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Andre Agassi

Andre Kirk Agassi (born April 29, 1970) is a former World No. 1 professional American tennis player who won eight Grand Slam singles tournaments and an Olympic gold medal in singles. He is one of only five male players to have won all four Grand Slam singles titles and the only male player to have won a career Golden Slam. He also is the only men's player in history to have won all four Grand Slam singles titles on three different surfaces. In addition to his Grand Slam and Olympic singles titles, he won the Tennis Masters Cup and was part of a winning Davis Cup team. He won 17 ATP Masters Series tournaments, more than any other player. TENNIS Magazine named him the 12th greatest player, male or female, for the period 1965 through 2005.

Because of sciatica caused by two bulging discs in his back, a spondylolisthesis (vertebral displacement) and a bone spur that interferes with the nerve, Agassi retired from professional tennis on September 3, 2006, after losing in the third round of the US Open. Agassi is married to Steffi Graf and has two children. He is the founder of the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which has raised over $60 million for at-risk children in Southern Nevada. In 2001, the Foundation opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas, a K-12 public charter school for at-risk children.

Early life

Agassi was born in Las Vegas, Nevada to Emmanuel "Mike" Agassi and Elizabeth "Betty" Agassi (née Dudley). His father is an Iranian of Armenian ancestry, and represented Iran in boxing at the 1948 and 1952 Olympic Games before emigrating to the United States. He was intent on having a child win all four tennis Grand Slam tournaments. He learned tennis by watching tapes of champions and took a very systematic approach to the game. He called Agassi's two older siblings "guinea pigs" in the development of his coaching techniques. He honed Andre's eye-coordination when he was an infant by hanging tennis balls above his crib. He gave Agassi paddles and balloons when he was still in a high chair. When Agassi started playing tennis, his ball collection filled 60 garbage cans with 300 balls per can, and Agassi would hit 3,000–5,000 balls every day. When Agassi was five years old, he was already practicing with pros such as Jimmy Connors and Roscoe Tanner. Later, Mike began working in one of the Las Vegas casinos that belonged to Armenian American tycoon Kirk Kerkorian. Mike and Kirk became good friends, and Andre's middle name "Kirk" is actually after Kirk Kerkorian.

Mike Agassi was renowned for being very domineering over Andre. He was known to take a hammer to matches and bang on the fences in disgust when Andre lost a point. He sometimes screamed at officials and was asked to leave more than once. At the age of thirteen, Andre was sent to teaching guru Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy in Florida. He was meant to stay for only eight weeks because that was all his father could afford. However, after ten minutes of watching Agassi rally, Bollettieri called Mike and said, "Take your check back. He's here for free."

Agassi was unhappy at the academy and grew rebellious. He drank beer, smashed racquets, and grew a mohawk haircut. At a televised tournament, he wore ripped denim jeans and, knowing his father's dislike of homosexuality, wore pink lipstick and grew out his pinkie fingernail and painted it pink. After a year at the academy, Agassi became emotionless and depressed. Bollettieri eventually lost his temper and told Agassi to leave. He saw Agassi's indifference and then asked what he wanted. Agassi replied, "leaving here and turning pro." He turned professional at the age of 16. His first tournament was in La Quinta, California. He won his first match against John Austin, 6–4 6–2 but then lost his second match to Mats Wilander 6–1, 6–1. By the end of the year, Agassi was ranked #91 in the world.

Playing style

Agassi employed a baseline style of play, but unlike most such players, he typically made contact with the ball inside the baseline — exceptionally difficult even for professionals as this requires great reaction time. This was possible because of his short backswing and his extraordinary hand-eye coordination. These same attributes helped him aggressively return serves. John McEnroe, Jim Courier and others have called Agassi the best service returner ever to play tennis. Many, including Brad Gilbert, call him the best ball striker in the history of tennis.

Agassi was known for his ability to hit sharply angled winners from the baseline. Early on in his career, Agassi would look to end points quickly, typically by inducing a weak return with a deep, hard shot, and then playing a winner at an extreme angle. In 1995, he added a backhand drop shot to his repertoire, which was one of the most effective drop shots on tour (partly due to the fact that Agassi's groundstrokes forced most opponents to play far behind the baseline). On the rare occasion that he charged the net, Agassi liked to take the ball in the air and hit a swinging volley for the winner. This requires exceptional timing and reflexes, which Agassi was famous for; he once entered a batting cage and hit 90 mph fastballs with a bat while running toward the machine.

After Agassi's rededication to tennis in 1998, he focused more on physical conditioning than in the past and became one of the fittest players on the tour. He had remarkable endurance and rarely appeared tired on court.

Because of his conditioning and groundstrokes, one of Agassi's central strategies was to wear down his opponents. Agassi tried to minimize time between points, so that his opponents had as little recovery time as possible. Agassi continually put pressure on opponents by returning the ball early and at deep angles, and attempted to dictate play from the center of the baseline and make his opponent scramble. When in control of a point, Agassi would often pass up an opportunity to attempt a winner and hit a slightly more conservative shot, both to minimize his errors and to make his opponent run more. His penchant for running players around point after point has earned him the nickname "The Punisher."

In the last year of his career, various injuries, most notably in his back, robbed Agassi of consistent speed and court coverage. As a result, players who were able to consistently hit at sharp angles with pace, particularly those who could do this on the run, gave him trouble. To make up for this weakness, Agassi began playing more aggressive shots, to keep his opponent on the defensive and deny them opportunities to run Agassi around the court. This both limited his options from the baseline and increased his errors.

Agassi's serve was never the strength of his game, but it improved steadily over the course of his career, and went from being a liability to being average. His most effective serve was a hard slice, which he would often use in the deuce service box to seek to send his opponent off the court, followed by a shot to the opponent's opposite corner. He relied on a heavy kick serve for his second serve, particularly early in his career.

