French Open Tennis – Like Wimbledon, just more orange

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Classic Final – 1999 – Agassi vs Medvedev:

Whether you’re all aboard the Djokovic bandwagon (our tip at 11/8 with bet365), or fancy Rafa to rule again (evens at Bluesq), it’s certain that this year’s French Open Champion won’t be a player who just 18 months ago was outside the top 100, consuming crystal meth as if it was a packet of Pringles.

That is exactly what happened 11 years ago, when Andre Agassi came back from two sets down to complete a wonderful comeback against Andrei Medvedev. Yet that comeback was merely a microcosm of a far grander one – Agassi was ranked 141 in the world at the end of 1997.

Agassi’s passage to the final had been serene, having faced only one seed – the defending Champion Carlos Moya in Round 4. But against the tall Ukrainian, Agassi struggled early on, winning just three games in the first two, rain-interrupted sets. He rallied however, and eventually emerged victorious 1–6, 2–6, 6–4, 6–3, 6–4, breaking down in tears at the match conclusion.

In a way, that afternoon was typical Agassi. As the New York Times wrote the following day, “Andre Agassi has spent his tennis career striking bottom and then bursting through the surface, and in this match, he was true to his past.”

This victory cemented Agassi’s place as arguably the greatest all-round tennis player of his era, having become the first to complete a career grand-slam (all four majors and an Olympic gold). It was also significant for another reason. At the Winners’ ball the following night, Agassi waltzed with Ladies champion Steffi Graf. Shortly after, they started dating, and just two years later, were married.

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