Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick -- the oldest American man ever to finish among the top four men's tennis players in the world, and the youngest American man ever to finish number one -- are coming to volley in the Valley this week. But forget about Andre versus Andy. What about their celebrity girlfriend rivalry, Steffi versus Mandy? Will it be a love-love match or a catfight at center court? Either way, local fans are in for a great week of championship men's tennis at the Franklin Templeton Tennis Classic, Monday, March 1, through Sunday, March 7.
Roddick (pictured), the 2003 U.S. Open champion, and Agassi, a four-time champion at the tournament, are vying with a number of rising tennis stars, including James Blake and Taylor Dent, for a portion of the $380,000 purse.
Raise a racquet to cheer for your favorite players at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess' 5,000-seat tennis stadium. Tickets, $14 and up, are available through Ticketmaster at 480-784-4444 or www.ticketmaster.com. For general tournament information, call 480-922-0222 or visit www.scottsdaletennis.com. -- Susan Tully
Athletes hit the water running
At first glance, the equally taxing activities of running and swimming seem to have but one thing in common: You'd have to be crazy to pursue either one with any regularity. Still, there are those who, for whatever reason, insist on taunting the rest of us by continuously testing their mental and physical limits. For them, we have but one word: aquathlon. One part run, one part swim and two parts insanity, the aquathlon makes its Valley debut at "Splash and Dash" at 10 a.m. Saturday, February 28, at Tempe Town Lake, 620 North Mill in Tempe. In the first of eight such events scheduled through June at the lake, the fittest among us -- physically, at least -- will tackle a 500-meter swim, followed by a 5K run. For details call 480-226-4729 or visit www.redrocktriathlon.com. -- Craig Wallach
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The Inning Crowd
Spring training descends on the Valley
As professional baseball warms up for the season, local fans want to see how it'll play in Peoria. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, February 28, the West Valley's sultans of spring return to Peoria Sports Complex for Fan Fest 2004. The Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres start out swinging, practicing at 10 a.m. and noon, respectively. When they're not on the field, players will meet and greet the public and sign autographs. Welcome the boys of summer, tour the stadium and grab a preseason hot dog. Parking and admission to Fan Fest are free; the Sports Complex is located at 16101 North 83rd Avenue in Peoria. For more information, call the Peoria Events Hotline at 623-773-7198. -- Kim Toms