Andre Agassi is a retired American tennis player who achieved several unique distinctions in his career, making him a candidate for the GOAT title.
Agassi is one of only five men in the Open Era to have completed the Career Slam, and his rivalry with Pete Sampras in the 90s marked a pivotal era in the history of tennis. He is now involved in various charities and occasionally dabbles in both commentary and coaching, having worked with Novak Djokovic at one point of time.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: 4-time Champion (1995, 2000, 2001, 2003)
French Open: Champion (1999)
Wimbledon: Champion (1992)
US Open: 2-time Champion (1994, 1999)
Highest Ranking: No. 1
No. of weeks at No. 1: 101
Style of play, strengths and weaknesses
Agassi was an aggressive baseliner who used his powerful groundstrokes off both wings to move his opponents all around the court.
His game was predicated on his return of serve; he stood very close to the baseline while returning both first and second serves, and tried to attack by guessing which direction the opponent was going to go. Agassi didn't come to the net too often on clay and hardcourts, but did volley a fair bit when playing at Wimbledon.
Agassi's return was a revolutionary shot, and is widely considered one of the best in history. By attacking the opponents' serve, Agassi always put pressure on them to hold, which in turn meant he was never truly out of a set or a match.
The American had a potent forehand, but his backhand was his money shot. He had great disguise on that wing too, and could unleash a down-the-line backhand without warning to stun his opponents.
Agassi was a very swift mover at the baseline, and could wear out most opponents by running their shots down and returning them with interest. He transitioned to a slightly less aggressive style in his later years, once he realized that long rallies worked to his advantage.
Agassi's serve was not his strongest suit, but he made up for that by repeatedly breaking his opponents' serve.
Significant Andre Agassi records
Agassi notched up a multitude of records over the course of his long career. Here are the most significant of those:
- Only player in history to have won the 'Super Slam' (all 4 Slams + Olympic gold + year-end championship)
- One of only two players (along with Rafael Nadal) to have won the 'Career Golden Slam' (all 4 Slams + Olympic gold)
- One of only five players in the Open Era to have won the Career Grand Slam (all 4 Slams)
- One of only two players (along with Jimmy Connors) to have ended at least 16 years ranked inside the top 10
- One of only two players (along with Novak Djokovic) to have won 6 Miami Masters
- Highest winning percentage at the Australian Open: 90.57% (48-5 record)
Agassi was born in Las Vegas, and was a very successful player on the junior circuit. His father Mike, an immigrant from Iran who competed in the Olympics as a boxer, was a hard taskmaster who made Agassi train several hours a day from a very early age.
Agassi moved to Florida at the age of 13 to train at the Nick Bollettieri academy. He turned professional at the age of 16, and reached his first Grand Slam semifinal just two years later.
Agassi had a tendency to don theatrical attire on the court in his early days, showing up occasionally in denim shorts or bright fluorescent hues. He had a colorful personality in more ways than one, and upped his glamour quotient significantly when he married actress Brooke Shields in 1997.
That marriage didn't last long, but Agassi's next marriage - to fellow tennis legend Steffi Graf - has. The two have been married since 2001, and have two children - Jaden Gil born in 2001, and Jaz Elle born in 2003.
Agassi is one of the most well-known athletes of all time, and for good reason. His game and his personality were must-see entertainment, and he was the cynosure of all eyes for the better part of two decades.
Agassi's career record speaks for itself. Despite missing large chunks of playing time in the late 90s due to injury and lack of motivation, he rebounded in fine fashion to win multiple Slams in his 30s. His all-surface accomplishments are particularly impressive; he was never comfortable on grass, and still managed to win Wimbledon. And hardcourts were his favorite surface, but he still reached multiple finals at Roland Garros.
Agassi's early success and colorful personality made him immensely marketable, but also led to controversy and backlash. He went from being the media's darling to the media's villain when his results spiraled downward in 1997, and years later he confessed that he had used the banned drug crystal meth at that time. He got away without any sanctions from the ATP, and many have criticized the officials for failing to penalize him for his transgression.
But Agassi never sank so low as to be unable to rise again. His return to the top in 1999, when he completed the Career Slam at Roland Garros and added a second US Open to his trophy collection, is often cited as one of the most inspirational stories in the sport.
Agassi is a legend in his own right, but he is also a legend by association. His rivalry with Pete Sampras in the 90s was the defining story of the decade, and the two Americans produced many classic battles all over the world. Moreover, Agassi's union with Steffi Graf is highly celebrated and cherished; rarely have two incredibly successful players from the same sport lived in such blissful harmony as Agassi and Graf seem to have been doing for close to two decades.
Social media presence:
Andre Agassi Instagram: @agassi
Andre Agassi Twitter: @AndreAgassi