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Old 10-26-2004, 08:01 PM   #1
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Default Andre in Stockholm, October 31, 2004

U.S. National - AFP


Stockholm could hold Masters Cup key for Agassi

55 minutes ago U.S. National - AFP



STOCKHOLM (AFP) - Andre Agassi returned to Sweden for the first time in a decade and pronounced himself ready to fight to reach the season-ending final as he plays as top seed at the 632,750-euro Stockholm Open.



After a business trip to Paris, the 34-year-old arrived in the Swedish capital ready to launch his campaign for a spot in next month's Masters Cup with this week and next remaining in the regular tennis season.


While Tuesday's pullout in Basel by world number one Roger Federer - already qualified for the year-ender - doesn't affect the points race, it does inject some drama in the sprint to the finish for other contenders.


Federer said he has a thigh muscle tear but is expected to be fit - if


short of match play - when the Masters Cup starts in Houston on November 15.


Agasssi has to be pleased with his own fitness as he aims for a fourth consecutive appearance at the elite Masters.


There was some re-adjusting to Stockholm after so long between visits for Agassi. When he reached the quarter-finals against Goran Ivanisevic in Stockholm on his last trip, the event was the played in the huge Globen arena.


In the interim, it was downsized and switched to the Kungligahallen, built by royalty in the early 20th century.


The change was evident to Agassi, who lost a semi-final last weekend at the Madrid Masters against Marat Safin.


"This is an intimate venue," he said. "Only 5,000 people, it looks like a great environment to compete in.


"I haven't been here since 1994, to drive through the city is an incredible feeling, it's so beautiful here. I didn't seen anything ten years ago.


"Life changes, these (playing) moments are very few now and they'll be over some day."


Agassi, 33-12 this season with a trophy in Cincinnati, stands eighth in the race to the Masters Cup, with four spots in the eight-man field remaining open.


The American veteran, who last year finished runner-up to Roger Federer, is 54 points behind Tim Henman, who is trying to make ground this week in Basel.


Should he do well here, Agassi could pull to within 15 points of the Briton to set up a showdown among at least some of the six major contenders.


Agassi opens play against Belgian Kristof Vliegen and is seeded for a potential final against fast-rising Swede Joachim Johansson, the number two.


Agassi already senses a major difference in conditions from Madrid.





"The court is quicker than Madrid but the balls are heavier," he said.

"As there is no altitude, things are different. But they feel fine to me."

Agassi re-confirmed his vow made last week to play a full schedule in 2005.

"I'm very clear about the fact that I want to play next year. I'll give it a chance."

In first-round results, German fourth seed Tommy Haas scored his third career win against Italian veteran Davide Sanguinetti 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, while qualifier Janko Tipsarevic took out seventh-seeded Czech teenager Tomas Berdych 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.

Feliciano Lopez, the fifth seed who won the Vienna title a fortnight ago, defeated American Jeff Morrison 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 while Olivier Rochus beat Swede Johan Settergren 6-3, 6-2.

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Old 10-26-2004, 09:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: Andre in Stockholm, October 25-31, 2004

Agassi In Action On Wednesday

Andre Agassi is the big name in action on Wednesday. The American, who arrived to Stockholm on Tuesday, enters Center Court at 6:30 PM.


Go Andre! Win this match!
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Old 10-26-2004, 11:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: Andre in Stockholm, October 25-31, 2004

Andre plays tomorrow night at 6:30
and with the time difference of nine hours
that would be 9:30am Pacific time, 12:30pm Eastern time.

I wish good luck to Andre!!!

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Old 10-27-2004, 12:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Andre in Stockholm, October 25-31, 2004

WEDNESDAY PREVIEW Ė AGASSI FACES VLIEGEN

Four first round matches will be contested on Wednesday, and second round play gets underway with three matches.

Top seed Andre Agassi, fresh off a run to the semifinals at Masters Series Madrid last week, faces Belgian Kristof Vliegen in an opening round match. Agassi enters the week 54 points behind Tim Henman in the INDESIT ATP 2004 Race. Agassi needs to surpass Henman to secure a spot in Tennis Masters Cup in Houston. This is the first meeting between Agassi and the 22-year-old Vliegen.

