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Old 07-19-2005, 07:50 AM   #136
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hope he is well and doesn't need need to withdraw just like the rca championship...
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Old 07-24-2005, 09:09 AM   #137
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Article created: 07/24/2005 04:21:57 AM

Westhall's buzz cut an ace for the fans
Part 1 of a six-part series recalling men's professional tennis in New Haven: Jim Westhall's close shave





NEW HAVEN — The extension cord snaked its way out to the middle of center court, where a pair of clippers, a chair and one very happy winner waited.
Andre Agassi had made the statement last year. A wager, really. That if he did come back and won the 1995 Volvo International, tournament director Jim Westhall would get the Agassi look. A shaved head. So Westhall took the bet. Heck, Westhall would have agreed to anything to have the greatest American tennis player of the moment come back to his tournament.

At the time, Agassi was ranked No. 1 in the world, the greatest spectacle in tennis. And if Westhall wanted something special to put his event on the map, he got it, with ESPN paying full attention.

Westhall and his bushy gray locks walked onto the Connecticut Tennis Center court and the 12,065 — the second-largest single-session crowd at that time — that had come to see the amazing Andre in that Aug. 21 final roared with approval. Agassi, with clippers in hand, sat Westhall down and with the flair of a military barber, buzzed him.

It was a hell of a show.

"Well, what do you guys think?" Agassi said after completing his work and holding the razor high. The place went wild.

Was the shaved head worth it? Westhall might not have thought so, but because of it, he almost got a full house to his 1995 final, which saw Agassi rally to defeat Richard Krajicek 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 and win the Volvo. What he also got was some incredible tennis — Agassi saving two match points in the second set, and then making every big shot when he needed to in the third to erase Krajicek and capture his fourth straight ATP event.

"I remember that I resisted (the haircut) all the way to the chair," said Westhall, now retired and living in Hale's Location, N.H. "It looked for a while like the big Dutchman was going to win, but he blew a floater,
and the next thing you know, some of my own people are carrying me out to the chair. In retrospect, it was probably one of the better things that happened to me, but at that time, it sure wasn't. It was something I didn't want to do, but in the end, it worked out OK."
It worked out to a stadium full of publicity as Agassi's barbershop handiwork was shown on ESPN's "SportsCenter" all night long, sending the Volvo name out all over the country. "I would never run a tennis tournament without Andre Agassi," a beaming, and balding, Westhall would say after the tournament. "He's probably the best ticket seller around."

Agassi had kept the 1995 Volvo alive when the other big names were falling by the wayside. Michael Chang and Michael Stich had both lost in the first round. Patrick Rafter fell in the third round. Boris Becker departed in the quarters, leaving Agassi as the only remaining star of the show.

He didn't disappoint. Except maybe Westhall, that is.

"I had been sitting with my granddaughter (Kaitlyn) before (the haircut) and as it was happening, she looked at me like, 'What are they doing to my grandfather?'" he said. "And afterwards as I was looking for a hat to put over my bald head, I turned around and saw her sitting on Andre's lap. Her loyalties sure turned quickly.

"But you know, it was a great thing. How often does someone get their hair cut by a star like him? It's a moment that I'll talk about for the rest of my life."

On Monday, Part 2: Music and tennis don't mix

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Old 07-25-2005, 10:38 AM   #138
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Article created: 07/25/2005 04:21:36 AM

Tennis, rock 'n' roll don't mix
Part 2 of a six-part series: Mad about the music

CHRIS ELSBERRY celsberry@ctpost.com



NEW HAVEN — It was more like Frank Sinatra than Frank Zappa. More like John Cougar Mellencamp than Metallica, but for Andre Agassi and several other tennis players caught in the middle of the 1994 Volvo International's great rock 'n' roll experiment, the result was a failing grade.
"It's a joke," Agassi said then, after his first match, a second-round loss to Jan Simerink. "Why don't we just have some models come out between games? They can wear swimsuits."

The music, ironically, was an idea from the ATP Tour. Too many of these tournaments are boring affairs, they felt. The players play, the players wave, and the players leave. The ATP saw a way to try and lure younger fans into the sport through music and on-court, post-match interviews. Jim Westhall, ever the showman, took that P.T. Barnum attitude and ran with it.

The fans seemed to enjoy it. The players outright hated it.

Agassi just about went into a tirade over the music played during the changeovers after his loss to Simerink. Guy Forget called the Volvo show "a circus." Boris Becker said that this kind of stuff didn't belong in tennis.

"It was an idea that was proposed to me by Larry Scott, who used to work for me as a consultant and who's now the CEO of women's tennis. And he and the people at the ATP said, 'Let's try this,' and they knew that I was always looking for things to be entertaining and be unique and of course, get media coverage," said Westhall, who was the tournament chairman of the Volvo International from 1990 to 1996. "And as a matter of fact, I had someone ask Agassi about it and he said, 'Great, let's do it.' Well, I'll never forget when he lost that match with the music and he was interviewed on center court, he just blasted it. And I was watching the whole thing and I left, I didn't want to take on Andre."

