Paris, June 5: Former world number 1 and now the coach of Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi rates Roger Federer’s miracle Australian Open victory as more incomprehensible than Rafael Nadal’s push this for a record 10th French Open crown.
At Roland Garros to coach Novak Djokovic, the American says while statistics - for once - accurately convey the staggering magnitude of Nadal’s feat but Federer’s Melbourne Park success is harder to quantify.
“This is one of those scenarios where the statistics alone put Nadal’s French Open achievements into perspective,” the former world No 1 and eight-time major winner said.
“To win the French Open once is a herculean performance - he’s trying to win it for a 10th time. It’s just remarkable. I think the harder thing to put into perspective is what Federer accomplished in Australia.
“I mean six months away from the game, the competition and at his age (35) and he goes out there and wins the way he did with multiple five-setters.
“That’s a little bit harder to tangibles (sic) but winning 10 times - winning nine times, forget about 10 times - all you have to do is write that down on a piece of paper. It puts into perspective.”
In Paris, as a Longines Future Tennis Aces ambassador, Agassi revealed his wife and fellow former champion Steffi Graf had been pivotal in his return to the circuit in a coaching capacity.
The Nevadan said he is frequently telephoned for advice and Graf encouraged him to get back on tour - albeit briefly - with Djokovic.
Agassi said the world No 2 could still improve, despite recently turning 30, and can easily add to his 12 majors.
“He’s a spectacular player who can get through difficult times even if he’s not necessarily on point but I think that match made him better in a lot of ways,” Agassi said.
“When you’re out there on a tennis court, you have to know what makes you good and you have to rely on it. To succeed by going up and down or playing better than you have to, that’s one of the hardest things to do on a tennis court.
“Novak, quite frankly, just has to meet everybody where they are, introduce themselves, raise the stakes a little bit and ask them to do a little bit more. I gotta hunch he can do it easier than most of the players he plays.”