Agassi: I never hated tennis so much as I did in 1997

Former world number one Andre Agassi has revealed that 1997 was not just a bad year in tennis for him, it was the year he realised he "hated tennis".

Agassi, who won eight grand slam singles championships and 60 men's singles titles, is one of the best tennis players of all-time but the Nevada-born star never truly fell in love with the game he was so good at.

"My father was a boxer for Iran, he came over (to USA) when he was 18. He didn’t speak a word of English, but put himself through school and raised four children," the Olympic gold medalist said to MI.com.

"He made me respect hard work and so much so that he sent me away at 13 to a tennis academy in Florida. There was no adult supervision, but a bunch of teenagers raising each other."

In 1997, after sinking from the top spot in the world rankings to a lowly No. 140 the four-time Australian Open winner realised he "hated" the sport.

"I was 140 in the world. I’d been number one in the world. And I’d lost yet another first round after accepting a wild card," Agassi continued.

"I could still somehow sell seats, but I’d forgotten how to hit a tennis ball. I was in the hotel room after my defeat and looking out the window in Germany, at the traffic, I realized I hated tennis. I never hated tennis so much in my life than I did at that moment.

"And I thought to myself, how many people at whom I’m looking at right now out this window, how many of them got to choose their life? Is there a difference between choosing your life and having ownership of your life," Agassi shared poignantly.

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