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post #1 of 82 (permalink) Old 05-18-2005, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Stella Sampras

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Stella Sampras Webster enters her ninth season as the head coach of the UCLA women's tennis program with a career record of 133-77 (.633). Sampras Webster became only the third head coach in UCLA women's tennis history when she was named the successor to longtime head coach Bill Zaima, who announced his retirement effective the end of the 1996 season.

In her first eight seasons at UCLA, Sampras Webster guided the Bruins to seven top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including five top-5 showings (1997, 2000 2002, 2003 and 2004). Just last season, UCLA reached the NCAA Finals for the first time since 1991. It was also marked the first time since 1991 that the Bruins surpassed the 20-win mark, finishing 21-8 overall. Sampras Webster has recruited and coached some of the top players in collegiate tennis as, under her tutelage, 11 Bruins have achieved All-America status. In 2000, she was named the ITA West Region Coach of the Year.

A 1991 graduate of UCLA with a degree in Psychology, Sampras Webster enjoyed a successful four-year career as a Bruin player from 1987-91 and competed on the pro circuit for a season prior to joining Zaima's staff. An NCAA Doubles Champion as a freshman in 1988 with Allyson Cooper, Sampras Webster was also the NCAA doubles runner-up as a senior in 1991 with Kimberly Po. A four-time All-American, Sampras Webster was only the second player in UCLA history to obtain this status. She also won the 1989 and '91 Pac-10 doubles championship and the 1990 Rolex Regional doubles title. Sampras Webster completed her UCLA career ranked No. 3 nationally in doubles and No. 42 in singles. Team accomplishments were most important to Sampras Webster, who helped lead the Bruins to four straight NCAA Top-3 finishes.

As a professional, Sampras Webster's highest international singles ranking was No. 250, and her best in doubles was No. 130. Her professional highlights include competing in both singles and doubles at the U.S. Open and Lipton Championships. She advanced to the U.S. Open second round in doubles and also competed in doubles at Wimbledon. She also won three satellite tournament titles and competed in Team Tennis for the Wichita Advantage in 1992.

Born in Potomac, Md., Sampras Webster moved to the Los Angeles area as a child and graduated from Palos Verdes High School. A top-three player in Southern California and among the top-10 in the country as a junior, Sampras Webster claimed the CIF doubles title as a freshman and the singles title as a senior in 1987. She capped her high school career by being named her school's Athlete of the Year.

The second-oldest of four children of Sam and Georgia Sampras, Stella considers the support of her entire family most significant. Younger brother Pete demonstrated his level of support for Stella and the Bruin program when he personally endowed a scholarship and assisted with the important fund-raising effort in Stella's first fall at the helm. Pete has won 14 Grand Slam singles titles, including seven of the last nine at Wimbledon.

Sampras Webster and her husband Steve were married on Jan. 3, 2002 in Dana Point, Calif.
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post #2 of 82 (permalink) Old 05-18-2005, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Stella Sampras





Making a name for herself
Stella Sampras webster has escaped brother’s shadow to find place in tennis world





By Andrew Finley
DAILY BRUIN SENIOR STAFF
afinley@media.ucla.edu


On Stella Sampras Webster's resume is an impressive list of accolades. She was the best player in her division as a junior, a four-time All-American in college, and is currently the head coach of an elite women's tennis program at UCLA.

Yet the first thing that jumps out at people is her last name.

As the older sister of 14-time grand slam champion Pete Sampras, she has heard the questions asked and the similarities drawn.

"What's your brother up to?" reporters would ask when she was on the professional tour.

"You look so much alike," they'd comment.

At times, Sampras Webster struggled with the spotlight she lost in juniors and the shadow she stepped into as a professional. During her time in Westwood, she watched from afar as her brother rose to the top of the tennis world. Yet never before has she felt more comfortable and proud of her own accomplishments. And this pride is the result of the legacy she has established on her own.

"When I'm at UCLA, I feel like I'm my own person, just because I've gone through this. I've earned a lot from being on the team, being an assistant coach and now head coach.








"It's my own place. Pete was never here. He didn't help me get this job. This is my home. It's what I've earned, and I feel really proud of that."

Battles on the court

With her Bruins gearing up for another NCAA Tournament run and her brother in retirement, Sampras Webster now has the tennis spotlight in the family all to herself. Yet growing up in Southern California as a junior player, the competition between her and Pete was intense.

