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Posted on: September 5, 2008 12:41 am
 

Fanny J. Crosby was not blind!

Greetings! (preparing for a drive to Dallas TX )

In our prayers, we commonly plead with God for strength of body and good health. We come often in times of trouble. What is much less common are prayers offered in gratitude for the fact that we and our loved ones are, in fact, strong and well. For most of us, it is almost unbelievable that anyone should give thanks to the Lord for illness or handicaps. Yet there are many instances of individuals who have done just that. Men and women who feel that their special gift may well have depended upon the apparent disability they possess. The best most can hope for is to learn to accept and find peace with a handicap, but some, seeing a greater scope of God's grace, actually rejoice in the doors opened by the shift of emphasis.

Fanny J. Crosby was certainly one of these. At the age of six months, Fanny was blinded by a poultice placed on her eyes. Rather than developing with a nature of gloom and anger she showed her bright and tender spirit early in her life. When she was only eight years old she wrote:

O what a happy soul am I!

Although I cannot see,

I am resolved that in this world

Contented I will be.

How many blessings I enjoy,

That other people don't;

To weep and sigh because I'm blind,

I cannot and I won't!

While she may not be remembered as one of America 's greatest poets, she certainly is remembered as one of the truly special writers of Christian songs. Just to mention a few of the more than 8,000:

She was blessed with more acute vision.

"Safe In The Arms Of Jesus"

"All The Way My Savior Leads Me"

"Jesus Is Tenderly Calling Thee Home"

"I Am Thine, O Lord"

"Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross"

The spirit for finding the good in what others saw as a handicap was seen clearly as she spoke with a Scottish minister who had remarked, "I think it is a great pity that the Master, when He showered you with so many gifts, did not give you sight."

She answered, "Do you not know that, if at birth I had been able to make one petition to my Creator, it would have been that I should be born blind." "Why?" ask the surprised minister. "Because, when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior," was the unexpected reply.

Fanny J. Crosby was not blind! She was blessed with more acute vision than most of us will ever possess.

[The LORD says] "I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them." (Isaiah 42:16 NKJV) <(((><

---

We seem more interested in managing life into a comfortable existence than in letting God spiritually transform us through life's hardships. This question is for you to answer: personally, introspectively, truly. Are you seeking to know the depths of God, or are you just skimming the surface? <(((><

Category: General
Posted on: September 4, 2008 11:12 pm
 

Losing Myself: Teens Talk Tough Times

by: Jenny Deyo

I was like any other average ninth grader. I was active in sports, had my circle of friends and got good grades. Until the day I was introduced to him. There was something in his eyes that attracted me. Somehow I thought that he needed me just as much as I needed to be loved. After flirting for months, we finally became a couple. We were together every single moment from that day on. Slowly, day by day, my family and friends saw me changing. I was in love.

After about two months, however, he started to try to control me and even raise his voice at me. I told myself it was okay because he really did love me. Or so I thought. The first time he ever hurt me, we were skiing with friends and had lost each other on the slopes. When he found me, he said it was my fault. He proceeded to push me and call me nasty names while people just stared at us. I ran into the bathroom with my best friend and cried my eyes out. The next thing I knew, he was in the bathroom hugging me, overflowing with kisses and saying how sorry he was. So I forgave him and put that day in the back of my mind.

Things did not go back to normal, though. He became possessive and jealous. He made rules stating I could no longer wear my hair down, wear shorts in the summertime or have any sign of another boy in my room. If another boy even glanced at me in school, he would yell at me. My grades dropped, I lost my ambition for sports, I started losing my friends, and my family became my worst enemy. I didn’t want to listen to what they thought about my relationship or how much I had changed. I cried every single night because of the way I was beginning to feel about myself. He would yell at me or blame me for everything. A couple of times, I tried hurting myself because I felt I wasn’t good enough for him and that there wasn’t any other reason to be alive. I tried to justify his actions by believing they showed how much he cared about me. As a ninth grader, it made me feel important to be in love and have a steady boyfriend.

My parents tried taking me to counseling and talked to all my teachers about my relationship. I started skipping school. The violence escalated. He tried to choke me on several occasions, and once he tried to break my arm because his brother looked at me in my swimsuit. I felt hopeless and depressed. He had so much control over my mind that I could not accept anyone else’s opinion of him. I told myself that they just didn’t understand how much he loved me. He only did what he did because he cared.

The physical abuse continued to get worse. He forced me to do sexual things with him. He also hit, choked and pushed me around. He tried drowning me once. Fortunately, I fell on some rocks before he had the chance to get me under the water. He also cut my wrists because he was in the dumps. This went on for nine months.

Finally, my parents took me on a trip for a week. While I was on vacation, he cheated on me, and I built up enough courage to break up with him. One night, I lay in bed and thought of everything he had done to me. It was clear what I had to do.

I spent the last two weeks of summer break trying to get my old friends back before returning to school. When I went back to school, he was in my gym class. I was nice to him because I still feared him. When I got up the nerve to tell him that it was over for good, he went psycho, pushed me to the ground and kicked me several times. Nobody came to help me. The next day, I discovered an eight inch bruise on my leg.

It took me three days to show the bruise to my parents. To my surprise, after everything I had put them through, they helped me. They took me straight to the police station to file charges. I wanted to just let it go, but I was also determined that this should not and would not happen to anyone he “loved” in the future. At home, I continued to receive threatening phone calls from him saying that he was going to kill me. He told my parents that he would hurt me if he got the chance.

My court experience took over a year and was horribly painful. I found out that he had a violent past and that it wasn’t the first time that he had abuse charges brought against him. I was never notified about the final court hearing, so it happened without me and, to my knowledge, nothing severe happened to him. The justice system let me down, but I chose to go on with my life.

I am very lucky to be where I am today. I am nineteen years old, and I have grown and healed a lot. It took me over three years to tell my parents everything that he did to me. My parents and I are very close now. The healing process may continue for years to come, but I deal with my pain by sharing my story with other young teens, hoping to help prevent this from happening to anybody else. I do not wake up every day hating him. I feel bad for him, and I know he needs help, wherever he is. I have learned instead to focus on living my life to the fullest and cherishing the people I truly love.

Reprinted by permission of Jenny Deyo (c) 2000. In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent. All rights reserved.

Category: General
Posted on: July 29, 2008 12:31 am
 

Meneses, Cariaso facing new challenges

by Agnes R. Cruz

MANILA: Two players with virtually identical style of playing the game closest to their hearts are facing contrasting challenges in their careers - and they are doing good.

Vergel Meneses and Jeffrey Cariaso, both notorious for their devil-may-care moves on the hoops, are embarking on their respective missions in the Philippine basketball landscape.

