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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 September 2006, 23:15 GMT 00:15 UK
Agassi bows out with no regrets
Andre Agassi
Agassi admitted his back had been very painful against Becker
Andre Agassi said he would walk away from tennis "at peace" after making an emotional exit at the US Open.

"I've spent a lot of time over the last few months knowing that this tournament would be the end," he said after a third-round defeat to Benjamin Becker.

"I look at the young guys and it's evenly balanced between me seeing the great things they have to look forward to and how much I wouldn't do it again.

"It feels like a balance that leaves me very clear and at peace."

The eight-times Grand Slam champion, who sobbed as a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd rose to applaud him, said the standing ovation he received from his fellow players in the locker room afterwards had overwhelmed him.

"That's the greatest applause that any person will ever receive in their life when it comes from their peers," he said.

I'm going to wake up tomorrow and start with not caring how I feel

Andre Agassi

"It's not like we're a company who are working together to accomplish something.

"We're people that succeed, in some cases at the demise of the other. To have them applaud you is the ultimate compliment."

Agassi has been struggling with a serious back injury for some time and needed a cortisone injection as well as another painkilling jab in order to play at the US Open.

He admitted the pain had been too much against Becker, a 25-year-old qualifier from Germany.

"I went out there not feeling terrible pain, but sort of still tight from everything that had transpired a few nights earlier," said the American, who beat Marcos Baghdatis in a five-set epic on Thursday.

"The pain came quickly. It can do that and it did. I knew I was in trouble at that point.

"You immediately start cutting corners that you know are going to come back and haunt you.

"Then you know it's going to gradually get worse, sometimes very quickly."

Agassi, who also received a standing ovation from the journalists after his final press conference, said he was looking forward to retirement.

"I'm going to wake up tomorrow and start with not caring how I feel," he said.

"That's going to be great.

"And then, I've been imagining for a long time any time somebody asks me to do something, I'm going to go, 'Sure why not?'"

Agassi farewell as it happened
03 Sep 06 |  Tennis

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