Will Open be Agassi's farewell?
Andre Agassi's legend is confirmed.
Six days before the U.S. Open was to begin at the National Tennis Center, Agassi was the subject of A&E's "Biography" series. The 34-year-old hasn't said whether he is playing in his last Grand Slam event, but there has been a feeling of finality in his summer season.
Agassi has seen his ATP ranking fall to No. 7, but he won his first tournament of the year three weeks ago in Cincinnati with an effort that perhaps even he did not think possible. Agassi, the No. 11 seed, defeated Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the rousing final, defeating Roddick and Carlos Moya along the way.
"It felt great to be out there," Agassi said after defeating Roddick in the semifinals. "It was a high-intensity match.
"Every day I'm answering questions about retirement -- except for tonight. That's the life I live now. If I don't go out there and produce, it's disappointing. There's a strong feeling of setbacks week to week." At 34, Agassi does not move as well as he once did, doesn't take the ball quite as early. Clearly, he enjoys his role as husband to Steffi Graf and father of two children. He has not ruled out a return next season, nor has he confirmed retirement. Still, there is a sense that this might be his last on-court appearance at the U.S. Open.
Two years ago, Pete Sampras closed out his career with a transcendent four-set win over Agassi in the U.S. Open final. Agassi would like nothing better than to repeat that compelling slice of history.
Conventional wisdom coming into the 2004 season was that the Australian, at the age of 23, had already seen his best days.
He was ranked No. 1 in 2001 and 2002, using his speed and tenacity to win the U.S. Open (2001) and Wimbledon (2002). Last year, however, his ranking plummeted to No. 17 and the big hitters just seemed to be too much for his medium-sized game.
Well, reports of Hewitt's demise were premature. He is currently ranked No. 5 and shows signs of life heading into the Open. Hewitt reached the Cincinnati final against Agassi, then won the Legg Mason tournament in Washington, D.C., last week. Granted, it was a field depleted by the Olympic competition, but a win is a win is a win -- and it was Hewitt's third this season.
"It was nice to get another win," Hewitt said. "I'm happy with how my game is progressing over these last few weeks on hard courts. It's going well. I'm looking forward to the Open."
Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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