The 11-year veteran Meneses, who won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 1995, is once again passing through a crossroad in his glorious career as a professional basketball player.

He had just been reunited with former RFM coach Derrick Pumaren after Ginebra traded him to expansion team FedEx last month.

Actually, it was a development the pride of Bulacan had closely followed for the past two months knowing that it was inevitable.

“I told Coach Allan (Caidic) last year that if ever management was planning to trade me, I just hope it would be to FedEx because I already know and am pretty familiar with Coach Derrick’s system. That’s why, despite leaving Ginebra with a heart, I'm so thankful to be with this new team,” said the nine-time All-Star.

Moving in to a neophyte ballclub means more than that to Meneses. The 33-year-old dynamo hopes to spend the last remaining years of his career with FedEx, calling it as his “final home.”

Meneses has catapulted himself to prominence immediately after breaking into the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in 1992, landing at the doorstep of Presto Ice Cream.

His sensational slam-dunking, sweet-gliding talent has earned him the monicker “Aerial Voyager.”

For a while, he spent time polishing his game with Sta. Lucia Realty, the team that bought the Gokongwei franchise the following year, before joining RFM where he won three championships, one with Yeng Guiao and two with Pumaren.

In 1999, he was signed up by Ginebra for a five-year deal to form a formidable partnership later with Sta Lucia’s former franchise player, Zandro Limpot.

But a cocktail of injuries and a seeming incompatibility with Ginebra’s system, left Meneses out in cold under Caidic’s tutelage. So late last year saw him and Caidic holding a heart-to-heart talk about each other's future.

“I simply couldn’t fit to Ginebra’s system, that’s why I had no other recourse but to ask politely Coach Caidic to trade me,” recalled Meneses.

In exchange for a future draft pick, Ginebra freed itself of a big-budget star in Meneses, who is reportedly earning 500,000 pesos a month, while gifting FedEx with a multi-titled veteran with positive flair and savvy, not to mention a high marquee value.

Meneses is teaming up once more with former Swift teammate Zaldy Realubit and fellow-All-Star Jerry Codiñera.

Indeed, things are looking rosy for him. His knees are fine and his groin pull, which kept him out for most of the season, no longer bothers him.

Still, he is not taking any chances.

“I took my old number during my amateur days (No. 8) because I felt No. 2 (his jersey number with Ginebra) had brought to me bad luck,” quipped Meneses, who relinquished his old No. 18 to Wilmer Ong at Ginebra and to 2002 top draft pick Yancy de Ocampo at FedEx.

Certainly, he is determined to have his last voyage with FedEx.

“I will keep myself fit so I could blend perfectly with FedEx’s system,” he said. ìIím so thankful that Coach Derrick has put his confidence in me again, and that’s already a big achievement on my part.”

Cariaso, who was the Rookie of the Year winner in the same year Meneses won his MVP trophy, is part of the National Team competing in the Asian Games in Busan, South Korea.

“This has become a personal mission for me,” said Cariaso, who barely missed the chance to be part of the last two national teams in the Asian Games. “But it's not entirely about me simply making the team. I want to be in that team, I want to do well for the sake of the team and I want the team to do well for the sake of the country.”

In 1994, he was a promising 21-year-old talent straight out of the US college leagues who caught the eye of Norman Black and was made to try out for the Philippine team to the Hiroshima Asiad - one of only five amateurs asked to do so. He ended up as one of its final cuts and, sadly, the Nationals failed to win a medal.

Four years later, Cariaso passed through the rigorous screening process and made it all the way to the Athletes’ Village in Bangkok, only to end up as the Unlucky 13th in Tim Cone’s Centennial Team, which settled for a third-place finish.

“I really cried in Bangkok,” he narrated, “because I wanted it so much and then that sad thing happened, and to be honest I was not expecting it.”

But Cariaso, a vital cog in Alaska’s dream title run inthe 90s that made it as one of the winningest teams in the history of the pro league, somehow has managed to put a positive spin to all these close calls.

“It has always been my perception in life that everything happens for a reason. And if I finally make this year’s national team, it will happen for a reason,” he said.

Indeed, that resolve and positive approach has reflected on his performance this season.

From the time the candidates’ pool was formed in January to their stint in the Commissioner's Cup, he and Fil-Tongan Asi Taulava have become one of the brightest spots in coach Jong Uichico’s team.

Cariaso, who is admittedly the best mid-sized defender in the national team, is sharing minutes with the likes of fellow forwards Danny Seigle, Noy Castillo, Dondon Hontiveros and Kenneth Duremdes.

Yet, lately, Cariaso has been surprisingly getting the biggest chunk of the minutes among them owing to his all-around brilliance spiked by a more consistent perimeter jumper that simply couldn't escape the coaching staff's discerning eyes.

Of course, at 29, he may be at the zenith of his career.

“I’ve matured a lot and I guess I’m at a point where I’m no longer too young and at the same time not yet among the old ones,” he said.

Posted on: July 29, 2008 12:04 am
 

TEN GUIDELINES FROM GOD

Effective Immediately, please be aware that there are changes YOU need to make in YOUR life. These changes need to be completed in order that I may fulfill My promises to you to grant you peace, joy and happiness in this life. I apologize for any inconvenience, but after all that I am doing, this seems very little to ask of you. Please, follow these 10 guidelines

1. QUIT WORRYING:

Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you? Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little thing that comes your way?

2. PUT IT ON THE LIST:

Something needs done or taken care of. Put it on the list. No, not YOUR list. Put it on MY to-do-list. Let ME be the one to take care of the problem. I can't help you until you turn it over to Me. And although My to-do-list is long, I am after all... God. I can take care of anything you put into My hands. In fact, if the truth were ever really known, I take care of a lot of things for you that you never even realize.

3. TRUST ME:

Once you've given your burdens to Me, quit trying to take them back. Trust in Me. Have the faith that I will take care of all your needs, your problems and your trials. Problems with the kids? Put them on My list. Problem with finances? Put it on My list. Problems with your emotional roller coaster? For My sake, put it on My list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask.

4. LEAVE IT ALONE:

Don't wake up one morning and say, "Well, I'm feeling much stronger now, I think I can handle it from here." Why do you think you are feeling stronger now? It's simple. You gave Me your burdens and I'm taking care of them. I also renew your strength and cover you in my peace. Don't you know that if I give you these problems back, you will be right back where you started? Leave them with Me and forget about them. Just let Me do my job.

5. TALK TO ME:

I want you to forget a lot of things. Forget what was making you crazy. Forget the worry and the fretting because you know I'm in control. But there's one

thing I pray you never forget. Please, don't forget to talk to Me - OFTEN! I love YOU!