Tennis career

1986-1993: Image is everything

Agassi turned professional in 1986 and won his first top-level singles title in 1987 at Itaparica. He ended the year ranked #25. He won six further tournaments in 1988, and, by December of that year, he had surpassed U.S. $2 million in career prize money after playing in just 43 tournaments – the fastest anyone in history had reached that level. His year-end ranking was #3, behind Ivan Lendl at #2 and Mats Wilander at #1.

As a young up-and-coming player, Agassi embraced a rebel image. He grew his hair to rocker length, sported an earring, and wore colorful shirts that pushed tennis' still-strict sartorial boundaries. He boasted of a cheeseburger diet and endorsed the Canon "Rebel" camera. "Image is everything" was the ad's line, and it became Agassi's as well.

In addition to not playing the Australian Open (which would later become his best Grand Slam event) for the first eight years of his career, Agassi chose not to play at Wimbledon from 1988 through 1990 and publicly stated that he did not wish to play there because of the event's traditionalism, particularly its "predominantly white" dress code to which players at the event are required to conform. Many observers at the time speculated that Agassi's real motivation was that his strong baseline game would not be well suited to Wimbledon's grass court surface.

Strong performances on the tour meant that Agassi was quickly tipped as a future Grand Slam champion. While still a teenager, he reached the semifinals of both the French Open and the US Open in 1988, and the US Open again in 1989. He began the 1990s, however, with a series of near-misses. He reached his first Grand Slam final in 1990 at the French Open, where he lost in four sets to Andres Gomez. His second Grand Slam final was against Pete Sampras at the US Open. The last time Agassi had played Sampras, he won 6–1, 6–1. After that match, he told his coach that he felt bad for Sampras because he was never going to make it. Looking at the draw, Agassi was happy that he did not have to face Lendl or McEnroe in the final, and he planned to make Sampras hit more balls than he could handle. Despite being the favorite in the match, he lost to Sampras 6–4, 6–3, 6–2. The rivalry between these two American players became the dominant rivalry in tennis over the rest of the decade. Also in 1990, Agassi helped the United States win its first Davis Cup in 8 years and won his only ATP Tour World Championship.

In 1991, Agassi reached his second consecutive French Open final, where he faced fellow Bollettieri Academy alumnus Jim Courier. Courier emerged the victor in a five set final. Agassi decided to play at Wimbledon in 1991, leading to weeks of speculation in the media about the clothes he would wear. He eventually emerged for the first round in a completely white outfit. He went on to reach the quarterfinals on that occasion.

To the surprise of many, Agassi's Grand Slam breakthrough came at Wimbledon, not at the French Open or the US Open where he had enjoyed so much success. In 1992, he defeated Goran Ivanisevic in a five set final. Along the way, Agassi dispatched two former Wimbledon champions in Boris Becker and John McEnroe. No other baseliner would triumph at Wimbledon until Lleyton Hewitt ten years later, on slower, higher bouncing grass better suited for baseline play. Agassi was named the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year in 1992.

Agassi once again was a key player on the United States' Davis Cup winning team in 1992. It was their second Davis cup title in three years.

1993 saw Agassi win the only doubles title of his career, at the Cincinnati Masters, partnered with Petr Korda. Agassi missed much of the early part of this year with injury troubles and struggled at the major events. After a first-round exit at the US Open, he had wrist surgery late in the year.

1994-1997: Memorable rivalries and injury

Agassi started slowly in 1994, losing in the first week at the French Open and Wimbledon. Nevertheless, Agassi emerged during the hard court season, winning the Canada Masters event. His comeback culminated in his becoming the first man to capture the US Open as an unseeded player, beating Michael Stich in the final. Agassi's run included a 5 set fourth-round victory against compatriot Michael Chang.

In 1995, Agassi shaved his balding head, breaking with his old "image is everything" style. Agassi attended the Australian Open for the first time and won it in his first attempt, beating Sampras in a four set final. Agassi and Sampras met in five tournament finals in 1995, all on hardcourt, with Agassi winning three of the five. Agassi won three Masters Series events in 1995 - the Cincinnati Masters, the Miami Masters, and the Canada Masters, and seven titles total. Agassi compiled a career-best 26-match winning streak during the summer hardcourt circuit, which ended when he lost in a hugely anticipated US Open final to Sampras.

Agassi reached the World No. 1 ranking for the first time in April 1995. He held the No. 1 ranking until November, for a total of 30 weeks. In terms of win/loss record, 1995 was Agassi's best year. He won 72 matches and lost only 10. This was a higher winning percentage than Sampras’ best season, 1994, in which he won 77 matches and lost 12. Agassi was also once again a key player on the United States Davis Cup winning team - the third and final Davis Cup title of Agassi's career.

1996 was a less successful year for Agassi, as he failed to reach any Grand Slam finals. He suffered two surprise early round losses at the hands of compatriots Chris Woodruff and Doug Flach at the French Open and Wimbledon respectively. The clear high point for Agassi was winning the men's singles gold medal at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, beating Sergi Bruguera of Spain in the final 6–2, 6–3, 6–1. Agassi also successfully defended his singles titles at the Cincinnati Masters and the Miami Masters.

1997 was the low point of Agassi's career. His wrist injury resurfaced, and he played only 24 matches on the year. He won no top-level titles and his ranking sank to World No. 141 on November 10, 1997. He ultimately finished the year ranked World No. 122. Agassi was also subject to intense publicity surrounding his high-profile and turbulent marriage to actress Brooke Shields (a marriage that ended in divorce).

1998-2005: Elder statesman of the game

In 1998, Agassi rededicated himself to tennis. He began a rigorous conditioning program and worked his way back up the rankings by playing in Challenger Series tournaments (a circuit for professional players ranked outside the world's top 50). Perhaps most remarkably, the one-time rebel emerged as a gracious and thoughtful athlete, admired by younger players. After winning matches, he bowed and blew two-handed kisses to spectators on each side of the court, a gesture seen as a rather humble acknowledgement of their support for him and for tennis. He played some classic matches in this period, most notably against his old rival Pete Sampras and popular Australian Patrick Rafter.

