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Why Roger Federer ‘pisses off’ tennis great Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi believes that Roger Federer is arguably the greatest tennis player ever and it actually “pisses him off” to see the manner in which Federer dominates opponents.

tennis Updated: Jan 19, 2017 11:08 IST
Roger Federer,Andre Agassi,Australian Open
Tennis legend Andre Agassi during the unveiling of India Value Fund Advisors new brand identity ' True North', in Mumbai on Wednesday. Agassi paid rich tribute to Roger Federer(PTI)

Tennis legend Andre Agassi on Wednesday admitted it actually “pisses him off” to see the manner in which Roger Federer dominates opponents and wins points.

Speaking at a conclave in a conversation with cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle, the former World No 1 said: “I cannot believe how easy he (Federer) makes it look. It almost pisses me off that he just makes it look so easy. It’s a great generation of tennis. One that takes decades and makes it into one generation that everybody should be grateful to be able to watch.”

Agassi, who has eight Grand Slam titles and an Olympic medal to his name, lauded the Swiss maestro, stating that he was better than Pete Sampras and was arguably, the best in the business.

READ | Roger Federer enters third round of Australian Open, to face Tomas Berdych

“You’re looking at arguably the greatest ever because of what he could do on every surface,” Agassi said. “He could beat the best from the back of the court. He had Plan A, B, C, D. And he never usually got to Plan C or D. Occasionally he’d go to Plan B. So this is just somebody incredibly special. But he’s also dealing with two other guys that you can argue are at the top of the history of our sport, with Djokovic and Nadal.”

On being prodded about his rivalry with Pete Sampras, and what he felt about the enmity, Agassi said: “I woke up one day and I had this dream I was Pete Sampras, so I immediately went back to sleep. Sorry I can’t help it (about the jibes I’ve thrown against Sampras).”

It was the launch ceremony of True North, a venture capital firm, and Agassi unveiled himself at his candid best. He spoke about his father, his relationship with Steffi Graff and a number of untold stories that only the few present, would cherish and take away with them.

“My father, who’s a little bit on the visionary side if you want to be kind, started me in tennis when I was 6 months-old. And at least in his mind he did,” he recalled. “I was in diapers. He would hang over my crib a balloon and would tape a ping pong racket to my hand. I’m six-months old and I’m trying to get the ping pong racket off, and he’s telling my mom: ‘Look, he’s a natural! He’s going to be great at this game.’ He was convinced I was practicing when I was six-months old, so… I do not remember life without tennis.”

In one of the most high-profile marriages across all sports, Agassi had married Steffi Graf, a legend in herself, in 2001. “I call her the Rock of Gibraltar. She doesn’t even know where her trophies are by the way so… I think she has 22 or something like that but yeah, pretty amazing! Only eight for me, so, if you ever want to know how to stay humble, marry someone who beats you at everything because the good news is if she leaves me, I can take half of them…,” Agassi said, as the audience burst into laughter.

First Published: Jan 18, 2017 23:39 IST