Agassi fined $25,000, not suspended

January 09, 1991

LONDON -- Andre Agassi's tempestuous relationship with the tennis establishment cost him a record $25,000 fine yesterday, but he escaped suspension from this year's major tournaments.

Agassi was fined the maximum for pulling out of the inaugural Grand Slam Cup in December, a controversial $6 million tournament boycotted by some other top players.

The Grand Slam Committee also had the power to ban Agassi from one or more of this year's Grand Slam events -- the Australian, French and U.S. opens and Wimbledon -- but decided not to impose such a penalty.

Committee administrator Bill Babcock said the $25,000 was the heaviest fine imposed on a tennis player for misconduct.

"It's the largest major offense code of conduct penalty ever imposed," he said. "There is no precedent for this."

Agassi, who earns more than $3 million annually in prize money, endorsements, guarantees and appearance fees, said that he would accept the penalty.

"I hope the ITF's ruling will put this matter behind me and I sincerely apologize to tennis fans who have been subjected to this confusing ordeal," he said in a statement.

Agassi originally signed to play in the Grand Slam Cup, but pulled out a month before the 16-player tournament and ridiculed it as nothing more than a lucrative exhibition.

The world's fourth-ranked player changed his mind two weeks later, after the International Tennis Federation threatened punishment, and asked to be readmitted to the event.

But he pulled out again a few days later because of a chest injury suffered during the Davis Cup final against Australia.

"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 in a telephone interview. "What intervened was an injury.

"This injury prevented him from otherwise trying to repair the injury caused by his broken promise. In that case, the serious penalty of suspension is inappropriate."

Babcock said a suspension "would have been wholly justified" if Agassi had not sought readmittance to the tournament.

Agassi said he was anxious to return to tennis "as soon as I can do so without risk of further injury."

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