"We definitely had our battles when we played each other," Sampras Webster said. "I did not want to lose to him, and he did not want to lose to me. There were times when our parents would have to watch and make sure we weren't cheating – I mean, make sure he wasn't cheating."

Although the siblings started playing tennis at the same time, when Sampras Webster was eight and Pete was six, the matches would usually go the older sister's way. She thinks it was eight years before Pete finally beat her, though she noted that he probably thinks it happened earlier. Although the bitterness of defeat never carried over into the home, family members still sensed the sibling rivalry.

"They'd get into heated matches, where each thought they got robbed and cheated," said Gus, the oldest of four Sampras siblings. "It was very competitive."

Competing against each other in practice allowed each to excel in their junior tournaments. Yet while Sampras Webster was capturing trophies in her own age division, Pete was picking up quality wins in higher age groups. Sampras Webster may have boasted a more impressive record, but Pete was attracting more outside attention because of his raw talent and endless potential.

"Pete was a natural talent and Stella was a hard worker," Gus said. "Stella's drive and dedication was going to take her so far, but Pete had the natural talent."

The hype Pete received stirred some feelings of jealousy and resentment in Sampras Webster, largely because she saw Pete more as her little brother rather than a tennis phenom.

"When you're younger, you just want that attention from parents or people, and when you have a sibling that's getting a lot of it, you start wanting it," Sampras Webster said. "It's a natural feeling."

Along with the attention, the match results between the siblings also began to shift Pete's way. Everyone in the family, including Sampras Webster, understood it was only a matter of time before Pete began regularly winning the contests. By the time she was 17, losses were no longer blows to Sampras Webster's ego, and instead became a part of reality.

"I wanted to prove that I was just as good and a great player," Sampras Webster said. "I was. I did really well, but I couldn't compare myself to him."

Taking a separate path

For Sampras Webster, the feelings of jealousy subsided as Pete moved to the professional ranks and she enrolled at UCLA in 1987. College wasn't a disappointing alternative to the pros; it was her ultimate goal.

"When I first came, I didn't want to go on the tour," said Sampras Webster, who is expecting twins in August. "I just wanted to get my education, enjoy college and do well with my tennis. I wanted to be a teacher, get married, have kids, and all that."

While her brother was driven to become the best player in the world, Sampras Webster was motivated by what she could accomplish in school. Earning a scholarship and having a social life were always more important to her than traveling every week and becoming a top-20 player in the world. By taking a different path than her brother, Sampras Webster no longer felt the bitterness she had a few years earlier.

"When I went to college, I kind of had my own identity then," Sampras Webster said. "It wasn't so much about Pete or anyone else. I was able to be on my own, and that was my goal."

She forged her own identity on the court very quickly at UCLA. As a freshman, she captured the NCAA doubles championship. By the time Pete won his first major, the 1990 U.S. Open, Sampras Webster had already led her team to the Final Four three times and was a three-time All-American.

"Instead of sharing the spotlight, she was able to make a name for herself at UCLA and on the team," Gus said.

Having dedicated so much of her life to tennis and having enjoyed tremendous levels of success, Sampras Webster decided to follow in her brother's footsteps and give the professional ranks a try after all. But for the most part, she was following as a shadow figure.

"Once they found out I was his sister, papers would want to interview me in every town I went to," Sampras Webster said. "They'd ask questions about him, not about me."

She'd get abnormally large crowds for a player who wasn't ranked in the top 100, and she realized the reason fans came was because of who she was, not what she did.

"They all knew me as Pete's sister," Sampras Webster said. "It was a lot of attention, and I'm not one to want and seek attention. It's not the most comfortable thing for me.

"I'd rather them come out and watch me for my tennis."

During Sampras Webster's one year on the tour, her brother captured more than half a dozen singles titles. Competing in the same realm as Pete, she felt the weighty expectations and lost what she had gained during college.

"On tour, I did feel the pressure," Sampras Webster said. "I didn't have much of an identity."



Building her own legacy

Sampras Webster insists it was the demanding lifestyle, not the pressure, that drove her away from the tour. When then-UCLA head coach Bill Zaima called to offer her a position on his coaching staff in 1993, it made leaving that much more of an appealing option.

