Think of the top tennis players in the sport’s storied history, and names such as Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras come to mind. You’d be hard pressed to point out more influential superstars. Sadly, they’ve all retired.
Tennis icon Andre Agassi
Or have they?
Thanks to the seven-week 12-city PowerShares Series, these three tennis icons – along with aces Jim Courier, Michael Chang, Ivan Lendl and others – are still showcasing the talents that made them household names among tennis fans throughout the world. This year’s series, which includes events in Chicago, Detroit, Boston and New York, will wrap up on Nov. 30 at Anaheim’s Honda Center.
It’s no surprise that Orange County was chosen to host one of the PowerShares’ events, since for decades the area has been a hotbed of everything sports. (Just count the impressive number of O.C. athletes who competed in last summer’s Olympic Games in London; case closed.)
Each one-night tournament will feature four of the champions paired off in one-set semifinals. The two winners will meet in an eight-game pro-set match. Agassi, McEnroe, Courier and Chang will square off in Anaheim. After the PowerShare Series is completed, the top three athletes from the year’s pool will split a $1 million bonus, in addition to their appearance fees.
“We are thrilled to be coming to Anaheim,” says Courier. “The one-night shootout-style format makes for a big test for the players – and big fun for the audience.”
The first match (Chang versus Courier) will begin at 8:15 p.m. After Agassi and McEnroe have at it in the second semifinal, the two winners will face off at 9 p.m. Ticket prices range from $65 to $290. hondacenter.com
ALSO, CHECK OUT:
• Fight Club OC
Fists, feet, knees and elbows will be flying – with very bad intentions – when three events produced by Fight Club OC take place at the OC Fair & Events Center’s Hangar (Building 18). Both mixed martial arts and boxing bouts will take place on Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. MMA fights will take place on Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. And boxing matches will be featured the following day at 5 p.m. fightcluboc.com
Photo: Damian James
• John Wooden Classic
Although basketball legend John Wooden is no longer with us (the UCLA Bruins coach, who won 10 NCAA championships over a 12-year period, passed away at 99 two years ago), the annual tournament that bears his name is still going strong. The 19th Annual John R. Wooden Classic will take place at Honda Center on Dec. 1. This year’s event will pit the UCLA Bruins against the San Diego State Aztecs. Tickets run from $38 to $143. The action starts at 7 p.m. hondacenter.com