Agassi to participate...
Agassi to participate in Delray tennis tournament
By Charles Elmore
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Andre Agassi has accepted a wild-card entry to the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships in what some tournament officials are calling the biggest coup in the 14-year history of the men's tennis event.
"It's the most exciting draw I've ever had," said tournament director Mark Baron.
Agassi pulled out of this month's Australian Open, saying he needed more time to heal ankle ligaments he hurt last year. Instead, he will play in the Delray Beach tournament that runs Jan. 30 through Feb. 5.
Agassi, who finished No. 7 in the world, enters a field that already includes two rising American stars who competed in epic matches with Agassi at the 2005 U.S. Open, Robby Ginepri and James Blake.
"To start off his 2006 campaign in Delray Beach is so fantastic for the city," tournament chairman John Butler said. "The site is so intimate, to see this guy right in front of you, like you can't do anywhere else, is really unique."
Tournament officials said they will paint the courts at the Delray Beach Tennis Center blue, as the U.S. Open and other events have done. Because of Agassi, they expect to increase advertising spending by 50 percent and set a new a new tournament attendance record above 43,000.
Agassi, who has won eight Grand Slam titles and 60 ATP tour events, will open his 21st season in pro tennis at the tournament.