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Game, Set, Rain-Out at Andre Agassi Farewell Tour

September 20, 2010

Heavy rains resulted in the cancelation of the Costa Rica event on the Andre Agassi Farewell Tour, scheduled for Saturday night at the Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium in Alajuela, northwest of San José. The tour, which was to feature matches between tennis legends Agassi and Pete Sampras and former women’s pros Anna Kournikova and Ashley Harkleroad, will be rescheduled within the next two months, said Andrés Navarette, the president of the Addictive Entertainment Group, the event’s organizer.

Hundreds of disappointed fans draped in colored ponchos stood outside the stadium for hours on Saturday afternoon and early evening, waiting for an update on the status of the event. The stadium doors were scheduled to open at 2:30 p.m., although by 7 p.m. no official announcement had been made.

“We’ve been here since 3 p.m.,” said Mario Barrantes, who stood under his green umbrella near the closed entrance to the stadium. “When we got here, no one told us anything about why the doors were closed. Now, four hours later, we still know the same thing we knew then – nothing.”

Around 8 p.m., two hours after the scheduled start of the event, Navarette held a press conference inside a covered area of the stadium to announce that the event would be canceled. He explained that his group had hoped to reschedule the event for Sunday morning, although due to prior commitments of the players, that proved to be impossible.

“Sampras has a flight at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, and Agassi’s flight is scheduled for early in the day as well,” Navarette said. “Although we’d like to play the match tomorrow, the player’s flights cannot be changed. We are going to try to reschedule the match within the next two months, possibly coordinating with the tour’s visit to Panama, which is scheduled for Dec. 5.”

Navarette also said that fans whopurchased tickets for the event will be reimbursed should they not be able to attend the rescheduled date.

While the main event of the Farewell Tour was canceled, earlier in the day all four former pros participated in a feel-good game with dozens of children at the tennis courts of Club Cariari in Ciudad Cariari, northwest of San José. During the two-hour event in the morning sun, Agassi and Sampras played against several young Tico tennis players, while Kournikova and Harkleroad squared off against several young Ticas. After the light volley sessions with the kids, all four players took pictures and signed autographs with the young players and their families.

The Andre Agassi Farewell Tour, which visits seven Latin American countries, is being organized to raise money for international educational charities. Agassi, who retired from professional tennis in 2006, established the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education in the U.S. in 1994 to support public education.

In 2009, Agassi released a tell-all book “Open” about his playing career, his love-hate relationship with tennis, his brief use of the drug crystal meth and his use of a toupee for several years. During his 20-year professional career, Agassi won eight Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal in 1996 for the United States. Both Agassi and Sampras were ranked as the world’s top player during a portion of their careers.

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