In 1998, Agassi won five titles and leapt from World No. 122 at the start of the year to World No. 6 at the end of it, making it the highest jump into the top 10 made by any player during a single calendar year. He won five titles in ten finals and was runner-up at the Miami Masters, losing to Marcelo Ríos, who became World No. 1 as a result of winning that tournament.

Agassi entered the history books in 1999 when he came back from two sets to love down to beat Andrei Medvedev in a five-set French Open final, thereby becoming only the fifth male player (joining Rod Laver, Fred Perry, Roy Emerson, and Don Budge) to have won all four Grand Slam singles titles during his career. He is however, the only male player in history to have won all four Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces (clay, grass and hard courts), a tribute to his adaptability, as the other four men won their Grand Slam titles on clay and grass courts. Agassi also became the first male tennis player to win the Career Golden Slam, consisting of all four Grand Slam tournaments plus an Olympic gold medal.

Agassi followed his 1999 French Open victory by reaching the Wimbledon final, where he lost to Sampras 6–3, 6–4, 7–5. He rebounded from his Wimbledon defeat by winning the US Open, beating Todd Martin in five sets (rallying from a 2 sets to 1 deficit) in the final. Agassi ended 1999 as the World No. 1, ending Sampras's record of six consecutive year-ending top rankings (1993–1998). This was the only time Agassi ended the year at number one.

Agassi began 2000 by capturing his second Australian Open title, beating Sampras in a five-set semifinal and Yevgeny Kafelnikov in a four-set final. He was the first male player to have reached four consecutive Grand Slam finals since Rod Laver achieved the Grand Slam in 1969. At the time, Agassi was also only the third player since Laver to be the reigning champion of three of four Grand Slam events, missing only the Wimbledon title.

2000 also saw Agassi reach the semifinals at Wimbledon, where he lost in five sets to Rafter in a match considered by many to be one of the best ever played at Wimbledon. At the inaugural Tennis Masters Cup in Lisbon, Agassi reached the final after defeating Marat Safin 6–3, 6–3 in the semifinals to end the Russian's hopes to become the youngest World No. 1 in the history of tennis. Agassi eventually lost to Gustavo Kuerten 6–4, 6–4, 6–4. This loss allowed Kuerten to be crowned year-end World No. 1.

Agassi opened 2001 by successfully defending his Australian Open title with a straight-sets final win over Arnaud Clément. Enroute, he beat a cramping Rafter (7–5, 2–6, 6–7, 6–2, 6–3) in front of a sell out crowd in what turned out to be the Aussie's last Australian Open. At Wimbledon, they met again in the semifinals, where Agassi lost another close match to Rafter, 8–6 in the fifth set. In the quarterfinals at the US Open, Agassi lost a 3 hour, 33 minute epic match with Sampras 6–7(7), 7–6(7), 7–6(2), 7–6(5), with no breaks of serve during the 48-game match. Despite the setback, Agassi finished 2001 ranked World No. 3, becoming the only male tennis player to finish a year ranked in the top 10 in three different decades (1980s - finishing World No. 3 in 1988 and No. 7 in 1989; 1990s - finishing World No. 4 in 1990, No. 10 in 1991, No. 9 in 1992, No. 2 in 1994 and 1995, No. 8 in 1996, No. 6 in 1998 and No. 1 in 1999; 2000s - finishing World No. 6 in 2000, No. 3 in 2001, No. 2 in 2002, No. 4 in 2003, No. 8 in 2004 and No. 7 in 2005). He also was the oldest player (age 31) to finish in the top 3 since 32-year old Connors finished at World No. 2 in 1984.

2002 opened with disappointment for Agassi, as injury forced him to skip the Australian Open, where he was a two-time defending champion. The last duel between Agassi and Sampras came in the final of the US Open. The battle saw Sampras emerge victorious in four sets and left Sampras with a 20–14 edge in their 34 career meetings. The match proved to be the last of Sampras's career. Agassi's US Open finish, along with his victories at the Miami Masters, Rome Masters, and Madrid Masters, helped him finish 2002 as the oldest year-end World No. 2 at 32 years and 8 months.

In 2003, Agassi won the eighth (and final) Grand Slam title of his career at the Australian Open, where he beat Rainer Schüttler in straight sets in the final. In March, he won his sixth career and third consecutive Miami Masters, in the process surpassing wife Steffi Graf who was a 5-time winner of the event. The final was his 18th straight win in that tournament, which broke the previous record of 17 set by Sampras from 1993–1995. (Agassi's winning streak continued to 20 after winning his first two matches at the 2004 Miami Masters before bowing to Agustin Calleri.) With the victory, Agassi became the youngest (19 years old) and oldest (32) winner of the Miami Masters. On April 28, 2003, he recaptured the World No. 1 ranking after a quarterfinal victory over Xavier Malisse at the Queen's Club Championships to become the oldest top ranked male player since the ATP rankings began at 33 years and 13 days. He held the World No. 1 ranking for two weeks when Lleyton Hewitt took it back on May 12, 2003. Agassi then recaptured the World No. 1 ranking once again on June 16, 2003, which he held for 12 weeks until September 7, 2003. During his career, Agassi held the World No. 1 ranking for a total of 101 weeks. Agassi's ranking slipped when injuries forced him to withdraw from many events. He did manage to reach the US Open semifinals, where he lost to Juan Carlos Ferrero and surrendered his World No. 1 ranking to Ferrero. At the year-end Tennis Masters Cup, Agassi lost in the final to Federer and finished the year ranked World No. 4. At age 33, he was the oldest player to rank in the top 5 since Connors, at age 35, was World No. 4 in 1987. In 2004, the 34-year-old Agassi won the Cincinnati Masters to bring his career total to 59 top-level singles titles and a record 17 ATP Masters Series titles, having already won seven of the nine ATP Masters tournament -- all except Monte Carlo and Hamburg. He became the second-oldest singles champion in Cincinnati tournament history (the tournament began in 1899), surpassed only by Ken Rosewall who won the title in 1970 at age 35. He finished the year ranked World No. 8, the oldest player to finish in the top 10 since the 36-year-old Connors was World No. 7 in 1988. Agassi also became only the sixth male player during the open era to reach 800 career wins with his first round victory over Alex Bogomolov in Los Angeles.

