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Agassi Splits With Longtime Coach Gilbert

January 31, 2002|Lisa Dillman | From Staff and Wire Reports

Andre Agassi's season of upheaval continued Wednesday with the announcement of his split with longtime Coach Brad Gilbert, raising questions about Agassi's future in the game.

Though Agassi, 31, has not hit a ball in sanctioned tournament action in 2002, he already has made plenty of news. Earlier this month, he withdrew on the eve of the Australian Open with an injured right wrist and returned home. Gilbert and Agassi had forged a beneficial partnership, starting with a casual arrangement after a dinner in March 1994. Since then, Agassi has won six Grand Slam singles titles, including four in the last three years, became No. 1 and won an Olympic gold medal at Atlanta in 1996.

"Brad is clearly the greatest coach of all time," Agassi said in a statement from Las Vegas. "I have been lucky to have him as my guiding force during the past eight years of my career. More importantly, I am lucky that I have been able to call him friend for eight years and that our friendship remains intact."

There have been questions about Agassi's continued commitment to tennis after the Australian withdrawal. It is believed that the decision to make this split was made in the last couple of days.

"It has no ramifications on whether Andre is going to continue," said his manager, Perry Rogers. "It's a decision they made together. The last time he had to make a decision like this was in the spring of '94, and we thought he made an incredible decision."

Rogers said one option would be to go without a coach. Agassi's next event is in late February at San Jose. Rogers said the injured wrist is "better but still not 100%."

Lisa Dillman

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Top-seeded Donald Johnson and Jared Palmer defeated third-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan, 7-6 (4), 6-3, in the ATP World Doubles Challenge Cup at Bangalore, India.

In another Group A match, Ellis Ferreira of South Africa and Rick Leach defeated Chris Haggard of Britain and Tom Vanhoudt of Belgium, 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-3.

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Top-seeded Martina Hingis of Switzerland beat Marlene Weingartner of Germany, 6-1, 6-2, to advance to the quarterfinals of the Toray Pan Pacific at Tokyo. Alexandra Stevenson defeated Katrina Srebotnik of Slovenia, 6-1, 6-4.

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Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero, seeded No. 1, rallied for a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory over France's Julien Boutter in the Milan (Italy) Indoors.

Boxing

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a jury decision that gave former boxer Randall "Tex" Cobb a $10.7-million libel award against Sports Illustrated and its owner, Time Inc.

Cobb argued that Sports Illustrated and Time libeled him by publishing a story in the magazine's Oct. 4, 1993, edition reporting he knowingly participated in a fixed match that opponent Paul "Sonny" Barch had arranged to lose. The magazine also reported that Cobb used cocaine with Barch and Rick Parker, promoter of the Sept. 15, 1992, bout at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The court of appeals rejected the jury's January 2000 verdict because there was no evidence Sports Illustrated published the story with "actual malice" intent against Cobb.

College Football

Andy Ludwig, Fresno State's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the last four seasons, was hired as Oregon's offensive coordinator.... Third-string quarterback Tali Ena is transferring from Washington State to New Mexico.

Georgia Tech has admitted that another assistant had an error in his school-released biography.

Receivers coach Tommie Robinson, hired by new Coach Chan Gailey on Jan. 4, did not earn a master's degree from Troy State in 1987, as Georgia Tech originally said in its release.

Gailey's newly hired defensive coordinator, Rick Smith, admitted Monday he never played on the football and baseball teams at Florida State, as his biography claimed.

In December, former coach George O'Leary had to resign from his new job as Notre Dame coach after it was revealed he lied on his resume.

Arson charges against Kentucky redshirt freshmen Ben Scott and Jeremy Darveau were dismissed on the recommendation of prosecutors at Lexington, Ky.

But another redshirt freshman, Brett Hamblen, waived a preliminary hearing during a court appearance, sending his case to a Fayette County grand jury. He pleaded not guilty Dec. 13 to the arson charge.

The three were charged with first-degree arson after a Dec. 11 fire in a school dormitory that damaged a bulletin board but did not injure anyone.

Miscellany

Daniel Amokachi, 29, a forward on the Nigerian team that won the 1996 Olympic gold medal, was signed by Major League Soccer and assigned to the Colorado Rapids.... Defender Eric Dade, 32, is retiring, one week after the MLS' Kansas City Wizards acquired him from the Dallas Burn.... Michel Jourdain Jr. will drive this season for Team Rahal, joining former CART champion Jimmy Vasser on the two-car team.

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