The Roman worship of Apollo was adopted from the Greeks. As a quintessentially Greek god, Apollo had no direct Roman equivalent, although later Roman poets often referred to him as Phoebus. There was a tradition that the Delphic oracle was consulted as early as the period of the kings of Rome during the reign of Tarquinius Superbus.
On the occasion of a pestilence in the 430s BCE, Apollo's first temple at Rome was established in the Flaminian fields, replacing an older cult site there known as the "Apollinare". During the Second Punic War in 212 BCE, the Ludi Apollinares ("Apollonian Games") were instituted in his honor, on the instructions of a prophecy attributed to one Marcius. In the time of Augustus, who considered himself under the special protection of Apollo and was even said to be his son, his worship developed and he became one of the chief gods of Rome.
After the battle of Actium, which was fought near a sanctuary of Apollo, Augustus enlarged Apollo's temple, dedicated a portion of the spoils to him, and instituted quinquennial games in his honour. He also erected a new temple to the god on the Palatine hill. Sacrifices and prayers on the Palatine to Apollo and Diana formed the culmination of the Secular Games, held in 17 BCE to celebrate the dawn of a new era.
Agassi turned professional at the age of 16 and competed in his first tournament at La Quinta, California. He won his first match against John Austin, but then lost his second match to Mats Wilander. By the end of 1986, Agassi was ranked world no. 91. He won his first top-level singles title in 1987 at the Sul American Open in Itaparica and ended the year ranked world no. 25. He won six additional tournaments in 1988 (Memphis, U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, Forest Hills WCT, Stuttgart Outdoor, Volvo International and Livingston Open), and, by December of that year, he had surpassed US$1 million in career prize money after playing in just 43 tournamentsthe fastest anyone in history had reached that level. During 1988, he also set the open-era record for most consecutive victories by a male teenager (a record that stood for 17 years until Rafael Nadal broke it in 2005). His year-end ranking was world no. 3, behind second-ranked Ivan Lendl and top-ranked Mats Wilander. Both the Association of Tennis Professionals and Tennis magazine named Agassi the Most Improved Player of the Year for 1988.
In addition to not playing the Australian Open (which later became his best Grand Slam event) for the first eight years of his career, Agassi chose not to play at Wimbledon from 1988 through 1990 and publicly stated that he did not wish to play there because of the event's traditionalism, particularly its "predominantly white" dress code to which players at the event are required to conform.
Strong performances on the tour meant that Agassi was quickly tipped as a future Grand Slam champion. While still a teenager, he reached the semifinals of both the French Open and the US Open in 1988 and made the US Open semifinals in 1989. He began the 1990s with a series of near-misses. He reached his first Grand Slam final in 1990 at the French Open, where he was favored before losing in four sets to Andrs Gmez, which he attributes to worrying about his wig falling off. He reached his second Grand Slam final of the year at the US Open, defeating defending champion Boris Becker in the semifinals. His opponent in the final was Pete Sampras; a year earlier, Agassi had crushed Sampras, after which he told his coach that he felt bad for Sampras because he was never going to make it as a pro. Agassi lost the US Open final to Sampras in three sets. The rivalry between these two American players became the dominant rivalry in tennis over the rest of the decade. Also in 1990, Agassi helped the United States win its first Davis Cup in 8 years and won his only Tennis Masters Cup, beating reigning Wimbledon champion Stefan Edberg in the final.
In 1991, Agassi reached his second consecutive French Open final, where he faced fellow Bollettieri Academy alumnus Jim Courier. Courier emerged the victor in a five-set final. Agassi decided to play at Wimbledon in 1991, leading to weeks of speculation in the media about the clothes he would wear. He eventually emerged for the first round in a completely white outfit. He reached the quarterfinals on that occasion, losing in five sets to David Wheaton.
Agassi's Grand Slam tournament breakthrough came at Wimbledon, not at the French Open or the US Open, where he had previously enjoyed success. In 1992, he defeated Goran Ivanievi in a five-set final. Along the way, Agassi overcame two former Wimbledon champions: Boris Becker and John McEnroe. No other baseliner would triumph at Wimbledon until Lleyton Hewitt ten years later. Agassi was named the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year in 1992. Agassi once again played on the United States' Davis Cup winning team in 1992. It was their second Davis cup title in three years.
In 1993, Agassi won the only doubles title of his career, at the Cincinnati Masters, partnered with Petr Korda. He missed much of the early part of that year due to injuries. Although he made the quarterfinals in his Wimbledon title defense, he lost to eventual champion and world no. 1 Pete Sampras in five sets. Agassi lost in the first round at the US Open to Thomas Enqvist and required wrist surgery late in the year.