Agassi's 2005 began with a quarterfinal loss to Federer at the Australian Open. Agassi had several other deep runs at tournaments, but had to withdraw from several events due to injury. He won his fourth title in Los Angeles and reached the finals of the Rogers Cup before falling to World No. 2 Rafael Nadal.

Still, Agassi's 2005 was defined by an improbable run to the US Open final. After beating Razvan Sabau and Ivo Karlovic in straight sets and Tomas Berdych in four sets, Agassi won three consecutive five set matches to advance to the final. The most notable of these matches was his quarterfinal victory over James Blake, where he rallied from two sets down to win 3–6, 3–6, 6–3, 6–3, 7–6(6). His other five-set victims were Xavier Malisse in the fourth round and Robby Ginepri in the semifinals. In the final, Agassi faced Federer, who was seeking his second consecutive US Open title and his fifth Grand Slam title in two years. Federer defeated Agassi in four sets, although Agassi gave him a scare when Agassi was up a break in the third set after splitting the first two sets.

Before the 2005 Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, Agassi rolled his ankle in a racquetball accident and tore several ligaments. He was unable to walk for weeks. He nevertheless committed to the tournament, in which he was seeded third, and played Nikolay Davydenko in his first round robin match. Agassi's movement was noticeably hindered, particularly on his backhand return of serve, and he lost in straight sets. He then withdrew from the tournament, to the criticism of the tournament director who had already dealt with several other withdrawals.

Agassi finished 2005 ranked No. 7, his 16th time in the year-end top 10 rankings, which tied Connors for the most times ranked in the top 10 at year's end. In 2005, Agassi left Nike after 17 years and signed an endorsement deal with Adidas.

2006: The end of an era

Agassi had a poor start to 2006. He was still recovering from an ankle injury and also suffering from back and leg pain and lack of match play. Agassi withdrew from the Australian Open because of the ankle injury, and his back injury and other pains forced him to withdraw from several other events, eventually skipping the entire clay court season, including the French Open. This caused his ranking to drop out of the top 10 for the last time.

Agassi returned for the grass court season, playing a tune-up and then Wimbledon. At Wimbledon, Agassi announced his plans to retire following the US Open. He was defeated in the third round by world #2 (and eventual finalist) Rafael Nadal, 7–6(5), 6–2, 6–4. Against conventions, Agassi, the losing player, was interviewed on court after the match.

Agassi played only two events during the summer hardcourt season, with his best result being a quarterfinal loss in the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles to Fernando González of Chile 6–4, 3–6, 7–5. As a result, he was unseeded at the US Open.

Agassi had a short but dramatic run in his final US Open. Due to extreme back pain, Agassi was forced to receive anti-inflammatory injections after every match. After a tough four-set win against Andrei Pavel, Agassi faced #8 seed Marcos Baghdatis, who had earlier in 2006 advanced to the Australian Open finals and Wimbledon semifinals, in the second round. Agassi, nevertheless, won 6–4, 6–4, 3–6, 5–7, 7–5 as the younger Baghdatis succumbed to muscle cramping in the final set.

In his last match, Agassi was in obvious pain on court and fell to 112th ranked big-serving Benjamin Becker of Germany in four sets. Agassi received an 8 minute standing ovation from the crowd after the match and delivered a memorable retirement speech.

Agassi earned more than US$30 million in prize-money throughout his career, third only to Sampras and Federer. In addition, Agassi earned over US$25 million a year through endorsements, the most by any tennis player, during his career and fourth in all sports at the time.

Retirement

Since retiring after the 2006 US Open, Agassi has participated in a series of charity tournaments and continues his work with his own charity. On September 5, 2007, Agassi was a surprise guest commentator for the Andy Roddick/Roger Federer 2007 US Open quarterfinal.

Personal and family life

Agassi dated famed American singer Barbra Streisand in the early 1990s before marrying actress Brooke Shields on April 19, 1997. That February, they had filed suit against The National Enquirer claiming it printed "false and fabricated" statements about the couple. The case was dismissed. He later filed for divorce from Shields, which was granted on April 9, 1999.

At the 1999 French Open, Agassi and Steffi Graf were the surprise champions, since he had not won a grand slam title since 1995 and she since 1996. At the winners' ball, they danced the traditional champions dance. After that evening they began dating. Graf retired after they both reached the Wimbledon final in July. They were married on October 22, 2001. Their son, Jaden Gil, was born on October 26 of the same year. Their daughter, Jaz Elle, was born on October 3, 2003. The couple lives in the Las Vegas area and own several vacation homes.

Agassi's older sister, Rita, was married to the late former tennis legend Pancho Gonzales. In 1995, when Gonzales died in Las Vegas, Agassi paid for the funeral.

Agassi is also a staunch Democrat and has donated over $100,000 to different Democratic candidates.

Philanthropy

Agassi has participated in many charity organizations and founded the Andre Agassi Charitable Association in 1994, which assists the youth of Las Vegas. He was awarded the ATP Arthur Ashe Humanitarian award in 1995 for his efforts to help disadvantaged youth. He is regularly cited as the most charitable and socially involved player in professional tennis. It has also been surmised that he may be the most charitable athlete of his generation, which includes Lance Armstrong.

Agassi's charity often takes the form of assisting children with their athletic potential. His Boys & Girls Club sees 2,000 children throughout the year and boasts a world class junior tennis team. It also has a basketball program (the Agassi Stars) and a rigorous system that encourages a mix of academics and athletics.

In 2001, Agassi opened up the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas, a tuition-free charter school for at-risk children in the area. Ironically, Agassi never finished his own formal education due to his decision to turn pro.

