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View Full Version : Farewell Andre & Thank You....



remdog
09-01-2006, 01:41 AM
Yes, I know you didn't lose your match tonight. All you did was give us one of the finest, most exciting matches of my lifetime, all the while knowing that that this could be the last time that you would ever be here again.

Yet, this is a farewell. And, also a thank you. You are the last of a group that represented the Golden Age of American Tennis---Sampras, Courier, Chang and, of course, yourself. Will America ever see a foursome like that again? I think not but I can always hope.

I was playing tennis myself this evening and I came off the courts about 6:15. After cleaning up a little I went to the bar and your match had just begun. You played well and Marco Baghdatis, your opponent, not so well. I watched you play with some friends and, with you leading two set to none, I left for dinner at home. You played the third set well but it slipped away. By the fourth set Marco seemed to find his game and the two of you slugged it out, like heavyweight prizefighters. I have to tell ya' Andre, that worried me because it's not usually a good idea for a 36 year old to get into a street fight with a 21 year old. And, what happened? Marco slugged it out with you and won the set after being down 0-4. Honestly, that's not a good sign and I was getting worried that this might be the last time I would ever see you in the heat of battle again.

But you moved on to the fifth set and you and Marco continued to slug it out. I'm certainly not World Class like you Andre but I've played a lot of tournament tennis at my level and it is amazing how much the constant pounding of the ball can take out of you. I have a friend that was a Gold Glove boxer that likens a tennis match to a boxing match----every time you hit the ball it's like thowing a punch. So, for three hours and forty-five minutes you and Marco stood out there and threw punches. And counter punches. And counter punch punches. It was not just outstanding tennis it was an outstanding example of will, determination, spirit, focus and desire---by both of you.

My hat is off to Marco Baghdatis, a truly up and coming young player who is a thrill and joy to watch. My heart went out to him as he seemed to cramp after almost every point in the fifth set. Yet he found the strenght and the will to forge on. He found a way to hit 130 mph serves that you couldn't return. Yet you found a way to fend him off.

At the end, the 36 year old, who started as a teen-ager with flowing locks and is now a balding father of two who is nursing a bad back found a way to win. Again.

I'm glad tonight wasn't your final night. I would love it if that didn't come until September 10th and culminate in one last U.S. Open Crown. But, whenever and however that moment comes I will be both sad and joyous for you. You have given so many moments of pleasure to so many, you have worked through career problems and family problems. You have been a joy to watch and I'm not sure that we will ever see the likes of you again.

Thank you and God bless.

Rem

Dom Heffner
09-01-2006, 02:07 AM
remdog- I came a hair of writing a similar tribute.

Unless you are a fan, there is absolutely no way to describe the affect this guy has on those who follow tennis.

To have witnessed the evolution of this guy- to essentially go from Albert Belle to Cal Ripken in the blink of an eye- has been truly amazing.

And the most wonderful part of it all is that- unlike Sampras- Agassi gets it. He knows what he means to the game and to its fans.

People can talk about Federer and Sampras all day long, but when Agassi is on, there isn't anything like it.

I am indeed one of those sensitive sentimental types and I just hope I'm alone when he bows out because I'll probably bawl like a baby when he does.

He's my favorite athlete of any sport of any time.

dabvu2498
09-01-2006, 08:29 AM
Last night was awesome. I got home from the Miami football game and Andre had a comfortable lead in the 4th set. I thought, "cool, I stay up a little longer and watch him win." Little did I know that it would be an hour an a half before I could even think about calming down before going to bed. My wife, who was/is a pretty good tennins player and a tennis fan, kept hugging me as she watched. I felt my heart racing at just watching. It seemed unreal. And what better venue or atmosphere for such a match?

Baghdatis was magnificient. Played through pain and said the right things in defeat.

But Agassi last night provided a glimpse, ever so rare, of how a true competitor competes.

RFS62
09-01-2006, 09:35 AM
Amazing how Andre has gone from petulant young punk to elder statesman.

I remember when he was trying to decide if he could go to Wimbledon or not because "his fashon people were having a hard time with his outfit" because of the predominately all-white restrictions on tennis wear there.

To let his fashon people have any say at all in going to Wimbledon was a stunning look inside the young mind of Andre. It was a quote that rocked the tennis world.

But he's now going out the same way that Jimmy Connors did, celebrated as an elder statesman and national treasure after a tumultuous youth.

Highlifeman21
09-01-2006, 09:51 AM
I wonder how Andre's handling the fact that he's not even the best tennis player in his family, his wife being much much better than he ever was.

Regardless, Agassi had a nice career, not Sampras-esque, but still gave us a good run.

remdog
09-01-2006, 10:04 AM
I wonder how Andre's handling the fact that he's not even the best tennis player in his family, his wife being much much better than he ever was.

