Agassi elected to Hall of Fame

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Newport (Rhode Island), Jan 20 (AFP) Eight-time GrandSlam singles champion Andre Agassi, among only seven men toachieve a career Grand Slam, has been elected to theInternational Tennis Hall of Fame, officials said.

Agassi''s induction ceremony will be conducted July 9 atthe Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, during the ATP Hallof Fame Championships grass-court event. He will be the onlyenshrinee in the recent player category.

Former world number one Agassi, the husband of 2004Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Steffi Graf, announced the honorat Agassi Prep, the public charter school he founded in LasVegas in 2001 for at-risk youth.

"I''m truly honored to be recognized alongside thegreatest players of tennis," Agassi said. "My tennis careerafforded me the opportunity to make a difference in otherpeople''s lives and it was truly special to share this excitingmoment with the students of Agassi Prep.

"Tennis has given me everything in my life. It has givenme my wife. It has given me my life''s work by allowing me theresources to build this school."

The 40-year-old American topped the rankings for 101weeks and went 870-274 with 60 titles in his career, includingfour Australian Opens, two US Opens, one Wimbledon and oneFrench Open plus the 1996 Olympic singles gold medal.

Agassi''s 1999 French Open triumph gave him a career GrandSlam and made him the first such man to have won the titles onthree different surfaces -- grass, clay and hardcourt.

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, RodLaver and Fred Perry are the other men to complete the careerGrand Slam.

Agassi, who played for Davis Cup-winning US teams in 1990and 1992, turned professional at age 16 in 1986, won his firstATP crown the following year and retired in 2006 after athird-round loss at the US Open.

Agassi won Australian Open titles in 1995, 2000, 2002 and2003, the US Open crown in 1994 and 1999, Wimbledon in 1992and the French Open in 1999.

"During his 20-year career Andre Agassi recorded some ofthe most incredible achievements in tennis," Hall of Famechairman Christopher Clouser said.

"The energy and excitement that he personally brought tothe game inspired generations of players. Andre is a truechampion of the game and we are delighted to honor him for hiscontributions and achievements." (AFP) AH

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