** Andre News Articles & Interviews !! ** - Page 8 - MensTennisForums.com

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post #106 of 731 (permalink) Old 03-29-2005, 06:25 PM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

here's another one...


He is a great champion, one of the most talented ever. He has been a professional tennis player for more than 18 years now, this is more than half his life ! And he is still alive and kicking, beating all the "new balls".

His story is a really long one. He has been eating, drinking and breathing tennis since he was born. During his amazing career, he has had ups and downs. But he always managed to find motivation, work hard and come back at the top level.

This is Andre Agassi's story...

The first balls, the school, and the professional circuit

Andre's story begins like an American Dream in Las Vegas, the city of gambling and casinos. His father - Emmanuel Agassi(an) - is an Armenian from Iran who decided to come to the United States in 1952 to become a professional boxer. Before that, he had already been selected for the Olympic Games of London (1948) and Helsinki (1952), competing for his native country.

As he was not able to become a champion himself, Mike (his "new" first name) decided his kids would become champions. The legend says he offered baby boy Andre a little tennis racket so that his son could begin to play in the cradle (!). Before that, Mike tried to teach tennis to Rita, Tami and Phillip and his children would hit balls every day before and after school. Andre appears to be really talented and plays with Pancho Gonzales, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors or Ilie Nastase before his tenth birthday !!

At the age of thirteen, he enters the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida. As a former paratrooper, Nick Bolletieri believes in disciplin, hard work, mental and physical condition. During five years, Andre trains hards and builds his game. The daily program is a mix of tennis, muscle-developing exercises, tennis, golf and tennis. In this "training camp", Agassi meets Aaron Krickstein, Jimmy Arias, David Wheaton or Jim Courier. A list of names proving that Bolletieri's method is not THE method...

But Andre is talented and willing : he wins several junior championships and is certainly one of the best players of his age. Thus he decides to become professional at the age of sixteen only ! He wins his first ATP title in not later than 1987 in Itaparica. 1988 is his first really great season as he wins six titles (out of seven finals played) and reaches two Grand Slam semi-finals in Roland Garros and Flushing Meadow. His long hair and his denim shorts become famous as well as his forehand. At the end of this amazing season, Andre is ranked number three in the world and his win/loss ratio is 63/11 !!!

Tennis player or star ?

Agassi's climb is really astonishing, but things tend to become a bit more complicated. While his forehand is still feared by his opponents, Andre's first weaknesses reveals themselves : sometimes he cannot stick to a tactic plan throughout his matches, so when his opponent offers too much resistance, his seems to give up and not fight as hard as he ought to. And a sort of fear of winning seems to paralyze him in the main events. In the 1990 Roland Garros final, Agassi should have won against veteran Andres Gomes, but he loses in four sets. A few months later in Flushing Meadow, a young unknown Pete Sampras easily beats him in the US Open final 6-4 6-3 6-2.

In 1991, Andre is one more time the favourite of the Roland Garros final against Jim Courier. But Battle Jim (and the rain !) get rid of Agassi in five sets. Another major loss that leads to the question : will Agassi ever be able to win a Grand Slam tournament and become number one ? Andre does not seem physically so sharp as he used to be and rumor says he prefers eating pizzas and junk food rather than training… Some say Agassi is more a star, an idol or a commercial icon rather than a tennis player.

They are wrong. The biggest surprise and the greatest victory for Agassi occurs during these difficult times. He wins his first Grand Slam tournament where nobody would have expected him to : on the Wimbledon grass. During two extraordinary weeks, Andre beats some of the best grass-court players like Boris Becker, John McEnroe or Goran Ivanisevic. His returns, his passing-shots, his vicacity and his reflexes disconcert his opponents. Agassi then wins the Toronto tournament and the Davis Cup.

But in 1993 a chronic tendinitis on his right wrist keeps him from playing his highest level. In december of the same year, he has an operation of the wrist and points only 32nd when he comes back to competition in 1994. Once again, many doubt he will be capable of winning again. And once again, Agassi will prove them wrong. In March 1994, Brad Gilbert becomes his trainer. This meeting will be decisive.

Brad the Alchemist

Brad Gilbert was not one of the greatest players of all time. He did not win any Grand Slam tournament, but he managed to climb up to the 4th place in the ATP ranking. He was not the fairest and recently wrote a book entitled "Winning Ugly", which is clear enough. From 1994, Brad teaches Agassi how to win even when not playing his best tennis. By keeping Andre focused, he enables him to get his self-confidence back.

Agassi is back and wins his second Grand Slam "at home", at the US Open before winning in Vienna and Paris. He goes on in 1995 winning the Australian Open for his first participation, beating Pete Sampras in the final. Andre wins six more tournaments throughout the season and becomes for the first time number one in the world in April.

But things will get more complicated again and the 1996 season is not so good for Andre, although his gold medal in the Atlanta Olympic Games is a great one ! Then, in 1997, Agassi's drop is massive as he does not win any tournament which did not happen to him since 1986. Agassi seems to be happy with Brooke Shields but not on the court anymore... In November 1997, he is ranked 141st in the world !

At this stage, nobody believes Agassi can reach the top again. Even Andre is doubtful about that. That is why he, Brad and Gil Reyes - his assistant and friend - go back to the basics. Andre even plays a couple of challenger tournaments and after a while recovers his game, his will of playing as well as his self-confidence. Back to the top, he wins six tournaments in 1998 ! But no Grand Slam.

Agassi and Gilbert decide to focus on these four main events. Winning Grand Slam tournaments, here is the goal. What about the results ? Andre wins Roland Garros and the US Open in 1999. He also plays a final in Wimbledon losing to a great Pete Sampras. During the 2000 season, he wins the Australian Open again and reaches the semi-final in Wimbledon. Then in 2001, Andre won in Melbourne again, successfully defending a Grand Slam title for the first time in his career, reached one more time the semi-final in Wimbledon. Thus, Agassi confirms once and for all he is a great champion and one of the greatest of all time :-) He wins in Indian Wells, Miami and Los Angeles as well.

The end of his season is not so good, as he gets married with Steffi Graf and they have a son, Jaden Gil. Agassi is now happy on and off the court.

"Is Agassi invincible ?". This is the title of the French Tennis Magazine
after Andre's incredible beginning in 2001

The show goes on

He is now a husband, a dad, with 16 years of professional tennis as a career, but Agassi still feels like playing and winning. He and Brad Gilbert decide to split up (as friends though). Agassi is now working with Australian Darren Cahill, former coach of Lleyton Hewitt. There is a big threat in the very beginning of the 2002 season when he withdraws from the Australian Open because of a wrist injury (the same as in 1993 when he had to have surgery). But after a few weeks of rest, Andre is back again, reaching the final in san Jose and winning in Scottsdale, Miami and Rome, thirteen years after his first final in the Italian capital !

Andre plays very well during the summer as he wins in Los Angeles and reaches the final in the US Open where he meets long-time rival Pete Sampras who has not won a tournament in two years. Twelve years after, Pete wins again in four sets. This is an incredibly high-standard match. After that, Andre wins in Madrid and is close to finishing the season as the number one.

In 2003, Andre wins the Australian Open for the fourth time. He also wins in San Jose, Miami and Houston. On the 3rd of October, Steffi gives birth to a little girl named Jaz Elle. Agassi chooses to put tennis aside for a while. He is back on the court for the Masters Cup and reaches the final ! But he loses to an extraterestrial Roger Federer.