I want to hear your voice. I want you to include Me in on the things going on in your life. I want to hear you talk about your friends and family. Prayer is simply you having a conversation with Me. I want to be your dearest friend.

6. HAVE FAITH:

I see a lot of things from up here that you can't see from where you are. Have faith in Me that I know what I'm doing. Trust Me; you wouldn't want the view from My eyes. I will continue to care for you, watch over you, and meet your needs. You only have to trust Me. Although I have a much bigger task than you, it seems as if you have so much trouble just

doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?

7. SHARE:

You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunate than you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your

laughter with those who haven't heard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith with those who have none.

8. BE PATIENT:

I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many diverse experiences. You grow from a child to an adult, have children change jobs many times, learn many trades, travel to so many places, meet thousands

of people, and experience so much. How can you be so impatient then when it takes Me a little longer than you expect to handle something on My to-do-list? Trust in My timing, for My timing is perfect. Just because I created the entire universe in only six days, everyone thinks I should always rush, rush, rush.

9. BE KIND:

Be kind to others, for I love them just as much as I love you. They may not dress like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but I still love you all. Please try to get along, for My sake. I created each of you different in some way. It would be too boring if you were all identical. Please, know I love each of your differences.

10. LOVE YOURSELF:

As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself? You were created by me for one reason only -- to be loved, and to love in return. I am a God of Love. Love Me. Love your neighbors. But also love yourself. It makes My heart ache when I see you so angry with yourself when things go wrong. You are very precious to me. Don't ever forget......

Category: Tennis
Posted on: July 28, 2008 11:50 pm
 

Agassi & Graf win 1999 French Open

Tears of joy as Agassi joins elite four

FROM THE ARCHIVES - 1999 FRENCH OPEN FINALS June 7th, 1999: John O'Sullivan reports from Paris on the French Open finals where Andre Agassi stunned Andrei Medvedev after being two sets down and Steffi Graf beat 18-year-old Martina Hingis in a tempestuous duel.

JOHN McENROE'S silence spoke volumes. Commentating for NBC, he could offer no words to describe the pictures that recorded the mass hysteria which greeted Andre Agassi's 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Andrei Medvedev yesterday. Roland Garros stood in noisy acclamation of a staggering comeback that allowed the 29-year-old Agassi to muscle into a previously select group of four.

It now numbers five as the Las Vegas native joined Donald Budge, Fred Perry, Roy Emerson and Rod Laver as the only men in the history of tennis to win the four Grand Slam tournaments. How appropriate therefore that it was the Australian Laver who handed Agassi the Coupe des Mousquetaires.

Agassi's tears that greeted Medvedev's long looping forehand return which drifted over the baseline on the American's fourth championship point were equally appropriate. Emotionally and physically drained, even he could offer no explanation of how he managed to transform a two-sets-to-love deficit into one of the great recoveries.

"I don't know. I'm blessed. I never dreamt that I would see this day," he said. "That was certainly the greatest feeling that I have ever had on a tennis court.

"Assigned a place among the great players of the game is unbelievable. I can't get my head around it."

Agassi's performance was a remarkable on-court metamorphosis. It was almost a lemming-like trait as Agassi inextricably hurtled to the precipice of defeat, offering up the first two sets with minimum resistance. The greater his discomfort, the more he speeded up between points. Soon the errors became a blur and his dreams threatened to crumble into the red dust of Roland Garros.

Twice a losing finalist, Agassi appeared handicapped by an all-consuming desperation to win that manifested itself in manic nervous tension. He willed balls out, periodically checked the red clay for marks he hoped would provide an overrule. He bore the hunted expression of a fugitive who gradually realises that there might be no escape.

In mitigation, Medvedev produced some scintillating tennis, serving superbly - he would serve 23 aces in total, a phenomenal number on clay - and jumped all over the Agassi delivery, particularly his second serve. He crushed one double-handed backhand after another past the bemused American and completely dominated the baseline exchanges. The 24-year-old Ukrainian did not lose a point on his first serve in those opening sets.

Of that period, Medvedev admitted: "He wasn't hurting me with his groundstrokes, he was struggling but in the third set that changed."

The French Open final seemed destined to provide a fanfare to the rehabilitation of Medvedev. Once ranked four in the world, he had tumbled to 100th in the world, largely through poor attitude.

The rekindling of his relationship with the tennis player Anke Huber, and with it a more positive outlook on life, brought the articulate and affable Ukrainian to the brink of Grand Slam success. His magnanimity in defeat will provide one of the abiding memories of the French Open. "I lost to a great player today. I wouldn't say that it was an honour to lose, but it is an honour to stand beside him now after what he has achieved."

In danger of a thrashing, Agassi scrambled for a new strategy and hit upon trying to apply pressure by coming to the net more often. The statistics would have offered him little succour. Agassi had only once ever come back from two sets down in a Grand Slam, overhauling Jim Courier at the 1996 Australian Open. He also held a career 15-16 five-set record.

But Medvedev harboured skeletons too, having twice previously lost a two-sets-to-love lead in a Grand Slam.

Agassi toughed it out in the third set, gradually establishing a more fluent rhythm to his groundstrokes, and his tenacity was rewarded with a break in the 10th game to give him the set.

The momentum of the match had shifted, exemplified by the American racing to a 3-0 lead in the fourth set.

Agassi's return of serve suddenly earned its more familiar withering pace, and he took the set 6-3 in 40 minutes.

Perhaps the crucial moment in the fifth set occurred when Agassi survived a break point in the second game. It was this moment that Medvedev admitted would linger in his memory.

"It's the one I'll remember. I went for a strange shot that wouldn't have hurt him even if it went in. I made a mistake."

The Ukrainian, already a break down from game five, saved three championship points in the eighth; but in the following game three service winners from 15-15 handed Agassi the crowning moment of his career.

JOHN O'SULLIVAN

Graf tames Hingis's tantrums and goes out in style

SUPERLATIVES for once are neither trite nor glib. Steffi Graf's performance in winning a sixth French Open at Roland Garros was magnificent, a tribute to her mental and physical prowess in a contest that offered pure theatre.

In the process she became the first player to beat the number one, two and three ranked players in a tournament in the Open era. Graf tried to articulate her feelings before confirming that this would be her last visit to Roland Garros.

"This is the best moment of my career. The crowd was unbelievable. I have never known anything like it. This is definitely the last time I will play here, without a doubt. You know this memory should be the way it is. This was my last French Open."

