Tuesday, August 12, 2003

ATP slaps Agassi with $60,000 fine

Late withdrawal cited as reason

By Neil Schmidt and Colleen Kane
The Cincinnati Enquirer


Photos of Monday's play
MASON - The ATP Tour has fined Andre Agassi $60,000 for his late withdrawal from the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters. Such a fine is not an automatic amount, ATP officials said, and was in this case a bit larger because Agassi was the top seed.

Players can withdraw without penalty before a tournament's draw is held. Agassi pulled out Saturday; the draw was Friday.

If a player claims injury after the draw is held, he must fly to the tournament and be examined by the on-site physician before being cleared to withdraw without penalty. In 2000, Patrick Rafter did that here and was cleared to pull out with a shoulder injury.

Agassi, who said he is not injured and instead wanted to rest, flew home to Las Vegas from Montreal.

WATCH THE SKIES: Andy Roddick had made a deal with his coach, Brad Gilbert, that if he won the Tennis Masters Series Montreal, Gilbert had to skydive with him. When he won, Roddick told reporters in Montreal he was holding Gilbert to it.

"He's scared to look off the second floor balcony downstairs. So it should be fun," Roddick said. "He might mess his pants or something. This is going to be good stuff."

BATTLE FOR NO. 1: Roger Federer is the new leader atop the ATP Champions Race, the year-long points battle that culminates in the Tennis Masters Cup. He reclaimed the top spot Monday from Juan Carlos Ferrero.

But Federer, now No. 2 in the world rankings, isn't as close to No. 1 Agassi as first thought. ATP officials had originally thought Federer would need just one victory this week to become No. 1 next week in the rankings, which are based on the past 12 months. Yet Federer will actually need to reach the semifinals here to become the 21st player - and first from Switzerland - to gain the No. 1 ranking.

Ferrero could also ascend to No. 1 for the first time if he reaches the finals here and Federer loses before the semis.

TWO-FISTED VICTORY: Fabrice Santoro double-handedly defeated defending champion Carlos Moya Monday. Using unorthodox two-handed shots on both sides and trickery, the unseeded, 60th-ranked Santoro upset the No. 4 seed Spaniard 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

"I need to play with my head because I don't have the power," Santoro said.

NO SURPRISE: Guillermo Coria's three-set win (6-3, 4-6, 6-4) against Great Britain's Tim Henman Monday was no surprise.

The Argentine clay-court specialist won three consecutive tournaments in Stuttgart, Germany, Kitzbuhel, Austria and Sopot, Poland before retiring from fatigue in the first round last week in Montreal. In doing so, Coria moved up to No. 5 in the world rankings and is an obvious player-to-watch if he can make the adjustment from clay to hard court.

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