The Tennis Greats: Andre Agassi
Although his list of career titles may be shorter than his contemporary and American compatriot Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi is still in many people’s eyes one of the most remarkable players ever to pick up a tennis racket. Believed by many with the knowledge to comment to have had the best return of service that has ever been seen in the game, Agassi is unique among male tennis players in having won a career Golden Slam – that is, all of the Grand Slam titles plus an Olympic gold, won in 1996 at the Atlanta games.
In an interesting quirk, Agassi is married to the only female player to have won a calendar Golden Slam, Steffi Graf, who won the Olympic gold in 1988 in Seoul. Agassi won a total of eight Slam titles in his career, and but for much publicized battles with injury and weight gain may have won more. Considered to be a highly talented player who could have won more if he had had the same mentality as Pete Sampras, Agassi is nevertheless more popular than Sampras and believed to be the more naturally talented player.
An anecdote about Agassi’s early career sums up his abilities. When his father sent him to the tennis academy run by Nick Bolletieri in Florida, he agreed for Andre to stay for three months as that was all the family could afford. Ten minutes into his first practice session Bolletieri, considered by many to be the greatest coach of young talent tennis has ever seen, called Agassi Sr and told him to take his check back, because Agassi had more talent than any player he had ever seen.