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Old 09-30-2004, 11:41 PM   #1
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Default Andre's North Dakota exhibition

This was a very good article. I don't know if you guys have seen it yet, so I am posting it here.

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Tennis, school bring Agassi to Grand Forks
By Dave Vilhauer
American News Writer


His opponent will be a familiar figure, but the locale will be totally foreign when Andre Agassi hits North Dakota soil in two weeks.

In a match that could easily be the highlight of any grand slam event, Agassi will meet fellow American Andy Roddick in a tennis exhibition being billed as The Engelstad Open. It takes place at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Englestad Center in Grand Forks.

Agassi, who has never been to North Dakota, assured the event will be one to remember.

"You can expect us to be relaxed enough to play our best tennis, but also intense enough to play at a high standard," Agassi told me on a conference call Tuesday afternoon.

Agassi is 5-1 lifetime against the hard-serving Roddick.

"The only thing that matters is the next one," Agassi said. "He gets out there and forces you to deal with your end of the court quickly. Andy is a phenomenal talent."

Major motivations: One of the main reasons Agassi is playing the exhibition is to help raise funds for a school he has established in his hometown of Las Vegas. The school, the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, is privately funded and "changes every life that's in there," according to Agassi. "The results have been staggering. I hope it becomes a model and footprint for our educational system in our country."

Of course, the challenge of playing against a top-notch player in a new venue is also motivation to make the trek north.

"I believe in bringing tennis to places that don't normally get to see the best quality of tennis," Agassi said.

One of the reasons Agassi has had so much success against Roddick in the past might be his ability to return serve. Long regarded as one of the best returners in the history of the game, Agassi said there are two keys in returning serve.

"You have to be able to see the ball early and then you have to have the fundamentals to hit it early," he said. "I choose to take more chances with my return. My fundamentals have really allowed me to have short swings."

Glance into the future: While there has been much speculation about the retirement of Agassi, the 34-year-old does not even allow himself to scan over the horizon. He said if someone would have asked him five years ago to predict what his life would be like today, "I wouldn't have come close. I never would have guessed I would have two children, I have the wife that I have and the opportunities I have out on the tennis court."

Agassi is married to former tennis standout Steffi Graf. The couple have two children.

When asked if he would be disappointed if his children did not grow up to play tennis, Agassi responded, "No, I wouldn't be disappointed at all. I think the thing I pray and hope for the most is that whatever my children put their heart and mind and task to, I just want them to care about it deeply. Tennis has given me a lot because I cared about it so much. The more you care about something, the more you can extract from it."

And there is little doubt that Agassi still cares about the game that has allowed him to earn more than $29 million. The passion allows him to remain competitive against the top players in the world, most at least 10 years his junior.

"The challenges exist," Agassi said. "It's what I need to feel good about my day. Money was not necessarily the motivation for the career in the first place, nor is it now. It's been an incredible journey for me. Tennis has given me so much. I want to repay this sport with everything it has given me."
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Old 09-30-2004, 11:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Andre's North Dakota exhibition

Thanks for the article.

This is exciting for North Dakota, one of the least populated states in the country. I was also pleased to hear that Roddick will be holding one of his fundraising events in Alabama, which doesn't get much pro tennis either. I hope the turnout will be great and enthusiastic for both.
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Old 09-30-2004, 11:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Andre's North Dakota exhibition

Yeah, I think they will definitely have fun there, able to practise against the best practice partner they can ask for, the biggest server against the biggest returner. Hopefully it will be a competitive match unlike the USO Arthur Ashe day one.
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Old 10-01-2004, 02:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: Andre's North Dakota exhibition

Sometimes Roddick reminds me of Agassi the way he speaks. And when I see Federer vs Roddick I kind of see Sampras vs Agassi (even though Roddick has a totally different game to Agassi).
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Old 10-01-2004, 09:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Andre's North Dakota exhibition

Go Andre!
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Old 10-13-2004, 07:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Andre's North Dakota exhibition

Agassi defeats Roddick in exhibition match

Associated Press


GRAND FORKS, N.D. - In an atmosphere that more closely resembled a rock concert, Andre Agassi defeated Andy Roddick 6-4, 7-6, (8-6) in a tennis exhibition at the Ralph Engelstad Arena Tuesday.

Agassi and Roddick exchanged hard shots and quips with each other and a crowd estimated at 8,000.

Despite being 34 years old and near retirement, Agassi is still rated 17th in the world. Roddick, 22, is ranked second in the world. But the veteran made fewer errors and broke Roddick's serve twice to take the match.

Some proceeds from the match will benefit Agassi's tennis school for disadvantaged children.

Most of the crowd was rooting for Agassi, although young women were vocal in their support of Roddick.

The players did some clowning, which included bringing a heckler onto the court for an unsuccessful attempt at returning Roddick's serve. But at the end of each set, the play turned serious.

"It's hard to avoid being competitive," Agassi said. "You always play to beat the other guy."

Roddick labeled his play "here and there," saying he had difficulty adjusting to a fast surface after the two played on a slow surface a night earlier in California.

The two have met in several similar exhibitions. Agassi owns a 5-1 advantage in tournament matches.

Agassi said he was surprised by the turnout of fans in Grand Forks.

"I was hoping tennis wasn't too foreign to the people here," he said. "But their welcoming ovation lifted us up. And they had more tennis knowledge than I thought they'd have."
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Old 10-14-2004, 07:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: Andre's North Dakota exhibition

great! Andre beat Roddick!!! Yes!!!!!!
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