Agassi Inducted into US Open Court of Champions

New York, Sep 10 (IANS): American tennis great Andre Agassi, a two-time US Open champion, was inducted into the US Open Court of Champions that celebrates the legacy of the greatest singles champions in the history of the US Open.

Agassi received a huge cheer from the Arthur Ashe Stadium during Sunday's ceremony that was attened by recently retired Andy Roddick, 2003 US Open champion, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Pete Sampras, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe.

Agassi won the US Open twice, first as an unseeded player in 1994 and again in 1999, when he prevailed in a five set marathon over Todd Martin.

"In all the years that I watched Andre Agassi play, I thought that he's the kind of person who might do more when he's done with his sport than what he's already done on the court," Patrick McEnroe, General Manager of USTA Player Development, who led the on-court ceremony, was quoted as saying by the tournament's website.

"Andre was a champion and a leader to so many of the young Americans coming up when they were first on tour," added Patrick McEnroe, a former player and younger brother of tennis legend John McEnroe.

Roddick, who first took on Agassi as a 17-year-old in 2000, said every player wanted to be like Agassi.

"He had such a big impact on my life when I was a kid," Roddick said.

"Everyone wanted to be like him. He had an entire generation of kids wearing jean shorts and pink tights. I was lucky to be able to tag along with Andre early in my career, either as a practice partner or playing against him in exhibitions. Watching him go into rooms and shake everyone's hand and look them in the eye, he gave everyone the kind of undivided attention you don't often see from professional athletes."

Agassi was moved by the ceremony.

"This is the only Grand Slam in my career that I've never missed," said Agassi. "The reason, quite honestly, is you...when people ask me if I miss the US Open, I don't hesitate. I miss your sounds. I miss your silence. I miss giving you everything I had and a little bit more. Thank you for giving me everything you've had for 21 years and a little bit more."


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