Sampras returning to tournament competition
01:00 AM EDT on Sunday, April 8, 2007
The last time we saw him at a tournament, he was clearing a railing at the National Tennis Center, making his way through a crowd of cheering admirers and hugging his wife.
That was at the 2002 U.S. Open.
In 3½ weeks, Pete Sampras
will return to tournament tennis when he plays the former Australian Open champion Petr Korda at the Champions Cup in Boston. Show time at Boston University’s Agganis Arena will be May 3 at 8:30 because John McEnroe and Pat Cash will lead off the night’s program at 7.
This will probably be one of the few times in his career that McEnroe will be upstaged.
The Champions Cup is part of Jim Courier’s Outback Champions Series, a six-city tour featuring former Grand Slam champions and finalists, Davis Cup champions and players formerly ranked in the Top 5 on the ATP Tour. Wayne Ferreira won the first tournament of 2007 at Naples, Fla., last month. The Champions Cup May 2-6 is the next stop, and the Gibson Guitar Champions Cup at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport Aug. 22-26 the third. Fall tournaments are scheduled for Charlotte in September, Dallas in October and Houston in November.
Sampras has committed to Charlotte as well as to Boston.
The Outback Champions Series is a round-robin format, so tennis fans will have more than one opportunity to see Sampras next month. He is scheduled to play Mats Wilander May 4 at 7:30 and McEnroe May 5 after Cash and Jimmy Arias meet at 7:30. Depending on his results in his three matches, he could return on May 6 for the third-place or championship match.
The Boston field also includes Todd Martin and Courier.
After beating Andre Agassi in the 2002 U.S. Open final, Sampras retired from tennis and the limelight he tried so hard to avoid during his career. He returned last year to play several exhibitions and World Team Tennis.
Sampras, winner of 14 Grand Slam singles titles, will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in July and has shown no interest at this point in returning in August for the Gibson Cup. McEnroe, Courier and Wilander, each a Hall of Famer, have agreed to play in Newport.
MARDY FISH, the ATP’s 2006 Comeback Player of the Year, has entered the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships July 9-15 in Newport for the sixth time in his career.
Fish had two operations on his left wrist in 2005, and his ranking plummeted to below No. 300 in the world. He played his way back to the Top 50 last year and finished the season at No. 47. He reached the quarterfinals at three tournaments, Newport among them, and won his second career title at Houston.
This year, he has reached the quarterfinal at the Australian Open, his best finish in a Grand Slam tournament, and San Jose and the semifinals at Aukland and Memphis. He was ranked No. 22 last week.
Fish is a three-time quarterfinalist on the Hall of Fame grass.
For ticket information, contact the Hall of Fame at tennisfame.com or at 866-914-FAME. The July 14 session featuring the semifinals and the induction of Sampras, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Sven Davidson and Russ Adams is sold out.