'When I was at my best, it was a risk to play aggressive', tennis great Andre Agassi feels modern game has changed too much

Agassi said the game today had simply changed too much for him to find an analog among the sport’s current top performers.

Reuters September 29, 2019 13:32:16 IST
'When I was at my best, it was a risk to play aggressive', tennis great Andre Agassi feels modern game has changed too much
  • Andre Agassi said the game today had simply changed too much for him to find an analog among the sport's current top performers.

  • 'Some of them do what I did – but they do other things too,' said Agassi, pointing to Novak Djokovic as someone 'who can take the ball early and redirect pace or control points from the middle of the court'

  • He heaped praise on Russia's Daniil Medvedev, this year's US Open villain turned unlikely hero who gave eventual champ Rafa Nadal a run for his money in a five-set final thriller.

New York: As a tennis player, Andre Agassi defied comparison. And as a retiree, the eight-times Grand Slam champion would rather not try himself.

Reflecting on his career on Saturday, at the Longines Global Champions Tour in New York, Agassi said the game today had simply changed too much for him to find an analog among the sport’s current top performers.

“The truth is, some of them do what I did – but they do other things too,” said Agassi, pointing to reigning Wimbledon champ Novak Djokovic as someone “who can take the ball early and redirect pace or control points from the middle of the court,” but also brings an added defensive edge.

When I was at my best it was a risk to play aggressive tennis great Andre Agassi feels modern game has changed too much

File image of Andre Agassi (L) and Novak Djokovic. AFP

“These guys, they can do everything I did on a return, except they have even a little more coverage.

“When I was really at my best, it was a risk to play aggressive ... (today) people play aggressive.”

Having shifted his post-tennis career toward business and philanthropy, Agassi appeared on Saturday as the appointed “ambassador of elegance” for the luxury watch-maker Longines, the title partner of the competition, with which he has formed a kind of symbiotic relationship.

Most notably the former world No. 1, who described his exit from tennis as “like Christmas,” said the partnership helps him pursue the cause of youth education.

“It seems to push my buttons,” said Agassi, talking with passion about the latest advancements in technology for childhood literacy.

But he acknowledged moving from the pro sport isn’t quite so simple for everyone.

“I don’t know if you can prepare somebody for it because it all depends on what it’s meant to them and how much of their identity is tied up in it,” said Agassi. “When you do something for the first third of your life and then you have two thirds of your life to go, it can be a tough transition.”

He heaped praise on Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, this year’s US Open villain turned unlikely hero who gave eventual champ Rafa Nadal a run for his money in a five-set final thriller.

“A guy like that stays healthy, he’s probably the best 6’6” mover we’ve ever seen in tennis,” Agassi said of the 23-year-old. “He knows when to press, when to put a little urgency into your game and he knows when to sort of let you implode.

“His tennis IQ is really high, his offensive skill set is there, his defensive skill set is there. So he’s got everyone’s attention.”

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

ATP Finals 2020: Dominic Thiem secures victory over Rafael Nadal; Stefanos Tsitsipas outlasts Andrey Rublev
Sports

ATP Finals 2020: Dominic Thiem secures victory over Rafael Nadal; Stefanos Tsitsipas outlasts Andrey Rublev

Nadal, who lost the 2010 and 2013 finals of the event, has to beat Tsitsipas in his last group match to reach the semi-finals of the prestigious season-ending tournament.

Novak Djokovic backs domestic violence policy for tennis in light of Alexander Zverev allegations
Sports

Novak Djokovic backs domestic violence policy for tennis in light of Alexander Zverev allegations

Several major American sports have a policy setting out a procedure to be followed in such situations, and Djokovic believes tennis should go down the same route.

From Novak Djokovic's rollercoaster journey to pandemic halting tennis, five talking points from 2020 season
Sports

From Novak Djokovic's rollercoaster journey to pandemic halting tennis, five talking points from 2020 season

The chaos caused to tennis by the pandemic saw the governing bodies freeze world rankings from March, allowing points to extend beyond the traditional 52-week window.