Returning to UCLA enabled Sampras Webster to move back into the comfort zone she had fallen out of while on the tour. In 1996, Zaima retired and handed the reins to his former player. For the past nine seasons, Sampras Webster has headed the program that made her feel so unique in the first place.

"I have done a lot, and the people I work with know what I've done and what I've earned," she said. "They don't know me as Pete's sister. They know me as Stella, the head coach at UCLA."

Though her brother's status wasn't involved in any hiring decisions, it has been a nice boon for Sampras Webster since taking over. In her first year at the helm, Pete endowed a scholarship and helped raise an additional $100,000 for the program.

Additionally, Sampras Webster acknowledges that her last name, no longer a source of pressure or jealousy, may instead be a recruiting tool. Players on the team have said that when they were considering schools, UCLA was a particularly intriguing option because of the Sampras affiliation.

"If people are interested, it's a nice advantage because they already know something about me," Sampras Webster said. "At other schools, they might not know the background of the coach, but they know what Pete's like on the court and hopefully what kind of person he is. It's a reflection of our family.

"They know that we're a close family and have character. It could make a difference."

The closeness has been particularly apparent since Pete retired in 2002. Over the past few years, he has been a familiar face at many of the Bruins' home matches, and last season, he attended the team's banquet.

"At first, the freshmen will be a little starstruck," Sampras Webster said. "The rest have seen him around so much that it's not such a big event. He's talked to some of my players. They see that he's just another normal guy with unbelievable talent."

Pete's talent is now a source of pride for Sampras Webster. Her heated battles with him are a childhood memory. Her stint on the professional tour is a footnote and her career at UCLA is at the forefront. Because this is where she's never been in the shadow.
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post #3 of 82 (permalink) Old 05-18-2005, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Stella Sampras





The right stuff
UCLA alumna Stella Sampras knows what it’s like to be a part of the team



By Hannah Gordon
Daily Bruin Contributor



The choice was simple.

When Women's Tennis Head Coach Bill Zaima was looking for someone to groom as his successor in 1992, he had two people in mind. One was already his assistant coach and had been No. 9 in the world. The other, Stella Sampras, was No. 250 in the world and just graduated college.

The choice was simply Sampras.

Although she had just started her professional career after graduating from UCLA only a year before, Zaima knew he wanted Sampras.

"I was thinking of her when she was still a player. Stella was as good a captain and team leader as we've ever had in the program," said Zaima, who was head coach for 16 seasons.

As a student, Sampras had the respect of all of her teammates as well as that of the coaching staff.

Zaima felt it was time for someone to lead who had come through the program and had the same college experience as the team.

"Stella went through the program at its height, due in large part to her efforts as a player," he added.

Sampras' years at UCLA were some of the best the program has seen, as she helped lead the team to four-straight NCAA top-three finishes. She was only the second player in UCLA history to be a four-time NCAA All American.

Over lunch, Zaima told Sampras that he was looking for an assistant coach to groom to take over the program.

"I had no idea I would become a coach," Sampras said. "It is a huge honor to be coaching at UCLA."

Sampras was so excited about the opportunity that she quit the WTA tour, where she had appeared in Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, to take the job.

After three years as an assistant coach, she took over the program.

Zaima's intuition was correct: Sampras makes an excellent coach because she has been in the same shoes as the young women she coaches.

"Stella has been in your exact situation so she understands your social or academic problems as well as tennis problems," said senior Jennifer Donahue.

"But that means you can't put anything by her. She knows if you're tired at practice that you went out last night," she added with a laugh.

Sampras does not like to discipline her team, but she expects it to be classy, hard-working and committed. In return, her players have nothing but the highest regard for her.

"You have to work hard, but Stella makes tennis a lot of fun," said freshman Mariko Fritz-Krockow.

She also has no problems with her players.

"You can trust her, tell her any problem, and she will listen to whatever you have to say," Fritz-Krockow said.

Sampras' players trust her on the court as well.

"When we play doubles and we don't know what to do, we look at her for an answer and she always knows," said junior Petya Marinova.

Sampras once thought she would be an elementary school teacher. The qualities that would have made Sampras a great teacher make her a great coach.

"Her motivation style is different: everything is based on caring," said Assistant Coach Jon Reeves. "She has a huge heart, she's not one to raise a voice or be tough on kids in that sense."