In the Australian Open 2004, Andre reaches the semi-final and loses in five tough sets to Marat Safin. A hip injury then keeps him from playing good tennis… until the summer. Andre wins in Cincinnati for the third time ! He wins his 17th Masters Series tournament !!! He plays a semi-final in the Madrid TMS and reaches the final in Stockholm, but does not qualify for the Masters Cup (for the first time since 1997).

In 2005, Andre is still thirsty to win. He plays a good Australian Open until an extraordinary Roger Federer beats him in the quarter of final.

"Agassi. Tennis and after ?". The Tennis Magazine asks this question in February 2004.
This is not relevant so far. Agassi is stil focused on tennis !

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post #107 of 731 (permalink) Old 03-29-2005, 10:46 PM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Andre Agassi calls for change in format

It’s difficult for all players to play all the time, says Agassi
Miami: American veteran Andre Agassi believes the Davis Cup is too time-consuming for top players and wants a change in format to entice the biggest names in the sport to take part.

“It’s not realistic to expect all the players to play all the time,” said Agassi, who came out of Davis Cup retirement for his country’s first-round defeat to Croatia in California earlier this month.

“The schedule is difficult as it is. The wear and tear on one’s body these days versus when I first came on is a whole different animal.

“Guys hit the ball bigger, every movement is more violent. There’s much more injury. It’s harder to do this for a long period of time, playing Davis Cup every year.

“For all the players to play all the time, a change would have to be made.”

The top 10 players like Swiss Roger Federer, Spain’s Carlos Moya and Britain’s Tim Henman have all chosen not to play Davis Cup this seaon — Henman has retired from the competition altogether — in order to save their bodies for Grand Slam and Tour events.

Agassi said he has not spoken to the ITF about a change in the format and admitted that he has no suggestions as to how the competition should be restructured.

“We all sort of agree in bigger terms that it would be great to have all the players playing, it would be great to have a format that works,” he said.

“Davis Cup does also take tennis to a lot of places in the world that wouldn’t normally get a chance. It generates a lot of interest and economics. So there’s a lot to be considered.”

“I certainly wouldn’t claim to know even 50 per cent of that. Calling a problem and solving a problem are two different things,” he added.

Andre Agassi forever
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post #108 of 731 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 12:33 AM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

A. AGASSI/G. Gaudio
7‑6, 6‑2

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. "Execution" and "closing the deal" are two of your favorite terms. How well do you feel you did that today?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, real good. The first set was as hard a set as you'll ever have, about an hour and a half almost. A match like that can just turn into a first‑class battle, you know, I mean, all the way through from start to finish. Or if you take your right chances, you can maybe break a match like that open. Today, that's what happened. I played a few good points when I had to, and a couple things went right for me. I took advantage of it, and that makes life a lot easier.

Q. It took you a while to close out that first set. You needed quite a few set points there.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it was sort of the story of the entire first set for both of us. I think we both had a lot of chances to break serve. It was hard to get over the line. We were both fighting hard for those points and coming up with some good shots.

It was just keeping the big picture in mind. I wasn't getting too hung up on any given point. I just kept trying to execute. You know, breaker happened to go my way, which felt pretty good.

Q. When he tried to make that shot between his legs, was that kind of a sign to you that you were going to win?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I knew I was one game closer when he attempted that. That's all I was thinking. I mean, I was glad he tried it, but it's an odd shot to play in that situation.

You know, when he made that error, I mean, it was just an unforced error really was what it was. I thought to myself, "Okay, here we go. It's 4‑2, just go to work. Maybe break again." I managed to do that.

Q. Does that signify to you he's almost throwing in the white flag?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you don't want to read too much into the situation. You just take it for face value. I mean, he threw away an important point that he could have capitalized on, and that gave me a 4‑2 lead.

So as far as I was concerned, it was 0‑0 and we were going to work. I'm just a little bit closer to the finish line. So I don't read too much into it. I don't know why he tried that. I've seen him make it, though. It's an amazing shot when he makes it.

Q. You're past the stage I guess most of us would be in, "God, I've missed seven breakpoints, how can this go on?" Do you ever think about that or is it on to the next point?

ANDRE AGASSI: Ideally, it's on to the next point, but I do think about it, sure I do. You learn through a lot of experiences that the most important point is the next one, regardless of what's happening out there. Nothing you can really do about what just transpired, but you can control what is about to happen. That's the difficulty in it all, is keeping that focus.

But that is the goal, and sometimes I accomplish it. A lot of times I don't.

Q. When you go up against Roger, you've got your game, you know what you do best, you just try to execute it better than you had the last time? Or do you consciously think about making some significant changes?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you have to have an awareness of what his ridiculous strengths are, and you have to make him beat you with his average strength. Really, that's all you can do. You just don't want to ‑‑ there's few given times you don't want to play into what he does best.

But overall, you have to play your best tennis. You know, it's a fine line you walk, making slight adjustments, but making sure you're not taking yourself out of what it is you're comfortable with.

Q. Because he's so good, can he make you overanalyze what you're going to do out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, it's not the analyzation that's a problem, it's his ability to keep you from executing. I mean, he just can keep you from doing that when he's playing that standard of tennis.

But you have to do it every day.

Q. Will you be watching the Williams sisters tonight?

ANDRE AGASSI: I hadn't really thought about my evening plans, but something tells me they're going to revolve around a three‑and‑a‑half and a one‑and‑a‑half‑year‑old.

Q. This rivalry has fizzled a little bit. To what extent at this point does it interest you, when the two sisters get together?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, to be quite honest, it's always been difficult for me to watch that. I think it's gotten easier sort of as they've gotten more experienced with doing it. I just couldn't imagine what it's like competing against a sibling. Certainly in the house and the home that I grew up in, it would have been an emotional drama to go through that. So to watch them have to face that has been, to me, a difficult thing to watch. It's just unfortunate to imagine you or your brother winning or losing, you know, especially when they've been competing for world titles.

So I've never been comfortable watching it, to be quite honest.

Q. Gaudio was the fall guy at the Tennis Masters Cup. Of course he took your place by virtue of the fact that he was the French Open place, even though you were ranked 8 you didn't make it, much to the dismay of Jim and all the local fans. What do you feel about this? Do you feel it should be the top eight that qualify, or do you think they should stick with this present rule?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it can work the other way, too. You can have four people that won Slams that aren't in the event, and that would be sort of a tragedy as well. So you can't quite have it both ways. I don't mind the rule, I just ‑‑ we all need to know the rules, and we do. That's fair enough.

You know, I had to finish top seven to make it, as it turned out, and I didn't do that.

Q. Did you miss playing last year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure, I did. I don't know if we'll ever have it back here again. I missed it tremendously. I think Mattress Mack puts on one heck of an event, made all the adjustments necessary to make it a great event for the players and the fans, and I'm sorry I missed it.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...
Andre Agassi forever
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post #109 of 731 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 07:03 PM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

do we have this article fans?

Posted on Wed, Mar. 30, 2005

Playing 20 questions with Andre Agassi


Miami Herald

1) Were you an insecure superstar?

"I don't know about the superstar part. I can attest to the insecurity, which I still fight pretty much by the day. Being objective about yourself is a very hard thing to do. But when you are on the world stage, you can't help but hear the truth quite often, and in a pretty harsh way. That's been a curse and a great blessing because I deal well with honesty and try to evolve from it."

2) The character trait you most admire in others?

"Empathy - the ability to look at any given situation through the lens of someone else. Understand the full capacity of that emotion. It holds you accountable and leaves you fulfilled."

3) You were around Steffi Graf for a long time before you began a relationship. How did you figure out you loved her?

