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Old 08-27-2006, 06:15 PM   #1
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The OFFICIAL US Open + "Let's Go ANDRE" thread

Tomorrow, the US Open begins... August 28 to September 10...

and it's the END of a journey for the greatest of them all... ANDRE AGASSI...

it's like Michael Jordan retiring, Ayrton Senna (F1), saying goodbye, Wayne Gretsky haging the skates... it's the end of an era...

some may say Sampras was the best, McEnroe, Federer... but this guy changed the sport, and you know it

extract from the US Open website:

****************************

A Fitting Finale for Agassi
by Mark Preston
Posted Date: Thursday, August 10, 2006

WHERE ELSE WOULD IT END? Where else could it end? What more perfect conclusion could there be to the Magical Mystery Tour that has been the career of Andre Agassi than one final bow on the great stage of the US Open? A career—a life, really—come full circle. Bigger-than-life, bold, brash, explosive in style and personality, Andre Agassi swaggered into the US Open as a 16-year-old phenom with big hair, a bigger forehand and an enormous presence. The Open—and tennis, for that matter—would never be the same.

As hard as it may be to believe for those of us who still have a vague idea of the whereabouts of our denim shorts, Agassi’s US Open debut was 20 summers ago. When he steps onto the hard floor of Arthur Ashe Stadium this year, Agassi will be playing his 21st consecutive US Open. That, in itself, is a staggering feat.

But to gauge Agassi’s impact on the US Open—or the Open’s impact on Agassi—merely in measure of longevity would be to miss many big points. No, this is not the place where he won his first Grand Slam title; that would be Wimbledon in 1992. Neither is this the spot where he’s won his most Grand Slam titles. Twice a winner here, he has won twice as many times at the Aussie Open. But the connection between Agassi and the US Open isn’t about "first," or about "most." It’s about those things that last.

Over the course of these two unforgettable decades, both Agassi and the Open have defined—and redefined—themselves any number of times. Each has often been an integral part of the other’s growth. Each has impacted and left an indelible mark on the other. Maybe it’s because all of the aforementioned adjectives that define Agassi also define the Open. Whatever the reason, this much is for sure: This is Agassi’s place, his event, his crowd. Others may have won more, but few have meant more.

Agassi understood, from the start, what a New York stage is all about. On so many occasions and on so many levels, he has delivered the spectacular, the singular sort of magic that only can be found in Flushing, and even then, only can be produced by the most remarkable of prestidigitators.

It didn’t take long for that magic to begin. New Yorkers love the swagger, love those who can put it on the line and then back it up. And two first-round losses in his first two years here did nothing to shake Agassi’s confidence or belief that he belonged. After his 1988 straight-set quarterfinal win over Jimmy Connors—their first-ever meeting in a Grand Slam event—18-year-old Agassi allowed that the match had gone pretty much as he’d expected, only that he figured the nine games he’d allowed Connors might have been differently distributed. "I predicted to a buddy that it would be 3, 3 and 3," said Agassi.

The media ate it up, Connors got fired up. "He shouldn't say things like that because I'll be playing him again," said Connors. "He just made a bad mistake, which I’ll remember." Agassi lost in the next round, but he’d officially arrived.

And he stayed. He did again play Connors the following year and this time it took him five sets to win en route to another semifinal run. A year after that, in 1990, he reached the final here for the first time and began, in earnest, what would become one of the greatest rivalries in the history of this sport. Pete Sampras won that match, the first of his record 14 Grand Slam singles titles, but even on that day, there was something about that pairing that suggested it would play perfectly on the New York stage. Like Bialystock and Bloom, Agassi and Sampras seemed mated to be feted, destined to take their ultimate star turn on Broadway.

The two met here four times, and all of those—including the three finals in which they went head-to-head—were won by Sampras. But the quality of those matches resonates still, hovers in the US Open air on thick summer nights. There was the 1995 final that Agassi lost after winning everything the entire summer. There was the classic quarterfinal in 2001; the definitive final-Sunday sort of showdown held, this time, on a Wednesday. And there was the final final for the two in 2002, ending a rivalry that had lifted both men—and this event—to sensational heights.

"Andre is the best I've ever played," said Sampras afterward. "Playing against him, those moments are great moments, because you know you’re competing against the best."

