Andre Agassi: His 10 Greatest Achievements
Andre Agassi has been one of the legendary players in the history of tennis. Throughout his career, he has never disappointed tennis fans by displaying some fantastic skill. In this article, we go down history lane to look at his major sporting accomplishments.
Agassi's path to the finals included wins over three-time champion Boris Becker and another former three-time winner, John McEnroe, in quarters and semis.
That set up an intriguing championship match with hard-serving Goran Ivanisevic, who was appearing in his first Grand Slam final. Agassi entered his fourth Grand Slam title match as the underdog to the eighth-ranked Croat, who was coming off consecutive victories over Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg and Pete Sampras.
Agassi had survived 37 of Ivanisevic's aces to become the lowest seed (12) ever to become champion in a classic five-setter. Agassi joined countrymen Stan Smith (1972), Arthur Ashe (1975), Jimmy Connors (1974, '82) and John McEnroe (1981, '83-84) to win the prestigious Wimbledon title in the Open Era (since 1968).
Agassi holds an impressive 30-6 career record and helping the U.S. win their last three titles (1990, 1992 and 1995). He also was a member of the runner-up squad in 1991.
Agassi's 30 singles wins is second all-time in U.S. history behind John McEnroe's 41, and his 35 singles matches played is the third-most in U.S. history, trailing only McEnroe (49) and Vic Seixas (36).
From 1991-98, he tied a U.S. Davis Cup record by winning 16 consecutive singles matches, a feat first accomplished by the great Bill Tilden from 1920-26.
Olympic Gold, Atlanta, 1996
Agassi became the first American man to capture an Olympic gold medal in singles since Vincent Richards in 1924, when he defeated Sergi Bruguera from Spain in straight sets.
Three years later, he would win the Roland Garros title in Paris and by doing so, become the first man ever to win all four Grand Slam singles titles and an Olympic gold medal.
17 ATP Masters Series Titles
Of Agassi's 60 career titles, which ranks him No. 7 on the Open Era list, a record 17 have come in ATP Masters Series tournaments.
Over a 10-year span (from 1994-2003), Agassi won at least one ATP Masters Series title in eight different years.
Agassi is the only player to win seven different ATP Masters Series tournaments, having won six times in Miami (Key Biscayne), three in Canada (Toronto/Montreal) and Cincinnati, twice in Paris and once each in Indian Wells, Rome and Madrid.
The only events he has not won in four attempts (each) are in Monte Carlo and Hamburg.
The Grand Slam, Roland Garros 1999
The Grand Slam title that eluded Agassi in 10 previous visits to Roland Garros was the one many expected the American to have captured earlier in his career.
Again, Agassi came into his third Roland Garros final as the favorite, ranked No. 14 against the No.-100 ranked Medvedev. The 24-year-old Ukraine native won the opening two sets 6-1, 6-2 in 53 minutes and appeared headed to his first Grand Slam title.
Agassi roared back in style to take the next three sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, and become the fifth man in the history of the sport to join the Grand Slam club (winning all four major titles) of Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson.
In 1997, Agassi had dropped to No. 141. He finished at No. 122, his lowest ranking as a pro. But in 1998, he made the biggest one-year jump into the Top 10 in the history of the ATP Rankings (since 1973), climbing from 122 to No. 6.
He led the ATP circuit with 10 finals, winning five titles and he only lost one opening round match in 22 tournaments. That year, he was voted the ATP Most Improved Player of the Year.
1999 turned out to be Agassi's year, as he went on to win Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and the US Open; he also reached the Wimbledon final. He captured five titles and was runner-up in three others en route to finishing as the year-end No. 1 for the first time at age 29.
In May 2003, Agassi climbed to No. 1, becoming the oldest player (33 years, 13 days) to hold the world's top spot.
Four Consecutive Grand Slam Finals (1999-2000)
Agassi had a dream run beginning with Roland Garros title in 1999 and went on to reach the next three Grand Slam finals, reaching the title match at Wimbledon and winning titles at the US Open and the Australian Open in 2000. During that stretch, Agassi won 27 of 28 matches, with his only loss coming to longtime rival Pete Sampras at the All England Club.
It was fitting that "Rocket" Rod Laver presented Agassi the Musketeers Cup trophy in Paris, since the Aussie was the last man to reach four consecutive Grand Slam finals.
During Agassi's run of Grand Slam finals, he defeated at least one former Grand Slam champion in each tournament.
Four Australian Open Titles
The only Grand Slam tournament to elude him during the first eight years of his career was the Australian Open.
But in 1995, Agassi displayed flawless tennis throughout the fortnight, losing only one set in seven matches, against top-ranked Sampras in the final to become the first player to win the Australian Open title in his first appearance since Johan Kriek in 1981.
In 2000, he began his stretch of three consecutive titles by defeating Sampras in the semifinals in five sets and Yevgeny Kafelnikov in four sets in the final.
In 2001, he outlasted local favorite Patrick Rafter in another five-set semifinal before taking out Frenchman Arnaud Clement in the final.
A wrist injury kept him out in 2002 but he returned the following year as strong as ever, dropping only one set during the tournament, to crush Rainer Schuettler 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in the final.
Agassi joined Aussie Hall of Famers Roy Emerson (six), Jack Crawford (four) and Ken Rosewall (four) as the only players who have won at least four Australian singles championships in tournament history with a 44-4 record.
Longevity: ATP Top 10 for 16 years
Of the 94 players who have finished in the Top 10 since the inception of the ATP Rankings in 1973, Agassi is the only player to rank in the Top 10 in three different decades (1988-2002 except for ’93 and ‘97). Jimmy Connors is the only other player to finish in the Top 10 for 16 consecutive years from 1973-88.
Along with his Top 10 consistency, Agassi is among an elite group of players who have ranked at least 100 weeks at No. 1 during their career: Pete Sampras (286), Ivan Lendl (270), Connors (268), John McEnroe (170), Roger Federer (126), Bjorn Borg (109), and Agassi (101). Agassi's 60 career titles have come over 20 years (from 1987-2005, except 1996).
US Open, 1994
In 1994, Agassi entered the US Open unseeded for the first time since he was 17. On his way to the final, he played some incredible tennis, defeating Wayne Ferreira, Michael Chang, and Todd Martin to beat No. 4 seed Michael Stich in the finals.
Agassi set a record by defeating five seeds en route to his second Grand Slam title and he became the first unseeded player to win the U.S. crown since Aussie Fred Stolle in 1966.
In 1999, No. 2 seed Agassi rallied from a 1-2 sets deficit against seventh-ranked Todd Martin to win 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 and captured his second US Open title. This marked the first time a player rallied from a 1-2 deficit in an Open final since John Newcombe in 1973.
Besides being a champion player, Agassi is perhaps the most charitable athlete of his generation and was awarded the ATP Arthur Ashe Humanitarian award in 1995 for his efforts to help disadvantaged youth.
Personally, I would count marrying Brooke Shields as a major off-court accomplishment too.
References: DEUCE magazine.
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