Never got to enjoy playing the game: Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi says the pressure to win meant he never got to enjoy playing tennis

Andre Agassi says he never got to enjoy playing the game

Tennis legend Andre Agassi has been pretty open about his love-hate relationship with the sport. The American, this week, said he never got to enjoy playing the game because of the constant pressure to win.

“Never got to enjoy playing the game,” said Andre Agassi during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

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“We were measured with scoreboard – trying to win the game. It affected ability to enjoy the game.”

Agassi appeared on the Leadership Summit with 22-time Grand Slam champion and his wife Steffi Graf. The couple’s chemistry was unmistakable.

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And when Agassi was asked if he had any regrets in life, he quipped, “My only regret is not making her say ‘yes’ 10 years ago.

Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf

Agassi, who finished his career in 2006 with eight Grand Slam titles, said he was glad he wasn’t competing with the Big 3 – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – for the majors. His career was on its last legs by the time Nadal and Djokovic entered the picture.

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“I am glad the highlight of my career didn’t come during this generation,” said the 50-year-old.

“We have three guys who are greatest of all times – all playing at same time. But these younger have started knocking on the doors.

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“(Alexander) Zverev, (Daniil) Medevev, (Dominic) Thiem not only believe they can win but have starting expecting it. A change of guard is coming – top these three have done what is sports has done.”

Agassi also coached Djokovic for a while in 2017-2018, which was the Serb’s most difficult year in recent times. Djokovic struggled with an elbow injury, but more importantly seemed to go through an emotional slump.

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“What Novak needed was a reason to fight and care,” the American said.

“He did not lose his game overnight. There was a lot of information he needed to process for a while. Me challenging him to stop working with him, to give him a reason to prove something.

“He went back to his roots – like Rocky – his fight. That’s what he needed. He is always looking to get agitated on tennis court. I might have poked the bear little harder and little sooner.”

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Djokovic got his mojo back in the summer of 2018, after splitting up with Agassi, as he won the Wimbledon title.