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  Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 19:05 GMT 20:05 UK
Agassi sets sights on record books
Andre Agassi
Agassi at home on the clay courts of Paris
The spotlight on Andre Agassi will be brighter than ever at Roland Garros this year.

He has a chance of becoming the first man to complete the Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.

The American, 30, swept to the Australian Open title in January. Winning the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in the space of three months would be a massive task.

But if anyone can do it, Agassi can.

He is the only active player to have won the biggest four events. Even Pete Sampras has never got beyond the last four in Paris.

Agassi won there in 1999 and was runner-up in 1990 and 1991. It adds to his Wimbledon title in 1992, US Opens in 1994 and 1999 and Australian titles in 1995, 2000 and 2001.

Agassi is the only player who could even remotely be considered as a serious contender on all the surfaces of the modern game - clay, grass and the various types of hard court.

Andre Agassi returns the serve
Rule number one: Keep your eye on the ball

The power of Agassi's shots is second to none. His eye is so good he can stand much closer in than the other players, and can take the ball almost on the half-volley.

Most Americans would consider themselves at their best on hard courts, but not Agassi.

"As a young player I always thought I would win my first major title in Paris," he said.

"But then I missed a couple of good chances and I seemed to be chasing disappointment in a big way.

"My last, final big dream came true when I won in Paris in 1999. Now all I'm trying to do is play better and better tennis. But I'm no longer chasing ranking points."

If anyone needs to know how hard it is to win in the French Open, they need only look at his final against Andrei Medvedev in 1999.

Ukrainian Medvedev is exactly the sort of player who can quietly come through the draw in Paris.

Agassi celebrates victory in Paris last year
Agassi shows no sign of losing his taste for victory

Ranked 100 at the time, he excelled in the windy conditions where the fine clay was constantly blown up into the players' faces.

In the final, Medvedev stormed through the first sets and had a break point to lead 5-4 in the third. If he had converted it he would have been serving for the title.

Agassi saved that and took the set, but through most of the fourth Medvedev still looked the winner.

It was only in the final set that Agassi eased away to a 1-6 2-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 win.

If he wins it again this year, expect it to be just as tough. But the American is in top form.

As well as the Australian Open he has won the two Tennis Masters Series events he has entered, in Indian Wells and Miami.

He sat out the first few European clay tournaments to prepare for Roland Garros at home and went out in the first round in the Masters event in Rome.

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