On Art

Published: 2021-06-29 06:41:17
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Eight-time Grand Slam singles champion Andre Agassi was inducted into the Intrnational Tennis Hall Of Fame on Saturday in Newport, Rhode Island. Here is the full transcript of his speech:

I've stood at this podium twice before. Once was to introduce my beautiful wife, Stephanie Graf. I was so much more comfortable that day because I felt the recipient to be far more worthy. The second time was in my father's imagination (laughter), in his mind's eye. From the day I was born, my father Mike saw this day in my future and described it to me many times.

So my feeling of déjà vu right now almost rivals my feeling of gratitude. Almost.

You know, not long ago I was giving a talk in my home town of Las Vegas, and after I spoke there was this answer and question period. The first hand up, first questions out of the box, was a man in the front row. You could see in this man's face that he was really struggling with something. He took the microphone, stood up and asked, "How do you know when to stop telling your kids what to do?" The questioner was my father.

I was caught off guard that night. I didn't know what to say. I don't remember what I did say. But the answer has come to me now so clearly. Dad, when I was five, you told me to win Wimbledon; when I was seven, you told me to win all of the four Grand Slams; and more times that I can remember you told me to get into the Hall of Fame. And when I was 29, I don't know if you remember this, you told me to marry Steffi Graf. Best order you ever gave me. So Dad, please don't ever stop telling me what to do.

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