It’s June, there’s love in the air and the new sensitive Andre Agassi is waxing romantic.
After waxing Patrick McEnroe, of course.
The top seed won his second-round match against McEnroe 6-1, 6-1, 6-3, with his actress girlfriend Brooke Shields watching from the Centre Court seats.
British reporters were quick to note that Shields was wearing a ring matching one that Agassi wears on his little finger.
“They are just rings that we got a while back, after we had been together for a year or so,” Agassi said. “There are two bands that are brought together with two hearts and a little diamond and every year we add a diamond and two hearts and the bond gets stronger as the years go on.”
A reporter then asked: “Are there wedding bells in the air?”
To which Agassi replied: “We are getting a little too carried away here.”
Agassi then was asked whether the idea of marriage appealed to him.
“Believer in marriage? Certainly,” he said. “I mean, I’m a believer in love, and marriage is something I think that has been tainted over the years. With the high divorce rate, who knows what anybody considers marriage anymore, but love I believe in.”
It was suggested that Shields once said she’d like to get married when she’s 30. She’s now 30. “She’s never said that to me,” Agassi said. “I have zero comment.”
Kiss and make up
Tim Henman, disqualified for slamming a ball into the head of ball girl Caroline Hall, was fined $3,000 Thursday by the All England Club. He also apologized to the girl with kisses.
The 20-year-old Briton, fined $1,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct and $2,000 for defaulting the match, became the first player disqualified at a Wimbledon match in the Open era Wednesday when he accidentally hit the 16-year-old during a doubles match.
In a photo opportunity arranged by Wimbledon organizers, Henman handed Hall a bunch of flowers, put his arm around her and kissed her four times.
Hall, who was allowed the day off her duties, accepted the apology.
“It was a bit of a shock and my head is quite sore,” she said. “I know it was a complete accident and I was very unlucky, as was Tim.”
So long, Jo
Jo Durie has a Wimbledon title. She once beat Steffi Graf to reach the quarterfinals and gained the semifinals of both the French and U.S. Opens in 1983. She is not the biggest name in world tennis, but after 18 years in the game and a decade as No. 1 in her country, she is a star in success-starved Britain.
That’s why Durie received a standing ovation on Court No. 1 Thursday when she made her Wimbledon farewell. Durie lost 6-2, 6-2 to fourth-seeded Jana Novotna, but it was the loser who got the biggest cheers.
“I felt full of joy because I was so pleased that I made it to the second round on a big court,” Durie said. “I loved it. I enjoyed it so much out there today, that I wish it could have gone on forever.”
Would you have any Grey Poupon?
Tradition dictates that titled personages sit in the Royal Box at Centre Court. But at least one King chose to sit in the press seats - Wayne Gretzky.
Gretzky said he had just been in Rome, where he had been blessed by the Pope.
The Great One sat with wife Janet Jones in the media section, unnoticed by the Fleet Street tabloid writers who had descended on Wimbledon on Thursday to ogle Shields.
Some reporters sat in the press section and spent the entire match gazing at Shields through binoculars, even though she was sitting only 20 feet away.
Meanwhile, in the Royal Box, the Duke and Dutchess of Kent entertained a large group of well-dressed society folk. With the temperatures in the high 80s, the Duke elected to leave his suit coat on. Unfortunately for his male guests, that meant they were expected to wear their coats, too.
Oh no, not you again
A day after they figured in the longest women’s match ever played in a Grand Slam tournament, Chanda Rubin and Patricia HyBoulais were on opposite sides of the net again, in doubles.
On Wednesday, Rubin beat Hy-Boulais 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (7-5), 17-15 in a second round match that went a record 58 games and lasted 3 hours, 45 minutes.
Thursday’s doubles match was a lot shorter. Rubin teamed with Linda HarveyWild to beat Hy-Boulais and Australia’s Catherina Barclay 6-4, 6-2 in only one hour to reach the second round. That was less than half the time it took Rubin and Hy-Boulais to play the third set in singles.
Learning to love
America’s top women’s player is learning to love Wimbledon’s grass courts.
“If you hit a good shot, you’re rewarded,” Lindsay Davenport said. “I’m getting used to these courts.”
Thursday, No. 7 Davenport led the parade of women’s seeds into the third round when she defeated Florencia Labat, 6-1, 6-1.
With two impressive victories - she defeated Gigi Fernandez in the first round - Davenport is lurking in the top of the draw as a possible challenger for the title.
“Realistically, I don’t know what my chances are,” she said. “I’m still getting used to the grass.”
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Day Four Results: Men’s singles: No. 1 Andre Agassi, No. 3 Boris Becker, No. 7 Wayne Ferreira advanced. Women’s singles: No. 1 Steffi Graf, No. 4 Jana Novotna, No. 6 Kimiko Date, No. 7 Lindsay Davenport, No. 10 Natasha Zvereva and No. 13 Mary Joe Fernandez advanced. Upsets: Petr Korda defeated No. 5 Michael Chang; Cedric Pioline defeated No. 11 Jim Courier; Dick Norman defeated No. 13 Stefan Edberg; Jeff Tarango defeated No. 15 Andrei Medvedev; and Yone Kamio defeated No. 16 Helena Sukova. Stat of the day: With only seven men’s seeds remaining, it marks the fewest number to advance to the third round at Wimbledon in the Open era in a year when there were 16 seeds.