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Andre Agassi

Birth Date: April 29 1970
Birth Place: N/A

Tennis Player Andre Agassi was norn April 29, 1970, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Agassi’s Iranian-born father, Immanuel (Mike) Agassi—an Olympic boxer in 1948 and 1952—was determined that one of his four children (two sons and two daughters) would grow up to be a tennis champion. Andre, his youngest child, was his last and best hope, and Mike Agassi reportedly introduced his infant son to the sport by dangling a tennis ball over his crib. By the age of three, Agassi was considered a tennis prodigy. . When Agassi was 13, his father sent him to the notoriously tough Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where the country’s top young tennis players attended classes and practiced tennis for Five hours a day. Agassi was the coach’s prize pupil. Agassi spent three years at the academy and won a total of five United States Tennis Association (USTA) national junior titles before turning pro on May 1, 1986, just two days after his 16th birthday. With his fierce two-handed backhand and volatile backcourt game, Agassi was one of the most highly touted newcomers on the professional tennis scene. He won his first tournament in 1987 and rose from No. 41 to No. 24 in the world rankings. In 1988, he won six tournaments, reached the semifinals of two Grand Slam events—the French Open and the U.S. Open—and rose to No. 3 in the world at the age of 18. He also passed the $1 million mark in career prize money, becoming the second youngest player (after Boris Becker) to do so. Beyond his powerful tennis, Agassi earned even more publicity for his personal style—long, blond-streaked hair, unshaven face, pierced ear, and garishly colored clothing—that stood out against the background of the traditionally conservative sport. His playful on-court style also endeared him to fans, especially his trademark habit of applauding an opponent’s winning shot by clapping his hand against his racket. With high-profile (and lucrative) endorsement contracts with Nike (sportswear), Dunlop (tennis rackets), and Canon (cameras), Agassi was probably the most visible tennis player in the world, even without a major title. He earned a certain measure of respect in 1990 by winning the first-ever Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Championship in Frankfurt, Germany, and leading the U.S. to its first Davis Cup international team title in eight years. In 1990 and 1991, Agassi also made it to the finals of three Grand Slam tournaments (two French Opens and the 1990 U.S. Open), only to lose in all three championship matches. Frustrated, he saw his compatriots Pete Sampras and Courier (his final-round opponents at the 1990 U.S. Open and the 1991 French Open respectively) pass him in the rankings and battle it out for the top ranking in the men’s game. After complaining at his first Wimbledon in 1991 that he couldn’t play well on grass, Agassi returned to the All-England Club with a vengeance in 1992. He beat former champions Becker and John McEnroe en route to the finals, where he defeated the hard-serving Goran Ivanisevic in five tough sets to win his first Grand Slam title and a much-needed dose of legitimacy. Plagued by a wrist injury, Agassi limited his tournaments in 1993, skipping several Grand Slam events. In the summer of 1994, Agassi became the first unseeded player (a player not ranked among the tournament’s top 16 players) ever to win the U.S. Open. With his girlfriend, the actress Brooke Shields, in the stands, the newly shorthaired Agassi beat five seeded players, including a straight-set victory in the finals over Michael Stich. His performance at the Open made Agassi the No. 2 player in the world. Not content with second place, Agassi beat his longtime rival Sampras at the 1995 Australian Open to claim the No. 1 world ranking. Agassi won a gold medal for the U.S. at the Atlanta Olympics and made the semifinals of the U.S. Open. In May 1997, he married Shields (whom he had been dating since 1993) and made a new commitment to balance his life between family and tennis. As part of that effort , and also because of a persistent wrist injury, Agassi cut down on his tennis schedule in 1997, and saw his ranking sink from its 1995 high of No. 1 all the way to No. 141 by the end of the year.. Over the course of 1998, Agassi increased his tournament appearances in an effort to revive his tennis career yet again. By April 2000, his world ranking had climbed to No. 11. As he and Shields struggled with the competing rigors of their careers and spent increasingly less time together, their marriage faltered. Agassi filed for divorce in late April 1999. The couple have remained good friends. Agassi became only the fifth player to win all four Grand Slam events in his career. Agassi is currently dating Steffi Graf, the formidable women’s tennis champion who won a total of 22 Grand Slam titles during her 17-year career. The romance began in the summer of 1999 and went public during the 1999 U.S. Open, less than a month after Graf announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 30.
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