While it’s been fun following the antics of the Twilight cast on Instagram, it’s time to move on to something else. It’s time to compare the careers of Robert Pattinson and Andre Agassi.
The two have a lot in common. Not only did they both act in TV series, but they followed that up with turns as leading men in box office smashes. They also had famous parents, held court in a celebrity-filled social media sphere, and were both the center of their own controversies.
Pattinson’s career spanned two decades, while Agassi’s career only lasted a little over a decade. But even that short career is one for the record books. Agassi is one of the few athletes to win Grand Slams in four consecutive decades. In the 2000s alone, he won seven majors, including three consecutive US Open titles and still owns the record for the most consecutive victories at the US Open, previously held by Pete Sampras.
But the most impressive feat of Agassi’s career was undoubtedly his 2007 comeback win at the age of 40. For many years, he had been unable to hold a trophy aloft, but he finally got his hands on a US Open title in his final tournament, a magical moment he will never forget.
Agassi also went a little Hollywood during his career, appearing in numerous TV series and major films. He was first noticed in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1988 movie Twins, though he didn’t have a major role. His biggest roles were in the 1992 film Money for Nothing and the 2005 film Four Seasons. Most recently, he had a major role in the forthcoming Netflix series Dead to Us.
Agassi’s acting career effectively ended in 2009, when he announced his retirement from tennis at the age of 45. He later returned to tennis in 2014, but couldn’t maintain his previous form, losing in the second round of his first tournament back. Since then, he has stuck to being an executive director of his own sports and entertainment company and a brand ambassador for several brands.
Their Early Days
Like many elite athletes, Agassi and Pattinson both got their start in tennis. Agassi first played the sport in his native California, while Pattinson trained in southern England. Agassi went on to become one of the greatest tennis players of all time, competing in some of the most prestigious tournaments across the world. He was ranked world number one for 237 weeks, from November 1992 until March 2007. In 2007, he finally lost his record of being the world’s number one ranked tennis player. To this day, he still holds the record for the most wins at the US Open, with 13. He was also a member of the so-called Greatest Tennis Team of All Time, alongside players such as Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, and Jimmy Connors.
Pattinson, on the other hand, was nowhere near as successful as Agassi. In fact, he was never even ranked in the top ten. He did, however, achieve some minor success in England, where he trained. But he didn’t get his big break until he moved to Los Angeles, where he became a professional actor. For the first two years of his career, he appeared in a variety of British and American films and TV series. He then went on to star in The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and the upcoming The Twilight Saga: Eve, the Female Vampire. For the first two films, he shared screen space with co-star Kristen Stewart, though the pair are now reportedly no longer together.
The Biggest Roadblocks
As impressive as Agassi’s career was, it was far from without its detractors. One of the great things about Andre Agassi is that he was incredibly open about his life, both on and off the tennis court. This openness saw him deal with many personal and professional issues that threatened to hold him back. In an interview with Vogue, he reflected on the trials and tribulations that helped shaped his character:
“I’ve always tried to be the best that I can be. Sometimes that hasn’t worked out so well. But at least it’s always been an honest effort. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That’s been my philosophy my whole life. When you’re dealing with personal demons, that’s the kind of philosophy that can protect you. It’s not that I’m so open that I invite trouble; it’s just that I’m so open that I don’t close down any doors. People understand that, though it may not seem like it sometimes.”
Pattinson, like his predecessor, also faced his fair share of controversies. Perhaps the biggest one was with Madonna in 2008. The pop star hired the actor to appear in a music video for her song “Hungry,” but when the clip debuted in early 2009, fans and critics were divided as to whether Pattinson or Madonna was the focus of the video. Pattinson later addressed the issue by revealing that a clip with Madonna had actually premiered two years earlier but was censored by the Madonna label. In the version that was finally released, the singer is barely visible, while the focus is on Pattinson’s performance.
The controversies that surrounded Pattinson and Agassi are probably linked to their famous parents. When Robin Agassi (Andre’s mom) died in 2016, the tennis star was forced to attend her funeral in Los Angeles. His father, Vincent Agassi, reportedly blamed the actor for his mother’s death, saying, “He destroyed her. He didn’t care about her. He never loved her. He pretended, but he never loved her.” After years of battling depression, Vincent Agassi died several months later, at the age of 85. This is likely why both men found it difficult to open up about their emotions, particularly showing affection for others. But that didn’t mean that their fights with the media were any less fierce or frequent than those of other prominent figures.
The Ups and Downs Of Fame
The fact that both men had such remarkable careers and were at the center of their own controversies means that it is relatively easy to compare their ups and downs. But it’s also important to remember that they both traveled different paths to get to where they are now. While Agassi rose to fame relatively quickly, mostly through his on-court achievements, Robert Pattinson took a more circuitous route. He started out in minor roles in British films, before transitioning to larger roles in American films. This was largely down to the changing nature of American horror films in the early 2000s. As the decade progressed, however, his biggest budget films were set in London, with the actor portraying various characters ranging from a drug-addled rock star to a corrupt policeman.
Agassi also had to navigate the changing attitudes of the Hollywood A-listers whom he met while playing the Wedding Cue in 1983. While he largely kept up appearances, his private life became a source of tabloid fascination, with more than a few stories linking him to various famous celebrities. While Pattinson’s career has largely been Fame Fantasy, with the exception of a couple of minor bumps along the way, it has largely been Good Films. But the biggest difference between the two is that Agassi retired from tennis at the peak of his powers, while Pattinson has yet to truly retire from acting, even as his on-screen career draws to a close.