"Being sent away to an academy at 13, the only way out was to succeed" – When Andre Agassi explained his longevity despite hating tennis

Off Court At The 2019 Australian Open
Andre Agassi on why he continued to play tennis despite his hatred for the sport

Andre Agassi revealed why he hated tennis in an interview back in 2015.

Agassi wrote in his book, 'Open: An Autobiography', that he hated tennis. While speaking to the Harvard Business Review, the former World No.1 was asked why he played for so long despite his hatred for the sport. He replied that, at first, it was because of a lack of alternatives.

Agassi mentioned that as a child, he was of the mindset that nothing but success was acceptable. He also stated that success was the only way out after being sent away to an academy at the age of just 13:

"At first it was a lack of alternatives. As a child, I knew nothing but success would be accepted. Or, if I didn’t succeed, it would take a toll on our family. So I put my head down and did the best I could. Then, being sent away to an academy at 13, the only way out was to succeed."

The eight-time Grand Slam singles champion also said that he thought being the World No.1 would be the moment when he would make sense of his life. Instead, the achievement left him a little empty, and he spiralled:

"You have some success, and the world tells you that you should be thrilled. So you keep living the Groundhog Day, the hamster wheel. I thought that getting to number one was going to be the moment I made sense of my life. But it left me a little empty, and I spiralled down until something had to change."

"It wouldn't have been retiring happily" – Andre Agassi on his memorable comeback in the late 1990s

Andre Agassi at the 2017 French Open
Andre Agassi at the 2017 French Open

In the same interview, Andre Agassi was asked why he continued to play in the late 1990s despite his drop in the ATP rankings and all the success and money he had earned. The former World No. 1 said that retiring at the time would have made him look like he was quitting miserably:

"It wouldn’t have been retiring happily. It would have been quitting miserably. If I made one more misstep, I wouldn’t get a chance to be on the court again. So I made a commitment to take ownership of my life."

Andre Agassi explained how his resurgence helped him become more resilient:

"It wasn’t about a destination. Getting back to number one was something I was pretty convinced I’d never achieve. But that journey from rock bottom to the summit a second time was a great accomplishment for me. Without it I don’t know if I would believe in myself as much as I do when I face other challenges now."

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Edited by Virat Deswal
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