WIMBLEDON, England - Andre Agassi's voice wavered and his eyes welled up. After years of dealing with injuries, after months of contemplation, he finally spoke the words he knew he had to, at the place he knew he had to.
Turning what was expected to be a routine pre-Wimbledon news conference into something significant, Agassi announced Saturday he will retire after this year's U.S. Open, leaving tennis after two decades during which he collected a career Grand Slam and morphed from an “Image Is Everything” youngster to elder statesman.
“It's been a lot of sacrifices the last few months, trying to get myself right to come back here and enjoy this tournament for the last time,” said Agassi, who has played only one match the past three months because of back trouble.
“It's been a long road this year for me, and for a lot of reasons. It's great to be here. This Wimbledon will be my last, and the U.S. Open will be my last tournament.”
The 36-year-old American is seeded 25th at the All England Club, where play begins Monday. He intends to enter as many as four hard-court events between Wimbledon and the Open, in what will amount to a farewell tour for one of the most popular and successful tennis players in history.