Meanwhile, exit polls showed that the fans thought that the music was a nice touch in-between the games.
Even representatives from the stodgy USTA didn't object. But the music backlash cast a cloud over the entire tournament. Lost in the shadows — or white noise — of the event was the fine play of Becker, who apparently popped in some earplugs and rolled through the Volvo International field, defeating Marc Rosset in straight sets in the finals.
As exciting as the idea was in 1994, today Westhall wonders if rock music has a place in tennis.

"I'm not sure that what tennis needs is rock 'n' roll music on the changeovers. It gets to be a little bit like race car driving, it's ... I'm not sure now that it's a good idea," Westhall said. "It wasn't even my idea, but I had to take the heat for that. The rest of the tennis world said, 'How dare you? Who do you think you are?' And I was like, 'I'll never do it again' and I didn't do it again, I can tell you that."

And while several of the players felt the music was a joke, things turned deadly serious for a while during the middle of the Michael Stich and Daniel Vacek match, when a fire alarm went off, it's siren echoing throughout the Connecticut Tennis Center. Stich, Vacek, and the 10,448 fans who were in attendance for that day's afternoon matches, quickly left the stadium in an orderly fashion before returning some 20 minutes later.

Thankfully, it turned out to be a false alarm. It turned out that the 2-year-old son of doubles player Cyril Suk, Cyril IV, had pulled the alarm in the players' lounge, setting off the automatic emergency system.

No one complained about that noise, however.

On Tuesday, Part 3: Rain, rain go away.

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Old 07-25-2005, 03:40 PM   #139
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Some odds and ends from Jon Wertheim's recent columns:

Say the tennis commissioner of Mars called you and wanted to put on an intergalactic Fed Cup and Davis Cup. What four men and what four women would you send to represent Earth in this competition?
-- Steve K., St. Louis

What surface to do the Martians prefer? Be nice to know that first. Am I taking the four best players from Earth or do I need to choose one country to represent the planet? (Did I really just write that sentence?)

Guess my team is:

1) Federer
2) Nadal
3) Andy Roddick
4) Andre Agassi if ticket sales are slow; Hewitt if they're not.

1) Lindsay Davenport
2) Maria Sharapova (just think: an emerging market for potential endorsements!)
3) Serena Williams (passing up the "Venus to Mars" marketing line)
4) Justine Henin-Hardenne

If I had to pick one country, I take the United States. The Spanish and Argentine women don't cut it. The Russian and Belgian men don't either.

- - - - - - - - - -

I was watching a replay of Andre Agassi's 1999 French Open championship win, and even as recent as then, watching Agassi play was like watching a totally different person. John McEnroe mentioned Agassi's questionable fitness, and while delivering his acceptance speech, Agassi seemed like a lost kid.

Can you point to a person, a time, a match or an event in which Agassi became the respected statesman he is now, and at which point he accepted this role and began speaking with the confidence and knowledge expected of a player of his stature? It seemed that as late as '99, he was growing into the role he's assumed today. The uncertain Agassi was in stark contrast to the humble, well-spoken, well-respected person that people see today. Any thoughts?

-- Scott Kurtis, New York City

You're talking about an event more than six years ago. Look what's happened to Agassi since then: He turned 30, and then 35. He got married. And not least, he had two kids. You stub your toe on those loose Lego pieces and it puts a trivial tennis injury into perspective. "Baby Beluga" plays in your head throughout a match and you feel invincible, man. (Doubly so if you're sleep-deprived.) You spend hours debating weighty issues -- "You like macaroni. This penne is macaroni, the shape is just different. Eat it!" -- and the mental acuity required for top tennis is nothing.

But to answer your question seriously, I don't think Agassi would point to one seminal moment. You evolve as a person. You learn from your mistakes. Your priorities come into focus. There's a word for this process. Life, I believe they call it.

__________________
"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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Old 07-31-2005, 10:56 AM   #140
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Agassi Advances To First Final Of Year In L.A.



07/31/2005

Andre Agassi felt a sense of urgency at the start of today’s Mercedes-Benz Cup semifinals and a sense of satisfaction at the end. The top-seeded Agassi advanced to his first final of the year with today’s 6-4, 6-2 victory over Juan Ignacio Chela in Los Angeles.


The three-time Los Angeles champion will face either second-seeded Dominik Hrbaty or Luxembourg lefthander Gilles Muller in Sunday’s final. Muller beat Agassi, 6-4, 7-5, in their lone meeting in the 2004 Washington D.C. semifinals. Agassi has won three of five meetings with Hrbaty.

The big-hitting Chela came out playing close to the lines and put pressure on Agassi, who responded by finding his range and ripping deep, clean baseline shots.

"I think I actually felt a little flat coming out," said Agassi, who raised his record to 26-9 on the season in reaching his first final since Stockholm last October. "I wasn’t read for him to be so aggressive. I felt some urgency so I knew, win or lose, the match was going to rely on executing my game. I sort of let me shots go early and when I got those rewards, I stayed with it."