Taking care of her players comes naturally to Sampras, but that doesn't mean she takes the job lightly.

"Sometimes I feel kind of like their mom. I'll get calls at six or seven o'clock at night. I like that responsibility," she said.

The attention that Sampras gives her players on and off the court pays off. Sampras took the Bruins to three top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, and these accomplishments were recognized by her colleagues when she was named ITA West Region Coach of the year in 2000. This season has been a challenging one, but her positive energy helped the team win the Pac-10 Tournament on April 29.

Nine years after approaching Sampras with the opportunity to coach, the choice is still clear to Zaima.

"I've seen her grow to be one of the best coaches in the country," he said. "And I knew she would."
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Re: Stella Sampras

How come such things always comes to Angiel's notice??

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer - Ralph Waldo Emerson.
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Re: Stella Sampras

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalitha
How come such things always comes to Angiel's notice??


I am you guardian angel - and I love all thing Pete & family - plus tennis.
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Re: Stella Sampras

UCLA Tennis doubles solid for third round



By David Garcia Daily Bruin


Los Angeles, CA (U-WIRE) -- When the season began, UCLA women's tennis coach Stella Sampras Webster knew her team's success would hinge upon whether the Bruins could field a reliable doubles lineup.

So far, so good. Heading into their match against USC in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, the Bruins' doubles play has become the backbone of their attack.

"We've made some changes throughout the season," Sampras Webster said. "Now that they know who they're playing with, they are working better together. They know their partners better now."

For Sampras Webster, the team's No. 1 doubles spot was never in question, as Riza Zalameda and Daniela Bercek were ranked as high as second in the nation during the season and are currently ranked fourth.

But the second and third doubles teams were an area of concern early in the season. Over their first five matches, Sampras Webster used three different doubles lineups, partly to figure out which teams worked out best and partly because of injuries.

Now, however, the doubles lineup looks to be set in stone with Alex McGoodwin and Laura Gordon in the No. 2 slot, while Sarah Gregg and Tracy Lin hold down the third position.

The results are undeniable: The Bruins have won 10 of 11 matches and have won the doubles point in all but one of those victories.

"I think at this point, we have found the right teams," said McGoodwin, who has seen action in both the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles courts.

"We're all pretty comfortable with each other. We worked up to this point all year, now we just have to go out and execute."

McGoodwin teamed with Gordon midway through the season and the pair have not split since, compiling a respectable 9-3 record.

"We were kind of up-and-down at first," McGoodwin said. "We had a couple of bad matches and a couple really good matches, but right now we both feel that we are playing really well."

As for the third doubles team, after being shuffled around during the season due to injuries, Gregg and Lin have solidified the back end of the lineup.

The stability of the doubles teams has been vital to the Bruins' second-half run, allowing the team to carry a great deal of momentum to Athens, Ga., for their match with the Trojans.

"We know what we need to do," Sampras Webster said. "I think we know our strengths and weaknesses now, and we are working together more as a team than individuals out there."

(C) 2004 Daily Bruin via U-WIRE
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Re: Stella Sampras




W. tennis: Women’s tennis sweeps weekend, headed to Georgia despite playing below expectations

No. 10 ucla confident in upcoming NCAA tournament round of 16 match with USC



By David Garcia
DAILY BRUIN CONTRIBUTOR
dgarcia@media.ucla.edu


While the Bruins were on their home courts over the weekend, their minds were already on Georgia.

The tenth-seeded UCLA women's tennis team cruised through the first two rounds of the NCAA Regionals, effortlessly blanking Illinois State on Friday 4-0 before defeating Pac-10 counterpart Washington by the same score on Saturday.

With the weekend sweep, the Bruins punched their ticket to Athens, Ga., for the NCAA Round of 16 next week.

"We just wanted to beat Washington and get it over with," freshman Riza Zalameda said.

"We knew we were going to Athens. It wasn't really a question of if we were going to go or not."

Despite not surrendering a point all weekend, UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster still believes her team can perform better.

"I wouldn't say we played great in singles," Sampras Webster said of the match against the Huskies.







"But we played pretty well. I knew that Washington was going to come out fired up for the singles and weren't going to give up, but we handled the pressure."

