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Graf must go to prison

German prosecutors dealt injured tennis star Steffi Graf a new blow yesterday when they said her father would go to jail in the next two months, for at least a year, for millions of marks of tax evasion.

Prosecutors and defence lawyers both said they had withdrawn their appeals challenging the verdict against Peter Graf, 58, handed down by a court in Mannheim in January, meaning the sentence is now legally binding.

The court sentenced Graf to three years and nine months after convicting him of evading and trying to evade 12 million marks in taxes on Steffi's earnings, but he was freed pending the appeals.

Prosecutors, who originally deemed the sentence too lenient, said they had dropped an appeal because they had found no legal errors in the court's written verdict.

"Peter Graf has prepared himself to complete the remaining part of his sentence. Because the taxes were already paid long ago, the matter will soon be laid to rest." Graf's lawyer, Franz Salditt, said.

The decision provides another setback to the former world number one, who is out of action because of a serious knee injury.

Her father has been the most important figure in the life of the 28-year- oldf, who first started playing the game when she was hardly bigger than a tennis racket.

Prosecutor Horst Kuehner said it would be six to eight weeks before Peter Graf would have to go to prison because of legal formalities