Veterans Wayne Arthurs and Jonas Bjorkman will meet for the sixth time on Wednesday. The 32-year-old Bjorkman holds a 3-2 lead in the series, but the 33-year-old Arthurs won the last meeting, which came in the ATP Masters Series event at Indian Wells earlier this year. Bjorkman is the 1997 winner of the Stockholm Open.
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Old 10-27-2004, 03:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: Andre in Stockholm, October 25-31, 2004

Pressconference with Andre Agassi, ifÖ Stockholm Open 2004-10-26:


Q: Did you have any thoughts on going directly to Paris instead of coming to Stockholm and play?
A: Well, I think, like Iíve said for many years now sometimes making decisions by the week is an important part of what I do. So Iíve always left open that, maybe there wouldnít be an opportunity for me to play but after Madrid I knew that I wanted to come here.

Q: Three times before youíve played in the Globe, now the tournament is in a new arena. What do you think of it?
A: I havenít seen to much of it yet so, it looks like a great facility for the fans and it seems very intimate. Five thousand people so Iím sure that weíll have a great environment to compete in. And I look forward to experience it.

Q: What do you feel about changing, you played with Penn balls in Madrid, and here itís another sort of ball?
A: Thatís right. The courts are quicker here than in Madrid, but the balls are heavier and thereís no altitude so it feels like good playing conditions. But the Dunlop balls definitely gets heavier than the Pennís.

Q: I read that you will play next year also, is it hard to find motivation to keep on going?
A: Sometimes, but sometimes itís very easy, itís like everything people do thereís parts of it thatís very difficult and thereís parts you enjoy very much. Iím very clear about the fact that I want to play next year.

Q: Itís your 1072nd game tomorrow. Is it easier to prepare now than it was when was when you started?
A: Itís never easy, I think you just get more experienced, sort of aware of what you need to do to be at your best. But in some ways it makes it more difficult because you donít have the same eagerness as you did when youíre 18 years old, but you have the experience so itís a little bit of give and take.

Q: Is it still as fun as it used to be?
A: Parts of it are funnier now. Parts of it are more difficult. Playing in front of people and experience the city, I havenít been here since 1994 and just to drive through the city, itís just an incredible feeling to look around, itís so beautiful here. And I think in 1994, ten years ago I didnít even see this. So life changes as you get older and I enjoy being here in Stockholm, I enjoy playing in front of the people. This moments are very few and theyíre going to be over one day

Q: What parts are less fun?
A: Travelling is not so much fun. Itís pretty difficult to take two kids everywhere you go.

Q: You have won every Grand Slam, What is your goal next year?
A: To win them again! You always want to win. Once you won once it makes it something you want to do again. Itís an incredible feeling to find a way to beat these guys that are playing so well. To win a championship is a great feeling, so itís always motivating trying to do this.

Q: Andre, you have achieved as much as you can do on the court, but you havenít won the ifÖ Stockholm Open yet. What do you say about the main draw?
A: Itís hard, for me itís one at a time, so I need to take one match at a time. Itís very simple, if you donít concentrate on the first one the rest of them wonít matter.

Q: I know you are very well aware of this, but how is your shape at the moment?
A: Well we travelled in today so itís not easy, but I was playing well last week and it feels good to continue here.

Q: Everyone wants to see you at the end of the tournament, you and the Swedes. What do you have to say about the Swedish rising stars, SŲderling and Johansson?
A: Well, these two guys are playing some great tennis, I mean Johansson has had an incredible year heís eleven in the world or something right now. Such a powerful game, strong player and to play them here in front of the Swedish crowd is not going to make it any easier so, and they have a lot of great tennis fans here and they have a lot to look forward to in the future of Swedish tennis.

Q: One Swedish player said that Federer is the best player ever. What is your opinion?
A: Well, when I compare them to Sampras, thereís sort of ten Grand Slams difference so itís a long way, but what he has done this year is the best ever. So itís fair to say that when I play against him I always treat him as the best because he has earned that. But to compare to other great champions is not possible. This is only for you to discuss, and for me to read.

Q: Whatís is your explanation to that you have been a top ten player for almost all of your career?
A: I have been lucky for twenty years. Is that possible to be lucky for twenty years? I donít know, I have been very fortunate to be healthy a long time and my game is a game that plays against all kinds of players. You play from surface to surface and you play from year to year, generation to generation and have the chance to find a way to succeed and itís been a privilege for me for I get to still do this.

Q: You picked the right kind of game?
A: I didnít picked it, my game picked me.

Q: Do you think the young players have to many injuries now?
A: I think the schedule is incredible important to a young player, especially if itís a year around sport. If you donít get the chance to recover and prepare. Itís a challenge because everyone is fighting to be the best and if youíre not playing you donít have the chance to be the best. Everybody is pushing each other. The upside is that the standard is always improving. But I think the downside is more injuries and shorter careers.

