the world. Those are moments that you appreciate more at 35 than you did at 25. So I hope I am back."

Does this sound like a man who is retiring?

There is a yang and yin to Agassi's tennis life today: The thrill of the chase in that Montreal stadium, balanced by the physical agony of playing for so long -- the painful price of that thrilling quest. These opposing forces will determine the duration of his tennis career -- whether it concludes in two weeks at the U.S. Open, or, in his wildly optimistic dreams, two years down the road, or beyond.

"Unfortunately, I know this process all too well -- so well," Agassi said. "A year ago I could have made the decision to push through it -- 'Maybe it's going to go away.' I know exactly where it leads, and I'm going to have to be a little bit smarter with how I approach all these tournaments now."

It has been a pick-and-choose approach. Just hours after his loss to Nadal, Agassi's back began to tighten with a familiar ache and he made the reluctant decision to withdraw from his next tournament, the Cincinnati Masters. The inflamed sciatic nerve, caused by a bulging disc, wouldn't allow playing.

The next day, Agassi traveled to Cincinnati and took the rare step (for a non-competitor) of addressing the media in a formal interview setting.

"Mentally," Agassi explained, "I could have stood to give it a go. But, yeah, physically, just too tough. I cannot afford to take more steps back."

Everywhere he goes, the questions about retirement persist. Early in the Montreal tournament, Nadal said he wanted to play Agassi before he retired. Agassi countered, playfully, that he wanted to play Nadal before he retired.

Win or lose, those are the moments Agassi lives for.

"I want to play hard for as long as I can" is Agassi's stock answer on the big question. "I won't assess anything until the end of the year.

"I must make a decision based on the lives affected because of what I do, starting with my family. The price I'm paying pales in comparison to the sacrifices my family has been making."

After Pete Sampras won the 2002 U.S. Open, his last and record-setting 14th Grand Slam singles title, he never played competitively again. He was 31. But being the best is no longer the ultimate goal for Agassi. What is? Being the best he can be at age 35, as clichéd as it might sound. He finds satisfaction in this. It just means parceling out his greatness in smaller slices.

"To his credit, he knows how to take care of his body," Roddick said. "He knows better than anybody else what keeps you out there at 35 years old and still playing well."

But Agassi won't play if he's not 100 percent.

Before this year's French Open, Agassi was fully aware that he wasn't 100 percent. He played anyway, losing to Jarkko Nieminen in a pitiful first-round collapse. Three of his 10 losses this year have come to Federer, the game's best, all in straight sets. Hewitt, Nadal and Guillermo Coria also have beaten Agassi on big stages.

But Agassi is still a viable player in big events -- when he's healthy. He reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, the semifinals at ATP Masters Series events in Miami and Rome, the final in Montreal and he won last month in Los Angeles. Agassi withdrew from Wimbledon and, after two months of rest and rehabilitation, won all five of his matches in Los Angeles. After skipping Washington, he won five of six matches in Canada before passing on Cincinnati.

"I don't want to be on the court unless I'm at least engaged, letting my game fly and feeling good," Agassi said.

"If there's one thing I learned in Paris, limping around in front of the world is not a comfortable thing to do. It's like a car going uphill with no brakes. You're either going forward or backwards. I feel like when I'm at home watching it, I'm going backwards."

Does this sound like a man who is retiring?

When his physical condition wasn't a variable, Agassi used to plan out his tennis season a year ahead of time. These days, there is considerably less lead time.

"It's week to week for me, 52 weeks a year," Agassi said. "I wake up and make plans for the next week because it changes so quickly."

Ten weeks ago, Agassi wasn't so sure he'd be playing in the U.S. Open.

"I didn't know where things were going to go," Agassi said in Cincinnati. "I mean, I was at home during the biggest tournaments of the year. So to be on the court healthy, being able to challenge myself with my game feels great, let alone the hard work I put in to pay off so quickly.

"It feels great just to be out there healthy and hitting and chasing down balls that I know I'm not going to get to, let alone the early success I had this summer and now my hopes for the U.S. Open. So I'm in a much better place right now than I was a few weeks ago."

The one thing that provides relief is cortisone shots. Agassi had an injection after his loss at the French Open, and his back calmed down and his training resumed. He considered another one before the U.S. Open, but he said this week that it wasn't needed.

When he is playing, he feels no pain most of the time, Agassi said. Afterward, whether it is holding his children -- Jaden Gil is 3 and Jaz Elle is 1 -- or just standing for too long a period, the pain in his back can become bothersome.

For now, though, tennis is worth the effort. He is fortunate that his wife, Steffi Graf, is one of the few people who completely understands his urge to play (she won 22 Grand Slam singles titles).

Agassi's resilience should come as no surprise. This is the player who came back from a career-low ranking (No. 141) in 1997 to reign as the No. 1 player two years later. He is one of only five men to have won all four Grand Slams. He is still ranked ninth in world. He has won 854 matches, 60 singles titles, including eight Grand Slams, and $30 million in official prizes.

But he does not dwell on his place in the game, which suggests he is a man at peace.

"I can't be objective as to how I fit into the [ATP post-retirement] picture," he said in Cincinnati, "but I can say that I'll miss it a lot. I'll miss the competition, I'll miss the sport, I'll miss the guys … all the stuff that goes with it.

"I can say that I'm using my experience right now to prepare myself the best I can for not just what's up in the next few weeks, but this is part of what I'm going to have to constantly, you know, choose to do over the next however long I decide to play. I'm not 100 percent … But if I keep going, I'd be less and I'd be less. I think with where I am right now, I'd be in a good position to monitor this, at least I hope."

Does this sound like a man who's retiring?

But can Agassi possibly win the U.S. Open? Not likely, based on recent history and his Open draw. But in Agassi's mind, the play is the thing. That's why, he insists, an improbable victory at the U.S. Open wouldn't send him off into retirement.

"It would be great to win, but I have no interest in putting a nice little bow around my career and handing it over to anybody," Agassi said. "I'm going to keep giving everything I've got to this sport. It's been so good to me.

"I go to the Open with the intention of hopefully bringing some inspiration to those who take a few hours out of their day to come watch me. That's what I look forward to."

Not the sound of a man who's planning on retiring.

08-27-2005, 09:55 PM
Champions for charity

August 27, 2005 14:15 IST

The next day, at the Adidas store nearby in lower Manhattan, Andre Agassi also did something unusual for him or any other top tennis player -- agreeing to a one-on-one interview just days before a major tournament. May be it's all part of the sneaker wars -- he, too, designed his own shoe with the help of computer technology, but in Agassi's case he was trying to bring attention to the charitable foundation that is so important to him.
Agassi, at 35, is the kind of man Federer aspires to be and is already becoming. He seeks not just to match or surpass Agassi's Grand Slam titles -- Agassi has eight, Federer five. Rather, it is Agassi's grounded life and principles, his desire to make a difference in the world, that Federer admires.

For Agassi, the feeling is mutual toward Federer.

"I respect anybody who gives of their time money or energy to make this world a better place for somebody else," said Agassi, whose foundation helps at-risk children with schools and programs in his hometown of Las Vegas.

"And when I see somebody like Roger starting his foundation at this age, which is about when I started mine, I know one day he's going to say, as I do, 'I wish had I started it even earlier.'
"In 12 years, we've raised over USD 75 million, and every dime has gone to changing children's lives. And I always think that if I had started a couple of years earlier maybe that USD 75 million would be USD 85 million. That's a lot of lives.

"If I don't do this, what am I doing? It's the reason why I get up in the morning. It's the reason why I work so hard."

:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:

06-23-2006, 06:20 PM
The NY Sun actually writes some decent tennis articles :)

American Dreams
June 23, 2006
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/34939

For Andre Agassi, last year's U.S. Open must seem like a decade ago.

Somehow last fall, his 35-year-old body withstood three consecutive five-set matches en route to his sixth final in Flushing. The 25-year-old Xavier Malisse, a strapping Belgian, looked exhausted after sparring with Agassi for three hours. James Blake, fleet-footed and forehand-ferocious, abused Agassi for the better part of three sets - but as the clock ticked past midnight, the veteran prevailed in one of the sport's most memorable matches. Robby Ginepri? Agassi beat him on will alone, then played about even with Roger Federer until the world no. 1 finally came crashing down on him.

Agassi, who turned 36 in April, has completed nine matches since then, losing five of them. An ankle sprained while playing racquetball forced him to withdraw from the year-end Masters Cup, and later the Australian Open. He played poorly upon his return to the hard courts in February and March, before a persistent problem with the sciatic nerve in his back flared up. He skipped the clay court season in hopes of resting and training for Wimbledon, where he won his first Grand Slam title in 1992. He finally returned to action at a warm-up event in London last week, losing to Tim Henman in the first round.

"I feel like I started more uncomfortable than I wanted to and ended pretty ordinary," Agassi said. "So that's not good."

When Wimbledon begins on Monday,Agassi will have to do better than ordinary, and he might have to do it soon. The American is ranked no. 20 in the world, but the injuries that prevented him from playing Wimbledon the past two years have cost him in the All England Club's seeding system. At no. 26, he might be roaming about London and contemplating retirement by mid-week.

If given a chance to settle in, however, Agassi might produce a few magical moments.

"If he gets a couple matches I think, once he kind of gets rolling like that, he could be very dangerous," James Blake said yesterday. "He's obviously not intimidated by anyone. So he could be dangerous to anyone in the draw."

Perhaps no player has ever had timing as exquisite as Agassi's; in his hands, racket meets ball precisely stroke after stroke. Because Agassi attacks the ball so early - as soon as it bounces - he can create sharply angled shots that will skid away from opponents as they search for traction on the slick lawns. Another benefit of Agassi's game on grass: He keeps his running to a minimum, cutting off angles rather than scampering along from a few feet behind the baseline. The fewer steps on grass, the better, as one's footing is often unsure.

Of course, Agassi will need as much (if not more) luck as skill to succeed at what might very well be his last Wimbledon, or even his last major tournament. The other two American contenders in the draw, Andy Roddick and Blake, ought to do just fine on their tennis alone.

Roddick, the no. 3 seed, has reached the Wimbledon final the past two years, and he desperately needs to last at least that long if he hopes to salvage what has been a terrible year (no finals so far, never mind titles). Blake, in comparison, looks formidable, having played reasonably well at the French Open and at long last finding some comfort on grass at Queen's Club in London last week, where he lost in the final to Lleyton Hewitt. Blake, seeded no. 8, has won two tournaments this year and reached two other finals.

For Roddick, the blame rests on his serve, which has not produced its usual results. Roddick has won 91% of his service games or better every year since the beginning of 2003.This year, he has won 87% (in 31 matches, according to the ATP) and has lost about 4% more firstserve points. The last time Roddick lost this much on his serve was 2002, when he finished no. 10 in the world.

Without a good showing at Wimbledon, Roddick might be on course for a finish outside the top 10. Men like Hewitt, Blake, and Mario Ancic are not far behind him, and they should each have a strong tournament (Hewitt, depending on his draw, which will be announced today, looks like a reasonable candidate for the final).Roddick has to serve better,attack more, and convince his opponents that they cannot expect to beat him by merely playing steady.

Blake can never be accused of playing timid. But can he consolidate the gains of a stellar nine months - an improved backhand, a more reliable serve, and a better sense of when to rally and when to let it rip - into a careerdefining moment? The 26-year-old has never gone beyond a quarterfinal at a Grand Slam, and Wimbledon presents a fine opportunity to announce himself as a true contender.

Last year, Blake was just beginning his comeback from an array of injuries and the death of his father when he lost in the first round as night descended on the outer courts. Considering his form today, there's every reason to believe he will stand among the final eight men. Grass rewards offense, and Blake can attack with the best of them. His volley, though not spectacular, is underrated and usually quite effective, and perhaps only Roger Federer has a more potent forehand. If Blake chooses the right times to come forward, most matches will be his to win.

While Roddick, Blake, and Hewitt should contend for the title, the tournament remains Federer's to lose.The world no. 1 hopes to win his fourth consecutive crown and put the memory of an uninspired French Open final out of his mind. Federer looked whipped that day, and his malaise carried over to Halle, Germany, where he lost as many sets on grass (four) in five matches as he has the last three years at Wimbledon (more on this in Monday's paper). That said, his winning streak on grass, now tied with Bjorn Borg at 41, will more than likely remain safe for another seven rounds.

Rest assured that Rafael Nadal, the no. 2 seed and official Federer nemesis, won't take this title away from the world no. 1. Nadal loves Wimbledon - or at least the thought of playing well there - and as Agassi said last week, his fondness "shows you the competitor's heart he has. Any time you got a ticker like that, you got to leave room for some great things."

In the future, Nadal might do well on grass, but probably not this year. His strokes lack depth, and his defensive skills, heavy topspin, and fast feet will prove less useful on a surface that better suits relatively flat, forceful strokes. Look for Nadal to hold up better than last year (second round), but don't expect to see him in the second week.

Other men threaten to upset the favorites. Fourth seed David Nalbandian reached the final here in 2002, and he has much to prove after seemingly solving Federer in Paris before retiring with an injury. Seventh-seeded Ancic played splendidly against Federer at Roland Garros, and he is the last man to beat the master on grass, in 2002. Tomas Berdych, 20, could serve his way into the second week, while Ivan Ljubicic might finally produce grass-court results with his powerful game.

It would be nice to include Agassi in this list of outsiders, but his chances are in another orbit beyond theirs. In the Open Era, only Ken Rosewall has won a major title at Agassi's age (he won the Australian Open in 1971 and 1972 at the ages of 36 and 37, respectively). In today's game, where the once unique combination of fitness and size is commonplace, this aging legend has little chance. Enjoy him while you can.

06-23-2006, 08:58 PM
Good read. :yeah:

06-28-2006, 06:14 PM

Andre the Amazing
With Agassi, the unexpected is everything
June 27, 2006

They were never made for each other, Wimbledon and Andre Agassi. The world's most hallowed tennis venue has always seen itself as the defender of tradition, stability, history. Vegas' favorite son? With his hair and day-glo outfits, his slick irreverence, his lack -- for so long -- of even a semblance of seriousness, Agassi's very existence seemed an affront to Wimbledon's sense of itself.

It was easy to forget that Tuesday, when the 36-year old Agassi walked onto Centre Court for what he says is the last time. He came out and began walking toward the grass, soaking it in: At first a small slice of crowd, growing wider with each step, growing louder as more saw him coming. He heard and felt, Agassi said after, "the cheer sort of roll across the audience, across the crowd." They loved him. He was old and this was it now, another champion fading into history, the one-time rebel becoming just another part of tradition.

Indeed, to look at Agassi on Tuesday, dressed in impeccable white, no earring, was to believe that Wimbledon had won their war of wills. He had long ago shorn most of the nonsense out of his game, his life, and between the lines he has long played with utmost seriousness -- no ref-baiting, no sophomoric playing to the crowd. Racket in hand, he is no more flamboyant than his archrival Pete Sampras, but his fans would never admit to that: Next thing you know, someone might call Agassi (gasp!) boring. Still, his late-career maturation makes it harder to see that Wimbledon today is hardly the place where Agassi stunned the world by winning the title in 1992. The All England Club runs a looser, less-hidebound tournament these days, and in its thicker grass, heavier balls and efforts over the last decade to slow the game down, Wimbledon has conceded the preeminence of the early-hitting, baseline style that Agassi, as much as anyone, forced into the sport's mainstream.

It was all of a piece, as it turns out. Agassi's career has been all about confounding expectation: He skipped Wimbledon for three of his prime years, lost finals he was favored to win, won Grand Slam titles when all expected him to lose; along the way, he ended up marrying Steffi Graf. Still, that his first major win came at Wimbledon remains his greatest stunner, and for reasons that have nothing to do with hair or clothing. Before Agassi, no man could imagine winning on grass strictly from the baseline. Even Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors adjusted themselves to Wimbledon, attacking and volleying more, straying from their comfort zones. In '92, though, Agassi dictated play, disposed of grass-court giants John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic, won the premiere serve-volley showcase -- all from the back. Yes, he needed one key fifth-set volley in the final to win it, but that hardly softened the impact of what he'd done. Agassi made the inconceivable real. A player had locked stares with Wimbledon, and for the first time Wimbledon blinked.

Of course, few expect Agassi to make that kind of run here. His 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 win over Boris Pashanski on Tuesday, Agassi's first victory in three months, showed the rust from his long layoff, and it's hard to imagine that he'll be able to round his game into form quickly enough. But his effect will still be felt; Agassi will be the story of the tournament until he loses. Should he get past his next opponent -- Italian Andreas Seppi -- he would probably face French Open champ Rafael Nadal in the third round, a conveniently neat clash between two of the game's great counterpunchers, both aggressive and charismatic, one old and one new. Unlike the young Agassi, though, the 20-year old Nadal holds no hostility toward Wimbledon. Quite the contrary: Unlike most clay-based Spaniards, "I enjoy playing on grass," Nadal says. "The grass, it is very nice to play. It is special the green."

No one knows that better than three-time champion Roger Federer, who in disposing of Richard Gasquet in straight sets Tuesday, seems poised to make this Wimbledon an inevitable run to a fourth title. Federer, the latest avatar of Wimbledon style and tradition, has now eclipsed Borg in winning a record 42 grass-court matches in a row; it would appear that no one is prepared to stop him from raising the mark further. The No. 2 Nadal, who has won six of their seven matches and a record 60 straight matches on clay, is the only man both willing and able, but he's had so little experience on grass that few believe him a threat at the All England Club. Yet.

"He'll have his hands full trying to accomplish that, no question," Agassi said Tuesday of Nadal. "This surface takes an edge off what's happening with his ball on the other side of the court. It's slightly more difficult for him on his side to get under it and hit it how he normally does. You can say on paper it's not ideal for him. We've also seen the way he competes. We've seen what I never thought would be broken in all those sort of matches on clay, the kind of strength that takes mentally and in your heart: It's incredible. If there's somebody that can do it, it can be him."

Agassi only won Wimbledon once. But the Centre Court crowd stood and showered him with cheers after he won Tuesday, as if he'd been a Sampras, a Becker, a Federer. Maybe that's because if he leaves any legacy at all here, it's one that is instantly understandable: Conceive the inconceivable. Then plant your feet -- wherever you want -- and do it.

07-06-2006, 07:18 AM



Andre Agassi journeyed with us, he and his tennis, we and our jobs,side by side, through the years, and eventually we learnt to APPRECIATE him, for we saw him change, turn not just into a better player but a better man, writes ROHIT BRIJNATH.



Now, finally, when fashioning his tennis obituary is legitimate, the fingers abruptly turn reluctant, a melancholy of sorts seizes the mind. It's not the first obituary we've started about Andre Kirk Agassi, in 20 years we've killed him off half-a-dozen times, because he was too silly, too wasteful, too unathletic, too disrespectful, too short to be a champion. Then he made us tear them up.

And this melancholy, where did that arrive from? He annoyed, exasperated, irritated, you'd shake your head at his buffoonery (he once gave an opponent, 0-5 down, a game by catching the ball), wince at his behaviour (he reportedly once asked Nike engineers to find a way to keep Sampras' tongue in his mouth), and yet, now, we're gloomy because he's said he's going.

It's strange, athletes they come and go, we admire and then forget, for they are too many and the heart cannot hold them all. But him, he's different, always has been, from the time he first played on tour in 1986, the year a kid was born in a corner of Spain called Rafael.

He journeyed with us, he and his tennis, we and our jobs, side by side, through the years, and eventually we learnt to appreciate him, for we saw him change, turn not just into a better player but a better man. We'd heard rumours about life and its second chances, but he, this sneerer at Samson who shaved his head and grew stronger, was proof of it. Of all the redemption songs in sport, his is the sweetest.

I'll miss him? You bet. For a while at least, when Grand Slams open, we'll be craning our necks and searching for old baldy, waiting for him to show us what is athletically possible even when grey invades the hair.

Still, we've got him till the US Open, a few final matches before he's reduced to a statistic, and maybe just enough time for...

... ONE last look at his hasty pigeon-toed shuffle between points, walking from ad court to deuce with only time for a quick head polish with the towel, the last shot forgotten, his body language an echo of his wife's, saying that he was all business. Maybe those old lungs demand he waits an extra second these days, but as the sluggish Nadal ponders the works of Dostoevsky between points, you wish he'd learn from Agassi that sport is about continuity.

... ONE last taste of the instinctive theatricality that defined him (which is why Nike paid him more than even Pete, for he was a filler of stadiums). You didn't have to admire Agassi in his youth, but he was always fascinating, tennis' self-appointed denim-shorted salesman to a new, hipper audience, seeing himself not just as player but as entertainer (and he was prescient in this regard). Who else could get Barbra Streisand to sit in their Wimbledon box in a sailor's suit?

But it was more that, he was interesting because he confounded us, he was a baseline player whose first Grand Slam title came at Wimbledon after beating McEnroe, Becker, Ivanisevic? We'd say Pete owned him and he'd go and spank him, beating Pete 14 times, more than any man, so what if he lost 20 times as well; we'd say he was too short (he didn't make six feet which was a disadvantage in a time when all great players were) and he'd respond by becoming only the fifth man ever to win all four slams. Even Pete never got there, nor so far has Roger.

... ONE last listen to him on court, because you could close your eyes and hear him play and it was like being in the audience when Horowitz went to work on the piano, for he'd produce these clean powerful notes, each one emerging like it had been polished for hours, shots that were not contaminated by anything, they were the pure, crisp offspring of faultless timing and immaculate technique. For a rebellious soul, his art was classical.

... ONE last reminder of how he altered his game, because no one really does that (even Federer in the short-term sense, whose refusal to alter tactics in Paris was staggering) but Agassi, perhaps because he could not add inches vertically, he grew muscles, staying with, and sometimes ahead of, a changing game.

The result, he explained, was: "I served bigger than I ever used to. I'm able to handle pace better so as the game got faster, I could just shorten my swing a touch. I got smarter with my shots. I've had to get more aggressive. It used to be where I could just sort of run people around until they fell into the ground, until guys are just too strong now. They can keep you from doing that because they're gonna take their chance."

... ONE last interesting press conference, really, for the interview room buzzes with monosyllables, and cliches ricochet off the walls, and players don't even care to hide their disinterest, but the articulate Agassi became tennis' best explainer, able to peel back the game and reveal something we did not know. In a way, like with the kisses to the crowd, his decision to answer thoughtfully, was part of his giving back.

Much of this, and his generosity, is evident in an answer he gave to a query about why, unasked, he goes out of his way to help young players like Roddick and Blake. Explained Agassi: "Actually, Andy asked me that one time when we were travelling together, playing some charity events. I was talking to him about his game. He says, `Why are you telling me those things?' I said, `Because I want to beat your best. Your best is what challenges me, it's what pushes me, it's what adds to me.' To get over a line because somebody loses doesn't feel as good as getting over the line because you step up and win. If somebody can be better, I want to see it. I think the game deserves it."

... ONE last sign of an unusual sporting courage, a strength of character we saw so clearly. After he'd won three slams between 1992-95, he collapsed, he won nothing important in 1996, 1997, 1998, and he was vilified for his manner and his habits, and he sank to No. 141. He was rich, famous, he could have coasted, three slams was pretty good, Courier won only four. But he went to the Challengers, he remade himself, he made the biggest single year's jump ever from No. 122 to No. 6, and he'd gather five more slams in the next five years.

Agassi seemed the anti-Connors for long, none of that snarling, desperate drive, yet at career's end who would believe they'd share one staggering statistic: both made the Top 10 for 16 years.

One last look only? Yes, it'll have to do.

07-13-2006, 03:12 AM
Coming Into Focus; GARY SMITH
Sports Illustrated 07-17-2006
It took startling transformations--from callow prodigy to thoughtful champion, from punk to philanthropist, from conflicted son to devoted father--for Andre Agassi to finally see the big picture, and he's still searching for answers

You knew the end was near. You knew the screen would soon go black and leave you in the dark, wondering what the hell you'd just seen.

One Andre, two Andres, three Andres, four. Five Andres, six Andres, seven Andres, more. Has any athlete ever changed as much as Andre Agassi?

Sure, you'd watched Tiger Woods change his swing, Michael Jordan change his sport. But who changes himself? Metamorphosis is the rarest achievement in sports.

Why would a man bother to change when he's got the American dream by the throat? Maybe it's just too damn risky; what if it puts out the fire that forged his steel?

You traveled to a lake in Texas 20 years ago to find George Foreman, fished with him for bass and for the story of how he went from sullen menace to grinning Buddha. But even George's transformation got an asterisk, because it came during his 10-year hibernation from his sport.

All those years you kept watching the Andre show, rebel becoming humanitarian, showman becoming machine, style becoming essence. But something about all those images of him--there were just too many, too different, too quick--made you keep waiting. To trust the change. To be sure.

Finally, 10 months before his announcement that he would retire after the 2006 U.S. Open, you realized that the time to find out how Andre Agassi went all the way from there to here was nearly gone.

So you started moving closer.

Somebody at last year's U.S. Open would surely know. "He's changed as much as anyone I've ever seen," said Jim Courier, a four-time Grand Slam singles champion who'd known Andre since they were teenagers.

"It's almost like an atonement," said Patrick McEnroe, the U.S. Davis Cup captain.

