Tennis: Henman boost as big names miss Munich Slam

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The Independent Online
TIM HENMAN will play Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman in the first round of the Grand Slam Cup in Munich next week. The winner will meet Australia's Mark Philippoussis in the quarter-finals, writes John Roberts.

Andre Agassi has received a wild card to bolster interest in the absence of three of the four Grand Slam champions. Pete Sampras is injured, Pat Rafter is playing Davis Cup in Australia this weekend and Carlos Moya is committed to playing his home tournament in Majorca.

Agassi, beaten in the fourth round in Australia, the first round at the French, the second round at Wimbledon and the fourth round at the US Open, meets the Frenchman Cedric Pioline in the opening round. The winner will play Petr Korda in the quarter-finals.

Henman remains at No 11 in the latest world rankings despite winning the President's Cup in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Sunday, but he is now in line to qualify for the ATP Tour finals in Hanover in November. The eight players who gain the most world-ranking points between 1 January and 16 November this year qualify for Hanover, and Henman is in eighth place on 2,081 points.

A women's singles event has become a feature of the Grand Slam Cup for the first time.

GRAND SLAM CUP (Munich) Women's first-round draw: M Hingis (Swit) v C Martinez (Sp), J Novotna (Cz Rep) v P Schnyder (Swit), V Williams (US) v A Sanchez-Vicario (Sp), N Tauziat (Sp) v L Davenport (US). Men's first- round draw: C Pioline (Fr) v A Agassi (US), K Kucera (Slovak) v R Krajicek (Neth), T Henman (GB) v J Bjorkman (Swe), N Escude (Fr) v F Mantilla (Sp). Men's quarter-final draw: Pioline or Agassi v P Korda (Cz Rep), Kucera or Krajicek v G Ivanisevic (Croa), Henman or Bjorkman v M Philippoussis (Aus), Escude or Mantilla v M Rios (Chile).