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Steffi inspires me: Agassi

September 04, 2005 13:52 IST
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Andre Agassi advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Saturday with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 victory over Czech Tomas Berdych and afterwards said his wife, Steffi Graf, was an inspiration to him.

"I suppose watching her going about her life is the greatest lesson I could learn," said Agassi, who is mounting a campaign for a third U.S. Open title in his 20th successive trip to Flushing Meadows.

"I mean, in tennis, when you evolve as a person and you're more disciplined in your life and more commitment and passion and focus and intensity, it all translates into the tennis court, and vice versa.

"When you start showing more discipline on the court, then your life starts to reflect that."

Agassi, who expresses a new appreciation for his career now at age 35, said he is most grateful for the life lessons he has learned from Graf, winner of 22 career Grand Slam singles titles.

"Seeing how Stef went about parts of her career, most of it I wasn't anywhere near seeing close up, but more importantly how she goes about her life," he said about her greatest influence on him.

"It's pretty clear focus, every day reflecting her values and priorities. So I aspire to that."

Agassi's new maturity in recent years has also extended to his wardrobe. The once-flamboyant star, who used to bleach his long hair and wear denim shorts and iridescent colors, now performs in classic tennis whites.

"I'm at the stage where I've just thought to myself, 'If I dress like my wife, maybe I can play like my wife'," he said, drawing a big laugh at his news conference. "Been working, by the way."

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