"It was a different tennis, and it was great" - Mariano Monachesi on why Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and other yesteryear stars were geniuses in their own right

Mariano Monachesi has hailed Pete Sampras (right) and Andre Agassi,
Mariano Monachesi has hailed Pete Sampras (right) and Andre Agassi,

Former player Mariano Monachesi has explained why stars like Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras stood out in their era. The two Americans are often considered among the greatest players to have graced the sport.

Since the end of his playing days, Monachesi has coached the likes of Guillermo Coria, Tommy Robredo and Nicolas Almagro. Having played in the same era as Agassi and Sampras and seen multiple generations of players, the Argentine knows a thing or two about tennis greatness and how it transcends eras.

In an interview with Punto de Break, the Director with Mariano Hood at the Monachesi & Hood Tennis Academy said that greatness stands out regardless of the era the player plays in. He named Thomas Enqvist, Jonas Bjorkman, Goran Ivanisevic, Sampras, Agassi and Guillermo Vilas as some of the players who stood out despite playing in different eras.

"When I started on the circuit, there were the Thomas Enqvist, the Jonas Bjorkman, the Goran Ivanisevic, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi ... those players were fantastic, they were geniuses. We must not pay attention to those who say: 'it was a different tennis, it was a worse tennis,'" Monachesi said.
"It was a different tennis, and it was great, just like today's tennis is a different tennis, and it's great," he continued. "And at the time that Vilas played, when tennis was played more slowly, obviously, he had the ability to win points with 25 balls."

Agassi and Sampras are both former World No. 1s. They won 22 Grand Slam singles titles - most of them in the 90s - between them.

Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi career highlights

Andre Agassi (second left) and Pete Sampras (extreme right)
Andre Agassi (second left) and Pete Sampras (extreme right)

Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi enjoyed rousing success during their playing days.

After debuting on tour in the late 80s, the American duo would make a telling mark on the sport over the next decade despite having contrasting styles of play. While Agassi was one of the best counterpunchers of his era and an all-court player, Sampras was a beast on grass.

During his heyday Sampras was near invincible on grass, serving and volleying his way to seven Wimbledon titles in eight years.

Agassi, meanwhile, is one of only five players in the Open Era to win the Career Grand Slam. He achieved the landmark after recovering from two sets down to beat Andriy Medvedev in the 1999 Roland Garros final.

Agassi won eight Grand Slam singles titles and was World No. 1 for 101 weeks. His counterpart, Sampras, enjoyed more success - winning 14 titles - a record that stood for almost a decade before Roger Federer surpassed him at Wimbledon 2009. Sampras was World No. 1 for a staggering 286 weeks.

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Edited by Nihal Taraporvala
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