“I went into the match very nervous. The night before very nervous. And the nerves made me come out very slow. So I went out with a game plan to be aggressive but if you’re feet aren’t moving right on the red clay, it’s very difficult to do.
“The ball looked fast, everything was happening so quick. To turn this moment around, two-sets-to-love down, to turn it around and fight my way back to a fifth set and then to play the tennis I was playing. I got to say it was the best moment I had on a tennis court, as far as an accomplishment goes. And the feeling was me living the rest of my life truly believing I wouldn’t have another regret as it relates to my career.”
Gilbert saw it as “one of the great days ever, to see a French crowd, lift an American”.
Class all around
Medvedev, a former world No.4 who was ranked 100 at the time, was gracious in defeat.
“It’s an honour to stay here with him, and knowing that I had the chance of getting close to beating him, that’s an honour for me. But I want to congratulate you from the bottom of my heart,” the then 24-year-old said during the trophy ceremony. Agassi walked over and hugged him.
Holding back tears, the American thanked the crowd for their support.
“I always wondered what it was like to hold this up in front of you people. You’ve supported me for over decade and I’ve had many successes and many disappointments and to share this with you is my way of saying thank you for everything you’ve given me in my career,” said Agassi, who would go on to win four more majors – none of which came at Roland-Garros.
Legends pay tribute to Andre
Two decades later, legends of the sport still remember that crowning moment for Agassi in Paris.
“I remember him being down two-sets-to-love. I always thought that he should have won the French earlier, because of his game, was comfortable on clay, but it took him a while to get used to everything I guess. I remember it being a long match and him coming back and winning it,” Boris Becker told rolandgarros.com on Wednesday.
Agassi was just the fifth man in history, and the first in the Open Era, to complete a career Grand Slam, a feat that was later pulled off by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
“Winning the career Grand Slam is always an unbelievable achievement, it’s one of the most difficult things to do. Probably, if you don’t complete it, something is missing, if you can – I’ve never completed it, but I’ve never reached a Roland-Garros final either. But for him it was the right thing at the right time,” Becker said of Agassi.
Michael Chang, who this year celebrates the 30-year-anniversary of his own triumph at Roland-Garros, had lost in the first round to Yevgeny Kafelnikov in that 1999 tournament in Paris.