Eight Grand Slams and one Olympic medal. A partier with amazing hair and flamboyant clothes. Ranked number one in the world multiple times throughout his career, but dabbling in meth? Yep, Andre Agassi might be crazy.
But browse any photos of him from the 80s and 90s, and the guy looks like a total badass. He rocked neon and denim on the typically conservative courts of pro tennis. Heck, he was even married to Brooke Shields! Well, for two years anyway. Crazy or not, it’s clear that this mulleted player either gave zero f’s or way too many.
According to one fashion critic from the 90s, Agassi looked “like he missed the train to Woodstock.” In reality, he was pulling ridiculous stunts while casually dominating guys on the court with his killer forehand.
At his highest level in professional tennis, Agassi wore a blonde mullet wig while playing in the finals of the French Open. He says he had to use about 20 clips to keep it in place, and that he pretty much lost the match because of it. During every point, he had visions of the wig flying off his head and into the sand.
Nobody knew at the time, but he’d become obsessed with his hair loss – he refused to play without the wig. Before the match, he didn’t pray to win, but instead he prayed not to lose his hairpiece and suffer what he thought would be a terrible embarrassment in front of the media. This was Agassi’s first appearance in the finals of a major and he cared more about his hair than winning!
When Brooke Shields suggested that he just shave his head, he said it was like she’d suggested he pull all his teeth out. Not many people knew that his fabulous mullet was actually a wig until he revealed it years later in his super personal autobiography Open.
Speaking of Shields, while they were together she had a guest part on the show Friends. She was playing a crazy fan who licked Joey’s hand. During filming of the scene, Agassi stormed off the set and yelled that she was making him look like a fool by licking Joey. He got in his car, slammed the door, and drove all the way to Vegas where he smashed his tennis trophies in a rage.
During the 1992 Davis Cup, Agassi went out and got absolutely obliterated the night before a match. To disguise how nightmarishly hungover he was, he wore a pair of Oakley sunglasses to cover his bloodshot eyes. Despite his condition, he basically crushed his opponent and didn’t think much of it. When Agassi got home, a deliveryman asked him to sign for a package. The owner of Oakley had sent him a Dodge Viper as a thank you for repping his brand. Apparently a photo of Agassi in the sunglasses had appeared in Tennis magazine and they’d moved enough Oakleys in a week to warrant a thank you gift.
Agassi admits he used crystal meth during 1997. He lied to the tour to avoid being banned after he failed a drug test, claiming his soda had been “spiked.” (And they believed him?!) Agassi snorted meth with his assistant, a guy named Slim who apparently said it would make him feel “like Superman, dude.”
Despite getting caught up with meth, wrist injuries, and marital dilemmas, Agassi returned to being ranked number 1 in the world in 2003… What an athlete.
Let’s not forget that Agassi played the 1988 U.S. Open in jean shorts. And we’re not talking about the stretchy denim or moisture-wicking athletic fabrics that are available today – they were actual jorts. Acid-washed with a sweet elastic waist. A big fan of ’em, Agassi also rocked his jorts with hot pink spandex underneath for the 1990 French Open.
But I’ll have you know that that ain’t pink – that color is called “hot lava.” Hey, they matched his kicks…
And those aren’t just any jean shorts. Nike made them. John McEnroe reportedly laughed and turned them down before Agassi snatched them up. So it’s not shocking that Agassi is now working with Nike on some new signature sneaker styles. No word on whether or not the jorts will be making a comeback as well. (Serena Williams actually designed a tennis skirt made of denim and gave a nod to the original jorts-on-the-court star.)
Fun Fact: Agassi probably wasn’t wearing any underwear under those jorts. He played most majors without underwear because he’s superstitious. After forgetting them once, going without, and subsequently winning the French Open, he just kept not wearing them throughout his career…
The shorts sure did match his hair band style, but despite the look Agassi isn’t into heavy metal (or even punk) in real life. He loves cheeseball music, like the soundtracks to Grease and Titanic, and jams by Barry Manilow.
At the 1993 Wimbledon, Agassi was flashy, disorganized, and a little overweight, but that didn’t stop him from taking his shirt off to show the crowd he’d had all his body hair removed. He said later in an interview after the match, “It makes me a little more arrowdynamic out there on the court.”
Agassi shot a commercial for Canon back in 1989, stepping out of a Lamborghini and uttering the phrase, “Image is everything.” The public latched onto it and Agassi started to embody the slogan with his flamboyant style. Fans seemed to forget the guy was only 19 years old and began shouting it at him during matches, whether he won or lost.
Oh, and Agassi hates tennis. It’s on the first page of his autobiography: “I hate tennis, hate it with all my heart…”
Probably because Agassi’s dad is insane too, forcing him to hit 2,500 tennis balls a day at the age of six, pulling a gun on somebody in a fit of road rage, and almost getting in a fist fight with Steffi Graf’s dad the first time they met. He used to feed little Andre tablets of Excedrin before matches for the caffeine boost. So it’s really no wonder Agassi is a little bit crazy…
He’s literally never known a life without tennis. When he was six months old and still in diapers, his dad taped a ping pong paddle to baby Agassi’s hand and hung a mobile of tennis balls up for him to swat.
As a teen, he went off to a famous tennis academy where he learned how to smoke weed, consume gallons of whiskey, and dip Skoal soaked in Jack Daniels. The guy’s always been a rager.
On his marriage to Steffi Graf and her 22 Grand Slam trophies, Agassi once said, “If you ever want to know how to stay humble, marry someone who beats you at everything because the good news is if she leaves me, I can take half of them…”
No, he and Steffi Graf do not occasionally go “hit a few balls” at their home in Vegas. They play for charity and that’s it. Their kids don’t play tennis. They’re over it. And it seems without the constant pressure of pro tennis in his life, Agassi has toned down the crazy. Or was it the loss of the mullet? We may never know…