Playing his first tournament since he succumbed to a sciatic nerve and Jarkko Nieminen in the French Open first round in May, Agassi has struck authoritative shots from the baseline to push Chela from corner to corner. With wife Steffi Graf watching the action from behind dark sunglasses, Agassi hit 20 winners against 22 unforced errors and broke serve three times.

The sixth-ranked Agassi was particularly effective on serve as he cracked five aces and did not face a break point in the match.

"I think Chela’s forehand return is a little suspect in the deuce court so I like it when I can get away with 102 mph slider on the deuce side," Agassi said. "Today, I definitely hit my spots on the serve."

The 35-year-old Agassi, who won the L.A. title in 1998, 2001 and 2002, will be playing for his 60th career tournament title tomorrow.

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Old 07-31-2005, 10:59 AM   #141
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Back in form
Agassi reaches final in first tournament in two months

Posted: Saturday July 30, 2005 9:41PM; Updated: Sunday July 31, 2005 1:09AM


Andre Agassi is one victory away from his fourth Mercedez-Benz Cup title.


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Andre Agassi used a dazzling mix of shots to defeat Juan Ignacio Chela in straight sets Saturday and move into the Mercedes-Benz Cup final.

The 35-year-old Agassi, his sights set on next month's U.S. Open, needed 1 hour, 9 minutes to beat his 25-year-old foe from Argentina 6-4, 6-2.

The top-seeded Agassi will go for his fourth Los Angeles title on Sunday, facing unseeded Gilles Muller.

Muller, a hard-serving 22-year-old player from Luxembourg, fought back from being down two match points in the second set to upset second-seeded Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1.

The final will be just the second on the tour for Muller, who defeated Agassi in the semifinals at Washington last summer before losing to Lleyton Hewitt in the title match.

Agassi has surprised even himself with his solid play in the tournament, his first in two months. He lost in the opening round of the French Open in May after aggravating a chronic sciatic nerve injury, and missed Wimbledon for the second consecutive year.

He said he is pain-free, and he looked plenty limber and agile against Chela, who was sent scurrying from side to side much of the match. Agassi mixed in drop shots, an occasional overhead, and hard, accurate groundstrokes down the lines.

Agassi also covered the court well, chasing down shots along the baseline and sprinting to the net several times to reach drop shots by Chela.

"Today was a big day, coming off two hours yesterday of real violent movements and throwing myself at everything I could get my racket on. I was really interested to see how I was going to play today," said Agassi, who beat former top-10 player Paradorn Srichaphan 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

"To be able to go out there and feel that good and move around against a guy that was letting the ball fly [Chela] was a great feeling for me," he said. "It gives me a lot of confidence, certainly for tomorrow but as the summer unfolds, just to go out there and bring my game without hesitation."

Agassi is looking for his first title since winning at Cincinnati last August.

The Los Angeles champion in 1998, 2001 and 2002, grinned and said of the upcoming final, "I hope I'm not nervous," then added seriously, "I'll certainly be excited."

Chela said Agassi "hits the ball so hard it's hard to hit shots back," and "he's very steady."

His three tour titles have all come on clay. Chela had been sidelined by a groin injury, and the Los Angeles tournament was his first since the French Open.

"I was playing very well at the beginning, but then Agassi picked up his game," Chela said through a translator.

Agassi said he realized early in the match that he needed to raise his game a notch.

"He came out firing, and when I sort of weathered that storm, he missed a few shots that he was going for a little too much, I thought," Agassi said. "I served well, especially in the second set, and my game picked up."

Agassi served five aces to Chela's six, but won 27 of 34 first serves to Chela's 27 of 39.

"If there's ever a tournament where you can say, 'Each match I've gotten better,' this is one of those tournaments,"' Agassi said. "I've needed to and have done so."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Old 07-31-2005, 11:39 AM   #142
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It's Personal for This Trainer
Agassi works harder than ever after Paris setback so he doesn't have to retire at 35.
By Jerry Crowe
Times Staff Writer

July 31, 2005

The bald truth, of course, is that the end of Andre Agassi's tennis career is a lot closer than the shaggy-haired beginning.

So when Agassi pulled up lame at the French Open in May, suffering a sciatic nerve injury while losing in the first round, he and his trainer/longtime confidant had to ask themselves a difficult question: Was this the end of the line?

They feared the worst.

"Either we were going to surface and rise above or we were just going to be swept away," Gil Reyes, who has trained Agassi for 16 years, said Saturday. "It was just that simple. Unfortunately, it was that dramatic as well."

At 35, his contemporaries long retired, Agassi knows his days in the sport are numbered, his exit just around the corner, if not right up the street.

One false move could bring the rocking chair.

"We're more scared now than we've ever been," Reyes said after Agassi's 6-4, 6-2 victory over Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina in the semifinals of the Mercedes-Benz Cup at UCLA's Los Angeles Tennis Center. "He understands it: a 35-year-old athlete being asked to not only withstand the rigors of tennis, but, let's face it, [a sport] being played a little differently these days. These guys are coming up awfully big, awfully strong, good athletes. And they've grown up watching guys like Andre play and wanting to knock the cover off the ball. There are no more gentlemanly rallies out there, so the toll it takes on the body is different.

