Andre Agassi was everything that was wrong with sports. His motto was "image is everything." He was brash and cared only about himself and not his sport. He had long hair and embraced the image of being a rebel. He refused to play Wimbledon saying he did not want to wear white. He dated Barbra Streisand and married Brooke Shields. He was the guy that you loved to hate.
Then this weekend, he ended his career as the bald, elder statesman and one of the most beloved figures in the sport of tennis. He is now a devoted family man, married to one of the most respected and talented female tennis players of all time, Steffi Graf.
Agassi stated before the U.S. Open that this would be his final tournament. The last of a career that included eight Grand Slam singles titles. He is one of only five players to win all four Grand Slam events during his career and the only player in the open area to have won every Grand Slam singles title, the Masters, the Davis Cup, and an Olympic gold medal.
Agassi won his first round match and then could barely walk, his back was in so much pain. He took a pain-killing injection just to be able to take the court for his second round match on Thursday against 20-year-old rising star Marcos Baghdatis. The match was a classic for the ages and a testament to a career that rivals the best of all-time. Agassi won the first two sets and then was up 4-0 in the fourth before the youngster, who wasn't even born when Agassi began his career, rallied to win the fourth set. However, it was Baghdatis that cramped up and Agassi who rallied to win the fifth set to prolong his career one more match.
Agassi lost Sunday on center court at the U.S. Open. He left to a standing ovation and gave his fans this heartfelt speech.
"The scoreboard said I lost, but what it doesn't say is what I have found over the last 21 years. I have found loyalty. You have pulled for me on the court and life. I have found inspiration and you have willed me to win. Over the last 21 years I have found you and I will take you with me for the rest of my life."
It was great moment to witness and I was pleased that CBS didn't ruin it with any commentary. They let the moment speak for itself.
As Agassi made it to the locker room, CBS wordlessly went to commercial. And it was Bob Dylan singing and shilling for I-tunes.
I suppose that can also talk for itself. It is a crazy world we now live in. The common man cheers Agassi as a hero as Dylan sells Ipods.