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Agassi Opens Up on Tennis, Doping, and More at AO

Four-time Australian Open champion Andre Agassi gave his thoughts on tennis today as he spoke to reporters in Melbourne. Agassi will present the Men's Championship trophy on Sunday.

By Erik Gudris

Andre Agassi (January 25, 2013) -- Four-time Australian Open champion Andre Agassi spoke to reporters in Melbourne on the current state of tennis as he prepares to present the Men's Championship trophy on Sunday night.

The former No. 1 is back in Melbourne for the first time since his retirement from the sport in 2006. Agassi said that he regrets not having competed more often at the Australian Open earlier in his career considering the amount of success he achieved there.

"I came down here with the full expectation that I wouldn't get a lot of love because I didn't earn it, said Agassi about making his first trip to the event in 1995 after being on tour for nine years. "But they embraced me, you know. I appreciated the sporting spirit and certainly thrived in the conditions. You know, from that moment, it was a big regret of mine to not have spent more time here."

When asked about how he would try and beat current World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Agassi offered a lighthearted response before admitting that today's players compete at a higher physical level than when he did.

"I would have probably gotten in a fight with him in the locker room before the match. I might have had a chance. Maybe there. I don't know. It's been amazing watching the standard continually sort of get better.  You wonder how it's possible, you know, to continue at that sort of rate…It's just a different standard of tennis. It's different rules of engagement when guys can do what these guys can do. "

On the subject of Lance Armstrong's recent admission of guilt that he practiced doping throughout his career, Agassi said that he felt "anger" at Armstrong's announcement and felt that tennis, as a whole, has led the way in drug testing for all sports. Agassi also feels his own recent acknowledgement of drug use in his book "Open" has helped raise awareness of the issue.

"The more the better as far as I'm concerned," Agassi said on current testing. "The stricter, the better; the more transparency the better; the more accountability the better.  Describing a problem is a heck of a lot easier than solving it, is one thing I've learned. Let's always have the discussion of making it more comprehensive."

Now out of competition for several years, Agassi says that he fuels his desire to win through his many charitable works, including the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education.

"Takes a heck of a lot of competitiveness, trust me, 'cause it's problem solving.  That reminds me a lot of what I had to do inside of the lines.  What I did inside the lines taught me a lot about how to go about outside of the lines.  It all kind of works together."


(Photo Credit: ABC News)


 

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