After dominating the doubles point against Washington, UCLA (17-5) ran into trouble in singles play, as Washington battled to keep their postseason hopes alive.

"Everyone was not playing their best tennis today," said Zalameda, who clinched the win with a hard-fought 6-3, 6-4 victory over Dinka Hadzic.

"In my match, I was really frustrated because I'm expected to win and I know my game is better than hers."

Even if the Bruins weren't at their best, their efforts were more than good enough to polish off the Huskies. Sophomore Daniela Bercek had little difficulty defeating Dea Sumantri 6-1, 6-3 on Court 1 to put the Bruins up 2-0.

"It wasn't easy," Bercek said. "But I was feeling very confident so I finished my match fast."

After Bercek knocked off Sumantri, junior Laura Gordon dispatched Stephanie Svanfeldt 7-5, 6-4 on Court 6 to put the Bruins one win away from clinching. Zalameda then closed the door on Washington's season on Court 2, securing UCLA's spot in the NCAA Championships.

"We know that if we have a bad day, we could be done," Sampras Webster said. "We're looking pretty good, but we're prepared to take it one match at a time."

With the two victories, UCLA has now compiled an impressive 10 wins in their last 11 matches, losing only to No. 1 Stanford in that span.

Awaiting UCLA on Thursday will be crosstown rival USC, who the Bruins beat 5-2 in their regular-season finale.

Last season, the Bruins beat the Trojans in the Round of 16 during their run to the finals.

This year, UCLA knows it's not going to be sneaking up on any teams. And that doesn't bother the players one bit.

"I don't feel any pressure," Bercek said. "Last year, nobody expected us to get into the finals, so this year there are expectations, but we don't think about it."

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Re: Stella Sampras








UCLA Women's Tennis Signs Jackie Carleton to Letter of Intent
Top U.S. junior will join Bruins in 2002.


Nov. 30, 2001



Los Angeles - UCLA head women's tennis coach Stella Sampras announced the signing of Jackie Carleton to a letter of intent Friday. She will be a freshman in the 2002-03 season.

Carleton, who is from of Jenkintown, Pa., but currently trains at the John Newcombe Tennis Academy in New Braunfels, Tex., is ranked No. 16 in the USTA Girls' 18s singles rankings. This past August, she won the doubles and reached the singles final at the USTA International Grass Courts in Philadelphia.

"We are very excited that Jackie is going to be a Bruin next year," said coach Sampras. "She is one of the top junior players in the country and will help us in both singles and doubles. She is the type of player that can help us win a national championship
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Re: Stella Sampras





Playing College Tennis Before Turning Pro

by Emma Peetz.

With any big dream comes obstacles -- the tennis world is no exception



For many talented junior players around the world today, breaking into the professional ranks can be overwhelming. It takes a whole lot more than just hitting a good ball to make the transition into pro tennis and, of course, if any of these young players do have holes in their games, you can bet that the bigger tennis sharks out there are going to find them.

In other words, even a solid career in junior tennis -- no matter how great the results -- is not always enough to make it on the pro circuit. Tournament schedules, travel itineraries, cutting costs, and deep second serves, are only a handful of the things that must be considered.

In an attempt to solve these transitional problems, graduating junior players have been turning in increasing numbers to the collegiate system to find professional success -- and it's working. In fact, the majority of today's top-ranked collegiate players, and their coaches, will all tell you that it's one of the smartest decisions any young player can make.

"It was an easy choice for me," said Stanford's No. 1 player, Geoff Salzenstein. "I was not physically, mentally, or emotionally ready to play pro tennis."

Salzenstein, was ranked as high as No. 2 nationally in the 18s age group. However, compared to other top-ranked junior players like him, he didn't have a lot of overseas playing experience. International junior events -- like Wimbledon or the French Open -- he hadn't played.

For this 22-year-old from Englewood, Colo., now ranked No. 5 on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) Rolex Collegiate Rankings poll in singles, college has been an opportunity to mature, and to prepare for a life on the circuit.

"I've been able to grow up a lot in college," Salzenstein said. "I haven't had to worry about growing up so fast because I was on the pro tour."

In fact, Salzenstein has the best of both worlds.

At the beginning of the 1995-96 season he took time off from the collegiate calendar to play in a number of USTA Satellite events as an amateur. Upon his return to collegiate tennis in the spring, he won the 1996 Rolex Intercollegiate Indoor Singles Championship, the third leg of the ITA's Collegiate Grand Slam.