Among other child-related programs that Agassi supports through his Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation is Clark County's only residential facility for abused and neglected children called Child Haven. In 1997, Andre donated funding to Child Haven for a six-room classroom building now named the Agassi Center for Education. His foundation also provided "$720,000 to assist in the building of the Andre Agassi Cottage for Medically Fragile Children. This facility opened in December 2001 and accommodates developmentally delayed or handicapped children and children quarantined for infectious diseases. It houses approximately 20 beds and gives children with special needs the special attention needed to make them feel comfortable in their new surroundings."

In 2007, Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Warrick Dunn, Jeff Gordon, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Andrea Jaeger, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mario Lemieux, Alonzo Mourning and Cal Ripken, Jr. founded Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization, which helps professional athletes get involved in charitable causes and inspires millions of non-athletes to volunteer and support the community.

Quotes

  • About Pete Sampras' retirement: "You grow up with a guy, you compete against him for so long, he's such a big part of your career, something that's pretty special, so you do have that sense of personal regret that he's not around any more. You miss having that around.
  • During the 2005 US Open: "I've been motivated by overcoming challenge and overcoming the hurdles and obstacles that face me. There still is plenty out there to get motivated by. And after defeating James Blake in a quarterfinal, Agassi said, "First of all, let me say, 1:15 in the morning, for 20,000 people to still be here, I wasn't the winner, tennis was. That's awesome. I don't know if I've ever felt so good here before.
  • John McEnroe on "Center Court With Chris Meyers" said, "If I had to name the top five or six guys at this point, I would put Sampras, I would put Laver, I'd have to put Borg up there because he won the eleven, I'd put Federer in there now, I'd put Agassi in there...if I could be thrown in the same breath as those guys I'd be happy."
  • When Mats Wilander was asked in 2005 to name the top five tennis players of all time, he placed Agassi, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Björn Borg in the top four (in no order) and tied John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors for fifth place. Concerning Agassi, Wilander said, "He has some limitations, like he can't serve and volley, yet he has won all four Slams. He has a very high energy level, quite like Borg. He is on fifth gear from the very first point. There is some abnormality in his eyes, otherwise he wouldn't have had such a phenomenal return. He sees the ball like no one else and just guides it wherever he wants to. He's just played a Grand Slam final at 35, that tells me he wasted the first five years of his career, otherwise, he couldn't have lasted this long. No one has done more to tennis than Agassi and Borg.
  • On September 3, 2006, after playing his final match and losing in the third round of the US Open to Benjamin Becker, Agassi gave these departing remarks to his fans: "Thanks. The scoreboard said I lost today, but what the scoreboard doesn't say is what it is I have found. And over the last 21 years, I have found loyalty. You have pulled for me on the court and also in life. I've found inspiration. You have willed me to succeed sometimes even in my lowest moments. And I've found generosity. You have given me your shoulders to stand on to reach for my dreams, dreams I could have never reached without you. Over the last 21 years, I have found you. And I will take you and the memory of you with me for the rest of my life. Thank you.
  • Rafael Nadal, the main rival to Roger Federer in present-day tennis said, "Agassi was a reference point in world tennis. He's someone who, by changing style and image, left his mark on the game.

Career statistics

Grand Slam singles finals

Wins (8)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1992 Wimbledon Goran Ivanisevic 6–7, 6–4, 6–4, 1–6, 6–4
1994 US 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 Andre Medvedev 1–6, 2–6, 6–4, 6–3, 6–4
1999 US Open (2nd) Todd Martin 6–4, 6–7, 6–7, 6–3, 6–2
2000 Australian Open (2nd) Yevgeny Kafelnikov 3–6, 6–3, 6–2, 6–4
2001 Australian Open (3rd) Arnaud Clement 6–4, 6–2, 6–2
2003 Australian Open (4th) Rainer Schüttler 6–2, 6–2, 6–1

Runner-ups (7)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1990 French Open Andres Gomez 6–3, 2–6, 6–4, 6–4
1990 US Open Pete Sampras 6–4, 6–3, 6–2
1991 French Open (2nd) Jim Courier 3–6, 6–4, 2–6, 6–1, 6–4
1995 US Open (2nd) Pete Sampras 6–4, 6–3, 4–6, 7–5
1999 Wimbledon Pete Sampras 6–3, 6–4, 7–5
2002 US Open (3rd) Pete Sampras 6–3, 6–4, 5–7, 6–4
2005 US Open (4th) Roger Federer 6–3, 2–6, 7–6, 6–1

ATP Masters Series finals

Wins (17)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1990 Miami Stefan Edberg 6–1, 6–4, 0–6, 6–2
1992 Canada Ivan Lendl 3–6, 6–2, 6–0
1994 Canada (2nd) Jason Stoltenberg 6–4, 6–4
1994 Paris Marc Rosset 6–3, 6–3, 4–6, 7–5
1995 Miami (2nd) Pete Sampras 3–6, 6–2, 7–6(3)
1995 Canada (3rd) Pete Sampras 3–6, 6–2, 6–3
1995 Cincinnati Michael Chang 7–5, 6–2
1996 Miami (3rd) Goran Ivanisevic 3–0 retired
1996 Cincinnati (2nd) Michael Chang 7–6(4), 6–4
1999 Paris (2nd) Marat Safin 7–6(1), 6–2, 4–6, 6–4
2001 Miami (4th) Jan-Michael Gambill 7–6(4), 6–1, 6–0
2001 Indian Wells Pete Sampras 7–6(5), 7–5, 6–1
2002 Miami (5th) Roger Federer 6–3, 6–3, 3–6, 6–4
2002 Rome Tommy Haas 6–3 6–3 6–0
2002 Madrid Jiri Novak walkover
2003 Miami (6th) Carlos Moya 6–3, 6–3
2004 Cincinnati (3rd) Lleyton Hewitt 6–3, 3–6, 6–2

Runner-ups (5)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1990 Indian Wells Stefan Edberg 6–4, 5–7, 7–6, 7–6
1994 Miami Pete Sampras 5–7, 6–3, 6–3
1995 Indian Wells (2nd) Pete Sampras 7–5, 6–3, 7–5
1998 Miami (2nd) Marcelo Ríos 7–5, 6–3, 6–4
2005 Canada Rafael Nadal 6–3, 4–6, 6–2