"He decided to be a grown-up," said commentator Mary Carillo. "He didn't have to do that. He had all the money and fame. He didn't have to become a great champion, either. But he did both. Now you really feel there's a soul in that guy."

When you asked them how and why that occurred, they said, Well, he married a good woman, he had kids, he grew up. But plenty of athletes do those things. Those answers were like all those images of Andre: They made you think you knew what happened to the man when you didn't have a clue.

So you went closer.

You were 50 feet away, watching him talk to the media after winning easily in the first round at the 2005 U.S. Open. Years ago, after a victory, he said, I'm as happy as a fag in a submarine. Years ago he growled at an audience in his home state, Nevada, for cheering an opponent's shot. Now, asked why he'd felt nervous in a first-rounder at age 35, he said, Because everyone here took a day out of their lives to come watch me play. Did he feel badly for his opponent as he destroyed him? No, he said, you don't cheat anybody out of their experience, whatever it is. I promise you, it's all part of what makes you who you are down the road. And if a match is getting blown out one way or the other, you've got to learn from it and you've got to understand it for what it is. I've been on the other side of that. I wouldn't want to cheat anybody out of that experience.

You smelled it there, a whiff of what you were seeking.

So you went closer.

You were 10 feet away. Andre was showing Robin Williams and members of Earth, Wind & Fire the academy that he built in the middle of the most destitute neighborhood in Las Vegas. It's a charter school, mostly poor black kids. He was explaining why learning levels here had made leaps so striking that the academy's middle school was the only one among 328 public schools in its county that's received an "exemplary" rating.

He took us to the room where Cirque du Soleil performers taught the kids acrobatics. Past the art class where a French painter who trained with Picasso taught them the use of color and space. He led us into a kindergarten class where, like a five-year-old himself, he burst forward so eagerly to tell everyone about the academy's innovations that he knocked over half of an edifice of blocks that the class had built, then dropped to his knees in such haste and remorse to rebuild it that he knocked over the rest.

You followed him down the gleaming hallways, thinking, Man, he got it, he really got the big picture, and wondering what the world would be like if a couple of superstars in each city did this. But his annual fund-raising gala for the school was scheduled for that weekend, and he was too busy to sit and explain how he got here.

So you waited nearly two months ... and went closer.

You sat two feet away. Flying in a private jet last December with Andre and his wife, Steffi Graf, on their way to play an exhibition arranged by a company that they endorse, Genworth Financial, in order to raise money for its youth charity work and Andre's charter school. It was only the second time that he and Steffi had gone anywhere together without the kids, and they were stuck with you. And still he did something that, during 30 years in this work, you'd never seen. In a country in which celebrity means never having to ask a question, he asked a zillion of them. Almost as many as you asked him. With eyes unlike any you'd seen in an athlete: aglow.

But something was unsettling him. He kept wanting to know what aspect of his life you wanted to write about--to whittle down the big picture--and you kept explaining that it was the whole shebang you were after, how and why he traveled all the way from who he was to who he is.

It was all over that full moon of a face: hmmmm. But he knew his tennis life was about to end, and part of him yearned for perspective. So he invited you to his house for a steak dinner, but not just any steak dinner. If it's not the best steak you've ever eaten, he said, then I've failed.

Of course you said yes ... and went closer.

You were studying that steak. It was four inches thick, prime dry-aged loin, express-mailed from California in an ice pack, marinated by your host for 16 hours and now searing over charcoal and water-soaked wood chips on a backyard grill, all of which he'd painstakingly researched. The flame was caramelizing a coating of port wine, kosher salt, sugar and a palette of seasonings that he wouldn't reveal because it was the fruit of six years' seeking--launched when Steffi, eager to meet his friends, innocently uttered the words, Let's have a barbecue--and because if he told you, then his steak soon might find itself in a tie with yours as the best you've ever eaten. You were sipping a peach-raspberry margarita that was the product of the same exhaustive quest. And it was true. They were both the best.

You watched him, during brief breaks from his cooking, play with his four-year-old son, Jaden, with the intensity of a man living his second childhood--no, his first. Andre was three when his father began tugging open the bedroom curtains in the morning, tugging on his toes, tugging off his blanket, tugging him onto the tennis court before he ate breakfast so he could become what his dad already was telling other people he would be: the No. 1 tennis player in the world.

You were sitting in front of a fire after dinner, looking around a house without a single trophy, plaque or tennis picture, without a nanny, maid or cook, asking him how he came to see the big picture, how he got it ... and he started shaking his head no, saying that he hadn't got it, that he still couldn't see the big picture. I can't see anything objectively or in context, he said. I wish I could. It drives me crazy. It causes a lot of problems. Show me a drop of water, and I'm fine. I'll learn everything about it. But don't show me the ocean. Don't show me the whole forest. Every time I try to see the big picture, I'm finished, I'm lost....

Wow. The seer was telling you he couldn't see. The seeker was telling you that the only way to see the forest was to go even closer, inside it, and take it tree by tree. Then he remembered this game, introduced by his first wife, back in an earlier life....

You're about to enter a forest, says the beautiful woman. What does it look like? It's dense, says Andre. It's deep. There's no trail. No one has been here before. I have to find my own way.

You come upon a key, she says. What does it look like? What do you do with it?

It's rusty, he says. It's one of those big, old-fashioned keys. Normally I'd be curious, but in this case I feel no reason to find what it opens because it's obviously been used many times and what it opens has already been explored.

Following her prompts, he comes upon a cup in the forest ... then a bear ... a wall ... and a body of water, describing each one and his reaction as he sees it in his mind's eye. It intrigues him, this game called A Walk in the Woods. But what does it mean?

His depiction of the forest as difficult and dense, Brooke Shields explains, reveals how he sees life. That rings true. The key symbolizes education, and since Andre is an eighth-grade dropout who learns through experience rather than books, his reaction to the key makes sense as well.

His eyes kindle. The game conjures the path-blazing life he wants to lead, self-discovery around every corner. Whenever it comes to a pause, he grows so uneasy that he's willing to take wrong turns and even go backward.

Like marrying the beautiful woman.

Like leaving her in such haste that night: Jan. 26, 1999.

He has just arrived in Los Angeles after a 13-hour flight from Australia, taken her to dinner and confirmed what he knows in his bones: It's over. It's nearing midnight, he hasn't slept in a day and a half, but he grabs some clothes, a bag of coffee beans and his margarita blender, heaves everything into the backseat of his big, white '76 El Dorado, Lilly, and heads hell-bent for his hometown, Las Vegas.

What do words mean? What's COMMITMENT? What's REAL? Tears stream down his cheeks as he rips at himself. The traffic, as he climbs the San Bernardino Mountains, slows to a crawl.

The cars around him begin to peel off in search of motels. But he needs motion. When he proposed to Brooke 2 1/2 years earlier, he thought, I'm asking her to marry me, and I could just as easily be breaking up with her. But he's a glutton for experience, for what lies beyond the next bend, and so, like tonight, he ignored the omens and shoved on.

O.K. So he's wrong again. Snow has shut the mountain pass. He turns Lilly around and begins creeping back, pulling off and being turned down at one crowded motel after another. It all begins to feel like a dream ... or like his life. He's nearing 30, marriage shot, another Grand Slam title opportunity in Australia frittered away, his forward-then-backward career appearing ready to perish far short of the glory that his teenage fame and forehand promised.

A 12th motel sends him away. Now he's driven an hour and a half the wrong way, toward the life he just left. Wind batters his car. His mind swims with fatigue. Brooke's Walk in the Woods? It's just a Sunday stroll in the park compared with A Journey Through Andre's Forest.

He rises from a strange bed in a cheap motel somewhere between L.A. and the San Bernardino Mountains. What does he see in the mirror?

Eyes, wide as a child's, that he used to frame with eyeliner and mascara. Lips that pray before each meal and curse chair umpires. The face of a man who yearns to change, to find something rock-solid and reliable in himself that won't change.

He climbs back into his car. Which way now? His art goes to hell when he pursues love. His love goes to hell when he pursues his art. It's raining. He's crying. He heads back toward Vegas, toward an empty house.

His coach, Brad Gilbert, shows up a few weeks later. Andre tells him that his marriage is over. The television's on. As Andre clicks from one channel to the next, a vision fills the screen. The holy grail.

Tall. Willowy. Killer legs. Kind eyes. But private eyes. Resolute.

Steffi Graf's serving in the semifinals at Indian Wells, Calif.

"You need to meet her," says Brad.

Andre's eyes lift, full of futile hope. "I already tried that," he sighs. "A long time ago...."

It's 1992. He's 22. He comes upon a field of grass. What does it look like? Faded green, bordered by white lime, surrounded by vintage wooden seats. Intimate.

Sacred. That's what everyone else calls Centre Court at Wimbledon. To Andre it's stuffy, a place he avoided for three years. His fluorescent clothes, black hightops and denim shorts were forbidden by traditionalists there, the rebel complained, and besides, he needed the rest.

But this year he needs the grass. Somehow he has become his sport's richest and most famous player without doing one little thing: winning when it really mattered. It's his sixth year on the tour. He has never won a Grand Slam singles title. Credibility. That's what the sacred meadow offers.

And maybe her.

From the time he first laid eyes on Steffi, his soul knew. She is what he isn't. She has what he needs. At the French Open a few weeks earlier, he finally took a deep breath, gathered all his courage ... and asked his manager to ask her manager if they could meet.

"Meet her?" said Steffi's manager. "In regard to what?"

"Just to talk," said Andre's manager. "You know, he's not some wild rebel like they make him out to be. He's really a good, clean kid, very religious, in fact, born again."

Steffi's manager told Steffi that Andre wanted to talk to her about religion. Steffi told her manager to tell Andre's manager to tell Andre, No, thanks.

Her reply, reaching him just before Wimbledon begins, jolts him. They can't even talk? He's that unworthy?

He has one shot left. The male and female singles winners traditionally dance together at the Champions Ball at the end of the tournament. If they both win....

Steffi mauls everyone for the 11th of her 22 majors. Thump-thump....

One day later Andre survives 37 Goran Ivanisevic aces to win the men's championship in five sets--his first Slam title! He sags to his knees, drops to his back and sobs. Thump-thump, thump-thump.... On to the ball! His stomach tightens. He doesn't know how to dance. He can't wait to dance.

He arrives and stares. Swept-back hair, short white dress, plunging neckline.... That's Steffi Graf? A Wimbledon member sidles up to him. When, asks Andre, is the dance?

Sorry, old chum, he's told, that's been scrapped.

The rebel blinks. What about tradition?

He can't squeak out a word to Steffi when the photographers put them elbow to elbow and pop flashes in his eyes. He flies home to Vegas, throws a party, gets drunk, gets sick, takes off his clothes and ends up on his lawn, staring at the stars, as naked as....

The day he was born. He opens his eyes. What does he see? Fuzzy. Green. A ball. Dangling from a string attached to a racket hanging from the ceiling over his crib. Above it a man, moving the string, trying to compel the newborn's eyes to follow the ball.

Another ball. A balloon half filled with water, flying from the man's hand toward Andre's high chair a year later. The racket taped to Andre's hand--a Ping-Pong paddle split in half to make it lighter--smacks the balloon across the kitchen. Fifteen-love, says the man.

Then another ball. A bladder extracted from a volleyball so it's light enough for a baby to whack with a sawed-off tennis racket, chase it in his walker, then whack it again and again.

Those eyes. They're what convince the man, at a Ping-Pong tournament one day, that his two-year-old will be rare. Every head in the audience shifts back and forth to follow the action, except Andre's. His eyes alone flash, affixed to that ball.

As soon as the boy can walk, his father--a short, stocky Iranian with a thick accent and thinning hair--takes him to the Tropicana Hotel's two tennis courts, which the immigrant grooms in exchange for their use. Emmanuel Agassi swooned for the sport as a 13-year-old in Tehran, coming upon it one day on a dirt court behind the American Mission Church. Sure, said the American and British soldiers who played there, the little street fighter could play if he would be their ball boy and groundskeeper. The game and the big Americans entranced him, transported him far away from the one-room home, too cramped even for a table, where he, his parents and four siblings ate on a dirt floor and shared, along with 35 others crammed into the compound, one hole in the ground--their toilet.

He fought his way out with his fists, all the way to the 1948 and '52 Olympics as a boxer for Iran, but when he arrived in the U.S. at age 22 with a couple of bucks, a couple of words of English and a new first name--Mike--he didn't choose his Olympic sport, the immigrants' sport, as his ticket into the big tent. He chose tennis. All his life he had been an outsider, a Christian Armenian in a Muslim Persian city. In his new land he was going to walk his yet-to-be-born children right up to the elite and hit 'em where they lived, where they played--in their country clubs.

He settled in Vegas and set to work. His eldest child, Rita, had the gift, but she hit puberty and hit the road, middle finger raised to her old man's relentless tennis regimen as she ran off with, of all people, tennis legend Pancho Gonzalez. His next child, Phillip, didn't quite have the foot speed or audacity that it took to play with the pros. His third, Tami, bumped her ceiling playing at Texas A&M.

That left Andre. Last child. Last chance.

Meet the future Number 1 tennis player in the world! Mike crows as he takes his four-year-old around the casino showroom where he serves as a host.

He builds a tennis court in his backyard. Andre enters a tunnel. As long as he remains inside it and never comes up to see the big picture--how vast the world is, how rife with challengers, how monstrous the odds stacked against him--he can go about the task of fulfilling his father's vision.

Dad plucks him from school a half hour early to get him on the court before Mike leaves for his night job at the casino. Weekends and summer days, Mike wakes up on a few hours' sleep and herds Andre onto the court where the 32 garbage cans await--each filled with 300 balls--along with the 11 machines that Dad has custom-welded to spit balls with different spins from different angles, one every two to three seconds ... for the first of Andre's three-a-day workouts. Thousands of balls struck each day, 365 days a year, including Christmas and the day after a surgeon reattaches the piece of finger sliced off by a kid's blade when the 10-year-old Andre goes ice skating, which, dammit, he never should've done. Day off to heal? Kid can rip a forehand with a cast on his left hand. Don't pull the racket that far back, son--shorter the backswing, bigger the pop, like a boxer's straight right. C'mon, step inside the baseline, hit the ball early, crush it--lower, deeper, closer, farther, more topspin, more--go for broke on every shot!

Now Andre's hands are as fast as those phenomenal eyes, so swift that 20 years later he will enter a cage with a pitching machine set to throw 90-mph fastballs and hit them with a bat while running toward the machine. But what about the fire that he'll need to dominate the world, the desperation that drove Mike to the Olympics and America? There are four bedrooms and two bathrooms in his house, plumbing, electricity--and no Muslim bullies in sight. Well, then, Mike will be the bully. Mike will be the fire. Mike will snarl at Andre when his game goes sour during junior tournaments in Utah, Nevada and California. Mike will bring a hammer to a tennis match and bang on the railing in disgust. Mike will scream at officials and get thrown off the grounds. Mike will drive home, obsessing over each shot no matter how good it was because it could've been better. That's when Andre wins, which is virtually always. When he loses....

He races off the court and hides behind a tree at age nine, sobbing in anticipation of the fire, after he drops the deciding tiebreaker in the final of the 12-and-under nationals. Runner-up trophies get left on the table at awards ceremonies or heaved in the trash.

What's a kid to do? Appeal to Mom? She's a peach, but tennis issues she leaves to her husband. Confront Dad? Sure, Andre is scared to, but it's more complicated than that. He loves his dad. Dad goes to war if anyone tries to take advantage of his son, gives Andre all his soul and heart, and his heart is as big as all Persia. In the middle of the night, if a friend has lost his job, Mike will go shopping and leave a heap of groceries on the friend's front step. He'll tip five bucks on a 50-cent cup of coffee, give people cars, nurse injured birds back to health, hard-boil eggs for them to sit on, end up with a half-dozen pigeons living in his house. But Andre can't, for the life of him, figure out why a game means so much to this man, why it feels as if it's his responsibility to keep his father and his father's home happy.

Puberty lurks. Mike grows anxious. He knows there's no player in Vegas good enough to compel his kid to keep improving. He knows, after his experience with his first daughter, that fathers and teenagers and tennis courts with 32 bins of balls are Vesuvius waiting to happen. Something has to give. Someone has to go.

The boy halts and looks around. He's 13. He's alone in the depths of the forest. He comes upon a training ground, an academy for young warriors.

What does it look like? What does he do?

Twenty-two acres. Forty-two tennis courts. One hundred eighty teenagers, but only the select. A leathery ex-paratrooper in charge. Twenty-five hundred miles from home. Andre's heartsick. He had agreed to come. He felt he had no choice.

It's only for eight weeks, he tells himself. That's all his dad can afford, two months' tuition on the half scholarship that Andre's been offered to attend the Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Tennis boot camp. That's what it was called in the 60 Minutes segment that introduced his father to it. Fifty-six days. Andre can last that long.

It rains one day, two weeks after his arrival. Andre's summoned to the indoor court to play in front of Nick Bollettieri for the first time. Ten minutes is all it takes. Nick calls Andre to his office and calls Mike in Vegas.

"Take your check back," says Nick. "He's here for free."

That's it. Gone, his friends. Gone, his mother's touch. Gone, his bedroom, his childhood and any normal teenage life. It's tennis, conditioning and school from 6 a.m. to lights-out, then dreams of dog eat dog.

Nick anoints Andre top dog. He has never seen a kid hit the ball so clean and early and hard. He has never seen such eyes. "I became hypnotized with those eyes," recalls Bollettieri. "I felt the depth. But there was also a question in those eyes: What am I doing here? I think Andre was frightened."

Terrified. But he's the coolest, most charismatic kid in camp; he can't tell anyone he's lost. He turns his fear and loneliness inside out, into hard, hip anger aimed at--no, not at the one who sent him here, not his father. At Nick. Rebellion by *****.

Andre breaks curfews, drinks Jack Daniels, berates opponents, smashes balls at their teeth, smashes rackets, trashes linesmen. He gets a Mohawk haircut, grows it out, dyes it red, dyes it orange, draws crosses on his face with eyeliner, grows an inch-long pinkie fingernail, paints it red, paints it black ... and takes the court at a televised Florida tournament in pink lipstick and ripped denim jeans. He'll do what his father--whose aversion to homosexuality is rooted in lurid tales he had heard as a boy in Tehran--wants him to do: play world-class tennis. But in a way that'll make his father wince.

Only a few see beneath the bluff, see Andre's loneliness on Thanksgiving Day when nearly all the other kids can afford to fly home. He finds suckers to play for 40 bucks a match, sells clothes given to him by sports-apparel companies and buys an airline ticket home, unbeknownst to his parents. Just to stay at the home of his best friend, Perry Rogers, to sit in class with him, mingle in the halls, talk about the big dance--just to smell a normal life. Then fly back.

He can't bring himself to say, "Please, Dad, let me come home, for good." He knows the game would pass him by, knows how much his dad has sacrificed, knows he can't turn his back on the immigrant's American dream. What he doesn't know frightens him more: What becomes of Andre without tennis? Dammit, how did this happen? He resents tennis. He'd never chosen it. How dare it wash him up so far from home?

Then, after Andre's been at the academy a year, it gets scarier. He goes numb. Dead inside. Indifferent. Nick explodes, tells him to pack up, it's over. Andre stares at him and says what he can't say to his dad: "What difference does it make, Nick? Have you ever stopped for one second to feel what it feels like for a kid to leave his home, travel across the country and do this?"

Something in the boy's deadness makes the ex-paratrooper pause ... then soften. "What would it take to make it better?" Nick asks.

"Leaving here," says Andre, "and turning pro."

He staggers out of a stadium in Washington, D.C. He's 17. He can't bear this. He's just found God in a flurry of prayer meetings and been born again. So why, if he's found the way, does he keep losing it in the third set? Why does he always feel that God is so angry at him? Why does he keep having that dream in which he's a child walking down the hall toward his bedroom door when his path is cut off by a terrifying creature?

He stops and looks around. He's in the woods. He reels through Rock Creek Park, just outside the tennis center, then comes upon a pack of homeless men. He opens his bag and hands them all his rackets. He's quitting tennis, done with this gypsy life in a crummy rental car. It's time to find Andre.

He returns to his hotel and informs his brother, Phil, who travels with him. "So what are you going to do?" asks Phil.

Well, he does have that high school diploma, the one he scored with help from his mother by doing four years' worth of correspondence courses after he dropped out. That qualifies him to ... uh ... hey, couldn't he give tennis lessons for $50 a pop?

The phone rings. A player has just backed out of an exhibition in Winston-Salem, N.C. It's $2,500 if Andre just shows up. That's 50 tennis lessons, he calculates. He's back in the crummy rental car, barreling down the path that isn't his.

Suddenly it opens wide. All that losing has shredded all those expectations for the long-haired hotshot out of Nick's academy. Suddenly he's got something to prove to himself instead of something to live up to: He's got purpose. He wins six tournaments in 1988 and rockets, at age 18, to No. 3 in the world. He still guns for white lines and glory on every shot, but he's just two steps from becoming what his father told everyone he'd be before he could tie his shoes, when....

The question drops like a snake from a tree.

Are you playing tennis for you ... or for someone else's image of you? Number 1 in the world--did you sign up for that?

His thoughts, during matches, start darting here and there, a flock of startled birds. He falls behind, overwhelmed by the mind flutter, and does the one thing that would cut Dad's heart deepest: goes numb, caves in, folds, accepts losing. Big strokes, small heart, the lads in the locker room start saying.

Then the oddest thing of all occurs. He comes upon the pot of gold. Millions in endorsement dollars and appearance fees. No need to show up for Wimbledon or the Australian Open. No need to lay off that Coke, burger and fries 45 minutes before taking the court. Just keep the hair long, the threads flashy, the bandanna flapping, the earring glinting, the jaw unshaven, the emotions bared. Just be the rock 'n' roll racket-rippin' rebel, the sassy foil for staid Pete Sampras. Just let Madison Avenue use that rebellion against a father that's never actually occurred, by a champion who's never actually won a major championship, by a rock 'n' roller who actually listens to Barry Manilow--to tap into a desire that every consumer has felt to tell his father or boss to go to hell.

So now he's living someone else's image of someone else's image of him. He gets the Lamborghini, the Ferrari, the Vector, the Corvette, the three Porsches, the JetStar airplane, the 727. He gets the Lamborghini girlfriend, Brooke. Nothing holds his interest. He sells the cars, sheds the airplanes, shears off all the hair. Blows off tennis, then feels lost without it. Sends himself on missions--brewing the world's best cup of coffee, procuring the planet's finest hair clippers, pouring the ultimate margarita--narrowing the world to one thing, tunneling to its bottom, then moving to the next. A second dream crowds his sleep: the dream of his tongue rubbing relentlessly against his teeth, pushing until one tumbles out. Even teeth don't last.

Canon asks him to say three words. He thinks they pertain to a camera--literally--not to a philosophy or to anything to do with him. He still has tunnel eyes, can't see the big picture: that Madison Avenue's calculation will come off as his calculation. Three words tied in a nice neat noose, just what everyone suspected of the Slamless Wonder: Image is everything.

Maybe some of the calculation is his. But the cynics don't see the multimillionaire sitting for hours on a weight bench in the ramshackle garage of Gil Reyes--the trainer who has turned his life into a study of body and spirit--wringing truth from the wise old soul as if his life depends on it. They don't see the rebel flying home from tournaments, driving straight from the airport to the home of a songwriting minister named John Parenti and driving circles around the glitter of Vegas all night, questioning, trying to find a gentler God, a comprehensible father, a reliable Andre.

One day Perry, his oldest friend and new manager, suggests that Andre enter the thorniest place: psychotherapy. Because nothing has ever been resolved between Andre and his father. Andre's first phone call after he finally wins that first Slam at Wimbledon? Dad. Dad's first words? Should've won in four sets.

But everything he has comes from his father. Who knows where therapy might take Andre or what it might demand that he do? Besides, he explains to Perry, it feels like a shortcut. I'm bound and determined to eat experience, he says. If you give me an option to cut a corner, I take more than I should. But if I make it hard, if I face it at its worst, then I stay focused and driven and it only gets better from there. I need to be in the thick of process. So I can't let myself have shortcuts.

Rather than dwell on what Dad took from him, he decides to help someone else with what Dad gave him. To turn millions of endorsement dollars into a 25,000-square-foot building, a Boys & Girls Club where thousands of children might find their own gifts.

Rather than stir old pain, he creates new pain. He digs at his cuticles and picks at his lips till they bleed when his strokes aren't perfect. He starts setting the fires that his dad's not there to set, lighting wads of paper on hotel balconies after he loses, and on a restaurant table in Toronto, where an infuriated waiter extinguishes the flames. He puts lit matches in his mouth, making his jaw glow like a jack-o'-lantern. Sure, that burns his palate and fingers sometimes. That's O.K. That's better than numb.

No, the forest isn't thick enough, he needs to dig under it, creating the tunnel that his father's not there to dig. He cocoons himself in process, obsesses over what tension his rackets are strung at, tweaks them each day according to temperature, humidity, wind. Fixates on his forehand or backhand even when they're fine, three days of drama involving everyone in his camp until, yes, he's figured it out, moved his hand an eighth of an inch.... No. Wait. It's the balls. Too much fuzz. They don't feel right. No. It must be the court. Damn, it's so exhausting, no wonder he's always on the verge of dropping the shovel and walking away. Because it's always so near, that urge. One slight shift in perspective, one glance out of the tunnel....