Regardless, Agassi had a nice career, not Sampras-esque, but still gave us a good run.

Andre commented on that once. He said something to the effect that he liked it and it took the pressure off of having to be the best, to be the one that everyone looked up to.

Let's face it, being number two in that household isn't too shabby. :laugh:

Rem

Dom Heffner
09-01-2006, 11:01 AM
not Sampras-esque

I'm glad he didn't- Sampras never came close to winning the French. Sampras was a one trick pony- he had an awesome serve that let him win on grass and hardcourts.

Hoosier Red
09-01-2006, 12:08 PM
I don't know if I'd go that far Dom. You could say the same about Andre just being someone who can bash from the back court.

Sampras in his prime was as good of an all court player as you could find. And he never fell apart early in tournaments the way Agassi could.

Dom Heffner
09-01-2006, 01:31 PM
And he never fell apart early in tournaments the way Agassi could.

No question- until late in his career, Sampras never fell of the face of the earth like Agassi could.

Except for the French, which was the point I was making.

Sampras won seven Wimbledons- great, we understand he was a great grass court player.

But he couldn't win on clay. Ever.

He exited the French early for most of his career. If my memory holds, he went to the semifinals at the French exactly 1 time. Never even made it to the final. That's what will keep him from being the greatest player ever right there.

Agassi made it to 3 finals at Roland Garros and won once.

I don't want to take anything away from Pete- To show how difficult it is to win there, the last 6, 8 of the last 9, 11 of the last 13, and 13 of the last 17 French Open men's singles championships were won by men who did not win any other Grand Slam tournament.

But Agassi won there and had he got to play Sampras in any of those finals he lost, he would have beaten the tar out of him. He never got to play him, though, because Sampras was sitting at home by the middle of the first week most of the time.

remdog
09-01-2006, 08:17 PM
Pete Played World Team Tennis for the Newport Beach Breakers this year. Oddly, he only played one home match while playing six on the road. Anyway, the night he did play here I was unable to go so I didn't see this first hand but I was told by friends that saw him play that he just didn't seem to be enjoying the match. And, that's always seemed to be a difference between Pete and Andre. Win or lose, Andre enjoys being a tennis player. With Pete you sometimes had to wonder if he wouldn't rather be doing something else.

Another area that Andre had an edge was with the crowd. He loves to be on stage whereas Pete always seemed to want to get off and hide as soon as possible. (shrug) Maybe the crowds love Andre for loving them.

Rem

Joseph
09-01-2006, 08:25 PM
The thing about Agassi, like McEnroe before him, was that he made the non tennis fan interested in tennis, at least for his matches. I was a long haired rebel when he came to popularity in the early 90's, and I thought that was cool. He then matured into a respectable icon of the sport and still kept the respect of the 'rebel'/non tennis crowd.

guttle11
09-01-2006, 08:32 PM
I think I've played tennis maybe three times in my life. I don't like it. It's not for me. If it wasn't for Sharapova I wouldn't have a reason to ever think about the game.

But I was flipping through the channels Monday night and caught the fourth set. I watched last night. I'll watch every match Andre has from here on out. It's great TV. Even a tennis hater like me can see that.

Keep it up, Andre!

Betterread
09-01-2006, 09:14 PM
No question- until late in his career, Sampras never fell of the face of the earth like Agassi could.

Except for the French, which was the point I was making.

Sampras won seven Wimbledons- great, we understand he was a great grass court player.

But he couldn't win on clay. Ever.

He exited the French early for most of his career. If my memory holds, he went to the semifinals at the French exactly 1 time. Never even made it to the final. That's what will keep him from being the greatest player ever right there.

Agassi made it to 3 finals at Roland Garros and won once.

I don't want to take anything away from Pete- To show how difficult it is to win there, the last 6, 8 of the last 9, 11 of the last 13, and 13 of the last 17 French Open men's singles championships were won by men who did not win any other Grand Slam tournament.

But Agassi won there and had he got to play Sampras in any of those finals he lost, he would have beaten the tar out of him. He never got to play him, though, because Sampras was sitting at home by the middle of the first week most of the time.

I like Agassi's personality, but the only "special" part of his game was his return of service. He was awesome in that part of the game. Sampras was a weird guy, but when it came to tennis, he had special racket control, tremendous volleying skills and a great serve. Its really tough to compare them - but I think your view is representative. Sampras was the far more succesful player, but Agassi will have a greater legacy because he was great at P.R.

Falls City Beer
09-01-2006, 09:24 PM
I like Agassi's personality, but the only "special" part of his game was his return of service. He was awesome in that part of the game. Sampras was a weird guy, but when it came to tennis, he had special racket control, tremendous volleying skills and a great serve. Its really tough to compare them - but I think your view is representative. Sampras was the far more succesful player, but Agassi will have a greater legacy because he was great at P.R.


