In a recent interview, the eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi commented on the importance of having a strong and great rivalry in your career. The American said: "A great rival is like a mirror. You have to look at yourself, acknowledge where you fall short, make adjustments, and nurture the areas where you overachieve.
There were times my rivals brought out the best in me; there were times they brought out the worst. They probably helped me win things I never would have otherwise; they also cost me titles. I don’t know how you quantify what it would have been like without a rival like Pete Sampras.
I would have won more. But I think I would have been worse without him." He finally commented on his retirement from tennis: "It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through emotionally. Think about it: You’ve done this thing since you were in diapers.
You don’t remember life without it. It’s really the only thing you do. Then one day it comes to an end, and you have no idea what’s on the other side because you don’t even know yourself without it. It’s like planning for death: Let’s see, in the afterlife, I want to do this and do that.
It just doesn’t compute. I couldn’t process how, moving forward, I would never have to do the things I’d always had to do. But you start with what you can control: What will I do today? And then every day was a discovery, and it was a nice feeling. I felt empowered."