"So, of course we were afraid after the French. My biggest fear was that a doctor would decide when Andre retired. That was a nightmare to me. I've always wanted it to be on his terms. We still fantasize about how to go out, still talk about it, and I had nightmares about a doctor being the one who said, 'He's done.' "

Agassi must have too, because, according to Reyes, he was back in the gym five days after flying home from Paris to Las Vegas. He returned to the ATP Tour this week at UCLA, ran through a watered-down field and today could join Jimmy Connors, Roy Emerson and Frank Parker as the event's only four-time winners.

"I respect him more now, if that's possible, than I ever have," Reyes said of Agassi, "because I know the doubt and the pain and the uncertainty that were inside the four walls of that gym when we came back from Paris."

Because of the pain in Agassi's back, which was injected with cortisone, Reyes said he had to eliminate about 60% of the player's regular exercise routine.

"We could not end his career in the gym," the trainer said.

After a difficult first 10 days Agassi slowly responded and, according to Reyes, "He did not miss one day in training. And he had every reason to take a day or two off. For crying out loud, he's 35, he's paid his dues, he's hurting. But the guy was in there every single morning, same look in his eye, same trust in his eye, that he wants it, he wants it bad. He's hungry right now, he's focused."

Credit Reyes, Agassi said.

"Gil is the reason why I've won more Slams after the age of 29 than I did before," he said. "He's the reason why I'm still out there playing this sport at a time in my life when I can really understand and appreciate it.

"These last eight weeks were just another testament to that. We addressed every question with purpose and got our answers."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------





Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times
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Old 08-03-2005, 04:23 PM   #143
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FEDERAL STANDARDS: Agassi school in class by itself

Middle school gets 'exemplary' tag from state

By ANTONIO PLANAS
REVIEW-JOURNAL



Brian Thomas, principal of the high school at the Agassi College Preparatory Academy, prepares for a faculty meeting Monday. The academy's middle school is one of only five schools in Nevada labeled exemplary by the state for meeting federal standards. Thomas said the school's success can be attributed to advantages not available at other schools, such as longer instructional hours.

The Agassi College Preparatory Academy, at 1201 W. Lake Mead Blvd., opened four years ago and has only 150 students. Some middle schools in Clark County have more than 1,000 students. The charter school's day is about eight hours.




The Agassi College Preparatory Academy's middle school is the only school in Clark County labeled "exemplary" by the state for exceeding federal standards.

An official with the academy said the charter school, which opened four years ago and serves mainly inner-city students, can use tools not readily available to public schools, including more money to spend on each student, longer instructional days, and the ability to get rid of teachers who are not performing up to expectations.

More than that, it is exempt from some standards that larger public schools are required to meet under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The academy's middle school was one of only five schools in Nevada given the exemplary designation. It achieved that status because students exceeded federal standards by at least 4 percent, while decreasing the percentage of students who didn't meet federal standards the previous year by at least 4 percent.

Elementary and middle school students took a criterion-referenced test, which tests students on the state's curriculum. High school students were judged on how well they performed on the state's proficiency exam.

"We are very happy and proud of the exemplary status," said Brian Thomas, the academy's high school principal and former executive director. "But by no means do we feel that we've arrived. We have a long way to go."

Clark County School District Interim Superintendent Agustin Orci last week lamented the fact that he can't use the tools that Agassi has to bring the district up to federal and state standards.

"It's an example of a school that has very small class sizes. It's an example of a school that has an extended day," Orci said. "When you do those kinds of things, you'll have better results. That's the kind of thing we would like to do in the district, but it's cost-prohibitive."

On Thursday, officials announced that more than two-thirds of the district's schools didn't meet No Child Left Behind Act standards for the 2004-05 year. The number of failing schools ballooned to 205 from 141 the previous year.

In an effort to improve standardized test results, Orci said he will halt new educational programs and pledged to get rid of programs that aren't effective.

Orci also said teachers this year will benefit from a districtwide software program called the Instructional Data Management System. The Web-based system will allow teachers to track the performance of individual students and identify subject areas that need improvement.

Orci said teachers will use the software, which cost about $1 million, and give periodic assessments to students so they'll be better prepared for standardized tests.

Thomas acknowledged the academy has some factors that are favorable to students performing well on standardized tests.

He said the school has only 150 students. Some middle schools in Clark County have more than 1,000 students.

The charter school's day is about eight hours, while the average day for the school district is about six hours.

The academy also subsidizes state funding with private donations to increase the amount spent on each student to $7,900, about $2,000 more per student than students at public schools.

Thomas said his school has the flexibility of not retaining teachers based on performance or any other reason. Indeed, the Agassi School Board renewed the contracts of only six of its 18 teachers. Agassi teachers work on one-year contracts

The Clark County School District does not have the option of not renewing teacher contracts. Teachers in the district can be fired for cause, but once hired they're permanent employees.

Unlike Agassi schools, teachers terminated in the Clark County School District can appeal through the teacher's union.

