We’re studying up on our tennis rules in preparation for the Champions Series Tour that’s on it’s way to cities across the country. To help us get warmed up, we had the opportunity to ask an insider at the tour some of our biggest questions.
Rue La La: Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Bjorn Borg, Michael Chang, Mats Wilander. We’re a little starstruck. What can we expect on the court from these names?
Champions Series Insider: First and foremost, you’ll see great tennis from these legends of the game. All of these champions are active players who love to compete with their rivals and given their competitive nature and the bonus pool of $1 million on the line, you should expect to see some great tennis. Don’t be surprised if you get a little chatter between the players between points though – they do like to needle the other player or engage with the audience when they get a chance.
Rue La La: So you’ve been organizing the Tour for the past five years – you must have seen some great moments. Any particular favorites?
Champions Series Insider: The best moments have been when the great rivalries get together again, like Borg and McEnroe. Seeing those icons across the net from each other is magical.
Rue La La: We’re sure you get access to some great behind-the-scenes action. What’s the quirkiest backstage ritual you’ve seen a player do?
Champions Series Insider: Watching McEnroe get stretched pre-match is highly entertaining as the tour trainer makes John look like he’s a contortionist. That may not be quirky but it’s an awesome sight. Agassi is a perfectionist and very particular about his rackets and how they are prepared/placed in his bag. He won’t let anyone touch them once it comes close to match time, so if you want to have some fun, try to pick one of his sticks up and watch him react.
Rue La La: What’s the vibe like at these tours?
Champions Series Insider: The vibe for the crowd is one of excitement and energy. The event production is really cool and high-energy, with video culled from the players’ careers playing on the JumboTron. The tennis level is very high and fun for the crowd and players alike. The vibe for the players is a good one as well – everyone is happy to compete and see their peers. Of course, after the matches it can be a bit trickier since there can only be one winner each night and they’re all super competitive, but they do all get along.
Rue La La: There’s obviously a lot of back-and-forth at a tennis match. Where’s the best place to sit?
Champions Series Insider: It really is case-by-case. My preference is on the baseline but I know many people who swear by the sideline seats.
Rue La La: What are five essentials that everyone should toss into their bags to bring to the tournaments?
Champions Series Insider: 1) A digital camera to get some great pictures. 2) Sharpie pen to get an autograph that won’t fade. 3) Champions Series program or picture of your favorite player to get signed. 4) Extra room to take a souvenir shirt home in your bag.
Rue La La: We’re offering packages that get Members a chance to meet the players. What kinds of questions would you ask these all-stars?
Champions Series Insider: The guys all have photographic memories about matches so I would suggest having specific questions on what Agassi was feeling when he was a game away from winning his first US Open or what Sampras remembers from the Davis Cup final in Russia when he was cramping up as he won the match. Those kind of questions are winners and guaranteed to get great responses from the players.
Our Champions Series Tennis: A Coast-To-Coast Tour Boutique opened, Monday, August 29, 2011.