HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — John McEnroe has had several seizures. And Maria Sharapova relieved him to throw a few more times.
But the tennis legends were no match for the sport's most popular couple.
Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf defeated McEnroe and Sharapova to win the $1 million purse in Pickleball Slam 2, which aired Sunday night in prime time on ESPN from the Seminole Hard Rock Casino.
Asked about his plans for prize money, Graf told USA TODAY Sports, “I'm sure we have a good idea.”
The four former world No. 1s, who have a combined 42 Grand Slam singles championships in tennis, have taken to the stage in pickleball, one of the fastest growing sports in the country.
Agassi and McEnroe appeared at the event last year, along with former tennis pros Andy Roddick and Michael Chang.
But with the addition of Graf, Sharapova, and former tennis players turned pickleballers Jack Sock and James Blake, the scope of the event has expanded to bridge the passionate gap between the sports.
“For me, tennis will always be king. But it's easy to play this. That's why my friends always play with me,” McEnroe said of pickleball. “But the higher the level, the more [of competition], you better practice. ”
Agassi added: “The sport itself can live and play happily in a sandbox. There's no way a tennis player can just keep a paddle in his bag and take it out at any time. Courts are everywhere now, but I think they're becoming rarer and rarer. .”
Agassi and Sock, who plays professionally in Major League Pickleball, won 11-7, 9-11, 11-8 in their first match against McEnroe and Blake, team owner of MLP's Milwaukee Mushers. Graf and Sock won the second match against Sharapova and Blake 9-11, 11-8, 17-15.
Agassi and Graf won the third and final match 11-7, 13-11 to clinch the tournament.
McEnroe said he prefers singles matches in pickleball to get a better workout, but felt he was at risk in doubles matches that involved dink shots – the return being closer to the net, the players made contact You need to lower your body to do this.
McEnroe only slammed his paddle on the ground twice during the tournament in frustration.
“I'm probably more frustrated, but I'm older,” McEnroe said. “So I'm trying to come up with something new, you know?”
Graf said she has been playing pickleball “seriously” for about six months with Agassi, who started playing pickleball more frequently after last year's event.
Despite being the most seasoned athlete in the company, Graf said she felt a little nervous before the event.
“I was very nervous before I started the match, and I hadn't felt that way in years,” said Graf, who retired in 1999 with 107 singles wins. “We had a great crowd and it’s really special.”
Three matches will be played:
∎ Game 1: Agassi and Sock win their first match against McEnroe and Blake 11-7, 9-11, 11-8
∎ Game 2: Graf and Sock won the second game against Sharapova and Blake 9-11, 11-8, 17-15.
∎ Game 3: Agassi and Graf won the third and final game 11-7, 13-11 over McEnroe and Sharapova.
Graf and Sock break in second match against Sharapova, winning 9-11, 11-8, 17-15.
Team Agassi won 2-0. However, they need two points in the final match. Next up are four tennis legends.
Graf and Sock rallied 10-7 to win the final set 17-15.
“It was a lot of fun. I was really nervous before the game started, but I haven't felt that way in years,” Graf said after the game. “We had a great crowd and it’s really special.”
Agassi and Sock win their first match against McEnroe and Blake 11-7, 9-11, 11-8
Agassi's team won the first leg and went 1-0 at the event. And he didn't miss the opportunity to tease McEnroe after the game.
“I can see he's definitely getting more comfortable. He's got to stop hating pickleball. He's going to improve dramatically,” Agassi said of McEnroe.
In the same interview, Sock said the event helps bridge the negativity between tennis and pickleball because “there's room for both and they're both great in their own ways.” Ta.
John McEnroe slams paddle after losing first point
McEnroe wasted no time making his presence known Sunday, slamming his paddle after losing the first point in his first match against Blake. McEnroe was then upset by his first foot fault.
“Can't you try the foot call?!” McEnroe yelled.
The referee then told McEnroe, “You can swap places if you want.''
When explaining the point system before play began, the referee said to McEnroe: “Don't worry, I'll hold your hand throughout the game.”
What is a foot fault in pickleball?
Players are not allowed to step into the rectangular area closest to the net where they could commit a foot fault. This area is called the non-volley zone on his pickleball court and is also called the kitchen.
Score with a Pickleball Slam
The first match is scored in the Pro Legends doubles format: rally points (all points count), score 11 points in the top two of three matches, and win by two points.
The second and final match will be played in a mixed doubles format. Rally scoring (all points count), the top 2 out of 3 games up to 21 are won by his 2 point margin.
Who won Pickleball Slam 1?
Agassi and Andy Roddick defeated McEnroe and Michael Chang 21-15, 21-23, 12-10 in a winner-take-all doubles match to win the $1 million prize.