Disputed calls, a code violation, haute couture readjustment, an underarm serve at match point and tears aplenty guarantee a never-to-be-forgotten final. The sideshows should not, but will, detract from the quality of tennis on a day when a gusting wind offered a ready excuse for sub-standard fare. Graf's remarkable display, taking the tie 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, inspired Martina Hingis to admit: "I just didn't know what to do."

Already assured of a place in the pantheon of the sport - 22 Grand Slam titles needs no elaboration - the lustre of previous achievements was embellished further by her latest success. Principally because of the manner in which she refused to buckle against world number one Hingis.

Trailing by a set, 5-4 and 15-0 on the Hingis serve, Graf demonstrated nerves of high-tensile steel, patience, precision and remarkable composure excavating her from a perilous predicament. In taking the set 7-5 she wrested the momentum from Hingis, not least by the excellence of her tennis. In taking the third set 6-2, she simply capitalised on the emotional breakdown of her opponent.

It was a sobering sight to watch a grief-stricken Hingis in floods of tears, obviously struggling to comprehend the venom and vitriol poured on her by a packed gallery.

Her after-match admission summed up her distress: "If my mother wasn't there I wouldn't have gone back (out on court for the presentation). Come on, would you go out there if everyone boos you out?"

She facilitated the displeasure of the 16,000 crowd with a couple of tantrums, not least with the bizarre manner in which she disputed a call while leading by a set and 2-0. She became embroiled in an argument she would never win and then committed the ultimate sin by walking to the other side of the net, a forbidden gesture.

Her silly persistence cost her a penalty point but for a crowd that already favoured Graf it was the cue for open hostility. A warning for breaking her racquet by hammering it off the ground, leaving the court to change her top and remove her bandanna at the end of the second set and another petulant dispute stoked the fires of discontent of what ultimately became a boorish mob whose vilification of an 18-year-old was pathetic to witness.

Sure Hingis could have conducted herself in a more detached fashion but at 18 she possesses the immaturity of most teenagers, blighted with a touch of arrogance.

Still she did not deserve the unbridled baiting. What state of mind forces the number one player in the world to serve underarm at match point? No matter how many Grand Slams Hingis adds to her current total of five, the stigma of that action will stay with her for the rest of her life.

That she repeated it again, at match point this time, without success, underlined her mental breakdown. The Swiss girl offered: "I just couldn't serve. I thought, well maybe down under it's easier."

Graf to her credit did not condemn her young opponent for what in tennis terms would be a slight: "I thought it was a hell of a serve," she laughed.

"I mean just to do it for the first time, it was very good. I had the feeling that the crowd felt it was an insult. I did at that moment because she did it extremely well. Obviously it shook things up a bit and she won the point. It was a good decision from her point."

Graf was gracious in the words of consolation she offered Hingis and one suspects they were genuine even if the Swiss girl struggled to absorb anything in her distraught state. Only once, and this during the match, did Graf lose patience with the increasing number of charades, striding to the net and interrupting another exchange between Hingis and the umpire. Exasperated she declared: "Are we playing tennis or just talking a little bit."

She provided the emphatic answer, through deeds, within the confines of Court Central. The French Open women's final should be remembered as one of the great finals, its memory honouring Graf as a truly great champion.

© 2008 The Irish Times

Posted on: July 28, 2008 11:28 pm
 

Andre Agassi - New Coach, New Triumphs

In the summer of 1994, Agassi hired former player Brad Gilbert to be his new coach, citing Gilbert's reputation for winning matches he was expected to lose. Gilbert convinced him to focus on winning smarter, and outthinking his opponents. The new strategy paid off when he won the 1994 U.S. Open, his second Grand Slam win. "Agassi is suddenly the biggest thing in tennis because he proved himself serious at last, and an Agassi with purpose is simply gigantic," wrote a Sports Illustrated reporter. Agassi was back in the top ranks, this time at number two in the rankings. Perhaps to mark this new seriousness, he shaved off his trademark long hair shortly before the Australian Open, where he reached the finals without losing a match and then defeated old rival Pete Sampras to take the title. It was a delicious revenge, and the sweeter because it made Andre Agassi the number one men's tennis player for the first time in his life.

Chronology

1970 Born April 29 in Las Vegas, Nevada

1974 Exhibits tennis skills at Alan King Tennis Tournament

1983 Enters Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida

1986 Turns pro, signs endorsement contract with Nike

1988 Ranked number 3, with 63-11 record; reaches semifinals at U.S. and French Opens

1988 Passes $1 million mark in prize winnings, becoming second youngest player to do so

1990 Helps U.S. team win Davis Cup; reaches finals in U.S. and French Opens

1992 Wins Wimbledon, first "Grand Slam" victory

1993 Coach and mentor, Nick Bollettieri, announces he is leaving Agassi team

1994 Hires Brad Gilbert as coach

1994 Wins U.S. Open; ranked number 2

1995 Wins Australian Open; ranked number 1 men's tennis player in world

1995 Founds Andre Agassi Foundation to help at-risk children

1996 Wins gold medal, 1996 Summer Olympics

1997 Marries actress Brooke Shields, April 19

1997 Falls to number 101 in tennis rankings

1999 Divorces Brooke Shields

1999 Wins French Open

1999 Learns that both sister Tami and mother have breast cancer

1999 Begins dating Steffi Graf

2000 Wins Australian Open

2001 Wins Australian Open (first back-to-back Grand Slam victory)

2001 Marries Steffi Graf, October 22; four days later she gives birth to their son, Jaden Gil

Born to Serve

Really now. Can Andre Agassi, whose self-contradictions force tennis observers to question whether he's the game's new savior or just another infantile twerp, actually be unique?…

Bottom line: Agassi … is still a teenager. End of puzzle. See ya when you're 20 and back from the ozone, dude. He's got rock 'n' roll hair. Big deal. The last close-clipped, white American idol …may have been Pat Boone. But just because Agassi is No. 4 in the world; just because he has the speed, eyes and hands of a tennis genius; just because he hits the ball on the rise as well and as true and as hard as any human could possibly hit it—whew, man, and much harder than you would ever suspect a 5 ft. 11 in., 155-pound, spare-looking spider boy could—doesn't mean we should rush him into understanding geography, or acting less like a showboating nincompoop on the court or …or playing Wimbledon or something.

So, could Agassi, with his sidewinding howitzer forehand, his exotic, Middle Eastern surf-rat looks and that come-hither grin that melts all the girls, truly be the swirl of fresh air that tennis has been longing for? Or is he merely a chic bundle of cynical contrivances, a marketeer's dream package with a streak of show-biz evangelism, a veritable "Wayne Newton in denim"…?(Source: Curry Kirkpatrick, Sports Illustrated, March 13, 1989, p. 64.)

