December 5th, 2014

Friday Tennis Blog: Agassi Busts Some Sticks in IPTL Debut

Friday Blog

IPTLAGASSI BREAKS THINGS UP IN IPTL DEBUT — DJs blare music, scantily-clad cheerleaders dance, players high five during the abbreviated-scoring matches and there is a shot clock between points. You get to watch Maria Sharapova and Andy Murray play mixed doubles, and other team play you don’t get to see on tour. What’s not to like about the new International Professional Tennis League (IPTL) being played in Asia? A rusty Andre Agassi made his debut yesterday, smashing a racquet after his second straight loss and admitting he had problems adjusting to the shot clock and no-ad scoring. “I wasn’t fond of it being so full-on and competitive,” he said. “So I would have to make some adjustments and change how much I play so I can flat-out compete and make somebody else look s****y.” Agassi competes in the legends match for his team, with current tour players Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic also posting in Asia for a reported appearance fee up to $1 million per match. During the four-city tour’s second stop, league founder and player Mahesh Bhupathi said the league will next year expand to two additional teams and cities.

spongebob meme dream workTHERE IS NO “I” IN “TEAM” — Seeing some of the top pros cavorting in Asia at the International Professional Tennis League has reminded fans and journalists how much fun team play can be. From the new IPTL to Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Hopman Cup and World TeamTennis at the pro level, to K-12 tennis, college and USTA League at the amateur level, team tennis is where it’s at. Kids on teams in Florida can also choose from Junior Team Tennis leagues and events such as Team Tennis Challenges. Even the WTA tour is contemplating starting their own team event, much to the dismay of the ITF as it would compete with the Fed Cup.

orange bowl federerPLAY “GUESS THE EVENT” — Can you guess the famed junior tournament that future No. 1s Chris Evert, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, and Jim Courier won on clay, and future No. 1s Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and and Caroline Wozniacki won when it was held on hardcourt? Think about it…give up? It’s the Orange Bowl in Plantation, Fla., regarded as the longest-running international junior tennis tournament in the world. It starts next week, Dec. 8-14, 2014 at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center. Get off the couch and go catch some future No. 1s in action, or get the results by signing up for the USTA Florida Weekly E-News here.

Federer, Monfils, Sampras, Ivanovic Team Leading IPTL

The team of current players Roger Federer, Gael Monfils, Ana Ivanovic and Rohan Bopanna, legend Pete Sampras, former player Fabrice “The Wizard” Santoro, and current doubles stand-out Sania Mirza are leading the inaugural International Professional Tennis League (IPTL), in the second of its four legs through Asia.

Capitalizing on the U.S. World TeamTennis format founded by legend Billie Jean King, the IPTL harnesses massive star power due to a reported $25 million-plus in guarantee money to stars such as Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, in addition to getting legends such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Patrick Rafter off the couch.

League standings through Thursday according to the IPTL website:

1. Micromax Indian Aces — 20 points
Roger Federer, Gael Monfils, Pete Sampras, Rohan Bopanna, Fabrice Santoro, Ana Ivanovic, Sania Mirza

2. UAE Royals — 17
Novak Djokovic, Marin Cilic, Goran Ivanisevic, Caroline Wozniacki, Malek Jaziri, Nenad Zimonjic, Kristina Mladenovic

3. Manila Mavericks — 17
Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Daniel Nestor, Carlos Moya, Maria Sharapova, Kirsten Flipkens, Treat Huey

4. DBS Singapore Slammers — 14
Tomas Berdych, Lleyton Hewitt, Nick Kyrgios, Andre Agassi, Patrick Rafter, Bruno Soares, Serena Williams, Daniela Hantuchova

They Said It

ferrerll and blake“One job that would definitely keep me in tennis is that [USTA] Player Development job because I do feel like there are ways I would be able to help and be impactful as a former player. I’m still at least somewhat recent enough that people would know who I am and hopefully have some respect for what I did on the court, and hopefully listen to the ideas I have from seeing what the USTA Player Development had done well and had done poorly. Hopefully fix the things that have been done poorly and stick with the things that do work.”
James Blake speaking to

“There’s a lot of upsides in this for me. Watching the sport go to places where there should be tennis and enthusiastic fans who can enjoy a format that is motivational to the younger generation in these cities, in these communities. It’s great for them and for the players, acting like a team out there.”
— The 44-year-old Andre Agassi on competing in the new International Professional Tennis League (IPTL) in Asia

“The women is an area that I’ve got to get more into. Over the next two months I’m going to have to really dig deep into that, because it’s probably an area that I have not been exposed to very much.”
— Former world No. 1 Patrick Rafter on being named the director of performance for Tennis Australia, in charge of the country’s professional development, speaking to the Melbourne Age

Tennis on TV This Weekend

TV multi colorFriday
TBA — International Professional Tennis League (live), Pay Per View

TBA — International Professional Tennis League (live), Pay Per View

TBA — International Professional Tennis League (live), Pay Per View