"Laughter Same way anyone else does, I guess: I had the opportunity to understand how and who she was. I've marveled at her from a distance, like so many. For a lot of reasons. The looks are something I always responded most to when I didn't know her. ... Such a caveman ... Hey, an honest question deserves honest answer. But then you notice the pillars in her life that are a testament to who a person is. The saying is so true: You are what you do. I've always respected how she goes about her work, business, relationships. Companies. Coaches. People she has been so loyal to. The people in her life. Then I basically stalked her. Then I got to know her. And it has been a joy since."

4) Three athletes anywhere you most respect?

"Wow. That's not an easy one. Alonzo Mourning has impressed me a lot through his foundation and what he cares about. His heart and commitment, pretty amazing. And seeing what people can do when they are 40 is pretty darned inspiring. Jerry Rice or Karl Malone. That hits the spot for me."

5) During the last 15 years of growth from child star to introspective adult, what are you most embarrassed by?

"Laughter Probably my mullet. My hair. Sometimes it is better to not have any options anymore. He is bald now. Early on, I'm rather embarrassed about not understanding the world stage and that things you say and do in a casual sense get perceived in a grand sense and you can get boxed in. I've tried to make sure that everything I say and do now has some sort of reflection on who I am. It's a discipline."

6) You look back at photos of yourself with that hair and think what?

"Boy, I would like to burn those. The hardest part is after games, when you are signing autographs and there are loyal fans who have been with you since the beginning. And they are pulling out pictures taken of you when you started. Laughter I mean, I want to be there for you and sign it, but I'm having a hard time signing that for you."

7) You got much better older. What is the difference between the second half of your career and the first?

"I grew up. I started choosing my battles and realizing I could only expect a commitment from myself to be the person I aspire to be. That's not an easy thing. Still isn't. The effort and the journey is something people can respect and identify with, I hope."

8) What are you proudest of professionally?

"I've taken a sport I've had a rough time with, and I've allowed it to make me better as a person. Tennis has been so good to me. Taught me a lot about myself. I've allowed it to become quite a friend. To play it at a time in my life when I'm old enough to appreciate and embrace the opportunity is probably my greatest joy."

9) What do you love and hate most about tennis?

"Here's what I love about it: I love that tennis is a one-on-one sport only about problem solving. There are so many parallels between those lines and life. It taught me how to dig deep and take that next step even if you question it. That helped me in other parts of my life when I thought I was on the ropes. Get back to the fundamentals and know the most important point is the next one. And, to be quite honest, the hardest part is the grind - putting yourself in position to do it every day. The traveling. The commitment. Takes its toll. But that's what makes the good times special."

10) Where do you place yourself among the greatest male tennis player of all time?

"It's hard to argue with stats. Rod Laver, what he accomplished, every slam in the same year twice. And Pete Sampras, most slams ever. Hard to argue with that. Where do I put myself? I don't know. I was privileged to be on the other end of the court with Pete. I expected to win every time and, most of the time, I didn't. Thirty-five times, he beat me 19. You sort of marvel at everyone else. If you aren't watching the ball and moving your feet, it's a useless conversation. So I put my effort there."

11) You are forever linked with Sampras. You like him? Respect him? Describe that relationship.

"I respect him tremendously. We've done battle. What surprises most people is how little I knew him off the court. He was a very single-minded man, and we only dealt with each other across that net. Hard not to respect someone like him. Liking him? He was always easy to get along with. Laughter But I think both of us would say that both of our greatest nightmares would be to wake up and have the other one's life."

12) You have been trying to convince Steffi to play doubles with you. Why won't she?

"I'm the good guy in that part. I try to talk her into it. She's convinced we have a very happy life together. She doesn't want to risk that, I don't think. It just might be the only real argument we get into will be over something trivial, so she chooses to avoid that."

13) You have built an inner-city school in Las Vegas. Why?

"It's the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. It gives the highest standard of education to children who wouldn't normally have that. When you see a child who has no hope or opportunity or the ability to even dream, and to watch them take ownership of their future, it is probably the greatest feeling you can have in your experiences with people."

14) What is the most moved you have been by something that project has produced?

"We have certain rules at our school. Parents have to sign contracts that they are going to volunteer and sign off on homework because we want to include the home environment. One young man called and said he understood the rules. But he said he had only one parent, his father, and that his father would not live up to this standard, but he didn't want it to cost him his chance. The child was the parent. His father was too irresponsible. One of the most touching stories I've ever heard."

15) What is the greatest thing about your hometown of Las Vegas?

"Its soul and culture. I've done press conferences defending the city. And the one thing you don't ever hear in the recording is the chuckles when I defend it. It's the fastest-growing city the last 30 years running. It is a city that believed something, dreamed it, then did it. And it's a mentality instilled in everyone there."

16) You have won $29 million in career prize money alone. What's the dumbest money you have spent?

"Laughter Brutal question. As a teenager, on the vehicles getting you from one destination to another. So much energy put into the car you rode in. At any given time, I'd have half a dozen cars on the expensive side. Learned real quick, it's not the ride to get somewhere - it's where it is you are going. I have the minivan now. Greatest car in the world. Doors open on the keychain. Awesome with grocery bags and two children hanging on you."

17) How has being a dad changed you most?

"Taught me to do more listening than talking. The more you know me, the more you know that's a skill I have to work on. You can't teach unless you are willing to learn. There's no space greater than a child's life. Learned how to learn. Be receptive to who they are. Discover that before going to what I believe.

18) When you were young, didn't you go to the mailbox and find checks for $1.4 million that you weren't even expecting?

"I don't know where any of this money has come from. It's a yellow, fuzzy tennis ball. I've learned real quickly to keep my eyes focused on that."

19) Five adjectives you would use to describe yourself to a stranger?

"I was never good in English class. I don't even think I know what an adjective is, honestly. I just always hope to come across as somebody willing to take that step every day to become more of who I want to be. That's what it is about. It's about not accepting yourself not getting a day better. And being patient enough to understand you can't get more than one day better in one day. That's what I try to live by."

20) How much longer you going to do this? When will you know to walk away?

"The simple answer is `I don't know' and `I don't know.' As long as I'm healthy and able to be out there playing my best tennis with the real expectation of finding a way to win, I've got to believe I'll keep pushing myself to do it. When the day comes that I don't feel my best tennis could get the job done, that would be my signal. If you had asked me six years ago where I'd be today, I could never have imagined this. I feel like I burn out every day. That's the given. Everyone gets tired of punching the clock and struggles. But it is what I do. I have to look for ways to fuel those batteries. And I don't have to look far anymore. Beautiful family and friends. Those batteries get recharged."

Andre Agassi forever
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post #110 of 731 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 07:08 PM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

somebody did post it already in general messages section...

Andre is very popular now in the forum!!!
i like it...
Go Andre! do nice wins this year!!!

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post #111 of 731 (permalink) Old 04-01-2005, 02:24 AM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

7-5, 6-0

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Andre advances to his 10th semifinal here in Key Biscayne and improves his career record to 61-12.

Questions for Andre.

Q. Federer is coming. What is your tactic?

ANDRE AGASSI: What is my plan, tune in tomorrow and see.

Q. Your serve was somewhat low, you had trouble closing the deal in the first set. Was there a reason for that?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think he puts a lot of pressure on your second. You feel more pressure to make your first serve, which sometimes causes you to disrupt your rhythm a little bit. I think I forced it a few times.

But I don't want to get too careful with it; I want to keep executing it. But I was probably pushing a little too close to the lines. He has a real good reach about him, too, when he's out there on the court. To get away with a cheap point, you got to hit a real good serve because he has a real good lunge.

I think that's a strong part of his game, believe it or not, his return is quite a factor.

