[The Nicks Fix]

Sports Illustrated
August 31, 1998
Catch you later

Agassi passing up Davis Cup match to tend annual charity

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Passing up next month's Davis Cup competition was a tough call for Las Vegas resident Andre Agassi, but he said he had no choice when it came to scheduling his fourth annual Grand Slam for Children benefit concert.

"It came down to a case of not what I wanted, but when the arena was available, and when the stars were available," Agassi said of the timing for the annual charity benefit bearing his name.

Agassi, 28, elected to pass up Davis Cup play in Milwaukee next month to be in Las Vegas for his annual charity event. He is in Flushing, New York this week participating in the U.S. Open, where he is the No. 8 seed.

The Grand Slam is scheduled September 26 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here and will feature Robin Williams, Mick Fleetwood, Lionel Richie, Dennis Miller and Stevie Nicks. David Foster, the 14-time Grammy Award-winning producer, arranger and composer, will return for his fourth year as musical director. Other stars are to be announced later.

The annual benefit is the main fund-raising project for the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which the hometown tennis star founded in 1994 to provide recreational and educational opportunities for at-risk boys and girls.

The event raised $1.9 million in its inaugural year, $2.7 million in 1996 and $3 million last year.

The money has gone to build a recreation and education building and tennis courts for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada, as well as eight classrooms at Child Haven, a facility for abused and neglected children.

"It's a great place for children to learn while they are away from parents who may be on drug rehab or going through family court," Agassi said of the Child Haven facility. "These kids may be put away for months at a time, and it's not their choice.

"I've received hundreds of letters from the kids and it never ceases to amaze me. When the kids talk of that as being the best place of their day, it says something. It gives them a sense of purpose, a sense of place."

Agassi spends considerable time not only promoting the charity events, but mixing with the young benefactors. He says his financial and time commitment is the result of an early promise he made.

"I promised myself when I was young that if I succeeded, I would give something back, I'd find a way to make a difference," Agassi said. "You can change people's lives a million ways. You can change a person's life with something as simple as a smile."

Thanks to Victoria Herrick for sending this article to The Nicks Fix.
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