Agassi, McEnroe Give a Glimpse of the Past and a Help to the Future

Jerry MilaniContributor IJuly 21, 2012

Andre Agassi in his World TeamTennis Match vs. John McEnroe (credit: Fred Mullane)
Andre Agassi in his World TeamTennis Match vs. John McEnroe (credit: Fred Mullane)

There they were, slugging away point after point—crosscourt volleys, down the line passing shots.

Andre Agassi and John McEnroe, at least for one night and one set (although both looked like they could go longer), giving New York fans the thrills of years and titles past.

It wasn't the new PowerShares Series, which will have some of the biggest names in senior tennis, Agassi and McEnroe among them, on a national tour this fall.

It was the Boston Lobsters and New York Sportimes of GEICO World TeamTennis, with a special McEnroe vs. Agassi matchup mixed in amongst lineups that included others like Martina Hingis and Jan-Michael Gambill. The night benefited the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, which is housed at Sportime Randall's Island, and will soon be expanding to New York's Westchester County and Long Island as well.

The Sportimes won the war, but McEnroe lost a spirited close set to Agassi as part of men's singles, 5-4. All for the cause.

"It's great to come here and help out John and what he is doing, getting young people playing tennis and staying fit is important, and that's what this night is all about," Agassi said in a pre-match press conference. "I am not around the training of young people these days, I'm working on trying to be a good dad and on projects in Las Vegas, but what John is doing seems like it's going well and if it helps the game it's a huge boost for everyone."

For his part, McEnroe was pleased to have Agassi come back east for the night, but was even more pleased with the way the Academy is moving along.

"We are doing very well but it is just the beginning,"  he said. "Tennis is a great game and the system we have here, the one that worked for me and my brothers growing up, can make a difference so long as we stay focused and dedicated, and so far so good."

As far as the current crop of American pros, both stars are still very high on John Isner's potential, not just to continue to break through but to change the game.

"I'm not sure if anyone remembers but I picked Isner to go to the finals of Wimbledon -- he has that much ability," McEnroe said. "His size and the way he hits the ball will continue to evolve as he gains more experience and I think that is where the game is going -- bigger and stronger guys."

"We know what Federer and Nadal and now Djokovic can do, but guys like Isner at 6-10 can hit balls so fast and so deep the court may not be big enough to contain them at some point," Agassi added. "He is a great talent and is one of several bigger and more athletic players that will really help the game evolve again."

As far as the rest of the summer goes, both will continue to keep an eye on the game but will be off doing other things. Agassi will spend some time with with his family in Las Vegas. McEnroe, after wrapping up WTT play for the Sportimes next week, will be off to London again to be part of the NBC broadcast team for all the Olympic games, not just tennis.

But for one night, the two stars were all about the game they love with an appreciative and supportive crowd in the fun WTT environment, doing what they still love the most for the future generation of Mac's and Andre's.

Jerry Milani is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained first-hand.