That and Pete Sampras's game was bloody dull.

Individual sports are so much more often about entertainment than the results. Agassi has always been fun to watch; Sampras is like watching the Yankees: plodding, inexorable, and completely forgettable.

WMR
09-01-2006, 09:28 PM
Beautiful thoughts, everybody.

Andre is an original, that's for sure.

Betterread
09-01-2006, 09:44 PM
That and Pete Sampras's game was bloody dull.

Individual sports are so much more often about entertainment than the results. Agassi has always been fun to watch; Sampras is like watching the Yankees: plodding, inexorable, and completely forgettable.

Sampras is a little more complex than you think:
(quoted from Wikipedia) "Sampras has thalassemia minor, an inherited disease that causes anemia. Thalassemia minor limits physical and athletic endurance and causes those who have it to feel fatigued when forced to perform athletic feats. For Sampras, it meant he was weakened when forced to play many long rallies from the baseline. This explains why he came to net so often and attempted low percentage shots if rallies lasted too long. This fact, along with his outstanding career 5-set record, simply makes his achievements even more impressive."

Dom Heffner
09-02-2006, 01:12 PM
Sampras was the far more succesful player, but Agassi will have a greater legacy because he was great at P.R.

Sampras won 6 more Wimbledons, and that's the difference. It's a big difference, but again, Pete had a game suited for grass.

He did win two more US Open's than Agassi but Agassi won two more Aussie Open's and a French.

Agassi also bested Pete in ATP tournament titles as well.

I actually think Sampras' legacy will be better in the sense that the experts wil rank him higher. He is a top 5 player all-time and Agassi is a top 10.

Agassi is getting the send-off he is right now because he is loved. For whatever reason, he truly is.

Great points, all!

captainmorgan07
09-02-2006, 01:22 PM
is anybody having the same feelings i am as i did when pete sampras made his miracle run back at the us open few years ago u just want him to win no matter how hard or who he has to play u just want him to win

jmcclain19
09-02-2006, 03:45 PM
Don't know if everyone saw, but James Blake wore an Andre Agassi tribute yesterday during the Open

http://www.uniwatchblog.com/images/blake.jpg

Dom Heffner
09-02-2006, 03:54 PM
I'm just happy Blake is no longer sporting the "Beard but I'm bald" look.

That picture is great.

remdog
09-02-2006, 08:47 PM
Don't know if everyone saw, but James Blake wore an Andre Agassi tribute yesterday during the Open

http://www.uniwatchblog.com/images/blake.jpg

But that picture left out the best part---the dayglow pink spandex shorts under the tennis shorts!!! :eek: Whew! that's one trend I was really glad to see die! :laugh:

Rem

WMR
09-03-2006, 06:52 PM
Agassi's Career Comes to Close With Loss
Becker Knocks Legend Out of U.S. Open in Four Sets

By BEN WALKER
AP Sports

NEW YORK (Sept. 3) - Andre Agassi walked off the court the way he wanted, to a champion's ovation. In the end, despite all the tears, it hardly made a difference to him or his fans that he didn't win.

A career for the ages came to a close Sunday with Agassi worn down and wincing, losing to 112th-ranked Benjamin Becker 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 7-5 in the third round at the U.S. Open.

Betrayed by a creaky body that needed four injections this week, his spirit never waned. And that is something Agassi and his fans will always remember.

"For me, it was never about winning and stopping," he said. "It was about getting the most out of myself for as long as possible," he said.

Agassi announced this summer that the Open would be his final event. It seemed unimaginable that he could win seven matches to take the title, but after two inspiring victories, fans began to hope and wonder.

Instead, the end came with Agassi looking like what he'd become - a 36-year-old man with a bad back, ready for retirement.

"I just credit the doctors that I was able to play out there today," he said. "I didn't expect a whole lot physically. And sure enough, it was real early when I wasn't feeling so good."

The 25-year-old Becker started strong, showing few nerves. He won all three of his instant-replay challenges and closed out the match with a 133 mph ace.

Moments later, Agassi teared up on the blue court as he addressed a crowd that showed up early at Arthur Ashe Stadium and tried to spur him all afternoon.

"The scoreboard said I lost today," he said. "But what the scoreboard doesn't say is what it is I've found."

Becker, who had to win three qualifying matches merely to make it into the Open, applauded as Agassi spoke. Agassi's wife, Steffi Graf, and their two young children looked on.



