Wimbledon 99: McEnroe to partner Graf

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IN A pairing that should please the crowds like few others, John McEnroe and Steffi Graf are to play mixed doubles at Wimbledon.

McEnroe, 40, won the mixed doubles title at the French Open in 1977 but has not played at Wimbledon since 1992.

"I have a sense that something magical will happen at the final Wimbledon of the century," McEnroe said yesterday. "For a start, I'm back, better watch out... the partnership of John McEnroe and Steffi Graf might stir a little bit of interest. Obviously the girl needs help. I'll see what I can do.

"I'm flattered to be given this opportunity to play. She is one of the goddesses of modern tennis, one of the greatest athletes this sport has seen - and she wants to play with me! Let's go out and win it, Steffi."

In another dream pairing, Tim Henman and Andre Agassi contested a practice set on Court 9 yesterday. Agassi came back from 4-1 down in the tie-break to prevail, then met Henman at the net.

"Gimme some love," the Las Vegan said. "That was a great set."

Andrei Medvedev observed the pair, and was impressed, especially by the American. "I watched Andre practising against Henman, and he was moving really well," the Ukranian said. "In their first game, he broke Henman's serve at love. To do that in England, you're a god."