Tennis: Agassi at break-point with Bollettieri

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

ANDRE AGASSI, last year's Wimbledon champion, has parted company with Nick Bollettieri, his coach and mentor, according to a report in the New York Times.

Yesterday's paper quotes Bollettieri as saying he feels the 'space' between his own Florida-based training camp and his star pupil has grown too great.

'To help him get back to where he used to be, which was No 3 in the world, there would have to be close contact,' explains Bollettieri.

'But he's based in Las Vegas, I'm at the academy in Bradenton, and there's a space between us. It's not like it used to be. Whether he'll ever reach his greatest potential, no one knows.'

Other leading players who have attended Bollettieri's camp include the world No 2, Jim Courier, Monica Seles and Aaron Krickstein.

Agassi, 23, who lost his Wimbledon crown to Pete Sampras earlier this month, declined to comment. He has been coached by Bollettieri for the past decade. When he won the Wimbledon title after beating Goran Ivanisevic, he dedicated the title to the coach and his father.

But since his Wimbledon triumph, he has won only three tournaments and his No 8 seeding at this year's event was the lowest given to a defending champion. His quarter-final defeat by Sampras resulted in Agassi's world ranking dropping to No 22.

Chris Bailey, who thrilled British supporters during his five-set defeat by Ivanisevic at this year's Wimbledon, yesterday swept into his first final for two years when he beat British No 1 Jeremy Bates, 6-1, 6-4 in the semi-final of the Bristol Challenger Trophy.

The British No 3 took hold of the match after saving a break point to hold serve for a 2-1 lead in the first set. He conceded only seven more points in the opening set and although the second set was closer, Bailey always seemed more confident. A service break to lead 4-3 spelled the end for Bates.

In the final Bailey meets fourth seed Mark Knowles of the Bahamas, who beat Chris Wilkinson, the second seed, 7-6, 6-3.

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