NEW YORK (AP) — Andre Agassi reminisced about that first U.S. Open trip 26 years ago, when he showed up "rocking a spiky, fluffy, two-tone mullet."
The teenager with a freshly minted driver's permit caught a bus too late and missed his practice time. He didn't miss much of anything else in more than two decades of visiting Flushing Meadows.
The two-time winner was inducted Sunday into the U.S. Open Court of Champions at Arthur Ashe Stadium before the women's final.
"I wish I had the words to describe the sound you make during critical matches, the roar, the applause, the love," the 42-year-old Agassi told the New York fans during the ceremony. "It's like a jet engine and a giant heartbeat."
He competed in the tournament a men's Open-era record 21 consecutive times, from 1986 through 2006. In 1994, Agassi became the first unseeded player in the Open era to capture the title. He won again in 1999, part of his eight career Grand Slam championships.
On that day in 1986, the 16-year-old Agassi couldn't convince the attendant overseeing the practice courts that he belonged at the Open.
"Sadly I couldn't convince my first-round opponent either," he said of a four-set loss to 128th-ranked Jeremy Bates.
Andy Roddick, who followed Agassi as the American star of the Open, took part in the ceremony four days after he retired following a fourth-round loss. Roddick recalled idolizing Agassi as a young player.
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