SINGAPORE: American legend Andre Agassi said the International Premier Tennis League should take a lasting place in the sport despite a “shockingly uncomfortable” debut as he crashed to Mark Philippoussis.
The eight-time Grand Slam winner, 44, went down 6-3 in the Legends singles as hosts the Singapore Slammers lost 21-29 to Manila Mavericks on day one of the new team competition’s second leg.
Agassi likened the IPTL’s quickfire format, with one-set matches hurried along by a 20-second serve clock, to the pressure of facing his arch-rival, 14-time Slam champion Pete Sampras.
“I was shockingly uncomfortable today,” Agassi told journalists at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“It was just the pressure of it . . . So many times I felt that way against Pete because if you just lose concentration for a second on your serve, the set could be over with.
“And so every point was vital, that’s part of the game. But with this format, it’s that way with everybody, every match. It’s a pretty difficult environment to play high-end tennis.”
The new rules and scoring brought confusion, including in the final match when Serena Williams and Kirsten Flipkens dissolved into giggles as Williams realized she needed seven straight games to win the tie for Singapore.
Nenad Zimonjic was perplexed when he lost a game point by dropping his toss while trying for a second serve, and even the DJ had trouble keeping up when he played bursts of music while players were serving.
Agassi said teething problems were to be expected in a tournament, which only started on Friday in Manila, and will move on to New Delhi and Dubai over the next 11 days.