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Agassi Is Given $25,000 Fine, but Gets No Suspension

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Andre Agassi found out Tuesday what his tab was for pulling out of last month’s Grand Slam Cup: $25,000.

The International Tennis Federation, which runs the $6-million special event, fined Agassi the maximum allowed under its rules but chose not to suspend him from any of the year’s four major tennis events.

The ruling amounts to a mere slap on the wristband for Agassi, 20, who earns more than $3 million annually in prize money, endorsements, guarantees and appearance fees. For more than three weeks, the federation investigated Agassi’s troubled relationship with the first-year Grand Slam Cup, to which he committed himself, then withdrew, then tried to re-enter when threatened with lawsuits, then quit for good after being injured in the Davis Cup final.

Although the federation also threatened Agassi with suspension from the French Open, the Grand Slam Committee took a more lenient approach, citing the chest muscle injury Agassi suffered in St. Petersburg, Fla., on the last day of the 3-2 Davis Cup victory by the United States over Australia. The decision also represents a change of heart by ITF Administrator Bill Babcock, who said he would limit the scope of his investigation to Agassi’s initial entry and subsequent withdrawal and would not give weight to the injury.

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“Once this investigation is complete, you discover he clearly broke his word and broke his promise, but then he clearly tried to fix it,” Babcock said. “What intervened was an injury. This injury prevented him from trying to repair the injury caused by his broken promise. In that case, the serious penalty of suspension is inappropriate.”

The No. 4-ranked Agassi has been at odds with the federation, which governs the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. At the 1990 French Open, Agassi clashed verbally with ITF President Philippe Chatrier, who criticized Agassi’s neon-colored tennis clothes. Agassi called Chatrier “a bozo.”

As it stands, Agassi is free to play in Paris and is considering a return to Wimbledon.


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