Agassi skips clay to focus on grass
Tuesday 02 May 2006
Andre Agassi has underlined his determination to play at Wimbledon this summer by entering the Stella Artois Championships at Queen's Club. The American, who is skipping the clay-court season to concentrate on his grass campaign, has been troubled by injuries and has not played since the Indian Wells Masters Series event in March.
Agassi, 36, reached the US Open final last September, but ankle and hip problems have restricted his appearances over the past eight months. He has had cortisone injections in his back and hopes his conservative schedule will improve his chances of playing in England in the summer.
"It's a preservation plan," Agassi said. "The clay has been pretty tough on my body over the last few years. In the last two years it's unfortunately been the specific reason why I haven't been ready for Wimbledon."
Agassi strengthens an impressive line-up for the Stella Artois Championships, which take place from 12 to 18 June. The field includes Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Ivan Ljubicic, James Blake and the British trio of Andy Murray, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski.
Murray will miss this week's Estoril Open after injuring his back at the Barcelona Open last week. The British No 1 will rest to prepare for the forthcoming Masters Series events in Rome and Hamburg.
Murray's friend and rival, Rafael Nadal, won the Barcelona Open on Sunday, putting him in sight of Guillermo Vilas' clay-court streak of 53 successive wins. With his victory over Tommy Robredo, Nadal overtook Bjorn Borg, claiming his 47th consecutive clay win, and he is looking towards the French Open to break the record.
"I guess I could try to go for Vilas' total in Rome," the 19-year-old Spaniard said. "But I have my sights set on Roland Garros."
Arsenal vs Aston Villa preview: I need to prove myself again at Villa, says Scott Sinclair
Transfer news and rumours LIVE: Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester City, United want Gareth Bale
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings: David Silva saves the day but which City star stole the show at Stamford Bridge?
Arsene Wenger photobombs Arsenal photo shoot - manages to look like famous 'Bigfoot' picture
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
- 1 Three-year-old boy shoots pregnant mother and father in New Mexico
- 2 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 4 Gorillaz Phase 4: Cartoon supergroup is back as new artwork is unveiled
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
President Putin is a dangerous psychopath - reason is not going to work with him
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia