MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) _ Andre Agassi was ranked 141st in the world in 1997 before he began his remarkable career resurgence.
Agassi has won five of his last 15 major tournaments, the latest triumph coming in the Australian Open. Agassi needed only 76 minutes to beat Germany's Rainer Schuettler 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 early Sunday.
Now comes another challenge for Agassi: Coaxing his wife, Steffi, out of retirement. Graf, who won 22 Grand Slam titles _ 14 more than her husband _ said she would play mixed doubles with him at the French Open if he won the Aussie.
Graf hasn't played since retiring in July 1999, weeks after winning her sixth French Open title. She and Agassi married in 2001, and they have a 15-month-old son, Jaden Gil.
``I don't think anybody appreciates how hard this is going to be for me to get her out there,'' Agassi said.
Agassi, 32, held up his end of the deal by carving through the competition at Melbourne Park, even before the final. He won 18 straight games in a 6-1, 6-0, 6-0 second-round win over South Korea's Lee Hyung-taik, and he lost just 48 games in all seven of his matches.
The 26-year-old Schuettler, seeded 31st and playing in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal, was outmatched from the start. Agassi won the first eight points before hitting a backhand long, prompting Schuettler to raise in arms in mock triumph. Schuettler held service four times the entire match.
``Over the past two weeks, I've been hitting the ball better than I ever have. I feel stronger and better. It's a great feeling to work hard and have it pay off,'' Agassi said.
Schuettler said he's never faced a better player.
``It's as if he puts you on a carousel and you just can't get off,'' he said. From the first point on, I was under pressure. It's a bit disappointing to play a final and lose easy like that.''
Agassi, the oldest man to win a Grand Slam singles title since Ken Rosewall won the Australian in 1972 at age 37, makes some concessions to age.
While he is ready to work hard for major tournaments, he is not interested in ``grinding through a lot of different circumstances and difficulties'' to pursue the No. 1 ranking again, he said.
``No. 1 will be a result of a lot of things going right, and it's a long year,'' said Agassi, who is ranked second behind 21-year-old Lleyton Hewitt.
Besides, Agassi said, ``the year is a complete success for me now. I'm over the moon with it.''
Receiving his trophy, he told the center court audience, ``There's not a single day that's guaranteed or promised to us, and certainly days like this are very rare.''
Agassi said he now regrets not playing more often in the Australian Open, where he has won four titles _ 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2003 _ in seven outings.
He missed last year's tournament after injuring his right wrist on the eve of the tournament. He said it left him ``very much scared for my career,'' and now he always wears tape on the wrist. Psychologically, it feels good to have a little support there,'' he said.
He still won five tournaments last year and made it to the U.S. Open final, losing to Pete Sampras. Agassi also said he was proud of beating Hewitt in the semifinals there.
``He is one of those guys that is looking to push the standard of tennis,'' Agassi said. ``To beat him in a big match is a great result.''
Agassi's ranking plummeted in 1997. He missed the Australian because of his marriage to actress Brooke Shields. Agassi also skipped the French Open and Wimbledon because of a wrist injury.
But at age 29, he won the French Open and U.S. Open in 1999 _ the same year his marriage ended. He then added his three most recent triumphs at the Australian Open, where the bouncy Rebound Ace court ``fits my game really well.''
His eight Grand Slam titles tie him for sixth-most with Rosewall, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Fred Perry.
Agassi also is the fourth man to win at least four Australian titles. Roy Emerson had six, and Rosewall and Jack Crawford won four each.
By losing only five games, Agassi matched the most lopsided victory ever in an Australian Open final _ John Hawkes' 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 defeat of Jim Willard in 1926. Overall, it was the most lopsided Grand Slam men's final since John McEnroe lost just four games to Connors at Wimbledon in 1984.
Schuettler got a free pass into the fourth round when 2002 runner-up Marat Safin withdrew with a wrist injury. In the semifinals, Schuettler overcame Andy Roddick 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. The 20-year-old American had worn himself out and hurt his wrist during a 4-hour, 59-minute victory over Younes Al Aynaoui.
Schuettler said there was one positive aspect to getting beaten by Agassi: ``I think everyone's looking forward to the French Open,'' Schuettler said at the trophy ceremony, drawing laughs from Agassi, Graf and the fans.
Graf isn't as thrilled about playing at Roland Garros, Agassi said later. ``Hopefully, I'll have 50 years with her to be mad at me about more things,'' he said.
Citing his inexperience in doubles and his reluctance to hit aggressively at women, Agassi said he and his wife have little chance of winning the mixed doubles in Paris, ``but I guarantee you, you would see a big smile on my face.''