Agassi bolsters his country's Davis Cup hopes

Andre Agassi is still able to carve out time to play for his country.

Agassi, a member of three United States Davis Cup champion teams, will join Andy Roddick and the doubles team of Mike and Bob Bryan as they try to end the US’s losing streak.

The US face Croatia in the opening round in Carson, with matches beginning on Friday and running through the weekend. The Americans haven’t won the Cup since 1995, their longest drought in 68 years.

Agassi, approaching 35 and a family man who likes to spend time with wife Steffi Graf and their two kids, obviously feels the team spirit again.

“I think that when you get older, your capacity to embrace special moments grows,” Agassi said on Tuesday. “I certainly feel that way this week.

“Coming here, I even requested from the home front a few extra days to be able to enjoy being around the guys and getting to know them better.
That speaks to my enthusiasm about this environment and how much I’ve missed it.”

Agassi, who turns 35 in April, obviously is having fun around his younger teammates.

“I feel like I’m still learning from these guys, which is a good feeling,” he said.

Asked what he’s learning, Agassi grinned, shook his head and said: “I can’t really say what I want to say. I’m learning a lot.”

Roddick chimed in: “He’s just trying to be nice.”

Agassi hesitated to commit to Davis Cup because he was unsure whether he would be able to play all the rounds if the US advance. Team captain Patrick McEnroe, however, convinced him he could play whenever his schedule and family life permit.

Then Agassi had to talk to the other team members.

“For me, it was about making a phone call to all of the guys and hearing it from them, if it was something that they feel wouldn’t undermine their goals or the team spirit,” he said.

“And when I got that support, it was the best of both worlds for me. It allows me to be a part of it again.”

His teammates certainly are pleased.

“We’re ecstatic about it,” Roddick said. “We knew it was a possibility and we always hoped that possibility would become a reality. I know myself, Bob and Mike, we all really idolised this guy growing up, so now it’s pretty surreal.

“We are excited. Anything that we can get to help our cause and reach our ultimate goal of winning this thing is great.”

Agassi is 30-5 in Davis Cup play, and this will be his 10th time on the American team.

Croatia, who eliminated the US in the first round in 2003 in Zagreb, will be led by Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic.

They likely will play doubles as well as singles.—Sapa-AP

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