Q. Did you sense him at all losing composure in the second set, getting frustrated by the calls?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, it would have been hard not to notice that. It was pretty disruptive to his game. You know, it was obviously not something you ever really want to wish on anybody, the feeling that, you know, that bad calls are happening.

Q. Did you try to help Taylor? He had the argument with the chair umpire. When you went to your side, you said something to him.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I was just clearing up -- at out of the corner of my ear, I caught the umpire suggesting to Taylor what I had said to him when I hit the shot that's in question. I just wanted to make sure that he wasn't miscommunicating anything I was intending to say to him, because between players, there's just an unwritten rule out there that you -- if somebody has an issue, you leave them alone with it. You know, if he's fighting the umpire on a call, you don't interfere. I didn't want Taylor to have the impression that I was actually trying to interfere with his complaining of the call. I was just clearing up the fact that I said to the umpire, "I just thought it was going out when it left my racquet, but I actually didn't see it bounce. I didn't see if it could have been in or out. I felt like I missed it."

I started walking because it felt like I missed it. Then when it bounced and they didn't call, you always leave room, “maybe it hit the line.” I was just surprised because I really thought I missed it and so did Taylor.

Q. Was that the turning point?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it certainly helped to get the break in the first game in the second. That was game point for him. Then I hit two good returns and I'm off to a break already. He was getting more frustrated as it went on from there.

Q. Were you unhappy with yourself for not closing it out early in the first set?

ANDRE AGASSI: I would have liked to. I mean, I think the bigger game -- he played a real good game at 5-4 in the first set to break me back. I was playing well just to hang in that game actually.

But the 2-1 game was a big game. I was in control of it. Eventually was a few errors that cost me the game, and that's -- that was a bit below what I was hoping for out there as far as my standard.

But I got it together well after that and felt good the rest of the match.

Q. Is it a factor that you just don't see many serve-and-volley players like him anymore? I know there's a few out there.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you sort of have to walk a fine line. It's breezy conditions. He's just sort of poking the ball in play, keeping it low with underspin. You're thinking, "If I'm playing a good baseliner and they hit a shot like this, I'm going to just let it rip," because you don't want to get behind in the point.

When you're playing somebody that's just sort of chipping it back, you're telling yourself "Don't take an unnecessary risk, because it's breezy." Sometimes that causes you not to hit a clean swing on the ball. You're almost better off getting a little bit more aggressive.

And that game I just made a few errors based on that.

Q. What do you need to do well tomorrow? What will be foremost in your priorities?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, seeing his form over the last year and a half, I'd say I'd have to be doing a lot of things well - no question about it. I'll have to be working my serve well, returning well, picking my shots, executing them. But, you know, I don't go out there really with any other expectation anymore at all against anybody. So I'll have to really step it up tomorrow, that's for sure.

Q. Is there something different that you can bring to the table tomorrow in the way of strategy that can take Federer out of his comfort zone?

ANDRE AGASSI: Maybe. If I do, I think we're going to have about 128 other guys be pretty excited to learn that one themselves.

Q. What did you do just so well to disrupt his game at the Open last year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it was just a quality match all the way around. We played three sets of high-standard tennis. Third set being one that I had chances in all the way through it until the very end. But that's what makes him so dangerous, at any point he can really step it up, so you have to always be respectful of that.

Then the next day was a bit of Russian roulette with the wind. It was pretty much a hurricane. So regardless of what happened that day, it wasn't going to be a true testament to the quality of tennis.

Q. In the junior competition there was a player that I saw named Seguso. It made me think, "one pair of tennis players produced another," do you think we'll see Agassi children in the event?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine, you know. I hope they care about whatever it is they choose.

Q. If you had to narrow down tomorrow's matchup, what would you say would be the decisive factor?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, the two things that he obviously does better than arguably anybody in the world is his movement and his forehand, you know. They're both big factors. So you have to know when to take your chance and not hesitate, and that's the way it is with all the guys. Except with him, it's what you consider your chance, you know. Certain guys you get a lot of looks. With him, you don't get many. So you have to recognize whatever does seem like a chance and be willing to execute it. I mean, you got to play a good match, unless he's not playing his best tennis.

Q. Does playing a night match affect your preparation in any way? Is there any difference between night and day when you play a guy like Roger?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, night plays slower, heavier than the day.

Q. Can that work towards your advantage?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know if it would be much of a factor. I would prefer to be in extreme conditions, you know, 142 degrees and crazy humidity and, you know, 12-mile-an-hour winds with 20-mile-an-hour gusts.

Q. The last time you beat him was in the final here in 2002. How much has he changed since then?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, he's evolved as a player incredibly. It's been something to watch. I mean, he makes a lot less errors in his game now, more firepower. Certainly more confidence.

Q. Did you have any inkling that maybe he would evolve the way he has that day? Did you think of it?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I'm not the best guy to ask with regard to that. As much as one might think I would know a lot about tennis based on my history with it, I remember watching Pete when I was 18 years old saying, "Why did he go to a one-handed backhand? He'll never, never win a match."

There you have it (smiling).

Q. How's your toe?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's good. How's yours? It's doing good. The toe is no longer something I hesitate on because I've pushed through it and it's maintained. It's not getting worse.

Q. Can I ask you something about your previous match against Gaudio.


Q. You have said many times that some players, when you were playing against them they were bringing the best out of you. Can we say that that first set against Gaudio brought the best tennis out of you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, where I consider -- best tennis to me is playing the biggest points with 100% freedom, choosing your shot and letting it go. There were a number of times that set where I had the chance and I missed a forehand up the line in the net because I pulled off of it a little bit, and he had some chances. So it was very competitive in the hardest set of tennis, the hardest one set of tennis that I've ever been a part of physically.

But to me, the best set of tennis is one where every time the set gets -- the game gets important, you do what it is you do best and you do it without any hesitation.

Q. Do you feel like you have a better shot against Roger here in Miami with all your success and home court advantage than you did in Dubai or Australia earlier in the year?

ANDRE AGASSI: I hope so, yeah. That's the plan. I mean, I can't pick anything more than a hard court with little wind, little humidity. It's good. That's what I've always performed well on. I've always played well here. Tomorrow I'm going to have to go out and play well again. So you can't hand-pick it better than Australia or here, and the court in Dubai I actually liked, too.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...
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post #112 of 731 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 01:56 AM
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Agassi: 'Wetter größte Herausforderung'


Bei seiner Rückkehr zum grimmig kalten Rothenbaum fürchtet Superstar Andre Agassi das Hamburger Schmuddelwetter mehr als die versammelte Tennis-Elite.

Andre Agassi nebst Gattin Steffi Graf und Sohnemann Jaden Gil (dpa)

"Das Wetter ist die größte Herausforderung", meinte der Amerikaner, der seit 2001 einen Riesenbogen um die Hansestadt gemacht hatte. Erst am Dienstag greift der von der Sonne verwöhnte Spieler aus Las Vegas gegen den spanischen Sandplatzwühler Feliciano Lopez ins Geschehen der Masters-Series-Veranstaltung ein. Aber schon jetzt ist die Hansestadt in Aufruhr. Denn der 35-Jährige ist nicht allein nach Hamburg gekommen.

Auch Steffi Graf und die beiden Kinder Jaden Gil (3) und Jaz Elle (1) sind dabei, "schließlich haben wir uns zehn Tage nicht gesehen". Und das hat in der Medienstadt an der Elbe Folgen: An jeder Ecke, hinter jedem Strauch lauern die Paparazzi und lassen der berühmten Tennis-Familie keine Ruhe. "In Hamburg ist es immer besonders extrem und belastend", erzählte ein Freund der Familie.

