Because of sciatica caused by two bulging discs in his back, a spondylolisthesis (vertebral displacement), and a bone spur that interferes with the nerve, Andre Agassi retired from professional tennis on September 3, 2006, after losing in the third round of the U.S. Open. Agassi is married to Steffi Graf and has two children. He is the founder of the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which has raised over $60 million for at-risk children in Southern Nevada. In 2001, the Foundation opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas, a K-12 public charter school for at-risk children.
Andre Agassi was born in Las Vegas to Emmanuel "Mike" and Elizabeth "Betty" Agassi (maiden name Dudley). His father is of Armenian and Assyrian ancestry, and represented Iran in boxing at the 1948 and 1952 Olympic Games before emigrating to the United States. He was intent on having a child win all four tennis Grand Slam tournaments. He learned tennis by watching tapes of champions and took a very systematic approach to the game. He called Agassi's two older siblings "guinea pigs" in the development of his coaching techniques. He honed Andre's eye-coordination when he was an infant by hanging tennis balls above his crib. He gave Agassi paddles and balloons when he was still in a high chair. When Agassi started playing tennis, his ball collection filled 60 garbage cans with 300 balls per can, and Andre Agassi would hit 3,000-5,000 balls every day. When Andre was five years old, he was already practicing with pros such as Jimmy Connors and Roscoe Tanner. Later, Mike began working in one of the Las Vegas casinos that belonged to Armenian American tycoon Kirk Kerkorian. Mike and Kirk became good friends, and Andre's middle name "Kirk" is actually after Kirk Kerkorian.
Mike Agassi was renowned for being very domineering over Andre. He was known to take a hammer to matches and bang on the fences in disgust when Andre lost a point. He sometimes screamed at officials and was asked to leave more than once. At the age of thirteen, Andre was sent to teaching guru Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy in Florida. He was meant to stay for only eight weeks because that was all his father could afford. However, after ten minutes of watching Agassi rally, Bollettieri called Mike and said, "Take your check back. He's here for free."
Andre Agassi was unhappy at the academy and grew rebellious. He drank beer, smashed racquets, and grew a mohawk haircut. At a televised tournament, he wore ripped denim jeans and, knowing his father's homophobia, wore pink lipstick and grew out his pinkie fingernail and painted it pink. After a year at the academy, Agassi became emotionless and depressed. Bollettieri eventually lost his temper and told Agassi to leave. He saw Agassi's indifference and then asked what he wanted. Agassi replied, "leaving here and turning pro." He turned professional at the age of 16. His first tournament was in La Quinta, California. He won his first match against John Austin, 6-4 6-2 but then lost his second match to Mats Wilander 6-1, 6-1. By the end of the year, Agassi was ranked #91 in the world.
Andre Agassi and his Childern
Andre Agassi and his Wife
Have you ever wondered what American Andre Agassi and Argentine David Nalbandian have in common? Both famous tennis players are of Armenian origin. Nalbandian began playing tennis at age five when his Armenian grandfather built a cement court in his backyard in Cardoba, Argentine. Agassi’s father is also Armenian who immigrated to the U.S. from Iran. Agassi’s middle name, Kirk, is after Armenian American tycoon Kirk Kirkorian, who hired Agassi’s father Mike to work in one of his casinos. Later they became good friends.
David Nalbandian plans to visit his ancestrial homeland Armenia in early October, where he will give a master class and play an exhibition match with Armenia’s top tennis player Harutyun Sofyan.Andre Agassi
There is a saying that the making of a champion starts from childhood. This is true in the case of Andre Agassi who has displayed a strong inclination to the sport of tennis since he was 3 years old.
At the age of 5, he was someone with a special talent compared to the children of his age. His recorded videotapes showed him hitting the ball hard overhead in an excellent backhand at the age of 5.
Andre Agassi started his career in 1986 and always won the first set but often ended to lose in 3 or 5 sets. He was observed to have weak physical and mental stamina to endure a long tennis play. He played fantastically in the tennis court but he also lost many times because he was in bad mood.
But as he grew older, he realized his errors in playing and soon, he played well and improved his style and behavior. At the age of 18, he won 6 titles and became No. 3 in the world record. He was the favorite player of the audience whenever he played in court due to his good looks and smart performance.
But he lost many games in the Grand Slam and the U.S. Open. However, he was firm in winning other games and did not allow his frequent loses to ruin his determination to succeed, ‘though he considered those as his major setbacks.
He had to undergo a wrist surgery in 1993 but still survived 3 rounds of win in the 1994 U.S. Open using his amazing tennis strokes. After winning 7 titles in 11 finals, he became the No. 1 tennis player in 1995 world ranking.
In 1997, Agassi had a serious personal problem that destroyed his professional career. His world ranking plunged to 141st from No. 1.
This was the time of his turbulent marriage with his former wife, Brook Shields, when it seemed that he could no longer recover from the crisis. But the marriage did not lead to separation until after 2 years, thus, Agassi realized that he was too young to abandon his chosen career and there was no reason to dwell on this major setback in his personal life.
Soon, he came back to the arena completely polished and recharged. He humbled himself by playing in challenger events. Soon, he made a good comeback and hit it to win all 4 Grand Slam titles. But he started losing again and his worst defeat was against Peter Sampras in 2001.
What are the lessons that Andre Agassi gained from his ups and downs in the world of tennis?
In his early stints, he didn’t allow his early loses to become a major setback in his rising career. He didn’t believe in numbers and he dismissed comments and speculations. He only believed in what he can do and he didn’t give attention to criticisms. This enabled him to have a good comeback.