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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sampras Vulnerable in Open After Bout With Influenza

COMBINED REPORTS


MELBOURNE -- The world's No. 1 tennis player, Pete Sampras, said Wednesday a recent bout of influenza has left him vulnerable to an early exit at next week's Australian Open.


Sampras, whose preparations for this year's first grand slam event have been disrupted by the illness, arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday and headed immediately to Flinders Park for a practice session on center court.


"In the first round I'm going to feel a little bit vulnerable because I have not played a lot of matches recently. We will just have to see what happens," Sampras told reporters later.


The American Davis Cup player said the illness forced him to withdraw from a warm-up exhibition event in Melbourne which began Wednesday.


"Probably I was in a little bit better shape physically coming down here last year," he said, referring to the 1995 Australian Open. He lost in the final that year to fellow American Andre Agassi. Sampras said he would work on his fitness and stamina before the Australian Open starts Monday.


Agassi proved Wednesday his full recovery from a chest injury as he began his preparations for the defense of his Australian Open tennis title.


The 25-year-old enjoyed a thorough workout lasting almost three hours before beating Australia's Pat Rafter in three sets at a warm-up exhibition event.


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Joint world No. 1 Monica Seles announced her return to tennis in Australia with an emphatic 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Belgium's Dominique Monami in the Peters International tournament in Sydney.


Seles completed the second-round match Wednesday with a minimum of fuss and showed glimpses of her clinical best as she routed Monami in 55 minutes. The match was Seles' first since her memorable U.S. Open final loss to fellow-No. 1 Steffi Graf last September.


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(For other results, see Scorecard.)