Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Great moments in tennis No 4 - Agassi completes career slam

How do you measure greatness? Is it the number of slams a player wins? How they win them? Completing the near mythical calendar Grand Slam? How they respond to adversity and setbacks? A Champion's complete domination of the game? The impact a player has on tennis? Or the number of new people they attract into the game?

The answer of course is all of the above and then some.

Andre Agassi was a true Great. The number of slams he won ("only" 8 - what most players would give for a fraction of that success) probably denies him the title of The Greatest of All Time (GOAT).

But I would argue that he was an even greater player that his arch rival Pete Sampras. Sure, Pistol Pete won 6 more Slams but where Andre has the edge over Sampras, McEnroe, Borg, and (for the time being at least) Federer is his 'Career Grand Slam', winning all 4 of the main events between 1992 and 1999.

Unlike Laver he didn't do it in the course of one season - which I guess is still the ultimate test for any candidate to be GOAT - but of course what Agassi did do was complete his Slam on 4 different surfaces.

He completed the set in Paris in 1999 with victory over Andrei Medvedev in the French Open final. True to form Agassi didn't do it the easy way. In fact he had to claw it back from 2 sets to love to win in 5.

You can watch the final moments of the match along with the post match reaction here

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