Agassi recalls his love for the Australian OpenJanuary 29th, 2010 - 1:59 pm ICT by ANI
Melbourne, Jan.29 (ANI): Four-time Australian Open champion Andre Agassi hasn’t forgotten his days of dominating the event.
In his controversial autobiography “Open”, Agassi says that his biggest regret was not contesting the Australian Open until 1995, when he won the first of a modern-era best of four titles.
“I can’t imagine why I’ve waited so long. I like the surface, the venue - the heat. Having grown up in Vegas, I don’t feel the heat the way the other players do, and the defining characteristic of the Australian Open is the unholy temperature,” he writes in his book.
“I also enjoy the Australian people, and they apparently enjoy me,” he adds.
Agassi’s 2001 Open experience expands on his love for Australia.
“I feel good when we land. I do love this place. I must have been an Aborigine in another life. I always feel at home here. I always enjoy walking into Rod Laver Arena, playing under Laver’s name. I batter my way to the semis and face Rafter again. We play three hours of hammer-and-tong tennis, filled with endless I-grunt-you-grunt-rallies. He’s ahead, two sets to one. Then he withers. The Australian heat. We’re both drenched in sweat, but he’s cramping. I win the next two sets.”
Then, almost inevitably, he wins the final for a third title in Melbourne.
Agassi is also full of praise for his last coach Darren Cahill and reveals how he begged the South Australian to coach him after Brad Gilbert decided to move on.
“I’ve always liked Darren. I like his easygoing style. I find his Aussie accent soothing. It almost puts me to sleep … now I dial him and tell him I’ve parted with Brad. I ask if he has any interest in the job. He says he’s flattered, but he’s on the verge of signing to coach Safin. He’ll think about it, though, and get back to me. No problem, I say. Take your time,” Agassi recalls.
“I call him back in half an hour. I ask him: What the hell is there to think about? You can’t coach Safin. He’s a loose cannon. You’ve got to work with me. It feels right. I promise you, Darren, I have game left. I’m not done. I’m focused - I just need someone to help me keep the focus. Okay, he says, laughing. Ok, mate. He never once mentions money.”
After helping Agassi become, at 33 in 2003, the oldest-ever world No.1, Cahill remained with the eight-times major winner until the very end of his career in 2006.
Given his love for all things Australian, Agassi probably enjoyed the symmetry of that, too. (ANI)
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