Andre Agassi, John McEnroe still fill the house and talk John Isner
John McEnroe and Andre Agassi were the headliners Saturday night at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at UCLA. They played an exhibition to benefit Agassi's charity and, as a kickoff to the Farmers Classic tournament, which begins Monday, but before their tennis stuff, the pair discussed the state of American tennis. The advice? Be patient, there can't always be a McEnroe or Agassi on deck. Meanwhile, the buzz was still about John Isner's 11-hour Wimbledon match.
McEnroe said the effects of Isner's marathon first-round Wimbledon win over Nicolas Mahut -- 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68 in a match that lasted 11 hours 5 minutes and was played over three days -- would be more mental than physical as the summer unfolds.
"It sinks in, people's expectations now," McEnroe said. "I'm hopeful it doesn't affect him. He has a good handle on things. I'm hopeful it doesn't affect him [physically]. I guess there's a risk something could happen. He was my fifth or sixth dark horse pick at Wimbledon. I'm happy that happened to him. I think he may be in the top 10 by the end of the year."
Agassi agreed that more than any lingering physical effects, Isner will have to deal with the new expectations of fans who will pay attention to Isner.
"Mentally it will be something for him to push through this summer," Agassi said. "There will be a lot of people looking for him, watching him."
The last time Agassi played in an exhibition in this area was last winter at Indian Wells when he was on the court with Pete Sampras, playing to raise money for Haiti earthquake victims.
During that match Agassi pulled out his empty pockets, mimicking, it seemed, what Agassi had written about in his autobiography -- that Sampras was not a good tipper. Sampras was clearly rankled and aimed a serve at Agassi shortly after. Agassi later apologized and Saturday night said he wouldn't dare make fun of McEnroe.
"He'd come over the net," Agassi said.Main draw play in the tournament begins Monday. The top-seeded player is Andy Murray, and defending champion Sam Querrey is seeded No. 2.
-- Diane Pucin