An analysis of the charter school's performance indicates that, because the academy serves a particular population and is smaller than most middle schools in the district, the academy benefited from a state regulation that exempts a group's performance if fewer than 25 students in a particular category are being graded.

School performance is based on test scores on more than two dozen student group categories, including by ethnicity, students whose primary language is not English and special education students.

The academy was exempt from six categories because it didn't meet the 25-person standard. The school didn't have enough students to fill the categories of American Indian and Alaskan native, special education, students whose primary language is not English, Hispanics, Asians and students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals.

There are 36 categories of student assessments. If one category of students do not meet federal standards, the entire school fails.

Keith Rheault, the state's superintendent of public instruction, said the system favors smaller schools.

"There's a better chance they'll have every category filled at the bigger schools, and that's probably a disadvantage," Rheault said. "If you have less than 25 students in a category, it's really not a valid sample."

The five schools from five different counties that were labeled exemplary by the state would be considered small compared with Clark County schools.

Colt Goodman is chief of operations for the Keystone Academy, a charter school which served less than 60 students in Sandy Valley this year. The school met all the federal standards. The school was exempt from several categories.

Goodman said he is more concerned with the students who attend his school than with nitpicking state standards.

"If this school wasn't here, 80 percent of these kids would not attend school," Goodman said.

Three of the four charter schools in Clark County met all federal standards but also had several categories in which they lacked students.

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Old 08-07-2005, 01:01 PM   #144
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did we post this article?


Pain-free Agassi rocks into Mercedes final
Phil Agassi: 'If he's in enough pain, he's not going to do it anymore'

By Richard Osborn, Special to TennisReporters.net

FROM THE MERCEDES-BENZ CUP IN LA – If Andre Agassi is playing in pain these days, he sure isn't showing it. Following an eight-week layoff due to a sciatic nerve injury, the 35-year-old Las Vegan finds himself in his 88th career final, having run Argentinean Juan Ignacio Chela out of the semifinals of the Mercedes-Benz Cup 6-4, 6-2.


"I was really interested to see how I was going to pull up today. To be able to go out there and feel that good and move around against a guy who was letting the ball fly was a great feeling for me," said Agassi, who registered 22 winners on the afternoon. "It gives me a lot of confidence certainly for tomorrow, but also as the summer unfolds, to be able to go out there and bring my game without hesitation."

Agassi will face the winner of the Dominik Hrbaty v. Gilles Muller semifinal.

Agassi served effectively and never faced a break point as he ran the lanky right-hander from side to side throughout the one-hour, 10-minute contest.

A three-time champion here, Agassi has reached his first final since Stockholm last October when he fell to Swede Thomas Johansson. He is playing for the first time since Roland Garros, having been sidelined by back and hip ailments that many feel could bring his career to a close sooner than later. He has already undergone two cortisone shots this year and says he only picked up a racket on two occasions during his most recent hiatus. However, since arriving at UCLA, Agassi's trademark, grind-it-out intensity has been as prevalent as ever.

"There's always an urgency to win," said Agassi. "I feel it from the first game. I don't know what there is to prove anymore, but that doesn't change my intensity."

Is he in the kind of form that can propel him through the summer hard-court season to his third US Open title come September? Chela, who totaled 27 unforced errors in the loss, says he wouldn't be surprised.

"With Agassi, you can expect anything," said Chela, who was also playing his first tournament since Roland Garros after struggling with a nagging groin injury.

Phillip Agassi on Andre and the Dreaded 'R' Word
TennisReporters.net caught up with Andre Agassi's brother, Phillip, and had this conversation.
TR.net: Is it difficult watching Andre struggle with this hip injury, having to go to the cortisone shots?
Phillip Agassi: He's his own man. He has the pulse on his body. He's going to know when it's time to retire. I don't like to see him in pain, but if he's in enough pain, he's not going to do it anymore. He's in great hands between himself, Gil [Reyes] and Darren [Cahill]. The surreal thing is that after all these years … it's the end of his career. Whether it's 12 months or 24 months from now, whenever it is, it's coming.

TR.net: Do you ever offer advice as far as the timing of his retirement?
PA: One thing I learned a long time ago is to try not to tell anybody what to do. I stay as far away from that as possible. He's a bright guy. He knows this game as well or better than anybody who's ever played it. And he knows his body. He's been out there a long time. I'm just proud to be able to see him do it for so long and be able to ask so much from himself. He hasn't had some of the injuries other players have. His training, his fitness have really helped him.

TR.net: Are you more proud of Andre's on-court achievements, or his development as an individual? He's come a long way from the Andre we knew in '86, '87.

PA: Let me make one thing perfectly clear: Those things are totally separate things. If you had to weigh them out, the on-court achievements weigh nothing compared to the man he is. It doesn't compare. The on-court achievements are just part of a reflection of who he is and what he sets his mind to do.

