Many happy returns – a look back on Agassi’s major triumphs on his 50th birthday
As Andre Agassi celebrates his 50th birthday, we take a look at how he became one of the greats.
Andre Agassi reached plenty of milestones in his illustrious tennis career and the eight-time grand slam champion had another to celebrate on Wednesday. The legendary American has turned 50, which is hard to believe as it does not seem long since he was gracing the courts as one of the great crowd pleasers.
Agassi won 60 ATP Tour titles during a 21-year professional career, making a whopping $31,152,975 in prize money. The flamboyant former world number won all four majors before retiring at the 2006 US Open.
We reflect on the former world number one’s grand slam triumphs and wish him many happy returns.
HBD to a legend.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) April 29, 2020
It was the unlikely setting of Centre Court where the Las Vegas native’s major breakthrough came.
Agassi’s early successes were on hard and clay courts, but he came from behind to beat Goran Ivanisevic in five sets to be crowned Wimbledon champion at the age of 22.
US Open, 1994
Agassi’s first Grand Slam title on home soil came at the expense of Michael Stich.
Still sporting long flowing locks that he later revealed to be a wig, Agassi became the first unseeded champion since Fred Stolle back in 1966 with a straight-sets victory over the German.
Australian Open, 1995
He started the 1995 season on a high note, moving just one title away from completing a career Grand Slam at Melbourne Park.
Minus his hairpiece, Agassi added another piece to the jigsaw by seeing off old foe Pete Sampras 4-6 6-1 7-6 (6) 6-4 to win the Australian Open.
French Open, 1999
Injury and personal issues led to a fall from grace for the sporting icon, who plummeted to 141st in the rankings.
You cannot keep a good man down, though, and he became only the fifth of eight men to complete a clean sweep of majors by coming from two sets down to beat Andriy Medvedev in the final at Roland Garros 21 years ago.
The date was 6 June 1999 and after an epic five-setter, Andre Agassi had achieved what he had believed to be the impossible: winning Roland-Garros.
Happy Birthday @AndreAgassi | #rolandgarroshttps://t.co/X8p6naLzlM
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) April 29, 2020
US Open, 1999
A second US Open title followed in the final major of 1999, a golden year for Agassi in which he started dating Steffi Graf – whom he married two years later.
Compatriot Todd Martin was the latest player to suffer at the hands of Agassi, who was taken the distance again before sealing a 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-7 (2) 6-3 6-2 win.
Australian Open, 2000
Agassi got his hands on the Australian Open trophy for a second time five years after his first triumph in the opening major of the season.
The top seed dethroned defending champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov in four sets in the championship match. Agassi would have held all four Grand Slam titles at the same time if he had not lost to Sampras in the 1999 Wimbledon final.
Australian Open, 2001
He was also the master in Melbourne 12 months later, proving to be a cut above Arnaud Clément.
Frenchman Clément was unable to live with a relentless Agassi, who was in seventh heaven after easing to a 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory.
Australian Open, 2003
Agassi withdrew from the 2002 Australian Open due to a wrist injury, but he was back to regain the title a year later.
He lost just five games in a one-sided final versus Rainer Schuttler, winning what proved to be his final grand slam title at the age of 32.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) April 29, 2020