Andre Agassi: A Cracked Crystal

As a fellow half blooded Persian I understand Andre Agassi’s burden of carrying such a thick, luscious head of hair. Oh, the headaches and copious amounts of money spent on hair products. What I don’t understand is being forced into doing something you don’t want to be doing in the first place and carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. I can’t relate to year and year being spent perfecting a sport you would rather not be part of. I don’t understand the burden of not being able to just be a normal teenager with not a care in the world. I can’t relate to the life of Andre Agassi. 

Andre Kirk Agassi was born on April 29, 1970 in Las Vegas, Nevada to Emmanuel “Mike” Agassi (a former Olympic boxer from Iran) and Elizabeth “Betty” Agassi. Just going to shove a little fun fact in here, one of Agassi’s ancestors actually changed the family’s surname from Aghassian to the now infamous Agassi. Not much is known about Agassi’s childhood and schooling; probably because he didn’t really have one. In 1982 at the delicate age of 12 Andre Agassi and his good friend Roddy Parks won National Indoor Boys 14s Doubles Championship. By the age of 13, Agassi was sent to Nick Bollettieri’s Tennis Academy in Florida. Agassi was only going to stay attend the academy for six months because that was all his father could afford. After watching the young teenage play for just thirty minutes, Bollettieri, deeply impressed by his talent, called Mike and said: “Take your check back. He’s here for free.” A.A would end up dropping out of school in the ninth grade to pursue a full-time tennis career. Well, I suppose that is why he does not really talk about his educational background. 

By the age of sixteen Andre had gone professional and was playing in his first tournament. Shit, at the 16 I was just worried about being able to show off my driver’s license to my friends. By the end of 1986 he was ranked number ninety-one, that is not too shabby for a sixteen-year old. In 1987 Agassi won the Sul American Open and jumped up to the rank of number twenty-five. In 1988 he would win six more additional tournaments a bank over one million dollars in career prize money (dude was only eighteen)! 1988 was big year for A.A because he also set the open-era record for most consecutive victories by a male teenage tennis player. That record stood for 17 years until stupid cry baby Rafael Nadal broke it in 2005. He closed out ‘88 by being ranked number three in the male tennis world. 

Agassi did not play in the tournament of all tournaments, Wimbledon from 1988 to 1990. I can’t make up the reason that he didn’t want to play, I am not that creative. Andre decided not to play in Wimbledon because he didn’t want to be forced to follow the events traditional all white dress code. I guess they didn’t dub him the bad boy of tennis for nothing. I am about to digress so hard but I literally just realized that his initials are A.K.A and that amused me. Anyway, while still a just a teenager Agassi would make it to the second round of both the French and US Open. Damn, I wish I could have seen this guy play but I was non-existent that year. He reached his first grand slam final in the 1990 French Open but would fall to Andres Gomez. He would go on to beat defending champion in the semi- finals of the US Open that same year but would ultimately lose the final to rival Pete Sampras. In 1991 Andre Agassi said to hell with it and played in his first ever Wimbledon, where he was indeed wearing all white. In 1992 he would go on to win the traditional tournament and hoist his first ever Wimbledon cup in the air, that thing is solid gold dude.  

Agassi underwent wrist surgery in late 1993, I just kind of skipped over that because that was not as big of a year for him and we want to get to the good shit. With new coach Brad Gilbert, he came back on the scene in 1994, starting out slow and steady. His comeback was sealed when he became the first men’s player to win the US Open while being unseeded. That sounded so dirty but I swear it wasn’t, it is legitimate sports terminology. I told you having a thick, luscious, heavy, full head of hair is not a burden many can carry and in 1995 Andre Agassi would shave his head and show off the shiny dome that we all know and love today. In April 1995 he finally hit the number one ranking spot. But what goes up must go down and 1996 was not a solid year for Agassi. For the first time in a long time he didn’t reach any grand slam finals.  

Agassi’s wrist injury reared its ugly head once again in 1997 and he ended up playing in only twenty-four matches the whole year. Later that year A.A would end up failing an ATP drug test, he would write a letter stating that his friend had spiked a drink without him knowing. In his autobiography Agassi would admit that it was a bold-faced lie. Between his wrist injury and failing marriage to actress Brooke Shields he was at an all-time low. He had lost any sort of interest he had for tennis and turned to crystal meth to cope with life. Drugs are bad guys! Can you imagine what he would have looked like if all his teeth fell out!? Crystal didn’t help him out at all as he won no top-level titles that year. On November 10, 1997 A.A was ranked number one hundred and forty-one. That is a far cry from the number one ranking he held not too long before. 

By 1998 Agassi had broken up with Ms. Meth and he was able to make somewhat a comeback in the sport. He entered rehab and starting a rigorous conditioning program to get himself back into top physical and mental shape. The program must have worked because that year he jumped from number one hundred and ten to number six. In 1999 he won the French Open and became one of only five male tennis players to win all four grand slam titles during their career (in more recent years Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic have joined this list). Agassi also became the only male player to win the Career Super Slam, consisting of all four Grand Slam tournaments plus an Olympic gold medal in singles and a Year-End Championship. In 2001 A.A successfully defended his Australian Open title. In 2003 he would win the Australian Open again making this his eighth and final grand slam win of his career. Andre Agassi would hang up his racket for good in 2006. 

In November 2009 Agassi released his autobiography: Open: An Autobiography. My husband highly recommends it if you are an Andre Agassi fan. He might be a little biased because Agassi was and still is his favorite player to ever step foot on the court; but highly recommended none the less. It is on these pages that Andre Agassi would really open up about his life. Talking about his abusive and over demanding father. He really opens up about his youth as a young tennis star and how it was very difficult for him to grow up away from all his friends and family. The one thing he mentions that tends to stick with people is his use of methamphetamine. Exposing himself in such a raw way did earn him some backlash from fellow tennis stars. In response to this revelation, Roger Federer declared himself shocked and disappointed, while Marat Safinn argued that Agassi should return his prize money and be stripped of his titles. In an interview with CBS, Agassi justified himself and asked for understanding, saying that “It was a period in my life where I needed help.” Boy, if you need help you get a therapist not crack cocaine.  

Ultimately, he would admit that he never liked the sport of tennis and even went as far as to say that he hated it. These feeling stemmed the constant overwhelming pressure that was always placed on him. He also admitted that he wore a hairpiece earlier in his career. Well, I am just stunned, I am simply stunned, stunned is the only way to describe how I am feeling right now! You phony! He also voiced his feelings about Pete Sampras and how he thought he always acted “robotic”. His book reached number one on the New York Times Best Seller list.  

No matter how you slice it (you see what I did there?) Andre Agassi is a name that is deeply rooted in the world of tennis. I don’t think there is anybody on the face of the earth who has no clue who that man is. He has inspired many and disappointed some. He was and will forever be the bad boy of tennis. I suppose there was John McEnroe but in reality, he was just a little cry baby bitch who liked to throw temper tantrums. 

Sources:

Andre Agassi – Tennis Fame

Open: An Autogbiography – Andre Agassi

A Young Andre Agassi
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