Andre Agassi : biography
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. Agassi finished 2005 ranked world 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.
On 25 July 2005 Agassi left Nike after 17 years and signed an endorsement deal with Adidas. A major reason for Agassi leaving Nike was because Nike refused to donate to Agassi’s charities, and Adidas was more than happy to do so. On 13 May 2013 Agassi rejoined Nike.
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. He was defeated in the third round by world no. 2 (and eventual runner-up) Rafael Nadal. Against conventions, Agassi, the losing player, was interviewed on court after the match. At Wimbledon, Agassi announced his plans to retire following the US Open.
Agassi played only two events during the summer hard-court season, with his best result being a quarterfinal loss at the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles to Fernando González of Chile. As a result, he was unseeded at the US Open.
Agassi had a short, but dramatic, run in his final US Open. Because of 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 eighth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis in the second round, who had earlier advanced to the 2006 Australian Open final and Wimbledon semifinals. Agassi won in five tough sets as the younger Baghdatis succumbed to muscle cramping in the final set. In his last match, Agassi fell to 112th-ranked big-serving Benjamin Becker of Germany in four sets. Agassi received a four-minute standing ovation from the crowd after the match and delivered a retirement speech.
Agassi earned more than US$30 million in prize-money during his career, fifth only to Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Sampras to date. He also earned more than US$25 million a year through endorsements during his career, fourth in all sports at the time.
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 5 September 2007, he was a surprise guest commentator for the Andy Roddick/Roger Federer US Open quarter-final. He played an exhibition match at Wimbledon, teaming with his wife, Steffi Graf, to play with Tim Henman and Kim Clijsters. He played World Team Tennis for the Philadelphia Freedoms in the summer of 2009 SI.com, 1 March 2009 and played at the Outback Champions Series event for the first time. He played the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at Surprise, Arizona, where he reached the final before bowing to eventual champion Todd Martin. On the way to the final, Agassi beat Mikael Pernfors in the quarter-finals and Wayne Ferreira in the semi-finals. He also announced that he will not be playing the tour on a full-time basis, and played the tournament as a favor to long-time friend Jim Courier.
At the 2009 French Open, Agassi was on hand to present Roger Federer, who completed his Career Grand Slam by winning the tournament and joined Agassi as one of six men to complete the Career Grand Slam, with the trophy.