Hitting rock bottom at the end in 1997, Andre Agassi returned at his best in the following years and remained competitive until his retirement in 2006. Andre stayed on the Tour enough to embrace encounters against the upcoming legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, with 11 clashes against the Swiss between 1998 and 2005. Their last duel came in the 2005 US Open final, with Agassi standing as the oldest finalist in New York since Ken Rosewall in 1974. The veteran gave his best to topple the young opponent but suffered a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 loss in two hours and 19 minutes.
Andre said that Roger played on a very high level in that match and those years in general, dominating with his serve and forehand and leaving no safe place to place a ball. Serving at 76%, Federer blasted 44 service winners and had the upper hand with his forehand to control the pace in the rallies and keep the pressure on his rival, especially in sets one and four. Andre scored three breaks from six opportunities, which was not enough for a more favorable result, losing 44% of the points in his games and facing no less than 18 break chances, fending off 14 of those and still finishing on the losing side.
Andre Agassi recalled the 2005 US Open final against Roger Federer.
“The next generation is on its way. They have to improve their game more to challenge the top positions, which is a demanding task. The new generation that comes to the top has to bring something new and unique, like Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl and the ‘Big 3’ did. When I faced Roger Federer in the 2005 US Open final, there was no safe place to put a ball on the court. He always had the best forehand and could stay in touch with Andy Roddick in the number of aces. Roger’s serve, return, movements and net game were incredible; his versatility was so strong that he might have had five things individually better than everybody else on the Tour. Rafael Nadal came after Roger and brought an enormous spin that changed the game of tennis. His balls appear to be long before they land within the court at the last moment. That changes the position where you have to stay and equals many of those qualities I mentioned about Roger,” Andre Agassi said.