Agassi would not remain number one for long. He lost at Wimbledon to Boris Becker and then to Sampras at the U.S. Open. By November of 1995, Sampras was back at number one, and in 1996, Agassi lost early rounds at the Australian and French Opens and at Wimbledon. He did win a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics, but there was not much to celebrate the next year.

The next few years were a rollercoaster. He won no tournaments in 1997, and by the end of that year he was ranked a dismal 122. Off the court, his personal life was also trying. In May of 1997 he married his long-time fiancée, actress Brooke Shields, but by April 1999, they were divorced. By that time, he had begun yet another comeback. In 1998 he won five tournaments, and reaching the finals in five others. He ended the year ranked number six. Then he won the U.S. Open and the French Open in 1999. He had now won each of the Grand Slam tournaments. To top it off, he won the Australian Open again in early 2000, and once again in 2001—his first back-to-back victories in a Grand Slam tournament.

Awards and Accomplishments

1988 Named Association of Tennis Professionals' "Most Improved Player of the Year"

1990 Wins first ever Tennis Professionals World Tour Championship

1990 Reaches finals, French Open and U.S. Open

1990 On victorious U.S. team, Davis Cup (vs. Australia)

1991 Reaches finals, French Open

1992 Wins Wimbledon, first "Grand Slam" victory

1992 On victorious U.S. team, Davis Cup (vs. Switzerland)

1994 First place, U.S. Open; ranked number 2

1995 First place, Australian Open; ranked number 1 men's tennis player in world

1996 Gold medal, 1996 Summer Olympics

1999 First place, French Open

2000 First place, Australian Open

2001 First place, Australian Open (first back-to-back Grand Slam victory)

2001 Second place, U.S. Open

Agassi ended 2002 with a ranking of second and a record of 53-12. In October of 2001 he married fellow tennis great Steffi Graf, whom he started dating when both won the French Open in 1999, shortly after his divorce from Shields. Four days after their marriage, Graf gave birth to a baby boy, named Jaden Gil. From teenage hipster to family man, Andre Agassi had come a long way, and through it all he has retained a wicked tennis arm that attracted spectators when he was four, and continues to surprise opponents long after he has been counted out from serious competition.

<ahref="http://sports.jrank.org/pages/39/Agassi-Andre-New-Coach-New Triumphs.html">Andre Agassi - New Coach, New Triumphs</a>

Posted on: July 28, 2008 11:16 pm
 

THE HUMAN TOUCH

Author Unknown

It's a digital world. Everything is going digital. Every time I get to speak to bankers all over the country I would chide them and poke them with this provoking thought. Straight into their eyes this is what I say: "You guys boast of your excellent service. Your TV ads show your tellers transacting with a smile. But every time I call up your bank I never get a chance to talk to a human being. I get to talk to an answering machine."

Why? Because everything is digital these days. My friends have installed answering machines in their homes. I used to have one but I removed it. Somebody says, this is the recorded message in one of the answering machines he heard: “Hi! This is John. If you are the telephone company I already sent the money. If you are my parents please send me more money. If you are my friends you owe me money but if you are a female… don't worry… I've got lots of money!!!"

Don't you hate those answering machines? Call up your service provider and you have an urgent need yet what do you hear? "*ring* ... *ring* ... *click* Thank you for calling so and so…. Your call is important to us… but our operators are currently busy now… so please stay on the line and listen repeatedly to our awful company jingle and we'll be with you within a few hours because we care for you!" It's like their company slogan goes this way: "We're not satisfied until YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED!"

I got this material from the Internet and I could not remember who made this up but it's crazy: *ring* ... *ring* ... *click* Hello! Welcome to the Psychiatric Hotline. If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly. If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2. If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5, and 6. If you are paranoid-delusional, we know who you are and what you want. Just stay on the line so we can trace the call. If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you what number to press. If you are manic-depressive, it doesn't matter which number you press. No one will answer.

Technology may have made us more efficient yet it has isolated us from human interaction as well. Sally Toh is my friend residing in Kuala Lumpur and she handles my

speaking schedule and invitations there. I will never forget what she said one day. Sally said: "I am so busy that I can only use the email to communicate with my daughter who is in the next room…!"

Now before we become judgmental and condemning.. . how many among us use the SMS as the main means of communicating with our children?

I guess we are not very different from Sally are we?

Here's the key.

In an era of high tech we need high touch. My children need it and so do the people in the organization and more so with our customers.

In his leadership newsletter, Stan Toler wrote: "There she stood in the line at the post office, a line that wound its way almost out the front door. A fellow customer spoke to the elderly lady waiting to buy some stamps. "Ma'am, you must be very tired. Did you know there's a stamp machine over there in the corner?" He pointed to the machine built into the wall.

"Why yes, thank you," the lady replied, "but I'll just wait here a little while longer. I'm getting close to the window."

The customer became insistent. "But it would be so much easier for you to avoid this long line and buy your stamps from the machine."

The woman patted him on the arm and answered, "Oh, I know. But that old machine would never ask me how my grandchildren are doing."

Stan says, "Leaders would be well advised to spend less time on the organizational machinery and more time on the people within the organization. Remember, people will not sweat, invest or risk for an organization. But they will stretch beyond themselves for human connections."

In other words, it's "People first!" Now you know why I removed my answering machine and now you understand why there is no answering machines in my own companies. We take each call personally.

Just an idea. What if we run our business and boldly advertise: " We don't use answering machines…we take each call personally because you are important to us." Now that's a lot more credible wouldn't you say so? Put your money where your mouth is.

Just a thought. I'm glad that God does not use an answering machine. Because He takes each call (prayer) personally…the line is high speed…the earthquake in Taiwan or anywhere in the world will ever disrupt it…you don't need gadgets, all you need is a pair of bended knees and

guess what? The line is never busy. Because HE really cares!

Posted on: July 28, 2008 11:04 pm
 

Andre Agassi -- 10 Greatest Achievements

Posted on June 24, 2006

Andre Agassi has achieved more in his playing days than almost any other player in history. Greg Sharko looks at the 10 accomplishments that have defined his career. First published in DEUCE Magazine.

Wimbledon, 1992

Agassi came into Wimbledon ranked No. 14 and it was only his third career tournament on grass, having lost in the first round to Henri Leconte at the All England Club in 1987 and in the quarterfinals to fellow Nick Bollettieri Academy pupil David Wheaton in five sets in 1991. Agassi's early round matches included wins over Andrei Chesnokov, Eduardo Masso, Derrick Rostagno and Christian Saceanu before he faced his first test in the quarterfinals against three-time champion Boris Becker. Agassi defeated the German in five sets, then ousted another former three-time winner, John McEnroe, in an impressive straight-sets semifinals victory in the left-hander's last singles match at Wimbledon.

