Andre Agassi: Tennis is a sport for life
Originally published on: 29/03/12 11:06
→ I can truly say that I’ve gone from hating this game for most of my life, most of my career, to it giving me my school, to it giving me my wife, to then it giving me a chance to raise my children, to it giving me a chance to actually sit down and watch it without stress, without worrying about it, without having to answer for it.
→ Whenever I was out there on a tennis court I always felt like it was a two-hour opportunity to make an impact on somebody, to change their lives… that was always the most special part of tennis for me.
→ Tennis is a sport for life and it teaches you a lot about life. Tennis is about how you are on the day and how you deal with the pressure of that moment. You still have to tie your shoes and lace them up. You can’t just call in the results.
→ I believe education gives you the tools to choose your life, take ownership of your life and to make this world a better place. After tennis, I now have a bigger platform, a bigger opportunity to not just impact somebody for a few hours but hopefully to impact somebody for life. I do that personally through education [the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education].
→ No child should ever be written off. We’ve been going for 10-11 years now, we’ve had our first graduating classes. In the poorest neighbourhood of Las Vegas we have managed to graduate 100 per cent of our children. They’ve gone on to university and to a life of their choosing.
→ Tennis isn’t something a child should have in their life with the narrow goal of being the best in the world. You should try to be the best in everything you do, day after day, no question, but not lose sight of the fact that tennis adds to your life even if you aren’t the best.
→ I get a lot of opportunities – I get guest speakers, real celebrity guest speakers, people with real life experiences that have changed the world. I spend 80 per cent of my working time on my foundation. If I’m not raising money for the school I’m there showing the school to politicians and potential donors.
→ Federer’s the best that’s ever played the game. I’m so out of the business of predicting him anymore. The guy has surprised me time and time again. Perhaps I should say he has impressed me time and time again, but no longer surprises me. I’d dearly love for Nadal to trump his career, but as of right now I don’t see anything close to it.
→ Federer v Nadal is one of the best rivalries the sport has ever had. Anytime we see Federer and Nadal go head to head it’s a memorable moment.
→ I’m inspired by good people, people who care, people who want to give more than they consume.
Read the full interview with the eight-time Grand Slam champion in Volume 2, Issue 4 of tennishead magazine. Click here to buy the issue or subscribe to the magazine.