The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Homesick Agassi back on court

Houston: Andre Agassi is clearly homesick. He is spending almost as much time holding a telephone these days as he is swinging a racquet while preparing for his first ATP event since the birth of his daughter Jaz.

Agassi is here, working out for the season-ending ATP Masters Cup, an eight-man singles showdown that begins on Monday and will decide the year-end world No.1 for the fourth year in a row. Steffi Graf, is at home in Las Vegas with Jaz, born October 3, and their two-year-old son Jaden Gil.

“I’m calling home very often,” Agassi told The Houston Chronicle.

“I’m missing them. My two-year-old — when you spend two years with a child, you don’t remember life before them, so to be away is tough.”

Agassi must also face a new problem — “My wife has less time for me,” Agassi said. “With one, you could always be on the phone. But with two, if it’s not one thing, it’s another.

“One of them is demanding immediate attention for some sort of drama. So I have to pay my dues and deal with it.”

Australian Open champion Agassi was drawn into a tough group for the Masters Cup. He will join Wimbledon winner Roger Federer, French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero and Argentina’s David Nalbandian.

At least one Grand Slam champion will fail to advance from the round-robin play into the semi-finals.

This will be Agassi’s first ATP appearance since losing to Ferrero in the US Open semi-finals two months ago.

“Once the Open was over with, I just felt that my year was over,” Agassi said.

Agassi underwent an intense fitness programme while awaiting his daughter’s birth.

“I would rather be at home with my family and enjoy the time and try and create a way of life that allows me to do this longer,” Agassi said.

Agassi is pleased the Masters Cup is being held in the US for the first time since 1989. Last year’s event was contested in Shanghai.

“I enjoy it here. It’s a heck of a lot better than Shanghai, in my opinion, where you have to travel halfway around the world,” Agassi said. “Travelling-wise, it has made a lot of sense to me.”

Agassi spent 14 weeks this year ranked No.1. He won four titles, including the Australian Open, Miami, San Jose and Houston, beating top-ranked Andy Roddick in the US men’s claycourt finals here in April.

“The last half was disappointing,” Agassi said. “I have just been fighting off just tedious body aches and sort of felt like a couple times I was spinning my wheels.”

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