From 1990 to 2003, one man left his mark on the Miami Open presented by Itau like no other. That man was Andre Agassi.
The American, who lost a thrilling five-set match to future champion Thomas Muster (1997) on his tournament debut in 1987, claimed 61 victories from 19 tournament appearances at Crandon Park. Agassi lifted six of his 17 ATP Masters 1000 trophies in Florida, a tournament record he now shares with fellow six-time winner Novak Djokovic.
From his maiden Masters 1000 triumph as a 19-year-old to his final Miami crown at the age of 32, ATPTour.com takes a look back at each of the former World No. 1’s six title runs in Miami.
1990: The Beginning Of An Era
With nine ATP Tour titles to his name, a 19-year-old Agassi arrived at Crandon Park seeking his first Masters 1000 crown just two weeks after falling to Stefan Edberg in a four-set Indian Wells final. The American trailed by a set in three consecutive matches against Top 20 members Andres Gomez, Jim Courier and Jay Berger, but fought his way back on each occasion to reach his first of eight Miami championship matches.
Agassi faced Indian Wells final opponent Edberg for the title. The Swede entered the contest on a 10-match winning streak, but could not find a way past Agassi. The Las Vegas native claimed his first of six ATP Head2Head wins (6-3) against Edberg 6-1, 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 to claim the biggest title of his career.
1995: Sampras Revenge
Five years after his first title, Agassi entered Miami looking to avenge losses to Pete Sampras. World No. 1 Sampras arrived in Miami as the defending champion with plenty of confidence, having beaten Agassi earlier in the month to win Indian Wells and 12 months ago to lift his second straight Miami trophy.
After surviving a final-set tie-break in his semi-final against Magnus Larsson, Agassi required another deciding-set tie-break against Sampras in the final. The World No. 2 ended Sampras’ 17-match winning streak in Miami with a 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(3) victory after two hours and 13 minutes. Two weeks after the tournament, Agassi overtook Sampras in the FedEx ATP Rankings to become World No. 1 for the first time in his career.
Agassi entered Miami in 1996 amidst a seven-month title drought, dating back to his 1995 success at New Haven. The World No. 3’s title defence almost ended in his opening match against Bernd Karbacher. For the third consecutive match in Miami, Agassi found a way through a final-set tie-break to keep his title hopes alive.
After defeating World No. 17 Arnaud Boetsch in straight sets to reach his third straight Miami final, Agassi was handed the trophy in unfortunate circumstances. Final opponent Goran Ivanisevic, who defeated Michael Chang and Pete Sampras to reach the final, woke up with a stiff neck and was forced to retire at 0-3 in the first set. It was the first time Agassi had successfully defended a Masters 1000 trophy.
2001: The Sunshine Double
After ending his 12-month wait for a title at the Australian Open, Andre Agassi entered Miami with a 17-2 record in 2001. The American had just captured his first Indian Wells title and was attempting to become only the fifth man to complete the ‘Sunshine Double’ by adding a fourth Miami crown to his tally.
Agassi did not drop a set en route to the semi-finals, where he faced Australian Open semi-final opponent Patrick Rafter. As he did in Melbourne, Agassi was taken to a decisive final set before booking his place in the championship match. In the final, the three-time champion edged an opening-set tie-break against Delray Beach winner Jan-Michael Gambill before cruising to a 7-6(4), 6-1, 6-0 victory.
2002: A Milestone Win
Despite missing the opportunity to defend his Australian Open title with a right wrist injury, Agassi began the defence of his Miami title with confidence in 2002 after earning a runner-up finish in San Jose and a fourth Scottsdale title.
After breezing through to the semi-finals, Agassi faced Marcelo Rios in a repeat of the 1998 final. The two men split the opening two sets, before Rios was forced to retire with a right knee injury. Waiting for Agassi in the final was 20-year-old Roger Federer, who had defeated World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt to reach his maiden Masters 1000 final.
Agassi needed two hours and 21 minutes to earn his third victory against the Swiss in as many matches and the 700th tour-level victory his career. It would be his last against Federer, who won each of the remaining eight matches in their ATP Head2Head rivalry.
2003: Historic Hattrick
Agassi entered Miami with a 12-1 record in 2003, aiming to become the first man to win three consecutive Miami trophies. The five-time champion was tested by Mark Philippoussis and Younes El Aynaoui in the early stages of the event, before taking charge in deciding sets to reach the semi-finals.
The 32-year-old captured a record-extending sixth Miami crown with straight-sets victories against Top 10 players Albert Costa and Carlos Moya. It was the 16th of Agassi’s 17 Masters 1000 title runs. Agassi’s mark of 17 crowns at the Masters 1000 level was a record at the time, but has since been surpassed by the Big Three of Rafael Nadal (35), Djokovic (34) and Federer (28).