Career finals (99)

Singles (95)

Wins (65)
=ATP (60)=
Legend
Grand Slam (8)
Tennis Masters Cup (1)
Olympic Gold (1)
ATP Masters Series (17)
ATP Tour (33)
Titles by Surface
Hard (46)
Clay (7)
Grass (1)
Carpet (6)

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. November 23, 1987 Itaparica, Brazil Hard Luiz Mattar 7–6, 6–2
2. February 15, 1988 Memphis, U.S. Hard (I) Mikael Pernfors 6–4, 6–4, 7–5
3. April 25, 1988 Charleston, U.S. Clay Jimmy Arias 6–2, 6–2
4. May 2, 1988 Forest Hills, U.S. Clay Slobodan Zivojinovic 7–5, 7–6, 7–5
5. July 11, 1988 Stuttgart Outdoors, Germany Clay Andres Gomez 6–4, 6–2
6. July 25, 1988 Stratton Mountain, U.S. Hard Paul Annacone 6–2, 6–4
7. August 15, 1988 Livingston, U.S. Hard Jeff Tarango 6–2, 6–4
8. October 2, 1989 Orlando, U.S. Hard Brad Gilbert 6–2, 6–1
9. February 5, 1990 San Francisco, U.S. Carpet (I) Todd Witsken 6–1, 6–3
10. March 12, 1990 Key Biscayne, U.S. Hard Stefan Edberg 6–1, 6–4, 0–6, 6–2
11. July 16, 1990 Washington D.C. Hard Jim Grabb 6–1, 6–4
12. November 12, 1990 Singles Championship, Frankfurt Carpet (I) Stefan Edberg 5–7, 7–6, 7–5, 6–2
13. April 1, 1991 Heathrow, U.S. Hard Derrick Rostagno 6–2, 1–6, 6–3
14. July 15, 1991 Washington D.C. Hard Petr Korda 6–3, 6–4
15. April 27, 1992 Atlanta, U.S. Clay Pete Sampras 7–5, 6–4
16. June 22, 1992 Wimbledon, London Grass Goran Ivanisevic 6–7, 6–4, 6–4, 1–6, 6–4
17. July 20, 1992 Rogers Cup, Toronto, Canada Hard Ivan Lendl 3–6, 6–2, 6–0
18. February 1, 1993 San Francisco, U.S. Hard (I) Brad Gilbert 6–2, 6–7, 6–2
19. February 22, 1993 Scottsdale, U.S. Hard Marcos Ondruska 6–2, 3–6, 6–3
20. February 2, 1994 Scottsdale, U.S. Hard Luiz Mattar 6–4, 6–3
21. July 25, 1994 Rogers Cup, Toronto, Canada Hard Jason Stoltenberg 6–4, 6–4
22. August 29, 1994 US Open, New York City Hard Michael Stich 6–1, 7–6, 7–5
23. October 17, 1994 Vienna, Austria Carpet (I) Michael Stich 7–6, 4–6, 6–2, 6–3
24. October 31, 1994 Paris, France Carpet (I) Marc Rosset 6–3 6–3 4–6 7–5
25. January 16, 1995 Australian Open, Melbourne Hard Pete Sampras 4–6, 6–1, 7–6, 6–4
26. February 6, 1995 San Jose, U.S. Hard (I) Michael Chang 6–2, 1–6, 6–3
27. March 13, 1995 Key Biscayne, U.S. Hard Pete Sampras 3–6, 6–2, 7–6
28. July 17, 1995 Washington D.C. Hard Stefan Edberg 6–4, 2–6, 7–5
29. July 24, 1995 Rogers Cup, Montreal, Canada Hard Peter Sampras 3–6, 6–2, 6–3
30. August 7, 1995 Cincinnati, U.S. Hard Michael Chang 7–5, 6–2
31. August 14, 1995 New Haven, U.S. Hard Richard Krajicek 3–6, 7–6, 6–3
32. March 18, 1996 Key Biscayne, U.S. Hard Goran Ivanisevic 3–0, 40–0 ret.
33. July 22, 1996 Olympic Games, Atlanta, U.S. Hard Sergi Bruguera 6–2, 6–3, 6–1
34. August 5, 1996 Cincinnati, U.S. Hard Michael Chang 7–6, 6–4
35. February 9, 1998 San Jose, U.S. Hard (I) Pete Sampras 6–2, 6–4
36. March 2, 1998 Scottsdale, U.S. Hard Jason Stoltenberg 6–4, 7–6
37. July 20, 1998 Washington D.C. Hard Scott Draper 6–2, 6–0
38. July 27, 1998 Los Angeles Hard Tim Henman 6–4, 6–4
39. October 19, 1998 Ostrava, Czech Republic Carpet (I) Jan Kroslak 6–2, 3–6, 6–3
40. April 5, 1999 Hong Kong Hard Boris Becker 6–7, 6–4, 6–4
41. May 24, 1999 French Open, Paris Clay Andrei Medvedev 1–6, 2–6, 6–4, 6–3, 6–4
42. August 16, 1999 Washington D.C. Hard Yevgeny Kafelnikov 7–6, 6–1
43. August 30, 1999 US Open, New York City Hard Todd Martin 6–4, 6–7, 6–7, 6–3, 6–2
44. November 1, 1999 Paris, France Carpet (I) Marat Safin 7–6, 6–2, 4–6, 6–4
45. January 17, 2000 Australian Open, Melbourne Hard Yevgeny Kafelnikov 3–6, 6–3, 6–2, 6–4
46. January 15, 2001 Australian Open, Melbourne Hard Arnaud Clément 6–4, 6–2, 6–2
47. March 12, 2001 Indian Wells, U.S. Hard Pete Sampras 7–6, 7–5, 6–1
48. March 19, 2001 Key Biscayne, U.S. Hard Jan-Michael Gambill 7–6, 6–1, 6–0
49. July 23, 2001 Los Angeles Hard Pete Sampras 6–4, 6–2
50. March 4, 2002 Scottsdale, U.S. Hard Juan Balcells 6–2, 7–6
51. March 18, 2002 Key Biscayne, U.S. Hard Roger Federer 6–3, 6–3, 3–6, 6–4
52. May 6, 2002 Rome, Italy Clay Tommy Haas 6–3, 6–3, 6–0
53. July 22, 2002 Los Angeles Hard Jan-Michael Gambill 6–2, 6–4
54. October 14, 2002 Madrid, Spain Hard (I) Jiri Novak Walkover
55. January 13, 2003 Australian Open, Melbourne Hard Rainer Schüttler 6–2, 6–2, 6–1
56. February 10, 2003 San Jose, U.S. Hard (I) Davide Sanguinetti 6–3, 6–1
57. March 17, 2003 Key Biscayne, U.S. Hard Carlos Moya 6–3, 6–3
58. April 21, 2003 Houston, U.S. Clay Andy Roddick 3–6, 6–3, 6–4
59. August 2, 2004 Cincinnati, U.S. Hard Lleyton Hewitt 6–3, 3–6, 6–2
60. July 31, 2005 Los Angeles Hard Gilles Muller 6–4, 7–5
= Non-ATP (5) =