Agassi’s two titles here—in 1994 and 1999—were very different and yet very similar, each defining the essence of a champion in their own particular way. He played here in ’94 as an unseeded player, after wrist surgery in ’93 had sliced into his ranking. But the fact that there was no number next to his name mattered little, as Agassi spit out five seeds en route to his first Open title, the first unseeded man to win the U.S. title in 28 years.

"Andre’s run in ’94 was a great story," says Jim Courier, an Agassi contemporary and himself a four-time Grand Slam champion. "But not because he won as an unseeded player. I think Andre not being seeded was much more of an upset than him winning the tournament. We all knew he obviously had the ability to win.

"What was most impressive about that win is the fact that he battled back, because he could just as easily have walked off into another career at that time. But he chose the hard road. He put in the time, and he didn’t fake it. He didn’t cut any corners and he started to maximize his ability and winning the Open was his reward for that."

Conversely, Agassi’s 1999 US Open win was an exclamation point on a career year in which he won five titles, including two Slams, became only the fifth man in the history of the sport to win all four Slams in his career, and finished the year ranked No.1. After Agassi came back from a 2-sets-to-one deficit to defeat Todd Martin, he shared his feelings about his relationship with the US Open.

"I feel like New York, all the people here, have really made me feel like I'm at home," Agassi said. "They've watched me grow up, and it's hard not to care on some level when you watch somebody develop from a teenager who says and does a lot of the wrong things to a person who gets out there and appreciates the opportunities.

"This is the most special place in the world for me to play. I'm convinced of it."

"I think Andre has come to appreciate every single thing in his life," says Mary Carillo. "He’s very introspective and reflective. Andre loves the process, and that’s why he could just as easily be a guy flipping his own scorecards at Challengers as playing at the US Open. Yeah, there were years when he squandered some chances, but now I think he gets it more than anyone gets it. Nothing is lost on him anymore, and I think that inside his head, he’s processed all of his US Open experiences and the reaction he gets from the New York crowd every time he walks out there means the world to him."

Agassi admitted as much in addressing the press after his instant-classic quarterfinal win over James Blake at last year’s Open, saying, "People have asked me, "What does the Open mean to you? Well, that’s what it means—what you just saw out there. It's 1:15 in the morning, 20,000 people out there…. There's no place like it. That only happens here in New York."

New York. Where else would it end?




****************************


Let it begin... the OFFICIAL US Open thread... and also, the OFFICIAl "Let's Go ANDRE" thread


Round ONE:

Arthur Ashe 7:00 PM
1. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Andrei Pavel (ROM) vs. Andre Agassi (USA)
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Old 08-27-2006, 07:48 PM   #2
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Hope he doesn't suck!
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:26 PM   #3
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I Agassi. Hate to see him leave the sport. Hope he has a good Series on his way out.
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Old 08-28-2006, 09:05 AM   #4
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i actually quite enjoy when the open comes to town, even though tennis does nothing for me.

i drive to work on the same highways that one would take to get to the tennis center/shea stadium area, but i get off a good half hour before the shea/tennis center exit. people always get so freaked out that traffic is going to be so bad because of the Open, so more people take mass transit into the city rather than dealing with the mess of people trying to get off the highways to park... so while the traffic near the center it's self is brutal, it actually lets up a bit out on the island, which makes me a very happy camper for two weeks.
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:10 AM   #5
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Hope He gets as far as he can go in his last open, Imagine if He managed to win!, now that would be perfect.

He's sure gonna be missed.
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:16 AM   #6
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if he wins, he should bring back the mullet
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase
if he wins, he should bring back the mullet
If he wins....I'll grow a Mullet!
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:50 AM   #8
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i'm holding you to that
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:10 AM   #9
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:28 AM   #10
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i think he should've retired after last years US Open, when he reached the final. He's hardly played any tennis this year, I don't see him getting very far..

whatever happens this time though his career has been brilliant
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:31 AM   #11
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Someone doesnt want to see bono_man2002 sporting a mullet
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Old 08-28-2006, 04:41 PM   #12
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he wins, and I shave my head...


my only hope is that if he loses in the final, it's against Federer... not that prick Nadal
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Old 08-28-2006, 07:49 PM   #13
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WISH #1: Andre Agassi Wins Tourament
WISH #2: Anybody But Roger Freaking Federer Wins Tournament
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:26 PM   #14
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DAMMIT, he's 6/7 - 7/6 - 1/4 loosing
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:29 PM   #15
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DAMMIT, he's 6/7 - 7/6 - 1/4 loosing
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