Agassi Commits to Countrywide Classic

June 26, 2006 01:38 PM

Four-Time Champion Andre Agassi Commits to Countrywide Classic, July 24-30, at UCLA

Defending champion joins Nalbandian, Ljubicic, Bryans, Hewitt, Ancic, Gonzalez, Dent, Fish, Ginepri among early entries

LOS ANGELES – Four-time Los Angeles champion and eight-time Grand Slam king Andre Agassi has committed to play in the 80th annual Countrywide Classic, July 24-30, at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA. Agassi, the defending champion and winner of the tournament three of the last five years, will also appear again at the event’s charitable opening night gala, “Gibson Baldwin Night at the Net,” on Monday, July 24. Daily tickets are now on sale to the general public. To purchase tickets, call 310-825-2101. Tickets can also be purchased in advance at Ticketmaster and at the UCLA Central Ticket Office. Prime Ticket Packages are available by calling 310-824-1010, ext. 251.

“We are delighted to welcome Andre back,” said Tournament Director Bob Kramer. “Andre is one of the greatest sportsmen of all-time for his results on the court, and more importantly, his efforts off of the court on behalf of the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation and other deserving causes.”

A winner of 60 ATP career singles titles, including 15 in the last five years, Agassi owns a total of eight career Grand Slam titles in 15 finals and a record 16 career Tennis Masters Series titles. He is the only male player in the world to win all four Grand Slam titles and the Olympic gold medal. He has finished in the Top 10 16 times in his 20-year career, tied with Jimmy Connors for the most career Top 10s. His Los Angeles titles in 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2005 earned him the distinction as one of only four players to win the prestigious title four times.

Agassi is also well known for his accomplishments off the court. In 1994, he founded the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation (AACF) to provide recreational and educational opportunities for at-risk children in Southern Nevada. Since its inception, the foundation has supported more than 20 organizations and raised more than $60 million for programs designed to enhance a child’s character, self-esteem and career possibilities.

The foundation opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in 2001 – a K-12 public charter school conceived on Agassi’s belief that nothing has a greater impact on a child’s life than the education they receive. Located in the heart of Las Vegas’ most at-risk neighborhood, the school is designed to improve skill levels and combat lowered academic expectations while creating a climate of hope among this community’s most challenged children. The curriculum emphasizes technology and college preparation while encouraging involvement in community affairs.

Agassi was named winner of the ATP’s Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 1995 and 2001.

Other players already committed to the Countrywide Classic include the record-setting Southern California doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan, Argentina’s David Nalbandian, former World No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, Croatian Davis Cup stars Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic, Robby Ginepri, Taylor Dent, Mardy Fish, and Chilean Davis Cupper Fernando Gonzalez. Nalbandian, Ljubicic, Hewitt and Gonzalez are in the top 10 in the INDESIT ATP Rankings. Ancic, Ginepri and Agassi are in the top 20.

The Countrywide Classic will feature a 32-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles competition. The landmark Southern California ATP tournament is the longest running annual professional sporting event in Los Angeles, and offers total player compensation in excess of $1 million.

With 64 tournaments in 31 countries, the ATP showcases the finest athletes competing in the world’s most exciting venues. For the third consecutive year, the Countrywide Classic will also be a part of the U.S. Open Series, the eight-week summer tennis season linking 10 major ATP and WTA Tour tournaments to the U.S. Open. Television viewership for the 2005 U.S. Open Series generated significant increases, attracting more than 40 million viewers.

Previous winners of the Countrywide Classic, whose history dates to 1927, include Agassi, Michael Chang, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Michael Stich, Boris Becker, Richard Krajicek, Stefan Edberg, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Pancho Gonzalez, Jack Kramer, Bobby Riggs, Don Budge, Ellsworth Vines, Fred Perry and Bill Tilden. Agassi became a four-time winner of the event last year.

Proceeds from the Countrywide Classic, 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 Countrywide Classic tournament office on the UCLA campus. For information, please call 310-824-1010.

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