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Agassi set to make competitive return

ANDRE Agassi is making a return to competition starting with the American-based World Team Tennis next month.

The 39-year-old Agassi will play two league matches for the Philadelphia Freedoms in July before moving on to additional tournaments this year.

"It's been a few years since I've sort of been connected with the game in any direct kind of way, and that's been a little unsettling for me," he said on Wednesday. "I took time away when I retired to try to figure out how I can best engage with the game and do it in a way that made the most sense, or where I could possibly have some more impact.

"And that has not been so easy, with all of my responsibilities, to sort of figure out."

Agassi has devoted himself to humanitarian causes for the past three years, opening a tuition-free charter school for children and a Boys & Girls Club that promotes athletics and education.

His career earnings and endorsement money allowed him to enjoy the kind of lifestyle where he could extend the time and resources needed to his charitable causes. Agassi has an admitted soft spot for children and recently spoke at the commencement for the inaugural graduating class of the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas. He said all 34 graduates of the public charter school will attend a two- or four-year college.

Retirement did more than give Agassi a sense of an almost normal life.

It gave him a platform to advocate change and awareness in the educational system.

Agassi wants to make tennis a priority again. He and wife Steffi Graf played in some exhibitions under Wimbledon's new Centre Court roof last month, but the closest he's come to whacking balls on a court is with his kids or Graf.

"Tennis was a bit of a missing piece," he said. "It's a sport that I've played my whole life and there are people that I've known my whole life, and there's things that still can be done in it.

"I just feel really motivated to be good to a game that has been good to me."


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