Andre Agassi has enjoyed the experience of being a father to his two children. But he also has missed entertaining tennis fans since retiring in 2006.
Now the Las Vegas legend will be able to enjoy the best of both worlds. Agassi will participate in the revamped Champions Series Tour this fall and he won't have to spend extended time away from his wife, Steffi, son Jaden and daughter Jaz.
"This allows me to balance being a parent and being able to still play," Agassi said Tuesday on a conference call with Jim Courier as the official announcement of the 12-stop tour was made. "I don't have to be away from home as much, and that's a good thing."
Agassi, who turned 41 on Friday, has committed to playing in seven of the 12 events. Agassi, Courier, Pete Sampras and former Henderson resident Michael Chang will compete in Las Vegas on Oct. 15 at the Thomas & Mack Center. The tour begins Sept. 22 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and wraps up Oct. 22 in Buffalo, N.Y.
The format will consist of four players competing in two one-set semifinals with the winners meeting in an eight-game pro-set final. Players receive points based on their performance, and there is $1 million in prize money to be shared by the top three finishers in the cumulative point standings. Other former stars scheduled to play are John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg and Mats Wilander. Combined, the seven tour participants have won 52 Grand Slam singles titles.
Agassi, who will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on July 9, said the tour's format and participants made it attractive to him.
"One of the upsides of this particular series is it allows me time to get my body used to it," said Agassi, who battled back problems late in his career. "The other thing that makes it attractive is getting back together with the guys. I missed that part."
Agassi got a taste of what the tour will be like when he faced Sampras in an exhibition match Feb. 28 at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in New York. Although he lost in straight sets, Agassi thought he still could compete at a high level.
"Playing Pete has always pushed my buttons and has motivated me to push myself," Agassi said. "That night definitely had some influence on my decision. But it's also an opportunity to give back to the game and maybe get more rackets in the hands of kids."
In addition to Las Vegas, Agassi is scheduled to play in Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Chicago.
"It'll be a lot like going to an NBA or NHL game," Courier said. "There'll be a high level of energy and entertainment inside the arena."
Tickets for the Las Vegas stop are $35 and will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday at the Thomas & Mack box office and online at unlvtickets.com.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.