updated 12/26/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/26/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST
To be sure. But in 1994, Agassi, 24, added substance to style. The man who once said, "Image is everything"—and often played as if he believed it—returned after wrist surgery last December to dispatch Germany's Michael Stich in a stunning straight-set final at the U.S. Open. How did Agassi, the once-cocky teenager who smashed rackets and skipped practice at Nick Bollettieri's tennis academy, find the focus to win the Open? Some believe the difference is Brooke Shields. "Love colors your life," says Smith. "Brooke is definitely the catalyst for his success." But Andre's brother Phillip credits Agassi's five-month hibernation. "It was a blessing in disguise," says Phillip. "He realized how much he wanted to play tennis." Indeed, minutes before his Open final began, Agassi was heard to say, "I can be the best player in the world." No one said the transformation had to include humility.