TR.net: There seems to be a sense that when Andre does decide to call it quits, the game is going to take a significant hit. He's done so much for tennis.
PA: It's a big compliment to him that people say there's going to be a loss. It just shows what he's added to tennis. I think any generation, when they leave, whether it's [John] McEnroe, [Bjorn] Borg, it's not easy to see them go away. But, you embrace the new. There are certainly some pretty big shoes to fill.
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Old 08-07-2005, 02:19 PM   #145
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

this one too...

BTW: Do Moya, Umag champ Guillermo Coria and Gaston Gaudio realize that RG is over and it’s time t come to the US?

Speaking of agents, super-agent Perry Rogers, Andre Agassi’s agent, did well by his client, with his new deal. Apparently, Andre received a balloon payment of some $40 million from his former endorser, Nike.


Andre Agassi pulled out of Washington.
With his win at the Mercedes-Benz Cup in Los Angeles, Agassi at least showed that in good health, he has enough game to reach the second week of the US Open. Beyond that, who knows? It’s hard to say how long his last shot of cortisone will last or whether he can take the pounding of a two-week Slam. If he wins the Open, it will be a much greater surprise than Pete Sampras' 2002 run.

As expected, Agassi pulled out of Washington, saying, "At this point in my career I have to be extremely selective about the amount of matches that I play in preparation of the US Open." It’s hard to think he will attempt to play both TMS Montreal and Cincy.

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

How things change when you have some perspective on the overall landscape.

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Old 08-10-2005, 10:55 AM   #146
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

Here you could bet on Andre:
http://www.willhill.com/iibs/en/buil...hoice=TE951991

Tennis : A T P Montreal Masters - Match Betting

Bet Until : 16:00 10/08/2005

Win Match Win

1.50 A Pavel V M Puerta 2.50

1.07 A Agassi V J Bjorkman 7.50

1.33 D Nalbandian V K Beck 3.25

1.53 J Ferrero V D Ferrer 2.37

1.83 J Novak V D Hrbaty 1.83

1.14 M Ancic V F Serra 5.00

1.61 M Mirnyi V G Rusedski 2.20

1.57 N Davydenko V T Berdych 2.25

2.00 O Rochus V R Soderling 1.72

1.61 R Gasquet V S Grosjean 2.20

1.06 R Nadal V R Mello 8.00

1.83 T Dent V N Kiefer 1.83

1.12 T Robredo V Y El Aynaoui 5.50

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Old 08-10-2005, 01:02 PM   #147
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

tennis art?




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Old 08-10-2005, 10:47 PM   #148
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Agassi downs Bjorkman at Rogers Cup

BILL BEACON
9 minutes ago



MONTREAL (CP) - A windy central court blew together two tennis veterans Wednesday and Andre Agassi came out the winner against Jonas Bjorkman at the $2.45-million US Rogers Cup tennis tournament.



Agassi, 35, a three-time champion whose last Canadian victory was in 1995, used an early third-set service break to down 33-year-old Bjorkman 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 before a large crowd on the hardcourt at Uniprix Stadium.

It improved the American's career record against Bjorkman to 5-0. Agassi has eight grand slam titles and 60 wins overall in his 19-year pro career while Bjorkman has nine tournament titles in 15 years. They are two of the oldest players in the draw.

"There's a lot to like about playing against someone you've known and played against a long time," said Agassi. "There's a lot of mutual respect just for doing it for so long.

"There's so many faces you don't recognize anymore, to play against someone you know makes it that much more comfortable."

It was a gusty, rainy day in which play was halted twice by rain and lightning.

Between showers, No. 5 seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia survived a scare from 19-year-old Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic to win 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.

Sixth-seeded Gaston Gaudio of Argentina, the 2004 French Open champion, got past Kenneth Carlsen of Denmark 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.

Agassi, seeded fourth, said he was more at ease in the wind than in his first-round win over Alberto Martin of Spain on Monday.

"I was slightly more comfortable and more accepting of the conditions out there," said Agassi. "In conditions like that, really anything can happen, so you have to stay positive, keep taking good swings and hope it falls your way."

He will face Nicolas Kiefer of Germany in the round of 16 on Thursday. Kiefer, a semifinalist last year in Toronto, ousted Taylor Dent of the United States 6-4, 6-4.

"That'll be a tough match," Agassi said. "These are tough conditions - quick courts, wind. He's a quick-court player. He uses the pace really well and moves the ball around. I'll have my hands full."

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Old 08-16-2005, 04:39 AM   #149
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Default Re: ** Andre Articles & Interviews !! **

andre interview at cincinnati from cincytennis.com:

Agassi All Class
CINCINNATI - Over his 19-year career, Andre Agassi has met historic success across almost the entire circuit of ATP events, and his play in Cincinnati is without exception.

Agassi was scheduled to defend his 2004 Western & Southern Financial Group MASTERS shield this week, but when the 35-year-old rolled into the finals of the Rogers Masters on Sunday questions loomed about his durability. Specifically, a sciatic nerve injury nagged him so much in the first round of Roland Garros in May that he literally walked through the last two sets against Jarkko Nieminen after being up 2-1. There was nothing he could do.

