Australian Open Notebook
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) _ Andre Agassi has talents off the court, as a fundraiser.
In a syndicated newspaper column, former pro Pam Shriver paid tribute to the No. 1 seed for staging a charity concert last year in his hometown, Las Vegas, that raised almost $4 million.
``He has won humanitarian awards for helping disadvantaged youth,″ Shriver said. ``It is an admirable record of putting other people first in a sport where you live and survive by what you achieve.″
Agassi faces third-seeded Pete Sampras in the semifinals Thursday.
FORM BOOK: Julie Halard-Decugis is the yardstick by which Australian Open champions can be measured, according to her husband and coach, Arnaud Decugis.
Decugis said Lindsay Davenport should be the clear favorite to win the opening Grand Slam of the year after thrashing ninth-seeded Halard-Decugis 6-1, 6-2 in a quarterfinal.
``Julie was beaten by (Monica) Seles in the quarters here in ’93 and Seles went on to win the title,″ he said. ``In ’94, she was beaten by (Arantxa) Sanchez-Vicario here, and she went on to win it.″
``And you know what? She was beaten today by the woman who is going to win the title here this year.″
WOODIES: Winning back-to-back doubles titles to open the year, Australian duo Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge are in good shape to snare their ninth Grand Slam doubles title and their 55th as a combination.
The Woodies, as they’re known Down Under, are chasing the record of 57 doubles titles shared by Peter Fleming-John McEnroe and Bob Hewitt-Frew McMillan.
The pair also have an unparalleled Davis Cup doubles record of 14-2.
Their record-chasing run may be coming to an end, with Woodforde, 34, retiring from Davis Cup after Australia’s triumph last year and decreasing his workload on the tour this year.
BAD DAYS: Chris Woodruff will never forget the unlucky sports injury which kept him off the ATP tour for a year and saw his ranking slide from No. 30 to No. 1,342. Nor will Richey Reneberg.
Worse than that, their injuries had nothing to do with tennis.
In January 1998, the pair took a break from routine tennis stuff in Atlanta and decided to kick field goals for a bit of fun. Woodruff sprained his left knee and had to undergo arthroscopic surgery. Reneberg injured his shoulder.
``We were near a football field and he (Reneberg) had a football,″ Woodruff said. Going out to practice kicking field goals was ``just a mistake I made.″
``He injured his shoulder, I think, throwing them back to me, so it was kind of ... not a good idea.″
While Woodruff made a sparkling return to the big time, ousting No. 1 Briton Tim Henman in the fourth round before losing a quarterfinal to third-seeded Pete Sampras, Reneberg had his worst season as a pro last year and slumped to 200th in the rankings.