Obviously, because collegiate players are offered a test run on the professional circuit, college seems to be a sensible option for young players who don't want to turn pro right away.

In other words, players at the collegiate level can afford a few losses at the pro level. They've got more tennis matches and coaching waiting for them back at the college courts -- and should they decide that pro tennis is not for them -- these student-athletes can look to their academic credentials for new direction.

In regard to turning professional, UCLA's head women's tennis coach Stella Sampras said, "So many young players think that the circuit is so glamorous, but once they're there, there's no turning back -- you can't go back to college and play."

Sampras knows what she's talking about.

Before coming to the UCLA program four years ago, she played on the circuit for a year. However, her own struggle with the world rankings -- 240 in singles and 150 in doubles -- hasn't stopped her from encouraging her players to go out there and try it.

Under her wing are top players Keri Phebus and Jane Chi, ranked No. 4 and No. 27 respectively on the Rolex Collegiate Rankings poll. To help them make the transition into pro tennis, Sampras monitors their progress daily.

However, when it comes to competition in the collegiate arena, Sampras says that even at this level it's tough to get a win.

"In college," she said, "players are really good. They can't just go out there and hit ground strokes. We concentrate on developing a transition game to make them more aggressive."

Thus, while junior players need to have fairly developed games to earn themselves a full tennis scholarship, there's always more to work on.

"A college coach," Sampras said, "is someone to help them work on their game. Jane and Keri always want extra hours on the court -- you can always tell the one's who are more serious."

According to Stanford's Salzenstein, his head coach Dick Gould also promotes an aggressive style of play.

"He teaches us to serve and volley right from the start as freshman, " Salzenstein said. "This intensive work on serve and volley has helped a lot players to make the transition into the pros."

And often, it's for reasons related to Gould's coaching ability that top junior players decide to enter his program.

Freshman Ryan Wolters, also Salzenstein's doubles partner, arrived at Stanford with an impressive record. He was a representative on the U.S. Junior National Team, a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Open Junior Singles Championship, and a finalist at the French Open Juniors.

However, in spite of his world junior singles ranking of No. 20, and No. 4 in doubles, Wolters felt that his game still needed work.

"Before I came to college I wanted to go pro," Wolters said, "but I knew that there were some holes in my game -- I knew that I could get good coaching and good matches in college."

He's right. Aside from the coaching court, collegiate tennis can schedule up to 50 matches in any given season.

For Wolters, his approach to college is kept simple. "As long as I'm getting better -- I'll keep coming back," he said.

Georgia's No. 1 player Stephen Baldas, a 21-year-old sophomore from Australia, is another player who entered the collegiate ranks with an impressive international junior record. As a former Junior Wimbledon Doubles winner (1992), he offers good insight into the pros and cons of the professional circuit.

"When you're just out of high school, it's very difficult to leave home and start traveling by yourself," Baldas said. "In college there's a lot of supervision and freedom at the same time."

More importantly, Baldas believes that college gives players a realistic view of life.

"When I was only playing tennis, I could feel myself getting very stale," Baldas said, "The advantage of college tennis is that you have a full-time coach, you get good matches, and an education.

"Getting another view of things is really important and education gives that to you."

In three years, Baldas expects to graduate with an economics degree but, for now, he plans to turn professional upon leaving the Georgia program.

In a lot of cases; however, players come to college without any exceptional results in the junior ranks. Kylie Hunt, for example, now ranked No. 2 in the nation in singles, hoped that her collegiate coaches could build her game up to professional standards.

Since she began her collegiate career in the 1993-94 academic year, Hunt has transferred from N.C. State University to Kansas, played a handful of satellites as an amateur in Mexico, and won the 1996 Rolex Intercollegiate Indoor Singles Championship.

"I was hoping that my game would mature, and it has," said Hunt, another native of Australia. "I was only an average player in the juniors -- I did nothing great."

Like Salzenstein, Wolters, and Baldas, Hunt also didn't feel ready to handle the pro circuit.

"I'd only played a few satellites at home and I knew that I wasn't ready -- I also didn't have the money," Hunt added.

As an international recruit, Hunt points out that the opportunities to play tennis in the United States has been the main reason behind her collegiate success.

