- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 29, 2006

Several top-ranked players have officially withdrawn from the upcoming Legg Mason Tennis Classic in the District because of various injuries.

Mario Ancic, ranked No. 8 in the world and a previous candidate for a top seed at the tournament, withdrew because of continuous lower back pain. Ancic has not competed since falling to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

Nicolas Kiefer, No. 19, is still recovering from wrist surgery. No. 31 Jonas Bjorkman (inflammation of arm and shoulder), No. 43 Fabrice Santoro (elbow), and No. 70 Greg Rusedski (hip) will all miss the Legg Mason as well.

Xavier Malisse, who is tied for third in the U.S. Open Series Challenge, also has notified tournament officials he will not be playing. Malisse advanced to the semifinals of the RCA Championships in Indianapolis last week where he fell to eventual champion James Blake, 3-6, 6-2, 1-6. Ranked No. 38 in the world, Malisse lost to Andre Agassi in the first round of the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles on Monday. Agassi cruised past Malisse in straight sets, 7-6 (10), 6-0.

With six players having already withdrawn from the Legg Mason, tournament officials were focused on the event in Los Angeles, where fan favorite and No. 10 Andy Roddick strained his back Thursday night in a 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-2 second-round victory over wild-card Scott Oudsema. Roddick withdrew yesterday before his scheduled quarterfinal match against Dmitry Tursunov.

The extent of his injury remains unclear. Roddick has until the start of first-round matches on Monday to withdraw from the Legg Mason.

The ATP allows players to back out of commitments without a financial penalty if a doctor confirms their injury.

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