Pete played for Greece, almost
Sampras played for Greece, almost
PETE Sampras' first visit to his ancestral homeland was marked by an exhibition match with former Davis Cup teammate Jim Courier on a temporary tennis court below the Acropolis on May 17.
Sampras, a 14-time Grand Slam champion, is in Greece to play in the four-day Athens Cup at the Olympic tennis venue in northern Athens.
The event is part of the Outback Champions Series, which is making its first stop outside the United States.
"The players are big names [such as Pat Cash, Richard Krajicek, Wayne Ferreira and Anders Jarryd]. They're in shape," Courier said. "These are not exhibitions. We're playing for real."
The players, who must be more than 30 in order to qualify, will be divided into two groups of four for the round-robin competition. The group winners will play in the final on May 20, while the second-place finishers face each other for third place.
Sampras, who last played a professional match at the 2002 US Open when he beat Andre Agassi in the final, said he had a chance to play in Greece once before. "I was actually approached to play for Greece when I was 17," he said. "I was in Germany, just turned pro, someone approached my Dad, but nothing came of it."