Tearful Agassi retires

New York, September 4 :

A career for the ages came to a close when a worn down and wincing Andre Agassi lost to Benjamin Becker 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5 in the third round at the US Open on Sunday. “For me, it was never about winning and stopping,” he said. “It was about getting the most out of myself for as long as possible,” he said.

The end came with Agassi looking like what he’d become — a 36-year-old man with a bad back, ready for retirement. The 25-year-old Becker started strong, showing few nerves, and closed out the match with a 133 mph ace.

Moments later, Agassi teared up on the blue court as he addressed a crowd. “The scoreboard said I lost today, but what the scoreboard doesn’t say is what it is I’ve found,” Agassi said. Agassi’s wife, Steffi Graf, and their two children looked on. Becker joined the crowd for a four-minute, standing ovation saluting Agassi, who stared out at the crowd from his chair, wiping tears.

Becker advanced to play 2003 champion Andy Roddick, who defeated Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-2.

Two-time defending champion Roger Federer dimissed Vince Spadea 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 and next meets Marc Gicquel, who beat Gaston Gaudio 6-0, 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3). Marat Safin defeated David Nalbandian 6-3, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 7-6 (6).

In third-round action, two-time Open champion Serena Williams beat Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 6-2, 6-4 to set up a showdown against No 1 Amelie Mauresmo, and 1998 champion Lindsay Davenport erased two match points in defeating Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5).