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. August 28, 1988 Norstar Hamlet Challenge Cup, Jericho, New York, U.S. Hard Yannick Noah 6–3, 0–6, 6–4
2. April 30, 1989 AT&T Challenge of Champions, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. ??? Michael Chang 6–3, 6–2
3. July 30, 1989 ANA Cup, Yokohama, Japan ??? Ivan Lendl 7–6, 6–4
4. December 10, 1989 ITT Stakes Match Round Robin, Palm Coast, Florida, U.S. Hard Jimmy Connors 6–4, 1–2 retired
5. November 30, 1997 USTA Men's Challenger, Burbank, California, U.S. Hard Sargis Sargsian 6–2, 6–1
Runner-ups (30)
No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. April 27, 1987 Seoul, South Korea Hard Jim Grabb 1–6, 6–4, 6–2
2. September 26, 1988 Los Angeles, U.S. Hard Mikael Pernfors 6–2, 7–5
3. May 22, 1989 Rome, Italy Clay Alberto Mancini 6–3, 4–6, 2–6, 7–6, 6–1
4. March 12, 1990 Indian Wells, California, U.S. Hard Stefan Edberg 6–4, 5–7, 7–6, 7–6
5. June 11, 1990 French Open, Paris Clay Andres Gomez 6–3, 2–6, 6–4, 6–4
6. September 10, 1990 US Open, New York City Hard Pete Sampras 6–4, 6–3, 6–2
7. June 10, 1991 French Open, Paris Clay Jim Courier 3–6, 6–4, 2–6, 6–1, 6–4
8. March 21, 1994 Key Biscayne, Florida, U.S. Hard Pete Sampras 5–7, 6–3, 6–3
9. March 13, 1995 Indian Wells, California, U.S. Hard Pete Sampras 7–5, 6–3, 7–5
10. April 17, 1995 Tokyo Outdoor, Japan Hard Jim Courier 6–4, 6–3
11. May 8, 1995 Atlanta, U.S. Clay Michael Chang 6–2, 6–7, 6–4
12. September 11, 1995 US Open, New York City Hard Pete Sampras 6–4, 6–3, 4–6, 7–5
13. February 19, 1996 San Jose, California, U.S. Hard (i) Pete Sampras 6–2, 6–3
14. March 30, 1998 Key Biscayne, Florida, U.S. Hard Marcelo Rios 7–5, 6–3, 6–4
15. May 4, 1998 Munich, Germany Clay Thomas Enqvist 6–7, 7–6, 6–3
16. August 24, 1998 Indianapolis, U.S. Hard Àlex Corretja 2–6, 6–2, 6–3
17. September 28, 1998 Grand Slam Cup, Munich Hard (i) Marcelo Rios 6–4, 2–6, 7–6, 5–7, 6–3
18. October 12, 1998 Basel, Switzerland Hard (i) Tim Henman 6–4, 6–3, 3–6, 6–4
19. July 5, 1999 Wimbledon, London Grass Pete Sampras 6–3, 6–4, 7–5
20. August 2, 1999 Los Angeles, U.S. Hard Pete Sampras 7–6, 7–6
21. November 29, 1999 Tennis Masters Cup, Hannover Hard (i) Pete Sampras 6–1, 7–5, 6–4
22. August 21, 2000 Washington D.C. Hard Alex Corretja 6–2, 6–3
23. December 4, 2000 Tennis Masters Cup, Lisbon Hard (i) Gustavo Kuerten 6–4, 6–4, 6–4
24. March 5, 2001 San Jose, California, U.S. Hard (i) Greg Rusedski 6–3, 6–4
25. March 4, 2002 San Jose, California, U.S. Hard (i) Lleyton Hewitt 4–6, 7–6, 7–6
26. September 9, 2002 US Open, New York City Hard Pete Sampras 6–3, 6–4, 5–7, 6–4
27. November 17, 2003 Tennis Masters Cup, Houston Hard Roger Federer 6–3, 6–0, 6–4
28. November 1, 2004 Stockholm, Sweden Hard (i) Thomas Johansson 3–6, 6–3, 7–6
29. August 15, 2005 Montreal, Canada Hard Rafael Nadal 6–3, 4–6, 6–2
30. September 12, 2005 US Open, New York City Hard Roger Federer 6–3, 2–6, 7–6, 6–1

Doubles (4)

Win (1)
No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents in the final Score
1. August 16, 1993 Cincinnati, U.S. Hard Petr Korda Stefan Edberg &
Henrik Holm
7–6, 6–4
Runner-ups (3)
No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents in the final Score
1. July 27, 1992 Toronto, Canada Hard John McEnroe Patrick Galbraith &
Danie Visser
7–5, 6–4
2. April 12, 1999 Hong Kong Hard David Wheaton James Greenhalgh &
Grant Silcock
walkover
3. August 21, 2000 Washington D.C. Hard Sargis Sargsian Alex O'Brien &
Jared Palmer
7–5, 6–1

