Men's Tennis

The Life and Times Of Tennis World No. 1: Andre Agassi

Rohini IyerSenior Writer IDecember 26, 2008

Flamboyant. Stylish. Rebel. These are some of the adjectives that come to mind when the name and topic about Andre Agassi is raised. And indeed these adjectives became synonymous with Agassi during his heydays.

Though he spent most of his playing career being second best to fellow American Sampras, he was also the World No. 1 for a very short stint. But then, short or long; best player or second best player, Agassi revolutionised the sport and people's mentality towards it in his own way.

Then let it be the time when he wouldn't play at Wimbledon due to its all-white mandatory dress code or when he sported a Mohawk and earrings; he left an aura in the places he played and made people wish for more.

The forbidden fruit is always tempting and luscious and so when Agassi finally decided to make an appearance at wimbledon in 1991, the crowd was eager to see what he would do? Toe the line or bend the rule. And though he did follow the all-white "diktat," it was neither the former nor the latter.

When Agassi played against Sampras it was essentially a clash of the titans. I wish to quote Denzel Washington from the movie "Remember the Titans" in this case: He says, "The Titans do not care about Gods, they just rule their universe the way they want to" or words more or less to that effect. I am sure an Agassi-Sampras match was nothing less than that.

And I am prepared to bet the crowds wouldn't have wanted anything more than that at that point of time. Pistol v/s Punisher. One elegant, calm and unruffled while the other somewhat brash and blunt. In fact if I can call it, it might have been a battle of nerves more than anything else.

One of the few to have won all the Grand Slams plus one Grand Slam on three different surfaces plus an Olympic gold medal its hard to imagine that in spite of Agassi reaching the finals of all the Grand Slams almost every year, he managed to win only eight of those.

But even though not able to boast about his tally of grand slam wins, Agassi and his fans can be proud of one fact: the fact that he was a genuine all round player who could play equally and outstandingly well in all surfaces.

Though finally in the later years he became a shadow of the player that he was, thanks to the injury to the spine that finally contributed to his early retirement, Agassi still remains as the undisputed and unrefuted as one of the best players to glorify the sport.

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