Posted by: snaed | August 6, 2009

Andre Agassi


  1. Do you like watching or playing tennis? Is the sport popular in your country?
  2. What kind of qualities do you think someone needs to become a professional tennis player?
  3. What do you know about the tennis player Andre Agassi?


  1. afraid – scared; frightened
  2. achievement – something someone has succeeded in doing, usually after a lot of work
  3. despite – although
  4. career – life’s work, especially in business or a job
  5. hairstyle – the way someone’s hair is cut
  6. refuse – say no
  7. determination – strong mind or willpower
  8. victory – a win


agassi awardWhen thirty-two-year-old tennis player Andre Agassi made it to the final of the U.S. Clay Court Championship[1] in April 2003, he set a new world record: he became the oldest player ever to be number one in the world’s tennis rankings[2]. It was one of the greatest achievements in Agassi’s long and successful career.

Andre Agassi turned professional in 1986 at the age of sixteen. His career soon took off, and in 1990, he reached the finals of both the U.S. Open and the French Open championships.

By the age of twenty, Agassi was famous around the world, despite never having won an important tennis championship. Many people thought he was famous more for his long blond hair and colorful tennis shirts than for his tennis skills. They wondered if he could really win an important tournament.

In 1992, Agassi proved these people wrong by winning one of the greatest prizes in world tennis—the Wimbledonagassi dyk singles[3] final. His first attempt to win this tournament had been in 1987, but he lost his opening game. He then refused to take part at Wimbledon for the next three years. He said his reason for not playing was that the officials refused to allow him to wear his colorful shirts, but some people said it was because he was afraid to lose.

After several more championship victories, Agassi’s luck began to run out. By 1997, the year of his marriage to movie actress Brooke Shields, Agassi’s ranking had dropped to 141st in the world. Many people thought his career was over.

Agassi and Shields divorced two years later, and Agassi made a comeback with a new trainer, a new hairstyle, and new determination. In 1999, he won both the French Open and the U.S. Open  and ended the year as the world’s number one. By 2003, he had earned more than $27 million in prize money, making him one of the most successful tennis players of all time.


  1. What is the best title for this passage?
    • An Amazing Career
    • The World’s Oldest Tennis Player
    • A Celebrity Marriage and Divorce
    • Great Championship Matches
  2. How old was Agassi when he won his first championship?
    • sixteen
    • twenty
    • twenty-two
    • thirty-two
  3. Who are “these people” in “Agassi proved these people wrong…”?
    • People who beat Agassi in tennis matches
    • People who thought Agassi could not win a championship
    • Brooke Shields and other movie actress
    • Other ranked tennis players
  4. When did Agassi and Shields divorce?
    • 1995
    • 1997
    • 1999
    • 2003
  5. Which of these did NOT happen to Agassi in 1999?
    • He got divorced.
    • He won the French Open.
    • He finished at number one in the rankings.
    • He won $27 million.


  1. prove (someone) wrong – show that someone is wrong
    • They thought I couldn’t do it, but I proved them wrong.
    • Sarah proved her parents wrong by getting a part in the movie.
  2. run out (of something) – use all of something
    • Could you get some milk at the shop? We’ve run out.
    • We’ve run out of paper for the photocopier. We need to buy some more.
  3. make a comeback – return to the top level of success
    • Everyone thought her singing career was over, but she made a comeback.
    • He made a comeback after not starting in a movie for fifteen years.


  1. Do you know of any other famous people who have made comebacks? How did they make their comeback?
  2. Do you think the Wimbledon officials were right to refuse to allow Agassi to play because of his clothing? What do you think about rules that determine what people can wear?

[1] Clay Court Championship – a tournament played on a tennis court made from clay (a hard material also commonly used to make pots and plates)

[2] ranking – an ordered list of people or places

[3] singles – match where one player plays another player; in doubles, two teams of two players play against each other.


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