Athens: Sampras and Martin Remain Undefeated in Greec
Champions Cup – Athens
Olympic Tennis Centre
Outdoor – Hard Court
Round Robin Results From Friday, May 18
Pete Sampras, United States, def. Pat Cash, Australia, 7-5, 6-2
Wayne Ferreira, South Africa, def. Jim Courier, United States, 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 (Match Tie-break)
Todd Martin, United States, def. Magnus Larsson, Sweden, 4-6, 7-5, 10-4 (Match Tie-break)
Richard Krajicek, Netherlands, def. Anders Jarryd, Sweden, 7-6 (3), 6-3
Round Robin Records
Pete Sampras 2-0
Wayne Ferreira 1-1
Jim Courier 1-1
Pat Cash 0-2
Todd Martin 2-0
Magnus Larsson 1-1
Richard Krajicek 1-1
Anders Jarryd 0-2
SAMPRAS AND MARTIN REMAIN UNDEFEATED IN GR
Pete Sampras defeated Pat Cash 7-5, 6-2 Friday evening to remain undefeated in round-robin play at the Champions Cup – Athens – the Champions Series tennis event played at the Olympic Tennis Center. Sampras, with a 2-0 round-robin record, will have to defeat Jim Courier Saturday to win his round-robin flight and advance into Sunday’s championship match.
“It was really tough for me to break his serve,” said Sampras of the 1987 Wimbledon champion and the fast conditions on the hard-courts of the venue that hosted the 2004 Olympic tennis competition. “He had some great returns and even at age 43, he still moves very well on the court.”
Sampras, a Greek American visiting the homeland of his parents for the first time, is competing in only his second tournament since he won the 2002 US Open. In his return to competitive tournament tennis two weeks ago, Sampras won the Champions Cup Boston, defeating Todd Martin in the final.
Like Sampras, Martin also remained undefeated in round-robin play, defeating Magnus Larsson of Sweden 4-6, 7-5, 10-4 (Match Tie-break). Martin will have to defeat Anders Jarryd of Sweden on Saturday to advance into his second consecutive Champions Series singles final. Two weeks ago in Boston, Martin held three match points against Sampras in the final, losing 11-9 in the Match Tie-Break.
Courier, the co-founder of InsideOut Sports & Entertainment - the organizers of the Champions Cup Athens and the Outback Champions Series circuit, was defeated by Wayne Ferreira of South Africa 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 (Match Tie-Break) and will have to defeat Sampras for a chance at reaching the championship match.
Saturday’s final day of round-robin play starts at 1 pm in Athens when Cash takes on Ferreira, followed by Larsson facing Richard Krajicek. In the evening session starting at 6 pm, Jarryd takes on Martin, followed by Sampras against Courier.
Champions Cup Athens features an eight-man round-robin format with the winner of each four-player division meeting in the title match and the second-place finishers from each division playing in the third-place match. To be eligible to compete in the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a Grand Slam singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. The Champions Series features seven events in 2007. Ferreira won the first event of the series in Naples, Fla., in March, defeating Aaron Krickstein in the final, while Sampras won the second title in Boston in May. Newport, R.I., will host the fourth event of the Champions Series in August, while tournaments in Charlotte, Dallas and Houston in the fall round out the 2007 calendar. More information on the Outback Champions Series can be found at www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com
QUOTES FROM THE PLAYERS
“Cash is a very experienced player. It was really tough for me to break his serve. He had some great returns. And even at the age of 42, he still moves very well on court. He had some very good serves, but in the second set I served well too and managed to make the break early on. As far as Cash’s relationship with the fans is concerned, I have to admit he is a charismatic guy. He still plays tennis very well, but is an entertainer, too. “
“This was the first time I ever faced Pete. He is my favorite player of all time. I suppose from now on I will be his favorite, too! I tried my best, but he was obviously better. Not very nice of him, don’t you think? I am just kidding. The most important thing is to play good tennis and I think that this was the case tonight; at least in the first set. Pete did not start well, but in the second set he improved his game and had some excellent returns. Pete plays with great power all the time and it was difficult for me to return the ball. I missed a couple of volleys too. So, I had to try to convince the referee to support me offering him some money, but this didn’t work out, either. I always try to have fun with the crowd. One of the problems in tennis is the fact that there is not much interaction with the fans. Of course, under normal circumstances I would not have done all these, since they would suggest lack of respect toward my opponent. But, I think Pete took it nicely; he relaxed and enjoyed it”
“Magnus has always been the one player who would cause me the most trouble. He still does. No one gives me more trouble than him because he has a funny way of always being able to predict what my next move will be. Out of all my opponents, Magnus is the one who gets me backed into a corner more easily. Luckily, today I was able to beat him. I served well all day and was able to make him squirm a bit, despite the fact that he seemed to control the pace. As the days go by, we get used to the court and play better. A ‘fast’ court may be more difficult to play on, but also makes you be on alert all the time and this is good. Magnus and I joke about during the matches. We usually try to decide who looks funnier on the court!”
“I agree with Todd about the fact that I felt in control, but as the match progressed, I began losing speed, timing and ultimately my pace. Todd got some great returns to my serve, at which point the pressure shifted on me. I tried to slow down the pace, but this did not help either. On the points that mattered, he got some really great shots that decided the match. Most of the time it’s this one-two great shots that decide the winner.”
“It was a difficult match, because I was playing against Sampras till late last night and today I was up against an equally great opponent, Courier. I felt tired and on top of that I had to cope with the heat. Jim served fantastically, while as the time went by the ball felt faster and harder. I’m hoping to go through to the final.”
“I had some good serves, but did not manage to win. During the tiebreak I made some errors that proved decisive. Due to the round robin system, we all have hopes for playing the final, but Sampras clearly has the advantage.”
“Today I felt much better in the court compared to yesterday. My serve was much better, my game more relaxed, and I really enjoyed it more. Especially in the first set, I think we played some good tennis. But I also think that, generally speaking, this is a high level and high quality tournament. Players like Sampras, Ferreira and Courier are still playing at competitive level. Particularly Pete is in great shape.”
“As you saw, it wasn’t easy for me tonight. I was having trouble with the timing of the ball. There is a great difference between the matches played in the afternoon and the matches played in the evening. Richard served well and I could not get the breaks I wanted. So, it was only natural that it wouldn’t be easy for me to win. This was his match. He played much better and won fairly. In general, there are some players in this tournament who are big hitters and the fact that this is such a fast court, leads to fewer rallies being played.”