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Agassi’s Swing: The Tennis Star’s Pickleball Journey

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By Jacob Jackson

Andre Agassi is one of the greatest tennis players of all time, with 8 Grand Slam singles titles and an Olympic gold medal. In recent years, Agassi has taken up a new racquet sport – pickleball. The tennis legend has embraced pickleball as a fun way to stay active and competitive after retirement. Agassi’s passion for the sport is introducing new fans to pickleball and growing its popularity.

Andre Agassi : Transitioning from Tennis to Pickleball

After an illustrious 21-year professional tennis career, Agassi officially retired in 2006. He remained busy with his educational foundation and other projects. But the ultra-competitive Agassi still sought an athletic outlet to satisfy his desire to compete. He tried platforms tennis, a racquet sport similar to pickleball. In 2017, Agassi was introduced to pickleball by friends and instantly took a liking to the upstart game.

As a master of racquet skills, Agassi appreciated the finesse shots and strategic elements of pickleball. The smaller court and paddle allowed the 52-year-old Agassi to maximize his hand-eye coordination and mobility. While gentle on his body, pickleball still provided the adrenaline rush of hitting winners. Agassi noted, “I get to run hard and barely bend my knees because the court is small. And I get to hit shots, which I love to do.

Andre Agassi
Credit : The Quint

Embracing Pickleball and Growing the Sport

Agassi dove into the pickleball world headfirst, playing frequently at his Las Vegas home. He constructed a top-notch pickleball facility called the Agassi Pickleball Park. Agassi brings the same fierce competitiveness that defined his tennis career when facing top players. He has competed in pro-am pickleball events which attract new spectators.

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As ambassador for the sport, Agassi talks up pickleball at every opportunity. He calls it “addictively fun” and believes it provides great exercise. Agassi said, “Anybody who gives it an honest try gets hooked. Pickleball brings out the best in people.” His glowing endorsement gives pickleball credibility in the athletic world.

Adaptations from His Tennis Game

When transitioning sports from tennis to pickleball, Agassi had to tweak technique elements to excel. On groundstrokes, he shortened his backswing to better time his compact swings on the smaller court. His two-handed backhand translates beautifully to cleanly hit pickleball backhands.

At the net, Agassi uses soft hands to delicately angle volleys – a strength refined from years of tennis. His aggressive baseliner mentality remains, as he looks to take command in rallies. However, touch shots like dinks and drop shots feature more prevalently in Agassi’s pickleball toolkit to win points.

Andre Agassi Pickleball
Credit : Miami New Times

While no longer blasting 130mph serves, Agassi has developed control on his pickleball serve. He focuses on consistency and placement versus raw power. Agassi harnesses his tactical acuity to outmaneuver opponents and open up the court. His dexterity and power allow him to drive the ball and finish points when given opportunities.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Agassi and Pickleball

What level player is Agassi in pickleball?

Agassi is rated at approximately 4.5 and can compete with pro and open level players. His elite racquet skills and competitive nature serve him well in pickleball.

Does Agassi only play pickleball recreationally?

No, Agassi has competed in several pro-am events on the pickleball tour. He enjoys showcasing his skills against top players.

How has Agassi helped promote pickleball?

As an ambassador, Agassi talks positively about pickleball in the media. He helped construct pickleball courts in Las Vegas. His fame draws new competitors.

How does Agassi perform against pro pickleball players?

Agassi holds his own against pros like Daniel Moore and Tyson McGuffin. Though losing narrowly, his talent and determination make matches competitive.

Conclusion

Andre Agassi’s passion for racquet sports appears stronger than ever through his dedication to mastering pickleball in retirement. His elite skills, ultra-competitive drive, and ambassadorship continue growing the sport’s popularity. Agassi has embraced pickleball as the perfect activity for exercise and enjoyment. Other tennis greats like John McEnroe have followed his lead, transitioning their talents to excel at this addicting game. For Agassi and many others, pickleball is indeed a sport for life.

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