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Agassi May Be Courting His Wife

January 22, 2003|Lisa Dillman

MELBOURNE, Australia — Andre Agassi enlivened an ordinary day here when he told of a bet he'd made with his wife, Steffi Graf. If Agassi wins the Australian Open, she will have to play mixed doubles with him at the French Open.

The news broke late Tuesday when Agassi did an interview with retired Australian doubles star Mark Woodforde, telling him about the bet. The information then was posted on the Australian Open's official Web site. Agassi, who defeated Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean in the quarterfinals in straight sets, is two matches away from winning his fourth Australian Open.

In the semifinals, the 32-year-old Agassi faces another contemporary, 31-year-old Wayne Ferreira of South Africa.

"If I win here, Stef has to play doubles with me in Paris," Agassi told Woodforde. "You can print that and I'll hold you to it."

Paris was the site of Graf's last Grand Slam singles title in 1999, which she won the day before Agassi's five-set victory in the men's final. Graf retired later that year, in August, and shortly thereafter news of her relationship with Agassi became public. They married in October 2001 and have a child, Jaden Gil.

Graf last played mixed doubles with John McEnroe at Wimbledon in 1999, and they reached the semifinals before Graf pulled out. McEnroe still brings that up from time to time, as he did last week, making an indirect reference to the incident in an interview with Lleyton Hewitt.

On Tuesday, McEnroe asked Agassi if he still hit with Graf.

"You should see her at 33," Agassi said. "She always wins. The problem is, I can't keep my eye on the ball."

-- Lisa Dillman

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