Over the weekend, I got the opportunity to watch my tennis hero, Andre Agassi, give one more inspirational speech during his induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He is a role model because of what he accomplished on the tennis court and what he continues to do in his retirement.
Many other tennis pros thought Andre was washed up. His heart was no longer in the game and his first marriage ended. He looked like a kid who found out there's no Santa Claus. His tennis ranking dropped to number 141 in the world and he was in danger of slipping into oblivion.
Andre found a way to go back to the basics. He played in qualifier tournaments to find what was missing in his game. When he returned to center court, he climbed all the way to the top. He remains there even though he no longer competes on the court. Now he has a new opponent. He battles apathy in the school system by founding new schools that offer hope to the underprivileged.
When Andre was on the podium, he mentioned how his father told him to win the French Open when he was just five years old. At age seven, he told him he would win all the big tournaments and belonged in the International Hall of Fame. He believed in his father's dreams and now gives back to the world all the world gave to him from tennis.
I think of Andre as I prepare my fifty-one-year-old body for the national WTT championships in November. He trained with passion and believed in a dream. It's easy to take your eye off the ball when you have a big goal in front of you. Like Andre Agassi, my tennis team needs to follow a strict training regimen and believe we can win on center court. Thanks, Andre, for inspiring me to be a better tennis player and, more importantly, a better person.