It sounds crazy, but I’m convinced that way back in 1986, when Andre Agassi was just a skinny kid boarding at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, he and a couple of his fellow racket brats saw this movie somewhere like the DeSoto Square Mall in Bradenton one night, and just like that, the rebel “ANDRE AGASSI” was born.
In Oxford Blues, a cocky kid from Las Vegas with outrageous hair and a love of acid-washed denim falls through the looking glass and ends up at Oxford University in England. He doesn’t exactly fit in, and by refusing to give even an inch to his host country’s traditions and mores, he makes things extremely difficult for himself until he ends up being shunned and reviled by all. Then after a period of time, he realizes he was wrong, learns to embrace all those stuffy conventions he had once fought tooth and nail, eventually claiming victory in true underdog Yankee style.
I’m telling you, it’s the story of Andre Agassi and Wimbledon! Las Vegas native Andre saw this movie, immediately identified with Rob Lowe’s character Nick DeAngelo, and decided to be that character. Right from the start, he wielded a big Prince tennis racket of contention with the All-England Club—the dress code was “depersonalizing,” bowing towards the royal box “degrading,” forcing world-class athletes to subsist wholly on strawberries and cream for two weeks “downright dangerous.” He refused to even go there for a couple years, but he eventually (just like Nick!) came around, started behaving himself, and in 1992 won his first Grand Slam victory at the very Major he seemed least likely to.
Hooray for Hollywood!