- Brad Gilbert
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WIMBLEDON, England -- I talked with Andre the last couple of days and you knew this announcement was possible, but I didn't know it was going to happen today -- that this is going to be his last Wimbledon and that the U.S. Open would be his last tournament. It's a sad day, but I'm happy for him that he chose to announce it here, the site of his first Grand Slam title.
And I was glad I could be there when he made the announcement.
You could see it was a hard decision, but you could also tell that he was at peace with himself and the decision. In fact, with this behind him, it will only help him relax and play better at Wimbledon and events leading up to the U.S. Open. (Agassi said he intends to play a full summer.)
People saw Andre at 16 and 17 years old and watched him grow up. Today sounded like a burden has been lifted and he seems truly excited to play tennis. He's done everything and then some the last 22 years. I spent eight years as his coach from 1994-2002, and I love this game but Andre made it even more enjoyable. My eight years with him were incredible and I'm thankful for the time I had with him.
As for Wimbledon this week, I'd like to see nothing more than for him to go out and have a good run and show he can still compete. If he didn't think he could compete at this level he wouldn't be here. His body feels well and a burden has been lifted.
"I'm here declaring myself ready to play, and if I can get through a match or two and get my teeth in this event, I hope to cause problems for the big guys," Agassi said. "That's what I intend to do."
One of those "big guys" is No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal, who Agassi would meet if both players win their first two matches. I would love nothing more than to see Agassi and Nadal play. It's almost like a changing of the guard.
And if anyone can pull of a Houdini act here, it's Andre.
Brad Gilbert, former top-five player and former coach of Andre Agassi, is providing ESPN.com with analysis throughout Wimbledon. For more, log onto bradgilberttennis.com
1hEthan Sherwood Strauss