Dear Andre Agassi

There's only one problem with the way Britain recruits sports stars ... A Scot has the solution
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The Independent Online
Why, you may be wondering, am I using this traditional Scottish term of endearment for an American with a foreign-sounding name? Well, between ourselves, I've been having secret talks with the kilted gentlemen in the Lord Lyon King of Arms' office in Edinburgh. And with a nod and wink, they've told me there'd be no problem: we can prove your Scottish ancestry.

Think about it Andrew, I mean Andre. You could be chieftain of the clan MacAgassi. Your clothes sponsor Nike (ever on the look-out for a new image) would love it. You could alternate between your established baggy shorts and the latest MacAgassi Nike "kilt". And for tennis shoes, try the Nike "Ayr" MacAgassi. Dontcha just love it?

On the tour, you'll no doubt have heard how English tennis is constantly moaning about the demise of long trousers at Wimbledon, and you'll be aware that a Canadian called Greg, ranked 41 in the world, is now mysteriously waving Union Jacks about, saying "top hole, old boy" and claiming he's from Yorkshire or wherever. It's a damn good lark, Andrew. But I think it's a huge mistake. If we're out recruiting, we should have gone for the top man - you.

I've always thought that if the British are serious about "Zola Budding", as this nationality switch thing is sometimes called, we should be winning over the cream. Someone from the Lord Lyon's office should have spoke to Mike McTyson before he was released; and the biggish New Zealander, Jonah Lomu - what a lost opportunity! Lomu is surely a mispronunciation of Lomond.

Look at it this way, Andy. You've already won nearly $8m in prize money, a few Grand Slams, but taking your girlfriend, Brooke Shields, to the Skye Ball as a clan chieftain will put the icing on the cake. She can tell you how much Hollywood loves the Highlands right now; they've made Rob Roy and now they will need to remake Brigadoon, with you and Brooke in the title roles.

You may be worried about tennis facilities here. Sure, the move from Florida sun to the rainswept Highlands may be a bit tricky at first. But you do get used to it. Anyway, you're touring the world most of the time. When back "hame" with your clan, say in Oban, I can recommend some excellent tarmac municipal courts near the seafront (just along from the crazy golf-course and the mini go-karts). You see, in some places we really do take tennis seriously.

Finally, Andy, please don't worry about criticism that you might not hit your forehand as hard, or play your guts out, just because you're not a "regular" Brit. There's a fuss about our cricketers at the moment which you needn't trouble yourself with. In tennis terms, all I can say to this rubbish is "balls".

Think about it, won't you. In the meantime, I'll send you some of the tartan shorts the Scotch House in Knightsbridge have run up specially for me.

JAMES CUSICK

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