Um so erstaunlicher ist die Gelassenheit, mit der Agassi den Rummel erträgt. "Das gehört nun mal dazu", meinte der achtmalige Grand Slam-Sieger und wandte sich den sportlichen Aufgaben zu. "Ich bin mit meiner Leistung auf Sand ziemlich zufrieden", sagte der French Open-Sieger von 1999, der in Hamburg bei bislang vier Auftritten nie übers Viertelfinale (1995) hinaus kam, in Rom am vergangenen Samstag aber im Halbfinale stand.

Nach den schlechten Erfahrungen des vergangenen Jahres, als er sich ungenügend auf die French Open vorbereitet hatte und in Roland Garros prompt in Runde eins auschied, geht der Weltranglisten-Siebte die Aufgabe diesmal seriöser an. Zum Glück für den Deutschen Tennis Bund, der jahrelang vergeblich um Agassi gebuhlt und sich wiederholt eine kurzfristige Absage eingehandelt hatte.

Ob es sein letzter Auftritt in Hamburg sein wird, wollte Agassi nicht verraten. In Deutschland bestimme seine Frau, was gemacht wird, meinte er grinsend. Doch im Ernst gestand der 35-Jährige: "Es wird härter jeden Tag. Und wenn man zwei Kinder hat, ist es erst recht nicht so einfach."

Wann wirklich Schluss ist mit dem Tennis, werde "eine Entscheidung der Familie sein", sagte Agassi in seiner Muttersprache English. Sein Deutsch reiche dafür nicht aus: "Aber es wird immer besser. Meine Frau sollte sich hüten."

Hier wetten - Deutschlands größtes Wettangebot!
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post #113 of 731 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 08:23 PM
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Americans in Paris? Not for long

Sandra Harwitt / tennisreporters.net
Posted: 1 hour ago

May 17, 2005

Like it or not, when it comes to the upcoming French Open, the clay court surface does not thrill any of the Yanks on the circuit.

Last year, the U.S. men and women combined for one of the worst performances in a decade, with no American man making it past the third day of play and Russian Anastasia Myskina embarrassing American standouts Venus Williams and Jennifer Capriati in back-to-back matches.
Since Andre Agassi stunned the world with his miraculous comeback over Andrei Medvedev in the 1999 final, the U.S. men have been all but insignificant at Roland Garros. This year may not be any different, as only the 35-year-old Agassi has been competitive during the European clay court warm-ups and his best result was a semifinal showing in Rome — not exactly a surefire recipe for French success.

With only seven American men among the Top 100 ranked players in the world, the U.S. men are hard pressed to compete with the rest of planet on any surface, let alone clay. Sure, it's hard to overlook the fact that two Americans — No. 3 Andy Roddick and No. 7 Agassi — sit within the elitist top 10. But after that, there's a serious drop off, going down to No. 30, where Taylor Dent, gifted with an explosive game and, unfortunately, a lot of injuries, is located. Then there is the declining veteran Vince Spadea, who rounds out the Top 50 in the No. 43 slot. Bringing up the rear is No. 52 Mardy Fish, who has yet to live up to the potential that many, including U.S. Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe, expected from the Floridian. In the "Who is he?" department, we have journeyman Kevin Kim logging in at No. 67 after a good Australian Open. And Robby Ginepri, who played runner-up to Roddick in the 2000 US Open Junior Singles Final, weighs in at No. 71, but he hasn't produced a notable result in more than a year.

It's pretty clear that outside of Roddick, no U.S. pro who has been on tour more than two years has any hope of joining Agassi as a consistent top-five player — something that success-spolied U.S. fans demand. U.S. tennis officials have now turned their eyes to raw teenagers like Donald Young, Timothy Neilly and Sam Querry when looking for the next U.S. Slam champ.

Of all the U.S. men who will play in Paris, it would only be fair to characterize Agassi, who also reached the final at Roland Garros in 1990 and '91, and Spadea — who has reached the second week there more than once — as having a natural feel for the dirt.

Sure, some can look to the fact that Roddick just won his third Houston title, the only clay court event played in the United States, and think he has a good shot at Roland Garros. Certainly, that accomplishment had McEnroe stating only a couple of weeks ago that "I still believe Andy Roddick can make a major run at the French. He's capable of getting into the second week or better." Of course, it wasn't hard to take note that McEnroe wasn't suggesting that former No. 1 Roddick would conquer Roland Garros well enough to hoist the trophy, only play well enough to avoid another embarrassing early round defeat.

But while Houston might be held on imported red clay, winning the title there isn't exactly the optimum preparation for Roland Garros. To be considered a real major threat on the terre battue, you have to fare well at the big French tune-up events — Monte Carlo, Rome, and Hamburg — where clay-court specialists such as Rafael Nadal, Guillermo Coria, Gaston Gaudio and Guillermo Coria hang out.

Roddick, whose best result at Roland Garros was a third-round appearance in his first visit back in '01, has not fared in Europe this year. While he reached the third round in Rome, beating former French Open champ Albert Costa in the second round, he lost to Chilean Nicolas Massu in Hamburg in the first round last week.

As for Agassi, he was feeling confident after reaching the semis in Rome, but went down in the opening round of Hamburg to Spanish serve-and-volleyer Feliciano Lopez, which had to put at least a bit of a dent in Agassi's enthusiasm.

"I'm considerably pleased," Agassi said. "(Rome) was a lot more than I could have hoped for. I felt good back on the dirt. I got pretty comfortable. This is when it really begins for me because I'm starting to believe now that I can play some more good tennis out here. And this is how you handle that pressure you put on yourself."

.................................................. ..........

A replay of last year's sorry U.S. performance is sadly probable.

Sandra Harwitt is a FOXSports.com contributor.

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post #114 of 731 (permalink) Old 05-24-2005, 08:55 AM
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Agassi's long service record won't be broken,

says Moya Mon May 23, 8:23 PM ET

PARIS (AFP) - Andre Agassi is setting a new record of 58 Grand Slams played at the French Open this year and it's a mark that most agree will never be broken.

Former French Open champion Carlos Moya believes such a landmark is safe with modern day tennis young guns Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova facing short, sharp careers as the gruelling demands of the tour take their toll.

The 35-year-old Agassi has been on the tour since 1986, but Moya, a comparatively youthful 28, is convinced that record will never be broken.

"When we talk about Andre, we are talking about a great champion," said Moya, the champion here in 1998.

"He's amazing, he's one of the favourites. I admire him and I think he's great for tennis.

"But besides Andre, you don't see too many players over 30 now. That's a sign. It's really hard to be playing at such a high level every week."

Agassi, bidding to become the oldest men's French Open champion, has now gone past the 57 Grand Slam mark shared by himself, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Michael Chang and Wayne Ferreira.

"If you compare the situation 10 years ago compared to now, there were more older players then," added Moya.

"It's increasingly difficult to travel all the time, change the type of court you are playing on, to play increasingly difficult matches."

Agassi's achievements, which have included eight career Grand Slam titles, were also praised by women's top seed Lindsay Davenport.

"Andre's on a level of his own. It's insane what he's been able to accomplish at his age," she said.

"Men's tennis is ridiculous, three out of five sets is just crazy. He's pretty much a physical specimen. I don't know what he puts his body through but it seems like a lot."


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No celebration for Agassi

On the day he broke the major championship appearance record, Andre Agassi suffered his second successive first round defeat at Roland Garros. The 1999 champion limped out as Finnish qualifier Jarkko Nieminen triumphed 7-5 4-6 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 6-0 on Philippe Chatrier Court on Tuesday.

