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Tennis Great, Andre Agassi, born April 29, 1970, is a former World No. 1 professional Armenian-American tennis player who won eight Grand Slam singles tournaments and an Olympic gold medal in singles. He is one of only five male players to have won all four Grand Slam singles titles and the only male player to have won a career Golden Slam. He also is the only men's player in history to have won all four Grand Slam singles titles on three different surfaces. In addition to his Grand Slam and Olympic singles titles, he won the Tennis Masters Cup and was part of a winning Davis Cup team. He won 17 ATP Masters Series tournaments, more than any other player. TENNIS Magazine named him the 12th greatest player, male or female, for the period 1965 through 2005.
Because of sciatica caused by two bulging discs in his back, a spondylolisthesis (vertebral displacement) and a bone spur that interferes with the nerve, Agassi retired from professional tennis on September 3, 2006, after losing in the third round of the US Open. Agassi is married to Steffi Graf and has two children. He is the founder of the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which has raised over $60 million for at-risk children in Southern Nevada. In 2001, the Foundation opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas, a K-12 public charter school for at-risk children
As a young up-and-coming player, Agassi embraced a rebel image. He grew his hair to rocker length, sported an earring, and wore colorful shirts that pushed tennis' still-strict sartorial boundaries. He boasted of a cheeseburger diet and endorsed the Canon "Rebel" camera. "Image is everything" was the ad's line, and it became Agassi's as well.
In addition to not playing the Australian Open (which would later become his best Grand Slam event) for the first eight years of his career, Agassi chose not to play at Wimbledon from 1988 through 1990 and publicly stated that he did not wish to play there because of the event's traditionalism, particularly its "predominantly white" dress code to which players at the event are required to conform. Many observers at the time speculated that Agassi's real motivation was that his strong baseline game would not be well suited to Wimbledon's grass court surface.
Strong performances on the tour meant that Agassi was quickly tipped as a future Grand Slam champion. While still a teenager, he reached the semifinals of both the French Open and the US Open in 1988, and the US Open again in 1989. He began the 1990s, however, with a series of near-misses. He reached his first Grand Slam final in 1990 at the French Open, where he lost in four sets to Andres Gomez. His second Grand Slam final was against Pete Sampras at the US Open. The last time Agassi had played Sampras, he won 6–1, 6–1. After that match, he told his coach that he felt bad for Sampras because he was never going to make it. Looking at the draw, Agassi was happy that he did not have to face Lendl or McEnroe in the final, and he planned to make Sampras hit more balls than he could handle. Despite being the favorite in the match, he lost to Sampras 6–4, 6–3, 6–2. The rivalry between these two American players became the dominant rivalry in tennis over the rest of the decade. Also in 1990, Agassi helped the United States win its first Davis Cup in 8 years and won his only ATP Tour World Championship.
In 1991, Agassi reached his second consecutive French Open final, where he faced fellow Bollettieri Academy alumnus Jim Courier. Courier emerged the victor in a five set final. Agassi decided to play at Wimbledon in 1991, leading to weeks of speculation in the media about the clothes he would wear. He eventually emerged for the first round in a completely white outfit. He went on to reach the quarterfinals on that occasion.
To the surprise of many, Agassi's Grand Slam breakthrough came at Wimbledon, not at the French Open or the US Open where he had enjoyed so much success. In 1992, he defeated Goran Ivanisevic in a five set final. Along the way, Agassi dispatched two former Wimbledon champions in Boris Becker and John McEnroe. No other baseliner would triumph at Wimbledon until Lleyton Hewitt ten years later, on slower, higher bouncing grass better suited for baseline play. Agassi was named the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year in 1992.
Agassi once again was a key player on the United States' Davis Cup winning team in 1992. It was their second Davis cup title in three years.