BY DAVID DERSARKISSIAN Asbarez Staff Writer
BURBANK–A few years ago–his association with the city of Burbank might have been nothing more than a casual reference to then-fiance Brook Shields–who works in the city while taping her hit NBC sitcom–"Suddenly Susan."
But how the mighty have fallen.
Monday afternoon at McCambridge Park on the grounds of the Burbank Tennis Center–No. 122-ranked Andre Agassi took a monumental step towards a return to glory–soundly defeating fellow countryman and No. 58-ranked Sargis Sargsian–6-2–6-1–in the finals of the HealthSouth USTA Challenger.
"I know that I was once the world’s No. 1-ranked player–and that things have not gone my way as of late–but now I can at least say I’m proud of be the world’s best Armenian player," the third-seeded Agassi said at center court after picking up his $7,500 first-place check.
"But I must say–if I had to beat someone in a final–I wish it didn’t have to be another Armenian. It’s too small a country to have to do that."
"He has always been my hero–and I am so glad he is talking about being Armenian and accepting it," said Movses Ayvazian–12–of Burbank. "This will just help us look better and show the world we are good people."
"He just crushed me today–that really all," Sargsian said after the match. "I didn’t play all that bad–but when Andre is playing well–not too many people are going to beat him." Sargsian said playing in Burbank was a joy–and said the support has received this past week has been tremendous. "It feels great to play here–in front of your fans and coaches," Sargsian said. "This is like being in Armenia–in the homeland–and it is nice to see everyone come out and watch me play."
"He (Agassi) has never really denied being Armenian–I think it’s just that he hasn’t been asked about it too much," Sargsian said.
Agassi’s courtside commen’s drew a standing ovation from the large Armenian contingent that was in attendance Monday–and seemed to surprise yet comfort many.