When Andre Agassi claimed 60th and last ATP title
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 2084
Andre Agassi hit rock bottom in 1997 and was back at his best in the following years. The American claimed five Major titles and eight Masters 1000 crowns since 1999 and became world no. 1 in September that year for the first time in three and a half years!
Agassi turned 30 in 2000 and was still one of the players to beat under the close leadership of Brad Gilbert. Andre battled against the new generation and stayed at the top until 2003 when he finally started to lose ground.
The last season of the charismatic star came in 2006, launching it from the top-10 and playing eight ATP tournaments before that emotional retirement at the US Open. Andre claimed his 60th and last ATP title in Los Angeles a year earlier on July 31.
The home favorite toppled Gilles Muller 6-4, 7-5 in an hour and 28 minutes to become the eighth player in the Open era with 60 ATP crowns. Agassi joined Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras and Guillermo Vilas on the special list.
Andre was the top seed in Los Angeles, competing for the first time since Roland Garros due to a chronic sciatic nerve problem and losing one set en route to his 88th ATP final. In the first round, the veteran toppled Jean-Rene Lisnard 6-1, 6-0 in 47 minutes and advanced into the quarter-final with another quick triumph over Kevin Kim.
In the battle for the last four, Agassi prevailed against Paradorn Srichaphan 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in an hour and 52 minutes. The veteran did more damage on the return and converted four out of 12 chances. Thus, he booked a place in the semis and delivered another flawless performance to oust Juan Ignacio Chela and reach the title match.
The 35-year-old performed in another rock-solid encounter against Gilles Muller, the youngster from Luxembourg who competed in his second ATP final.
Andre Agassi claimed the last ATP title in Los Angeles 2005.
Serving at 70%, Andre saved both break chances to keep the pressure on the other side.
Gilles did his best to stay in touch but could not match the rival's pace. He suffered two breaks at the beginning and at 5-5 in set number two to finish on the losing side. It was the fourth title in Los Angeles for Andre. He debuted in 1987 and remained competitive for almost two decades to join Frank Parker, Roy Emerson and Jimmy Connors among the most successful players.
Agassi became the oldest ATP champion since Jimmy Connors in Tel Aviv 1989, celebrating what turned out to be his last ATP title with the home fans. Carried by this momentum, Andre was also the finalist in the following two significant events.
He lost to Rafael Nadal in Montreal and Roger Federer at the US Open, becoming the oldest Grand Slam finalist since Ken Rosewall 31 years earlier! "It feels amazing. These moments do not often happen anymore, and I'm taking it in.
It's great to let my game fly and be eager to scamper after shots you are not sure you will get. I never felt that before, and it's scary when you are looking for a doctor to tell you, 'You are not playing anymore.' It's a helpless feeling. It was possible, and still is that it gets to a point when I can not do it," Andre Agassi said.