That set up an intriguing championship match with hard-serving Goran Ivanisevic, who was appearing in his first Grand Slam final. Agassi entered his fourth Grand Slam title match as the underdog to the eighth-ranked Croat, who was coming off consecutive victories over Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg and Pete Sampras. After losing the opening set in a tie-break in his three previous matches, Ivanisevic turned the tables and won the first set in a tie-break against Agassi. But in the second game of the second set, Agassi broke Ivanisevic for the first time and went on to win the set 6-4. Agassi won the third set by the same score before Ivanisevic stormed back to win the fourth set 6-1 to even the match. One of the key moments in the decisive set came with Agassi serving at 3-4, 30-40. Agassi ended up holding his serve and minutes later he broke Ivanisevic at 5-4, dropping to the ground and laying there face down before rising with tears in his eyes.

Agassi had survived 37 of Ivanisevic's aces to become the lowest seed (12) ever to become champion. Agassi joined countrymen Stan Smith (1972), Arthur Ashe (1975), Jimmy Connors (1974, '82) and John McEnroe (1981, '83-84) to win the prestigious Wimbledon title in the Open Era (since 1968).

Andre on Andre: "I had a good record against Boris. While he had played pretty well at Wimbledon, I felt pretty relaxed out there. I remember playing a pretty good match and playing a great fifth set against him. McEnroe was sort of a wild card, because I hadn't played him, and obviously being on grass I knew it was a great surface for him. I was hitting the ball so clean, I just felt in control of everything. Then Goran, I mean, we didn't break each other the first set. He beat me 7-6. I broke first game of the second, first game of the third, then I didn't lose my serve those two sets for four and four. He put together a great fourth, beating me 6-1. In the fifth, I was just holding on for dear life. I happened to get a couple double-faults at 4-5 and a couple good returns, and there you have it."

Davis Cup

Agassi is one of the top players in U.S. Davis Cup history, having compiled a 30-6 career record and helping the U.S. win their last three titles (1990, 1992 and 1995). He also was a member of the runner-up squad in 1991. Agassi's 30 singles wins is second all-time in U.S. history behind John McEnroe's 41 and his 35 singles matches played is the third-most in U.S. history, trailing only McEnroe (49) and Vic Seixas (36). Agassi made his Davis Cup debut in 1988 at the age of 17 years, 10 months, 9 days (fifth-youngest American) in Peru, defeating Jaime Yzaga in four sets. He participated in 21 ties over 10 years and from 1991-98, he tied a U.S. Davis Cup record by winning 16 consecutive singles matches, a feat first accomplished by the great Bill Tilden from 1920-26. In 1990, he rallied from a 1-2 sets deficit against Richard Fromberg in the opening rubber of the final in St. Petersburg, Fla. to win 6-4 in the fifth set and lead the U.S. to a 3-2 victory. It was the first U.S. Davis Cup title since 1982.

In 1992, Agassi played in all four home ties, compiling a 7-0 singles record, highlighted by a straight-sets victory over Switzerland's Jakob Hlasek in the opening match of the final in Ft. Worth, Texas. The U.S. went on to win 3-1. Three years later, Agassi won a quarterfinal match against Italy and another in the semifinals against Sweden to help the U.S. to the final in Russia where long-time rival Pete Sampras led the Americans to a 3-2 victory.

Andre on Andre: "In '92 is when we had the "dream team" put together -- me, Pete (Sampras), Jim (Courier) and (John) McEnroe. You know, it just felt like we knew we could win the whole thing, and we took care of business from start to finish. It was a great group of guys. We just really all got along really well, and we all felt like we were part of a real team."

Olympic Gold, Atlanta, 1996

Agassi became the first American man to capture an Olympic gold medal in singles since Vincent Richards in 1924. Three years later, he would win the Roland Garros title in Paris and by doing so, become the first man to win all four Grand Slam singles titles and an Olympic gold medal in the history of the sport.

Coming into the Olympics, the top-seeded Agassi had struggled in his last four tournaments (winning three matches) after a 17-4 start in the first three months. He lost in the second round at Roland Garros and in the first round at Wimbledon.

Agassi's road to gold was not an easy one. In his first round match against Jonas Bjorkman, the Swede had two set points in the first set tie-break and served for the second set at 5-4 but Agassi prevailed in two tie-breaks. In the third round against Andrea Gaudenzi, the Italian led 6-2, 3-1, 40-15 but Agassi rallied to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. In the quarterfinals against Wayne Ferreira, the South African served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but Agassi won the final three games to reach the medal round.

In the semifinals against Leander Paes, Agassi again got out of trouble as the Indian wild card led 6-5 and had 15-40 on Agassi's serve in the first set. Agassi won 7-6, 6-3. The close matches gave Agassi confidence going into the gold medal match against Sergi Bruguera. He needed only 77 minutes to defeat the Spaniard 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. After his gold medal performance Agassi said, ?To win a Grand Slam in the sport of tennis is the biggest thing you can accomplish inside your sport, but the Olympics is the biggest thing you can do in all sports. It's a small part of an amazing moment, a small part of an event that is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To win a gold medal is what it’s all about."

Andre on Andre: "It wasn't necessarily a great year for me, meaning I wasn't playing great tennis. But I went there with a real specific plan to get a medal and ideally the gold. You get one shot at it, really. As an athlete in tennis you don't know if four years later you'll still be playing, let alone have another shot at it. There was a lot on the line. I just remember working so hard leading up to that event. I'll just never forget how it felt to put the gold medal around my neck. I was down a set and I think even a break to (Andrea) Gaudenzi. I found a way to get through it. Six and six first round over (Jonas) Bjorkman. Wayne Ferreira served for the match against me in the third set. So it was like where dreams happen. I had no idea how I won that that year."

17 ATP Masters Series Titles

Of Agassi's 60 career titles, which ranks him No. 7 on the Open Era list (since 1968), a record 17 have come in ATP Masters Series tournaments. Over a 10-year span (from 1994-2003), Agassi won at least one ATP Masters Series title in eight different years (except 1997 and 2000). Agassi is the only player to win seven different ATP Masters Series tournaments, having won six times in Miami (Key Biscayne), three in Canada (Toronto/Montreal) and Cincinnati, twice in Paris and once in Indian Wells, Rome and Madrid. The only events he has not won in four attempts (each) are in Monte Carlo and Hamburg.

