Agassi keeps his aim on Wimbledon

June 14, 1993|By New York Times News Service

He may be wearing even more white than is necessary, in the form of a bandage to soothe his ailing right wrist, but Andre Agassi, the undisputed peacock of the male tennis circuit and the unlikely defending champion of Wimbledon, has vowed to return to the scene of his greatest triumph and attempt to defend his first and only Grand Slam crown.

On June 20, Agassi, who transcended his baseline heritage last year to defeat Goran Ivanisevic in a stirring five-set Wimbledon final, expects to commence his title defense despite being unable, as recently as last Monday, to hit his favorite stroke, the forehand blast, because of pain in his right wrist.

But after a blazing nocturnal workout in Las Vegas on Saturday, Agassi pronounced himself fit to return to competition, which he'll do today at a grass-court tuneup in Halle, Germany. The strenuous practice session, his first since April, served as a test vehicle to determine the effectiveness of a cortisone injection Agassi received last Monday.

"The pain is the indicator, and if the cortisone worked, I shouldn't have any pain, and right now the wrist feels good for the first time I can remember," Agassi said by from his home in Las Vegas Saturday night.

"Now the decision comes down to me, to try and get through one or two rounds in Germany and see if the wrist can handle the big punishment -- it's an all-or-nothing thing," Agassi said. He described his treatment as a last-gasp attempt to solve his problem before resorting to surgery to remove the scar tissue that has formed around "slight tears" in the wrist ligaments.

"And the next step is amputation," joked Agassi, 23, who described himself as being terrified before Saturday's workout and infinitely relieved afterward.

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