Like that October day in 1995, up 6--4 against MaliVai Washington in Essen, Germany, when the sole of his sneaker flaps off and Andre has to borrow a shoe from a friend while someone races to his hotel room for a backup pair--but too late. He's already floating up, glimpsing the big picture, seeing himself down there playing tennis in a stranger's shoe, living a stranger's life, and it's adios, Andre, 6-1, 6-1 in the next two sets, and for most of the next two years.

He decides to marry the beautiful woman because marriage forces a man--doesn't it?--to be what Andre aches to be: the rock. But Brooke's an actress, a model: Image is her job. At night she wants to go to parties and premieres at which movie and TV people gather, to make the new friends she needs to succeed. Andre loathes that life, longs for something real. He becomes, he says, a dry, empty husk of myself.

Maybe that's why he risks a transformation that other athletes never do: because he, unlike them, isn't sure he wants to be an athlete. Somewhere in the wilderness, as lost as he's ever been, he gets an idea. O.K., maybe it's not his. Maybe it's his unconscious's idea: To go backward, as near as possible to where he entered the forest, and shatter everyone's image of him. To regress to No. 9 in the world, then No. 29 ... 74 ... 102 ... 141. It feels so awful back there. It feels so hopeless. It feels so ... perfect. At last he can choose his life and start over.

At age 27, in his 11th year as a pro, Andre Agassi signs up for tennis.

He begins in the satellite tournaments with the nobodies and never-weres. Number 122....

He reenters therapy. He's finally going to see the big picture, finally going to confront--well, no, he's not. He'll go for a year and a half, on and off, and skirt what happened in his childhood, but damn, he's trying. Number 87....

He lifts the blinds on his gym window, overlooking the house he built for his parents. He watches his old man, with a heart that's squeaked through quintuple-bypass surgery, hitting balls spit from a machine for an hour and a half on 100° days on his backyard court, and Andre feels something that he could never quite see: that it's bigger than him. That it's not personal. That this fire was set long before he was a child and still blazes long after he's become a man. Number 71....

He meets with Tony Robbins, the oracle of accountability, and gives himself a crash course in dreams, so he can learn to defang the hallway apparition and escape the endless loop of the tongue and the crumbling teeth. Number 50....

Each morning he awakens and writes two or three goals for that day in a notepad, then checks at night to make sure he accomplished them. Number 31....

He becomes the best-conditioned athlete in tennis, pares all motion between points except those that hasten the next point, to grind his huffing opponents to dust. Number 21....

At last he fully embraces the methodical game that Brad Gilbert, ever since replacing Bollettieri, has been pushing him to play, to stop gambling and start letting his opponents lose points instead of his having to win every one. Number 13....

He decides that the Boys & Girls Club and the 3,000 kids he's helped clothe aren't enough. He seizes on Perry's idea of a charter school and commits to building the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. Number 6....

One more thing must be resolved: his inauthentic marriage. As he leaves his wife that night in 1999, as he grabs the world's best coffee beans and shuts the refrigerator door, his eyes fall on the picture there that Brooke cut out because she admired the graceful legs of the woman in it. Her. The undanced dance. The holy grail.

She's here. He can see Steffi's balcony from the condo he rents six weeks later on Fisher Island, Fla., where he's staying while he plays in the Key Biscayne tournament. What if...? Nah. She's already said no. She's had the same boyfriend for seven years. But if the guy hasn't sealed the deal by now.... Besides, the guy's not here!

Go down swinging, Andre tells himself. You're not the same guy she turned down. He goes to work. Huddles with his old pal John Parenti and starts preparing that first phone call to Steffi as if it's a State of the Union address. Recruits the Fisher Island ferry operator to report her comings and goings. Discovers her practice time, with help from Brad, so they can accidentally schedule Andre's practice right after hers. Contact! They hit together for a half hour! He's aching to tell her what's still a secret--that he and Brooke have split--and the other secret bursting in his heart. But he doesn't want to blow it. He floats back to his room. He blows it. He orders a bouquet of roses too big for the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton. He paces, bleeding over every word in the note to go with it, calls Perry to help him revise it again and again and finally sends the bouquet to her room. He watches her balcony window, spying ... dying....

At last Steffi staggers out under the megabouquet and deposits it on her balcony. That can't be a good sign. He waits. Forever. The phone rings. He pounces. "I want no misunderstanding between us," she says. "Don't come near me now. My boyfriend is here."

Here? He blanches. Reconnaissance failure! He parses every word she uttered. Don't come near me now. He loses his first match and heads home, his whole life rising and dipping on the kite string of that one word: now.

Two months later, on the clay he's never solved, he learns how much he can rely on himself. Down two sets against Andrei Medvedev in the final of the French Open, he wins in five sets, drops his racket and weeps: At 29 he's the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four Grand Slam singles titles. Seven years after his first attempt, he feels like a man who deserves Steffi Graf.

It's just the start of a 27--1 run in Grand Slam matches, the best since Jimmy Connors's 20--0 in '74; three majors in less than a year. On the flight to Wimbledon a few weeks after Paris, he scissors out a picture of a barn and a field from an airline menu, turns it into a birthday card, rolls it up, ties it with a ribbon and gives it to Steffi's coach to pass on. It's so sweet she has to call him. Boy, is the boy ever ready. I want no misunderstandings, he says. I'm sure you've heard by now about Brooke and me. I think you're beautiful and fascinating and I have a tremendous amount of respect for what appear to be the pillars of your life. Can we have lunch or dinner or coffee, take a walk, I don't care--I just want to get to know you better. Bull's-eye! She green-lights him to call her after Wimbledon.

One month later, two days before she plays the final match of her career at age 30, they go out to dinner in La Jolla, Calif., and Steffi gets a surprise: Andre's not at all like his image. They end up running on the beach and start discovering that somehow they're completely different ... and uncannily the same. That Steffi, too, has a foundation for children, one that addresses the psychological scars from violence all over the world. Her dad's a fanatic for tennis, boxing and soccer? Precisely the same as his! Her favorite musicians are George Michael, U2 and Prince? Exactly his! When she asks him his favorite alltime movie a few weeks later, she lets go of the phone and screams. It's hers, Shadowlands, the story of C.S. Lewis's finding his soul mate late in life and then losing her to cancer. Steffi, too, is a seeker--she planned to travel the globe to photograph animals until Andre began laying siege--but the big difference between them, the saving one, is this: Once she finds an answer, she trusts it. She leaves it alone.

She flies to Vegas to see his world. She approaches Andre's father for the first time. He's on his tennis court, of course. Andre tenses--remembering how Dad disdained his marriage to Brooke, how he walked out on their wedding reception--still yearning to be part of a family that's whole.

Steffi walks right up and wraps her arms around his father, an embrace so warm that it melts the old man ... and more of the ice between him and his son.

Here's what happens when a man finds a lens that makes every choice in his life clearer: Will it make my wife proud? Here's what happens when a boy raised to win more Grand Slam tournaments than anyone else on earth ends up with not even half as many as the woman in his own bed, and he's so damn grateful for it that at night he writes on a chalkboard in their kitchen the things he noticed and admired about her that day. Here's what happens when that gratitude begins swelling, rippling outward from that bed and kitchen.

He starts having children, and they turn his churning energy outward, and his meltdowns become rarer and rarer, and he starts playing some of the best tennis of his life, outlasting all the peers who'd been far more dedicated to the game. And in his children's faces he sees the child he didn't get a chance to be, and the faces of all the children who lose that chance, and he begins adding more classrooms to his school for kids from broken homes. He lifts his own kids to hold them so often that it aggravates a condition in his back, caused by a vertebra that's slipped over the one below it, and so then, to get things right with tennis that he got wrong all those years, he has to do it with pain shooting down his sciatic nerve.

And suddenly he's in front of the world in the first round of the 2005 French Open with his back killing him and a far lesser player taking him apart, but rather than quit and call off the embarrassment as he would've before, he fights to the end and then explains why with such conviction and such appreciation of the fans who'd paid to see him that an ESPN editor includes it on SportsCenter.

It reaches the eyes of a man on his back in California recovering from a kidney transplant, the hot television comedian George Lopez, who feels so moved that he sends a text message that ricochets from his TV producer to Perry to Andre. "Because," says Lopez, "you could tell Andre's words came from a man who has traveled the world and found compassion. A man who said Image is everything is now saying, Humanity is everything." And so, of course, Lopez accepts Andre's invitation to take the stage at his annual fund-raising gala last October, where he joins Robin Williams and Céline Dion and Barbra Streisand and a slew of other celebrities who come to Vegas to auction off their time and perform for Andre's cause, which raises $7.5 million in one night, prompting Andre to bound to the microphone and round off that number, from his and Perry's pockets, to $10 million, so that all the kids at his academy can walk into a brand-new high school that'll open this fall.

How do you move on when you've finally found the sweet spot? He couldn't say farewell to the game during the first six months of this year, even as back pain and inactivity from a severe ankle sprain kept driving him out of tournaments in the first round or before they even began. It wasn't so much the tennis he'd be losing but the cocoon of all that process. Finally on June 24 at Wimbledon, the field of grass he once couldn't bother to play, he swallowed hard at 36, said enough ... and felt liberated.

He insists he's not worried about a void after tennis, once he's done playing several hard-court tournaments and the 2006 U.S. Open, because he's learned by watching how his wife moved on without a hitch. Sure, his new life will probably have a lot to do with the academy, perhaps trying to replicate it around the country. Sure, it'll have even more to do with his own kids, but not likely on a tennis court unless they really want it. Already his father's telling him that Jaden's not playing enough and that Andre needs to start dropping the boy off at Grandpa's house at sunrise and picking him up at sunset, to which Andre just nods and says, "Yeah, I might do that, Dad" ... and never does.

Andre: I just hope the kids find something to pour all of themselves into because that's where the marrow of life comes from. If it's tennis ... wow, I'd take a deep breath. I'd have to hand it to Jaden if he did that. He'd have to have a mighty big pair of....

Steffi: It would work out, Andre. Just trust your instincts. You'd do it right.

Andre: Yeah ... but my instinct is to NOT trust myself.

Even now. After the magic thing happened.

The fifth set. Last September against James Blake in the U.S. Open quarterfinals. The changeover as Blake prepares to serve for the match. The crowd rising, love thundering from the highest seats like a waterfall, gathering volume as it rolls. Love for the battle Andre has waged, digging out of an 0--2 grave in sets against Blake, and for his 20 U.S. Opens, and for more than that: for his arc, for who he has become. He's as deep in the tunnel as he's ever been, but he looks up and around, and for the first time in his life he sees and hears everything outside the tunnel. He sees his friend James instead of the distant blur that his opponents have always been. He sees what he's never seen in the audience: actual faces, individual joy. He hears not the fuzzy din that he has all of his career but each syllable growing louder and louder: An-dre! An-dre! An-dre!

Chills run through him. He battles from behind once more and beats Blake. It's O.K., he says now, that Roger Federer defeated him four days later in the final because Federer's the best he's ever seen, and besides, being No. 1 never was what his journey's about. It's O.K., he says, because he finally knows what it's like to be totally absorbed in yourself and yet feel part of everything.

He shakes his head. All that trekking, only to find out that where you get to means nothing, and all that matters is how you look at the forest.

I used to look at it as something overwhelming, he says, something separate from me that I had to find my way through. Now I see myself as part of it. When you start out on the journey you think it's all about taking in experiences to fulfill yourself. But it's not. The greatest experience is changing someone else's experience of life. And once you come to that realization, it becomes your foundation, the ace in your pocket, who you are. It's the opposite of what you think it is. When you see the world through the lens of others, that's when you find yourself.

The fire's out. The world's best margarita blender's empty. The man yawns and rises. You thank him for taking you on the journey and wish him luck on the second leg, the new path. The one where the man who learned to see learns to trust his eyes.

07-13-2006, 12:12 PM
what a great story! I even learned some new things about Andre, wow.

07-13-2006, 12:55 PM
Wew, that's an amazing article! Thanks for posting it!

07-13-2006, 12:58 PM
WOW :worship: poor Andre to have such a difficult childhood..

07-13-2006, 05:23 PM
Great Article!

07-13-2006, 06:44 PM
thanks for sharing that article :)

07-13-2006, 07:16 PM
Wow! What a great article. I had to print it out to read it all. Thank you for posting that. :worship:

One of the pics on the SI site from the article attached here. :)

07-14-2006, 01:18 AM
thanks so much, looks excellent :)

07-14-2006, 08:33 AM

Agassi Set to Wish Washington Farewell
Before Retiring, He'll Return Once More

By Melanie Ho
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 14, 2006; Page E03

There was a time when Andre Agassi couldn't figure out why he kept coming back to the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

In 1995, when Agassi won his third of five Legg Mason championships (the others were in 1990, 1991, 1998 and 1999), the court was 118 degrees and the eight-time Grand Slam champion became nauseous. He threw up in a courtside flowerpot before beating Stefan Edberg, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, in the final.

When the match was over, Agassi told The Washington Post: "I haven't experienced this kind of heat. It's crazy. I don't know why I keep coming back."

But Agassi kept coming back and when this year's Legg Mason Tennis Classic begins on July 29, Agassi will make one final appearance.

In June, Agassi, who has played the Washington tournament 16 times, announced his retirement after the U.S. Open, which starts late next month. The Legg Mason is one of 10 U.S. Open Series events played in the United States and Canada, all of which lead up to the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

"Andre just has the unique ability to raise an event to the highest level," Legg Mason tournament director Jeff Newman said. "Without question it will be a special occasion -- it's a complement to a great player field. Andre will be the icing on the cake."

Tournament chairman Donald Dell said it makes sense for Agassi to select the Legg Mason as one of his lead-ups to his final Grand Slam event.

"When you are a player and you win a tournament several times, you get a good feeling, you get comfortable with the crowds, the fans. He feels very comfortable in the environment," Dell said.

Not only has Agassi found success in tournament play but he is popular among the tournament's spectators. Dell remembers one year, in 1999, when Agassi and Pete Sampras were both slated to play the Legg Mason. Even though Sampras was the world's top-ranked player, Agassi, who was then ranked third, was the more popular of the two.

"The phone calls were five to one for Agassi," Dell said.

Eager fans made inquiries to find the precise day Agassi would be playing -- he was, after all, the player they all wanted to see.

Seven years later not much has changed. Agassi will be the favorite, among fans, to win the tournament. Not only does Agassi hold a record five Legg Mason titles, but the 36-year-old Las Vegas native has endeared himself to fans on and off the court. His signature post-match kisses to the fans were accompanied by tears in his eyes after his final Wimbledon match, which he lost, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-4, to Rafael Nadal in the third round. Off the court, his charitable foundation has raised more than $60 million to help underprivileged children.

"He's a showman," Dell said. "He's a very intellectual, articulate guy and he really has a relationship with the crowd."

Should Agassi reach the semifinals or the final of the tournament, Dell estimates that 90 percent of the fans will be calling Agassi's name.

07-14-2006, 02:06 PM
Agassi is the punisher... can he still do it before he retires?

thats the question!

07-14-2006, 10:43 PM
The picture made steffi

07-15-2006, 09:19 AM
[QUOTE=kati830728]The picture made steffi[/QUOT

Where did you get this from?

07-15-2006, 10:35 PM
You can find it on the website from sportillustrated.
You have to search for andre agassi and they show the article and there you can find it.

Agassi Aces
07-22-2006, 09:44 PM

Past champions Federer, Agassi headline U.S. Open field

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) -- Two-time champions Roger Federer and Andre Agassi will headline the U.S. Open men's singles field.

Agassi will make his record 21st straight U.S. Open appearance, passing Jimmy Connors' Open-era record. Agassi, who won in 1994 and 1999, announced last month that he will retire after the Aug. 28-Sept. 10 Grand Slam event in New York.

Federer, the No. 1 player, is trying to join Ivan Lendl (1985-87) and John McEnroe (1979-81) as the only men to win three consecutive U.S. Open titles in the Open era.

07-24-2006, 04:51 PM
Agassi Recalls When He Was a Lucky Loser
By Lisa Dillman, Times Staff Writer
July 24, 2006

Just when you thought there was almost nothing more to know about Andre Agassi, he manages to throw a swerving, change-of-pace shot in your direction.

As the tennis world prepares to wave goodbye to the venerable Agassi, who will be retiring from the tour after the U.S. Open, he is making a farewell tour of sorts on the North American summer hard-court circuit. This will be his 11th and final appearance in the main draw at UCLA's Los Angeles Tennis Center, in the tournament now known as the Countrywide Classic.
Certainly the 36-year-old will be asked about his most memorable moments at each venue through the Open, including Los Angeles. So, what was it? His first title here? The second? The third? The fourth?

Try again.

It was in 1999, shortly after losing to famed rival Pete Sampras in the Wimbledon final.

"The most memorable time here for me was losing to Pete six and six in the finals," Agassi said Sunday at UCLA. "And then showering in those showers they have here and getting real dressed up and getting in my convertible, a '76 El Dorado, and driving down the road for my first date with Steffi [Graf].

"I never remember not caring so much after losing a match."

Their first dinner together was in La Jolla. Agassi laughed about the way the day unfolded.

"It was perfect," he said. "That was my actual best memory is losing here, a match where they got to see something good."

Seven years later, he and Graf are married and have two children, 4-year-old Jaden Gil and 2-year-old Jaz Elle. The family is expected to be on hand during the tournament, as it was last year, when Jaden Gil hugged his father after Agassi defeated Gilles Muller in the final.

That was Agassi's 60th career title, his fourth at UCLA. His final ATP Tour appearance in Southern California will begin today against Xavier Malisse of Belgium in the first round. And Agassi's often-ailing back is doing better after receiving treatment about 10 days ago.

"Just took an injection and I've been playing pain-free, and I've been moving so well on the court. It just feels great," he said.

The top-seeded player at UCLA is Andy Roddick, who took a wild card Friday and received a confidence boost by reaching his first final of the year, losing in three sets Sunday at Indianapolis to James Blake. The seeded players after Roddick are Lleyton Hewitt, Fernando Gonzalez, Robby Ginepri, Agassi, Tommy Haas, Dominik Hrbaty and Dmitry Tursunov.

Andy Murray of Britain pulled out of the tournament because of an injured neck. Murray had been set to play Hrbaty in the first round; his spot will be taken by a lucky loser from the qualifying tournament.

Although Hewitt is on the other side of the draw and could meet Agassi only in the final, he spoke about having to face the sentimental favorite this summer.

"I think everyone knows that has to play him over the next month or so that he's going to be a huge crowd favorite, just as Sampras was when he always played in U.S. Opens," Hewitt said. "So it's not an easy situation, but it's something you've just got to block out … to try and focus on what you've got to do."


07-24-2006, 10:44 PM
thanks yoguis ;)
funny article especially about his best moment=a loss

07-24-2006, 10:53 PM
I'll bet the crowds are going to be absolutely insane with people trying to get tickets to see Andre one last time. American tennis is going to be in heaps of trouble when he retires. :sad:

But this is a sweet article. :D Enjoy.

Agassi's farewell tour will be special
Commentary: This week provides a last chance for L.A. to cheer for a player who grew into a legend.

By Jim Thomas
Updated Saturday, July 22, 2006

One last time.

One last time to see, in person, one of the greatest tennis players in the history of the game. One last time to see, in person, a man who has meant as much to what used to be called the L.A. Tennis Open as anyone over the last 15 years.

One last time to see, in person, one of the most inspiring personalities in the history of sport. One last time to see, in person, the man who went from saying "Image is everything" for a camera commercial to proving that substance matters most of all.

One last time for Southern California's sports fans to say goodbye to Andre Agassi.

Agassi, who announced at Wimbledon he will retire after the U.S. Open, begins his farewell tour of the U.S. summer hardcourt tournaments this week at UCLA in the newly retitled Countrywide Classic.

The 80th annual tournament, which begins Monday, is as loaded as it's been in years -- Andy Roddick and Australia's Lleyton Hewitt are seeded 1-2 --but Agassi will be the sentimental favorite.

At a well-conditioned 36 years of age, he's also the defending champion, a fact that should remind both Roddick and Hewitt you can never count out the grand old man of tennis. A year ago, Agassi won one of his favorite tournaments for the fourth time despite a lengthy injury layoff and playing just a week of tennis before coming to L.A.

Actually, neither needs a wake-up call for Agassi. They know that playing the always-prepared Agassi on his farewell U.S. tour will be a special challenge.

"I think everyone knows who has to play him over the next month or so, that he's going to be a huge crowd favorite," Hewitt said. "It's not an easy situation, but it's something you've just got to block out."

Blocking out the crowd's reaction might be the easy part. Both Hewitt and Roddick have the greatest respect for a man who was winning grand slams long before they were on the ATP tour.

"You hate to see Andre retire," Hewitt said. "He's obviously going to be a huge loss to the sport. ... There's no doubt he will be missed and probably more so for his personality as well as his name worldwide. ...

"He's done a lot of great things for our sport."

Said Roddick during Wimbledon: "Selfishly, I'm going to miss a guy who has been a mentor to me as far as trying to carry yourself with a little bit of professionalism. I've gotten to see the real good side of him up close and personal. We'll miss tennis players, but I think we'll miss him as a tennis player more."

Agassi probably won't be as emotional as he was during his final Wimbledon, but it's a sure bet he'll be superbly focused for his L.A. finale. He's a prideful man who will want to make his last memories at UCLA good ones.

Plus, he gave an indication at Wimbledon, where he was competitive with Rafael Nadal, that he's still got some high-quality tennis left in him. Agassi, who has a career grand slam to his credit, has always played some of his best tennis on the U.S. hardcourts.

"I'll look back at this as one of my most memorable experiences," Agassi said at Wimbledon in what serves as a sneak preview for his U.S. farewell tour. "To say goodbye, for me, this means as much as winning, saying goodbye."

Having watched Agassi on the court and in the interview room on a number of occasions at UCLA, I have no doubt he means every word. Agassi's transformation from a rebel-without-a-cause teenager into a compassionate family man whose charitable foundation works wonders for disadvantaged children is as impressive as his longevity in a sport where youth is always served.

Roddick can speak to Agassi's integrity.

"I was able to be close to him when I was 17, 18 years old, walking through the hallways," Roddick said. "He knows every doorman's name. (He says) please and all the thank-yous at the transportation area. Those things don't get reported on, but they probably make the man more so than (anything).

"I learned a lot just by watching him go about his daily business."

So when Agassi blows a kiss to the crowd after a hard-fought victory, it's not just for show. He means it.

He's grateful for the life he leads and the fans who have supported him. And he's grateful for one last chance to say goodbye in style.

Jim Thomas can be reached by e-mail at jim.thomas@dailybreeze.com.

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07-25-2006, 06:31 PM
Agassi makes final L.A. stop
Eight-time Grand Slam champion, who will retire after the U.S. Open, starts Countrywide Classic title with easy win

By Rhiannon Potkey, rpotkey@VenturaCountyStar.com
July 24, 2006

Over the last two decades, Ellie Caprine has watched Andre Agassi mature from a long-haired teenager in acid-washed denim shorts with bright neon spandex to a balding father of two dressed in conservative classic whites.

She has watched him transform from a camera-hawking rebel who spurned the establishment to a mutual-fund pitchman who bows and blows kisses to the crowd.

So when Agassi announced last month he was retiring after the U.S. Open in September, Caprine knew exactly where she would be this week.

Like parents sending a child off to college, fans braved the heat on Monday afternoon at the Countrywide Classic to bid Agassi farewell in his final appearance in Los Angeles.

The 36-year-old Las Vegas native made sure his stay would last more than just a few hours, beginning his title defense with a 7-6 (10), 6-0 victory over Belgium's Xavier Malisse in the first round.

"There was no way I was going to miss this," said Caprine, a 63-year-old from Brea. "To see how far he has come is just amazing. I just knew I had to be here no matter what."

When he burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old phenom, Agassi could never have envisioned his up-and-down career would be so prolonged and enriching.

An eight-time Grand Slam champion, and one of only five men to win every major, Agassi is the last of his American class to walk away from professional tennis, joining longtime rival Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Michael Chang in retirement.

"For him to go is certainly a blow to American tennis for sure," said Jimmy Connors, who is tied with Agassi for most career top-10 finishes.

"But he has been around so many years and performed at such a high level for so many years there comes a point in time when your body breaks down and you either want to continue to sacrifice or say enough is enough."

Bob and Mike Bryan idolized Agassi while they were growing up in Camarillo, hanging posters on their walls and cutting his pictures out of magazines.

"He was our religion and we had a shrine built to him," Mike Bryan said.

"We basically worshipped the guy, and he is a big reason why we wanted to play the game."

Once the Bryans came on tour, Agassi became a close friend and mentor to the 28-year-old identical twins.

"He took us under his wing and gave us really good advice," Bob Bryan said. "He was so confident in himself, he didn't feel threatened by any of the young guys."

A few months ago, Agassi's coach, Darren Cahill, called Sam Querrey to ask the 18-year-old Thousand Oaks resident to come hit with Agassi in San Diego.

