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Will Open be Agassi's farewell?

8/26/2004

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.

Recent returns, however, suggest he might have one more stirring run left in him. Agassi is not the favorite in the year's final Grand Slam -- that burden falls on No. 1-ranked Roger Federer and No. 2 Andy Roddick. But Agassi has marked himself as a man destined to be in the mix.

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.

Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.