Local tennis fans will have a chance to see some of the sport's legendary players in action later this year at The Arena at Gwinnett Center.
The PowerShares Series Tennis Tour, formerly the Champions Series, announced Wednesday that it plans a Duluth stop on its 12-city schedule this year. The Gwinnett event, dubbed the Champions Shootout, will be Nov. 10 and will feature four former World No. 1 players — Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Jim Courier and Mats Wilander.
It's the third tennis event that the Arena has hosted, joining the Atlanta Slam showcases in 2007 and 2008. Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m.
"We can get emotional for short bursts of time," Courier said of the tour during a Wednesday conference call. "We're all unfortunately competitive beasts. We can't turn that switch off. At the same time, I have an appreciation of what these guys have meant to my personal and professional life. I don't have many people in the world that I have more shared experiences with than the guys on the PowerShares Series.
"It's fun to go out, have a reunion of sorts and compete at level I'm not embarrassed by."
IF YOU GO
What: PowerShares Series Tennis Tour's Champions Shootout
When: Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Arena at Gwinnett Center
The PowerShares Series, for tennis Grand Slam champions and former No. 1 players over 30, will feature $1 million in prize money, with each one-night tourney featuring four top players. They will be paired off into one-set semifinals at each stop, culminating with the winners competing for the title in an eight-game, pro-set championship match.
The series begins Oct. 13 in Surprise, Ariz., followed by stops in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia, New York City and Tampa before the Duluth tourney. It concludes with events in San Jose, Las Vegas, Denver and Anaheim.
In addition to the four players scheduled for the Gwinnett stop, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras (last year's tour champion), Michael Chang, Todd Martin and Patrick Rafter are scheduled to play some PowerShares events.
The Duluth tourney will feature three top Americans, including the popular Connors, whose 1,337 wins are the most by a player in the Open Era. The 59-year-old won eight Grand Slam singles titles during his career and held the World No. 1 ranking for 268 weeks, the third-most all-time.
McEnroe, 53, is known for his temper and his tennis. He won 17 Grand Slam titles, seven in singles, and got as much attention for his on-court outbursts at officials.
Courier, 41, won four Grand Slam singles titles and Wilander, 47, won seven Grand Slam singles events.
The veteran players have been popular draws on the tour in recent years.
"I'm thankful people remember who we are," McEnroe said. "When we were playing, there was a lot of personalties, people expressed themselves more, obviously some more than others. We had a feeling something magical was happening back then and to some extent that was true. I think people remember that."