Occasionally lost between Nick Kyrgios and John McEnroe, many often forget that in between, there was another temperamentally fragile player who went on to overcome tennis punk expectations and put his name along eight Grand Slam tournament wins.
That would be American Andre Agassi, who in the mid-80s, was one of those love-him-or-hate-him sorts.
Agassi, despite not having the physical attributes, the booming serve or the other earmarks of a tennis great, managed to transform himself into a world number one and win respect. He is one of only eight men that have completed the career grand slam by winning the Australian Open (four times), The French Open in 1999, Wimbledon in 1992 and the U.S. Open (two times).
A turning point, in the eyes of Agassi and others, was Agassi’s decision to become less self-focused and devote some of his resources to helping the less fortunate. The Andre Agassi Foundation, based in Agassi’s residence city of Las Vegas, has generated $225 million.
Agassi seems parallels between himself and Agassi, noting Kyrgios’ founding of the NK Foundation. He and brother Christos Kyrgios are establishing a shelter in Melbourne devoted to troubled youth, where those youngsters will have the opportunity to pursue tennis, basketball and swimming.
Speaking of Kyrgios’ move to use his vast potential and resources to provide assistance to others, Agassi said, “Well that’s great to hear. I haven’t heard about that.
“It’s familiar words because I remember feeling that way. I remember feeling like I needed to find my reason and hopefully he’s found his because I can tell you there’s no better reason to find than helping children. So to hear him doing that is good on him for that.”
Agassi firmly credits his charity endeavours for changing his tennis fortunes and hopes that the same can happen for Kyrgios.
Agassi is at the AO in his coaching role with Novak Djokovic, who have very nearly won more Australian Opens than Agassi did Grand Slams, but his maturity suggests that he can supply some solid guidance to the Djoker.