Tennis: Having a friend and being one

Gulf News
February 22, 2005


Alaric Gomes, Staff Reporter

–>Everyone can recount their friendships. And Armenian Sargis
Sargsian is no different as he traces his bond with Andre Agassi.

A whole lifetime of 31 years behind him, Sargsian can count “just
three or four real friends.

“That’s three or four in a lifetime,” he stated. “I mean people whom
you can really trust and open out to. And Agassi ranks as one of
these true friends.”

More than a decade ago, Sargsian went to the US, with the Armenian
national team in 1993, to compete against the Ivy League schools and
ended up staying there.

Two years later, when he ended up as the best player in the country,
he stumbled upon Agassi in Las Vegas and they struck up an instant

“That was so many years ago, but it is still very special to me
today,” Sargsian says remembering. “He’s been an amazing guy and
truly unbelievable as a friend,” he added.

After that meeting, both players have regularly practiced in Las
Vegas. Off-court too, their bond has held though both have
experienced varying fortunes on the Tour.

“Our friendship has stayed the same. He has evolved into such a great
player, a true legend of our time. But, he has been such a constant
factor in our friendship,” Sargsian admitted.

May be it is their common Armenian roots that helped them bond so
well. “No, I don’t think having a common background had anything to
do with our friendship,” Sargsian corrected adding that, “It’s just
that we have a lot of things in common. “I really care about him and
every time he plays, I want him to win,” Sargsian says.

Though contemporaries, Agassi’s career has been constantly evolving
and on a high. Sargsian’s, on the other hand, has hit rock bottom.
The fact that he failed to make it through the Dubai Open qualifiers
is a case in point. “It was a bad year for me and I was not enjoying
my tennis, mainly due to some personal problems,” he stated.

The consistency of their friendship showed at this juncture as Agassi
helped his friend during his weak moments.

“He’s so loyal and I respect this too much,” Sargsian said. “He’ll do
anything for his friend. He’s helped me so much that I look up to him
and try to be like him,” he said smiling.

“He’s a much better friend than me. This is something special, very
special,” he adds.