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Agassi pulls out of Basel

The world number two announced his withdrawal on Friday Keystone Archive

American tennis star Andre Agassi has withdrawn from next week's Swiss Indoors tennis tournament in Basel.

Organisers at the country’s biggest annual sporting event said that Agassi had told them of his decision to pull out in a fax sent on Friday. The world number two has not yet given a reason for his late withdrawal.

Even without Agassi’s participation the line-up in Basel remains strong, with world number one Gustavo Kuerten among three top ten players taking part. World number ten Pete Sampras, 13 times a Grand Slam champion, was given a wild card entry on Friday.

Preparing to make his third appearance in Basel, the 1996 champion is still looking to garner enough points to qualify for the season-ending Masters Cup tournament in Sydney.

Federer seeded fifth

Local hero Roger Federer will be seeded fifth for his hometown tournament, behind Kuerten, Britain’s Tim Henman, Sampras and Spain’s Alex Corretja. Switzerland’s Michel Kratochvil and George Bastl are also taking part, along with former Swiss number one Marc Rosset who was offered a wild card entry following Agassi’s withdrawal.

The organisers of the Basel tournament are expecting an unusually large crowd for the opening weekend’s qualifying tournament. As well as offering a line-up which includes several players from within the top 100, officials have invited some 3,000 local politicians to the event. The invitation was made as part of the celebrations for Basel’s 500 years membership of the Swiss federation.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR