Andre Agassi is a man with a great character. He isn't much different from what he seems to be on TV — calm, composed and with a frown etched across his forehead. Typically unnerved, he strode in to a special reception for Aramis Life — the perfume endorsed by him —

By Duane Fonseca

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Published: Mon 21 Feb 2005, 2:50 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:12 PM

at the Paris Gallery in City Centre, sporting his trademark smile and wearing a dull, but apt, pullover that went wonderfully with a pair of comfort fit jeans.

Wherever he goes, whatever he does, Agassi makes news. In the limelight for a major part of his career, Agassi has once again caused the spotlights to point his way by announcing a return to the US Davis Cup team. A winner of three previous titles and here to grace the line-up of the Dubai Tennis Championships for the first time, Agassi, hailed as one of the greatest players in the men's arena took the time to speak with City Times about tennis and a whole lot more.

What's your take on the Dubai Tennis Championships?

I think it's a great tournament. I think Dubai deserves such a good tournament because of all the facilities one can find here.

Why did you keep yourself away from Davis Cup tennis for such a long time?

The reason, I kept myself away was because I did not want to play just once or twice, because that would be disruptive for the team. The choice was to play all the time or not to play anymore. I knew that I could not play all the time, so I said, that would be it for me — to retire from the Davis Cup. But my captain, my peers, the team members, not only do they have a lot of understanding to the fact I can't play all the time, they also supported me which made me feel like I could compete and it was okay for me to play whenever I could. They allowed me to be a part of it and I do feel good about it all.

You could have played at the Scottsdale Tennis Championships, instead you chose to fly all the way to Dubai. Why?

Well, I've never been here you know. I'm getting old now and I need to make sure I make the last few years very special. It has never been an easy trip for scheduling reasons but this year it's different for me and it's worth the effort to come. All the top players of the world are here and everybody seems to speak so highly of this event.

From an all-time low of being at 141, you jumped straight to being No. 1. How did you do that?

It was difficult you know, because I had to make a decision to commit a 100 per cent or to not do it anymore. I wasn't succeeding with the way I was doing, but I knew that I still wanted to play so I worked hard every day and tried to stay as positive as was possible, but it was not easy because when you've been No.1, and you're suddenly in the 140's, the climb seems hard. The first time you're always thinking I can get here, I can get here, the second time you feel it's much further away than you think because you know how much work it's going to take to get there. It was slow.

Your decision to participate in this year's Davis Cup is being spoken of the world over? What do you think everyone's saying?

Well, I don't know. I got a lot of support to get back into the Davis Cup team back home, starting with the captain, and this was really important at this stage of my life. I have two children and I've been trying to balance many things so that I can play. Playing the whole year of the Davis Cup is not pragmatic for me. So to get support, starting with the team, to play whenever is possible, to give whenever I can, to get something special like that is definitely great. To see the way people have responded to my return feels good.

The US media seems to be in a very celebratory mood. Do you think you will, in anyway, disappoint?

I've done it before. I've disappointed many times before. I hope not, I really hope we can do it.

You've won three Davis Cups so far, is this going to be your fourth win?

I hope so and that's the plan, we have a tough match next week. The Croats Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic are playing great tennis right now so we will have to be ready.

What about the US Davis Cup team, how does it look?

Well, last year, getting to the finals was a great testament to the work ethic and enthusiasm of the team and I think they've built a great team. Andy (Roddick) is one of the best players in the world and our doubles team is one of the best doubles team in the world, so, together we can find a way to win three points. I think we have some options this year. I think I can win some and Andy can win some.

Then what happens to Spain? They defeated the US in the finals last year and seem to have the best side in the world right now?

Yes, especially on clay and in front of 27,000 people it's not easy but the next time we play America's going to win. Better.

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