The Champions Tour tennis series has a new name – but the same familiar faces remain.
Led by Hall of Famer Andre Agassi, nine members of the 30-and-older set will participate in the PowerShares Series, scheduled for Oct. 13 through Nov. 30. Agassi will play the Las Vegas stop Nov. 17 at Mandalay Bay Events Center, along with John McEnroe, Michael Chang and Jim Courier.
Other participants on the tour will be Pete Sampras, Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander, Todd Martin and Patrick Rafter.
"It was a great way to stay connected to the game," Agassi said Wednesday, in recalling his experience from a year ago. "I enjoyed reconnecting with the guys and renewing some of the rivalries we had over the years. It was a lot of fun for me."
Last year, Agassi participated in the tour, and on Oct. 16, he and Sampras entertained 6,400 fans at the Thomas & Mack Center, with Agassi defeating Sampras in the final. The format remains the same for this year’s tour: a pair of semifinal one-set matches, with the winners meeting in the best-of-eight-games final.
There is $1 million in prize money at stake, with the top three finishers on the 12-stop tour earning a check. First prize is $500,000, with the season runner-up receiving $350,000 and the third-place finisher getting $150,000. A points system determines the standings, and whoever accumulates the most points over the six-week schedule wins the tour.
"When I saw the format last year, I thought it would work well for me," said Agassi, 42. "But when I saw it play out, I was really excited. The way the fans responded – we had a great atmosphere at the Thomas & Mack – I wanted to remain part of it.
"As a parent trying to raise two kids, it didn’t put a lot of stress on my schedule and, physically, it was spaced out enough to give my body enough time to recover. So I was looking forward to coming back and playing."
Agassi is scheduled to play five of the 12 events. McEnroe, despite being 53, is scheduled to play all 12 stops on the tour.
"When I came on tour, there was a lot of personality in tennis and it was a magical time," said McEnroe, one of the stars of the sport throughout the 1980s and into the ’90s. "People remembered that, and they’re wondering what happened. I think they appreciate what we did."
Tickets, priced from $61 to $291, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday at the Mandalay Bay box office and all Ticketmaster outlets, and at Ticketmaster.com.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.