Tennis Prose



His Name Is Agassi

By Scoop Malinowski

Andre Agassi mania had a profound impact on America. The former world no. 1 and Grand Slam king was such an inspiring, exciting figure around the world, some parents even named their boys not Andre, but “Agassi.”

There’s a trio of Agassis in the UTR directory of tennis players with the best one being a New Hampshire kid named Agassi Rusher. Rusher must be 13 now as he played a 12s event last May. But he’s already rated as a UTR 9 which is very good as there are Division 1 college players male and female ranked at 9.

I haven’t seen Rusher play but his results are interesting. He plays a lot of tournaments in South Florida, even an ITF $25,000 wildcard tournament, which he lost 64 64 to another UTR 9 player.

The other two UTR players named after the Las Vegas icon are Agassi Tomegah of Accra, Ghana and Agassi Mireles of Houston, TX.

And guess what? There are two players in the UTR directory named Sampras. No kidding. Sampras Rakotondrainibe of Naples, FL is a UTR 10. Sampras Perry of Lexington, KY is a UTR 7.

And Piston Pete’s own son Ryan Sampras has been playing some 16s in Southern California since last summer and he has a 5-2 match record.

Andre and Steffi’s son Jaden is a baseball pitcher in his second year at University of Southern California. The 6-3, 195 pounder pitched as a reliever in 12 games for the Trojans as a freshman, a total of 19 innings. His record was 1-1 with an ERA of 6.16, 13 strikeouts and 12 walks.



  • Scot Whiteman · February 19, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    Agassi wouldn’t have been the impact he was if he hadn’t been coached by Reno Manne when Andre was about 15 almost 16. Manne changed his game dramatically, changed his mental attitude and behavior. I know as I was a student at the academy at that time. Andre could easily have not have made it as a player if it wasn’t for Reno Manne sorting him out. The exact same goes for Courier and Sampras. Unsung legend that let Biollettieri take the credit for his work. Manne was the NBTA that set the standards in coaching!

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2022 at 7:28 am

    Scot, I know Reno pretty well enough to be asked by him to help him write his autobiography, he has mentioned spending time with Agassi and hitting with him but not about actual coaching but we haven’t gotten that deep yet. I look forward to hearing about this more from him. I do know that Reno is an unsung legend at NBTA as you say. Thanks for your comments.

  • Krzysztof · February 20, 2022 at 3:42 pm

    There is also tennis player Edberg Espinoza Guerrero from Venezuela, supposedly named after Swedish star.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2022 at 4:50 pm

    Good to know Krzysztof, would have never guess that would be possible. There is also believe it or not a couple of Americans named Safin – Safin Shaikh of Miami FL and Safin Stefanos of Dallas TX.

  • Bill McGill · February 20, 2022 at 9:13 pm

    Almost 20 years ago, when I was home visiting my father, my dad asked me to hit with the son of a guy who he regularly played with. I asked how old he was and my father said 10 years old. I gave him a withering look and he said “I did plenty of shit for you I didn’t want to do. Seriously, play with the kid and tell me he isn’t special. His name is Bjorn Fratangelo.” The kid was good, even then. Went on to win boys French Open. Lost to Jack Sock in Boys U.S. open QFs, I think. Went pro. Never really made it on the ATP tour, but still, just hanging in the 100s is an extraordinary achievement. The sheer athleticism these kids – all of them – have is really something.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2022 at 7:53 am

    Yes indeed Bjorn Borg Fratangelo is still out there persevering ranked just inside 150 and in position to the long awaited big move big results. Andrei Kozlov named his two sons Stefan and Boris.

  • Greg Hill · February 22, 2022 at 4:05 pm

    Have to fully agree with the Reno Manne comments on this thread. Reno was so influential from his coaching methods at the NBTA way back in the day. He was simply ahead of his time. He was the real author of System 5 which somehow ended up being credited to others after the NBTA adopted it. Everyone just followed his lead, he was simply an incredible coach. I learnt so much from him in those good old days at the NBTA.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 22, 2022 at 5:37 pm

    Thanks for your comments Greg, are you the former top junior who was also featured on the 60 Minutes story on NBTA? If you could share more details about what you learned specifically from Reno it would be greatly appreciated.



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