"My coach has given me a different perspective," Hunt said. "I also have a lot more people to hit with now. At home, back in Australia, I had no one to hit with. I had to travel two hours from my town to practice."

Her Kansas coach, Chuck Merzbacher, believes that she still has a lot to learn before turning professional after the NCAA Championships next year.

"Kylie is a serve and volley, chip and charge type of player," Merzbacher said. "I'm so familiar with her game because our playing styles are very similar - she's like a female Chuck Merzbacher. I know what she needs to work on."

Like Baldas, Hunt also looks beyond a career in professional tennis. After she has played on the pro tour, she plans to return to university for an M.A. in sports psychology.

"I'd like to put something back into tennis since it has been so good to me," Hunt said.

Head coach for the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, University of Florida's Andy Brandi, also believes that college is a great training ground for the professional ranks. For seven years, Brandi traveled on the pro tour as a full-time coach, and he draws on this experience to help his collegiate players find international success. The most notable examples of players who have turned professional under his guidance are Nicole Arendt and Lisa Raymond.

Arendt was a mixed doubles finalist in the 1996 Ford Australian Open with Luke Jenson (another former collegiate player -- from UCLA in the late 1980s). And Raymond, who entered the pro circuit at the end of her sophomore year in 1993, is currently ranked No. 20 on the Corel WTA Rankings poll.

"College stresses independence, responsibility, and discipline," Brandi said. "These things are very important for the pros.

"When Lisa won the NCAAs in 1993, she was 99.9 percent ready to turn pro, but I still said 'no.' She was not ready emotionally or mentally to handle it."

Here, Brandi is refering to the added responsibilities that come with being a top player. Pro tennis asks its players to cope with a lot more than just tournament schedules. Media, interviews, contracts, and sponsors all have to be considered.

"We give the girls a total package," Brandi said. "We develop their games, do a lot of physical training, and teach them to handle the media, and interviews. Basically we tutor them to cope with the pro circuit."

With a college career record of over 300 team wins -- the best winning percentage (.900) of any Division 1 women's tennis coach ever -- and several NCAA titles (1992 and 1993 back-to-back) under his belt, with another one anticipated in Florida this May, Brandi finds that most of his players are used to winning all of the time.

Thus, to his players who want to make a living out of tennis, he says that the plan has to be long-term. He stresses that everyone is good at the pro level and only one player can win every week.

However, perhaps the best comment to bring justice to the college arena comes from Salzenstein, a young player who's about to turn professional after the upcoming NCAA Championships in May.

"College is a unique experience because tennis is an individual sport," he said. "I get the opportunity to play for a team, I enjoy it, and it's something to look back on."
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post #11 of 82 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Stella Sampras


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post #12 of 82 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Stella Sampras

3/16/2005
W. tennis: Tennis defeats Texas, extends winning streak





HANG LEE/daily bruin


UCLA’s Daniela Bercek led the Bruins to a 6-1 victory over No. 13 Texas on Tuesday afternoon. The win extended the Bruins’ undefeated streak to three.While the Los Angeles Tennis Center event staff was busy giving away free T-shirts to the fans in the stands, the UCLA women's tennis team was busy giving free lessons to its opponents on the court.
The No. 12 Bruins demolished visiting No. 13 Texas 6-1 on Tuesday. The victory gave UCLA a three-game winning streak and also improved its home record to a spotless 5-0.

"I was really impressed with our team today," UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster said. "We really came out and dominated a lot of the matches against a very tough Texas team. We're just playing better and better."

Like the previous weekend in Washington, the Bruins (9-4) swept the doubles point from the Longhorns (8-3), led by the nation's No. 3 tandem of freshman Riza Zalameda and sophomore Daniela Bercek, who dispatched of Texas' No. 28 Knedar Strohm and Katie Ruckert 8-6.

"We expect them to win every match; they are that good," Sampras Webster said. "They've got the pressure of every other team going after them. ... We depend on them a lot to win."


Despite the final score, Zalameda and Bercek struggled early, finding themselves down 3-5. But the duo quickly found its form, reeling off five of the next six games to put away its Texas opponents for good.
"We just started to concentrate better," Bercek said. "Every game we lost was close, but we just didn't execute."

But being down early is nothing new to Bercek and Zalameda.

