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Tennis aces predict thrilling exhibition on Saturday

2012/05/25 20:47:58

Taipei, May 25 (CNA) Four Grand Slam winners on a two-day visit to Taiwan showed their humorous side Friday while coaching teenagers at Taipei Arena and predicted exciting games on Saturday after years of separation on court.

For Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis and Goran Ivanisevic, the "Rise of Legends Taiwan 2012" matches were destined to bring back memories of heated encounters in the old days.

"I predict I will not see Ivanisevic's serve," Agassi said at a press conference, teasing the Croatian star who said earlier that it would be hard for any active tennis player to break his 1996 record of 1,477 aces in a season.

Agassi said that games between him and Ivanisevic were always unpredictable, adding that "partly it was my fault, partly it was his fault."

Not to be outshone by the eight-time Grand Slam winner, Ivanisevic said he took much pride in his serve and joked that he might go back to the court again next year to break his own record.

The more modest Graf and Hingis, meanwhile, said they were very happy to return to the court and play each other again.

Describing her feelings about encountering Graf again, Hingis, known as the Swiss Miss, said she felt as if it had been ages since they played last time.

Graf, who is married to Agassi, jokingly took issue with her husband after learning that last year, when he was auctioning off a signed souvenir for charity, he offered a bidder a peek of her naked picture.

"We have another auction tonight, right?" she said. "Perfect. I have some photos too."

In addition to promoting the upcoming games, the foursome all agreed that Taiwanese people were passionate and friendly.

"Everyone was there at 5:30 a.m., waiting at the airport," Hingis said, referring to the 50 fans that greeted her Friday morning.

"Playing here was a good memory for me," Agassi said, adding that he talked a lot about Taiwanese people's hospitality to convince his wife to come this time.

The tennis superstars will attend a welcome cocktail party later in the day before taking part in the exhibition at Taipei Arena.

Graf will face Hingis and Agassi will face Ivanisevic before the four play a mixed doubles match.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)