With three clay court tournaments under his belt in the build-up to the Paris major, Agassi seemed to have learnt his lesson from 2004 when he played just one red dirt match in St Pölten.

Twelve months ago he lost to French qualifier Jerome Haehnel in the opening round, and while he had his chances against Nieminen the American suffered an inflamed muscle in his back.

"You know, it's bad. It's something that needs to be addressed because I can't be out there like that. I mean, I literally hurt," the American said afterwards.

"It was getting worse by the minute... I mean, that's not good, you know, to be out there and to not be able to play for four or five hours" he confirmed. "Doesn't leave you with high hopes."

Agassi, seeded sixth for the championships, was unable to move freely during the final two sets and hit a backhand return long on the first match point after three hours of play.

The 35-year-old Las Vegan was playing his 58th major, one more than Michael Chang, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Wayne Ferreira.

Agassi left the centre court bitterly disappointed and appeared to have tears in his eyes as what could be his final French Open championship came to an abrupt end.

World number 95 Nieminen rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the first set and lead Agassi by a break in the second, before the American rallied back with three successive games to draw the score level at one set apiece.

He struggled again in the third set, saving a set point in the tie-break but was able to take the third set 8-6 with a topspin return winner.

The last two sets were a one-sided affair with Agassi, obviously in pain, not even bothering to run to reach some balls. In the end, Nieminen just had to be patient to prevail.

Agassi refused to be drawn on his future in the post match press conference.

"Something tells me I'm at a stage of my career where I'm going to be living with these [cortisone] injections because this is unplayable when it feels like this," Agassi said.

"There's nothing you can do to get comfortable. To be out there against some of the best athletes in the world, it's impossible. I mean, to feel this, it's impossible."

Andre Agassi Steffi Graf Justine Henin

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post #116 of 731 (permalink) Old 06-02-2005, 07:43 AM
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Will Andre Agassi Retire by Dec 31st and Will He Win Another Grand Slam?
COSTA RICA -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- It is almost hard to watch when a sports legend struggles on the court, field, or diamond. But it is inevitable for all athletes to struggle at one time or another. This time it was tennis legend Andre Agassi After hurting himself in his first-round match at the French Open while up two sets to one, he lost to qualifier Jarkko Nieminen It was only the latest in Agassi's French Open struggles -he has lost two years in a row in the first round to qualifiers and has not advanced further than the quarter finals since winning the tournament in 1999.

Agassi is easily one of the greatest tennis players of all time and after being near the bottom of the game less than a decade ago has had one of the most impressive and successful comebacks in tennis history. The question now becomes, when will the 35-year-old Agassi hang it up for good? Thirty-five may not seem old in other professional sports, but in tennis it is almost unheard of to compete at Agassi's level at his age. No matter when he retires his career will be one of the most celebrated in sports history.

"Andre Agassi is truly a special athlete and a special person," said WagerWeb.com CEO Dave Johnson. "It is tough to see him struggle as he has done lately, but Agassi has enough in him to make one last run at a CHAMPIONSHIP and our customers agree by making a large amount of wagers on Agassi to win another Grand Slam before he retires."

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Vegas casino introducing Agassi-themed slots

Tennis Sensation and Philanthropist Andre Agassi and Aristocrat Technologies announce a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for Launch of New Agassi Video Slots Thursday June 2, 11:37 am ET.

Legendary tennis player and philanthropist Andre Agassi, the inspiration for Aristocrat's new Agassi-themed video slots, will launch the game on Tuesday, June 7 with a press conference and ribbon-cutting ceremony in conjunction with the game's debut at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Aristocrat's sophisticated new Agassi video slot games feature dual monitors and other cutting-edge features like four themed bonus games and a standalone two-level progressive.

As a result of this joint venture, Aristocrat Technologies and Andre Agassi will provide a financial donation to the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which was created to provide educational opportunities for at-risk children.

When: 3:45-4 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, 2005
Where: On the casino floor outside the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino's Centrifuge Lounge, located between the Poker Room, the Race and Sports Book, and Studio 54.

I would have been extremely smart but since I missed it, I'm a dumbass.

Q. Regarding your serve, have you got that conversion from kilometers per hour to miles per hour down yet?

ANDY RODDICK: You're overestimating my intelligence. Have you?
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post #118 of 731 (permalink) Old 06-05-2005, 02:10 AM
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Men's Preview: Week of June 6 (Exclusive)
Men's Look Forward: Queen's, Halle
It is, when you think about it, rather an interesting approach to the grass season. The ATP has, in total, four warmup events available: Queen's, Halle, Nottingham, 's-Hertogenbosch. Two of them -- Queen's and Halle -- stand fairly high on the optional events ladder. The other two are at the bottom of the scale.

At first glance, it might seem logical to schedule one big and one small event in each of the two weeks leading up to Wimbledon. But that isn't how it works. Halle and Queen's share the first week after Roland Garros, with the two small events getting the second week. That means this is the week when most of the top players turn out to get in their grass warmup, and the week's two events have to beg, cajole, and, perhaps, offer appearance fees to get as many big names as they can.

For years, the balance of power seemed to be tilting toward Halle in the contest to get the top players. It had, at the time, as many points, and more money, and it was only a 32-draw as opposed to the 56-draw at Queen's, so it wasn't as tiring.

But the decline of German tennis cost Halle a little of its prize money, and unlike Queen's, it's not a Gold event. So now the money is equal, and Queen's has more points. The balance shifted back. This year, it's close to a draw. Halle has the world's #1, but Queen's has #2. It also has the guy who was #3 going into Roland Garros. Halle had the then-#4 and #5. And so forth.

Certainly no one would call Halle weak. Roger Federer will be trying to bounce back from his ugly French Open semifinal as the #1 seed. Marat Safin will be attempting to overcome his ugly whole-year-since-Melbourne as #2. Rafael Nadal, despite his long fortnight at Roland Garros, is in the initial draw as the #3 seed, meaning that the tournament has three of the Top Five. It has a fourth Top Ten player in #4 seed Guillermo Canas. David Nalbandian's ranking just took a hit, but he gets the #5 seed even so (and, as a former Wimbledon finalist, he probably deserves it even if he doesn't "deserve" it). Big-serving Joachim Johansson, who missed Roland Garros because of an elbow problem (plus, one suspects, the fact that he had no chance on clay) will return to action as the #6 seed. Germany's current #1 player, Tommy Haas, is #7, and big-serving Feliciano Lopez, who has had his best Slam results at Wimbledon, is #8.

There is plenty of unseeded talent, too, including several guys who serve so well that they have to be considered threats on grass even if nowhere else. That includes two German wildcards, Alexander Popp and Alexander Waske. Also big in the serve department is Robin Soderling. More known for their all-around games are Mikhail Youzhny and Florian Mayer and Jiri Novak and Andrei Pavel (at least if he's over his stomach injury). Fernando Verdasco is a solid young player, though he needs to prove it away from clay. Germany has a solid veteran in Nicolas Kiefer, who won this event in 1999 and made the finals in 2002 and 2003. They also have Rainer Schuettler, though he wasn't much of a threat on grass even before his current decline. Fabrice Santoro can drive anyone crazy. Olivier Rochus has had some of his best results on grass, and he's having a pretty good year, as has brother Christophe. Jurgen Melzer has talent to burn -- at least on the days when he and it both take the court together. Michael Llodra, as befits a good doubles player, likes grass very much. And then there is Juan Carlos Ferrero, who took a wildcard here; it's ironic to see the one-time #1 trying to use grass to get back into the Top 30.

