Three cities were in play when Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf started knocking around the idea of where they wanted to spend the rest of their lives.
The tennis greats began residing here in 1999. They celebrated their 10th anniversary last week.
“As I got closer to retirement (in 2006) and the kids got closer to school, we had to make a once-and-for-all decision on where we would make our home,” Agassi said by telephone on Thursday.
“We always loved New York City and San Francisco. That was something we had very much in common,” said Agassi, who hosts his 16th Grand Slam for Children benefit concert on Saturday at Wynn Las Vegas.
The third city in the mix, of course, was Las Vegas, where he was born and raised. He was given the middle name Kirk after his godfather, legendary casino developer Kirk Kerkorian, who helped the Agassi family during hard times.
At the time Andre and Stefanie were weighing their options, he owned a home in San Francisco “specifically for my training as it related to my on-court practice, because my coach lived up there and it was sea level and just a good environment to do my on-court training.”
When decision time came, it was love, set, match, Las Vegas.
“We didn’t hesitate at all,” Agassi said.
It has worked out for everyone, including hundreds of Agassi’s “kids.”
“Stef’s mom moved out here. Stef’s brother, with four children. My brother’s here. My parents are here, lots of cousins running around, lots of great people that we’ve grown close to, too many good friends” to leave.
“Where you live is very important. Who you live with is more important,” he added.
Saturday night figures to be a momentous occasion. Less than $8 million is needed to reach the $100 million threshold to “secure our school (Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy) in perpetuity and fund it forever.”
“That,” he said, “will be an amazing accomplishment, and it certainly will be an amazing celebration.”
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Flamingo headliner Marie Osmond was rushed to the ER after Wednesday’s show with a bronchial condition. But she bounced back and was ready to join her brother, Donny, for Thursday’s show.
MAY I RECOMMEND …
The red carpet for Agassi’s Grand Slam for Children runs from 5:30-6:15 p.m. Saturday outside the Mouton Room at Wynn Las Vegas. It is open to the public. Some individual seats ($1,250) are available for the celebration. The lineup includes Michael Buble, Jimmy Kimmel, Martina McBride, Smokey Robinson and Train.
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, dining Thursday with George Maloof at N9NE Steakhouse (Palms). … Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, at Las Vegan Clint Holmes’ “Remembering Bobby Short” show on Saturday at The Carlyle in New York. Before taking the stage, Holmes stopped in the restaurant to chat with old friend movie mogul Barry Diller, who was with Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King.
the punch line
“According to polls, (Texas Gov.) Rick Perry has now fallen to fifth place. You know who is in fourth place? Carrot Top.” — Jay Leno
Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.