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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Agassi out for second year in row

Associated Press

LONDON – Andre Agassi withdrew from Wimbledon because of an injury for the second straight year Tuesday, leaving fans to wonder whether they’ll see him play again at the All England Club.

The 1992 Wimbledon champion and 1999 runner-up sent a fax to the grass-court Grand Slam tournament saying he was out.

An exact injury wasn’t announced by organizers, and Agassi’s agent didn’t immediately return phone messages. But Agassi was hobbled by an inflamed nerve in his back during his 7-5, 4-6, 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-0 loss to qualifier Jarkko Nieminen in the first round of the French Open last month.

“It was getting worse by the minute,” the 35-year-old Agassi said after that loss in Paris. “I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty after that. But I didn’t want to walk off. I just didn’t want to do it.”

He endured discomfort in his back for months and considered quitting against Nieminen when leading two sets to one.

Also, 14th-ranked Elena Bovina of Russia withdrew from Wimbledon with a shoulder injury.

Gambill closes in on qualifying

Spokane’s Jan-Michael Gambill moved within one win of advancing to Wimbledon by outlasting Andrea Stoppini of Italy 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (11-9) during the second round of the qualifying tournament at the Bank of England Sports Club in Roehampton, England.

Gambill, 28, who once played in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, will play Israel’s Noam Okun for a spot in next week’s main draw.

“I have had a problem with my shins for the past two years and it is hard for me to train the way I need to,” Gambill said. “I have beaten most of the guys in the top 50 and been in the top 50 myself, but I just barely missed getting directly into Wimbledon and that is why I am here.”