Major singles titles won (two U.S. Opens -- 1994, 1999; one Wimbledon -- 1992; four Australian Opens -- 1995, 2000, 2001, 2003); one French Open -- 1999)

36
Age as he heads into retirement

10
Amount of matches won this year

0
Titles won in 2006


Source: AP Sports

"He was my idol growing up," Becker said.

He joined the crowd for a four-minute, loud standing ovation saluting Agassi, who stared out at the crowd from his chair, wiping tears from his eyes.

"I think I've prepared for that speech for 21 years," Agassi said.

He was greeted by another big cheer from fellow players when he walked into the locker room. Toward the end of that tribute, Becker entered.

"It was awkward, me walking in," he said. "You feel bad, too. I couldn't really be happy."

Becker next plays No. 9 Andy Roddick, who defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2.

While most were focused on the Agassi-Becker match, Marat Safin - the 2000 U.S. Open champion who's unseeded this year - knocked off fourth-seeded David Nalbandian 6-3, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6) in a second-round match originally scheduled for Friday but pushed back by rain.

In third-round action, 1998 Open champion Lindsay Davenport erased two match points and came back to defeat Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).

"It was so tough today. It was just one of those days where I didn't feel like I was hitting the ball all that cleanly," Davenport said. "Being down the match points, coming back and finding a way to win, playing a pretty good tiebreak, was exciting."

Other women's winners included Russia's Anna Chakvetadze and Dinara Safina, France's Virginie Razzano and Tatiana Golovin, and Switzerland's Patty Schnyder.

On the men's side, second-seeded Rafael Nadal advanced, as did 2001 Open champion Lleyton Hewitt, Belgium's Olivier Rochus, Russia's Mikhail Youzhny, Spain's Tommy Robredo, Czech Republic's Jiri Novak and France's Richard Gasquet.

Agassi needed cortisone and anti-inflammatory shots to keep playing this week. Although he pushed himself to the limit, he was just plain shot.

Hobbling, grimacing and breathing hard, he frequently stood, watching to see whether Becker's shots landed good. Reduced to hoping rather than hitting, Agassi showed just flashes of the brilliant returns and pinpoint backhands that made him an eight-time Grand Slam winner.

"I don't take pride in my accomplishments," he said. "I take pride in the striving."

The crowd clearly felt his pain, booing when his German opponent hit drop shots that made Agassi run.

"You could tell his back was hurting," Becker said. "It was hard to be tough, to go for your shots. I didn't say, 'I have to hit a drop shot because he is hurting."'

Becker said he tried to focus on the match, rather than what it might mean.



US Open at a Glance
Site: Flushing Meadows, NY
TV: Aug. 28-Sept. 10, USA/CBS
2005 Champions:
Men - Roger Federer
Women - Kim Clijsters
Total Prize Money: $12.1 Million

"I never really thought about it that way, that this is the last time he could play," he said.

Agassi's first Grand Slam match came at the 1986 U.S. Open when he lost to Jeremy Bates.

Before his agonizing, five-set win over Marcos Baghdatis that started Thursday night and finished Friday morning, Agassi envisioned the ending. Or, instead, how he did not want his career to finish.

"I just don't want to go off the court limping," he said at the time. "It's not what I want to do."

After three matches and more than 10 draining hours on the court where he loved to play, he still was standing.

More than 20 minutes after the match, Agassi was still crying as he limped through the hallways. He finished with a competitive career match record of 870-274 and a lifetime of memories - for him and his legion of fans.

Across the newly renamed USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, there was a collective moan and cries of "Oh, no!" at Louis Armstrong Stadium when the scoreboard posted the final result. Outside the big bowls, crowds wandering the grounds fell silent.

The daytime start took away much of the buzz that usually follows Agassi. He came out to a big cheer, but fans quickly saw he was in trouble and shouts of "Let's go, Andre!" were replaced by groans when his shots missed.

Becker, the 2004 NCAA champ from Baylor, came out with his hat backward and full of energy. No relation to Boris - never even met him - Benjamin certainly made a name for himself.

After beginning the match with a double-fault, Becker began rocketing aces at 140 mph, and that's when he looked like Boris. He won 13 straight points on serve and, perhaps most important, kept his composure as planned.

"Try to see it as another match," he said before taking the court.

Even in his final match, Agassi had his moments. He outlasted Becker to take a 22-point game early in the second set, then pumped his fist when he won the tiebreaker. His 4-year-old son, Jaden, joined the celebration, raising both arms and shouting "Hey!" as music blared during the changeover.

But it was obvious this Agassi was not the same one who ruled the courts with such verve for so long. Not that he was about to walk away.

"I didn't come here to quit," he said.


2006-09-03 14:42:06

Sean_CaseyRules
09-04-2006, 12:11 AM
He is definately my favorite Tennis player of all-time. I just wish that he could have gone out on top like Elway...