Andre uncertain to play in 2006 Australian Open
Agassi in doubt for Aus Open
December 8, 2005
ANDRE Agassi may be forced out of next month's Australian Open due to ongoing concerns with his severely sprained left ankle.
The American sprained his ankle in October while playing racquetball with a friend in Las Vegas, and says he aggravated it during last month's season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai
Doctors initially told Agassi his recovery would take six-to-eight weeks with full rest and rehabilitation.
But he has delayed it by playing in Shanghai and then singles and mixed doubles with wife Steffi Graf at a charity exhibition in Virginia.
"After my experience in Shanghai, I can confidently say I'll never get on the court again unless I'm 100% ready," he said. "I was just absolutely resentful that I made the decision to go on there less than my best. I was real upset."
So was an event organizer, who blasted Agassi for his withdrawal. The 35-year-old American was one of five top players who withdrew because of injury or illness.
Wang Liqun, deputy director of the organizing committee in Shanghai, accused Agassi of announcing his withdrawal without notifying anyone.
"I certainly didn't appreciate how irresponsible (Wang) was," Agassi said. "It was very discouraging for me. I'm frustrated by the whole thing."
Asked why he ventured to Shanghai instead of staying home like injured Andy Roddick, Agassi said, "I hadn't played since the (U.S.) Open and I didn't want to go all the way to Australia without playing. There was also pressure from the tournament as well as the ATP. Everybody wanted me to play and I wanted to play, I just shouldn't have."
Agassi confirmed that he will skip next year's clay court season because of his fragile back. A herniated disc led to his first-round loss in the French Open and his absence from Wimbledon for a second straight year.
"I know not playing the clay at this stage of my career beats the alternative, which is putting myself through it and jeopardizing more realistic goals," he said.
Agassi said he hasn't ruled out playing Davis Cup next year. The United States hosts Romania in a first-round match in La Jolla, Calif., in February.
He was in Carson to launch a tennis and education program for at-risk youth called Agassi's Safe Passage All-Stars. It will provide promising junior players ages 8 to 15 with tutoring and coaching so they can compete for college scholarships.
"This isn't a program that says we're going to make you a tennis professional," Agassi said. "This is a program that's going to use tennis as a vehicle to introduce you to your full potential in academics."
Agassi finished the year ranked No. 7 in the world. He won his only title in Los Angeles and had a 38-12 match record. He lost to Roger Federer in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and the U.S. Open final.