Singles performance timeline

Tournament Career Win-Loss Career SR 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Grand Slams
Australian Open 48–5 4 / 9 NH A A A A A A A A W SF A 4R 4R W W A W SF QF A
French Open 51–16 1 / 17 A 2R SF 3R F F SF A 2R QF 2R A 1R W 2R QF QF QF 1R 1R A
Wimbledon 46–13 1 / 14 A 1R A A A QF W QF 4R SF 1R A 2R F SF SF 2R 4R A A 3R
US Open 79–19 2 / 21 1R 1R SF SF F 1R QF 1R W F SF 4R 4R W 2R QF F SF QF F 3R
Grand Slam SR N/A 8 / 61 0 / 1 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 3 1 / 3 0 / 2 1 / 3 1 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 1 0 / 4 2 / 4 1 / 4 1 / 4 0 / 3 1 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 2
Grand Slam Win-Loss 224–53 N/A 0–1 1–3 10–2 7–2 12–2 10–3 16–2 4–2 11–2 22–3 11–4 3–1 7–4 23–2 14–3 20–3 11–3 19–3 9–3 10–3 4–2
Year-End Championship
Masters Cup 22–20 1 / 13 A A RR RR W SF A A SF A RR A RR F F RR RR F A RR A
ATP Masters Series
Indian Wells 41–16 1 / 17 A A SF QF F 3R 3R 2R 2R F QF 1R QF A 1R W 1R A SF QF 3R
Miami 63–13 6 / 19 A 1R 3R 1R W 4R 2R 4R F W W 2R F 2R SF W W W 4R SF A
Monte Carlo 2–4 0 / 4 A A A A A 2R A A 1R A 3R A 2R A A A A A A A A
Rome 33–10 1 / 11 A 2R QF F A 1R A A 2R A A A A 3R 3R 1R W 1R A SF A
Hamburg 5–5 0 / 5 A A A A 3R A 2R A A QF A A A A A 2R A A A 1R A
Toronto/Montreal 41–11 3 / 14 A A A SF QF 2R W QF W W A A SF SF 1R 1R A QF 2R F A
Cincinnati 31–10 3 / 13 A A A A 3R 3R 3R SF A W W 1R 2R SF 2R 1R QF A W A A
Madrid1 21–11 1 / 12 A A A QF 2R A A A QF 3R QF 1R 3R SF 3R 2R W A SF A A
Paris 14–4 2 / 6 A A A A A A 2R A W A 2R A QF W A A QF A A A A
Career Statistics
Year Career 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Tournaments Played 343 N/A 6 18 18 19 15 20 22 14 19 18 17 13 24 19 18 18 16 13 14 14 8
Titles Won 60 N/A 0 1 6 1 4 2 3 2 5 7 3 0 5 5 1 4 5 4 1 1 0
Hardcourt Win-Loss 587–155 N/A 4–5 21–10 33–6 20–6 26–5 17–7 19–7 27–8 29–6 53–3 34–7 11–10 47–10 41–9 25–9 35–10 36–7 32–6 37–10 32–8 8–6
Clay Win-Loss 152–57 N/A 0–0 5–5 29–3 13–4 9–4 10–4 15–4 2–1 4–4 11–3 2–2 1–1 5–3 9–2 4–3 5–4 13–2 9–2 0–2 6–4 0–0
Grass Win-Loss 50–18 N/A 0–0 0–1 0–0 0–0 0–0 4–1 7–0 4–2 3–1 5–1 0–1 0–0 1–1 6–1 6–2 5–1 1–1 6–2 0–1 0–0 2–2
Carpet Win-Loss 81–44 N/A 1–1 0–1 1–2 8–9 10–3 8–5 1–4 0–0 16–3 4–2 2–4 0–1 15–4 7–2 5–1 0–0 3–2 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0
Overall Win-Loss 870–274 N/A 5–6 26–17 63–11 41–19 45–12 39–17 42–15 33–11 52–14 73–9 38–14 12–12 68–18 63–14 40–15 45–15 53–12 47–10 37–13 38–12 10–8
Win % 76% 46% 60% 85% 68% 79% 70% 74% 75% 79% 89% 73% 50% 79% 82% 73% 75% 82% 82% 74% 76% 56%
Year End Ranking N/A N/A 91 25 3 7 4 10 9 24 2 2 8 122 6 1 6 3 2 4 8 7 150

Note: ''Tournaments were designated as the 'Masters Series' only after the ATP took over the running of the men's tour in 1990.

NH = tournament not held

A = did not participate in the tournament

SR = the ratio of the number of singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played

1This event was held in Stockholm through 1994, Essen in 1995, and Stuttgart from 1996 through 2001.

ATP Tour career earnings

Year Majors ATP wins Total wins Earnings ($) Money list rank
1997 0 0 0 305,132 72
1998 0 5 5 1,836,233 9
1999 2 3 5 4,269,265 1
2000 1 0 1 1,884,443 6
2001 1 3 4 2,091,766 4
2002 0 5 5 2,186,006 3
2003 1 3 4 2,530,929 4
2004 0 1 1 1,177,254 9
2005 0 1 1 1,629,596 5
2006 0 0 0 156,700 120
Career 8 52 60 31,152,975 3
* As of September 18, 2006.

See also

References

Further reading

Video

  • Wimbledon 2000 Semi-Final - Agassi vs. Rafter (2003) Starring: Andre Agassi, Patrick Rafter; Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: August 16, 2005, Run Time: 213 minutes, ASIN: B000A343QY.
  • Charlie Rose with Andre Agassi (May 7, 2001) Charlie Rose, Inc., DVD Release Date: August 15, 2006, Run Time: 57 minutes, ASIN: B000HBL6VO.
  • Wimbledon Record Breakers (2005) Starring: Andre Agassi, Boris Becker; Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: August 16, 2005, Run Time: 52 minutes, ASIN: B000A3XYYQ.

Video games

External links

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