A Different Kind Of Pro
Agassi's more relaxed style appealed to a number of fans. Instead of moodiness, they saw enthusiasm. Instead of someone throwing racquets after missing shots, they saw Agassi throwing kisses to the crowd after winning shots. His flashy clothes and long hair just added to this feeling of a fresh, young face in the tennis world, and the crowds took to him easily. Not that everyone was cheering. "God help him when he really starts losing," Ion Tiriac, Boris Becker's manager, told Sports Illustrated. "You can prance around like an idiot when you're on top, but whatever seems funny now will be seen as obscene or disastrous or a calculated disturbance as soon as you stop winning."
But for Agassi, the early years were winning years. He won his first pro tournament in 1987 and rose from a 41 ranking to 24. The next year turned out even better. He won six tournaments in 1988, including four in a row. Overall, he garnered a very impressive 63-11 record that year, and reached the semi-finals of both the French and U.S. Opens. He also helped carry the U.S. team to victory in the Davis Cup, crushing his Argentine opponent 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, "a victory which had the rest of the American team shaking their heads in disbelief," according to sports journalist and Agassi biographer Robert Philip. That year he went to number three in the rankings. He also became the second youngest player (after Boris Becker) to pass the $1 million mark in career prize money.