2003 Australian Open: last Grand Slam title for Agassi

Extract from Agassi‘s book Open:

“I’m the second seed in the 2003 Australian Open, and I come out growling, ferocious. I reach the semis and beat Ferreira in ninety minutes. In six matches I’ve dropped only one set.

Andre Agassi

In the final I face Rainer Schuettler from Germany, I win three straight sets, losing only five games and tying the most lopsided victory ever at the Australian Open. My eighth slam, and it’s my best performance ever. I tease Stefanie that it’s like one of her matches, the closest I’ll ever come to experiencing her kind of dominance.

Rainer Schuettler

Andre Agassi

Rainer Schuettler
As they hand me the trophy, I tell the crowd: There’s not a single day that’s guaranteed to us, and certainly days like this are very rare.
Someone says later that I sounded as if I’d had a near-death experience. More like a near-life experience. It’s how a person talks when he almost didn’t live.

I’m the oldest player in thirty one years to win a slam, and reporters won’t let me hear the end of it. Again and again, before I leave Australia, reporters ask if I have a plan for retirement. I tell them I don’t plan endings any more than I plan beginnings. I’m the last of a generation, they say. Chang announces he’s retiring, Courier is already three years into his retirement. People treat me like a codger, because Stefanie is expecting again and it’s well known that we tool around Vegas in a minivan. Still, I feel eternal.

Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi

Ironically, my lack of flexibility seems to be stretching out my career. It helps my durability. Since I can’t turn well, I always keep the racket close to my body, always keep the ball out in front of me. Thus I don’t put unnecessary stress and torque on my frame. With such form, Gil says, my body might have another three years in it.”

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