Cablegate: Sports Diplomacy: Tennis Hero Andre Agassi Big Hit in Chile
DE RUEHSG #0562 0952049
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 052049Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1280
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 1682
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 3565
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 0197
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1329
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 5008
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1663
RUEHDG/AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO 0190
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 0234
UNCLAS SANTIAGO 000562
STATE FOR WHA/BSC, IIP/G/WHA, WHA/PDA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PREL PGOV OVIP CI
SUBJECT: SPORTS DIPLOMACY: TENNIS HERO ANDRE AGASSI BIG HIT IN CHILE
1. SUMMARY: American tennis legend Andre Agassi generated good will
and a media frenzy throughout his March 29-31 visit to Chile. In
Santiago for an exhibition match, Agassi participated in clinics for
Chile's promising young competitors and disadvantaged players.
Headlines called him a true "gentleman," "genius," and
"unforgettable," particularly to Chilean spectators and children he
coached. Agassi's well-received visit demonstrated how sports
diplomacy reaches all sectors of society - touching young lives that
might not yet grasp the meaning of traditional foreign policy. End
Media Superstar and Role Model
2. U.S. tennis star Andre Agassi generated extensive media coverage
during his visit to Chile March 29-31 for an exhibition with Chile's
retired tennis ace, and former world number one, Marcelo Rios.
Despite losing his tennis match with his former pro-circuit rival,
Agassi proved to be a winner among Chileans. An estimated 12,000
spectators turned out for the match, which was billed as a rematch
between two former world number one players.
3. Several media articles gave prominent coverage to Agassi's
clinics with Chilean wheelchair tennis players and about his
charitable foundation and promotion of sports in the United States
for at-risk youths. The media also made positive mention of
Agassi's encouragement to Chile's 2004 Olympic tennis gold medal
winner Nicholas Massu, who is currently suffering from a severe
slump on the professional tennis circuit. Press articles described
Agassi as a "gentleman," "star," and "good natured." One headline
read: "Andre Agassi Makes the Dreams of Young Chilean Talents Come
4. Leading Santiago daily "El Mercurio" reported that the
Ambassador brought together Chile's "tennis family" through a dinner
in Agassi's honor. In his remarks to Chilean tennis coaches,
players, and trainers, the Ambassador emphasized how sports
exchanges enhance ties among young people and fosters healthy
competition. It prepares players for understanding the concepts of
fair play, good sportsmanship, self-discipline and hard work.
Sports also serve as a bridge between different segments of society.
Channel 4 TV and "La Segunda" noted the Ambassador's praise of
Agassi and the importance of role models in the development of young
boys and girls.
Sports Diplomacy and the U.S. Image
5. Andre Agassi represented himself and his country magnificently.
He built good will and projected a positive image of the United
States. Agassi's visit demonstrated how sports exchanges have a
role in diplomacy, increasing mutual understanding and admiration
for the U.S. through its sports heroes.