Sat, Sep 03, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Andre Agassi slays giant

ROUND 2 The 35-year-old American battled 2m tall Ivo Karlovic of Croatia in three tiebreakers to win the match


Agassi's balky back hasn't acted up yet, but he's wary that it could go at any moment. A herniated disc shot pain down his right leg at the French Open, leading to his first-round loss there and his absence from Wimbledon. He could be playing his last US Open but he hopes he will be able to keep going another year or two. Nothing, he said, would be decided until the end of this year.

"It was a good sign to play a guy where I had to lunge a lot and jump around," Agassi said. "It was 2 1/2 hours. I felt pretty good."

The fans, meanwhile, are relishing every moment with him, as he is with them.

Agassi has played the US Open more than any man in the Open era except Jimmy Connors, who competed here 22 times. Agassi's win against Karlovic was his 73rd at the Open, tying him with Ivan Lendl for second in the Open era behind Connors' 98.

"I always enjoyed watching him as a kid," Karlovic said of Agassi. "He is a legend."

The tennis community lined up to join in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

The US Tennis Association announced on Thursday that it will donate US$500,000 from US Open proceeds to the American Red Cross for affected communities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Commercials devoted to the relief effort will be aired during Open broadcasts, and public service announcements will be made on the grounds of the National Tennis Center.

The two players associations -- the WTA Tour and ATP -- said their members are donating autographed tennis equipment, apparel and memorabilia for an auction to aid victims of the disaster.

Players who already have committed to supporting the relief efforts include Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Andre Agassi, Lindsay Davenport, Robby Ginepri, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Donald Young, Amelie Mauresmo, and Bob and Mike Bryan.

"It's a tragedy, it's terrible," Agassi said. "I hope there's something I can do. I'll be a part of anything that might make a difference."

Other players, including Serena Williams, are making individual donations and filming public service announcements.

"The tragedy to so many human lives caused by Hurricane Katrina has touched all of us," WTA Tour chief executive Larry Scott said.

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