Long-time rival Pete Sampras is next on the ATP Masters Series titles list with 11 followed by Roger Federer with 10, Thomas Muster with eight and Michael Chang with seven. When Agassi tied wife Steffi Graf's mark of five Miami titles in 2002, he said afterwards, "You know, the way things are going, I have a shot at passing her because I know she's not gonna win another one. I'm moving up in the household."

He won his first Masters Series title in Miami in 1990, defeating Stefan Edberg. He then won back-to-back titles in 1995-96 before capturing three straight crowns from 2001-03. His tournament record 20-match winning streak came to an end in 2004 when he lost to Agustin Calleri in the fourth round.

Andre on Andre: "Eighteen years? you have more chances to win. So I've just had more chances at the basket, I think, than most guys. But I love playing in Key Biscayne. It's a great environment for me: great court, great conditions, it's hot, it's breezy; it gives me a chance to do some of my best work."

The Grand Slam, Roland Garros 1999

The Grand Slam title that eluded Agassi in 10 previous visits to Roland Garros was the one many expected the American to have captured earlier in his career. Agassi reached his first Grand Slam final at age 20 in Paris in 1990 and one year later repeated his performance. Both times Agassi was ranked higher than his final opponent, and both times he fell short, losing to veteran Andres Gomez in four sets in '90 and to countryman Jim Courier in five sets in '91.

It would be eight years later before Agassi would return to the championship match at Stade Roland Garros. Even before Agassi stepped foot on the red clay in Paris, there were doubts whether he would play the tournament after retiring with a right shoulder injury the previous week in a World Team Cup match. He also withdrew from three other tournaments that spring. Getting to that final in 1999 was an obstacle course from the first round on.

In his opening round against clay courter Franco Squillari, Agassi lost the first set but rallied to win in four sets. In the second round against Frenchman Arnaud Clement, Agassi was two points away from losing in the fourth set but managed to win 7-5 and then closed the fifth set 6-0. In the fourth round against defending champion Carlos Moya, Agassi lost the opening set and was down two breaks in the second (1-4) before pulling out a four-set victory. Agassi won his quarterfinal match in straight sets over Marcelo Filippini and then defeated Dominik Hrbaty in four tight sets in the semifinals before taking on Andrei Medvedev in the final.

Again Agassi came into his third Roland Garros final as the favorite, ranked No. 14 against the No. 100 ranked Medvedev. The 24-year-old Ukraine native won the opening two sets 6-1, 6-2 in 53 minutes and appeared headed to his first Grand Slam title. Although he lost the second set, Agassi said the rain delay early in that set allowed him to refocus after talking to coach Brad Gilbert in the locker room. Agassi cut down on his mistakes. He made 26 unforced errors in the first two sets but only 25 more in the next three. He would take the next three sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, and become the fifth man in the history of the sport to join the Grand Slam club (winning all four major titles) of Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson. Afterwards, Agassi said, "It's been a big obstacle for me psychologically and emotionally, this being the last of the Slams left to win."

Andre on Andre: "Well, some of the greatest memories happen when you just feel like you're surviving out there. That was a tournament where I wasn't even supposed to play because of my shoulder. I managed just to find a way to get out there on the court and to work hard. I just felt like I was doing good to be competitive in those early rounds. I just wanted to get out there and put on a good show for the people, work hard, and hope a few things went my way. Clement had me 5-4 in the fourth, two sets to one, love-30, me serving. He just missed a forehand. He started cramping in the fifth. So it was just a little bit of luck and a lot of perseverance. Well, it's sort of a story inside a story. To come back from two sets to love was sort of so symbolic of where I'd been in my life leading up to the tournament, the struggle of my career. And it sort of is symbolic because it's like a microcosm of the bigger career; it's being down and not giving up. For that sort of sub-story to happen inside the story itself was sort of a fairy tale for me."

"It's hard to even understand [winning all four Grand Slam titles], because it's sort of overwhelming. It feels like somebody sort of edited my name in there somehow. Somehow it doesn't belong. It feels amazing. As a competitor, you try to win every place you play. That, to me, is my greatest achievement...just being able to say that I know what it feels like to win at all those places."

The Comeback

In 1997, Agassi struggled throughout the year, hampered by tendinitis in his right wrist for part of the season. He failed to win an ATP title for the first time in 11 years and he compiled a 12-12 match record as his ranking had dropped to No. 141 on Nov. 10. He went back to basics and his final two tournaments that season were Challengers, a level he last played in 1986 as a rookie pro. He took a wild card into his hometown tournament in Las Vegas and proceeded to reach the final, losing to German Christian Vinck. Two weeks later he took another wild card into Burbank (California) and he finished the year by winning the title over top seed and friend Sargis Sargsian.

He finished at No. 122, his lowest ranking as a pro but slowly he would climb his way back into the Top 10. In 1998, he made the biggest one-year jump into the Top 10 in the history of the ATP Rankings (since 1973), climbing from 122 to No. 6. He led the ATP circuit with 10 finals, winning five titles and he only lost one opening round match in 22 tournaments. That year he was voted the ATP Most Improved Player of the Year and coach Brad Gilbert was predicting bigger things in the year ahead. "With a little luck, he can come back and be No. 1 next year," said Gilbert in November while he was playing doubles with Agassi at the Las Vegas Challenger. "He certainly has more tennis in him."

Gilbert was right on as 1999 was Agassi's year, winning Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and the US Open and reaching the final at Wimbledon. He captured five titles and was runner-up in three others en route to finishing as the year-end No. 1 for the first time at age 29. Agassi continued his strong play as he turned 30, finishing no lower than No. 6 in the next four years. In fact, his 13 titles over the age of 30 is the fifth-most in the Open Era. In May 2003, after he won his semifinal match at the U.S. Clay Courts in Houston, Agassi climbed to No. 1, becoming the oldest player at 33 years, 13 days to hold the world's top spot.

Andre on Andre: "I was 141 in the world. It's like, you don't get there by accident. Yeah, it just was one step at a time for me. I knew it wasn't time to quit, so I had to go about "what do I do differently?" I never thought I would ever get back to the top again; I just wanted to get back, just get back a little bit of it. I just kept building momentum for myself and kept getting better. I was pretty excited about that and kept working harder. It all sort of happened from there. Gil (Reyes), my trainer, he's everything to my career. He's meant my ability to still be doing this, and certainly to get in the shape required to get back."

(On becoming the oldest No. 1 at 33 in 2003): "I mean, I think one of the things I'm most proud of is that I'm still out here doing this at the level that I've been doing it at. It means a lot to me because it's a testament to the hard work I've put in. It's a payoff of all of the hard work I've put in. To do it at 33 is not easy, so it felt pretty good."

