2003 Australian Open: last Grand Slam title for Agassi
“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.
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.
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.
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.”