Today in Performance Sneaker History: Agassi Wins the 1995 Australian Open

It’s official: Novak Djokovic has made history by becoming the first men’s player since the inception of the Open era in 1968 to win three straight Australian Open titles. Another impressive detail of Novak’s win is that he now has racked up a total of four wins in Melbourne, the same amount as legends Andre Agassi and Roger Federer.

But flashback eighteen years ago to January 29, 1995, and Andre Agassi was just getting started in the land down under. After wrist surgery and a lengthy comeback, the tennis sensation was starting to regain his stride. To kick off the year, Agassi competed in the Australian Open for the first time in his career. As the event drew to a close, he defeated Pete Sampras in the four-set final. This was Agassi’s third Grand Slam title in his career. Throughout the year, Agassi and Sampras would face off in a total of five hardcourt tournament finals, including the US Open which was won by Sampras and put an end to Andre’s 26-match win streak.

Agassi, who spent a good portion of his career with Nike, had toned down his style a bit from the flashy, highlighter-bright colors of years past. But that doesn’t mean that the Air Challenge LWP, his sneaker of choice for the event, wasn’t ahead of its time. The LWP initials stood for Light Weight Performance, a trait which is emphasized on nearly every sneaker model today. A Phylon mdisole met with Air cushioning for a smooth, shock-free feel on the hard courts. Truly a tennis shoe for champions, it’s hard to believe that Nike has yet to give this model the retro treatment.

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