During the changeovers, Querrey and Agassi talked more about life than they did about backhands and forehands.

"He's a legend, and he's done great things for the game," Querrey said. "He's a great guy, nice, generous and fun. It seems like he does all the right things. It's sad to see a player like him leave the sport."

Caprine's bond to Agassi strengthened in the last few years while her husband battled lung cancer. Although Roger Caprine died last July, Agassi's tireless dedication to fitness inspired him to hold on a few month longer.

"Agassi doing whatever it took to keep himself fit against the odds really helped my husband," Ellie Caprine said. "He always worked and never gave up. No matter what your health problems are, you don't give up. Agassi showed him that."

Agassi's fame and success has allowed him to establish a charitable foundation, which has raised more than $50 million, and to build the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a charter school for at-risk youth in Las Vegas.

Along with dedicating more time to those endeavors during retirement, Agassi plans to savor every moment spent with his wife, Steffi Graf, and their two children, Jaden Gil and Jaz Elle.

"I'm used to waking up and wondering what I have to do, what my schedule is, where I need to be and what time I need to be there," Agassi said.

"Now, I will wake up and look at what I want to do today. It's looking at things from a different perspective."

When asked what advice he would give to the next young Agassi who may be coming through the pipeline, Agassi smiled and said, "First I would tell him to cut his hair. That would be first, and then I would laugh at him because he has a long road ahead and I wish him a lot of luck."

After he returns his last serve at the U.S. Open and the cheers of adulation begin fading from his life for good, Agassi hopes his imprint on the sport will be remembered for more than just records.

"I would like it to be better off for having me because I know I have been way better off for having the game," Agassi said. "I want to believe somewhere along the line I left it in a better place than when I arrived."

As she exited the stadium after Agassi's first-round victory, Caprine was already planning her return trip to watch him again on Wednesday.

She said it's the least she can do for all the joy Agassi has provided her over the last 20 years.

"He doesn't just take from the fans, he gives back," Caprine said. "and for that, I am eternally grateful."


Defending champion Andre Agassi speaks during a news conference at the Countrywide Classic tennis tournament in Westwood section of Los Angeles on Monday, July 24, 2006. Agassi opened his final summer hardcourt tennis season Monday with a 7-6, 6-0 victory over Xavier Malisse in the opening round of the tournament. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Andre Agassi hits a backhand to Xavier Malisse of Belgium during the Countrywide Classic on July 24 2006 in Straus Stadium at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA in Westwood, California. Agassi defeated Malisse 7-6 (12-10), 6-0. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Andre Agassi

07-31-2006, 03:39 PM
Agassi to Join Roddick for Charity Exhibition

Andy Roddick will be joined Andre Agassi for the Sixth Annual Andy Roddick Charity Exhibition on December 10, at the Polo Club Boca Raton in Florida.

A pro-celebrity exhibition featuring the pair, both of whom have ranked No. 1 in the INDESIT ATP Rankings, will begin at 1pm and include a World Team Tennis format with singles, doubles and mixed doubles matches.

The festivities begin with a variety of tennis games sponsored by USA Tennis Florida, with the Andy Roddick Kid’s Zone – starting at 11:30am - offering music, raffles, sumo wrestling, rock climbing, a bounce house and other activities thanks to the support of MSE Events and the Pure Energy Entertainment Group.


07-31-2006, 03:43 PM
Class act: Agassi bids farewell to adoring L.A. fans

Andre Agassi was the bad boy of tennis. He was characterized by his exceptionally long mullet and a big attitude. I'm not sure when exactly this image fell by the wayside, but when the 36-year-old bald Agassi left Los Angeles for the last time as a professional, he left as a shining example of class and an individual grateful for what the sport of tennis has given him.

In this day and age of celebrity athletes with big paychecks and even bigger egos, being in a press conference with Agassi is a surreal experience. He is not soft-spoken, but talks with a calmness and a presence that make him powerfully eloquent and makes the people around him feel as though he is really listening to their questions and answering them thoughtfully. Coming from someone who has been giving interviews for decades, it is unbelievable. He comes off much more as a Buddhist monk than as a bad boy.

Sitting a few feet away from Agassi, I couldn't help feeling like this tennis legend who had won 60 ATP titles in his long and illustrious career was more down-to-earth than I am.

Like he does on the court, Agassi carries himself with an understated grace and an understanding that he is a true ambassador of tennis.

This summer represents the ambassador's last tour around the nation as he has announced his retirement after August's U.S. Open. Every stop along the way is his last visit, and Los Angeles was no different.

During his final match in Southern California – a loss to Fernando Gonzalez in the quarterfinals – the stadium erupted with applause whenever he landed a winner, and groaned whenever one of his shots ended up in the net.

Despite the loss, Agassi put on a great show before the final curtain came down on his Los Angeles career. Agassi fell behind early, losing the first set while struggling to deal with the ridiculous power of Fernando Gonzalez's crosscourt forehand. The situation seemed eerily familiar to his last match when he dropped the first set to Swiss born George Bastl before coming back to win the match.

Sadly for tennis fans, he could not repeat the comeback.

But before Agassi's exit, the crowd got a touch of his legendary competitive spirit when he came back from triple match-point late in the third set to tie up the game.

When he did his standard bowing and blowing kisses to the four sides of the stadium after the match, I couldn't help but soak in the opportunity to see the master of his craft for the final time.

As it will be for every one of his matches at each venue he plays in this summer, Agassi was more than a fan favorite at UCLA; he was almost royalty. This summer he has home-court advantage regardless of what city he is in.

The tennis legend will go down in history as one of the greatest to play the game and one of the classiest individuals to carry the torch for the sport. The greatest heroes in any sport have their legendary counterpart, and Agassi is no different. He will be most remembered for his epic battles against his contemporary Pete Sampras, who has a very different personality but similar artistry on the court.

While Agassi was the loud bad boy, Sampras was always quiet and reserved. As Agassi left Los Angeles, and as he will soon leave tennis all together, that difference is being blurred. Agassi is by no means reserved, but he is no irresponsible bad boy either. He walks away with a far better hairstyle, and he leaves the game far better off than when he found it.


08-01-2006, 01:30 AM
Agassi ready for new challenges of life

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Nostalgia strikes Andre Agassi at the oddest moments these days, but the eight-time Grand Slam champion is finding his impending retirement from tennis easier to cope with than he expected.

"The last 20 years on the tennis court have always been a preparation for tomorrow," Agassi said on Monday. "I look forward to not 'having' to do things. It's going to be a lot more on my terms, what I want my life to be."

Free of regrets, Agassi will begin his 17th and final appearance at the ATP Washington Classic here on Tuesday confident that his best is yet to come as he prepares for new challenges as a businessman, philanthropist and father.

"Am I sad? Yeah, there's a lot of it I'm going to miss," Agassi said. "I'll miss the practices with people being up by the fence. I will miss the people.

"But really, if you do it right, there's an evolution at work. It's an evolution I believe takes on deeper roots. I really believe it's going to grow into something better than this."

The 36-year-old American has spent half his life as a pro tennis player. Memories slam into him at the oddest times, such as wiping sweat during a practice break or seeing young fans press faces against a fence to watch him.

"It's hard to ignore the nostalgia that exists. It hits me at those sort of unique moments that take me by surprise," Agassi said. "I just put my head down and remember that it's still all about the work."

Agassi plans to retire after the US Open, hoping to improve upon a runner-up showing last year to top-ranked Roger Federer but knowing his best days as a player are behind him.

"I anticipated it being more difficult," Agassi said. "It's not just hitting a ball. I'm saying goodbye to all the people I've done this with, from fans to peers on so many levels. I don't take that lightly at all.

"I've pushed myself a lot over the past four years to stay at this until I felt this is not something I can do at the highest level anymore. I'm going to spend the rest of my life taking this all in."

Agassi leaves the sport with no regrets, saying his 1999 French Open triumph to complete a career Grand Slam assured him of that.

"When I won the French Open, at that moment I knew there were no more regrets for me in tennis. To win all the greatest events in my sport, that means a lot to me," Agassi said.

"Achieving the things I have, it has been surreal. It leaves you extremely at peace. It's a bit crazy to think about winning all these tournaments. It shocked me then and it shocks me even more now.

"You don't have to win. You just have to pour yourself into it to be worth it. I have given all of myself. Sometimes it hasn't been pretty. Sometimes you have seen the worst of me. But it has always been all of me."

Tennis and his charity foundation for youth will be part of Agassi's future, although for now his focus is upon making the most of his final matches.

"Giving back to the sport is going to be very important to me. I don't want to just walk away from it. It has been a great part of my life," Agassi said.

"I will have more time to get more hands on to what has been built. I have many challenges ahead of me. It's going to be an interesting transition but one I'm very much looking forward to.

"My commitment is to every day keep the sport and everyone around me better off for giving me their time."

Agassi looked back with pride upon his rise from boyhood to stardom before a global audience, a journey that includes his marriage to 22-time Grand Slam champion Steffi Graf and being a father to son Jaden, 4, and daughter Jaz, 2.

"It fueled me to look at myself in the mirror a lot earlier. I've considered it a blessing," he said. "You have two ways to go when you face yourself. To survive it is one thing. To thrive on it is another. I chose to thrive on it."


08-05-2006, 01:48 AM
Agassi withdraws from Toronto

Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi withdrew Friday from next week's ATP Master Series tournament in Toronto.

"I regret to inform Toronto that I will not be playing in the Rogers Cup," Agassi said in a statement to tournament director Grant Connell on Friday. "I have many great memories in Canada and wish you continued success. It's a fantastic tournament."

Agassi made it to the quarter-finals of the ATP hardcourt tournament in Los Angeles but got beat in the second round by 246th-ranked Andrea Stoppini in Washington on Tuesday. His schedule has been limited by chronic injury lately but has him playing the Masters Series tournament in Cincinnati the week of August 14.

"Andre has been a champion his whole life and is a three-time winner of this tournament," Connell said. "He was a finalist last year in Montreal and was not able to compete the following week in Cincinnati. This year he decided to switch events. We are disappointed that he will not be able to play one last time in Toronto but understand his situation."

Agassi was the runner-up to Spain's Rafael Nadal in this event last year in Montreal.



08-07-2006, 03:17 PM
Andre the Giant
Aug. 6, 2006. 08:58 AM

Hair today. Gone tomorrow.

How trite. But as Andre Agassi prepares for retirement, also how true.

Agassi has been the face, and the hairstyle, of men's tennis for two decades. From mullet to buzz cut, he has been the long and short of a sport that rises and falls with the popularity of its stars.

Canadian tennis fans have watched Agassi grow up during his visits here over the years and hoped to bid farewell to the 36-year-old native of Las Vegas at the Rogers Cup this week. But Agassi, who will retire following the U.S. Open later this month, pulled out of the Toronto event on Friday after an embarrassing defeat in Washington last week to a player ranked 246th in the world. Agassi said earlier in the season he doesn't want to play when he's not competitive.

Agassi has always been about style, but it is underlying substance that has allowed him to endure:

He is one of only five men ever to win all four Grand Slam events (eight in total, plus seven runner-up finishes).

He has an Olympic gold medal from the Atlanta Games of 1996, plus a 30-6 record in Davis Cup play for the U.S.

His 60 titles (seventh most in the Open era) include three in 14 appearances at Canada's premier event — over Ivan Lendl in 1992, Jason Stoltenberg in 1994 and Pete Sampras in 1995. Last summer in Montreal he lost the final, beaten by Rafael Nadal.

Asked recently what advice he might have for himself if he was starting over again, Agassi replied with the sort of gentle good humour that has contributed to his immense popularity: "First, tell him to cut his hair. Then, laugh at him because he would have a long road ahead, but I would wish him well."

Ah, yes, the hair. It was '80s hair, the kind you'd find on stage with a glam rock band, not on the tennis court, which back then was still the preserve of mostly whites if not all whites. Agassi wore denim shorts over spandex, wildly colourful tops, crazy headbands, baseball caps (to hide the creeping baldness, it would turn out) and (egad!) black socks with his white or whatever shoes. He lived on a bowling-alley diet of cheeseburgers and Mountain Dew. But the girls and the grandmas and the advertisers loved him — he was a natural for the Canon Rebel camera ads that boasted: "Image is everything."

"He was very flamboyant and he cultivated that image, and the teenagers were really drawn to it," Jim Courier, a French and Australian Open champion, told reporters recently. "It was exciting to be around as another player; it was exciting to come to a tournament and have the kids screaming. That kind of energy is what you dream of playing in front of."

His long-time trainer Gil Reyes said last year of Agassi's transformation into consummate professional and family man: "Andre has chiselled away the things from his character he wished to get out of the picture. He had to prove his substance, and he has."

One of his children with Steffi Graf (herself a courts legend), 5-year-old Jaden Gil, is named in honour of the trainer. The Agassi-Graf doubles team has also produced a daughter, 3-year-old Jaz Elle. Spending more time with the family is another reason for the retirement timing. All kids, not just his own, seem to love him — one of those guys they take to instantly. It makes all kinds of sense that his major charitable work is with a school for underprivileged kids in Las Vegas.

Before Graf there was a match-made-in-Hollywood marriage to actress Brooke Shields. 'Way back when there was a dalliance, too, with a much older Barbara Streisand, who made the gossip as well as sports pages with observations like: "He plays like a Zen master out there."

His critics, and there were a few, said Agassi at times seemed to be on another planet if not another plane. Agassi was groomed from birth (shades of Tiger Woods) by an obsessive father, Mike, an ethnic Armenian who had himself competed in the Olympics, for Iran in boxing. But young Andre had to work for his success and bottomed out at least twice in his career.

`Arthur Ashe is at the peak as far as someone

transcending the game to make a difference in the world.

I think Andre is climbing up to join him on that Mount Rushmore.'

Former tennis pro Jim Courier


A pro when barely 16, a winner of $2 million (U.S.) after only 43 tournaments, his first Grand Slam final in the books in 1990 and his first win (Wimbledon) in 1992, Agassi seemed to have the tennis world by the rat-tail. But he was having growing pains and his confidence hit a low in 1993 and into '94, when he came back from a serious wrist injury and a severely beaten-up ego. Winning in Canada in 1994 would prove to be an important boost and a repeat in Montreal in '95 was, too. He was mobbed by tennis fans, especially younger ones, at that tournament. "When you take the time to be with them one-on-one or in a group like that ... a smile on their face is a great reward," he told the Toronto Star then. "It's different with adults. Adults get on your nerves."

Again in 1997, a year after his Olympic high and into his glittery marriage to Shields, Agassi lost focus, fitness and confidence and plunged to No. 141 in the rankings. A decade on and Agassi appears comfortable in his (slightly) wrinkled skin.

He finished the year ranked No. 1 only once, in 1999 (after rising from the depths, phoenix-like), winning both the French and U.S. Opens — an indication of the strength of competition through his career, spanning Connors, McEnroe, Lendl, Edberg, Becker, Sampras, Courier, Chang, Federer, et al. But only Jimmy Connors finished in the top 10 as many times as Agassi — 16.

His longer-term success has been based upon relentless training and a competitive drive that simply wears down opponents, combined with one of the best returns of service ever and an ability to not only play from the baseline but mostly from just within it, employing a deadly quick set-up.

Brad Gilbert recently asked Agassi to help him train Scottish up-and-comer Andy Murray. "He will be able to see how hard Andre still works at 36," said Gilbert. "He trains like an animal."

"He's aggressive, non-stop," Roger Federer said at Wimbledon this year. "That's his game. That you have to admire."

Last week in Washington, D.C., at a tournament he had won five times, Agassi was eliminated in the first round by qualifier Andrea Stoppini. Agassi broke his racquet in frustration while afterward Stoppini, 26 and ranked No. 246, said he'd first seen Agassi play on TV when he was a kid. "He had more hair then."

The hair, always the hair.

"He's done wonders for our sport right around the world," said Lleyton Hewitt shortly after Agassi announced his retirement plans at Wimbledon, where he lost to Nadal in the round of 32. "Out of anyone, Andre Agassi, everyone knows him around the world even if you're not a huge tennis fan."

Andy Roddick: "Andre's probably the biggest crossover star tennis has ever had."

That's saying a lot, putting him in the company of the likes of Arthur Ashe. But Courier has said Agassi's good works set him apart: "Arthur Ashe is at the peak as far as someone transcending the game to make a difference in the world. I think Andre is climbing up to join him on that Mount Rushmore."

Part of the appeal comes from Agassi's palpable openness, a willingness to look people in the eye and cameras in the lens. His aura is all-inclusive and when he delivers his trademark end-of-match bow and kisses it is hard not to feel it is just for you.

A man who has won more than $31 million (U.S.), he still has the common touch, qualities that emerged after his own struggles led to a rededication to the basics.

Not all athletes go out gracefully or on their own terms. Nothing would be better than one more win at Flushing Meadows. At the very least, he seems determined to leave while he is still a force.

"I'd rather people have that conversation — saying, `He shouldn't stop!' — than the alternative of playing through a time where it's as painful for everyone else as it is for me," Agassi said on one of the stops on the summer's farewell tour. "It's a good situation to be in if my game is meriting that sort of concern (prompting people to suggest he reconsider). I feel comfortable with my decision. ... The last 20 years on the tennis court has all been practice for me for tomorrow. I've spent a lifetime on the tennis court preparing myself for the next battle."

The abiding image of Agassi will have colour in it. Intense colour and penetrating looks. Early in his career he refused to play Wimbledon because he didn't want to wear the all whites. He didn't want to be a square peg in a round hole. But when he finally showed up, he wore white. They loved him and the feelings were mutual. All these years later, Agassi is establishment, the soft-spoken, been-there, done-that personification of an era of tennis that is ending.

"I'm not really worried about retirement," he has said of these final few weeks. "I don't know quite what to expect, but being bored is not on the list."


08-19-2006, 10:43 PM
go to insidetennis.com
Great article and interview

08-19-2006, 10:57 PM
Does someone can get ACE Tennis Magazine Copy for this month?
They will write about Andre.

08-19-2006, 11:50 PM
go to insidetennis.com
Great article and interview

Thanks! :D

08-21-2006, 03:17 PM
Candy Reid: Farewell to Agassi
By CNN's Candy Reid

Friday, August 18, 2006 Posted: 0807 GMT (1607 HKT)


(CNN) -- Andre Agassi won't bow out as the greatest ever tennis player -- at least not on paper -- but in terms of what he's brought to the game, in my book he is number one.

I still remember exactly where I was when the American won Wimbledon in '92 -- sitting on a sofa at my tennis club, with my then coach, who was an Agassi fanatic.

He had all the Agassi gear (including the denim shorts) -- and I had the black tennis boots which I realize now, must have looked awful with a white tennis skirt. When Agassi won, he fell to the floor, while I jumped up and down in delight.

Another clear memory of mine was a night match Agassi played at the U.S. Open. It was against a little known Swede Andreas Vinciguerra, and I remember going to bed afterwards feeling truly inspired.

I'm British and I prefer to watch attacking tennis, but even when Agassi played Tim Henman -- I was on Agassi's side (sorry Tim.)

And I know I'm not the only one who feels like this, in fact I don't think I've ever met a tennis fan who didn't like Andre Agassi.

Even though I'm a few years younger than him, I feel like he's grown up in front of me. A strange thing to say, but it's true.

Agassi emerged with image being everything. He had the hair, the clothing, the attitude, and then the Hollywood wife -- he was truly cool.

Then he fell out of the top 100 -- but made an astonishing comeback, minus the wife, the audacious clothing, and most of the hair.

He'd reinvented himself -- but still was truly cool.

Now though the word that comes to mind when you think of Agassi is "class." He's a family man; the model professional, gracious in both victory and defeat; and a role model for every tennis wannabe.

Agassi's tennis career is almost over and he wants to savor the moment. I hope he'll go far at Flushing Meadow but worry he won't.

Whatever happens, he's given us a lifetime of memories with eight Grand Slam titles, 60 titles in all, and as one of only few men to have completed the career Grand Slam -- having won all four of the majors at least once.

It won't be the same without him around -- but I'm glad I was able to watch him play and interview him for "World Sport." It's a memory I'll treasure for the rest of my life.

Your thoughts:

Well said, Candy! We surely must be kindred spirits because I couldn't agree with you more. I'm British too and, like you, was always on Andre's side -- regardless of whom he was playing. He's the best I've ever seen -- and I go back as far as Drobny! Thanks for the great ride, Andre -- and good luck for the future, Candy.
D Freeman

Hi Candy, your piece on Andre Agassi was quite wonderful -- you captured a great deal of the Agassi show which has certainly thrilled all those who loved tennis and, well, entertainment. But I do not agree with your take on him as the greatest contributor to the game although it is common thing when a crowd favourite is about retire. That accolade has got be fought out between the likes of Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Rod Laver -- I'm only counting the men. If women are included surely Billie Jean King and Martina Navaratilova have got be the ones.
I personally would have gone with the greatest gladiator this game will ever see - the one and only Jimmy Connors. He never gave an inch on any surface against anybody - sure Borg in '78 and '79 and McEnroe in '84 gave him an occasional hiding or two. But can you point out anybody who reaped the maximum rewards out of talent available - surely Jimmy was the least naturally talented among the all time greats. He more than anybody else provided the drive and determination for the lesser talented to go head to head with confidence against the much more talented.
Agassi was a wonderful ambassador and one heck of a tennis player but he will come second best when comparing with Jimmy. And remember Agassi had the advantage of his exploits being known to more people around the world than did Connors simply because the media explosion ie. cable TV, network TV, satellite TV and the Internet; all grew up with him. I was thrilled with the Agassi show but nothing can match the Connors era for sheer entertainment albeit without the media blitz we have now.
Best regards Roshan Fernando

Hi Candy, I am an avid fan of Andre Agassi and I am just like your former coach buying every product that Agassi is wearing during his prime. I was always happy and inspired if Andre wins and at the same time affected every time he lost a matched. I remember on one tournament (I think it was Legg Mason) when Agassi showed his emotions and destroyed his racket... That was the first time I saw him so frustrated and lost that match eventually... It would be different once he is gone... Only if they can only stay fit the rest of their lives so we can always see them watching... I just hope that he will consider playing in the senior tour so we can still watch him play... To Andre, for us (the fans) you are the greatest player of all time... Thank you.
Mark Polines

Hello Candy I'm so touched by your post about Andre. I'm also very sad to see him go. I remember when he won Wimbledon also- the exact moment. I was living in Germany at the time, glued to the TV, watching the only positive connection, albeit an indirect one, to my parents' home country of Iran, in the Western would at that time. He was my hero, and he still is. He inspires when others disillusion. He enlightens when others bring darkness and gloom. He is a man's man, but yet, vulnerable and emotional. I too feel that he grew up in front of me, or rather, that I grew up with him, even though he is 6 years older than me. I'll never forget the first time I saw this skinny kid with cut-off denim jeans shorts play tennis on TV in 1988, nor will I forget the moment he beat B. Becker in 1992 at Wimbledon, when I was so pumped and happy, and angry at all of Germany as a rebel teen, that I cried because we, Andre and I, had just defeated the country and its star. I've watched him grow, his deeps and highs, and his will has never wavered. He will go down in history as the ultimate comeback kid, and one who failed all his potentials, only to come back and become so much more than just a champion tennis player. He came back as that, and so much more. Thank you for your post- I hope he will get the attention he so deserves at FM and will go far into the field.
Yours truly Shahrooz


08-25-2006, 12:41 AM
Agassi to make emotional exit


08-25-2006, 10:59 PM
Andre and Andy serve up a gastronomical ace...


08-25-2006, 11:19 PM
Good Luck Andre!

The United States Open tennis tournament officially kicks off on Monday and this year’s edition is looking like it will be one the most memorable ever. Even if you are not a tennis fan, do yourself a favor by tuning in because it is going to be a very special two weeks in Flushing Meadows. To see the television broadcast schedule, please click here,v

For no other reason, you should watch this year’s tournament because it will be your last chance to see Andre Agassi compete on the court as a professional. Agassi, one of the greatest American athletes ever and one heck of a good guy, is finally calling it quits after 20 memorable years on the tennis scene. During this time, he has won 8 grand slam titles (including 2 U.S. Opens) and has captured the hearts and minds of fans all over the world. He is one of the sport’s great ambassadors and tennis is going to miss him dearly. There might not be a dry eye in the crowd when he officially bows out......


08-29-2006, 12:44 PM
All eyes on Agassi at the Open

Americans Andy Roddick and Lindsay Davenport won their first-round matches, but were more interested in watching Andre Agassi in his opener.

NEW YORK - Like every other diehard American tennis fan, Andy Roddick knew exactly where he was going to be Monday night: in front of a television set watching icon Andre Agassi play his opening match at the U.S. Open. Agassi, the 36-year-old two-time champion, is retiring after this tournament, so fans are trying to savor his every moment on the court.

Agassi is so revered in the locker room that more than 200 players showed up for a special meeting to present him with a vintage bottle of wine from 1970, the year he was born. He is so respected by his elders that Billie Jean King predicted Agassi will do more for the world after his retirement than he has done already, which is saying something considering he has raised $50 million for charity and built a school for disadvantaged Las Vegas children.

''This is just a transition for Andre, not an ending,'' King said.