Q: Tennis has developed a lot since you started. What do you think is the main difference now from when you started?
A: I think the quality of the ball striking is incredible now. You go out to the practice court and you see these guys hitting the ball, Itís incredible the way they strike the ball. Their athletes are getting stronger, they are getting faster, they are getting bigger. More powerful. And everybody takes chances now so if youíre not playing your best, you donít win. This is something you didnít feel twenty years ago.

Q: You donít see that much serve and volley now. Do you think we will see less of it in the future?
A: I think there is still a lot of room for somebody that serves and volleys well. So many of these guys use their legs to get in to the point, they move so well. But the return has not been their biggest shot so I think that somebody that serve and volleys always presents a different problem for many players. Because there is so few of them you donít get to chance to play against them to often. So when you have to face it itís more difficult. To play Henman or Mirnyi that goes forward is not so easy.

Q: The day you quit tennis, what will you do?
A: Get rid of all my suitcases. I donít think I have the time to right now what I want to do. Iíve been blessed with a lot of options, so when you retire from tennis you get the chance at your second career when people are starting their first. I consider that a big advantage.

Q: You think you will miss tennis?
A: I think I will miss the challenge, the pressure you put on yourself to find a way to succeed. It teaches a lot about yourself. These are hard lessons to learn, when you lose or are embarrassed in front of thousand of people you donít want that to happen again. You have to believe in yourself and go back out there again. It teaches you to persevere.
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Old 10-27-2004, 03:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: Andre in Stockholm, October 25-31, 2004

"Go, Agassi!"

Look on that picture (attached)



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Old 10-27-2004, 03:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: Andre in Stockholm, October 25-31, 2004

It will be Andre's 1072nd game today,
27 October, 2004.



Agassi, Andre 0-0 Vliegen, Kristof
They never played together before ...

Go, Andre! Win it!
It will be 819 win of Andre!
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Old 10-27-2004, 10:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Andre in Stockholm, October 25-31, 2004

Agassi, Bjorkman Advance;

To Meet Thursday





The final four first round matches took place, and three players punched their ticket for the quarterfinals during play on Wednesday at the if...Stockholm Open.

Raemon Sluiter advanced to the second round with a 6-3 6-4 win over Norway's Jan-Frode Anderson. Sluiter was scheduled to play countryman Sjeng Schalken, but Schalken pulled out of the event with a virus before the match, allowing Anderson to enter the draw as the lucky loser.

Swedish wild card Michael Ryderstedt played his first career ATP match on Tuesday, and the 19-year-old moved on to the second round with a 6-4 6-4 win over Spaniard Oscar Hernandez. Ryderstedt broke Hernandez early in both sets to claim the win.

Playing in Stockholm for the first time in 10 years, Andre Agassi won his opening round match, defeating Kristof Vliegen 6-2 6-4.

Jonas Bjorkman battled from a set down to reach the second round with a 4-6 6-4 6-4 win over Wayne Arthurs. After taking the first set, Arthurs had four break chances at 4-all in the second, but was unable to convert.

In second round action, Belgian Olivier Rochus got past qualifier Janko Tipsarevic 6-4 7-5. Rochus is through to his third quarterfinal of 2004.

Third seed Andrei Pavel reached the quarterfinals with a 6-3 3-6 6-3 win over qualifier Michal Tabara.

In an all-Swede match, Thomas Johansson came from a set down to defeat countryman Robin Soderling 1-6 7-6(2) 6-4. Johansson is through to the quarterfinals for the fifth time in nine appearances in Stockholm. He won this event in 2000 and was the runner up in 1998. Soderling was the runner up in Stockholm last year (l. to Fish).

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID:
Ryderstedt: ⌠I can still not believe that I won but it is an incredible relief. If you do not succeed the first time you get the chance on this level, it can get to you mentally.■

⌠I knew exactly the way I wanted to play today. He (Hernandez) doesn't like when someone puts pressure on him.■

⌠Next match (against Lopez) is going to be tough. I know that I can play very well when everything works. I have practiced with the top ranked Swedish players and this has helped.■

⌠My goal is to finish the year in the top 200. I'm going to go to Australia at the start of next year. Since September, I've known that I will be able to qualify for the Australian Open.■
BjŲrkman: "It's difficult to play him (Arthurs), it's hard to find any rhythm. I hit two good passing shots on break points at 4-4 in the second and the margins were on my side."

