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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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
13jan04

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.
 

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

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.
 

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

Thanks Tangy Sox. Very nice read.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
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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Find this article at:
http://news.ft.com/s01/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1073280977027&p=1012571727291
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Discussion Starter #5
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:
http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,8384243%5E2862,00.html
 

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

thanks! I especially like the "in praise of" article! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Andre at a "loss for words" over McEnroe revelation

eurosport.com

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.

UNFAIR ADVANTAGE

"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.
 

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

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! :(
 

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Agassi strikes ominous form
Mark Stevens
15jan04

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."
 

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Agassi ready for youthful onslaught at Aussie Open

FRIDAY , 16 JANUARY 2004

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."
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Agassi still the man to beat
By Mark Stevens
16jan04

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.
 

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

i'm enjoying reading all these articles...keep them coming
 

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Discussion Starter #13
AGASSI STILL A THREAT

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.

A VETERAN THREAT
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.”

RODDICK WITH A GOAL
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.

FEDERER WITH HURDLE TO CLEAR
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.

A NEW MISSION FOR THIS AUSSIE
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.

OTHERS TAKING THEIR SHOT
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?

COUNT ON SOME SURPRISES
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
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:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/sport2/hi/tv_and_radio/grandstand/3428427.stm
 

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

thanks! :)
 

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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)."
 

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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.
 

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

thanks for the article, l_mac! it's a nice one. :)
 

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

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
 
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