Roddick would have been at Arthur Ashe Stadium for Agassi's match against Andrei Pavel, but he had to rest after his 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 first-round victory over Florent Serra. After last year's shocking first-round loss to a largely unknown player from Luxembourg, Roddick is not taking any chances.

Roddick, who won the U.S. Open in 2003, was one of four former champions to advance on a cloudy Monday.

Justine Henin-Hardenne, the No. 2 seed, and Lindsay Davenport, at 30 likely playing in her last major, got past their opponents in straight sets. Seventh-seed Svetlana Kuznetsova needed three sets, but advanced to a second-round match against Coral Springs 16-year-old wild card Lauren Albanese.

The biggest upset of the afternoon was unseeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, a favorite with the women in the crowd, beating No. 3 seed Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.


''I hope I can grasp a little of the atmosphere by watching on TV with Billie Jean King's [National Tennis Center naming] ceremony; and the electricity in the air for Andre's match I'm sure will be unparalleled,'' Roddick said.

Davenport also planned to take in the Agassi match. The two of them had talked during warm-ups, Agassi commenting to her about their longevity, how he was playing in his 21st consecutive U.S. Open and she was playing in her 16th. It was questionable if Davenport would play Monday because she retired from the final in New Haven, Conn., over the weekend with a sore shoulder.

''There's nobody that will ever live up to all Andre's created for himself and all that he's done in the whole tennis world,'' Davenport said. ``I think he'll be the player that is going to be missed the most. I think around the world, not just in the United States. He's just touched so many people's lives.''

Agassi said before the match that he chose to end his career at Flushing Meadows because it is a place that holds a special place in his heart. He won titles here in 1994 and 1999, and the crowd has loved him through all his girlfriends, hairstyles and fashion statements.

On Monday, he dressed plain as can be -- white shirt, white shorts, white sneakers. His only jewelry was a beaded necklace made by his 4-year-old son, Jaden, that read: Daddy Rocks.

''This has been the stage to prove myself over the years,'' Agassi said before the match. ``It started with lack of acceptance and has grown to a wonderful embracement. . . . I grew into loving this more than any place in the world.''

Agassi's parents, Mike and Betty, were in the stands Monday night, as was his wife, Steffi Graf, his brother, Phil, his best friend and agent Perry Rogers, and his longtime fitness guru Gil Reyes.


Mike Agassi said he was sad that his son's career was coming to an end, but it is something the entire family has accepted.

''You're born some day, you retire some day, you die some day,'' he said. ``It's part of life. It's sad, but at least he can retire on a high note, here at the U.S. Open.''

Asked if Andre consulted him for advice on when to retire, his father laughed.

''He makes a lot more money than I do, so he doesn't seek my advice,'' Mike Agassi said. ``I'm here for him no matter what. Any parent would be here for a day like this.''

Agassi Fan
08-29-2006, 03:25 PM
Andre Agassi described the moment as "perfect" when he finally saw off Andrei Pavel in the first round of his final Grand Slam appearance.

The 36-year-old played well past midnight to finally defeat his Romanian opponent in four sets in front of a highly-charged capacity crowd in the Arthur Ashe stadium.

"You want to to be everything you hope it is," said Agassi. "It was perfect."

It looked far from that at times in a gruelling three-and-a-half-hour match as Agassi lost the first set and went 4-0 down in the third before eventually winning 6-7 7-6 7-6 6-2.

The double Flushing Meadows champion was determined Monday night would not be the end of a 20-year career at the top level.

"I want to be here real bad, for the whole two weeks," said the unseeded Amercian. "I really want to leave my best stuff on the court. I'm very proud of this day and I'm glad it gets to happen again."

Meanwhile Pavel admitted that even in the twilight of his playing days, Agassi's endurance was too much for him.

"I thought I had him," said Pavel. "He's still one of the fittest guys on tour. He's amazing."

More heroics will be needed in the second round if the fairy tale is to continue, with Agassi coming up against French Open finalist and eighth seed Marcos Baghdatis.

The greatest on-court showman since John McEnroe had kind words about the naturally crowdpleasing Cypriot.

"Such a talent. One of those guys you'd pay to go and watch," said Agassi. Another packed house and high emotion are guaranteed when two generations of tennis stars go head-to-head on Wednesday.

08-30-2006, 07:24 PM
10 Questions for Andre Agassi
Thursday, Aug. 24, 2006

On the eve of his last U.S. Open, the tennis legend chats about his punk past, his parenting present, courting Steffi and his Frank Sinatra regret.

Once a punk pariah, now a winsome champ — no athlete has transformed his image like tennis' Andre Agassi. One of only five men to notch a career Grand Slam by winning Wimbledon and the Australian, French, and U.S. Opens at least once, Agassi, 36, will hang up his racquet after this year' s U.S. Open, which begins next week. He spoke to TIME's Sean Gregory about his chances in his last tournament, his rebellious past and his marriage to fellow legend Steffi Graf.

You made it to last year's U.S. Open final. Do you have one more fairy-tale run in you?

I don't know what's in there. But I've spent a good portion of my career feeling that way and overcoming my own questions. There's nothing this year to suggest I have a high level of tennis in me, which has been frustrating. That being said, New York is going to be very comfortable for me. I'm either going to win the last match I play or make somebody beat me.

Do you agree with those who have said you used to be a punk?

I still spend many days being a punk, to be honest. But I've basically grown up. And when I look at myself 20 years ago, I understand that person a heck of a lot more than I want to be that person.

When you see a picture from your past — tie-dye shirts, denim, the mullet — do you cringe?

It's hard to get me to see it, because I would never look. And if I did get my hands on it, it would probably hit the fireplace.

Your dad Mike worked your game hard when you were growing up. What's your advice to parents who may be pushing their kids too much?

I would caution against categorizing it as advice because you have to understand somebody's circumstances to direct it to them. What I will say is that, in my experience, the healthiest thing you can do as a parent is to define what success is to you. And hopefully that conclusion won't be a result inside the playing fields of any sport.

Your kids Jaden, 4, and Jaz Elle, 2 may have the best tennis genes ever. Do you feel pressure to nudge them into tennis?

You haven't met the rest of my family. So let's not necessarily conclude that they have the best genes. But if either one chose tennis, I would marvel at their grit and ultimately have to respect that. And I would have to take a deep breath.

There no new American tennis players that people are excited about. What is going on?

We've come through an amazing few generations of American tennis champions, all the way back to Stan Smith, to John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, to Pete [Sampras] and myself. It's a standard that's a bit unrealistic as far as continuing generation after generation. That being said, we do have 290 million people to choose from.

At the start of your courtship of Steffi, you spied on her and even recruited a ferry operator to report on her whereabouts. How did she get over the fact that you were a stalker?

I sort of fed her that information piece by piece. I waited till the roots were deep before I exposed the depths of my capabilities.

Who wears the pants, you or Steffi?

Well, she looks better in pants than I do. It's a nice mixture for us. We both like to be busy. We both like to make sure the people around us are more comfortable than we are. I tend to take more chances, and she keeps things very grounded. I tend to second-guess my own eyes — whatever I see I question. She has a lot of clarity and trust in her instincts. I don't trust my instincts.

You built a charter school in Las Vegas. Have you given any thought to teaching?

School isn't my wheelhouse of strengths. I was an 8th-grade dropout, though I finished with correspondence classes. When I walk through the classrooms at my school, I try to figure out what the classroom's grade is. I listen to the questions and try to answer them. When I get to a point where I can't answer the questions, I'm somewhere around the fourth grade.

If you could take back one thing from your past, what would it be?

Not seeing Frank Sinatra.

Frank Sinatra?

I had the opportunity to see him in 1990. It's almost sacrilegious to say this — at the time, I was like, "Why would I go see Frank Sinatra?" Listen, I can sit here and give you a list of things I wish would never have happened. At the end of day, the obstacles end up becoming your foundation, and that's a treasure. Why would I give that up?

09-02-2006, 05:44 PM
Hewitt on Agassi

Lleyton Hewitt doesn't believe tennis will ever see another player like Andre Agassi once the American retires after the US Open.

Hewitt grew up idolising Agassi and famously still had a poster of him on his bedroom wall when he stunned the eight-times grand slam champion en route to claiming his first ATP title as an unknown 16-year-old in his home town of Adelaide in 1998.

The two have much in common.

Like Agassi, Hewitt is considered one of the finest returners of serve in history.

Both players rose to No.1 in the world and both have been coached by South Australian Darren Cahill. Agassi still is.

But Unlike Agassi, Hewitt can't see himself still competing on the international stage well into his 30s.

"I don't think anyone can do that," Hewitt said before Agassi's unforgettable five-set win over Marcos Baghdatis at Flushing Meadows on Thursday night.

"You know, put themselves in Andre's shoes and what he's been through. It's pretty amazing, it really is.

"To be at the top of the game for that many years and see so many players come and go, it is pretty amazing."

Hewitt, who has a 4-4 career record against the 36-year-old, will remember Agassi as "one of the best I've ever played against".

"He's definitely the best ball striker that I've ever played against, the cleanest hitter of the ball," he said.

"I always enjoyed growing up watching a guy like Andre Agassi play as well. I liked the clothes that he wore when I was younger, and his personality on and off the court. I think he was very entertaining for tennis in particular.

"The way he's been able to come back after a year or so, from 140 or so in the world, then be able to bounce back and win more majors and be able to play until 36 is pretty amazing."

09-02-2006, 08:31 PM
Justin Gimelstob wrote about Andre in his SI.com column again. I'm giving the link and part of the article because I like to help Justin get the hits to his page, so I hope you'll actually go there and read it. :)


My dinner with Andre
A candid conversation with the class act of the game
Posted: Friday September 1, 2006 3:15PM;

Andre Agassi is acutely aware of his place in, and impact on, the game of tennis.

NEW YORK -- I've been on the ATP Tour for 11 years now, and I've been a tennis fan for more than 20, but I'll be honest: Thursday night was the first time I sat and watched a five-set match from start to finish. If anyone could hold my attention for more than four hours, it's Andre Agassi in what could have been his final professional match.

Marcos Baghdatis played a worthy foil, pouring his heart and soul out on the court until his body literally gave out. Afterward he graciously and accurately summed up what Agassi has meant to the game when he said, "Whatever you say about him, it is not enough." I have been hanging out with Agassi quite a bit lately, and here are some of the things I'll remember.

09-03-2006, 02:41 PM
A Day Later, Agassi’s 5-Setter Has Painful Repercussions

Play resumed yesterday at the United States Open, with the fresh memory of Andre Agassi’s five-set, late-night victory over Marcos Baghdatis still sparking conversation as the forehands and backhands zipped and dipped over the nets.

But while spectators shook their heads and searched for superlatives, and players like James Blake made sartorial tributes on court, Agassi was nowhere to be seen at Flushing Meadows.

“I think he appreciates how great the match was, but he is also in a lot of pain,” his manager and close friend, Perry Rogers, said.

According to Rogers, Agassi was far too sore and stiff to practice after his 3-hour-48-minute second-round thriller that started Thursday evening and ended well after midnight.

Instead, Rogers said, Agassi spent the day resting, most of it in a horizontal position. He was given an anti-inflammatory injection in the afternoon to deal with the back pain. The pain had made it impossible for him to reach the exit of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center from the locker room after the match without stopping and lying on his back for a three-minute rest.

“It was awful,” Rogers said. “It was so bad that he had to lie down in the back of the car.”

Brad Gilbert, Agassi’s former coach, said, “Maybe he was just looking at the stars.’’

Agassi should have ample time for stargazing and other recreational activities after he finishes this tournament, which he has said will be the last of his 21-year career. But for now, his focus is firmly on trying to prepare his 36-year-old body for his third-round match against the qualifier Benjamin Becker of Germany.

“Believe me, I’ll exhaust all possibilities short of taking too many risks for long term,” Agassi said after beating Baghdatis. “I do want to make sure I give myself the best look here, but I don’t want to compromise the rest of my life.”

Rogers and Gilbert, who spoke with Agassi by telephone yesterday, said they believed that Agassi would be able to play his next match, scheduled for this afternoon.

Agassi has had at least six cortisone injections in his lower back in the past two seasons. According to Rogers, Agassi has had three this season: one in March, one in July after Wimbledon and one Tuesday after his first-round victory over Andrei Pavel.

“We don’t worry about the long term, because the doctors say this all the time, that it won’t have any long-term effects,” Rogers said. “You want him to leave every ounce of himself out on the court.”

Dr. Robert Gotlin, the director of orthopedics and sports rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, said, “Typically, you can get three of those every six months and certainly be in the window of safety for an average person.”

Agassi has had three cortisone injections within that window, and although it is unlikely, he might decide to risk one more during this tournament if he continues to advance.

“Typically, you want to wait five to six days before the second one,” Gotlin said. “Typically, these injections kick in the first or second day and peak out the third and fourth day. The problem is the next couple days after that is when you’re typically in a low point.”

The potential low point is near, although yesterday’s anti-inflammatory treatment, which was not a cortisone shot, could provide further relief. Agassi is scheduled to play today, but the forecast is for heavy rain, which is expected to move the match to tomorrow.

Gilbert is not so certain a delay will be beneficial: if the match against Becker is moved to tomorrow and Agassi were to win, he would have to play again Monday.

“What he wants to avoid are back-to-back matches,” Gilbert said.

As surprising as it is that Agassi has managed to reach the third round despite a bad back, a bad season and a bad draw, it is nearly as surprising that Becker is there with him. His name and home country sound familiar, but his ranking of 112, his smallish physique and his understated demeanor bear little resemblance to the Becker who was once among Agassi’s major rivals.

Benjamin Becker, no relation to the 1989 Open champion Boris, was ranked outside the top 1,000 a year ago and was losing early in satellite tournaments.

But with the help of Andy Roddick’s former coach, Tarik Benhabiles, he has made a big move at an age when most players have already made theirs. Becker, 25, played tennis at Baylor University in Waco, Tex., and now splits his training time between Waco and Miami.

“It’s a dream come true,” Becker said of facing Agassi. “I was watching the match and obviously I was kind of hoping he would win, because it’s the last time you get a chance to play him. I grew up watching him play. He was an idol for me.”

Agassi was also a reference point for Baghdatis, the 21-year-old from Cyprus who pushed Agassi to the limit. Baghdatis rallied from a two-set deficit and might have finished off the comeback if he had not started having severe leg cramps at 4-4 in the fifth set.

Baghdatis said he had never cramped to that degree in a match. Although Agassi’s father, Mike, offered Baghdatis his condolences and a vial of anti-cramping medication outside their hotel in Midtown Manhattan yesterday afternoon, Baghdatis said he cramped because of emotion, not fatigue.

The emotion was still hard to shake after the match. Baghdatis burst into tears as he entered the locker room, where he and Agassi were soon laid out on adjacent tables to receive treatment.

“They were lying there, slapping each other’s hand,” Guillaume Peyre, Baghdatis’s coach, said. “They both looked close to dead.”

Later, Baghdatis and his coaches and friends walked through the streets of Manhattan near Times Square, rehashing the match and the moment, until 4:30 a.m.

“It felt like a final,” Peyre said.


09-03-2006, 10:08 PM
Go to read his press conference, he seems happy ;) :worship:


09-07-2006, 03:40 AM
Here's a nice article. Don't know if anyone has posted it yet:


09-07-2006, 05:47 PM
Here's a nice article. Don't know if anyone has posted it yet:

:eek: very good article. thanx

09-20-2006, 04:28 AM
Please post the link that has a collection of all of Andre Agassi's interviews from various tournaments.

09-20-2006, 04:55 AM
Please post the link that has a collection of all of Andre Agassi's interviews from various tournaments.


Is this the one you're looking for?

09-20-2006, 07:42 PM
more nice articles:



09-20-2006, 08:53 PM
more nice articles:




09-24-2006, 08:34 PM

AS HARD AS IT IS FOR POLITICIANS, REP. SHELLEY BERKLEY declined to shake hands all last week so as not to spread a bad cold. But when it came to Andre Agassi, she just couldn't help herself.

After introducing the tennis star at a reception Thursday to promote the Nevada minimum wage ballot initiative, Berkley turned and gave Agassi a big hug. According to several people who were there, Agassi stepped aside in mock-horror. "You won't shake hands with anybody but you give me a hug?"

After the laughter died down, Berkley came back: "The germs are in my hands but my arms are OK."

09-25-2006, 02:22 AM
Agassi partnering with luxury travel group


09-26-2006, 07:40 AM
Agassi Enjoying Life in Retirement So Far


10-01-2006, 04:36 PM
Something to look forward to:
--Barbara Walters, interviewing Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf inside
Pure (Caesars Palace) on Saturday afternoon for an upcoming special.

10-01-2006, 08:49 PM

"It starts as a passion, as the first and foremost thing," said Andre Agassi of his new development company, founded with wife Steffi Graf. "Then it's about affecting people's lives for more than a few hours. I want to affect people's lives for years to come."

To hear Agassi spin it, his career in real estate sprang up in sharp contrast to his previous life as a tennis star. Waxing almost elegiac at the ripe age of 36, Agassi manages to sound like former President Jimmy Carter helping build housing for the homeless.

But, of course, the difference is that the homes Agassi and Graf are building are not for the have-nots but the "have-a-whole-lots." Agassi Graf Development LLC, to quote his PR materials, "is a real estate development company focused on the creation of luxury, resort and lifestyle-oriented offerings in partnership with the industry's leading developers and brands."

In the past 18 months, the husband-and-wife team has embarked on developing an ambitious luxury resort with Miami's Bay View Financial and Fairmont Hotel in, of all places, the mountains 90 minutes north of Boise, Idaho, near Lake Cascade. Tamarack Resort, as the project is called, will include a hotel, ski slopes, a resort and spa, a golf course and 50 luxury villas as well as 285 units. (The estimated price for a one-bedroom condo begins at $800,000.) Last week, the couple also announced a partnership with Exclusive Resorts -- a luxury residence club -- to develop residences and accompanying tennis and swimming clubs. (The company will host a private sales event in San Francisco Oct. 11.) The relationship between celebrities and real estate is a long if not always venerable one. When real estate developer Frank Devendorf advertised his little town called Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1910 as a sanctuary for "artists, poets and writers," it was part of a concerted PR campaign. Devendorf had purposely sold off lots at deep discounts to names with cultural cachet like Sinclair Lewis and Mary Austin to attract real buyers.

Now the most typical celebrity/developer association involves an unspoken quid pro quo: Celebrities lend their names to a given development in exchange for a discount on a condo or club membership. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported on an arrangement between Naomi Campbell and Cipriani Club Residences in New York that allowed the model's name and image to be used in exchange for an undisclosed discount on her luxury condo. Earlier this year, country star George Jones became the national spokesman for Ronnie Gilley Properties LLC, a real estate company that was building the Legends, a residential community of manors mixed with more affordable garden homes in Enterprise, Ala., where Jones would have a home.

But real estate, especially recently, has also beckoned celebrities in more substantial ways. This month, Shaquille O'Neal said he was starting a real estate development company to create mixed-use projects in the Northeast, Los Angeles, South Florida and Louisiana. The O'Neal Group's first project involves a billion-dollar complex including more than 1,100 residential units, an office tower, a luxury hotel, an entertainment complex, a fitness center and a Whole Foods store.

Real estate development would seem a perfect investment tool for celebrities whose branding can help sell projects and whose access to capital can help finance them. But even the most auspicious real estate/celeb combinations don't always work out. In June, George Clooney sold his interest in a failed $3 billion condo-casino project in Las Vegas that would have perfectly embodied Clooney's well-burnished movie star image: a vintage martini casino. The project fell apart financially before it ever broke ground, and Clooney, expressing disappointment, donated the profit from the sale to the African Debt Relief Project.

Indeed, with a softening market in a relatively unknown destination like Cascade Lake, there's no guarantee that Agassi and Graf's brainchild will fare any better. The closest airport is down a mountain road to Boise. And though the area has grown substantially in the past few years, it's never been a place that could command New York real estate prices.

Financial risks notwithstanding, for many ambitious stars with more money and ideas than they can cram into their original profession, real estate development offers an irresistibly broad canvas. Not only can they invest their money, but they can invent a little bit of the world.

For their part, Agassi and Graf seem more committed than the typical celebrity real estate investors. They are real developers, lending not only their money but their vision to the design of the community. When asked what their next development project will be after Tamarack, Agassi hinted that he sees all his work -- even hitting the tennis ball -- as a form of communication with the public. "It took me years to communicate myself on the tennis court," he said. "I don't imagine I'll learn (real estate development) overnight."

In a sense, this explains Agassi's rather grand pronouncements about his desire to affect people's lives "for years to come." As a brand name, he's been blessed with the gift of influence, a force he can direct in a million ways. After years of watching a tennis ball fly across a net, it's not surprising that he's attracted to something as deep and abiding as place making.

But Andre, I don't want to rain on your resort, but do we really need more pristine natural areas developed as luxury destinations with golf courses and exclusive residences?

Honestly, the Agassi-Graf undertaking leaves me torn. On the one hand, in an era of environmental crisis and the rich snapping up real estate like candy at a kid's birthday party, there must be better ways to build a legacy than luxury lifestyle development.

On the other hand, I'm rooting for their success because of Agassi's philanthropic track record. Like Clooney, Agassi is one celebrity who may leverage his real estate largesse in the best possible way. Known as the most charitable of tennis pros, his Agassi Foundation has given some $60 million to support at-risk youth in his hometown of Las Vegas, including the founding of a charter school for underprivileged kids.

No doubt that will affect people's lives far longer than even the loveliest of getaways.

10-01-2006, 10:41 PM
does someone can make a transcript when that special with Barbara Walters airs?
Please because i can´t see it here in germany

10-02-2006, 05:23 PM

Andre Agassi sipping Cristal rose champagne with 2006 U.S. Open runner-up Andy Roddick and 1998 U.S. Open runner-up Mark Philippoussis at the bar at N9ne Steakhouse (Palms) on Friday

10-02-2006, 06:28 PM
another nice article by Gimelstob which mentions Andre: :)


10-03-2006, 03:57 PM
does someone can make a transcript when that special with Barbara Walters airs?
Please because i can´t see it here in germany

Yes please. Post a transcript here as soon as possible

10-06-2006, 09:02 AM
When does the special with Barbara Walters air? Or has it already aired? Any details of the interview with Steffi and Andre? Please answer me!!!

10-06-2006, 12:36 PM
When does the special with Barbara Walters air? Or has it already aired? Any details of the interview with Steffi and Andre? Please answer me!!!

The Special has not aired yet. Usually they will begin advertising it on tv about a week in advance. Barbara Walters usually has only one or two specials a year - so it might not be aired for several months.

10-06-2006, 08:06 PM

GRAND SLAM ENCORE: Back to school for Agassi

Tennis star plans to dedicate more time, efforts to namesake academy


Andre Agassi greets children at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy on Thursday. The school began its sixth year this fall

Isabelle Thomas, a performer for "O" at the Bellagio, has fun with Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy first-graders before they performed at a Thursday ceremony naming the MGM Mirage Building, which holds a 27,000-square-foot multipurpose room.
Photo by Clint Karlsen.

Tennis superstar Andre Agassi capped his career last month at one of his sport's most prominent stages at the U.S. Open in New York City.

The Las Vegan said Thursday he will change his focus from hitting serves and groundstrokes to dedicating more time to the school that bears his name.


"This has been all of me for the last 12, 13 years," Agassi said of the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy.

"But now that I'm not playing anymore, it gives me more of a chance to give all of myself to the school, and to be able to enjoy it."

Agassi said he hasn't decided in what capacity he will help the school.

He made his comments during a ceremony Thursday where his school etched the name MGM Mirage Building on the front of the 27,000-square foot multipurpose room.

The name change was made to the 3-year-old facility because MGM Mirage for the past decade has provided a location for the school to house its annual Grand Slam for Children fundraiser.

The events have raised more than $52 million for the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation during that time. This year's event is Saturday night.

Agassi's school began its sixth year this fall and will have a new principal to lead its high school students. Caesar Mickens, a 30-year veteran who worked as a teacher, principal and administrator in the Detroit Public Schools, accepted the position in July.

Mickens told onlookers Thursday during the naming ceremony that the school has one goal.

"We're ready to do something special," Mickens said. "One hundred percent of our students are going to go to college."

The Academy, near Martin Luther King and Lake Mead boulevards, added a 10th grade class this fall and now serves about 540 students, the youngest being kindergartners.

The high school junior and senior classes will be added during the next two school years. When the school is done adding grade levels, Mickens hopes enrollment won't exceed 600 students, which means about 50 students per grade level.

The academy is a charter school, which means it receives state funding and operates as an independent public school.

The school chooses its students based on a lottery where students who live within two miles of the school have first priority.

According to traditional benchmarks, the school is well on its way to meeting Mickens' goal of having all students move on to college.

The school has met all federal No Child Left Behind Act standards during the past two school years. During the 2004-05 school year, the school's middle school was one of only five in the state to be given an "exemplary" designation.

Mickens attributes success at the school to having an eight-hour day, two hours longer than traditional public schools in Clark County. Another factor is low class sizes no larger than 25 students, Mickens said.

Despite all the school's academic success, it has had a history of having high rates of teacher and administrative turnover.