It's one of the oddities of the grass season, although everyone concedes the surface is hard to maintain, half the events have oversize fields (in all, men and women, there are eight grass events: Birmingham, Eastbourne, Halle, Newport, Nottingham, Queen's, 's-Hertogenbosch, Wimbledon. Birmingham and Queen's are 56-draws: 16 seeds, with the top eight seeds getting byes. Wimbledon is Wimbledon. 's-Hertogenbosch has normal-sized draws, but both men and women play, so it needs about as much court space as a 56-draw). That means that some of the lower seeds at Queen's are at the low end of the Top 50. But the top few are strong: Lleyton Hewitt will at last return to action as the #1 seed. Defending champion Andy Roddick is #2. Tim Henman, who has never won a grass event but who usually does well here, makes a last attempt for the #8 Wimbledon seed here; he's #3 at Queen's, and is the last of the Top Ten players. Radek Stepanek takes advantage of his recent strong results to earn the #4 spot. 2004 Wimbledon semifinalist Mario Ancic is #5. Thomas Johansson, who in his last 100% healthy year of 2001 won both Halle and Nottingham, this year plays Queen's as the #6 seed. Sebastien Grosjean, who absolutely loves grass (first title was Nottingham 2000; he made the Queen's final and the Wimbledon semifinal in both 2003 and 2004) is the #7 seed. The final bye goes to Fernando Gonzalez, seeded #8 even though he's really never done much on grass.

Taylor Dent, who like Hewitt skipped Roland Garros, returns to action as the #9 seed. Richard Gasquet, who has almost no grass history, will try to change that as the #10 seed. Paradorn Srichaphan, who won Nottingham last year, is #11. The listed #12 is Mariano Puerta, even though he's never done anything on grass and will be fresh off the Roland Garros final; he'd be seeded higher based on this week's rankings, of course. Igor Andreev is #13; Greg Rusedski, who has four career grass titles but none here, is #14; big-serving Max Mirnyi #15; and Karol Beck, who beat Henman here last year, is #16.

Notable unseeded players include last year's semifinalist Hyung-Taik Lee, 2002 Wimbledon semifinalist Xavier Malisse, once-promising Tomas Berdych, the recovering James Blake, netrushing expert Jonas Bjorkman, fastcourt-loving Arnaud Clement (who made the 's-Hertogenbosch final in 2002 and 2003) and power servers Wayne Arthurs and Mark Philippoussis -- the latter a wildcard, and iffy; he pulled out of Surbiton because his back was still not right. Plus Gael Monfils, who has finally gotten his ranking high enough that he earned direct entry.

Noteworthy First Round Matches

At Halle, both our top seeds could face trouble in the first round if their return games aren't on. #1 seed Federer faces Swedish power broker Robin Soderling; #2 seed Safin faces Alexander Popp, who is probably Top 15 on grass and maybe #200 or so on everything else. #3 seed Nadal will have to take on Alexander Waske, another German wildcard known mostly for his serve. #4 seed Canas -- who has a grass final and some semifinals in his career -- will have to face Fernando Verdasco. #5 seed Nalbandian will face yet another German -- though the German is Rainer Schuettler, so that may not pose much of a problem. #6 seed Joachim Johansson faces, yes, a German, Philipp Kohlschreiber; if Johansson is 100%, that shouldn't prove too difficult, but Kohlschreiber is steady enough to be some threat if the Swede isn't right. #7 seed Haas faces Jiri Novak, who hasn't done much on grass in singles but who made the 2001 Wimbledon doubles final. #8 seed Lopez has perhaps the easiest opener, against Kenneth Carlsen, but the Dane does like fast courts; he had a final at Newport in 1999, and Wimbledon is historically his best Slam.

The most noteworthy unseeded match is probably between Mikhail Youzhny and Florian Mayer, both of whom started this year slumping badly but both of whom have shown some signs of life lately. And both like grass; Youzhny made the fourth round of his first two Wimbledons, and Mayer made the quarterfinal of his only Wimbledon, last year. We also have an all-veteran match between Andrei Pavel and Fabrice Santoro. Santoro's grass record isn't great, but he did make the final here in 2001 -- and Pavel hasn't really been able to play for a couple of months.

Queen's, because of the byes for the top seeds, loses a few potentially-nice openers, but we will see Hyung-Taik Lee and Malisse face off in the first round; that's obviously very big for Lee, given what he has to defend. Tomas Berdych has had most of his success on slower surfaces, but he does have talent if he can ever find it again -- and he opens against Max Mirnyi, who hasn't had the success on grass that his serve and doubles skills would seem to imply. #12 seed Puerta, just in from Roland Garros, will have to take on wildcard James Blake, who is in solid form this year and much happier on grass. #16 seed Beck will take on Wayne Arthurs in a match that could hardly feature more contrast: The quicksilver Beck against the slow but powerful Arthurs. The other Australian power server, Philippoussis, will make his comeback against Raemon Sluiter, who is Dutch and has a fair amount of grass experience. The match between Marcos Baghdatis and Paul-Henri Mathieu also feels interesting, though neither has done enough on grass to justify our interest.

The Rankings

The part at the top is easy: Roger Federer stays #1.

Below that -- well, there is more to it than just the rankings. There is the Wimbledon seeding formula. With Andy Roddick being last year's Queen's champion, and Rafael Nadal having pretty well filled his optional card, it appears Lleyton Hewitt is safe at #2 -- but who gets the #2, #3, and #4 Wimbledon seeds? It's obvious that the #2 spot comes down to Hewitt or Roddick. In the two years that will probably be the basis for the formula, Hewitt has a first round loss to Ivo Karlovic at 2003 Wimbledon, a semifinal at Queen's 2004, and a quarterfinal at Wimbledon 2004. Roddick has a semifinal at Wimbledon 2003, a title at Queen's 2004, and a final at Wimbledon 2004. That's obviously a big advantage to Roddick, but the seeding committee could always adjust the seeding formula (one is tempted to say they will adjust the seeding formula). They may well feel that Hewitt -- the 2002 Wimbledon champion, and the winner of Queen's 2000, 2001, 2002, and 's-Hertogenbosch 2001 -- is the better grass player. The one thing that's nearly certain is that every point either man earns at Queen's counts twice: Once toward his ranking, if it's big enough to go toward his optional five, and again (guaranteed) as a grass point. A good enough result for Hewitt might make it possible for the committee to find a formula to seed him #2.

The contest for the #4 seed is even more complicated, because there are no really strong contenders. The gap from #5 Safin to #6 Agassi is so wide that it can't be crossed (particularly with Agassi hurt and unable to play this week, and #7 Davydenko also not playing); either Nadal or Safin will be the #4 seed. Nadal's sole grass result in the past two years is a third round at Wimbledon 2003. Safin missed the 2003 grass season, and lost first round at both Halle and Wimbledon in 2004. Again, points earned this week count double. That means that the results this week will settle it.

Whoever fails to get #4 will certainly be #5. It appears Andre Agassi is also safe in the top eight seeds, assuming he's able to play. That leaves two Top Eight spots. Right now, Nikolay Davydenko and Guillermo Canas are #7 and #8, with Tim Henman a rather distant #9 going into the Roland Garros final and Joachim Johansson a still more distant #10. But Davydenko lost first round at Wimbledon 2003, first round at Halle 2004, first round at 's-Hertogenbosch 2004, first round at Wimbledon 2004. Canas was injured in 2003; he made the second round at 's-Hertogenbosch 2004 and lost first round at Wimbledon 2004. Henman made the quarterfinal at Wimbledon 2003, lost his opener at Queen's 2004, and made the quarterfinal at Wimbledon 2004. That's enough points, assuming Wimbledon uses a formula similar to recent ones, to move him past Davydenko and Canas. So it's Canas playing to try to overtake Davydenko. Best guess is that he needs a semifinal.

