NEW YORK// It was like old times at Arthur Ashe Stadium as US Open fans gave Andre Agassi a rousing ovation as the former champion was honoured before Monday's opening night games at Flushing Meadows. Eight-time grand slam champion Agassi, the US Open winner in 1994 and 1999, was one of four athletes saluted on centre court as part of a celebration of the community work done by them. Agassi was joined by former basketball player David Robinson, American football quarterback Doug Flutie and women's foot- baller Mia Hamm, but it was the tennis champion who won a standing ovation and blew kisses to the four corners of the stadium.
"Over the years I've shared this court with many great athletes but I'm extra proud tonight to share this court with athletes who are not only great, but doing great work," said Agassi. In 1994, the year Agassi won his first US Open title at the age of 24, he started the Andre Agassi Foundation, dedicated to improving public education in his home town of Las Vegas. In June, the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy graduated its first senior class and had a 100 per cent college acceptance rate.
"There has not been a single match, a single tournament, a single accomplishment on the tennis court that comes even close to the fulfilment I feel with what it is our foundation is doing," Agassi said. Agassi also said it was special to return to New York, where he appeared in a record 21 consecutive Opens during a career in which he evolved from a cocky rebel with shoulder-length hair to a respected champion with shaven head.