Andre Agassi visits the VIP tent in Beaver Creek
BEAVER CREEK, COLORADO Tennis guru Andre Agassi has been dabbling in another sport lately: snowboarding.The Olympic gold winner flew into town this week to watch the Birds of Prey race.Originally, he had intended to delight the crowd by boarding with skiier Aksel Svindal but those plans changed when Svindal sustained injuries in a crash on opening day.Instead, race spectators might have spotted Agassi handing out watches at the awards ceremony. He did so as the icon for Swiss watch company, Longines, an event sponsor that timed the races.Longines has been working closely with Agassi to raise funds for his charity. One of the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundations chief claims to fame is opening a public charter school for at-risk youths in Las Vegas.Having retired from tennis just over a year ago after racking up eight Grand Slam wins, Agassi has been able to focus his energy on giving back to the community.During a visit to the Birds of Prey VIP tent, Agassi chatted with the Vail Daily about his family, his foundation and life after tennis.
Andre Agassi: I was never allowed to go off a diving board when I was a kid. Thats how protective my dad raised me and how I spent most of my career … But once I retired, my kids got into skiing and I just looked at it and said, Im not going to spend that time away from my kids when they go up the lifts. So I picked up a board and Ive been doing it since starting in January of this year.
AA: I actually brought the family here last weekend. We didnt have great conditions as far as the snow but, incredibly friendly, and the mountain looks extraordinary and unique in the sense that the upper mountain is more the intermediate skill level, which is great for me.
AA: I feel like its a gift that keeps giving. Its living on my own terms without all the dramas. I miss the people that I spent a lot of time with over the years and the relationships thats what life is about so you miss some of that but as far as the competition and the physical and emotional and mental dramas, Im glad I dont have to think about that anymore.
AA: Health is important. Certainly you have to be a little lucky but you also have to be smart with how you approach your career. Tennis is a year-round sport. Its not seasonal, so you cant sort of go, This is my offseason to recover and prepare … My trainer emphasized time off to train and prepare and I believe that gave me the foundation to have the option to continue doing it.
AA: Hopefully their footsteps will make mine look pretty small in whatever they choose. I doubt they will be tennis players but if thats what they choose to put themselves into, it will be an amazing journey.
AA: The pride and joy of my foundation is the school that we built. I helped children since 1993 when I started it. We realized we were just sticking Band-aids on issues. The best way to affect the course of a life is to educate a child and so were giving a high standard of education for the children who need it the most.Arts & Entertainment Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 748-2938 or email@example.com.