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Agassi says Cahill rescued his career

|7sport.com.au ... 07 January 2003 07:01pm

Andre Agassi was going under for the second time in his tennis career when Australian coach Darren Cahill threw him a lifeline.

Discarded by world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt, Cahill was contracted by Agassi last February and immediately resurrected the American's plummeting ranking.

Agassi was talking of his revival at Kooyong, where the Commonwealth Bank International leadup to next week's Australian Open begins on Wednesday.

In 1997 Agassi, who had reached No.2 in the world two years earlier, suffered a puzzling and sudden loss of form and confidence.

He fell as low as 141 but bravely fought his way back, shrugging off the ignominy of playing in challenger events to gain match practice.

The following year, Agassi made the biggest one-year jump into the top 10 in the history of the ATP Rankings (since 1973) by rocketing from 122 to No.6.

Few realise it but the 32-year-old was almost on the ropes again 12 months ago when Cahill was hired and the rebuilding process began.

"What he's done has spoken for itself," Agassi said today.

"Last year when we started together I was coming off a serious wrist concern where I hadn't played and lost the chance to defend here.

"I had a win in Palm Springs coming off, I had a win in Key Biscayne coming off and I was probably a lot closer to being ranked 50th in the world."

When Hewitt and his entourage sacked Cahill and hired Jason Stoltenberg, Hewitt said the latter's recent playing experience had been a key factor.

But for a man who had won every one of the four grand slams, that was irrelevant.

The last time he began to sink, Agassi did the hard work himself.

This time he needed help.

"It was just a lot of groundwork that had to get laid," he said.

"I think he's got great discipline and a great work ethic, great knowledge to how I can realise my game at this stage of my career."

He clearly credits Cahill with his ability to still be at the top after such a long and stellar career.

"It's given me the platform to still be out there," he said.

"Every year it becomes more important for me to be strong and healthy.

"It gets harder and harder, guys get better and better so if I don't go out there even more prepared than I was the year before I feel like it can hurt my confidence and have an affect on all my matches.

"I need to keep pushing myself because it's the only thing I can count on."

Agassi set another ATP record last year when he became the oldest player to reach No.2 in ranking history and, under the tutelage of Cahill, won five tournaments and was a US Open finalist.

The former world No.1 won the Australian Open at his first attempt in 1995 and won again in 2000-2001.

He makes no predictions this year but says he is in a good frame of mind.

"I've always enjoyed playing in Australia, it has many great memories for me, so it's good to be back," Agassi said.

"The moment I landed I felt excited and comfortable and ready to go."

Agassi plays Swede Thomas Enqvist on the opening day of the Commonwealth Bank International at Kooyong.

The other matches tomorrow are Alex Corretja versus Mark Philippoussis, gun French junior Richard Gasquet against Moroccan Younes El Aynaoui and Andrei Pavel versus Sebastien Grosjean.

in my honest opinion, i think that Andre is being a shit. and i say this as someone who adores him.

first, i wasn't aware that he was "on the ropes" 12 months ago. as far as i was aware, he had only suffered a wrist injury. that's all. his career wasn't slumping. he was just injured!

second, the last time he started to sink, he did NOT do the work to come back by himself. he had the help of Gil Reyes primarily and Brad Gilbert secondarily. but most of the credit should be given to Gil for helping Andre whip himself back into physical shape once he realised that screwing Brooke Shields just wasn't worth it.

finally, i DO think that he had an excellent 2002. but i honestly believe he would have had the same kind of year if he had stuck with Brad. i'm really not sure what Darren has helped him achieve.

no offence to Darren -- he is a fine coach!
 

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tennischick~ are you serious?! Don't you think Andre has a better idea of where he was at: mentally & pysically than you? I mean the point is that Andre & Brad had grown a bit stale together & as he correctly pointed out- if he didn't get a fast start to the year in Scottsdale & Miami then 2002 could have been a disaster. Sure he may have had similiar results had he stuck with Brad, but Agassi is smart enough to know when it's time to move on~ that's why he's managed to re-invent himeself numerous times & become an all-time legend & inspiration in the process. If Darren can help Andre nab one more Slame then surely it's all worth it; don't you think so Mate? Cheers!
 

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Think there was a slight problem, as if I remember correctly he lost in the 1st rnd of 1 t'ment & had a loss vs Hewitt which probably wasn't too good for his confidence. But all in all, he really did have a good year with Cahill. It was probably just having a different attitude that kept him focused & he might have done the same with Gilbert, but then again might not. We'll never know will we?
 

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CmonAussie, I agree with the fact that the patnership between Agassi and Gilbert was getting stale and Agassi himself felt the need for a shake up, but the article does come across as if Agassi has deliberately ommited and downplayed both Brad's and Gil's contributions towards the rebuilding of his career... I think Darren Cahill has done an excellent job in keeping Agassi focused and on par with today's game, but judging from this article, if accurate and complete, I think there is clearly more to the Agassi-Gilbert split than it was let known at the time...
 

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Darren is a great coach and they've had a great year together, but Andres career was not slumping last year. There isnt even a quote where Andre says that. He just says he had a wrist injury and had points coming off. I think he was just complimenting Darren on his coaching and the media blew it out of proportion and started saying Andre was sinking.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
nice point Experimentee...;) ;)
 

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Agassi wasn't in that big of a slump when he got with Cahill. and he ended 2001 at #3, so how was his ranking plummeting?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
that's my point Leo. i don't think Andre was in a slump at all. he had just hurt his wrist and had teken time out to recover -- that's all!

i think that Andre seized the chance to work with Darren for the simple reason that Darren had guided Hewitt to the #1 position and had acknowledged that Andre was the model for Hewitt's game/style of play. Andre saw an opportunity and rushed for it. and he has done well under Darren, but not significantly better than he was doing before IMO. if he had ended 2002 as the #1 player in the world, or if he had won the US Open and shown that Darren had helped him get over his mental hang-up about playing the Android -- then i would concede that Darren had added something to his career. as it is, i don't see what he has achieved that he wouldn't have anyway.

understand that i am not knocking Darren, just this stupid article.
 

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This article is not quoting Andre. I'm sure of that. If he had been talking about his comeback himself, he would have given credit to Brad , and Gil not least. He always does, he hasn't stopped. He even named his son after Gil. So I think it'sa bit harsh to call him a shit because of this article;
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Dagmar said:
This article is not quoting Andre. I'm sure of that...
Andre is quoted extensively in this article. do mine eyes betray me?? let me re-check...
 
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