Beneath the corporate trappings, Agassi Enterprises is really a group of Agassi's childhood cronies. The boss likes to say he doesn't have employees, he has friends. He met Rich McKee, who looks after his home and cars, when he took one of his Porsches to a shop for engine work and detailing, which McKee did. Agassi's trainer, Reyes, is a former strength coach at UNLV. Rogers, who manages Agassi in partnership with International Management Group, is the son of a TV executive and is the intellectual of the bunch, having studied accounting at Georgetown as well as law at Arizona. Together these friends are as happy throwing rocks at bottles in the desert as they are drinking champagne. While in Paris for the French Open two years ago, Rogers, Reyes and the Agassi brothers spent most of their free time throwing water balloons from the window of their apartment.
There is something affecting about Andre's need for, and largesse with, his friends. "You can't pay for dinner for the life of you," says Gilbert. Agassi's allowance, for instance, is less than Rogers's salary. "Andre is loyal to the point where it costs him dearly," Rogers says. "He'd rather be loyal and pay the price than watch his back."
Agassi helped pay the tuition at American University for one of Rogers's girlfriends. Once, when Agassi was at Bollettieri's, he sold his tennis gear to buy Rogers a plane ticket to come visit him. "Andre needs closeness," Rita says. "He's real sensitive, which for some reason people have never understood."
Then there are the cars. Agassi regularly buys cars for people he likes—Cadillacs for his father, a BMW for Rogers's graduation from Georgetown, a red Eagle Talon sports car for Reyes's daughter Kelly on her 16th birthday.
Andre's most elaborate gifts are houses. He built homes for his parents and for Reyes and his family. In fact, Agassi purchased an entire square block in a development on the outskirts of Las Vegas, where the strip malls meet the dunes. In one quadrant of the block sits his parents' white stucco two-story house; next to it is Reyes's sprawling place. Behind the houses are two satellite dishes, a tennis court and a health spa large enough to be classified as a club. It includes a kitchen and custom weight machines designed and patented by Reyes.
A mile down the road is Andre's home, the same one he moved into at 21 when he broke with his father. It is a simple two-story house with a tiled roof, indistinguishable from the others on the block. It is not opulent, but it has its points—a built-in soda machine, a beer tap and a small swimming lagoon with a digitally controlled sauna and mist machine.
Agassi does his own laundry, jamming wet clothes in the spinner with a broomstick he keeps handy and using three sheets of Bounce at a time to soften everything to his liking. It is his habit to fall asleep on his couch in front of a movie. Sometimes he has dreams about tennis, but they are as fuzzy as the sofa. "They aren't about winning and losing big things, just being out there with a lot of electricity. Sometimes I win or lose, but I'm never quite sure."
Agassi is still stripping away the last of his old pretenses in favor of comfort and quality. He used to have a row of high-tech video-game machines, but he has given those to Reyes's three children. The kitchen is where the old toys-and-candy Agassi hangs on. The refrigerator is wall-to-wall soda. Jars of Jolly Ranchers and Starbursts are everywhere.
The bedroom is most expressive of the new Agassi. It is black and muted, with down comforters and stacks of CDs; his taste is mellow, George Winston, Nanci Griffith. Books such as I'm O.K.—Or Am I? line a shelf. Agassi is unself-conscious about his continual search for self-esteem. "You'd be surprised at how easy it is for me to be vulnerable these days," he says. "It's what my growth as a boyfriend, as a potential father, as a potential husband, as a friend, as a son, all depends on. When you grow, you find yourself so pleased by it that it's easy."
The only obvious signs of his career are in the den, where three small trophies sit beside the TV: his Wimbledon cup, the Australian chalice and the U.S. Open trophy. Conspicuously absent is a trophy from the tournament that represents a huge hurdle for Agassi: the French Open. Should he win it in June, he would become the first American since Don Budge (in 1938) to have won all four Grand Slam titles. That surely would establish him as a man who finally fulfilled his potential.