For a while Sunday, it felt like the early 1990s again at Arthur Ashe Stadium as images of a young Andre Agassi filled the big screen. The flowing hair, neon clothing and signature denim shorts brought back fond memories for Agassi and the crowd present to see him be inducted into the Court of Champions prior to the women’s singles final.
“Bold, brash and bigger than life,” is what the plaque bearing his photo outside Arthur Ashe Stadium says. “The ultimate showman at the ultimate show.”
Agassi joins John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Billie Jean King and other greats in the Court of Champions that greets fans entering through the South Gate of the Billie Jean King Tennis Center.
In his 20-year career, Agassi won eight major titles, two at the U.S. Open, and an Olympic gold medal in Atlanta in 1996. The U.S. Open held a special place in his heart as the only Slam event he never missed.
During his acceptance speech, Agassi waltzed down memory lane, describing the roar of the applause and the love at the U.S. Open.
“It’s like a jet engine and a giant heartbeat,” Agassi said. He also described the moments of silence he received from New Yorkers at Arthur Ashe as a sign of deep respect filled with high expectations, because there is nothing more deafening than a stone-cold-silent New Yorker.
"When somebody asks me if I miss the U.S. Open,” he said, "I don't hesitate. I miss your sound. I miss your silence. I miss giving you everything I had and a little bit more."
Silence was the last thing to be found at Ashe Stadium as the crowd gave a standing ovation for the man who once lit up the court with his fashion and style of play.