Four Consecutive Grand Slam Finals (1999-2000)

After winning three Grand Slam titles in his first 35 starts in the majors, Agassi put together an incredible stretch, beginning with Roland Garros in 1999. He won his first title in Paris and went on to reach the next three Grand Slam finals, reaching the title match at Wimbledon and winning titles at the US Open and the Australian Open in 2000. During that stretch, Agassi won 27 of 28 matches with his only loss coming to long-time rival Pete Sampras at the All England Club.

It was fitting that "Rocket" Rod Laver presented Agassi the Musketeers Cup trophy in Paris since the Aussie was the last man to reach four consecutive Grand Slam finals. In 1969, Laver won the Grand Slam, a feat he accomplished for the first time in 1962. During Agassi's run of Grand Slam finals, he defeated at least one former Grand Slam champion in each tournament.

Andre on Andre: "Paris came out of nowhere. It was a miracle. I had so much confidence going into Wimbledon. It just felt so good to not be playing on the clay. I was letting a lot of shots fly, and put together a great couple of weeks of tennis. The US Open was back on my surface, and I just went to work hard. I felt like I earned that tournament from the start to the finish. And then with my off-season, getting ready for Australia, I believed I could go down there ready and felt like I did the same. I went down there and just was at my best. So it was a great stretch. But every tournament's new to me, regardless of how I've done there the year before or the week before or the Grand Slam before."

Four Australian Open Titles

Prior to 1995, Agassi played in 21 Grand Slam tournaments during his career, reaching five finals, highlighted by titles at Wimbledon in 1992 and the US Open in 1994. But the one Grand Slam tournament he shunned during the first eight years of his career was the Australian Open. That changed in 1995 as the No. 2 ranked American played flawless tennis throughout the fortnight, losing only one set in seven matches, against top-ranked Sampras in the final. Agassi became the first player to win the Australian Open title in his first appearance since Johan Kriek in 1981.

Agassi did not reach another final Down Under again until 2000 when he would begin his stretch of three consecutive titles. That year he defeated Sampras in the semifinals in five sets and Yevgeny Kafelnikov in four sets in the final. In 2001, he outlasted local favorite Patrick Rafter in another five-set semifinal before taking out Frenchman Arnaud Clement in the final. He did not play in 2002 due to a wrist injury but he returned the following year as strong as ever. Agassi dropped only one set during the tournament, in the third round to Nicolas Escude, and he crushed Rainer Schuettler 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in the final. Agassi joined Aussie Hall of Famers Roy Emerson (six), Jack Crawford (four) and Ken Rosewall (four) as the only players who have won at least four Australian singles championships in tournament history.

In 2004, Agassi was on course to reach another final, going through his first five opponents without dropping a set until running into Marat Safin in the semifinals. The Russian fired a career-high 31 aces en route to his five-set victory and putting an end to Agassi's 26-match winning streak in Melbourne.

Andre on Andre: "I suppose that statistic [his 44-4 match record] suggested that's the case, so I'm regretful I didn't play it more often, definitely regretful. Well, I love it down there. Some of the nicest people in the world. Off the court is so relaxing, and on the court they're such great sports fans in Melbourne. I've always enjoyed playing down there. I have an Aussie coach (Darren Cahill) and it just feels good.

Longevity: ATP Top 10 for 16 years

Agassi has been a fixture in the year-end Top 10 since finishing at No. 3 at the age of 18 in 1988. In the next 17 years, Agassi would rank among the Top 10 in 15 year-end listings (except for 1993 and '97), finishing between No. 1 and 10 at least once (except No. 5). Of the 94 players who have finished in the Top 10 since the inception of the ATP Rankings in 1973, Agassi is the only player to rank in the Top 10 in three different decades. Jimmy Connors is the only other player to finish in the Top 10 for 16 consecutive years from 1973-88.

Along with his Top 10 consistency, Agassi is among an elite group of players who have ranked at least 100 weeks at No. 1 during their career: Pete Sampras (286), Ivan Lendl (270), Connors (268), John McEnroe (170), Roger Federer (126) Bjorn Borg (109), and Agassi (101). Agassi's 60 career titles have come over 20 years (from 1987-2005, except 1996).

Andre on Andre: "Well, it's part of the longevity issue. I mean, I've trained hard for it. I've built up a good base for myself. I've been fortunate enough to stay healthy."

US Open, 1994

In 1994, Agassi entered the US Open unseeded for the first time since he was 17. The Las Vegas native came into Flushing Meadows ranked No. 20 after compiling an 8-3 record during the North American summer hard court circuit. After going through a string of nine tournaments without a title, he gained extra confidence by capturing the ATP Masters Series title in Toronto one month before the US Open.

Agassi rolled past qualifier Robert Eriksson in straight sets in the opening round, then defeated former Top 10 Guy Forget in four sets in the second round. Agassi's first of five consecutive seeded opponents was No. 12 seed Wayne Ferreira in the third round and he won 7-5, 6-1, 7-5. In the fourth round, Agassi's toughest test would come against No. 6 seed and long-time rival Michael Chang. Agassi would advance to the quarterfinals with his second career five-set victory at the Open ('89 QF d. Connors).

He would save his best tennis for the final three rounds, eliminating No. 13 seed Thomas Muster in the quarters, No. 9 seed Todd Martin in the semifinals and No. 4 seed Michael Stich in the championship match, losing one set along the way. Agassi set a record by defeating five seeds en route to his second Grand Slam title and he became the first unseeded player to win the U.S. crown since Aussie Fred Stolle in 1966.

Agassi, who would reach the US Open final one year later, losing to Sampras, would collect his second title in 1999. He came into New York ranked No. 2 and he lost only one set in his first five rounds. In the semifinals he lost the opening set against No. 3 seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov before winning in four sets. Then in the title match, he rallied from a 1-2 sets deficit against 7th-ranked Todd Martin to win 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2. Agassi fought off all eight break points and it was the first time a player rallied from a 1-2 sets deficit in an Open final since John Newcombe in 1973.

Andre on Andre: "Well, I only had one Slam at that point, which was Wimbledon, which, arguably, was a fluke, meaning I just was not expected to win it. It had been two years. You wonder if that's it, if you'll ever win again. You sort of say, 'Well, if that's it, then that's it. Then I feel great about winning Wimbledon.' So I surprised myself. I was obviously not ranked very high. I went in there with a lot more questions than answers, and it was pretty amazing when I happened to win it.

"That was a tournament [US Open, 1999] where I felt like I just went and took it. I worked hard, I was ready and I was playing my best tennis. I went in playing well and I played well throughout. I finished it off and I felt different than I'd ever felt before winning a Slam."

-- ATP

 
 
 
 
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