Andre Agassi

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Andre Agassi : biography

29 April 1970 –

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 reached the quarterfinals on that occasion, losing in five sets to David Wheaton.

Agassi’s Grand Slam tournament breakthrough came at Wimbledon, not at the French Open or the US Open, where he had previously enjoyed success. In 1992, he defeated Goran Ivanišević in a five-set final. Along the way, Agassi overcame two former Wimbledon champions: Boris Becker and John McEnroe. No other baseliner would triumph at Wimbledon until Lleyton Hewitt ten years later. Agassi was named the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year in 1992. Agassi once again played 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 that year with injuries. Although he made the quarterfinals in his Wimbledon title defense, he lost to eventual champion and world no. 1 Pete Sampras in five sets. Agassi lost in the first round at the US Open to Thomas Enqvist and required wrist surgery late in the year.

1994–1997

With new coach Brad Gilbert on board, Agassi began to employ more of a tactical, consistent approach, which fueled his resurgence. He started slowly in 1994, losing in the first week at the French Open and Wimbledon. Nevertheless, he emerged during the hard-court season, winning the Canadian Open. His comeback culminated at the 1994 US Open with a five-set fourth-round victory against compatriot Michael Chang. He then became the first man to capture the US Open as an unseeded player, beating Michael Stich in the final.

In 1996, Agassi shaved his balding head, breaking with his old "image is everything" style. He competed in the 1995 Australian Open (his first appearance at the event) and won, beating Sampras in a four-set final. Agassi and Sampras met in five tournament finals in 1995, all on hardcourt, with Agassi winning three. Agassi won three Masters Series events in 1995 (Cincinnati, Key Biscayne, and the Canadian Open) and seven titles total. He compiled a career-best 26-match winning streak during the summer hard-court circuit, which ended when he lost the US Open final to Sampras.

Agassi reached the world no. 1 ranking for the first time in April 1995. He held that ranking until November, for a total of 30 weeks. In terms of win/loss record, 1995 was Agassi’s best year. He won 73 matches and lost 9. 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 final. He suffered two early-round losses at the hands of compatriots Chris Woodruff and Doug Flach at the French Open and Wimbledon, respectively, and lost to Chang in straight sets in the Australian and US Open semifinals. At the time, Agassi blamed the Australian Open loss on the windy conditions, but later said in his biography that he had lost the match on purpose, as he did not want to play Boris Becker, whom he would have faced in that final. The 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. Agassi also successfully defended his singles titles in Cincinnati and Key Biscayne.

1997 was the low point of Agassi’s career. His wrist injury resurfaced, and he played only 24 matches during the year. He later confessed that he started using crystal methamphetamine at that time, allegedly on the urging of a friend. He failed an ATP drug test, but wrote a letter claiming the same friend had spiked a drink. The ATP dropped the failed drug test as a warning. In his autobiography, Agassi admitted that the letter was a lie. He quit the drug soon after. At this time Agassi was also in a failing marriage with actress Brooke Shields and had lost interest in the game.Andre Agassi interview. The Ellen DeGeneres Show. 19 November 2009. He won no top-level titles, and his ranking sank to world no. 141 on 10 November 1997, prompting many to believe that his run as one of the sport’s premier competitors was over and that he would never again win any significant championships.