Twelve of 18 teachers at the school did not have their contracts renewed after the 2004-05 school year. During the previous year, at least eight teachers and four part-time or substitute teachers resigned or were terminated.

Teachers at the school work under one-year contracts.

Mickens and Roy Parker, the school's middle school principal who began his second year at Agassi this fall, said teacher turnover was not a problem.

Parker would not disclose the rate of teacher turnover, saying the school had not submitted those figures yet to the Clark County School District. But Parker said only two or three teachers didn't have their contracts renewed after the 2005-06 school year.

"Our turnover was extremely low," Parker said. He added, "I will be here for a while."

10-06-2006, 10:37 PM
Interview and video link with Andre talking about retirement and his school at this site:

10-07-2006, 03:32 PM
The Special has not aired yet. Usually they will begin advertising it on tv about a week in advance. Barbara Walters usually has only one or two specials a year - so it might not be aired for several months.

Thanks for the information. But when it airs, anybody has to make a transcript!!!

10-13-2006, 08:12 AM
I`ve read in an Austrian newspaper that Marcos Baghdatis shall become the NEW Andre Agassi!!! That`s what the ATP and its marketing experts want Baghdatis to be in the future!!! I can only say to this statement that there will NEVER BE A NEW ANDRE AGASSI!!!

10-14-2006, 04:36 PM
From Best Life magazine:
NExt Volley

Agassi grew up fulfilling a dream his father chose for him. Two decades after becoming a professional tennis the 36-year old will embark on his greatest challenge yet: retirement

The week before, Agassi had announced his retirement from professional tennis here at the All-England Club. The venue seemed an odd choice for the progenitor of power tennis, a style of play at odds with the finesse required to win on grass courts. He had won the U.S. Open twice, but Wimbledon was a place where he became a champion of a different sort. "It is the place that taught me to respect the game," Agassi says. "So going back there was important to me, the same way as finishing at the U.S. Open is important to me."

The first time he played Wimbledon as a 17-year-old, he was humiliated in the first round, losing in three straight sets to a footnote named Henri Leconte. For the next three years, he played the petulant teenager--boycotting the tournament, claiming he objected to the all-white dress code. At 21, he returned, wore all white and made it to the quarterfinals. The next year, he won the tournament. It was the first Slam in a career that would include seven subsequent Grand Slam wins. He cried, then called his father, who told him he should have won it in four sets instead of five.

It was a different Agassi who faced Nadal this past summer. Agassi had become a father of two ready to face a life beyond tennis. He had made his peace with his own dad, Mike, who hung a tennis ball over his crib and shipped him off to Nick Bollettieri's tennis academy at age 13. Agassi was aspiring to be a different kind of father to his kids, Jaden Gil, 5, and Jaz Elle, 3. He was also looking forward to spending more time with his wife of five years, Steffi Graf, and devoting himself to philanthropy-having raised $60 million for the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a Las Vegas charter school dedicated to helping underprivileged kids receive a top-notch education.

Despite his being able to leg press over 600 pounds and bench over 300 pounds, he lost in three straight sets to Nadal. The spectacle was like watching The Terminator getting pushed around by a newer, faster model. The result of the match was in a way irrelevant: It was a triumph that Agassi, who suffers from chronic back pain, was able to remain competitive long after his peers--Michael Chang, Pete Sampras, and Jim Courier-had retired. When the match was over, Agassi thanked the fans and exited to a rousing standing ovation.

"I figured that I might as well call my shot and really end it on my terms," he said of his decision to retire. Or as his former opponent Courier put it, "He's leaving not entirely on his own terms, because his body's starting to betray him, but he is certainly walking out with his head high."

It has been no easy task figuring out what to do with the rest of his life. Unlike the court, where success or failure has been solely in his hands, Agassi is looking to a team of his closest confidantes to help him navigate the transition. (See sidebar "Ace Your Retirement," page 103.) Athletes have to confront the same retirement issues that all professionals do--just a lot earlier. But there is one difference. Stockbrokers, lawyers, and firemen have a life before they devote themselves to a particular career. Agassi never had this luxury.

As soon as Andre could walk, his father brought him to the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, where he groomed the courts in exchange for his son's court time. Mike had learned the game as a street-fighting teenager in Tehran, and it was the sport that he decided would make a name for him and Andre's three siblings in America. Every day after school, on weekends, and on holidays, Andre would hit thousands of balls off the customized ball machines Mike had rigged in the backyard. Courier recalls seeing Agassi, then age n, at a youth tournament in San Diego. "He had a very intense father. He came in fourth place. His father took the trophy from him and threw it away. That was eye opening for me," says Courier.

Despite a sometimes fiery relationship, Agassi loved his father and missed his family after he moved to Florida to train. He looked to his best friend from home, Perry Rogers, for support. "We raised each other during our formative years, the years you decide what you're going to strive for and how you're going to go about it," says Agassi of Rogers, who currently runs the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation. The foundation started with after-school programs for underprivileged kids in 1994, but Agassi realized that these were just "sticking Band-Aids on a problem… You really have to teach a child to think for himself and how to make better choices." This insight led to the opening of the charter school, a model he hopes to replicate. Watching a basic idea--helping kids--morph into a brick-and-mortar institution was empowering for the jock, because it showed Agassi that the same momentum he had mastered on the court could be translated into the real world.

Another constant in his life has been his trainer Gil Reyes, after whom Agassi named his son, Jaden Gil. Agassi had turned pro and left Florida in 1986, at age 16. It was the tennis world's equivalent of becoming an emancipated minor. Within three years he was ranked No. 3 in the world and endorsement deals were pouring in, most notably the 1990 deal to promote Canon's Rebel cameras. The slogan was "Image Is Everything," and as Grand Slams eluded him, his competitors whispered that Agassi was just like his hometown--all glitter but no gold.

About that time Agassi walked into the University of Las Vegas training center where Reyes was the head coach of the Running Rebels football team. "When he walked into the university training room, I had never seen one point era tennis match. But he was respectful and you couldn't help but like the kid," says Reyes, who has been the tennis star's trainer for 17 years. Agassi committed himself to his workouts but still indulged in Taco Bell, burgers, Mountain Dew, and pizza. His trainer wasn't worried. "I was almost glad that he had normal teenage eating habits at that point because he needed some normalcy in a very abnormal life," says Reyes.

In 1994 he won the U.S. Open and met Brooke Shields. The beginning of the couple's romance coincided with even more wins--the Australian Open title in 1995 and the Olympic Gold in 1996. They married in r997, but the relationship was strained by their competing schedules, and he fell out of the top 100 for the first time since turning pro. Reyes and Rogers didn't push Agassi. "I said to him, 'I would prefer you miss out on some good tennis than missing out on life,'" says Reyes.

As the marriage headed south, however, Agassi was ready to do what divorced men have been doing since the beginning of time--take his fitness to the next level. "I had to become a better athlete to compete with the power coming into the game. My work ethic changed because I started paying the price [physically]," says the 5'11" and 170 lb. Agassi of his need for building muscle to return serves from giants like Goran Ivanisevic (and later, Roger Federer). (See sidebar "The Grand Slam Workout," page 100.) In January of 1999, he left Shields (after returning home from a failed attempt at the Australian Open title), and later that year won the French and U.S. Opens.

He started eating better, too. He swapped junk food for grilled chicken, vegetables, and fruits. But to this day, he has his own peculiar eating habits. Sometimes, he goes against the conventional wisdom of making breakfast the most important meal of the day. Instead he'll load up the night before because he doesn't like feeling full on court. Typically, a prematch dinner would be a large steak or three chicken breasts and some corn, followed by a big fruit salad.

This renewed commitment to diet and weight training helped him become the No. 1 player in the world at 30. His personal life was looking up, too--he had asked out the women's champion, Steffi Graf. They met for dinner in California two days before she retired with 22 Grand Slams under her belt (notably, 14 more than Agassi). They married in 2001, and she completed his inner circle. She would show him that life was about more than tennis: It is about family. "One of the great things about having children is you start looking at life through their lens. I've never looked at a beach through the lens of a 4-and-a-half-year-old," says Agassi.

Grafhelped to bridge the divide between Andre and Mike Agassi, who walked out of the reception at his son's wedding to Brooke Shields because he didn't think the marriage would last, Sports Illustrated reported last summer.

Steffi's example has shown Andre that retirement isn't for wimps, because raising kids may be tougher than fending off Nadal. Or as Agassi puts it, "She burns more calories in an hour inside the house than I do on the court."

The Grand Slam Workout
Since Gil Reyes started working with Agassi 17 years ago, the tennis star has been nearly injury-free. Here is their secret strategy

1 Stretching
Agassi stretches his back and shoulders using resistance tubing attached to a floor rack. First, he holds one tube In each hand, facing the rack with slightly bent knees. He leans forward like he's waterskiing and gradually rotates his hands inward until they touch his ribs. He holds the position for 3 seconds, pauses, and repeats it 10 times. Then, he turns around, raises the cords overhead and leans forward, holding the stretch for 3 seconds before pausing and repeating It 10 times.

2 Chest
The emphasis here Is to build explosive strength for his forehand, backhand, and serve. First, he bench-presses a "reach" weight, which Is up to 315 pounds. Then, he finishes with four sets of seven to 10 reps using lighter weights. "You achieve perfect form only If you practice with lighter weights," say Reyes. To customize Andre's lifting exercises, Reyes recommends finding your ideal weight by aiming for seven to 10 reps. If you're straining at three reps, the weight Is too heavy. If you can do more than 10 reps, the weight is too light; add more In 5-pound increments.

3 Shoulders
Serving match after match can create a stronger right shoulder that overcompensates for a weaker left one when performing exercises In which both arms are moving the weight. The solution: using dumbbells to work the shoulders separately. Agassi lifts 50-pound dumbbells from his shoulders over his head for seven to 10 reps. Then, with palms down and dumbbells on the front of his thighs, he raises them with straight arms directly In front to chest level for five to seven reps. Agassi works his lats with three sets of lat pulldowns (seven to 10 reps) with 200 pounds of weight. When he moves to triceps and biceps he uses barbells or a bicep and triceps machine, finishing three sets of seven repetitions in a super set to keep momentum.

4 Legs
Because Agassi gets the necessary power for his ground strokes and serves from his legs, the workout Is divided with 70 percent of the time being spent on the lower body and core and 30 percent of the workout hitting the upper body. Agassi starts with leg presses, doing five sets of seven to 10 reps with 150 pounds. For the quads he completes the same reps on the leg extension machine but with slightly heavier weight (200 pounds). He finishes with calf raises on a machine, five sets of 10 reps with 400 pounds.

5 Core
Agassi does three sets of 10 squats with an 80-pound bar resting on his shoulders. "Squats are so good because they involve almost every muscle in the body," says Reyes. When he's not at home and able to use his customized pulley machine for his abs, Andre takes a 45-pound plate and holds it to his chest for five sets of 10 to 20 crunches. Reyes advises starting with a 10-pound plate, and once you can do 20 to 25 reps comfortably, adding 5 pounds at a time.

6 Cardio
Agassi runs on hills outside his training facility for even more leg strength and cardio endurance. He does a 320-yard route eight to 14 times. Sometimes he goes straight up the hill or breaks it up into short sprints. Sometimes he goes backwards or sideways. If he's already played for two hours twice that day, he might skip this step. AMY LEVIN-EPSTEIN

10-15-2006, 12:22 AM
on tuesday on the ellen degeneres show a glimpse of Ellen in Las Vegas helping out at the "Andre Agassi Foundation."
Can someone watch it and tell about it here?

10-20-2006, 03:11 PM
Barbara Walters has just announced that her next Special - with Andre and Steffi - will be aired in December. No date as yet.

10-21-2006, 12:34 PM
What did she said about it?

10-21-2006, 01:49 PM
What did she said about it?

She didn't say anything about it really. She has a morning show on ABC and she was asked about her next Special and when it would be. All she said was that it would be shown in December and that Andre and Steffi were part of it. If you go to the ABC.com site, there is a monthly schedule - so once December 1 is here, it will show the time and date.

11-10-2006, 12:23 AM
andre will play matches in january in chile,brazil and argentina

Here´s article:


11-11-2006, 01:52 AM
Barbara Walters has just announced that her next Special - with Andre and Steffi - will be aired in December. No date as yet.
I think this is part of her annual "10 Most Intriguing People" of the year show. If so that would be very :cool:

andre will play matches in january in chile,brazil and argentina[/url]
Awesome :yippee:

From Tennis.com:
"Andre Agassi is scheduled to play an exhibition in Chile on January 5, either against Marcelo Rios, Fernando Gonzalez or Nicolas Massu."

It would be interesting to see Agassi take on Rios. :lol:


He's retired but fans are missing him in Shanghai :lol:

11-11-2006, 12:47 PM
Why didn't Andre participated at the masters in 2004? Did he withdraw..?

11-12-2006, 01:46 AM
He was supposed to be the alternate player as he's ranked #9 (if i remember correctly) and chose not to turn up.

11-12-2006, 04:41 PM
yes i remember now he didn't show up. Weird that he was only #9 that year.

11-14-2006, 11:37 PM
Andre Agassi and wife Stefanie, competing Saturday in the game room
at ESPN Zone in New York-New York.

What is that and can tell someone more about it?

11-20-2006, 06:30 PM
Great article about Andre's mental game. :cool:

Uncovering Agassi’s Mental Edge

By John F. Murray, Ph.D

He gave his absolute best on the court, played with a flair and grace that few will match, and kept giving fans what they wanted long after his body said stop. In a grateful spirit for his many lessons of passion and competitiveness, let’s have one more tribute to the legend that was Agassi.

I was always aware of how great Andre was. He appeared calm under pressure, ripped the ball from corner to corner with amazing power and precision, and displayed tremendous sportsmanship. But I had never spoke with him nor coached against him until this year – his last year on the tour - at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.

I was working that week with Ramon Delgado from Paraguay. Ramon beat Bobby Reynolds in the first round before we both looked up on the large drawsheet and saw the name “Andre Agassi” as the upcoming opponent. Time to get to work!

Delgado was a great mental training student. He kept cool, stayed resilient and focused on each and every point win or lose, and fought like crazy. Ramon won the first set over Andre and had two match points leading 6-5 in the second set. It was at this point that Agassi put on his superman cape and showed why he is legendary. He had done it so many times before, but this was the first time I had viewed it as a competitor … and it was simply awesome! Facing repeat match points against the Davis Cup star, Andre narrowed his focus to a laser-beam quality, surprised Ramon by serving-and-volleying when he had stayed back all match, and hit consecutive winning volleys on the outside of the lines for winners. Andre won the match. Ramon was devastated … and I was heartbroken for him. But inside I also knew that I had just seen one of the greatest tennis players of all time do it again.

After the tournament, Delgado thanked me for the coaching, and said he played well, but no sport psychology in the world that day was going to overcome this legend. The only thing Ramon could say when I saw him later, and asked him about Agassi’s play on those two match points was “unbelievable…just unbelievable,” and those words just about sum up Andre! In my eyes, he is right up there with Joe Montana, Jack Nicklaus, and Michael Jordan.

But why was he so great? He did not have Ivo Karlovic’s height or Pete Sampras’ serve. A significant part of his greatness can from his mind. Let’s take a closer look at what made Agassi so mentally refined.

Reviewing Agassi’s on-court performances and listening to some of his post-match comments sheds light on the mindset of a very rare player who constantly found ways to play smart tennis.

Agassi’s service and groundstroke accuracy were usually dominant. He did not serve with the velocity of Roddick, but he found the corners, hit aces and winners, and reduced errors. Coaches are right in saying that consistency is still a huge weapon in tennis! Consistency in making the correct decision on where to hit the serve. Consistency in executing the shot. Consistency in hitting more winners than unforced errors. Consistency in being Agassi.

Agassi was also more aggressive than most opponents on his groundstrokes, more accurate on his approach shots, and dominant once he got to the net. The bottom line is that Agassi played better tennis. But what was going on in his mind? What attitudes did he take to his matches — long before he hit any balls? This is the unseen advantage that is often forgotten.

Let’s examine some comments he made in post-match interviews:

Turning Adversity into Advantage

Agassi viewed strong wind and other potential distractions as advantages. He once said, "today was certainly a great day for me, serving-wise. I think specifically because it was breezy. Any time you can get a good percentage of first serves in, especially on key points, in windy conditions, it's a big advantage. I did that well today." What an amazing attitude. Something we can all learn from. Rather than making excuses, he realized there is indeed a silver lining in every cloud!

Staying Hopeful and Confident

The way we frame things is often more important than the supposed reality. Agassi stayed very positive in his thinking. Once, asked about the upcoming clay season, he said, "I feel great about how I feel mentally … very positive going on to the clay season, hopeful that everything is going to stay together." Henry Ford once said "whether you think you can or think you can’t — you are right." Most people in Ford’s day asked why cars were necessary when there were horses all around. Agassi thought like Ford did, and how you should too.

Not Over-thinking in a Match

Despite all the great mental tips and suggestions, once a match begins it’s auto-pilot time. It’s much better to just play tennis and let habits take over than to over-think. Agassi once said, "I try not to assess how I’m playing until after the fact. And then after the fact, I can look at it and be objective."

Focusing without Fear

Agassi knew what it meant to stay focused without letting fear intrude. In discussing the number of matches he had to play in a row once, he said, "there's nothing really about it that you worry about getting through so many matches, so you just focus on executing opportunities that you do get and try to create as many as possible." So many players worry. Keep it simple and keep the focus on what you are doing now.

Remaining Extremely Confident

Agassi assumed that someone else was going to have to play well to beat him. Listen to his comment: "I'm thinking about preparing myself properly to be at my best for Paris; to make somebody play a great match to beat me. It's as simple as that." Wow. Enough said.

Working Hard

Throw out all the mental tips in the world if you don’t work! When asked if he had found the fountain of youth and was just not telling anyone, Agassi smiled and said, "No, no, it's hard work."

Agassi won our hearts and minds throughout his career. He blew away opponents with both physical and mental superiority, and he seemed like a good guy on top of all of that! He loved his fans and so his fans loved him back. If you look at his accuracy and consistency in executing shots, then review his attitudes and insights, you realize that the mental game is much more than a few clever tips to play smart tennis. The thoughts, feelings, habits and sensations always control the actions. When it all works together brilliantly, you get that one-in-a-million guy named Agassi. He was a legend. I was fortunate to meet and try to out-coach him, without success. His example lives in all our future lessons. Thanks Andre!


11-20-2006, 07:10 PM
That`s really a great article!

11-28-2006, 05:38 PM
some new pic from wireimages



11-28-2006, 05:40 PM



11-28-2006, 09:47 PM
Some information about Round-Up on this web site


A great idea!

11-29-2006, 09:36 PM
It's official: Andre will be featured on Barbara Walter's 10 Most Fascinating People list in December. :yippee:

Agassi Earns Top 10 Spot
by Tennis Week

Andre Agassi is back in the top 10 — alongside hip hop star Jay-Z, Vogue Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour and actor Patrick Dempsey. The eight-time Grand Slam champion has been selected as one of the "The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2006."

Agassi will be among the top ten most fascinating people in "Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2006." The hour-long special will air on ABC on Tuesday, December 12 at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

I will tape it, of course!

11-29-2006, 09:47 PM
I was at the doctor's office the other day to get my flu drugs and what do I see? Andre Agassi on the cover of WebMD magazine. :D

Andre Agassi's Battle With Back Pain

After fighting painful, chronic back pain for years, tennis great Andre Agassi retires from the court and prepares to serve up the next chapter of his life.

On Sept. 3, as he said goodbye to his fans at the U.S. Open, retiring tennis star Andre Agassi dabbed away tears. His lower lip quivered while he spoke, his voice on the verge of breaking during the minute-long farewell.

"You have given me your shoulders to stand on to reach for my dreams, dreams I could never have reached without you," he told the crowd at New York's Arthur Ashe Stadium.

For those watching, it was one of two indelible images from the final moments of Agassi's storied 21-year career. The other image is of Agassi in pain, his agile body seizing up during his last match, his long-injured back rebelling against the demands long made upon it.

Agassi, 36, had announced his retirement six weeks before, at Wimbledon. Though many factors influenced his decision, "I can't suggest that the pain didn't play a big part," he says. "It starts with your body and moves to your mind."

Asked how long he'd been suffering from back problems, he thought for a moment before timing it to a milestone in his life: his son's birth. Five years ago.

"It was a physical issue that grew to be a real physical concern," Agassi says of the degenerative disc disease spondylolisthesis, which caused one of the vertebrae in his lower back to slip out of place. As the disease progressed, the disc began pinching his sciatic nerve, a condition called sciatica that causes low back pain that shoots down the leg. By the end of the Open, even the injections of cortisone and other anti-inflammatories that he'd been taking since March could no longer help. He lost his final match to 25-year-old Benjamin Becker, a German who'd turned pro the year before and was ranked 112.

Still, when it was over, thunderous applause filled Arthur Ashe Stadium. The crowd gave Agassi a four-minute standing ovation as he rested in a courtside chair before making his goodbyes. To Agassi, it was not a loss. He had accomplished what he set out to do: finish the match, despite the pain.

"It was such a perfect end to what I consider to be a wonderful journey," Agassi says. "My goal was to do this as long as possible, and even if I'd been in a healthy place, I would have had to make this decision eventually."

When WebMD spoke with Agassi, about a month after his final match, he had yet to begin adapting to his new life. In fact, he says, it's business as usual.

"Of course, I [no longer] have to worry about training, about physical rehabilitation. I don't have to focus in those confines. But I'm as busy now, if not busier. It's quite typical, really. After each of the last 11 Opens, I've tended to shut down a bit and try to make up for lost time," he says. "My goals and commitments are always pushing me forward. I don't think the new lifestyle has been felt yet."

One thing he doesn't feel anymore, he says, is the pain.

"Now, I'm fine. I haven't been pushing my body to its limits. Tennis -- it's a pretty ballistic sport that we play. The pain has been a function of what I've asked of my body."

Born to Win

Agassi played his first professional match at age 16. But tennis had been part of his life even before he was conscious of it. As an infant, a tennis ball dangled above him as he lay in his crib, hung there by his father, a former boxer who had represented his native Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics. Emmanuel "Mike" Agassi, who immigrated to the United States as a young man and settled in Las Vegas, wanted his child to be a champion.

He got his wish. In 1992, Andre, his fourth child, took the title at Wimbledon. He was 22.

Victory piled upon victory, as Agassi won both the U.S. and the Australian Opens, rising to No. 1 in the three years after Wimbledon. He became famous, however, for more than just his playing. Agassi brought an upstart's attitude to the game, flouting convention in spandex, denim cutoffs, and rock-star hair. His millions in prize money bought him a Lamborghini, a Ferrari, and three Porsches. On TV, he was the face of the Canon Rebel camera. You remember the slogan: Image Is Everything.

That image was complex, though. For the cameras, Agassi was all flash. But there was another side to him. In 1994, he founded the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which has raised more than $60 million for recreational and educational programs for at-risk children in southern Nevada. The foundation continues to support both the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club and the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, both in Las Vegas.

The same year, an injured wrist drastically reduced his ability to compete, and he played only 24 matches that season, less than a third of what he played in previous ones. His ranking plummeted to 141 in 1997. He found himself competing in Challenger Series tournaments, a circuit for pro players who couldn't make the top 50.

From that low point came a new focus on the game. Agassi discarded his flashy getup and donned conservative tennis whites. (He started shaving his head in 1995.) He worked out until his body was in the best shape it had ever been. He rethought and reworked his game. And he began the climb back to No. 1.

In 1998, he rocketed from 141 to 6. No player had gone from so low to so high so quickly. By 2003, he had won eight Grand Slam titles. He is one of only five players to win all four Grand Slam singles events.

Agassi's home life changed direction as well. His first marriage, to actress Brooke Shields, ended in divorce in 1999. Two and a half years later, Agassi married retired tennis great Steffi Graf. They have two children: 5-year-old Jaden and a daughter, Jaz Elle, 3.

Playing Through Pain

By the time of his last Grand Slam victory -- the 2003 Australian Open -- Agassi's back had been hurting for months.

"I thought it was my hip," says Agassi, who says his only mistake in caring for his back was not getting it diagnosed sooner.

Would an earlier diagnosis have made any difference? Probably not, says Alan S. Hilibrand, MD, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery and director of orthopaedic medical education at Jefferson Medical College and the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia.

"From age 20 on, all people experience a process of drying out of the discs in the spine. In other words, everyone has degenerative disc disease," says Hilibrand, who is also a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Those discs act as cushions between vertebrae, helping to hold them in place. As they dry out, they begin to lose this ability, and the likelihood of one of the vertebrae slipping increases. When that starts to happen, the resulting condition is known as degenerative spondylolisthesis.

Lower back pain is the most obvious symptom, though many people have no symptoms at all. The drying out of the discs, says Hilibrand, can lead to painful tears in the fiber that surrounds them. How severe the pain is varies from person to person. "Some people, for genetic reasons, are very susceptible to that pain," he says.

Athletes have an advantage over couch potatoes when it comes to preventing back pain. Why? Because their strong trunk muscles are better able to support the spine, Hilibrand explains. They can also withstand a lot of suffering.

"Agassi obviously has very strong trunk muscles, but I don't think he would have gotten where he did without a great tolerance for pain."