At least one guy will take a big hit: Halle finalist Mardy Fish, who isn't playing this week, will probably fall to around #65. Queens finalist Sebastien Grosjean won't be hit as hard, but he could fall to the #30 range.

Key Matches
It's hard to know just what is key when we don't know what formula players are being measured against. So all we can do is note which players have a lot on the line and what matches are most likely to get them in trouble.

This week doesn't really matter much to Roger Federer; he's #1 in rankings and Wimbledon seedings no matter what. But one suspects he wants the chance for a rematch with Rafael Nadal -- which could happen in the Halle semifinal. It's a rough road for Federer: Robin Soderling, then Mikhail Youzhny or Florian Mayer, then Joachim Johansson or Michael Llodra. Nadal's is a bit easier: Alexander Waske, them maybe Juan Carlos Ferrero, then potentially Tommy Haas.

The other guys with a lot on the line at Halle are Marat Safin and Guillermo Canas. Safin opens against power server Alexander Popp, then gets a complete change of pace in Fabrice Santoro or Andrei Pavel. Then it's potentially another power guy in Feliciano Lopez.

Canas's path is tough also. He starts against Verdasco, then faces Nicolas Kiefer, who just loves playing here. Then, potentially, the Argentine could face Argentina's other good grass player, #5 seed David Nalbandian. For Canas, winning that would probably earn him the #8 Roland Garros seed; for Nalbandian, it's just possible that winning could make him #12 there. If he could beat Safin in the next round, "possible" becomes "probable."

The biggest thing for Lleyton Hewitt is just to get back. His first match will be against Hyung-Taik Lee or Xavier Malisse -- not an easy task, in this context. Then, probably, Max Mirnyi. He won't have earned many points up to that point. It gets serious after that, when he faces Paradorn Srichaphan or Fernando Gonzalez or somebody. It gets really serious after than, when he faces Tim Henman or Thomas Johansson or Taylor Dent.

Henman, on paper, looks pretty good in the early rounds. The first really big threat, on grass, is Johansson or Dent in the quarterfinal, then Hewitt.

Poor Sebastien Grosjean has lost to Andy Roddick in two straight Queen's finals. It won't happen again -- because they meet in the quarterfinal. Assuming Grosjean stays healthy, he really ought to at least make it to the meeting with Roddick.

The American has a tougher path, on the whole: First Philippoussis or Sluiter, then maybe Karol Beck (in another of those opposites-attract matches), then Grosjean. Then, maybe, Mario Ancic or Greg Rusedski. The good news for Roddick is, he's probably going to be the Wimbledon #2 no matter what.


Andre Agassi forever
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post #119 of 731 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 12:56 PM
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Press Release Source: Aristocrat Technologies, Inc.

Aristocrat Technologies, Inc., Tennis Sensation Andre Agassi, Announce Today's Debut of Agassi Video Slots at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas

Tuesday June 7, 6:00 am ET
Station Casinos Chooses Aristocrat's Cutting-Edge Agassi Games for All Eight of its Las Vegas Valley Station and Fiesta-Branded Casinos

LAS VEGAS, June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. and tennis phenomenon Andre Agassi are bringing the excitement and sophistication of Agassi's winning tennis career to casino floors this summer with today's debut of Aristocrat's Agassi-themed video slot game at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Aristocrat's Agassi game has been approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board and will debut this month in a number of Las Vegas and Reno area casinos, including all eight of Station Casinos' Station and Fiesta-branded casinos in the Las Vegas valley.

The penny game combines Aristocrat's surefire math with a slot theme reflecting the celebrity personality of international tennis star Agassi, only one of five men in the history of the sport to win all four Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open Championships). Agassi also won an Olympic gold medal for the U.S. in 1996.

"Aristocrat's game designers truly outdid themselves with the design and entertainment aspects of the game," Agassi said.

"We couldn't ask for a better partner than Andre Agassi, whose life epitomizes the kind of sophistication reflected in Aristocrat's video slots," said Gavin Isaacs, President of Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. "We worked closely with Andre and his team to ensure that this game met their high standards and reflected Agassi's reputation for excellence."

Deutsche Bank Managing Director of Gaming and Lodging, Marc Falcone, said in a June 2, 2005 industry bulletin, "We expect that this product, much like other [Aristocrat] products, will be well received in the marketplace (particularly LV locals) given the company's unique approach to game design and math modeling."

"We're rolling this game out to all of our Station and Fiesta-branded properties in Las Vegas this month, and we are confident the game is going to be extremely well-liked with our players based on the popularity of Andre Agassi and our players' appreciation for Aristocrat's entertaining style of game play and second-screen bonus features," said Jay Fennel, Station Casinos' Corporate Director of Slot Operations.

Aristocrat's Agassi slot machines feature a sleek and sophisticated cabinet design with a 19-inch, flat-screen LCD monitor on the top box that incorporates the progressive jackpot meters. Interactive colors and graphics animate and change during jackpot wins and bonus rounds.

The games include a standalone, two-level progressive that delivers frequent jackpot wins. Players can add even more excitement by betting maximum lines and making an additional wager, which makes them eligible for one of four interactive, mystery bonus games incorporating multipliers, free games, and player's choice features.

"The top-box LCD monitor in the game's sleek cabinet celebrates jackpot wins to the player, inspiring play and adding excitement to the casino floor," said Kent Young, Aristocrat's Vice President, Marketing.

"The cabinet design, when combined with our bonus and progressive features and Agassi's globally recognized image, gives these games the strong potential to perform very well for casino operators," Young said.

About Andre Agassi

Still one of the world's elite tennis players at the age of 35, Andre Agassi is an international sports icon. One of only five men in the history of the sport to win all four Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open Championships), Agassi also won an Olympic gold medal in 1996. Agassi's on-court performance has earned him an inimitable place in the game's history, and his off-court charisma and charitable reputation have allowed Agassi to garner long-standing international endorsement deals and a fan following throughout the world.

The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation (AACF) is perceived by many to be the nation's most successful foundation created by an athlete. Established to "make the world the way it ought to be," AACF benefits a number of children-oriented organizations and programs, including the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club; Assistance League of Las Vegas' Operation School Bell, which helps to clothe children in need; Boys Hope and Girls Hope of Nevada, which helps children who are hurt and at risk; Child Haven; Class! Publications; the Cynthia Bunker and Joy McClenahan Memorial Scholarship Fund; and the I Have a Dream Foundation. AACF's largest event, the Grand Slam for Children, has become an annual event where entertainment's elite gather to share a Las Vegas stage. More than 77,000 fans and VIP guests have attended nine Grand-Slam events, raising more than $50 million for charity. The most prominent beneficiary of AACF is the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a public charter school in one of the most socio-economically challenged neighborhoods of Las Vegas. The school's mission is to provide each child with the vision, skills, resources, and attitude necessary to get a college degree, to achieve his/her dreams, and to empower the surrounding community. Agassi is married to international superstar Steffi Graf and they have two children. For more information about Andre Agassi or the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, please contact Catherine Levy with R&R Partners, Inc. at 702-318-4212.

Andre Agassi forever
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post #120 of 731 (permalink) Old 06-15-2005, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Rogi actually said this? For shame, Roger He gets a raspberry from me for this one

''I regard Hewitt, Roddick, Safin and now Nadal as the big dangers at Wimbledon. You normally have to include Andre Agassi but I've beaten him so often lately that I feel more confident against him nowadays." -- Roger Federer, on who his biggest obstacles at Wimbledon will be.

"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."

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