Archive for Thursday, September 23, 1999

AGASSI VOWS TO STAY ON TOP

September 23, 1999

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— The Andre Agassi Express briefly rolled into Kansas City on Tuesday. For Davis Cup captain John McEnroe, it couldn't have happened any sooner.

Agassi announced this week he has accepted McEnroe's invitation to join the Davis Cup team for the 2000 season.

Agassi was in Kansas City to participate in the World TeamTennis All-Star Smash Hits.

"It's a commitment on a lot of levels," Agassi said. "It's a great experience and, hopefully, Pete (Sampras) along with some of the other guys, will be ready to come out and win the cup again."

Winning the Davis Cup is just one of the goals Agassi has for 2000. After staggering to No. 140 in the ATP Tour rankings in 1998, Agassi soared to No. 6 by the end of '99.

Putting aside an early exit at the Australian Open, Agassi came back to defeat Andrei Medvedev in the final of the French Open.

Despite losing the Wimbledon final to Sampras, Agassi regrouped by winning a five-set thriller against Todd Martin in the U.S. Open on Sept. 12 to capture his fifth grand slam.

Now ranked No. 1, Agassi vows not to stumble like he did in 1995 -- the first time he held that lofty ranking.

"The focus is there and I really don't have the strength to fall that far again," Agassi said. "I have more of a calculated approach to things now. It wasn't that I had some career ups and downs. For me it was a few distractions that just got me off course."

This year's Davis Cup team, without Agassi and Sampras, lost to Australia.

Agassi was in Kansas City for the first time since the early 90s when the U.S. Davis Cup team faced Germany, a match Agassi remembers well.

"I had to play in the fifth and deciding match that year, which has to be one of the toughest things to do in sports. Especially in Davis Cup play," he said. "That was a very memorable time for me."

Busy Summer: It has been a hectic summer for McEnroe. After being elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in June, he was named Davis Cup captain during this year's U.S. Open.

McEnroe, who played for the Kansas City Explorers during the 1996 World Team Tennis session, said he's ready to bring the United States back to Davis Cup prominence.

"I want this to be a resurgence in men's tennis and a better way to bring more fans to the game of tennis," McEnroe said.

Pierce to Wed: Mary Pierce, currently ranked No. 6 on the WTA Tour and winner of the 1995 Australian Open, recently became engaged to Cleveland Indians second baseman Roberto Alomar.

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