PARIS, France - On this day 18 years ago a great career became legendary, as Andre Agassi pulled off a miracle comeback against Andrei Medvedev in the French Open final to become just the fifth man in tennis history to complete the Career Grand Slam - winning all four Grand Slam tournaments.
Having won his first three majors at Wimbledon in 1992, the US Open in 1994 and the Australian Open in 1995, Roland Garros was the only one missing. And it would prove to be the toughest one of them all - he barely escaped his second round match against Arnaud Clement, coming within two points of defeat in the fourth set before prevailing, 6-2 4-6 2-6 7-5 6-0, and surviving another tough contest against former champion Carlos Moya in the fourth round in four sets, 4-6 7-5 7-5 6-1.
And on Sunday, June 6, 1999, he did it all over again, rallying from two sets to love down to make it past an inspired Medvedev, 1-6 2-6 6-4 6-3 6-4, and become just the fifth man in tennis history - after Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson - to complete the Career Grand Slam.
The toughest moment in the final came when Agassi faced a break point at 4-all in the third set.
“At that point I was just trying to stay alive and hope that something good could happen,” he told the New York Times. “It’s never easy trying to close out a championship, so in the back of my mind I did leave room for the possibility that nerves could kick in for him while I could somehow step up my level of play and sneak the third. I’m still a long ways from winning, but at least I felt like I could turn it into a battle and make him have to play some good tennis to finish me off. And one thing led to another.”
Agassi would win four more majors - the US Open in 1999 and three more Australian Opens in 2000, 2001 and 2003 - to bring his career haul of majors to eight. But his fortnight at the French Open in 1999 may be the highlight of his career - without it, that piece of the puzzle would always be missing.
And as an extra throwback, this was the No.1 song on the US Billboard Hot 100 on June 6, 1999:
Read more articles by John Berkok
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