Defending Champ Agassi Withdraws From Cincinnati
By Tennis Week
Andre Agassi's Cincinnati appearance will be confined to a conference room rather than the court. Hours after falling to Rafael Nadal in the Montreal final, defending Cincinnati champion Agassi withdrew from the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, which begins on Monday in Mason, Ohio.
Agassi's agent, and best friend since childhood, Perry Rogers, informed the tournament of Agassi’s decision on Sunday night.
The three-time Cincinnati champion will meet with the media on Monday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, home of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, to formally announce his withdrawal.
"Perry just called and said Andre is reluctantly unable to play," said tournament director Bruce Flory. "Perry said Andre had every intention to play in Cincinnati and was very much looking forward to defending his title. He said ‘Andre does not want to start something he can’t finish’. I respect his decision, and I think his choice to come to Cincinnati tomorrow shows a tremendous amount of class and respect for the tournament."
The 35-year-old Agassi was seeded seventh in the 64-man Cincinnati draw. He was scheduled to face Carlos Moya in the opening round. A year ago, Agassi beat three former No. 1 players in succession — conquering Moya in the quarterfinals, topping Andy Roddick in the semifinals and beating Lleyton Hewitt in the final — to raise his ATP record-extending 17th Masters Series shield in Cincinnati.
In Agassi's absence, top-ranked Roger Federer and Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick will both be in action on Monday. Roddick faces Austria's Jurgen Melzer Monday afternoon. Five-time Grand Slam champion Federer meets wild card James Blake on Monday night in his first match since beating Roddick to claim his third consecutive Wimbledon crown.
"We hate to lose any player, especially the defending champion, but with the stellar field we have in Cincinnati, highlighted by Roger Federer and Andy Roddick in action tomorrow, the tournament will still be spectacular," Flory said.
For tickets or information on the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, please call (513) 651-0303 or go to www.cincytennis.com