Andre Agassi (born April 29, 1970, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA) is a notable American professional tennis player (1986-). As of 2004, he has won over $25 million in prize money and achieved a number 1 ranking on the ATP tour.
Agassi, an ethnic Armenian, was born and raised in Las Vegas, and still lives there when not on tour. His Armenian-born father, Emmanuel "Mike" Agassi, was a boxer for Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics before emigrating to the U.S. When he became a U.S. citizen, he changed his name from Agassian to Agassi.
Mike Agassi was a tennis fanatic, to put it nicely, determined to turn at least one of his 4 children into a world-class player. He hung tennis balls over Andre's crib. He was given a full-sized racket when he was 2. Growing up, he and siblings had to hit 3,000 balls every day, 7 days a week. Mike had Andre practice with Ilie Nastase and Jimmy Connors. His sister, Rita, finally had enough of their father, and moved in with Pancho Gonzalez (their son, Skylar, played on Bishop-Gorman High School's tennis team). When he was 14, Andre was shipped off to teaching guru Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy in Florida. He surpassed $1 million in career prize money in December 1988, after just 43 tournaments -- the quickest player in history to do so.
Agassi married actress Brooke Shields in a lavish ceremony on April 19, 1997. That February, the couple filed suit against The National Enquirer claiming it printed "false and fabricated" statements: The October 8, 1996 Enquirer claimed Brooke was undergoing counseling, binge-eating and taking pills; the October 29 story claimed Agassi "lashed into" Brooke, Agassi and Brooke's mother, Teri, "tangled like wildcats," Teri demanded a prenup, and Brooke "threatened" to derail the wedding. The case was dismissed, but the headlines were indictive of the union. Although their divorce was granted on April 9, 1999, Agassi co-operated with Shields's quest to obtain an annulment so that she could marry her current husband, Chris Henchy, in the Catholic Church.
By the time the divorce was final, he was dating Steffi Graf. With only their mothers as witnesses, they were married at his Las Vegas home on October 22, 2001. Their son, Jaden Gil, was born 6 weeks prematurely on October 26. Their daughter, Jaz Elle, was born on October 3, 2003.
Andre Agassi has won eight Grand Slam singles titles:
US Open, 1994, 1999
Australian Open, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2003
French Open, 1999
He is one of only five male players to have won all the Grand Slam tournaments in a career, along with Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and Fred Perry. He has also won the Olympic gold medal in singles at Atlanta in 1996. Agassi has represented the USA in Davis Cup play many times, compiling a lifetime record of 30-5 in 21 ties.
Agassi typically employs a baseline style of play, rarely serving-and-volleying. His serve is average at best among the top players on the men's tour. He is known for having the best return of serve in professional tennis. To underscore that point, he was the target of the fastest serve recorded at that time on the men's tennis tour, a 149 mph (240 km/h) blast from Andy Roddick—and returned it into play. He is in exceptional physical shape and can outlast many players over the course of a long match.
Some of Agassi's most famous matches include the following:
French Open final 1990: lost to Andrés Gómez, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, in his first Grand Slam final.
Wimbledon final 1992: defeated Goran Ivanisevic, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 for his first Grand Slam win and only Wimbledon championship
Wimbledon Semi-final 2000: lost to Patrick Rafter, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, in a tense 5-set match.
French Open final 1999: defeated Andrei Medvedev 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, in a spectacular come-from-behind victory to complete his career Grand Slam.
US Open final 1999: defeated Todd Martin 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2, in another come-from-behind thriller.
Australian Open 2000 Semi-final: defeated Pete Sampras, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-1, en route to his second Australian Open championship.
US Open 2001 Quarter-final: lost to Pete Sampras, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6 despite not losing a service game.
US Open 2002 Final: lost to Pete Sampras, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, in what turned out to be Sampras' last competitive match.
In 1992 Andre was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award.