Ankle sprain concern for Agassi before Masters Cup
Sat Nov 12, 2005
SHANGHAI, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Former winner Andre Agassi, who has not played since losing to Roger Federer in the U.S. Open final in September, returns to action at this week's Masters Cup troubled by an ankle sprain.
The 35-year-old American, winner of the season-ending Masters back in 1990, suffered the injury playing racquetball four weeks ago.
"It's not the most ideal preparation but you always want to believe that you've still got it," said Agassi, who is appearing in the tournament for a record 13th time.
"Not playing is not always easy and it's not always a great decision in the short-term but my intention was to get fit for Shanghai and to do this for another year.
"I want another chance, that's the way it is."
Agassi, who has been drawn with Rafael Nadal, Nikolay Davydenko and Gaston Gaudio in the Gold Group at the $4.45 million event, accepts the game has changed a great deal since he beat Sweden's Stefan Edberg in the 1990 final.
"I think we can't ignore how violent the athleticism of the sport has become," said the eight-times grand slam champion.
"Guys are getting bigger, stronger and hitting the ball harder. There's more wear and tear as the sport evolves naturally, into a more powerful athletic game.
"One thing you can't ignore is in order to get to the ball these days, you have to move ballistically.
"Playing a surface like we are here is not easy on the body," added Agassi, who plays his first match against Davydenko on Monday."
The top two in each group advance to the semi-finals at the ATP Tour's season-ending extravaganza which runs from Nov. 13 to 20 at Shanghai's Qi Zhong Stadium.