Monday, September 04, 2006


Andre Agassi - The End of an Era

How can one forget the rebel who first burst into the tennis scene with his long hair, sporting a ear ring and carrying with him loads of attitude that would draw countless fans on and off court. Today twenty years hence, the aura of the man lives on. Many things have changed about his looks and his fans have increased multifold but there is scarcely anything that his tennis has not achieved. September 03,2006 therefore will live long in the memories of millions of fans around the world. As his opponent and the crowd looked on in anguish, Agassi sobbed uncontrollably after playing his last competitive singles match at the US open, a tournament he has appeared in for the past 21 years.

Having followed the game for at least 18 years and seeing players come by, achieve all they can during their best years and then fade into oblivion now replaced by someone younger, the past 20 years had only one exception to this rule and that's without doubt Andre. I wonder if there's been a year in the past two decades when the man from Las Vegas hasn't played at least 2 grand slams and not won a single ATP title.

Probably the best returner of serve, the game has ever seen, Andre is the only player who has played with three generations of tennis greats. From Edberg, Becker,Lendl in the late 80s, Courier,Chang,Sampras in the 90s to the present day greats like Hewitt,Roddick and Federer, there are very few professional players who havent played Agassi and been mesmerised by his powerful groundstrokes. For any tennis player, Agassi is the perfect example of an athlete who believed in good physical conditioning and who hasnt been hindered by many injuries thus enabling his longevity in the game.

In an illustrious career, Andre Agassi is only one of 5 individuals to have won all four Grand Slams, he is also among the few greats who has reached a Grand Slam final at least twice. Also one of the greatest comebacks in tennis history is alongside this man's name. Having slumped to his worst possible ranking in the beginning of 1998, Agassi came back strongly to finish in the top 10 making it the highest jump in rankings made by any player.

After playing his final match and before leaving the court Agassi said
"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."

As they say "All good things must end" but for all his fans, the legend of Agassi will live on.

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