The two have been in similar situations in the past, but are almost always able to overcome the challenge of playing with their backs against the wall.

"Today was not our best day," Zalameda said. "But we have been through those situations before, coming back and eventually winning the match. We knew that it was only a matter of time before we would start playing better. We just try not to get down on ourselves because we know we are the better team."

Once UCLA was done grinding out the doubles-point victory, the Bruins took the singles courts by storm as they finished the day by taking five out of six matches.


Bercek and Zalameda's momentum from doubles clearly carried over into singles as No. 38 Bercek overwhelmed Petra Dizdar 6-0, 6-2, while No. 19 Zalameda trounced Strohm 6-1, 6-1 to take the Bruins to a quick 3-0 lead.
The match was clinched when redshirt freshman Alex McGoodwin, playing on Court 3, defeated Ruckert 6-4, 6-4.

After an exhausting schedule of four matches in three cities in the span of just one week, the Bruins will now take a 10-day hiatus before heading out on another road trip, this time to face the Arizona schools.

"We're feeling confident," Sampras Webster said.

"Hopefully, we can find a way to keep that up and stay focused over break."
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post #13 of 82 (permalink) Old 06-29-2005, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Stella Sampras

Tennis star leaves for Duke

Bercek

Women's tennis player.


By Andrew Finley
DAILY BRUIN SENIOR STAFF
afinley@media.ucla.edu


In a year that ended with a heartbreaking loss, the start to the offseason hasn't been any better for the UCLA women's tennis team.

Junior All-American Daniela Bercek, who anchored the Bruins at the top singles position her first two years, decided earlier this month that she will transfer to Duke.

Bercek, who had contacted Blue Devils coach Jamie Ashworth back in January, is now waiting through an appeals process to determine whether she will have to sit out a year once she arrives in Durham.

Some of her teammates were surprised that she had even considered transferring. "She didn't tell us too much, so I don't know what to say," freshman Riza Zalameda said earlier this month. "It's just between her and the coaches. It's hard to imagine."

Neither Bercek nor UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster returned phone calls for this article.

Bercek, who won the NCAA Doubles Championships as a freshman, posted a 14-5 record in dual singles matches this year. Ranked tenth at the end of the year, she provided numerous clutch wins during her two seasons in Westwood. In 2004, she did not drop a match during the Bruins' run to the NCAA finals, scoring the most memorable win in a three-set victory over Miami's Megan Bradley – a win that moved UCLA into the semifinals.

In doubles, Bercek teamed with Zalameda, finishing this past year with a 15-3 record at the top spot and a No. 4 ranking.

"She's a very good partner," Zalameda said. "She's very compatible. It's going to be hard to make up for."

Losing a player of Bercek's caliber is not entirely a new phenomenon to the program. Three years ago, Bradley left UCLA after her All-American freshman year to be closer to her personal coach in Miami.

Bercek, in fact, becomes the sixth starter in the last four years to leave the program early, and though the reasons have all seemed to vary, it's nevertheless a trend that has forced Sampras Webster to bring new players into the mix every year.

Two years ago, Susi Wild, a freshman who played No. 3 singles, quit tennis and returned to her native Germany according to the Bruin coach. Last year, the Bruins lost a trio of starters. Sophomores Jackie Carleton and Feriel Esseghir both had their scholarships revoked because of attitude-related problems, while redshirt junior Lauren Fisher opted to graduate with a year of eligibility left.

Bercek will now join Carleton at Duke, which lost to North Carolina in the NCAA Regionals this past year. According to Ashworth, Bercek had expressed some interest in attending Duke coming out of Novi Sad, Serbia in January 2004, but the school does not accept incoming students in the middle of the school year.

If she is eligible to play next year, she will likely be the highest-ranked player on a Duke squad that loses just one senior from the 2005 season.
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post #14 of 82 (permalink) Old 08-12-2005, 03:00 PM
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Re: Stella Sampras

One more photo of Stella Sampras (probably), when she was young.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Stella.jpg (45.2 KB, 21 views)
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post #15 of 82 (permalink) Old 08-12-2005, 03:20 PM
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Re: Stella Sampras

Angiel and Greg what do you know abaut Marion Sampras? Me not much; that's whay I would like to know something more. I know she is younger than Pete, she is a school teacher and she is married. At least I think so.
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