IPTL a no-go if it clashes with Thanksgiving: Agassi

Mon Mar 3, 2014 10:28am EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Andre Agassi will snub the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) if it clashes with Thanksgiving, the former world number one said the day after being signed up by the Singapore franchise.

The eight-times grand slam champion was named in Sunday's player draft for the new Asia-based event but said he had since learned the first match would clash with the November holiday.

"It's a good thing to take tennis to places in the world where they want to see it. There's no downside in doing that," American Agassi told Reuters ahead of his World Tennis Day showdown with former arch-rival Pete Sampras in London later on Monday.

"My agreement to do it was based on a few very specific conditions. Certainly economics played a little part in it but also time away played another part.

"I can't be away for more than four or five days so I set some limitations and had some dates in December.

"Now I read in an email that the dates are over Thanksgiving," said the 43-year-old Agassi who is married to former women's world number one Steffi Graf and has two children.

"That would be a non-starter for me. Six or seven days away is too much of a price to pay."

The draft for the IPTL set up by Indian doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi saw the four teams - Singapore, Dubai, Bangkok and Mumbai - bid for players. Organisers said a total of $24 million was spent.   Continued...

Two-time U.S. Open champion Andre Agassi waves before being inducted into the U.S. Open Court of Champions, which celebrates the legacy of the greatest singles champions in the history of the tournament, in New York September 9, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque