Agassi's first-round match Tuesday

Andre Agassi will play his first match at Wimbledon since 2003 Tuesday as does No. 6 Venus Williams, the only American seeded in the women's draw.

Originally Published: June 25, 2006

TALK OF THE TOWN

WIMBLEDON, England -- Officially the fortnight gets under way Monday with 64 men's and women's singles matches. Unofficially, the tournament started Saturday when 1992 Wimbledon champ Andre Agassi announced that his 13th Wimbledon would be his last, and that the U.S. Open would be his last tournament. (Agassi never used the word retirement during his news conference.)

The eight-time Grand Slam champion chose Wimbledon as the place to make the announcement since this is the site of his first major title ack in 1992. As for how he wants his final Wimbledon to end, Agassi said: "Yeah, I could think of a nice ending here at Wimbledon."

Andre Agassi
AP Photo
Andre Agassi is 44-12 in his career at the All England Club.
While a possible third-round match with Rafael Nadal could happen next weekend, first Agassi must get past Boris Pashanski in the first round and then either Andreas Seppi or Jamie Baker in the second round.

Agassi's first-round match is scheduled for Tuesday.

"He's a great champion. He's great for the game," said 2005 women's champion Venus Williams, who plays her first-round match against Bethanie Mattek on Tuesday. "I admire that he's always done things his way despite what the establishment may have said how he should do it."

"Well, I think it's sort of nice to have some sort of an announcement so you know it's the last time he's showing up anywhere, added No. 1 seed Roger Federer. "Look, obviously we are losing a big legend of the game, so it's never pleasant, but I think he's had a terrific career. I was lucky enough to play against him. Maybe we'll play more, maybe here, maybe down in America.

"But, yeah, definitely a great career."

DAY 1: WHAT TO WATCH


Gilbert: I'm interested in seeing how James Blake is playing because I think he has a chance to do some serious damage here. The one match I want to see is Tim Henman vs. Robin Soderling. Henman, Soderling and Richard Gasquet are three of the most dangerous floaters in the field. It will be interesting to see how Tim plays because everyone has him penciled in to play Federer, but Soderling is a good player. And I think Gasquet is going to give No. 1 Roger Federer some trouble.

Fernandez: I think Martina Hingis (vs. Olga Savchuk) likes playing on the grass, although she can get overpowered by it and her serve is a liability. But she can come in, use her drop shots and serve and volley even with her serve. Then there's the two Beligans, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne. I dont think there's a favorite going in, although Venus Williams -- having won three Wimbledon titles -- is probably the one to beat. After her it would have to be Henin-Hardenne because she's coming in with so much confidence. Clijsters has the toughest first-round match of all the seeds in Vera Zvonareva. A dangerous player all the time now is Svetlana Kuznetsova, who plays Romina Oprandi. Kuznetsova hits the ball hard which is key on grass.

DAY 1: WHAT TO WATCH


Gilbert: I'm interested in seeing how James Blake is playing because I think he has a chance to do some serious damage here. The one match I want to see is Tim Henman vs. Robin Soderling. Henman, Soderling and Richard Gasquet are three of the most dangerous floaters in the field. It will be interesting to see how Tim plays because everyone has him penciled in to play Federer, but Soderling is a good player. And I think Gasquet is going to give No. 1 Roger Federer some trouble.

Fernandez: I think Martina Hingis (vs. Olga Savchuk) likes playing on the grass, although she can get overpowered by it and her serve is a liability. But she can come in, use her drop shots and serve and volley even with her serve. Then there's the two Belgians, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne. I dont think there's a favorite going in, although Venus Williams -- having won three Wimbledon titles -- is probably the one to beat. After her it would have to be Henin-Hardenne because she's coming in with so much confidence. Clijsters has the toughest first-round match of all the seeds in Vera Zvonareva. A dangerous player all the time now is Svetlana Kuznetsova, who plays Romina Oprandi. Kuznetsova hits the ball hard which is key on grass.



PHOTO OF THE DAY
Officials and crew
AP Photo/Alastair Grant
Grounds staff help test the electronic system that tells if the ball is in bounds or out on Center Court. The system is undergoing tests for future use at Wimbledon, but will not be used during the tournament.

STAT OF THE DAY
3 -- The number of Grand Slam match wins Andre Agassi needs to pass Ivan Lendl for second on the Grand Slam match wins list.
1. Jimmy Connors, 233-49
2. Ivan Lendl, 222-49
3. Andre Agassi, 220-51
QUOTE OF THE DAY
When asked if she had proved everything in winning last year's Wimbledon, Venus Williams said: "I'm not in the proving business, but I am in the business of playing very good tennis -- particularly at Wimbledon."