Agassi's 1st-round win is start on the right foot

August 30, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- It was with a sigh of relief that Andre Agassi removed his black and white tennis shoes and hurled them to the fans surrounding Stadium Court at the U.S. Open.

"I've lost in the first round each of the last two years and today I was playing a guy I had never seen play before," Agassi said. "I had no idea how he played, so it is nice to get through it."

He got through it with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 victory over Robert Eriksson, a 22-year-old Swede who had qualified for his first Grand Slam-level event.

Agassi was happy with his victory, but more than willing to take on the Association of Tennis Professionals officials.

"I'm just afraid the ATP is not as much the players' tour as they are leading the public and the players to believe," he said.

Two weeks ago, Agassi, the most nontraditional player on the tour, had complained loudly about "disruptive" music being played during match changeovers at tour events.

Yesterday, he was unfazed by the jets overhead, a loud siren screaming for several minutes before being turned off or the fans who yelled and got into the match.

"People talking, people yelling, people getting into the match, those disruptions, all those things that can disrupt your concentration are part of the sport," Agassi said. "But taking people out of a match by giving them a concert between the games is something I am glad wasn't happening out here.

"The reason people come to tennis matches is for the tennis," he added. "If we feel we have to give them, besides tennis, some kind of magic show on the changeover, if we have to bring in some kind of models to walk around with scorecards, I mean, things like that, it's just not respecting the game."

He said he isn't complaining because the music disrupted his concentration, but because it disrupted the concentration of the fans.

"The music totally isolates the people from what they are there for," he said. "By the time you get up and go back to serve, no one really remembers what took place the past two games. You've ruined the whole momentum of the match."

And Agassi was irked because the idea of having music at the ATP Tour events never was discussed with the players or voted on by the players.

"Not only did we not vote on the music," he said. "But when I asked if we can get the music turned off, we couldn't. And I don't understand that."

Singular Grand Slams

Could four different women win Grand Slam singles title in one year? Or will Steffi Graf (Australian), Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (French) or Conchita Martinez (Wimbledon) earn her second?

Yesterday, Sanchez Vicario advanced with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Linda Ferrando, and Martinez breezed through her match with Veronika Martinek, 6-1, 6-0.

Graf plays today.

"I don't even want to think about winning the whole thing," said Martinez. "It's so far away. But I like any kind of surface and I think I am playing pretty good. I've improved my serve a little bit and since winning Wimbledon I have more confidence.

"But will I win? You never know. I prefer not to talk about it."

The bottom line

U.S. Tennis Association president "Bumpy" Frazer yesterday defended the Super Saturday lineup that features the men's two semifinal matches and the women's final.

The men complain because they don't get a day off between the semifinals and final. The women complain because with their match scheduled between the two men's semifinals, they don't have a specific starting time and could wind up waiting for hours.

"We want to get the game of tennis as much exposure as we possibly can," said Frazer. "And the fact is that more fans can watch those events on Saturday and Sunday than they can any other day of the week."

When asked if the bottom line is that "TV dictates the whole deal," Frazer balked, saying the USTA does what's best for tennis.

Goldstein beaten

Paul Goldstein of Rockville lost his first-round match to Ronald Agenor of Haiti, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

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