1990 French Open: Opposites attract, Gomez defeats Agassi
Back in the days when Agassi was wearing pink lycra bike pants and a wig.
Agassi was then just a “forehand and a haircut” as Ivan Lendl once said. Coached by Florida tennis guru Nick Bolletieri, Agassi was tennis’ enfant terrible, known as much for his look as his explosive game.
Seeded number 3, Agassi had reached the semifinals of both French and US Open in 1988 and US Open again in 1989. In 1990, he defeated Jim Courier and defending champion Michael Chang en route to his first Grand Slam final.
Gomez was the total opposite of Agassi: a 30 year old left handed from Ecuador, he was known for his nice volley touch and science of play on clay. Before 90 French Open, he had never been past the quarterfinals of a major. Beaten three times at this stage of the tournament by Ivan Lendl, Gomez was somewhat relieved by the Czech’ decision to skip Roland Garros to focus on Wimbledon.
Before the final, Agassi said: “Like any good player, the more that’s expected of them, the more they rise to the occasion. I didn’t stay in Paris for two weeks to come in second place”. Unfortunately for him, he did. Agassi was favored and expected to overpower the veteran from Ecuador, but he was overconfident, nervous and probably thinking too much about his wig.
Gomez moved to a career high ranking of 4th following his victory in Paris. He retired in 1993. During his career, he amassed 21 singles titles (mostly on clay) and 33 doubles trophies.
Gomez and Nastase at the Trophée des Légendes, June 2007:
And Agassi? He was runner up again in 1991 (lost to Jim Courier). He finally captured the Roland Garros trophy in 1999 after a five set battle against Andrei Medvedev to complete a career Grand Slam.
During his roller coaster career he collected 60 singles titles including 8 Grand Slam titles and one Olympic gold medal.