Serena and Agassi Have Shots at a Grand Slam (by Bud Collins) -
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old Apr 10th, 2003, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
eshell's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 518
Serena and Agassi Have Shots at a Grand Slam (by Bud Collins)

Andre showing no signs of age

Agassi and Serena Williams have shots at a Grand Slam


April 3 — If you want to send Andre Agassi a birthday card, it would be worth the price of a stamp because Andre, the glorious geezer, who turns 33 on April 30th, is carrying the men’s tour on his aging back and looking like Atlas in sneakers

Agassi was the story of the first quarter of the 2003 season and Serena Williams, who could probably pick him up and put him in her backpack, was the strength.
Agassi will lose matches, of course, but will Serena?
Coming off their titles at Key Biscayne in the Nasdaq-100 Open, Andre and Serena are a star-spangled American package, whose play could make this one of the greatest years in the sport.
You see, having both won the Australian Open in January, Agassi and Sister Serena are the only eligibles for a Grand Slam, a rarified feat of wrapping up all four majors within a calendar year.
That hasn’t been accomplished in 15 years ever since Mrs. Steffi Agassi (nee Graf) was bashing everybody in sight as Fraulein Forehand.


“Can I win every match I play this year? I don’t think so, but,” Serena grins, “that’s my goal.”
A worthy goal, an undefeated season, something that hasn’t happened since Californian Alice Marble went 45-0 in 1939 and 1940. The closest anyone has come since was Martina Navratilova’s 86-1 mark in 1983.
As for winning a Grand Slam, Serena’s is the better chance than Agassi’s.

Agassi’s goal is simply “to be in the best possible physical and mental shape, to peak for the important occasions, so that to beat me somebody has to play a great match.”
The next such occasion is the French Open at the end of May and Andre “will assess how much, or how little, I have to play on European clay to be ready.”
Though Agassi has spent half his life as a tennis professional, he remains excited.
“I feel I’m playing my best tennis and I think I can improve. That’s what it’s all about.”
I’m not alone in agreeing with him.
Pancho Segura, the capital G Guru of tennis gurus, says, “I’ve been watching Andre since he was 6 and can see he’s at his best now and — barring serious injury — can get better.
“I think he’s ahead of Jimmy [Connors] and Bjorn [Borg].”
A strong endorsement.

Agassi is a triple-threat in this respect: he’s superior physically through his training regimen with Gil Reyes; he’s superior mentally with more experience than anybody else; and he’s superior domestically.
Life with ex-Grand Slammer Steffi and their son, 17-month-old Jaden Gil, has made him serenely happy.
Maybe he is a true Zen master as an old friend, Barbara Streisand, once dubbed him.

But where is Agassi’s longtime rival?
Why is Pete Sampras hiding from his public?
I don’t think Pete, also blissful in marriage and fatherhood, realizes that he’s being a naughty boy by not communicating. Obviously he’s confused about what to do — retire or return?
Seven months after his stunning U.S. Open triumph over Agassi, Sampras has entered five tournaments and dropped out of each beforehand, although he’s been practicing.
A friend of his says, “Pete’s having trouble with motivation.”
Another says, “He’ll find motivation when he gets tired of changing diapers and Wimbledon approaches.”
Many feel Sampras ought to quit while at the top. Not I. I believe he has much yet to give to the sport and receive from it.
I’m surprised that the impressive accomplishments of Agassi, 15 months Sampras’ elder, haven’t inspired Pete.
But Sampras does owe the public a press conference, to announce his retirement, if that’s the decision, or even to say he can’t make up his mind.
Seven months of silence is too much for a great athlete with a vast following.