Agassi has legendary credentials in Cincinnati having won shields here in '95, '96 and '04 not to mention 14 other ATP Masters Series titles. He has entered as a seed 13 times (more than any player ever) and is 31-10 over his career here.

Agassi has nothing left to prove, but he was so saddened to have to pull out of this year's event after falling to Rafael Nadal in the Rogers Masters final on Sunday that he came here to express his regret to the media, the fans and tournament organizers.

In an excerpt from the interview at the Lindner Tennis Center on Monday, Agassi discussed the reasons for his withdrawal, why he loves playing in Cincinnati and what keeps him playing at 35-years-old...

Q. Why did you withdraw?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's obviously a disappointing thing for me to have to do. I was really looking forward to coming here. This is certainly one of the biggest tournaments of the year that everybody aims to try and win, let alone defend, so I'll express my disappointment with that."

"But, you know, 10 weeks ago or whenever it was, when I wasn't sure of the state of my health, you know, I made a commitment to not just myself but also to those around me that I would only play under the terms of being 100% physically, because for me that's the only way I can be out there anymore; and I'm not 100%.

Q. Physically?

AGASSI: Physically.

Q. What about mental?

AGASSI: Do I seem a little off to you mentally (smiling)?

No, no, no. Listen, yeah, I mean, mentally is the easy part out here, you know? Again, this tournament is one of the best and you have all the guys in the world here competing for its title. Mentally, I could have stood to give it a go.

But, yeah, physically, just too tough. I cannot afford to take more steps back. As much as I want to get out there and do the best I can, you will not see me on the court anymore if I'm not 100%.

Q. Is it your back, or is it something else?

AGASSI: Yeah, no, it's the same. It's the nerve that after a number of matches back‑to‑back, playing two on Saturday, one on Sunday, how it pulls up, how it responds. Unfortunately, I know this process all too well ‑ so well. A year ago or two years ago I could have made the decision to try to push through it, "Maybe it's gonna go away." I know exactly where it leads, and I'm going to have to be a little bit smarter with how I approach all these tournaments now.

Q. Were you feeling it in Montreal , though?

AGASSI: Not on the court, but in my cool‑downs I was feeling it. And, again, if I have a little pain in my life, that's fine. I just don't want it on the tennis court because I work too hard to get out there and feel helpless ‑ and I wasn't last week, but I would be this week.

Q. Will you play before the Open ? Will you be playing New Haven ?

AGASSI: No, my plan will be just to go to the Open .

Q. When did you make the decision not to come here?

AGASSI: Last night. Late last night, as I was cooling down. With the prospects of getting here and playing more matches back‑to‑back, just wasn't something that I could see through, and I can't start something anymore that I'm not convinced I can finish. I wouldn't be convinced I can be here all the way through with my full health.

Q. When you make decisions like this, how much do you weigh the fact that tournament directors and fans and everybody in the city where you're slated to play is sort of anticipating your presence?

AGASSI: Hmm, that weighs heavily, if anything, in guilt, you know. It's a tough feeling to feel like you're letting down a tournament. Paul Flory has done an amazing job with this event over all these years. He's been great to me and is beyond a class act when it comes to living up to his word and looking out for the players and respecting as difficult a decision as this is. The way that he's respected it means the world to me.

So all those things make you feel bad, unfortunately. But the question that I have to answer when I start to feel that way is, What's the alternative. And, you know, the alternative is me not being at my best, me being out there in a situation where I can do more damage to myself and not be a part of more tournaments. You know, I'm trying to negotiate a career now and how I'm going to go about my profession, and making the wrong decisions can have big ramifications for me at this stage.

But it does feel ‑‑ it does make me feel bad.

Q. You mentioned your career. I guess this development sort of reinforces the notion that you're not going to be playing professional tennis forever. Yet still wherever you go, you're the most popular player. How do you envision the future of the ATP Tour without your presence from a popularity standpoint?

AGASSI: Well, I think this game has a great future when it comes to its potential growth. I mean, this game has survived with a lot of difficult decisions that's been made. And now, with the likes of the guy who beat me yesterday, Nadal , I mean a person like this is just amazing for the game. It's great to see.

I can't be objective as to how I fit into this picture, but I can say that I'll miss it a lot. I'll miss the competition, I'll miss the sport, I'll miss the guys, all the stuff that goes with it.

But how it's effected, I can't speak to. What I can say is there's a lot of hope for the growth of this game.



Q. Yesterday you told the crowd that you'd see them in two years. At this point do you still feel that's a realistic goal?

AGASSI: Well, my plan was to go visit the city of Montreal in a couple of years (smiling).

No, I hope so. I do hope so. I mean, it might have been the loudest I've ever heard a crowd after I won the second set yesterday. That means the world. Those are moments that you appreciate more at 35 than you do at 25. So I hope I am back there.

Q. Playing?

AGASSI: Playing.

