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"ANDRE AGASSI"-----My Fave!!!
"ANDRE AGASSI"-----My Fave!!!
Agassi's Career Comes to Tearful Close
By HOWARD FENDRICH
The last match of his 21-year career played and lost, Andre Agassi coaxed himself into his courtside chair and buried his face in a towel. Then he looked up through tear-filled eyes at the more than 20,000 people standing and cheering for him in Arthur Ashe Stadium, a tribute that lasted four minutes. Agassi rose and moved to the center of the court for a second round of bows and kisses to the four sides of the arena, gingerly bending his bad back.
"I was sitting there realizing that I was saying goodbye to everybody out there, and they were saying goodbye to me," the 36-year-old Agassi said. "It's saying goodbye. It's a necessary evil. But we were getting through it together. That felt amazing."
The various versions of Agassi - the rebel with the long hair and Day-Glo outfits, the elder statesman, the 141st-ranked guy playing in tennis' minor leagues, the owner of a career Grand Slam, the husband of Steffi Graf and father of two - were in the minds of one and all Sunday at the U.S. Open, when his playing days came to an end.
"We all dream," top-ranked Roger Federer said, "about a career like he had."
Hampered by a bad back, run ragged by a player 11 years his junior, Agassi lost to the 112th-ranked German qualifier Benjamin Becker 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5 in the third round of an event that was the first major he ever played, and now the last.
"He's definitely," Becker said, "one of a kind."
That's why, for Agassi and the fans, it truly did not matter all that much what Sunday's outcome was. This day and this tournament were all about saying goodbye to an eight-time major champion who grew up in front of the world.
"The scoreboard said I lost today, but what the scoreboard doesn't say is what it is I've found," Agassi told the crowd, his voice cracking with emotion. "Over the last 21 years, I've found loyalty. You have pulled for me on the court and also in life. I have found inspiration. You have willed me to succeed sometimes even in my lowest moments."
Agassi got a cortisone injection after beating Andre Pavel in 3 1/2 hours, then received three anti-inflammatory shots in the days after beating eighth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis in an even longer encounter. The last injection came Sunday, before facing Becker, who won the 2004 NCAA singles title for Baylor University but needed to go through qualifying to make it into the Open.
Roddick sounded relieved not to have to face Agassi.
"Selfishly, I'll miss him. I'll miss him as a friend, as kind of a mentor," Roddick said. "He was unbelievable to me, with how accessible he was when I was younger. He would call me before matches and give me strategy advice before I was playing people when I was 17, 18 years old. I don't know many people who will take time out of their day for some little punk, trying to give them strategy."
Agassi couldn't conjure up any more magic in his 21st consecutive Open, an event he won in 1994 and 1999. His back - and Becker - wouldn't let him.
Over and over, Agassi would pull up short, watching a ball fly by instead of chasing it. He winced after serves, clutched his lower back after stretching to reach for shots.
"I wanted to run on the court and pull him off," said Agassi's trainer, Gil Reyes, "because it shouldn't hurt - it shouldn't hurt that bad."
There were times, as his limp grew more pronounced, when it seemed quite likely that Agassi wouldn't be able to complete the match; his father, who turned him into a tennis player as a tot, had said he hoped Agassi wouldn't try to play Sunday and wasn't in attendance.
"If I wanted to quit," Agassi said, "I would have done that a long time ago. I didn't come here to quit...
"I just credit the doctors that I was able to get out there today. It's been such a day-by-day battle. Sure enough, it was real early where I wasn't feeling so good," he said, then smiled and added: "That all doesn't matter anymore."
I may not be able to see you anymore standin' like a Gladiator at the baseline & return with a flare everything that the opponent could muster...
You are the Best & will never be forgotten!
AGASSI YOU ARE INDEED AWESOME!!!
9/9/2007 2:35 am
Sad to think that no one is interested to play Tennis here but me....Hmmmm....|
11/1/2007 4:58 am
I no longer play tennis. My legs can no longer endure the stress. I am happy that I was able to watch Agassi play his final match before retirement. He seemed to have a brief comeback but was overpowered by the youthful and skillful opponent.|
I am glad to see that you're still around here. I don't recall when was the last time that I sent you a reply. Over the past 3 years I have been almost non-existent on this site. Three years ago I began college classes while working a full time job that left no time for logging on here except the weekends. Two years ago, I was no longer working the full time job, but I was still attending college full time and then some. I would leave home at 7 AM EDT for a short 35 mile drive that often took close to 2 hours drive into school. Classes from 9 AM to 2:30 PM. Leave for about one half hour for lunch, then return to school for study, research, and lab time. The extra time at spent at school paid off. I graduated one year ago, October 16, 2006 with honors. Finding full time employment has not been very rewarding. I picked up a part time job mid-December 2006 and remained until mid-July 2007 when I was laid off. Searched the Internet Boards for full time positions in my area in my spare time, but found known. During my employment furlow and search for FT employment, I've tried to keep up on my studies so that I don't forgot all that was learned in college. I have visited my Grandson 3 times. My most recent visit lasted 2 weeks with he and his Mother in Georgia. I took him to school in the mornings and met him at day care in late afternoon. I made many new friends in Georgia and Alabama through my hobby of talking on two way radio, and visited a few historical sites. One site visited I had been wanting to visit for almost 2 years. The Tuskegee Airmen Museum in Tuskegee, AL. I was called back to work the part time job and took since nothing promising has developed since my summer layoff. I began training yesterday. I was supposed to train for 5 hours but convinced the instructor that I knew as much as he and he released me from training after the first hour. The next step was to be monitoring by a coach, but this procedure was waived as well. Now I am awaiting shift assignment. A plus to returning to this part time job is a pay increase and the ability to work from home.
I may not be on here very often, but I will try. That will be dependent on the number of hours I will be assigned. Beside my work schedule, I have many other activities that keep me busy. Fraternal organization, computer club, and bowling to name a few.
How are things with you at work? I think you were on afternoon shift the last time we corresponded.
Peace and Love,