⌠Tomorrow, I will have to gamble a little bit and try to avoid long rallies. I was a break up in both sets against him (Agassi) at the Olympics in '96 and had a 2-1 lead at the Australian Open."

Agassi: ■To get the feeling of support is an incredible feeling. It's one of the things that make me keep on going.■

⌠This was a nice way to get started. The conditions were very different than last week so I knew there were some adjustments that needed to be made.■

⌠Jonas does many things well on the court, he's good in a lot of areas. I'll have to play well.■

⌠Stockholm is literally one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The arena is great, it's so intimate, you feel that it is special to be here.■
WEDNESDAY PREVIEW Ė '97 Champ Bjorkman Plays Agassi
Five second round matches will be played on Thursday, with the winners filling the remaining spots in the quarterfinals of the if┘Stockholm Open.

The match of the day will feature 34-year-old Andre Agassi and 32-year-old Swede Jonas Bjorkman. Agassi is playing in Stockholm for the first time since 1994, while Bjorkman, the 1997 Stockholm champion, is playing here for the 12th time in his career. Agassi is eighth in the INDESIT ATP 2004 Race, and needs to advance into the top seven to claim a spot in Tennis Masters Cup in Houston. Last week, Agassi was a semifinalist at Masters Series Madrid. Bjorkman is playing for a spot in his fourth quarterfinal of 2004. The Swede is also looking to reach the quarterfinals in Stockholm for the fifth time in his 12 appearances. Agassi has won all three career meetings against Bjorkman, though this will be their first meeting since 1998.

Dutchman Raemon Sluiter will be trying reach his fifth quarterfinal of 2004 when he plays Spain's Fernando Verdasco. Sluiter enters the match with a 19-22 record for the year, and will equal his career high for match wins with a victory over Vedasco, who is the eighth seed. Sluiter set his career high with a 20-25 record last year. Verdasco is also enjoying a career year. He won his first ATP title in Valencia in April, and is 30-23 this year. This will be the first meeting between Sluiter and Verdasco.

Fourth seed Tommy Haas will look for his third win of 2004 against Kenneth Carlsen. Haas defeated the Dane this year in Halle and Los Angeles, and the German owns a 3-0 career record against Carlsen. Haas missed all of 2003 with a shoulder injury, and has worked all the way back to enter this week at 20 th position in the INDESIT ATP 2004 Race. Carlsen has been playing very well lately, reaching at least the quarterfinals in three of his last four events. He is 8-4 since the US Open, raising his season record to 15-18.

Swedish wild card Michael Ryderstedt returns to action just one day after winning his first career ATP match. The 19-year-old will face Spain's Feliciano Lopez in the second round. Ryderstedt began the year at 514 in the ATP Entry Rankings, but came into this week at No. 239. He's claimed three Futures titles this year. Lopez, the fifth seed, won his first career ATP title two weeks ago in Vienna. The 23-year-old Lopez picked up his 30 th win of the year in the first round, and enters Thursday's match with a 30-25 record for 2004. This will be the first meeting between Ryderstedt and Lopez.

Jan-Michael Gambill will have the chance to avenge a straight set loss he suffered at the US Open to Sweden's Joachim Johansson when the two play Thursday. Johansson dealt the American a 6-4 7-5 7-5 defeat in New York last month. Now up to 11 th in the INDESIT ATP 2004 Race, Johansson has reached at least the quarterfinal round of his last five tournaments, going back to Long Island. He's second this season with 14.8 aces per match. Gambill enters the match with a record of 18-24 for 2004, putting in jeopardy his string of six consecutive years with at least 20 match wins. Gambill is looking to reach his fifth quarterfinal of 2004.
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Old 10-27-2004, 10:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: Andre in Stockholm, October 25-31, 2004




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Old 10-27-2004, 10:27 PM   #10
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Old 10-27-2004, 10:29 PM   #11
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Default Re: Andre in Stockholm, October 25-31, 2004

Agassi makes short work

Andre Agassi made short work of Kristof Vliegen in his opening Stockholm Open match on Wednesday, beating the Belgian 6-2 6-4 in just over an hour. "This was a good match for me, it was a good way to start,"said Agassi.

"The first match is the one you worry about, especially if you've never played the opponent before."

"The conditions are different here (from Madrid) and I knew there had to be some adjustments. I was hoping they would come fast and I was up early so that helped me relax."

