Agassi, Venus Williams Bow Out of Wimbledon
WIMBLEDON, England – A tearful Andre Agassi bowed out of Wimbledon for the final time Saturday, beaten in straight sets by Rafael Nadal.
Defending women's champion Venus Williams also departed, upset in three sets by Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, 7-6 (8), 4-6, 6-4.
Playing in his 14th Wimbledon before retirement later this year, the 36-year-old Agassi couldn't keep up with the relentless power hitting of the 20-year-old Spaniard and fell 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-4.
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In a bigger surprise, three-time champion Williams was eliminated by the 29th-ranked Jankovic amid a flood of unforced errors and double faults.
With her sister Serena out injured, there will be no Williams in the Wimbledon final for the first time since 1999. The sisters have won five of the last six titles.
Williams lost on Court 2, known as the "Graveyard of Champions" for its history of major upsets. Others who have lost on that court include Serena Williams, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras.
Venus Williams had 50 winners, but hurt her chances with 12 double faults and 54 errors. The 21-year-old Jancovic, who reached the final of a Grand Slam for the first time, had 27 winners and 21 errors.
The match slipped away from Williams when she double-faulted three times in a row and was broken at love to go down 5-3. With Jankovic serving for the match, Williams broke back for 5-4. But Williams couldn't hold in the next game, saving three match points before double-faulting again to set up a fourth. She ended the match with a forehand into the net.
For one last time, Agassi stood in the middle of the court after the match and blew kisses and bowed to all corners of the arena. Then, in a break with Wimbledon tradition, he addressed the crowd by microphone to say goodbye.
"It's been a lot of incredible years here," Agassi said, wiping away tears. "I'll never be able to repay you for how you've embraced me over the years and I thank you for that. ... You guys are awesome tennis fans, you have shown me so much love."
Then Agassi took his bag, stopped to sign a few autographs and gave a final wave as he walked off the most famous court in tennis.
Among those in the crowd was his wife, Steffi Graf, a seven-time Wimbledon champion who sat in the Royal Box along with other tournament winners and sports champions.
"It's been a privilege to be out there again for one last time," Agassi said. "I'll look back at this as one of my most memorable experiences. For me, this means as much as winning, saying goodbye."
Agassi said he'll miss the Wimbledon crowds and atmosphere more than anything.
"This was a place that first taught me to respect the sport, to really appreciate the opportunity and privilege it is to play a game for a living, to play tennis," he said. "Whether they're queuing up on the outside or sitting with their umbrellas on Centre Court, it's quite a love for the sport. That's what separates this from every other event."