Andre Agassi Talks Tennis, Real Estate & Charity
Tonight, Andre Agassi will take on Pete Sampras as part of the BNP Paribas Showdown, a one-night tennis event at Madison Square Garden.
The event, which also features a match between greats John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl, is expected to be a sellout.
We sat down with Agassi to talk about a variety of topics.
Darren: Your autobiography "Open"was an incredible book that was a bestseller. Did you accomplish everything you wanted to by writing it?
Agassi: It was never based on money. It was all based on if the world would be better off with it. I found there were two buckets of people. People who didn't read the book and chose to bash what I did. Then there were the people who could identify with my story and they couldn't put it down. I heard from parents and teenagers who could identify with the live I had growing up and I had my surprises, like a guy in an airport who said he lost 150 pounds because the book inspired him.
Darren: American tennis isn't what it was when you, Pete and Jim Courier were constantly battling for the top spot. It seems like tennis has slipped a bit because of that in this country.
Agassi: I think what we did is we bred a really spoiled generation of American tennis fans. Let's face it, the game has gotten a lot more competitive. If Andy (Roddick) didn't face Federer all the time, what would he have won? Five or six majors? The bar has been raised.
Darren: You were among the investors to develop a 300-unit luxury hotel and residences at Tamarack Resort in Idaho. You eventually backed out with other investors because of market conditions. You still looking at real estate?
Agassi: We didn't lose any money. But I learned that real estate is not my business, so I'm not interested in it any more.
Darren: You are up there in terms of being the top athletes, along with Lance Armstrong, when it comes to charitable legacy. Tonight you are getting the Garden of Dreams hero award by Madison Square Garden for the work you do in the community. What's the next step for your charitable work?
Agassi: We have $150 million in capital to deploy to help build facilities for charter schools. Charter schools get public money, but what a lot of people don't know is that they don't get that public money to build the building itself and that's where they need help. That's where we come in.
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