This type of back pain is very familiar to Justin Gimelstob, a 27-year-old professional tennis player and friend of Agassi's. He underwent emergency back surgery in early September and at the U.S. Open suddenly found himself with two herniated or slipped discs after eight or nine years of back pain.

"The sport is tough on the back," says Gimelstob, who has commiserated with Agassi over their suffering. What frustrates athletes like Gimelstob is that the pain often strikes without warning, throwing off his rhythm. It was the same for Agassi, he says: "That's what Andre was feeling -- that inability to be properly prepared when you don't know what's going to happen."

Agassi’s New Routine

Agassi doesn't anticipate needing surgery, especially now that he is out of the game. So, what is he preparing for now? In addition to his continued work with his foundation, he's bound to keep competing, if not on the court then in his new business ventures. He and Graf are working on an international chain of resort communities. They also unveiled plans for a luxury hotel, the Fairmont Tamarack, in Idaho.

"It's a lane change, not an exit," Agassi says of his new projects.

No matter how strenuous his new work may be, it won't require the superhuman physical conditioning demanded of him by tennis. And that's just fine with Agassi. For now, he's quite happy to miss a workout or two -- or three.

"To go to the gym and train now would feel more empty than focused," he says. "[Physical training] will always be a part of my life, but right now there would be too much nostalgia."

11-29-2006, 10:24 PM
Thanks for the article!!

11-30-2006, 03:58 AM
Tennis stars Agassi, Graf lose $3 million on mansion sale
Posted 11/29/2006 5:44 PM ET

TIBURON, Calif. (AP) — Retired tennis stars Andre Agassi and wife Steffi Graf have agreed to sell their mansion overlooking San Francisco Bay for $20 million — $3 million less than it sold for five years ago.
The 13,000-square-foot estate is being sold to Stuart Peterson, the chief of a hedge fund that invested early in the YouTube video-sharing website, according to Bill Bullock, whose real estate firm represents the couple. YouTube agreed last month to be acquired by Google for $1.65 billion dollars.

Agassi and Graf live most of the year in Las Vegas and had been asking $24.5 million for the property, which features 11 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a home theater, two pools, a tennis court and helicopter landing pad.

Agassi's financial advisers wanted him to get rid of the little-used compound to save on the cost of upkeep, Bullock said.

The deal was expected to close in January.

12-02-2006, 09:04 PM
A great blog entry about Andre from Peter Bodo. :cool:

Becoming the Change
Posted 11/29/2006 @ 11 :09 PM
So when I was invited to this March of Dimes annual awards ceremony at the elegant and decidedly old-school Waldorf-Astoria, I figured I'd drift on over, maybe get a word with Andre Agassi, who was being honored as Sportsman of the Year. Maybe ask Danica Patrick (the INDY car driver who selected MoD's Sportswoman of the Year) if she has any strong feelings about him. That kind of thing.

Well, it turns out that this annual sports luncheon (23rd, and counting) is a pretty big deal. The March of Dimes is a great outfit; I remember collecting money for them in a tin can when I was a kid, at around the time that the organization was a driving force behind the elimination of Polio.

It wasn't so long ago that Polio was still a heartbreaking, crippling disease, and it occurs to me that the March of Dimes campaigns may be where the expression "poster child" originated.

I can still remember the children on those "help eradicate Polio" posters - and real, live kids in the neighborhood - hobbling around in those wretched metal leg braces and crutches.

Hats off the the March of Dimes; these days their primary mission is combating infant mortality and premature births, and the lethal dangers associated with it.

It seemed like half of Media City turned out for this event (the powerful half, including folks like Sean McManus, President of CBS News and Sports and luncheon chairman, Dick Ebersol of NBC sports, Bob Basche, of sports marketers Millsport (and a long-time NBC hand at Wimbledon), David Stern, commissioner of the NBA, Paul Tagliabue, the outgoing NFL commissioner). I got there early, but even the small room reserved for the pre-luncheon media event was soon filling up with network execs and peripheral media types. Oddly enough, there were no working representatives from mainstream media outlets.

Before things got too hectic, I bumped into Bert Sugar, the boxing icon who's a living embodiment of everything that makes The Sweet Science such a compelling and uproarious sport. "The bar isn't even open yet," Bert growled, unlit cigar in his mouth. "Five thousand of these things and I still can't get it right."

Without looking up, the bartender said: "What are you having, Bert?"

Now, that's impressive.

"Bloody." Bert growled.

And what does Bert, the Godfather of Boxing, think of Andre?

"He's not the most colorful in the crowd, but then I liked the Connors and McEnroe era myself. Mac was an okay guy but that Connors - what a pain in the ass. Tell you what I like about Agassi, though - he's one of my favorite clues in a crossword puzzle. It's all those vowels. I'm telling you, he and Felipe Alou (hall of fame baseball player) are my two favorite athletes for that reason."

Hmmmm. . .

But the celebletes were soon drifting in: Billie Jean King, Patrick, a couple of top WNBA players whose names you'll forgive me for not knowing or remembering (Donna Orender, President of the WNBA, was given the MoD Sports Leadership award), Patrick McEnroe, Jim Courier, luncheon chairman Hannah Storm, my old pal Frank DeFord. . . No Andre, though.

I worked the room a little. I got hold of Danica Patrick, an intense woman with black eyes and black hair. She said some nice things about Andre, but nothing interesting enough to quote, or even remember. I caught up with Pat Mac and Jim Courier some, talked dogs with Basche. Hannah Storm, who covered almost 10 Wimbledon tournaments for NBC, made an interesting remark about Andre: "He was a player people really invested in emotionally, he always moved emotion. That's not so common, especially among male athletes."

Billie Jean told me that Agassi's wife, Steffi, wasn't going to play World Team Tennis next year, because she almost collapsed from nerves in her single outing this past summer. Still, Billie said, wide-eyed, "You should have seen how emotional she was.Steffi! She was running around, high-fiving everyone. In some ways, she loved it." Billie also told me that Pat Rafter probably won't play WTT next year; seems it would take too much effort to stay in shape (Lazy sack of Vegemite, that one, eh?). She said he still has that spring in his legs though; he can get to a wide serve with the best of them. "That's one of the first things that goes, you know," Billie said. "That ability to explode to either side."

Still, no Andre, but you always learn something, talking to Billie.

The room was getting more and more hot and crowded. Official luncheon time was approaching. No way I get to talk with Andre under these circumstances, I figured. Then, I spotted him. He had slipped into the room, and they had him at a table for the official awards photos with his fellow honorees (the fourth honoree was Ross Greenberg, the tennis broadcast pioneer and head of HBO Sports). When they finished with that, they hustled Andre over to do a sit down with Sports New York cable network. I stood nearby and watched. Ever notice that Andre's head is a flat as the deck of an aircraft carrier? It's kind of cool looking, actually. He was a little fidgety, toying with his ring finger, and I noticed there was no wedding band on it. Sure sign of a tennis player who actually uses his left hand.

When Andre got up, we made eye contact. I stepped forward to shake his hand and he lit up and threw his arms around me, which made me feel good. We've always had a great relationship but for one horrible episode that was no fault of my own, and not worth going into here. Andre was always an animated guy, but he seemed so relaxed and happy at the moment that I had a realization: The Andre we had seen for, oh, the last 18-or-so months of his career was not the man complete. He was operating at perhaps 60 per cent of his natural ebullience, which still throws more sparks than most of his peers in full glory.

Conclusion: The thoughtfullness that we had come to associate with Andre - Oh, those incredibly reflective ruminations on the X's and O's of the game! Oh, those sublimely diplomatic renderings of his thoughts on retirement and career! - had been for a long time colored by tristesse, a wistfulness that dampened his spirit, if not his combative verve, in those waning days.

By contrast, today he resembled a liberated man; the guy who had just completed an enormous job, and done it so well that there was nothing else he could do at this point but exude the satisfaction and pride that accompanies the successful endeavor.

I told Andre he looked great and patted his tummy.

"Oh I'm staying in shape," he said, smiling. "And I'm enjoying it."

Did he watch the ATP Championships?

"Yeah, I did. It was great, I really enjoyed it. It was all of the good and none of the bad. I didn't have to worry about how the guy I was playing next looked, or how this result is going to impact the draw or anything like that. I really enjoyed it."

A sharp-dressed guy thrust a pen and a handful of pictures between us, looking for autographs. "Not now," Andre said, politely and firmly. "This isn't the right time."

I told him about how passionateTennisWorld's readers are; how just mentioning that I might see him today triggered an outpouring of admiration and respect from you all yesterday. "Your fans are dying to hear what you're going to be doing, tennis-wise. Going into the booth to do any commentary or anything like that?"

"No, I don't think so. Not now. I love talking tennis, you know that. But it's not the vehicle for me now. But I'll be around. I'm trying to bring it all together - the business and the philanthropy, tennis and all that ties into. I'm working on bringing that all together so it can impact lives and make a real difference."

By then, a pretty big crowd had gathered around us. One lady who had visited the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy stepped forward and introduced herself. A fellow anxious to get Andre's attention tugged at the back of his suit jacket. Andre fended him off. "I hate it when people start pulling me this way and that."

And the kids? I asked.

"You know what's great? That I can see them on my own terms now. It isn't like, I have this little slot here because I have to go practice now, or go play a match. It's natural."

Someone was flicking the lights on and off, it was time to go into the ballroom for the luncheon. "I better go," Andre said. "Just stay close, we'll talk after."

By then, it was after 1 PM, and I had to be up at my boy Luke's school to pick him up at 2:30. It was going to be tight. It turned out that because I had not planned to attend the luncheon, I didn't even have a seat. So I sat on a chair, back with the wait staff. I thought about Andre, and what a remarkable, seemingly improbable role he had created for himself, carving it out of doubt, confusion, even a measure of self-loathing, it seemed, for in my experience few people who have achieved anything worth remembering have not been hard on themselves, or had someone be hard on them, a pretty good ticket to the same destination.

Mike Agassi, Andre's father, had been hard on him. Andre, from about the time he made his late career resurgence, had been hard on himself. And for all of Andre's sensitivity, and the penumbra of calmness that now surrounds him, you can see traces of, if not exactly hardness, then the smoothness that characterizes a hard object that has been buffed and polished, polished and buffed.

You can see that in the many ascetic touches: the simplicity of his clothing, the measured, almost clipped speech (is there a public man who so precisely says exactly what he means, and always with an interesting, almost epigrammatic turn of phrase?), that embrace of baldness, a condition from which so many less secure men flee. I thought about the top of his head; a stone, worn by water. I laughed to myself.

The videos and speeches went on, as they're apt to do; Andre was the last and most important person honored.

He was introduced by Jim Courier, who said: "I remember the first time I played Andre, in a 12-and-under event in San Diego. We both had soup-bowl haircuts. Even then, his strokes were so clean, so smooth, the we all knew he'd be a great player. Now we also know he's a great man."

Jim got the laugh of the day when he said that it was tough enough for Andre to be the second best athlete in his household; having seen his kids, Jaden and Jas, on the trampoline in the backyard of the Agassi's home in Las Vegas, Jim also had the feeling that "The way things are going, he'll be sliding down even further on that scale."

And as he was wrapping up his introduction, Jim talked about a visit to Agassi Prep, and how he was struck by one of the many quotations on the wall, this one from Gandhi: Become the change you want to see.

When Andre got to the podium, he said, "New York, you're going to make me cry again."

Then he did something that is typical of Agassi these days. His predecessors on the stage had made nice acceptance speeches. Greenburg spoke about his own family's experience with premature birth. Danica Patrick had spoken of what it was like to be a girl growing up wanting to be a race car driver. Donna Orender had waxed eloquent on a similar theme, but gone on too long and with too much undisguised promotion of the NBA and WBA. Andre said nothing about his career in tennis. He opened his formal acceptance by saying, "Thirteen years ago, I realized that caring isn't enough. Caring isn't doing."

Then he went on to outline his history in charitable work, about how the most important thing he had learned was that you couldn't reach a child in need early enough. He turned the attention of the guests to the March of Dimes, reminding the audience that the group has a "thankless" job, "solving problems that the world will never see." It was a command performance; the charity event equivalent of one of his better post-match press conferences.

It's all post-match for Andre now, but not post-significance. It's probably closer to pre-significance, given his intentions and dedication to fine causes.

It was almost two-thirty, and I was worried about my own child. As the luncheon broke up, I worked my way through the crowd to Andre and told him, "Andre, I've got to go pick up my kid at school, can we catch up some time soon, maybe out in Vegas or something?"

He smiled. "Sure, call me anytime. We'll knock a few down. Hey, what am I doing?"

It was, all in all, a curious thing for him to say for a man who was busy becoming the change he wanted to see.



12-06-2006, 12:59 PM
vote here for andre:


12-06-2006, 01:37 PM
i did...cute :)

12-06-2006, 02:31 PM
Agassi back in action to raise money for cancer

More columns

The Virginian-Pilot
© December 6, 2006

Andre Agassi was explaining over the phone how he and his wife, Steffi Graf, have launched the Agassi-Graf Collection, a new line of Kreiss furniture, when the party on the other end of the line said, "Your names are on the product?"

"Not just our names," Agassi said, "our blood, sweat and tears."

Agassi has also entered the hotel-development business; his company is designing a luxury resort in Idaho, with plans to create more health-conscious communities around the world. Then there's his restaurant company, which has opened establishments in Las Vegas and Atlantic City and also in California.
Retirement is keeping him sideline-to-sideline busy.

"I struggle with redundancy," he explained just before the U.S. Open, his final tournament. "I'm always looking for inspiration."

Looking for inspiration? Agassi is better known for providing it. As the tennis player with the most crossover appeal, he has inspired countless people to donate time and money for events that have raised tens of millions of dollars for his charitable foundation. The cornerstone of that organization is a charter school he built in his hometown of Las Vegas for mostly poor black kids.

Tennis' pied piper is coming to Old Dominion University's Ted Constant Convocation Center on Thursday night to play a match against James Blake and to help raise a half million dollars. It's money that will be used to fight cancer. Money that will go to the Eastern Virginia Medical School.

"This is pretty special," Agassi said by phone. "It's personal to me for many reasons."

His mother and sister are breast cancer survivors, but Agassi noted that "there's not a person on this planet who isn't touched by someone who's suffered from cancer. It's personal for all of us."

Agassi embraces the idea that he's a role model. "But everybody's a role model," he said. "What we choose to care about has a ripple effect."

Agassi's long career - the good, bad and confusing - rippled through America's sporting scene. Anyone familiar with his journey is aware of Agassi's gradual transformation from "a haircut and a forehand" - Ivan Lendl's dismissive portrayal - to revered tennis ambassador and committed philanthropist.

More than most athletes - more than just about anyone of his generation - Agassi is leveraging his rock star fame for good. But when asked about all that he's invested in his causes, he deflects praise, wondering aloud how Blake can donate so much of his time during the thick of his career.

There's some irony to be found in the good works of both men. Elite tennis players are reputed to be among the world's most self-indulgent athletes. That was Agassi's image before he added a heavy dose of humanity to his game.

"Athletes have a bigger platform now because of technology and the media," he said. "How many people we can reach is greater than it used to be. I hope the next wave of tennis players that comes along doesn't just desire to be on TV and endorse products. I would like to see them making a difference in people's lives in a real way."

Fans coming to the Constant Center to see Agassi will be glad to know that the bad back that played havoc with his farewell tour is much better now. "I've strengthened it dramatically," he said.

He still plays the occasional exhibition, but the best thing he's done for his body, he said, is refrain from subjecting it to the rigors of the tournament grind.

Here's an easy prediction: Agassi's mere presence Thursday night will elicit standing ovations. But the man who was the sport's best showman - and probably still is - wants to entertain.

"I'm a little uptight that I haven't spent as much time on the court as I'd like," he said. "Steffi tells me that it's OK, that people don't expect me to do too much."

In many ways, for those Agassi has inspired, he's already done enough.

12-06-2006, 04:09 PM
I`m a little bit confused because Andre will be at Andy Roddick`s charity event AND he will play mixed doubles with Steffi at the Genworth Financial event on Friday evening.
How will Andre be at two events at the same time :confused: ?

Can anyone help me?

12-06-2006, 04:15 PM
I found some nice articles about Andre from the past. Enjoy reading. I really liked the articles!

By Paul Malone

Andre Agassi says New York is his kind of town, but Australian tennis fans have long felt a kinship with Agassi because Melbourne is the place where he won half of his eight Grand Slam titles. It was not always that way. Agassi was the last great player in tennis to be convinced that it was worth his while to play the Australian Open, clearly the runt of the Grand Slam litter until its 1983 rejuvenation and its 1988 rebirth with the construction of Melbourne's National Tennis Centre.He was not the fan favorite when he won his first Australian Open, in 1995, at his first attempt, three years after he had won Wimbledon in his Grand Slam breakthrough.Women loved his pirate look of the time and young Australians rallied to his charisma and flamboyant game. But it was the year that runner-up Pete Sampras won his quarter-final against Jim Courier by serving aces through his tears after a spectator urged Sampras to win it for his coach Tim Gullikson, who had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and there was room for only sentimental favorite.Over the years, Agassi told us Australians what we wanted to hear, that the country was one of his favourite places to play tennis. Just another case of Agassi spreading sweetness and light as he travelled around the world in his later years as an unofficial international tennis emmisary.One year in Melbourne, he remarked that what with his son Jaden's passion for "the Wiggles" and the calm coaching of Darren Cahill, part of Team Agassi for its last four years, it felt like he was surrounded by Australians. Agassi said on his last few visits that he wished he had played earlier at the Australian Open, which he would win in 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2003 -- more than any man in the Open era.The slow, reliable, higher bounce of Rebound Ace and the hot temperatures gave the tennis magician a sense of certainty in his hitting zone and also gave him full value for his annual herculean December training sessions in Las Vegas with conditioner Gil Reyes.By winning in three consecutive Melbourne appearances in 2000-03 – he could not play in 2002 because of a hand injury -- Agassi always arrived in Melbourne fitter than the rest from driving his legs up and down a hill near his home in Las Vegas. Other players less committed to a flying start to the new tennis year floundered in his wake.When he beat a cramping Pat Rafter, later to be voted Australian of the Year for his sportsmanship and destined never to win his national championship, in a 2001 Melbourne Park semi-final, it was not held against him. The previous year Agassi had beaten Sampras in a semi-final in one of the Australian Open's greatest matches, one of those precious contests which has made a night in front of television to watch a showcase night match a common theme of an Australian's sports-mad summer.Agassi has seemingly played in more of those memorable Melbourne Park matches than anyone else, which partly explains his enduring popularity in our country. Agassi's last match in Australia was in a 2005 quarter-final in straight sets by Roger Federer and he went down, typically, with nothing less in his arsenal despite a straight-sets margin, saying his goodbyes, as became his custom, just in case he wasn't able to come back.Cahill savored in New York the memory of the 2003 Australian Open win as being the best tennis he played during their association. "He may have played better over the time he was with Brad Gilbert, but Andre was on autopilot that year," Cahill, a 1988 US Open semi-finalist, said. "We'd always play four games on every off-day to finish off 30 or 40 minutes of practice. There were eight off-days counting the one before the start of the tournament. I'm normally good to win a serve-volley game every day, lose 3-1 maybe, but during that Australian Open I was down 32-0. "It was that he knew the conditions, knew the balls, knew the opponents and knew he was going to be ready for anything."

By Joel Drucker
When it comes to memories of Andre Agassi, there’s tons to be said about his visible highlights, particularly all those Grand Slam campaigns. So let’s go elsewhere.Let’s go to San Jose, to the SAP Open, an event Agassi has played virtually every year since 1990. Held indoors at the H-P Pavilion, this tournament is played on one court. Obviously, practice time is at a premium. One of my favorite Agassi memories has been watching him arrive to the court to practice prior to his evening match. He’d pull up in his limo, tumble out with Gil Reyes and walk the halls with an eager bounce. On evenings when he was less rushed or waiting for the day session to end, he’d take a few minutes to shoot the breeze with some of us tennis folk – reporters, tournament staff -- he’d known for a while. Over the years I’ve become increasingly fond of talking with Agassi about the nitty-gritty details of how the game is played. Since recreational players usually play points that last no longer than two or three shots, the tactical approach is pretty much like checkers: hit to the guy’s weak side. But with the pros it’s more like chess. To hear Agassi discuss how he’d build a point with seven to ten shots proved to me once and for all that this was a man who’d matured into consummate student of the game. Then he’d get on the practice court, waiting patiently while another peer, such as his rival Michael Chang, finished up his session. I’ve always enjoyed watching the way players interact with each other on practice courts. It reminds me of an office, with executives shuffling in and out of conference rooms, waiting in line at the employee cafeteria no matter what the rank in the organization. Agassi here was no superstar but just another ballplayer. The arena would be virtually empty, and I’d often take a seat courtside. Music would blast its way through the arena. And there would be the best forehand-backhand combo in tennis history, pounding away one drive after another, his eyes in rapt attention, his racket and body in perfect harmony. The tempo of Agassi’s balls would accelerate rapidly. This wasn’t a match cluttered with notions of outcome. It was merely the essence of tennis: one man, hitting one ball, for one moment. How lucky we are that Agassi’s moment has lasted so long.

Article on Andre in the American Way MagazineA SURE BET by MARK SEAL

When he's not competing, tennis ace Andre Agassi heads home to Las Vegas, which he says is much more normal than
people think.

Andre Agassi is a Vegas boy, born and raised. But he’s not from the bright lights, roll ’em side of town. He’s from the Vegas of neighborhoods, churches, and schools, the Vegas that the 33-year-old tennis vet says taught him that anything is possible. The son of a mother who worked at an unemployment office and a dad who helped run the Jubilee show, Agassi got his first taste of pro tennis as a ball boy for tournaments at Caesars Palace, and began his rise to what has become almost two decades in the upper rankings of his sport.

Although he once blazed across the court in long hair and day-glo clothing, Agassi is now as down- to-earth as the next guy, living in Vegas with his wife, retired tennis pro Steffi Graf, and their two children. Although he still travels to tournaments much of the year, Agassi has left a legacy to his hometown: the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which has raised more than $35 million for children’s charities, and the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, which educates some 250 students. Here’s a weekend in the city where Andre Agassi learned to win.

Where do you go first after returning home from a tournament or appearance?
“A good restaurant, because Vegas has come so far in their cuisine and dining options. I love Nobhill at the MGM Grand. It’s a phenomenal restaurant. For steak, I love Delmonico at the Venetian. Go for the filet, charred medium. With the family, go up in Summerlin to a place called Sedona. Actually, I’m a partner in it, and it feels like home to go to the place that you helped create.”

You’re also part owner now in the Golden Nugget.
“Yeah, I’m involved with some friends that I grew up with, which is exciting. I’m second generation here, and the people I’m involved with are third generation Vegas. The Nugget is a lot of fun because it’s such old Vegas. You’re talking about a place that has been there for a lot of years and has a great feel.”

Do you have any other favorite hotels/casinos?
“It’s hard to get nicer than the Bellagio. But that said, every hotel offers its thing. Caesars Palace now has Celine Dion camped there. You’ve got Mandalay Bay, which has an incredible bar and lounge at the top of the hotel called The Foundation. There’s a deck there overlooking the whole city. The Hard Rock Hotel has The Joint, with incredible music acts that come through. This city is about targeting what it is you are looking for, because you’re going to find it. It’s not about one place having it all and you never leave; there’s just too much to experience.”

What else should every visitor know about Las Vegas?
“Vegas has been the fastest-growing city in America for more than 30 years. It’s a city of great vision. It’s a city where the community believes that if you actually believe in something enough, you can create it and make it happen. It gets a tough rap because it’s perceived as an adult Disneyland. But the community of people who actually live here is strong. It is a community that bonds together and looks out for each other. It’s an incredibly inspirational city.”

Most people think of the Strip when they think of Vegas, but there’s also a lot of activity downtown, right?
“Downtown is a place where you can park your car and walk around and experience that old feeling of just stepping two feet off the street into a casino that basically has no doors. And the lights are incredible. There are more lights downtown than you will see in New York at Christmas.”

Where do you go then to get away from all the glitz?
“There’s a lot to be offered in the outskirts — the Red Rock Canyon, going hiking and biking. If you’re on the Strip, you’re probably about 35 minutes away from Red Rock. You just take Charleston as far west as you can possibly go. There are trails all back through there with waterfalls and beautiful red rock and great hiking.”

Tell us a great local spot that people don’t know about.
“Out where we live, there’s this place called Desert Shores, there are these little lakes. There is a real cute French eatery called Marché Bacchus there on the lake where you can sit outside. You would never know you were in Vegas. Jaden, our two-year-old, entertains himself by feeding the ducks while we’re eating.”

With all the money in Vegas, there’s got to be some good shopping.
“Yeah, we have all the great shops: the Aladdin shops and the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, which are incredible. Go with the family. You go from having dinner to taking your kids to FAO Schwarz to looking around at different high-end retailers. You can’t imagine how many thousands of pairs of jeans there are to choose from until you go to the Forum Shops. It’s a lot of fun. But I don’t know if you should trust me with shopping.”