Playing in Stockholm for the first time in 10 years, the top seed was unthreatened by the 107th-ranked Vliegen in the first set, the Belgian making too many unforced errors.

He broke Vliegen to 2-1 and again to 5-2 in the opening set before serving it out.

Vliegen raised his game in the second set and broke the American in the eighth game to level 4-4 but Agassi shrugged it off by breaking the Belgian to love and then converted 6-4.

"In the second set it got more competitive, he played much better and he broke to four all. Then I played a really good game to break him," Agassi said.

In the second round the 34-year-old American takes on Swedish doubles specialist Jonas Bjorkman. Bjorkman overcame Australian Wayne Arthurs 4-6 6-4 6-4.

WITH FAMILY

"The next match is going to be even tougher," said Agassi. "We've played each other a couple of times ... Jonas is a talented player. He'll have the home crowd advantage."

Agassi, who has no plans of retiring from tennis in 2005, has come to Sweden with his wife Steffi Graf and their children.

"It's difficult to travel with the family, but it's a better alternative than not to do it. I don't think I would play if I couldn't," he said.

Earlier in the day Belgian Olivier Rochus became the first player through to the quarter-finals when he beat qualifier Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia & Montenegro 6-4 7-5.

After clinching the first set Rochus climbed back from 4-1 to 4-4 in the second and then broke Jankovic again in the eleventh game. The Belgian finished in style, serving out to love to wrap up the match.

Romanian third seed Andrei Pavel joined Rochus in the quarters by beating Czech Michal Tabara 6-3 3-6 6-3.
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Old 10-27-2004, 10:31 PM   #12
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Old 10-27-2004, 10:37 PM   #13
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Default Re: Andre in Stockholm, October 25-31, 2004

Agassi Makes Short Work of Vliegen

Sports - Reuters


By Oliver Grassman

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Andre Agassi (news) made short work of Kristof Vliegen (news) in his opening Stockholm Open match on Wednesday, beating the Belgian 6-2, 6-4 in just over an hour.



"This was a good match for me, it was a good way to start," he Agassi. "The first match is the one you worry about, especially if you've never played the opponent before."


"The conditions are different here (from Madrid) and I knew there had to be some adjustments. I was hoping they would come fast and I was up early so that helped me relax."


Playing in Stockholm for the first time in 10 years, the top seed was unthreatened by the 107th-ranked Vliegen in the first set, the Belgian making too many unforced errors.


He broke Vliegen to 2-1 and again to 5-2 in the opening set before serving it out.


Vliegen raised his game in the second set and broke the American in the eighth game to level 4-4 but Agassi shrugged it off by breaking the Belgian to love and then converted 6-4.


"In the second set it got more competitive, he played much better and he broke to four all. Then I played a really good game to break him," Agassi said.


In the second round the 34-year-old American takes on Swedish doubles specialist Jonas Bjorkman (news). Bjorkman overcame Australian Wayne Arthurs (news) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.


WITH FAMILY


"The next match is going to be even tougher," said Agassi. "We've played each other a couple of times ... Jonas is a talented player. He'll have the home crowd advantage."


Agassi, who has no plans of retiring from tennis in 2005, has come to Sweden with his wife Steffi Graf and their children.


"It's difficult to travel with the family, but it's a better alternative than not to do it. I don't think I would play if I couldn't," he said.


Earlier in the day Belgian Olivier Rochus (news) became the first player through to the quarter-finals when he beat qualifier Janko Tipsarevic (news) of Serbia & Montenegro 6-4, 7-5.


After clinching the first set Rochus climbed back from 4-1 to 4-4 in the second and then broke Jankovic again in the eleventh game. The Belgian finished in style, serving out to love to wrap up the match.


Romanian third seed Andrei Pavel (news) joined Rochus in the quarters by beating Czech Michal Tabara (news) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
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Old 10-27-2004, 11:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: Andre in Stockholm, October 28, 2004

Andre plays at Central Court
not before 18.30, 28 October, 2004!

Go, Andre!
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Old 10-27-2004, 11:36 PM   #15
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Default Re: Andre in Stockholm, October 25-31, 2004

Agassi, Andre 3-0 Bjorkman, Jonas


Individual matches:
1998 Munich, Germany Clay Q Agassi 6 2, 6 2
1996 Atlanta Olympics, GA, U.S.A. Hard R64 Agassi 7 6, 7 6
1996 Australian Open, Australia Hard R16 Agassi 4 6, 6 2, 4 6, 6 1, 6 2
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