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July 23, 2014

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Did Andre Agassi have (Stefanie’s) skin in this game?

Image

Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi on the Andre Agassi Grand Slam red carpet at the Wynn on Oct. 9, 2010.

First, I’ll say I can’t believe that Andre Agassi would use a naked picture of his wife to boost the auction price for a fancy platter.

Second, I’ll say … I don’t know what else to say, actually.

But here goes:

Agassi wows the crowd

Over the weekend, it was reported that Agassi -- the tennis legend, ace philanthropist, maybe politician and one of the great public figures to come out of Las Vegas -- offered the viewing of a nude photo of his wife, Stefanie, to raise the price of an ornate plate being bid upon at a charity auction.

As the accompanying clip verifies, Agassi tells an audience at a charity event in Taiwan earlier this month, “You pay more than $4,000, and I will show you a picture of my wife, on my phone, naked.”

But it seems like the whole thing is an inspired piece of improv. Surreal improv, maybe, but comedy just the same.

A man identified as Franz Chen, CEO of the Taiwanese porcelain manufacturer Franz Collection Inc., is then shown joining Agassi onstage. Agassi shows him … some sort of eyebrow-raising image, and Chen giggles. He has since said he was not sure what he saw, only that the image was the back of a blond woman who happened to be unclothed.

“I couldn’t see her face,” the 60-year-old Chen is quoted by The Associated Press. “But she did have a pretty good figure, and it was a very artistic photo.”

Chen paid the equivalent of $7,000 for the plate. Agassi played former top-ranked Russian player Marat Safin the next day in an exhibition match, and Chen said he met Agassi again and, not referring directly to the phone photo, said, “I only complimented Agassi on the beauty of his wife. He was very happy to hear the compliment.”

Yeah, I’ll bet he never hears that one.

Agassi’s reps are not, uh, returning serve for comment.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats.

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