Many female tennis fans around the world will be shocked to learn that the famous lion-mane locks that made Andre Agassi a sex symbol on the tennis court in the 1990s were a wig. He finally admitted the fact in his best-selling autobiography “Open” which was published in November 2009.
|Birthplace:||Las Vegas Nevada|
“Every morning I would get up and find another piece of my identity on the pillow, in the washbasin, down the plughole,” he said. “I asked myself – you want to wear a toupee? On the tennis court? I answered myself, what else could I do?
But it was the wig that had so many women swooning in the stands that caused his downfall in his first Grand Slam final at the French Open in 1990. He had showered in it the day before and it had virtually fallen apart so his brother fixed it on with 20 hair grips. Agassi was so worried it was going to fall off in front of all the spectators and the television viewers that he lost the match against Andres Gomez from Ecuador.
His wife at the time, Brooke Shields, told him to ditch the hairpiece and shave his head and he describes her suggestion as “like having all my teeth pulled out,” but after thinking about it for two days he decided she was right.
Agassi gets his charismatic characteristics from his father Emmanuel “Mike” Aghassian, an Iranian of Armenian and Assyrian origin who represented |Iran in boxing in the 1948 and 1942 Olympic Games before immigrating to the United States where he met his wife Elizabeth.
Mike Agassi was regularly ejected from the courtside when his son was playing for banging on a fence with a hammer when he lost a point. Agassi Senior also screamed at officials who used to ask him to leave.
Agassi was forced to retire on September 23rd, 2006 after suffering sciatica caused by two bulging discs in his back, vertebral displacement (spondylolisthesis), and a bone spur that interfered with the nerve.
He married actress Brooke Shields in a lavish and expensive ceremony on April 19th, 1997. There were repeated press reports that the marriage was on rocky ground and in February 1998 the couple filed a suit against the National Enquirer claiming it printed “false and fabricated statements” about the couple, but the case was dismissed. The marriage ended 10 days before their second anniversary on April 9th, 1999 when Agassi filed for divorce.
He had always admired Steffi Graf and when his divorce was finalized he persistently pursued her. When they were both surprise Champions at the French Open in 1999 they met again at the Winners Ball and shortly after that they started dating. The couple was married at a private ceremony at their Las Vegas home on 1st October 2001 in front of Agassi’s family friend District Judge Michael Cherry with only their two mothers as witnesses.
Their first child Jaden Gil (named after Agassi’s long-time trainer Gil Reyes) arrived four days later. Their daughter Jaz Elle was born on 3rd October 2003. They live in Las Vegas with the latest addition to their family, a black flat-coated retriever puppy named Buster.
Andre Agassi started his Foundation for Education in 1994. It assists Las Vegas young people and it is more than a school or a set of beliefs, it is a movement committed to transforming education so that all children have a shot at success. Agassi’s message is “We believe in children and when you say you believe you have to act. We believe every child has a right to thrive.” www.agassifoundation.org
Andre Agassi is an inspiration to the game of tennis. He plays with such grit, passion, and determination which draws you into every shot he plays. Agassi continues to inspire many fans into picking up a tennis racket in the hope that they too could be as good as him one day. Classic examples of his abilities were displayed during his match against Roger Federer in the US Open 2005 Final. Other exhilarating matches to watch included his epic encounters with Pete Sampras.