Andre Agassi’s new game

What: Grand Slam for children
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
When: October 6, 2007
Who: Jerry Seinfeld does stand-up. Carlos Santana plays music. Other special guests do other special things.
Contact: (702) 227-5700, www.agassifounda, or

Andre Agassi’s New York

The last time most of us saw you in New York, you were bidding the U.S. Open fans a tearful goodbye. What’s it like now when you go back?

The last time I was in New York — those are some of the greatest memories of my life. And I feel a lot of love when I’m in New York, absolutely. And I come prepared to give it a lot of love, too, because that city really deserves it. They’ve earned that.

When you visited New York to play in all those U.S. Open tournaments, were you able to get away from the court at all?
Well, for years, going to New York was something i had to do professionally. So I never got to enjoy New York as fully as I wanted to. But whenever I got the chance to sneak little pieces of it, I would.

Surely you were able to sneak a little prematch meal or two during all those U.S. Opens. Do you have a favorite New York Restaurant?
Oh yeah. Eating was a big part of preparation. And there’s nearly no place in the world that provides that as effectively as New York. I always loved going to Campagnola Restaurant. iIt’s right at 74th Street and First Avenue.

It sounds like one of those old-school, only-in–New York Italian places.
Yeah, absolutely. It feels like my home away from home. If you go there, ask for Frankie D.

What about hotels? You must have sought out a few good places to get some rest before the tournaments.
We definitely bounced around with hotels over the years. the last couple of years, we actually rented a house because we had the kids. But I’ve stayed at the lowell many times. I love the Lowell. And you can never really go wrong with the four seasons there.

Are there any attractions you like to visit, outside the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in flushing, queens?
There are so many. But in New York, there’s nothing quite as nice as walking around the streets. Central Park was a big attraction for us. That park can teach you a lot about life. We’ve spent a lot of time there just to people-watch. Or sometimes we’ve gone just to horse around with the kids. Also, the Museum of Natural History is fantastic. I think my son knows that place now inside and out. He absolutely loves it.

And how about shopping? Do you have any favorite places?
Shopping is something I haven’t spent a lot of time doing. When you’re in New york, shopping, by definition, requires a lot of walking around, but usually i’m there preparing and resting for the Open. But the shopping is obviously awesome there. So when I have gotten out, I’ve spent a lot of time down in the Soho area, going to the John Varvatos shop. John is a pretty special guy.

You’re from Las Vegas and still make your home there. How does New York compare?
Las Vegas and New York are both can-do cities. They both have cultures and undercurrents of believing, “If i can dream it, I can do it.” I mean, Las Vegas has been built in the middle of a desert. We think anything is possible here. New York is the same way. Plus, friends in New York are friends for a lifetime, and the same goes here — even in business. Las Vegas is one of the few places where business is still done on a handshake.

Okay, so we need a prediction. Who do you think is going to take the men’s title at this year’s U.S. Open? Do you think Nadal might finally beat federer off the clay?
Oh, that’s hard to believe. Don’t get me wrong; Nadal is an amazing athlete, and to watch his domination on clay — It’s been one of the greatest accomplishments in sports. I assure you of that, as far as difficulty goes. But fed does not leave a lot for the pickings on any other surface. He’s proven that. He’s a bigger favorite than we’ve ever seen before. I’m certainly not going out on a limb to pick him, but I wouldn’t bet against him.