This week's guest is seven time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi. The las Vegas native talked to eurosportnews about his new coach Daren Cahill and on how, at 32, he is still motivated to play the game.
INTERVIEW: Andre Agassi
Q: 15 years of career and still on top ?
"I don't know for how much longer so. I think it's important to be healthy and to evolve with the game, as the game changes. For me I've needed to get better as I've been getting older. And I think I have. I've gotten stronger. I've gotten where I move a little better, where I'm playing smarter, where I'm the ball bigger but I'm more patient, so you know, I've tried to improve.
Q: How do you keep your motivation alive ?
"I don't know I think for me it's about challenging myself. It was a challenge when I was a teenager for certain reasons, it's a challenge now for certain reasons. It's my belief that tennis has given me so much, so as long as I can do it, I feel it's my responsibility to try, and this is a journey that's very competitive, challenging to yourself. Everyday I wonder if I can do it again. And everyday I try to answer that question."
Q: What explains your passion for Tennis ?
"I think it's very challenging. It involves everything. You have to be very physically fit. You have to have timing and coordination on both sides of your body. Left, right, up, down, you're trying to play shots. You have to adjust to environments, rainy, cold, heavy, hot, sunny... Elements are very important... Surface... and then you're playing against one other person. And this person changes everything. What I do changes what he does, what he does affects what I do. It's very complex, and I think it's a great sport. "
Q: You are a model for the young generations… How do you handle that ?
"You know I put a lot pressure on myself to compete well and to win, but also, how you go about what you do is very important to me. It's cause I choose that. And if I wasn't in the public eye and didn't play tennis, I still hope I would choose that, to make a difference in a positive way everywhere you go would be ideal. Hopefully, if I'm an example, it's a result of respect first".
CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif. (AP) -- The latest stop for seven-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi was the parking lot of a suburban Sacramento mall.
Agassi made his only appearance of the season with the Sacramento Capitals of the World TeamTennis on Thursday night on the asphalt at the Sunrise Mall for a match against the Springfield Lasers.
"This is what it's about for me,'' Agassi said. "It's bringing tennis straight to the parking lot. I've never played in a parking lot before -- at least not tennis.''
While the Capitals regularly sell out home matches, the 3,600 spectators got a special show Thursday. Agassi has played in the annual WTT Smash Hits charity event with Billie Jean King for a number of years, and he plans to play WTT matches for Sacramento in 2003 and 2004.
"It's twofold. First of all, it's about enhancing the game of tennis,'' Agassi said of his reasons for playing. "It's also a reward for me. To get this close to the fans is an opportunity I don't get too often.
"You play in some of these big arenas, and you never really get the intimacy of the sound of cars driving behind you. This is getting close to the people that enjoy it the most.''
Agassi also was on hand to promote breast cancer awareness. Both his mother and sister were stricken with the disease in recent years, but both overcame it.
"It's a disease that's close to my heart,'' Agassi said. "It's a terrible thing that people shouldn't have to live with, and it's something we can solve.''
Agassi, 32, is currently No. 5 in the world. He's the highest-ranked men's player to join TeamTennis in his prime -- even if it's only for one match this summer.
"I'm here to promote tennis in a way that it doesn't always get a chance to be seen,'' Agassi said. "Taking it straight out to the street is perfect. For me, playing in this format is something I consider to be a great step for the sport of tennis. You get to play in front of those who love it the most.''
Agassi has developed a special bond with Northern California. He lives in a huge home in the tony San Francisco Bay area suburb of Tiburon with his wife, Steffi Graf, and their son Jaden Gil. Agassi's former coach, Brad Gilbert, lives in the area as well.
"It is an area of the world that I've fallen in love with,'' Agassi said. "I fell in love with the Bay area over the last eight years with Brad living in the area, and it's a joy for me to play for Sacramento.''
AGASSI TIX ON SALE Tickets for the seventh Grand Slam for Children concert to benefit the ANDRE AGASSI Charitable Foundation (AACF) will be made available to the public on Saturday, Aug. 10 at 10 a.m. (PDT). Accomplished performers Robin Williams and Babyface will join Sir Elton John, Martina McBride, Dennis Miller, Carlos Santana and other guests for an unforgettable evening of music and laughter. David Foster will serve as the musical director for the star-studded gala scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. "The entertainment roster for the 2002 Grand Slam Fundraiser is packed with energetic performers," said Agassi. "These artists share my devotion to providing kids with hopeful futures and have willingly donated their time and talent for our cause. The event each year continues to show our loyalty to the children of Las Vegas who need our help overcoming the many struggles they face every day." For more information on the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation call 1-702 227-5700.
In the hot and humid conditions in Washington, Rachel Nichols of the Washington Post saw that there was no letting up from Andre Agassi on the practice court. Writes Nichols: "There was sweat everywhere at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. Streaming down the fans' faces, drenching the players' shirts, dripping off the linesmen - no one was immune as humid temperatures crept up to 97 degrees.
It was not the kind of weather one would expect a 32-year-old seven-time Grand Slam champion such as Andre Agassi to volunteer for, certainly not when he wasn't on the match schedule.
Agassi had a bye in the first round, leaving opening-night play to Michael Chang and Jan-Michael Gambill, and he could have been doing any number of things with his time, things that involved air conditioning.
Yet there Agassi was, at William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Center in the thick of the midday heat, running fellow player Cedric Pioline and Coach Darren Cahill all over the court in a practice session. 'Dealing with the heat is just a function of your body and mind,' he said, seemingly oblivious to the perspiration coating the back of his shiny shaved head."