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Retirement is not a gift says Agassi

June 6, 2004
LONDON (AFP) – US tennis great Andre Agassi said that retiring from the sport was not like a gift and he would not necessarily announce his withdrawal from the sport should he win a second Wimbledon title in July.

The 34-year-old is one of only five players to have won all four Grand Slams but following his stunning first round exit at the French Open to world number 271 Jerome Haehnel speculation has been mounting that he will soon retire.

“It (retirement) won’t be choreographed,” he told the Sunday Times.

“I don’t think that’s part of my nature.

“But I hope it will be more responsible than just a whim.

“It’ll be somewhere between the two.

“I’ve never been very interested in tying a little bow round my career and making it nice and neat.

“This isn’t about handing something over, its not a gift.

“It’s about my journey and my challenges,” added the 1992 Wimbledon champion, whose father Mike represented Iran in boxing at the 1952 and 1956 Olympic Games .

While Agassi, who has two children with wife Steffi Graf, admits the circuit has got lonelier without his great rival Pete Sampras he recognises why he hung up his racquet after collecting 14 Grand Slams, though without ever winning the French Open.

“I miss Pete, I sure do,” said Agassi, who was once married to the actress Brooke Shields.

“I miss him because it was a great chapter in my career and I miss him because it can get lonely out here.

“But if there’s one person out there who understands his decision, it would have to be me,” added Agassi.

Agassi professes that the one Grand Slam title he treasures above the eight he has won is the Wimbledon crown which was his first.

“What is they say about first love? It’s the one you always remember, right,” said Agassi, whose charitable foundation for at-risk youth in his home city of Las Vegas has collected over 36 million dollars since its inception in 1995.

While Agassi praises reigning Wimbledon champion Roger Federer of Switzerland he still doesn’t compare him to Sampras.

“I’ve seen Federer compared to Pete, but playing against Federer doesn’t seem the same atall.

“History will tell.

“Pete’s record is in the book, he’s one of the greatest ever.

“Federer has incredible, incredible ability, and a career of great achievement ahead of him.

Filed under: Archives 2003 to 2011

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