The Champions Classic
Imagine waking up in a heavenly realm, one full of everything Tennis. That’s what it was like April 14th 2016 at the Chaifetz Arena. The PowerShares Series is an US Tennis tour of retired former champions, some once number one in the world. The Saint Louis, Mo tour stop is called, “The Champions Classic.” This series featured John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, and James Blake as the Pros.
The event started with fans that paid for the high-end tickets in which they could play rallies against the pros. Set in a doubles format the first hour was Roddick and Courier, the fans really didn’t stand a chance. Then it switched to one on one with the pros serving to fans as long as they kept the rally going. Roddick of course had to pull back on the trigger, with him having the fastest swerve on tour. Fans faces were ecstatic grown and young alike.
Then the next set started with Pros John McEnroe and James Blake. Fans seem to have had a better chance against this set. Scoring more points than the other set of Pros, the Fans really settled. They got over their excitement and awe and had some good rallies against the pros. James Blake really had fun laughing and congratulating fans with the, “Tennis Clap.” Which is taking the racquet and clapping with it, it makes no sound but is the universal symbol.
The Player Party Experience was held next which is a luncheon with the players and a small Q and A. The room was gorgeous with books everywhere on the game of tennis and the history of tennis. Pictures of the Pros hung on the wall. Pillows to relax on held quotes from the Pros it was a great atmosphere. The food was well prepared and staff was great, really something to remember.
Finally, it was time for Pros vs. Pros with McEnroe facing Courier. McEnroe won 7-6 (5), but not without his usual antics. He argued with the ref a few times and cursed on a couple missed points. Roddick facing Blake won their match 6-2 to face McEnroe in the finale. Roddick vs. McEnroe ended with McEnroe pleading if Roddick could slow his serve down a little. He faced him to death to win 6-3 and take the title in Saint Louis.
When asking James Blake what his future holds elsewhere in tennis he said, “Commentary for the Tennis Channel mostly and for the Olympics coming up soon. I love coming to Saint Louis to play too.” Blake says the next African-American tennis player we need to look for is Frances Tiafoe. “He has a lot of talent, a very high ceiling, look for him to compete for Grand Slams in 2-3 years.”
Our Champion Andy Roddick loves the game. “Tennis is the sport of a lifetime, and it’s up to us retired players to pay it forward. These clinics are a good way we like to do it, thank you.”