Tennis: Hard-talking Agassi blasts past Becker: Flamboyant American lambasts former coach as he puts one over Bollettieri's new employer
Tuesday 15 March 1994
Having made his point on the court, Agassi belaboured Bollettieri during his interview. 'Nick is insignificant,' he said, assessing the coach's influence on a match. 'His knowledge of the game is limited. If you're wondering how much he knows about tennis, play a set against him. He never taught me anything about strategy, but he can sell himself. He probably spent most of his time convincing Boris that he was the reason why I beat Boris. That is just the way it works, professionally.'
Their relationship was bound to become strained, Agassi added, 'when you become more important to his career than he does to your career. Nick never won the matches for me, and I certainly don't expect him to win them for Boris.'
Bollettieri shrugged at all this. 'He can say whatever he likes,' he said. 'All you have to do is look at him making 30 to 40 million dollars, winning Wimbledon and reaching two other Grand Slam finals. I certainly didn't become a millionaire off Andre Agassi.'
Becker defended Bollettieri. 'In my opinion, Nick is a complete coach for all aspects of the game,' he said.
It was Agassi's seventh consecutive win in nine matches with Becker, and it might have been shorter and even more emphatic had the German not decided to ease his frustration by handing his racket to a ball girl after winning only one of the first 10 points of the second set.
Agassi, 2-0 up, had drilled a forehand to win the opening point of the third game when Becker decided to take the unofficial time-out. Agassi played along, patting a serve to the ball girl, who hit a creditable return and then struck a 'winning' second shot. When the match resumed, Agassi double-faulted, and Becker went on to break his serve for 1-2.
'I think he was looking for something to get him into it, not so much for it to bring me down,' Agassi said. 'I think it did give him a second to be focused and not to be so negative. then he started playing really well.'
Though Agassi retrieved the break to love in the next game, Becker's mind was back in the match. He also broke to love, then held for 3-3, raising the prospect of a third set. It was then Agassi began to apply the type of pressure to Becker's serve that enabled him to take the opening set in only 28 minutes.
Had the ball girl been Steffi Graf rather than Stephanie Flaherty, Becker might have considered leaving his racket in her hand. Twenty-five matches have elapsed since Graf lost a set, but the American Amy Frazier at least had the distinction of taking the 100th game of the year off the Wimbledon champion before being overwhelmed in the fourth round, 6-3, 6-0.
Graf will attempt to extend her winning sequence to 30 in the quarter-finals here. She plays Kimiko Date, whom she defeated in straight sets in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January.
Results, page 35
Latest in Sport
Manchester United's David Moyes may have more joy if he drops the frustrated Robin Van Persie
Tim Sherwood rules out being No 2 at Tottenham Hotspur following embarrassing Chelsea defeat
England 29 Wales 18 match report: Stuart Lancaster's men enjoy their day in the sun at expense of weary Wales
England 29 Wales 18 player ratings: Who was the star man at Twickenham?
FA Cup semi-finals: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirms Lukasz Fabianski will start in goal against Wigan Athletic
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 3 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 4 Russia has made 'big miscalculation' over Ukraine warns Hague
- 5 Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...