One week removed from winning his 59th career title, retirement has crept just a bit farther from the thoughts of Andre Agassi.
The seemingly ageless 34-year-old is coming off a victory last Sunday over 23-year-old Lleyton Hewitt in the final of Cincinnati's Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.
"I don't think much about it to be honest," Agassi said before the main draw kicked off in this year's Legg Mason Tennis Classic. "When the time comes, it's going to let me know. This is the time for me to work and prepare and try to compete with some of the best players in the world. That's taken all my energy. I don't have time to think about much else."
Agassi, who takes on Paul Goldstein today in his first-round matchup, has won the Legg Mason five times, the most recent coming in 1999. Goldstein, a District native and Rockville resident, met Agassi once before at the Legg Mason, suffering a 6-3, 6-2 defeat in the round of 16 in 2000.
Agassi has had an up-and-down year, reaching the semifinals in both the Australian Open and the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, Calif., but losing in the first round of the French Open to Jerome Haehnel, ranked No. 271 in the world, in May.
Since Agassi hasn't recently seen the results he's been expecting, the victory in Cincinnati helped give him a boost in the weeks leading up to the U.S. Open later this month.
"I've been training hard, putting myself in position to play well, practicing really well, working hard," Agassi said. "Just struggling a lot with confidence. You can't get confidence unless you win matches, but sometimes you can't win the match unless you have the confidence. It's a difficult place to be in."
In the first Center Court contest of the day, Sjeng Schalken pulled out of his first-round match, citing fatigue, after losing the first set to No. 162 Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.
Schalken came out for the second set and won the first game before leaving the court. Earlier this year, Schalken withdrew from the French Open with a viral infection, ending his streak of playing in 35 straight Grand Slams.
The illness has continued to bother him, causing him to retire early from the RCA Championships in Indianapolis in mid-July.
The 27-year-old played poorly in losing the opening set, especially struggling with his first serve. Looking stiff and immobile, Schalken could only hold serve in a single game.
Gimelstob Out in 3 Sets
Justin Gimelstob lost in three sets to Alejandro Falla, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. In the only doubles match of the day, Jordan Kerr and Jim Thomas beat Antony Dupuis and Cyril Saulnier, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. . . .
Michel Kratochvil, Harel Levy, Nenad Zimonjic and Yeu-Tzuoo Wang moved on from the final round of qualifying into the main draw.