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October 1, 2014

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Andre Agassi takes center court at Governor’s Mansion

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf on the red carpet for the 2012 Keep Memory Alive “Power of Love Gala” tribute to Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012.

2011 Andre Agassi Grand Slam: Red Carpet and Show

The Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children red carpet and benefit gala at Wynn Las Vegas on Oct. 29, 2011. Performers included Jimmy Kimmel, Smokey Robinson, Martina McBride, Jeffrey Ross, Train, Signature and Michael Buble. Launch slideshow »

Sometimes the nuttiest ideas also are the most inspired. Turning a common pair of tube socks, the type you’d buy in a three-to-a-pack plastic bag at Target, into pure genius in a Strip production show is such an example.

Someday we might say there is brilliance behind the idea of a tennis champ running for governor. But we are not there yet, much to my unyielding chagrin.

What these ground strokes are setting up is that it is once more time to hit up Andre Agassi about his political aspirations. Of course, he has none, but so what? Agassi is fearlessly charging the net, as it were, Friday night as he visits the Governor’s Mansion in Carson City.

But Agassi’s trek north is not to visit Gov. Brian Sandoval, sad to say, though the two have bonded over their shared interest in education, tennis history and … well, galas. Instead, the International Tennis Hall of Famer and lifetime Grand Slam champion has been recruited to be the keynote speaker at the 46th annual Governor's Dinner in Carson City.

The event is a big fundraiser for a Nevada university — UNR, specifically. Aside from the location of the gala, the Governor’s Dinner is not a political event, per se. But Agassi’s appearance at the Governor’s Mansion was announced about a month after I wrote a column in The Sunday dissecting his viability as a potential candidate for public office.

Today, I asked Agassi what subjects he was going to broach during his speech.

Turns out, it’s not really a speech.

“It’s more a Q&A, and you’ll never know what they’ll ask,” he said in a text volley. “I can assume with a sports crowd they’ll ask about my time on and off the court. Who knows what good story I will give them?”

I invited Agassi to prep for the Q&A session, asking him in text, “If you had one match you could replay, which would it be and why?”

He quickly fired back the return.

“My most regretful match was Steffi, 1992 Wimbledon Ball … where I dropped the ball.”

The two were champions that year and were paired at the Champions Ball, posing for photos with their respective trophies. Agassi had expected that the two would dance together, as part of the long tradition of the tournament that called for the two champs to embrace during the tournament-capping event. Agassi was disappointed the dance was not part of the formal program — and never did ask Graf to dance that night.

“That cost me seven great years,” he says today.

But Agassi has since made up for lost time. “True that,” he said in his tiny typing.

And about his political plans?

“If I declare my candidacy, the governor will be the first to know,” Agassi said.

Well, as long as he’s in the neighborhood …

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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