Okay, what about something you know a little more about, like sports. What are your favorite golf courses?
“Shadow Creek is pretty amazing. It’s the course Steve Wynn built through the Mirage Resorts. He put about $43 million into it and made it look like you were on some holes in Hawaii and some in Colorado. You just can’t believe the terrain and the way he built this course. The thing that blows you away about it is that it’s in the middle of the desert. There has been such a big boom in courses here. There’s Bali Hai, a great course right on the Strip. But I am a creature of habit, and usually play at the courses closest to where I live, Shadow Creek and Red Rock.”

I bet your wife likes all the spas. Which ones are the best?
“There is a great one at the Bellagio, and Canyon Ranch has a spa at the Venetian.”

Speaking of your wife, is there a place the two of you go for a special evening?
“My wife and I are pretty similar. We think a great evening out together is to get some good sushi, so we go to Nobu. We enjoy sitting at the sushi bar because it’s only the two of us. We just sort of take our time and pick through a lot of different flavors and tastes.”

Any other restaurants to recommend?
“Seablue at the MGM is amazing. It’s a fish restaurant. Emeril’s is fantastic. Prime at the Bellagio is pretty amazing. There’s also an old French restaurant downtown called Andre’s. It’s in an old house and has been around for decades. We used to go there when I was young, and I still go back. It’s really clean and nice.”

Where can you get a great meal for $25 or less?
“Twenty-five dollars would be an expensive meal at most of the casinos. There are some nice restaurants now; we have so many five-star restaurants it’s crazy. But as far as being able to fill your stomach as cheaply as possible, there’s probably no city in the world that offers more. I have heard speakers at colleges talk about when the kids travel in and out to compete, whether it’s a tennis team or what have you, that Vegas is the only place in the country that they can eat on the per diem. You can go to all of these $3.99 buffets, where their only goal is to get you in the door.”

Which shows do you like?
“You’ve gotta see O. It’s incredible. O is a Cirque du Soleil show, but it’s done in water. You find it so amazing that you are sitting in the middle of a showroom with a stage basically made out of water. The showroom is in a casino, and the casino is in the middle of the desert. It just blows you away that you’re watching this. Another show I love is Danny Gans. He does impersonations of hundreds of legendary performers and singers. The show is really nostalgic; it almost brings to life these characters that you always used to think about so fondly — the Frank Sinatras, the James Deans, and scenes from movies.”
Where can you go to hear some great music?
“Vegas gets more music acts coming through than any other city in the world. We have concerts nonstop. So the options for music are endless. The MGM Grand Garden is a concert hall here. They use it for a lot of things. Mandalay Bay has the tenors there; it’s a big, 14,000- to 15,000-square-foot indoor hall. The Joint at the Hard Rock always has musical acts there. But I’m a family guy. I don’t quite go out and hit it like I used to.”

What do you remember about growing up in Vegas?
“When I was a boy, my dad used to work from 4:00 in the afternoon until like 2:00 in the morning, and my mom worked from 8:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon. So we were with my dad all day and my mom all night. A lot of times when I was with my mom, whether we were going to go get dinner or go shopping, we needed some money from Dad, who was working. So we would pull into the old MGM Grand Hotel, and at like eight years old, I would go running through the casino to the Jubilee showroom, where they had all the naked dancing ladies, the follies kind of chorus line type stuff. I knew all the captains and maitre d’s and used to just wait for my dad to come through his little turn there in the office. He would give us some money and I’d go running back out, go to the grocery store, and go home. As a little boy, it felt strangely normal.”

Could you ever live in a normal town?
“The thing is, excluding the slot machines at grocery stores, there’s nothing about living here that would seem any more or less odd than living anywhere else. We have an industry here: the gaming and tourism industry. We have a few casinos that have popped up in different areas of town, but we also have more churches per capita than most of the cities in America. That’s not wedding chapels; that’s real churches. We have 27 high schools here. It’s a very narrow perspective to think that a person who was born and raised here had an abnormal upbringing. It’s like thinking if you live in New Orleans, that you’ve gotta get drunk every night.”

So, how did growing up in Vegas affect you?
“Caesars used to have the Alan King Tennis Tournament, and I was a ball boy there. The top 32 in the world played there. I played tennis hard almost as soon as I could walk. I was competing at seven years old, playing tournament after tournament. But being a ball boy really got me in tune to what the players might or might not be thinking or feeling, and being up close, watching the concentration and seeing the sweat, hearing the movement and the grunting. Caesars would give $50,000 to the winner. They would pay you in silver dollars that they brought out in a wheelbarrow. Obviously, that was for show and you would get a check. I remember watching the greats win, and they would bring the wheelbarrow out. It was sort of symbolic: This is a dream world, a dream life. But it only happens if you have the backbone and strength to dream it. Las Vegas made me feel like I can dream.”

2004-08-01 / Interview in Vogue
Vogue – August EditionHe 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 matchFrom 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.”

12-07-2006, 12:43 PM
Norfolk woman gets tennis lesson from Agassi


After her winning bid at a charity auction, Norfolk’s Katie Van Buren gets a tennis lesson from the former rebel himself: Andre Agassi. BILL VAN BUREN PHOTO

By VICKI L. FRIEDMAN, The Virginian-Pilot
© December 7, 2006

The compact guy in the tennis whites, the one whose necklace beads spelled out "Daddy rocks," attracted little attention when he emerged from the pro shop on the windy morning in Las Vegas.

Norfolk residents Katie and Bill Van Buren had just pulled up in a limo.

"Hey, Van Burens! Wanna play some tennis?" greeted the familiar voice belonging to Andre Agassi.

At the Anthem Live! auction last December at the Constant Center, Katie's winning bid of $13,000 gave her the privilege of a one-hour tennis lesson with eight-time Grand Slam champion Agassi, with the money going for local cancer research.

The Van Burens will be in the front row at 7 tonight when Anthem Live! returns to the Constant Center with an exhibition between Agassi and James Blake. But a few months ago, the Norfolk couple got even closer to the 36-year-old icon.

While her husband was more a Pete Sampras rooter, Katie, 47, adores Agassi. She followed his evolution from teen renegade to elder statesman on the professional tour.

"I liked his style, the long hair and the earring," said Van Buren, sitting in her Loch Haven living room.

"A lot of panache," her husband agreed.

Katie Van Buren refused to allow the lively bidding at last year's auction to dissuade her, and Bill gave his full support. He was particularly motivated since his mother had died after a nine-year struggle with breast cancer.

The Van Burens had a year to set up the lesson, all done via email through Agassi's personal assistant, finally agreeing on Sept. 15. What they didn't know was that Agassi would decide to retire, and that Katie's lesson would come just one week after his final match at the U.S. Open.

An added bonus: She had tickets for one session at the Open, and it happened to be the afternoon Agassi's 20-year career came to a close. After he fell in the third round, a choked-up Agassi stirred up everyone in Arthur Ashe Stadium with an emotional farewell speech.

"It was the most moving, remarkable experience," said Katie, shivering at the memory. She didn't think it could be topped - until she had her personal hour with Agassi.

The session turned into an hour and 45 minutes, ending only when Agassi had to leave to pick up his kids Jaden and Jaz from preschool.

"Let's hit," Agassi urged, equipped with a full racket bag, balls and water. They headed to an empty court at the suburban club, only attracting a momentary stare from two women playing nearby.

A self-described 4.0-level player whose court time is measured in hours per day, not days per week, Katie could handle Agassi's topspin until he tired of the rally and blasted a winner in the corner. Despite an ailing back that caused him problems during the Open, Agassi moved well.

"Katie was moving him around and you could tell he was sore," Bill Van Buren said. "I joked, 'Katie, you need to hit it back to him or you'll hurt him.' And he said, 'Do I really look that fragile?' "

Agassi supplied the typical tips Katie has heard from the pro at Tidewater Tennis Center. Move your feet. Keep your eye on the ball. Come forward when hitting. But perhaps Agassi's best advice: where to eat dinner. The Van Burens had one more night in Las Vegas and asked the native for a suggestion.

After thinking for a moment, Agassi picked up the phone to call Steve Wynn's new hotel and asked them, "What time would you like to go?"

Bill Van Buren later asked if he should do anything to ensure everything was intact about the reservation, perhaps make his own follow-up call.

"That won't be necessary," Agassi assured.

After pictures and a few autographs - Agassi signed Katie's U.S. Open ticket and program from the day of his final match - the magical morning was over. But before leaving, Agassi had business in the pro shop.

"I've got to sign my kids up for a lesson," he explained.

The Van Burens couldn't hide their disbelief. Dad is Andre Agassi and mom is Steffi Graf, winner of 22 Grand Slam titles. And they need tennis lessons?

Agassi shrugged: "They don't listen to anything we say."

Reach Vicki L. Friedman at (757)446-2039 or at VickiL120@cox.net

12-07-2006, 01:39 PM
"I've got to sign my kids up for a lesson," he explained.

The Van Burens couldn't hide their disbelief. Dad is Andre Agassi and mom is Steffi Graf, winner of 22 Grand Slam titles. And they need tennis lessons?

Agassi shrugged: "They don't listen to anything we say."


12-07-2006, 07:56 PM
^^ :lol: I agree, that quote is great. Sig-worthy, even. ;)

http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD%2FMGArticle%2FRTD_BasicArti cle&%09s=1045855935435&c=MGArticle&cid=1149192056488&path=!sports!golftennis!index.shtml
Andre Agassi: Life after tennis
Agassi busy in retirement but enjoys his mixtureof business and pleasure
Thursday, December 7, 2006

Ah, the sunset years. When he walked off the Arthur Ashe Stadium court after losing in the third round of the U.S. Open in September, Andre Agassi started his "retirement" earlier than most people.

At 36, it was time for a little R&R from the grueling travel and training regimen of the professional tennis tour and the chance to spend more time with his family.

"Is that what they call this, retirement?" Agassi said with a laugh in a telephone interview from his home in Las Vegas. "Because I don't think this is really retirement.

"I still maintain quite a few outlets from my focus and daily dramas, and that has allowed me to feel like I have the best of both worlds."

Although he hasn't been on the court much since his final match with Benjamin Becker at the Open, Agassi has been working on various projects, including resorts in Idaho, Costa Rica and Hawaii, as well as a furniture line debuting in January.

That doesn't include the work he does with the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which has raised more than $50 million to assist at-risk youth in Las Vegas. That has helped finance the college preparatory academy named after him that opened in 2001 for youngsters in his hometown.

"We've been very busy," Agassi said. "But it's been on my terms, which is different than tennis used to be because tennis was always about not just working when everybody realized you were working but sometimes you were working when people realized you didn't have to be.

" Like putting your feet up on the couch when the rest becomes necessary and the kids want to run around. But you've just trained or just competed and you need the rest. Now I don't have those physical parameters to work with, so I can put my energy in for a few hours and then get back to my family for a few hours."

Agassi likes spending as much time as possible with his wife, former star Steffi Graf, and their two children, Jaden, 5, and Jaz, 3.

"I was very fortunate in that my family always traveled with me," he said. "I didn't miss out on very much at all. But now I get to enjoy them without dealing with the pressure and the stress and the physical demands of tennis that don't always leave you in a position to appreciate what's around you."

The eight-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 player in the world will be in town tomorrow, along with Graf, Lindsay Davenport and James Blake, for the second annual Genworth Children's Advantage Classic at the Siegel Center.

The event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. and features a mixed doubles match between Agassi-Graf and Blake-Davenport and a men's singles with Agassi and Blake, benefits at-risk youth in the Richmond area.

Agassi had been struggling with back problems for a while before he decided to make the Open his last hurrah.

"I promised everybody I would tell them when I knew it was time and that's what I did," he said. "Just before Wimbledon, I thought it would be a good environment to communicate where I knew I was, and it was very clear to me that I was going to say good-bye in New York.

"My body had listened to me for a lot of years and it was time for me to start listening to my body."

Despite a lot of pain in his back, Agassi thrilled the fans at Flushing Meadow one more time with wins over Andrei Pavel and Marcos Baghdatis before the loss to Becker. When it was over, he received a standing ovation for nearly 10 minutes.

"There wasn't an accomplishment I had on the court that meant more to me than that moment," he said. "That moment was 21 years in the making. It doesn't happen in one week of success. It doesn't happen in any given title. It happens with a lifetime journey.

"It will never get better than that. You could promise me I'd go down and win the next tournament and I'd say, 'No thank you.' I choose what I had there."

Agassi said he hasn't spent any time wondering what his legacy will be in the game he loves so much or his contributions to the sport.

"If there's a legacy to be had, I'm still alive and there's still things I hope to see for the game and help the game with," he said. "One's contributions to life are never over with until it's over. My hope is to continually do my best to make a difference in a positive way for not only the sport but all those who love it."

Might he become more closely involved in the game one day as a coach or administrator?

"I don't know exactly how that fit is going to happen," Agassi said. "I can tell you right now that me and my wife are focused on increasing the experience of tennis and health and fitness in people's lives. We're doing that through a few of our projects.

"That being said, my direct involvement with tennis is one that needs to find its own place. I can't force that time because it'll happen in its own way. I'm available as needed and that's important to me. I believe in the future and growth of this game, and I want to figure out a way to help communicate how much this sport can add to somebody's life."

Agassi said he enjoys playing in charitable events such as the Genworth exhibition but isn't sure how he's going to do on the court.

"I haven't hit a tennis ball in months, so we'll see what that means," he said with a chuckle. "If anybody is donating their money to this charity for the evening and expecting to see me play great tennis, I'm looking forward to disappointing them."

12-21-2006, 08:39 PM
Andre is one of the people shown on the cover of Time magazine's 2006 Yearbook. :D

He's also one of Time's 10 Best Sports Moments :cool: In fact, Andre's match with Baghdatis made just about every Best Of... list that I've come across. :worship:

Sunday, Dec. 17, 2006
10 Best Sports Moments


TEXAS QUARTERBACK VINCE Young played the perfect game on the biggest stage, romping over U.S.C. in the Rose Bowl to lead the Longhorns to their first national championship in 35 years. He ran for 200 yds., passed for 267 more and scored three touchdowns, including a fourth-down scoring scramble with 19 sec. left. Said U.S.C. coach Pete Carroll: "That's an extraordinary football player."


IT TURNS OUT THAT QUARTERbacks can play defense too. With a little over a minute left in an AFC playoff game, Indianapolis Colts defensive back Nick Harper, his team down three points, picked up a fumble by the Pittsburgh Steelers near the Colts' 1-yd. line and ran for what should have been a touchdown. But Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hustled to trip Harper, saving the game for the Steelers, who went on to win the Super Bowl.


THIS REGIONAL FINAL OF THE NCAA men's basketball tournament looked like a classic mismatch. The University of Connecticut featured four future NBA first-round draft picks. And George Mason--a suburban commuter school in Fairfax, Va.--looked like nothing much until its torrid shooting and scrappy defense gave it an 86-84 overtime upset of the Huskies, sending a school from a nonmajor conference to the Final Four for the first time in 27 years.


TIGER WOODS, GOLF'S ICY assasin, finally lost it. After sinking his winning putt at last summer's British Open for his first tournament title since the death in May of his father Earl, Woods clung to his caddie, Steve Williams, and cried uncontrollably. Said Woods: "I just wish he could have seen it one more time."

5. KOBE'S 81

REVERSE LAYUPS WHILE WEDGED between defenders. Fadeaway jumpers in traffic. Three-pointers shot from Catalina. Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant hit them all one Hollywood night in January, scoring 81 points, the second highest total in NBA history (Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 in 1962), in the Lakers' 122-104 win over the Toronto Raptors. In the second half alone, Bryant outscored the entire Toronto team, 55-41.


AFTER BOTCHING A LANDING IN his first qualifying run at the Winter Olympics in Torino, Shaun White, a shaggy-haired, usually mellow snowboarder, nicknamed the "Flying Tomato" for his red mane, looked lost. "I got all Olympicky," he said of his nerves. He eased his mind with a few practice runs and nailed two 1080s--a 1080 is three complete rotations in the air--in the finals to earn gold.


EVEN LOS ANGELES DODGERS fans, famous for leaving games early to beat traffic, made U-turns to catch one of the most dramatic comebacks in baseball history. Trailing the San Diego Padres 9-5 in the bottom of the ninth, Dodgers Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson belted four home runs on just seven pitches to tie the game. A two-run blast in the 10th from Nomar Garciaparra finished the job. Game over.


LOST IN THE HUBBUB OVER Zinédine Zidane's World Cup-- final head butt was a classic finish in the semis. Minutes before the match between Italy and host country Germany was headed for penalty shots, Italy's Fabio Grosso took a gorgeous pass from Andrea Pirlo and curled it by the German goalkeeper, putting Italy up 1-0 (it added another goal two minutes later). Italy beat France in the final, giving the Azzurri their fourth World Cup.


PLAYING IN HIS 21ST consecutive U.S. Open, the last tournament of his pro career, Andre Agassi reminded fans why they had come to love the former denim-clad, punk pariah. Although he was dogged by a bad back, Agassi outlasted a younger, faster Marcos Baghdatis in a five-set, second-round thriller that took almost four hours. The raucous New York City crowd roared with every winning shot; after losing a few days later, a weepy Agassi thanked fans for inspiring him.


FOR AUTISTIC TEENAGER JASON McElwain, the manager of the varsity basketball team at Greece Athena High School in Rochester, N.Y., just the chance to suit up for Greece Athena's final home game was a thrill. Then his coach put him on the floor. McElwain hit six three-pointers and one more shot, to finish with 20 points in just four minutes. After he sank his final basket at the buzzer, delirious fans carried McElwain off the court. And Columbia Pictures bought the rights to his story.

Photo: SI's Biggest Retirements of 2006
One of only five men to win all four Grand Slams, Agassi called it a career after losing in the third round of last year's U.S. Open. He won eight Grand Slam titles and 52 other tournaments and, in 2003, became the oldest man to be ranked No. 1 in the world.

12-22-2006, 03:13 PM
sob tennis won't be the same!

12-28-2006, 04:17 PM
Agassi im Interview

„Stefanie ist die beste Frau der Welt“

Von Stefan Liwocha, Las Vegas

http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/7329/7b8638b1ba7eec4f0f93694il9.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/3176/7b600619eddebb4a05a31cbxq9.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Für die Fans eine Tennis-Traumpaar
28. Dezember 2006
Der Tennis-Pensionär Andre Agassi spricht im Interview mit der F.A.Z. über ein privilegiertes Leben und unterprivilegierte Kinder. Mit seiner Frau spielt er höchstens für einen guten Zweck Doppel. Agassi über Steffi Graf: „Sie ist für mein Leben ein großes Geschenk. Jeder Tag mit ihr ist für mich ein Segen.“

Im Magazin „Sports Illustrated“ ist zu lesen, daß Sie als Tennisspieler auf der Suche nach sich selbst waren. Haben Sie sich mittlerweile gefunden?

Sie vermeiden Showauftritte, wann immer es geht
Ich verstehe mich hoffentlich jeden Tag etwas besser. So lange man Tennis spielt, ist es einfach, sich nur in diesem Licht zu sehen. Jetzt habe ich aber die Chance, endlich viele neue Dinge anzupacken. Ich habe viele Träume. Angefangen von meiner Familie, über die Stiftung für unterprivilegierte Kinder bis hin zu meinen geschäftlichen Aktivitäten. Ich glaube fest daran, daß man sich in den nächsten zwanzig Jahren nur schwer daran erinnern wird, daß ich einmal Tennis gespielt habe. Ich hoffe in Zukunft in verschiedener Art und Weise zu wirken und Menschen positiv beeinflussen zu können.

Wie sehr hat Stefanie Graf den Menschen Andre Agassi verändert?

Sie ist für mein Leben ein großes Geschenk. Jeder Tag mit ihr ist für mich ein Segen. Stefanie in der Familie zu haben ist einfach großartig und sie ist ein wunderbarer Mensch. Sehr hübsch dazu. Wir haben uns zum richtigen Zeitpunkt näher kennengelernt. Der Andre Agassi von vor 15 Jahren hätte wohl keine großen Chancen bei ihr gehabt. Zum Glück ändert man sich im Leben.

Mit der Familie zu Gast bei einem Basketballspiel der NBA
Bei Steffi Grafs Aufnahme in die Tennis-Ruhmeshalle 2004 haben Sie eine feinfühlige Lobesrede gehalten. Sind Sie beide das Traumpaar des Tennis?

Ich möchte nicht für Stefanie antworten. Für mich ist sie die beste Frau der Welt.

Anfang des Monats haben Sie wieder einmal für einen guten Zweck Doppel mit Ihrer Frau gespielt. Werden wir das Traumduo Agassi/Graf doch noch einmal im Mixed bei einem Grand Slam Turnier erleben?

Steffi Graf feuerte ihren Mann bis zum finalen Auftritt bei den US Open an
Das ist gewiß keine dumme Idee und es würde mir jede Menge Spaß bereiten, mit Steffi anzutreten. Aber sie wollte ja noch nicht einmal mit mir spielen, als ich noch aktiv war. Ich will ihr nicht die Schuld daran geben: Wir hatten einen Mixed-Auftritt bei einem großen Turnier geplant und dann wurde sie schwanger. Nun haben wir beide unsere Karrieren beendet. Es ist dafür zwar nicht zu spät, aber ich sehe die Chance nur noch sehr gering an.

Konnten Sie die ersten Monate im Ruhestand bereits genießen?

Die Wochen nach meinem letzten Turnier in New York haben sich von den Jahren zuvor nicht groß unterschieden. Nach den US Open habe ich stets eine sportliche Auszeit genommen, um meine Wohltätigkeits-Gala „Grand Slam for children“ in Las Vegas vorzubereiten.

"Wir hatten einen Mixed-Auftritt bei einem großen Turnier geplant und dann wurde sie schwanger"
Mußten Sie nach dem emotionalen Höhenflug bei ihrem Abschied in New York nicht erst wieder zur Erde zurückkehren?

Sicher. Man muß dieses einmalige Erlebnis erst einmal aufsaugen und versuchen, alles zu erfassen. Mittlerweile habe ich meinen Abschied verarbeitet. Ich weiß aber nicht, ob das wahre Leben bereits tief in mir verankert ist. Es wird die Zeit kommen, in der mir die gewohnte Vorbereitung auf die neue Saison fehlt. Aber im Moment kann ich sagen, daß ich meinen inneren Frieden gefunden habe.

Machen Sie jetzt etwa Spaziergänge im Park?

Sie werden es nicht glauben: Las Vegas hat tatsächlich einige Parks. Aber natürlich sind die kein Vergleich zu denen in Deutschland mit den wunderschönen Bäumen. Dafür fehlt uns hier nun einmal der Regen. Zuletzt habe ich allerdings hart gearbeitet und bin extrem beschäftigt gewesen. Die letzten 20 Jahre als Tennisprofi waren für mich großartig. Aber ich denke, daß die kommenden 20 Jahre für mich noch mehr bringen werden.

Sie sind in Las Vegas durch Ihre Stiftung und die von Ihnen unterstützte Schule sozial sehr engagiert. Ist das Ihre Zukunft?

Wir wollen das Leben von unterprivilegierten Kindern beeinflussen und ihnen eine Chance geben. Mit anzusehen wie ein Kind, das nichts hat, plötzlich eine Chance erhält – das ist wunderbar und erstrebenswert. So ein Kinderleben verändert sich bereits durch kleinste Anstrengungen. Ich beobachte mit Freude, wie die Gemeinschaft hier in Nevada zusammenkommt und den Kindern eine Grundlage gibt, um die eigenen Chancen zu erkennen und eigene, sprich bessere Entscheidungen zu treffen.

In den Vereinigten Staaten gilt Wohltätigkeit als nobles Leitmotiv für Besserverdiener. Haben Sie sich daran orientiert?

Es bereitet mir große Freude, zu helfen. Es ist Inspiration und Ansporn zugleich, zu sehen, wie sich andere Menschen für dieses Projekt einsetzen und ebenfalls etwas zurückgeben. Ich bin Teil von etwas Großem. Die Schüler meiner College Preparatory Academy habe ich heranwachsen sehen. Die meisten sind hier seit der dritten Klasse. Mittlerweile wissen sie alle, wie man Universitätsbewerbungen ausfüllt. Sie alle haben eine konkrete Vorstellung von ihrer Zukunft und wir werden ihnen mit College-Stipendien helfen. Es werden bewegende Momente werden, wenn 2009 die erste Klasse ihren Abschluß feiert.

Aushängeschild und Einnahmequelle Nummer eins ihrer Stiftung ist die alljährliche Gala „Grand Slam for children“, bei der Sie im Oktober 8,6 Millionen Dollar gesammelt haben. Bekommen Sie Stars wie Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion und Phil Collins wirklich kostenlos auf die Bühne?

Ganz richtig. Die Stars treten wirklich ohne Gage auf. Sie spenden ihre Zeit und ihr musikalisches Können. Die ganze Veranstaltung ist finanziell abgesichert und bezahlt. Es ist ein gigantischer Abend und ich bin selbst überrascht, wer sich alles dafür in den vergangenen elf Jahren engagiert hat. Wir sammeln Millionen Dollar, und jeder Cent kommt den Kindern zugute. Die Gala hat geholfen, daß meine Akademie – immerhin ein 70-Millionen-Dollar-Projekt – fast fertiggestellt ist.

Text: F.A.Z.