The USTA has announced that Andre Agassi, a two-time U.S. Open Champion, has been named the 2012 inductee into the U.S. Open Court of Champions, a U.S. Open and USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center attraction honoring the greatest singles champions in the history of the U.S. Championships/U.S. Open. Agassi will be inducted during an on-court ceremony in Arthur Ashe Stadium prior to the Men’s Singles Championship on Sunday, Sept. 9. Patrick McEnroe will host the ceremony.
The U.S. Open Court of Champions salutes the tournament’s all-time greatest champions with an individual permanent monument that serves as a lasting tribute. Agassi will join prior inductees Arthur Ashe, Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Jimmy Connors, Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Althea Gibson, Richard “Pancho” Gonzalez, Steffi Graf, Billie Jean King, Jack Kramer, Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl, Molla Bjurstedt Mallory, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Margaret Osborne duPont, Ken Rosewall, Pete Sampras, Bill Tilden and Helen Wills. A panel of international print and broadcast journalists selected the 2012 inductee from the roster of U.S. champions based on their performances at the tournament and their impact on the growth of the event.
“Few tennis players have impacted the sport of tennis more than Andre Agassi,” said Jon Vegosen, chairman of the board and president of USTA. “He is a champion both on and off the court, elevating the popularity of our sport while playing, and now helping to enhance the lives of children off the court with his generosity and dedication to providing young people with the opportunity for a quality education. He truly deserves this honor.”
Agassi, the son of a former Olympic boxer, grew up in Las Vegas with a ball machine in his backyard, developing extraordinary hand-eye coordination that has seldom been matched in the history of tennis. Turning pro at the age of 16, he quickly established himself as one of the sport's top talents and a definitive fan favorite. Bold, brash and bigger-than-life, Agassi won the U.S. Open Men’s Singles Title in 1994 (the first unseeded player in the Open era to capture the U.S. Open) and again in 1999. His punishing baseline game, unparalleled return-of-serve and superior athleticism allowed him to win a career Grand Slam and a total of eight career Grand Slam titles, as well as a Gold Medal in singles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He also was a member of two U.S. Davis Cup-winning teams. Agassi competed in a men’s Open-era record 21 consecutive U.S. Opens. He was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011.
Currently, he focuses a good deal of his time and efforts on the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a tuition-free public charter school for at-risk youth in Las Vegas.