A fit Steffi could still compete: Agassi

By Darren Walton, Darren Walton is a Roar Guru

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    Andre Agassi admits he’d struggle to crack the world’s top five in the new power era of men’s tennis – but has no doubt his legendary wife could challenge for women’s grand slam spoils if fit and healthy.

    Kimiko Date-Krumm’s inspired run to the third round of the Australian Open at 42 years of age impressed Agassi and prompted an inevitable question.

    Could 43-year-old Steffi Graf, a 22-times grand slam champion and former world No.1, compete with the likes of Serena Williams and reigning rankings queen Victoria Azarenka if she too made a comeback?

    Chronic knee and calf injuries aside, Agassi was certain she could.

    “From a health perspective, it would be impossible,” Agassi told AAP during his promotional visit to Australia at the weekend.

    “You’ve got to be healthy. I don’t know how Kimiko has done it. That’s remarkable.

    “From a game perspective, I can honestly say that – unlike in the men’s game – Steffi’s game from the mid-90s lives up to the standard of today.

    “She can offset the power. The power of the women’s game has changed considerably but she always had the ability to offset that by bringing people forward with her slice and keeping the ball down low.

    “And she’s such an athlete. I don’t know if anyone has ever run like her in the history of the game.

    “As a result, her best would match up, unlike mine. Mine would not. I’d work hard to be No.5 in the world right now.”

    Agassi, himself a former world No.1 and eight-times major winner, said he was amazed “watching the standard continually sort of get better.”.

    “You wonder how it’s possible to continue at that sort of rate,” he said.

    “What Federer did when he came and, when I said goodbye, a lot had to do with what I knew was untouchable.

    “It’s just a different standard of tennis. It’s a different rules of engagement when guys can do what these guys can do.

    “I don’t recognise it from a standpoint of strategy because I counted on getting somebody behind in a point and then slowly smothering them.

    “But nobody’s behind in a point. You never know when they’re behind in a point. That would have eliminated any ability I had to move forward in the court.

    “Means I would have had to be a different player, would’ve had to have a different body. It means the game has gotten a lot better.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • January 30th 2013 @ 7:01am
      Johnno said | January 30th 2013 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      Steffi Graf is in another league to Kimiko Date, so I agree . Steffi Graf may not be able to go 7 matches over 2 weeks anymore in grand slam in fact almost certainly not, but if Kimiko Date can still make the 3rd round , then Steffi could make the quarters i reckon.

      Steffi Graf VS Sam Stosur would be an interesting game, as Steffi as Andre Agassi says a real athlete, and one of the best ever if not the best . Serena Williams would still win, and I’d back Li Na, and Sharapova, to much power, as would Azeranka, but Graf VS Sam Stosur would be a really good game. I have seen Sam Stosur in public and Steffi Graf , and Sam Stosur is not very tall, or big, she looks a lot bigger in real life. Steffi Graff is 176cm, Sam Stosur is 172 cm.

      So Andre Agassi, is right if Kimiko Date can make a 3rd round then Steffi should be able to make a 4th round and maybe a quarter final.

    • January 30th 2013 @ 7:50am
      Arthur fonzarelli. said | January 30th 2013 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      Good to hear an ex great such as Andre admit that the standard has gotten better and better unlike many retired sports stars who believe that things were bigger and better “back in my day “.

      Every professional sport is now faster harder tougher more powerful and professional than ever .

      • January 30th 2013 @ 4:40pm
        jameswm said | January 30th 2013 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

        In the men’s. Not in the women’s. Mind you, Steffi was pretty dominant. And best legs ever on a tennis player.

    • January 31st 2013 @ 7:08pm
      kitkat said | January 31st 2013 @ 7:08pm | ! Report

      so now the discussion turns to her legs….sigh

      • February 7th 2013 @ 10:25am
        Symbolsoup said | February 7th 2013 @ 10:25am | ! Report

        Instead of a hyper-sensitive sexism retorts, consider that by “legs” James was likely referring to her movement on court, as referred to by her husband in the actual article. This sort of reply reminds me of Mundine complaining of racism without looking at his own mindset first (see recent Laurie Dailey stories)… Sigh…

    • May 16th 2013 @ 6:14am
      Tomas said | May 16th 2013 @ 6:14am | ! Report

      Steffi Graf is in my opinion the greatest female tennis player ever, although it is only very hard to compare the different decades. Navratilova was just as exceptional as Serena is at the moment, but I would give Steffi still the slight edge, especially after winning the Golden Slam in 1998.

      I also fully agree with this article I read on Graf: http://www.stevegtennis.com/2013/04/steffi-graf-the-greatest-female-tennis-player-ever/

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