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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Agassi Completes Grand Slam in Paris




PARIS -- The Old Guard prevailed in the French Open, with Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf staging stirring comebacks to capture crowns neither thought were still within their reach.


Agassi was on the verge of defeat Sunday after winning only three games in the first two sets against Ukraine's Andrei Medvedev. Yet the American found the inspiration and the desire to come back and secure a piece of tennis history.


Agassi's 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 victory made him only the fifth man to complete a career Grand Slam by winning all four majors - Wimbledon and the U.S., Australian and French Opens.


He is in some illustrious company. The others to accomplish the feat are Fred Perry, Don Budge, Roy Emerson and Rod Laver. Budge and Laver did it in the same year.


"To be assigned a place with some of the game's greatest players is an honor I'll have the rest of my life,'' Agassi said, fighting back tears, his voice shaking. "I can't believe I can join that company.''


Graf also was in tears after beating top-ranked Martina Hingis 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 Saturday, storming back after Hingis had been three points away from victory in the second set.


"Amazing,'' the German star said after capturing her 22nd Grand Slam title "This is the most incredible memory I'm going to have looking back on my career.''


Graf had not been in a major final since 1996, when she swept Wimbledon, the French and the U.S. Open. She had gone through surgeries, countless injuries and an eight-month layoff to heal her battered body. She had not won an event this year.


But she beat the 18-year-old Swiss star who had ended Graf's record 377-week reign as No. 1 in 1997 in a turbulent match that saw Hingis come within one code violation of default.


Agassi was No. 1 in 1995, only to drop to No. 140 two years later, playing minor events. He had wrist surgery, but he also seemed to lose interest in the game.


After following up his 1992 Wimbledon victory with the U.S. Open title in 1994, he had not won a major since the 1995 Australian Open.


He came to Paris at a difficult time in his personal life, having filed for divorce from actress Brooke Shields after two years of marriage. Yet he survived the two weeks and seven matches, coming from behind in four of them.


Agassi became the first man to complete a Grand Slam on three different surfaces - red clay, grass and hard courts. In the old days, all majors except the French Open were played on grass.