Q. Can you talk about being back in Cincinnati again after winning here last year.

AGASSI: No question about it, winning here last year was one of the best feelings I've ever had on a tennis court. I hadn't won in a long time, it was against the best field in the world, and it gave me a lot of life, to win here. That I'll always remember. I might remember last year more than any of the other years ‑ and I've had some pretty darn good ones here.
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Old 08-16-2005, 03:49 PM   #150
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ATP still searching for the 'Next Andre'

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Aug 16, 2005

MASON - The Western & Southern Financial Group Masters remains stocked with nine of the top 10 players in the world, but there's nothing quite like losing Andre Agassi the night before the start of the tournament.

It doesn't matter if he's in Cincinnati, Hamburg or Dubai: Agassi is the ATP Tour's most recognizable player, with a fan-friendly personality that has endeared him to crowds the world over.

His withdrawal from the W&S Masters on Sunday, however, reinforced what is becoming the central storyline regarding Agassi. The 35-year-old's body is becoming too fragile to play professional tennis for many more years, and soon enough the ATP, as well as the W&S Masters, will be permanently without one of the most popular players in the history of the sport.

"I think this game has a great future when it comes to its potential growth," Agassi said Monday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, where he met with adidas marketing representatives about their new endorsement relationship.

"It's great to see, and I can't be objective as to how I'll fit into this picture, but I can say that I'll miss it a lot. I'll miss the competition. I'll miss the sport. I'll miss the guys, all the stuff that goes with it. I can say there's a lot of hope for this game."

The realization of his own popularity, Agassi said, made the decision to pull out of the W&S Masters that much more difficult, though he called it the right move to preserve his health for the U.S. Open and beyond.

"I'm trying to negotiate a career now, and how I'm going to go about my profession," Agassi said. "And making the wrong decision is going to have big ramifications for me at this stage. But (withdrawing) does make me feel bad."

Agassi still has his moments on the court, such as last week's run to the Tennis Masters Series Canada final that vaulted him into first place in the U.S. Open Series. But he is no longer tennis' best player.

That title belongs to No. 1 Roger Federer, 24, whose gracefulness and skill are unparalleled but whose marketing prowess does not approach that of the sixth-ranked Agassi.

Likewise, the other four top-five players - Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin and Andy Roddick - are young men who have Agassi beat on the tennis court but not in the court of appeal.

"If you are announcing the participation of Roger Federer and Andre in a tournament, I would say Andre is beating him selling tickets immediately," said Horst Klosterkemper, president of the ATP's European division. "Without devaluing Federer, who is in the moment, the top, top player, Andre has got something really special."

Agassi's off-court allure was enough to persuade adidas, the world's second-largest athletic apparel company, to enter into a long-term agreement with him in July, a partnership that includes an adidas pledge to support Agassi's charitable foundation. Agassi's former sponsor, Nike, which had paid him a reported $120 million over 10 years, balked at funding the charity to Agassi's liking.

Agassi said his agreement with adidas has little to do with how well he plays on the court - or even if he continues to play. That only emphasizes his marketing power.

Federer, by contrast, does not even have an agent, which limits the extent of his Nike deal; Reebok dumped Roddick in April (Roddick subsequently signed with Lacoste), and Hewitt, a former Nike player, has no clothing sponsor.

"While we've still got Agassi, we should milk him for all he's worth," said U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe. "He's still the biggest draw in tennis."

One simple photograph attests to that.

An aerial shot of Agassi and Federer playing on top of a Dubai helipad 700 feet above ground was seen this year by more than 3 billion people - half of the world's population.

"He's got a global impact, and it's fascinating, really, because of how late in his career it is," said Kevin Adler, vice president at Relay sponsorship and event marketing "The ATP is doing the right thing by proactively continuing to introduce the next generation to fans.

"But if you look at pro sports in general, Andre has not only delivered on the court, but he's delivered with his personality. I don't think they've got the next Andre yet."

Agassi said he would like to play next year in Mason, the site of his last major title, won last year. He made no guarantee, however, as doubts about his health dictate his future.

"For so long here, he's given people memorable matches," said W&S Masters tournament director Bruce Flory. "They loved it. He's not going to do that very often anymore. We'll miss him, but to have a guy like that around - who'd have thought you'd have somebody like that for so long? It's been phenomenal."

- - - - - - - - - -

AGASSI NEAR TOP, ON COURT AND OFF
Andre Agassi is one of the most successful men's tennis players of all time and arguably the most popular off the court because of his personality and generosity.

On the court

All-time match wins
Player / W / L
Jimmy Connors / 1,222 / 269
Ivan Lendl / 1,070 / 238
Guillermo Vilas / 920 / 281
John McEnroe / 867 / 192
Andre Agassi / 854 / 254

ATP Masters Series titles
Agassi: 17 (three in W&S Masters)

Pete Sampras: 11

Thomas Muster: 8

Michael Chang: 7

Roger Federer: 7

Agassi has 60 ATP titles, good for seventh all time. His 101 weeks at No. 1 is sixth all time.

Off the court

The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation is second only to seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's in its financial impact on the people it helps, according to the most recent published figures.

1. Lance Armstrong Foundation, $13.7 million (2004 figures)

2. Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, $11 million (2003 figures)

3. Tiger Woods Foundation, $1.5 million (2003 figures)
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"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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