He joins fellow U.S. Stars Fish, Dent, Spadea, Ginepri and the Bryans
LOS ANGELES – Three-time Los Angeles champion and eight-time Grand Slam king Andre Agassi has entered the Mercedes-Benz Cup presented by Countrywide, July 12-18, at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA.
Agassi joins an already strong player field that includes other American Davis Cup stars Mardy Fish, Taylor Dent, Vince Spadea and Robby Ginepri, and the world’s No. 1 doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan. Also entered are 2003 finalists defending champion Wayne Ferreira of South Africa and Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt.
“We are extremely proud to welcome Andre back home to the roots of his competitive tennis development here in Southern California,” said Tournament Director Bob Kramer. “Andre is one of the greatest tennis champions of all time on the court and an even greater champion off of the court for what he has accomplished by giving back to the community through his unmatched Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation.”
A winner of 58 ATP career singles titles, including 13 in the last three years, Agassi owns a total of eight career Grand Slam titles. He is one of only five men to win the career Grand Slam. He has won four Australian Opens, two U.S. Opens and Wimbledon and Roland Garros once each. He has also been a Grand Slam runner-up six times. He has won a record 16 career Tennis Masters Series titles. With a 2003 year-end ranking of No. 4, he became the oldest player to finish in the Top 5 since Jimmy Connors (35) was No. 4 in 1987. In 1996, Agassi became the first American man to win the Olympic gold medal in singles since Vincent Richards in 1924. He won a career-high seven singles titles in a personal-best 11 finals in 1995. His best results this year are semifinals appearances at the Australian Open, San Jose and Indian Wells. He won Los Angeles titles in 1998, 2001 and 2002, and can join Frank Parker, Roy Emerson and Jimmy Connors as only the fourth player ever to win the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Cup title four times.
Agassi and Stefanie Graf are the parents of two children, Jaden Gil, 2, and Jaz Elle, 8 months. Agassi was named winner of the ATP’s Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 1995 and 2001 for his efforts on behalf of disadvantaged youth in Las Vegas. Since the first “Grand Slam for Children” benefit concert was held in 1995, more than $36 million has been raised through eight fundraisers. The Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club in Las Vegas opened in 1997. In 2001, the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a charter school for at-risk youth, opened in West Las Vegas for grades 3-5. Phase II (grade 7) opened in 2003, with grades 8-12 scheduled to open through 2008.
The Mercedes-Benz Cup features a 32-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles competition. Entering its 78th year, the landmark Southern California tournament is the longest running annual professional sporting event in Los Angeles, and offers total player compensation in excess of $1 million. The 2004 tournament marks the first men’s event in the new US Open Series, a historic breakthrough for the sport that links 10 summer hard-court tournaments to the US Open, creating a cohesive, six-week summer tennis season for ATP and WTA Tour professional tournaments in North America.
Previous winners of the Mercedes-Benz Cup, whose history dates to 1927, include Agassi, Michael Chang, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Michael Stich, Boris Becker, Richard Krajicek, Stefan Edberg, John McEnroe, Connors, Arthur Ashe, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Pancho Gonzalez, Jack Kramer, Don Budge, Ellsworth Vines and Bill Tilden. Two-time Los Angeles champion Frank Sedgman (1950-51) is the 2004 Tournament Honoree.
Proceeds from the Mercedes-Benz Cup, held in conjunction with UCLA, benefit the grassroots programs of the non-profit Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) and UCLA. The SCTA offers programs, leagues, and tournaments involving 300,000 juniors and 50,000 adults and seniors. Inquiries regarding tickets and information may be directed to the Mercedes-Benz Cup tournament office on the UCLA campus. For information, please call 310-824-1010 or visit online at www.mercedes-benzcup.com