Andre Agassi on his 50th birthday: child prodigy, pop star, model (2023)


Hardly anyone has gone through as big a change in the course of their career asAndre Agassi. A man who initially hated tennis and mixed it with neon colors and jean shorts, and ended up becoming a professional model.

for Joerg Allmeroth
last modification: 04/29/2020, 20:07

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Andre Agassi on his 50th birthday: child prodigy, pop star, model (1)

That was spring two years ago.Andre Agassihe remembered his life in Las Vegas. And in a small round of talks, he discussed the "two biggest wins" he had achieved, victories off the stage that made him a world star, one of the best-known and sometimes controversial athletes of his time. "I have found a life outside of tennis. I fulfilled a dream of 'being able to help other people who are not doing so well,'" Agassi said, referring to his tens of millions of dollars for his foundation work, building schools and kindergartens in her hometown of Las Vegas and across America.

And then win number two, adding that maybe win wasn't the right word. Agassi is no stranger to pathos, so he explained that "Fate Fulfillment" was perhaps more suited to his "wonderful marriage" to Steffi Graf, "the woman who is as perfect for me as you can be perfectly for each other." . Agassi smiled his characteristic Buddha smile and said: "You see a happy person in front of you."

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Agassi's new life is a count's life

Agassi turns 50 on Wednesday. A man with whom you did not know where you were with him for a long time. And by the way, his fascination stemmed from this, very similar to his former archenemy Boris Becker. Even now, after half a century of life, the wonder has not yet faded, but now that Agassi leads a withdrawn, rather contemplative life, that seemed completely unthinkable in his active career. Agassi's life has become more like the life of a count, a life consistent with his wife, without many headlines, without a presence on page 1, without expressing an opinion on one issue or another. Instead, Agassi continues to act as a benefactor caring for underprivileged children and young people and is therefore more in demand than ever in times like the corona pandemic.

Agassi has sporadically reappeared on the tennis circuit in recent years, but his commitment has never been more enduring. The American soon endedhis commitment to world number one Novak Djokovic, that Agassi could not and could not meet the requirements that the very ambitious Serb made of a first-rate consultant. The relationship with the very talented Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov did not last long, Agassi later admitting that he was less behind in his professional pursuits than his wife: "Steffi almost pushed me a bit to accept that. Because I might be bored. "Actually, the Agassi's reappearance in the traveling circus also proved one thing: he had grown fat, with a strong stomach, perhaps because of the painkillers he had to take for his severe and chronic back pain.

Agassi: Last match against B. Becker

In 2006, in excruciating pain, he dragged himself to his last hurray at the US Open in New York. It was an almost bizarre performance, before one of his games Agassi could be seen lying on the ground in a concrete walkway in front of the center court entrance because standing was too painful. The doctors continued to give him injections to relieve the pain. In the end, the last game lost against a certain Benjamin Becker from Merzig was a relief. It's over, an unprecedented tennis life, a lavish career, an adventurous journey.

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Agassi, like Björn Borg or McEnroe before him, like Boris Becker with him and like Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal after him, was bigger than his own sport. Since his first appearance at the US Open in August 1986, he has not let no one cold for a long time, for a long time there was no no man's land between ardent admiration and deep contempt. Before he received widespread recognition for his late offensive performance in the last years of his career, he was loved and scorned, admired and insulted: the Agassi, who once toured as a publicity figure under the slogan "The Image is everything."

There was never just one Agassi. There were many Agassas. And above all there was an Agassi who wasn't even known before he literally spoke openly and relentlessly about his life in his sensational biography "Open." And last but not least, he said that he "hates" tennis, also because of the constant pressure that his father Mike put on him to perform. There was another, even more shocking, revelation in this book, namely that Agassi, in a deep life and tennis crisis, illegally pumped himself on methamphetamine to escape the grim reality of the day. It emerged that tennis authorities were trying to cover up the scandal.

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1992 Wimbledon: "The hour I became a tennis player"

Otherwise, it never got boring with the boy from the glittering metropolis, the gambling hell of Las Vegas. A man with innumerable breaks in his career, who was full of contradictions, who vacillated between reality and appearance. And that's why he was so much more attractive than many of his no-nonsense peers, most notably Pete Sampras, Agassis' perpetual killjoy. It was thanks to his stunning success at Wimbledon in 1992 that Agassi, who was basically quite timid and doubtful, did not fail early on due to the harshness of the industry. "That was the time I was born a tennis player," says Agassi. To be more precise: it was the birth of the professional Agassi, who, for example, previously had the incredible luxury of not playing at Wimbledon for a few years due to outdated customs. Or who shied away from the overpriced trip to Australia for the Grand Slam tournament there.

Agassi then won there, in Australia, most of the time in a career that after the epic turned into an almost fabulous stretch.French Open Sieg 1999. Paris, the spring of 21 years ago, was the rebirth of Agassis, so to speak, after a crisis that had brought him to 141st place in the world ranking and earned him qualifications such as "Burger King of Tennis". After the Roland Garros triumph, he was suddenly number 1 again. And it was also this: the new partner of Stefanie Graf, who would soon become his wife, the mother of two children Jaden Gil and Jaz Elle.

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Agassi: from cult star to ascetic

He flourished well past his 30th birthday, now with a shaved head, an iron physical form, and an almost austere lifestyle. And with Frau Graf by her side, who also gave her sports advice. "We have a great harmony and relationship," Agassi said at the time. Gone are the days when she would go around the world like a bird of paradise and any pop star in the industry, as the protagonist of "Rebel Tennis".blonde hair, shirt and jeans. Boris Becker has just remembered this shrill, loud, motley Agassi with the admission that he "couldn't do much with him." Which was another great understatement.

Becker, who needs the public like moths to light, also said in his congratulatory speech that he would like Agassi to be more present in tennis these days. This wish will not come true. Agassi will also not be part of the army of consultants, experts or commentators in the future. He owes a lot to tennis. But he doesn't owe anything to tennis by any means.


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