Andre Agassi, a former world No. 1 and one of the most revered athletes in the world, will receive the highest honor available in the sport of tennis, induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The announcement of Agassi's induction was made recently at Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, the public charter school that Agassi founded in 2001 in Las Vegas' most at risk community. The students at Agassi Prep, who range from kindergarten through Grade 12, joined Agassi in a pep rally style event to celebrate his induction.
"I'm truly honored to be recognized alongside the greatest players of tennis," said Agassi. "My tennis career afforded me the opportunity to make a difference in other people's lives and it was truly special to share this exciting moment with the students of Agassi Prep."
Agassi is the sole 2011 inductee in the Recent Player category. Additional 2011 inductees in other categories will be announced at a later date.
"During his 20-year career Andre Agassi recorded some of the most incredible achievements in tennis, including Grand Slam titles, an Olympic gold medal, and Davis Cup success. The energy and excitement that he personally brought to the game inspired generations of players. Today, he continues to inspire people around the world as a dedicated philanthropist, and, therefore, it was only appropriate that we share this news at the school where so many young people benefit from his generosity," said Christopher E. Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. "Andre is a true champion of the game, and we are delighted to honor him for his contributions and achievements with induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame."
Agassi's Induction Ceremony will be held on July 9, 2011 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, R.I. The Ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event.
Tickets for the Induction Ceremony and its surrounding events are limited. Box seats, custom sponsorship and hospitality packages are available. In addition, the International Tennis Hall of Fame is developing additional events and programs to complement the Induction Ceremony and allow as many fans as possible to be part of the celebration. Individuals looking for additional information should call 866-914-FAME (3263) and/or visit www.tennisfame.com.
Agassi, 40, of Las Vegas, Nevada, held the No. 1 singles ranking for 101 weeks, and is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, as well as one of the premier athletes of his generation. Agassi achieved a career singles record of 870-274, winning 60 titles, including four at the Australian Open, two at the US Open, and one victory each at the French Open and Wimbledon. Within his 60 tournament wins, he captured 17 Masters 1000 events. In 1990, he won the season-ending ATP World Tour Championships. Agassi earned a Gold Medal at the 1996 Olympics, by taking the Singles title in Atlanta. A member of two winning American Davis Cup teams (1990, 1992), Agassi achieved a career record of 30-6 in Davis Cup play for the United States. Agassi's passionate performances, non-traditional apparel and style, and extraordinary skill made him one of the most iconic athletes in the history of the game. He is credited for reviving the popularity of the game and inspiring a generation of tennis players.
In 1999, Agassi came back from two sets down against Andrei Medvedev in the final to win the French Open, putting him in the elite company of Rod Laver, Don Budge, Fred Perry and Roy Emerson, as the only five men at that time to have achieved a Career Grand Slam. (Roger Federer later joined them with his victory at the French Open in 2009.) This win also made him the first male player in history to have won all four Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces (clay, grass, and hard courts), a tribute to his adaptability.
Agassi turned professional in 1986 at the age of 16, and made his way into the top-100 in his first professional year, finishing the season ranked No. 91. He won his first Tour-level title in 1987, and closed out his second professional season ranked No. 25 in the world. In 1988 his year-end ranking was No. 3 and he surpassed $2 million (US) in career prize money, after playing in just 43 career tournaments - the fastest anyone in history had reached that mark. Agassi enjoyed a long, successful career through 2006, during which time he earned more than $30 million (US) in prize-money, fourth only to Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal to date.
In June 2003, at the age of 33, Agassi became the oldest player to hold the No. 1 singles ranking, a position that he held onto for twelve weeks. Agassi retired from professional tennis on September 3, 2006, after losing in the third round of the US Open. He delivered a memorable retirement speech and was honored with an eight-minute standing ovation from the crowd.
During his career and into retirement, Agassi has been a dedicated philanthropist. In 1994, he founded the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, which is devoted to helping at-risk youth in Las Vegas and its surrounding areas. Since the inception of the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education $150 million dollars has been raised to benefit the mission of the Foundation, including $92 million from the Grand Slam for Children fundraising event. In 1995 and 2001, Agassi was awarded the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award, which is presented annually to one ATP World Tour player in acknowledgement of outstanding humanitarian contributions.
In 1997, he established the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club in Las Vegas, which supports 2,000 children throughout the year and boasts a world class junior tennis team and basketball program. Additionally, the club utilizes a rigorous system that encourages a mix of academics and athletics.
In 2001, Agassi opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a tuition-free public charter school in Las Vegas' most at-risk neighborhood. The school utilizes advanced technology, smaller class sizes and extended school hours, among other tactics, to combat lowered academic expectations and to foster a sense of hope among this community's most challenged children. In 2009 and 2010, the school graduated a 100% acceptance rate for higher education.
In 2007, Agassi joined forces with Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Warrick Dunn, Jeff Gordon, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Andrea Jaeger, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mario Lemieux, Alonzo Mourning and Cal Ripken, Jr. to found Athletes for Hope. The non-profit organization helps professional athletes get involved in charitable causes and aims to inspire the sports community, especially athletes, to make a difference and to inspire others to pass their passion for philanthropy from generation to generation.
Agassi is married to retired professional tennis player and 2004 Hall of Famer Stefanie Graf, and they reside in Las Vegas with their two children.
Induction Process International Tennis Hall of Fame President and 1970 Hall of Famer Tony Trabert serves as Chair of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee. Election to the Hall of Fame is voted on by a panel of more than 100 tennis media professionals around the world and a 75% favorable vote is required for induction.
Inductees to the International Tennis Hall of Fame are elected in the categories of Recent Player, Master Player and Contributor. To be eligible for Hall of Fame induction in the Recent Player category, the individual must have been active as a competitor in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration; must not have been a significant factor on the ATP or WTA Tour within five years prior to induction; and must hold a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level. Consideration is given to integrity, sportsmanship and character.
Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis. Since 1955, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has inducted 218 people representing 19 countries.
To learn more about Andre Agassi's induction or about the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, please visit tennisfame.com or call 401-849-3990.