The End of an Era (for me)

They’re all gone. On Sunday, Andre Agassi played his final match of the US Open and retired from tennis.

That’s the last of the ones I loved watching as a kid. Pete, Stefan, Boris, Michael; yes, even Jimmy and John (there were the women too: Stefi, whom I loved to hate; Martina, the original; Aranxa, I think that’s how you spell her name). They all retired ages ago. Andre was, for the longest time, the lone holdout. Still playing great tennis, even when everyone thought he was past his prime. And in a game where the 20-somethings rule, Agassi still held his own.

I started watching Andre when I was 14, he was 16 and blew into the tennis world with a lot of hair, style and talent, but no work ethic. Back when he looked like this. I tried to find a picture (I had one on my wall!), but couldn’t. The commercial will have to do. (A confession: I even bought a Rebel camera only because Andre did commercials for them. How crass is that?)

The best years though, were the Pete and Andre rivalry. Though Pete won most of the matches, Andre was the only one who could keep Pete on his toes. Now, it’s all big serves and boring matches and Federer wins everything. (Well, so did Pete.) It wouldn’t be so bad if there was someone to rival him, but he so totally dominates, it’s boring. And the women can’t decide if they’re into fashion or playing the game. It just isn’t the same.

So, even though it’s been a while since I’ve actually watched a tennis match (hard to with kids around), I mourn the loss of Andre in the tennis world. Or, maybe it’s because the last of my childhood has finally grown up.

4 thoughts on “The End of an Era (for me)

  1. I know what you mean! I had pictures of Agassi on my wall too. I happened to catch the end of the match over the weekend, and was really moved to see him go out on such a high note. Esteem-wise, I mean.

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  2. Melissa got me into pro tennis, which I’d never followed before I met her. And even as I became a fan, I always depended upon Melissa’s commentary and expertise to make sense of the matches. But I do have one Agassi experience which I lord over her: I was able to watch the 1999 French Open, when Agassi triumphed at Roland Garros, overcoming a two set deficit to beat Medvedev and become only the fifth male pro in history to win all four Grand Slams. I was in Germany at the time, and watched it live; in the U.S., it was carried on cable, and so Melissa missed it. I called her long distance after the amazing match.Medvedev said, after the match, that Agassi “has a right to say he’s a greater player than Pete [Sampras],” which is true: Agassi won a pro tournament on grass, hardcourt, and dirt, and that last always eluded Sampras. Sounds like a solid argument to me.

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  3. I hope you don’t mind getting a comment from a complete stranger. I read people’s blogs about books, looking for suggestions for new books to read, and yours is one I consult quite often.You wondered about the right spelling for Arantxa. You got it almost right, just missed the “t”. It’s a vasque name, and for them, to get the sound “ch”, you have to write “tx”.Barbara

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