Tennis: Illness Hinders Sampras' Plans

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Pete Sampras is suffering from flu and has withdrawn from a warm-up event in Melbourne this week, but the world No 1 is still set to play in next week's Australian Open, the year's first Grand Slam event.

"Pete has a high temperature and is sick with a fever," said Jeff Schwartz, Sampras's personal manager. "Pete saw the Colonial Classic as the key element to his Australian Open preparation and is bitterly disappointed." Schwartz said that Sampras has been advised by doctors not to fly until his condition improves.

Andre Agassi said yesterday he has fully recovered from a nagging chest- muscle injury and is ready to defend his Australian Open title.

The American arrived in Melbourne to complete his preparations for the tournament and was confident about his prospects. "It's nice to be healthy again, feeling ready, and to start off here is a good feeling for me," he said.

Agassi will play in the eight-man Colonial Classic event which runs from tomorrow to Saturday at Kooyong to round off his build-up. His injury ruled him out of the Davis Cup final against Russia in Moscow last month, and he said lack of match fitness was his major concern.

Belgium's Sabine Appelmans failed to last the distance in a marathon battle with Mariaan De Swardt of South Africa in the Peters International tournament. …