Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sampras, Courier and Agassi to play in fall Champions Series

Feuding stars Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi will hit the road this fall as part of the expanded tennis Champions Series. They'll be joined on the tour by Bjorn Borg, Michael Chang, Jim Courier, John McEnroe and Mats Wilander, each of whom will take turns playing in one-night, four-man tournaments in 12 U.S. cities over a five-week span.

At the end, the three top finishers will share a $1 million prize.

In a conference call with reporters, Courier, one of the owners of the firm putting on the events, said the tennis will be serious and the atmosphere laid back. "From an entertainment standpoint and the bells and whistles, [it will be] a lot like going to a basketball game, an NBA game, or a hockey game," he said. "There'll be a lot of energy, a lot of music, a lot of use of the JumboTron to keep people entertained in between games when we're sitting down."

The tour will hit ATP mainstays like New York, Washington and Los Angeles while also stopping in cities without professional tennis events.

Agassi said he struggled in his last big match (against Sampras at Madison Square Garden) but thinks the level of play will be high because of the prolonged schedule. "We can all still play pretty darn well if we're healthy and we feel good," he said. "It's just the recovery that we all seem to recognize gets tougher as we get older."

Tickets go on sale Monday.

2011 Champions Series Schedule

September 22 — Fort Lauderdale, FL — Bank Atlantic Center — Sampras, McEnroe, Courier, Chang

September 23 — Washington D.C. — Verizon Center — Agassi, Sampras, Courier, Chang

September 24 — Philadelphia, PA — Wells Fargo Center — Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier

September 30 — Minneapolis, MN — Target Center — Agassi, McEnroe, Courier, Chang

October 1 — Boston, MA — TD Garden — Agassi, McEnroe, Courier, Chang

October 8 — Phoenix, AZ — Surprise Stadium — Sampras, Wilander, Courier, Chang

October 13 — Seattle, WA — Key Arena — Sampras, McEnroe, Courier, Chang

October 14 — Los Angeles, CA — Staples Center — Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier

October 15 — Las Vegas, NV — Thomas and Mack Center — Agassi, Sampras, Courier, Chang

October 20 — Chicago, IL — United Center — Agassi, McEnroe, Courier, Borg

October 21 — St. Louis, MO — Chaifetz Arena — McEnroe, Borg, Courier, Chang

October 22 — Buffalo, NY — HSBC Arena — McEnroe, Borg, Courier, Chang

Total appearances: Courier, 12; Chang, 9; McEnroe, 9; Agassi, 7; Sampras, 7; Borg, 3; Wilander, 1

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