I’ve been writing as though Agassi were top-ranked in the world. Certainly he is in the hearts of many tennis fans.
But Blinky, the ATP computer, continues, correctly, to list the 22-year-old Aussie Lleyton Hewitt at the top of the pack, although he hasn’t looked that role.
In fact, he’s been shown the door early by a couple of geezers not named Agassi: the explosive Moroccan Younes El Aynaoui, 31, at the Australian Open, and a qualifier on the verge of retirement, Spaniard Francisco Clavet, 34, at Key Biscayne.
Hewitt and his Belgian girlfriend Kim Clijsters did make romantic news as champs in the California desert at Indian Wells (Agassi and Serena were absent) by scoring a “Lovebirds Double.”
The last we heard of such was Wimbledon 1974 when the affianced Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors took the title and paid 33-to-1 with London bookmakers.

Agassi, the object of much affection is looked at longingly, but hopelessly, by U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe.
Andre, having helped the U.S. win the Davis Cup in 1990 and 1995, has declared that his days playing in this international team competition are over.
That leaves McEnroe, whose squad was a first-round loser to Croatia, with the Growing-Up-Together Gang — Andy Roddick, James Blake, Robby Ginepri, Taylor Dent, Mardy Fish, Brian Vahaly.
McEnroe is hoping they’ll mature a little quicker. They’ve been erratic.
Soon McEnroe will learn the name of the U.S. opponent and the location of September’s second-chance series.
If this generation’s American guys fail, then the U.S. plummets to the nether world of zonal play, ineligible for the Davis Cup in 2004.
That last occurred in 1987, after losses to Paraguay and Germany.
And who restored the U.S. to the 16-nation World Group the following year?
Oh, an outrageous 18-year-old named Andre Agassi.
Happy Birthday, Andre, and keep those competitive candles burning within.

"You are not judged by the height you have risen, but from the depth you have climbed." Frederick Douglass-1881
eshell is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old Apr 10th, 2003, 04:26 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 2,810
Thanks for posting this article, eshell!
Mark43 is offline  
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old Apr 10th, 2003, 05:30 PM
Senior Member
Crazy Canuck's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Munchkin Land
Posts: 28,449
Bud As if he's questioning why Hewitt is number one (I really hate this smiley, but Bud truly deserves it!). Three good tournaments and all of a sudden Andre is number one? Forgive me for thinking that Bud needs to smack himself in the head and get a refresher on the fact that the rankings reflect 52 weeks, not 8.

As for Agassi winning the Grand Slam - no, he won't. But that's okay, he's still good at 33.
Crazy Canuck is offline  
post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old Apr 10th, 2003, 05:40 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,406
Fortunately, I don't think this will happen (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, though I can't imagine that even Americans would want the same player winning all four Slams in both the men's and women's game). Someone's going to knock off Agassi at at least two of the remaining Slams, after all he's already had a loss this year. That's the great thing about his aura of invincibility, of course; it's annoying when he's sweeping aside all who face him, but his rare losses when they do come are twice as sweet to savour.

And I agree, Hewitt may not be playing as well as Agassi but he's certainly shown he's still deserving of no. 1. I mean, one of those losses he avenged in the first round of IW, saving 3 matchpoints to make sure he held onto the no. 1 ranking against a tough opponent - sure, I didn't like the result, but that match says everything about Hewitt. And of course there was the food poisoning in Miami, which sadly was not indiscriminate and chose to stay away from Agassi's hotel kitchen. Ah, what might have been...

Say it Quietly, I'm White but I'm Really Rather Contrite
Hendouble is offline  
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Apr 10th, 2003, 05:40 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 612
Agassi will have to work very, very hard to beat the Spaniards at the French. Three Spaniards are on the top ten and they are all clay experts. It is possible, but I have to see it to believe it.
Mad-About-Venus is offline  
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Apr 10th, 2003, 05:45 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,406
Indeed - and in the perfect world, out of all three of those Spaniards, it would be Costa who did it in the final, thus defending his Roland Garros title. Realistically however, I can think of a couple of people I'd prefer Agassi to face first before good old Albert.

Say it Quietly, I'm White but I'm Really Rather Contrite
Hendouble is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome