Andre Agassi has set for himself a humbling road, a path that took him to defeat Tuesday at the hands of another player who would have done well to take a set off him scarcely two years ago.
Former UCLA standout Justin Gimelstob, looking comfortable on his home courts at the L.A. Tennis Center at UCLA, defeated the seventh-seeded Agassi, 7-5, 6-2, in the first round of the Infiniti Open.
Agassi, ranked No. 32, continues to plod back onto the ATP Tour: He has a 6-8 record this year.
"It's been frustrating, certainly," Agassi, 27, said. "I'm committed to this road now. I'm going to do it, but there's no joy in losing."
With the losses has come a loss in confidence, the linchpin of his high-risk game.
"That's lost," Agassi said of his confidence. "There's not much more to lose there. It's going to be a grind. . . . It doesn't get any easier week after week. I'm not going to allow this to set me back. I refuse to."
Agassi was up a break in the first set, then Gimelstob reeled off three games and broke back. The final break came in the last game, when Gimelstob, 20, capitalized on his fifth set point.
Agassi looked sharp and even flashed brilliant shots in the second set, but clearly he hasn't regained his ability to win under difficult circumstances.
"It's hard to say I'm encouraged by this," Agassi said. "That would be a stretch."