Grizzled veteran rolls on

Pete Sampras may have more Grand Slam titles (14) than Andre Agassi (8), but where is “Pistol” Pete right now?

His lengthy sabbatical from the game appears more and more like retirement.

Agassi, on the otherhand, keeps chugging along with no vacations in sight.

On Saturday, the dependable veteran shot past Morocco’s Younes El Aynaoui in the third round of Wimbledon.

The Las Vegas native is just four wins away from his second Wimbledon title.

How can a 33-year old compete with all of these talent-laden 18-20 year olds?

Agassi still has one of the biggest forehands in the game and his service return is the best.

But Andre’s biggest advantage continues to be his experience in the “big” match.

Certainly, Agassi can’t slug it out with the big boys as well as he did five or 10 years ago.

But, he is a smarter player than he was back then.

In the early years of Andres’ career he would count on his ferocious groundstrokes to get him through matches.

In a couple of French Open title matches in the late 1980s and early 90s, Agassi couldn’t get those shots to fall.

He lost those two matches to Andres Gomez and then Jim Courier while also falling to a young Sampras at the U.S. Open.

Those setbacks did serve as learning sessions for Andre as he got smarter as a player and began to dictate with his physical and mental skills.

Once he bested big serving Goran Ivanisevic in the finals of Wimbledon in 1992, Agassi’s career flourished.

And it has continued to do so even in the supposed “twilight” of his playing days.

It doesn’t matter what tourney or playing surface Andre competes on.

He just keeps winning.

Grass courts aren’t Agassi’s best surface.

He doesn’t count on getting too many free points on his serve and he doesn’t usually attack from the net.

However, like Lleyton Hewitt a year ago, Agassi’s service return is the ultimate equalizer on this surface.

That reason alone makes him a viable threat at this tournament.

If he can continue to return well in the second week of action at Wimbledon, he could hoist up his second trophy and continue his legacy as the guy that just keeps getting better with age.


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