Agassi wins heartfelt tennis gold
The Olympic Games had a particular resonance for Andre Agassi. His father, Emmanuel had represented Iran in the boxing competitions at the 1948 and 1952 Games. He lost his first bout on both occasions, but he passed down to his children a love for the Games.
Having emigrated to the USA, Emmanuel Agassi channelled his sporting energies into the coaching his young son in tennis. Andre proved to be a natural and by the age of three, he was already playing rallies. By his 20s he was a global star, winning his first major, Wimbledon, in 1992.
When it came to the Olympics, Agassi was utterly focused. A patriotic American, he saw the Games as an opportunity to represent his country rather than himself, and he threw himself into the challenge wholeheartedly.Getty
His matches in Atlanta were never straightforward. There were tie-breakers against Sweden’s Jonas Björkman, a dropped first set against the Italian Andrea Gaudenzi and then a three-set battle with the South African Wayne Ferreira.
After such a tough battle to get to the final, the gold medal match proved to be rather one-sided, as he defeated Spanish clay court specialist Sergi Bruguera in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. Agassi celebrated in exuberant fashion. He eventually went on to complete the rare “Golden slam” of career titles – Wimbledon, French Open, US Open and Australian Open, as well as the Olympic title. Curiously, first player to achieve the Golden Slam was Germany’s Steffi Graf, who would later become Agassi’s wife.