Andre Agassi announced last week that he was retiring after the U.S. Open, and today he played his last match at Wimbledon, defeated by rising star Rafael Nadal. Agassi’s career has taken many twists and turns. He showed promise early but was soon eclipsed by Pete Sampras. Andre turned it around in 1992, finally winning his first major, and it looked as if he and Pete and the other young Americans (Jim Courier, Michael Chang) would be duking it out for the rest of the decade.
But within a few years his ranking fell below 100, and he resorted to playing Challenger events, tennis’ minor leagues. Then he teamed with new coach Brad “Winning Ugly” Gilbert and returned to the top of the sport, completing a career Grand Slam in 1999 and winning the Australian and U.S. Opens.
Last year he made a run to the U.S. Open final by winning three straight five-set matches, and gave Roger Federer some trouble before finally falling in four sets.
Throughout his career Agassi has always been considered a gentleman, and he may eventually be remembered more for that than for the titles he won. Case in point: His career went off the rails during his brief marriage to Brooke Shields. Later, he was asked if he regretted making tennis a secondary priority. He said no, that would be to say that his time with Brooke wasn’t special, and didn’t mean anything. He wouldn’t do that.
Now of course he’s married to Steffi Graf and has a couple of kids. Fatherhood seems to suit him. Throughout Wimbledon he’s been wearing a necklace made by his son Jaden that says “DAD ROCKS”.
So goodbye, Andre. Thanks for being a good guy and a good player.