Tennis / Wimbledon '92: Agassi, with tears

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The Independent Online
ANDRE AGASSI, the No 12 seed and a 20-1 shot before Wimbledon fortnight began, yesterday joined the elite of men's tennis by winning the men's singles title at the championships, beating the 20-year-old Croat, Goran Ivanisevic, in a five-set match lasting 2 hours and 50 minutes. It was a rebuff to those who argue the modern game is a characterless exposition of power play.

Agassi, 22, has earned comparisons with Bjorn Borg for the nature of his play and the size of his fan club, but until yesterday his reputation had been founded more on potential - plus his flamboyant appearance - than on achievements in the four Grand Slam events.

Ivanisevic fired 37 aces past Agassi and looked to be holding the initiative after winning the fourth set 6-1. However, at 4-5 in the final set Ivanisevic uncharacteristically faulted seven times on his service to provide a first win for a No 12 seed in Wimbledon's history. Ivanisevic, another ascendant player, was ranked No 8, and not since 1985 have the finalists both been first-time.

Agassi's career prize-money total has now climbed to nearly dollars 5m ( pounds 2.6m). Tennis players earn vast amounts from advertising and endorsements, and with his rock-star demeanour he will now enter the league of sporting mega-earners.

His Wimbledon win alone will earn him pounds 265,000; Ivanisevic will get pounds 132,500.

Agassi, who knocked out John McEnroe in the semi-final, is a former Las Vegas ball boy who, as a youngster, practised with Ilie Nastase before joining the celebrated tennis academy of Nick Bollettieri in Bradenton, Florida. He admits to a taste for fast cars and junk food.

Report, page 30

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