LONDON, JAN. 8 -- Andre Agassi's tempestuous relationship with the tennis establishment cost him a record $25,000 fine today, but he escaped suspension from this year's major tournaments.
Agassi, the fourth-ranked player known for his flamboyant apparel and outrageous image, was fined the maximum for pulling out of the inaugural Grand Slam Cup in December, a $6 million tournament boycotted by some top players.
"I hope the ITF's ruling will put this matter behind me and I sincerely apologize to tennis fans who have been subjected to this confusing ordeal," Agassi said in a statement.
The Grand Slam Committee also could have banned Agassi from one or more of this year's Grand Slam events -- the Australian, French and U.S. opens and Wimbledon. Agassi said he won't play in the Australian Open.
"It's the largest major offense code of conduct penalty ever imposed," said committee administrator Bill Babcock. "There is no precedent for this."
Agassi signed to play in the Munich event but pulled out a month before the 16-player tournament and ridiculed it as nothing more than a lucrative exhibition. He changed his mind two weeks later, after the International Tennis Federation threatened punishment, and asked to be readmitted. But he withdrew again a few days later because of a chest injury suffered during the Davis Cup final against Australia.
"Once this investigation is complete you discover he clearly broke his word and broke his promise, but then he clearly tried to fix it," Babcock said. "What intervened was an injury. This injury prevented him from otherwise trying to repair the injury caused by his broken promise. In that case the serious penalty of suspension is inappropriate."
Boris Becker, John McEnroe and Mats Wilander turned down invitations to the event, with Becker saying the amount of money offered was "perverse."
The Association of Tennis Professionals opposes the tournament.
"I've been sidelined for five weeks already and I'm anxious to start my 1991 schedule," concluded Agassi's statement.