Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Agassi Still Has the Motivation

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Agassi Still Has the Motivation

Article excerpt


ANDRE AGASSI enters Wimbledon next week as a thirtysomething family man enjoying a peace of mind that few sportsmen can match. It is something that should worry every other player in the men's draw.

This state of sporting grace can be traced back to his 1999 Roland Garros triumph, which completed a full hand of Grand Slam titles - French, Australian, Wimbledon and US Open - to make him only fifth player in the history of tennis to register this hugely impressive achievement.

Agassi, who meets Israel's Harel Levy in the Wimbledon opening round, explained: "It was a moment when everything changed for me and I knew I would never have a regret. That's pretty blessed to be able to say that."

Since that amazing day in Paris, Agassi has married women's tennis great Steffi Graf and, on 26 October last year, the family group was expanded by the arrival of Jaden Gil, their first child.

Agassi's success on court has also given him the financial clout and contacts off it to help create his beloved Foundation - founded in 1994 - which built a school for atrisk children in his home town of Las Vegas and continues to change young lives.

Despite all these key elements in his life, Agassi can still find the motivation to get out on court and stand toe-to-toe with the new stars of the game.

His approach is precise and confrontational, relying on the years of experience to help him solve troublesome conundrums.

"How do I prepare for big matches? By spending the last 16 years travelling the world playing on all different types of surfaces," he explained.

"My game is to control the points and to keep the squeeze on, so my opponent can't turn the point around. To win, you have to step up to the plate and you can't bluff anyone into going away."

When Agassi leaves the court after a match or practice session and returns home, he is in the unique position of being able to ask his 'other half ' if she has ever dealt with a particular tennis problem. …

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