Sampras beats Martin in first Champions Cup action [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Sampras beats Martin in first Champions Cup action

pj80
05-07-2007, 03:44 AM
BOSTON -- For Pete Sampras, it was a day to live dangerously.

First, the future Hall of Famer faced a triple match point against Todd Martin in the final of the Champion's Cup event at Boston University on Sunday. Then, between beating Martin and grabbing the first-prize check of $50,000, Sampras shared some bad news with the Red Sox fans in the crowd.

"I don't know if you guys heard, but I believe the New York Yankees just signed Roger Clemens,'' Sampras said during the trophy ceremony as the crowd of 3,560 erupted in boos. "I'm serious.''



AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Pete Sampras hadn't won a trophy in a while, but he took one home on Sunday.
On the day that the 35-year-old Sampras made a successful return on the seniors tour, another old-timer announced that he would be making a comeback that was much less welcome in Boston. Clemens, 44, said during the seventh-inning stretch at Yankee Stadium that he chose New York over the Red Sox for his latest comeback.

The fans at Agganis Arena probably missed the news while watching Sampras play Martin. So Sampras, a Dodgers fan, took the opportunity to tweak them.

"I'm just having fun,'' Sampras said after the match. "You know what, it's not that fun in this town. It's like a religion. I've never seen anything like it. They're passionate [in Los Angeles], but I've never seen anything like it is here.''

Sampras hadn't played competitive tennis since winning the 2002 U.S. Open for his record 14th Grand Slam title. Retired at 31, he didn't pick up a racket or watch tennis on television for almost three years before deciding to play a limited schedule of exhibitions and Champion's Cup events.

His presence was a coup for the seniors tour and reminder for his opponents -- Petr Korda, Tim Mayotte, John McEnroe and Martin -- of why he dominated the regular tour when they were in their prime.

"Adding Sampras has certainly added some extra buzz,'' said Jim Courier, a competitor and organizer of the tour. "There's no question that when you bring in 14 major titles in one body, it's going to get tougher.''

In a nod to the players knees, the matches are best-of-two sets, with a 10-point tiebreaker in case they split the sets. Sampras won the first set 6-3 and it was 5-5 in the second when Martin broke Sampras' serve, then held serve to tie it.

"I was thoroughly unprepared for a lot of what he had to offer,'' said Martin, the winner of last year's Boston event. "The only recourse I had was to turn it into a tennis match rather than a skills test, because his skills are better than mine.''

Trailing 9-6, Sampras won five consecutive points. Martin was serving for the victory at 9-8 when he hit a backhand -- a "pretty easy'' one, Sampras said -- into the net; Sampras took the victory at 11-9 when Martin returned a serve wide.

"Athletically, he's still closer to the speed he was when he was competing. The rest of us have depreciated more,'' Martin said. "I hit a few shots today, but I was reacting nine times out of 10, if not 19 times out of 20.''

Sampras had been doing his best to stay in shape playing 3-on-3 basketball twice a week in Los Angeles with friends, including former tour player Alex O'Brien. Beach volleyball and golf have also kept him busy when he wasn't chasing his two kids, 1½ and 4½, around the house.

But now that he's back on the court, he plans to make a few appearances -- not the entire seven-event tour -- including Athens in two weeks. "I'm excited about taking my folks there, being a Greek-American,'' Sampras said.

Sampras went 3-0 in the round-robin before beating Martin in the final. McEnroe beat Courier 6-2, 6-3 in the consolation match.

Even so, the others were glad to have Sampras around.

"I think it adds a tremendous amount of legitimacy to what we're doing out here to have somebody who still plays at that level,'' Martin said. "For me, it's great to know that the best player in our era still wants to compete, still wants to beat me.''

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

Lee
05-07-2007, 05:31 AM
:yeah: Pete

Joyce_23
05-07-2007, 02:28 PM
Go Pete! :)

angiel
05-07-2007, 04:15 PM
Pete Sampras comes back for another win over Martin in Champion's Cup event


http://msnbcmedia3.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/070503/070503_peteSampras_hmed_8p.pg.hmedium.jpg




JIMMY GOLEN
BOSTON (AP) - For Pete Sampras, it was a day to live dangerously.

First, the future Hall of Famer faced a triple match point against Todd Martin in the final of the Champion's Cup event at Boston University on Sunday. Then, between beating Martin and grabbing the first-prize cheque of $50,000, Sampras shared some bad news with the Red Sox fans in the crowd.

"I don't know if you guys heard, but I believe the New York Yankees just signed Roger Clemens," Sampras said during the trophy ceremony as the crowd of 3,560 erupted in boos. "I'm serious."

On the day that Sampras, 35, made a successful return on the seniors tour, another old-timer announced that he would be making a comeback that was much less welcome in Boston. Clemens, 44, said during the seventh-inning stretch at Yankee Stadium that he chose New York over the Red Sox for his latest comeback.

The fans at Agganis Arena probably missed the news, while watching Sampras play Martin. So Sampras, a Dodgers fan, took the opportunity to tweak them.

"I'm just having fun," Sampras said after the match. "You know what, it's not that fun in this town. It's like a religion. I've never seen anything like it. They're passionate (in Los Angeles), but I've never seen anything like it is here."

Sampras hadn't played competitive tennis since winning the 2002 U.S. Open for his record 14th Grand Slam title. Retired at 31, he didn't pick up a racket or watch tennis on television for almost three years before deciding to play a limited schedule of exhibitions and Champion's Cup events.

His presence was a coup for the seniors tour and reminder for his opponents - Czech Petr Korda and Americans Tim Mayotte, John McEnroe and Martin - of why he dominated the regular tour when they were in their prime.

"Adding Sampras has certainly added some extra buzz," said Jim Courier, a competitor and organizer of the tour. "There's no question that when you bring in 14 major titles in one body, it's going to get tougher."


In a nod to the players knees, the matches are best-of-two sets, with a 10-point tiebreaker in case they split the sets. Sampras won the first set 6-3 and it was 5-5 in the second when Martin broke Sampras' serve, then held serve to tie it.

"I was thoroughly unprepared for a lot of what he had to offer," said Martin, the winner of last year's Boston event. "The only recourse I had was to turn it into a tennis match rather than a skills test, because his skills are better than mine."

Trailing 9-6, Sampras won five consecutive points. Martin was serving for the victory at 9-8 when he hit a backhand - a "pretty easy" one, Sampras said - into the net; Sampras took the victory at 11-9 when Martin returned a serve wide.

"Athletically, he's still closer to the speed he was when he was competing. The rest of us have depreciated more," Martin said. "I hit a few shots today, but I was reacting nine times out of 10, if not 19 times out of 20."

Sampras had been doing his best to stay in shape playing three-on-three basketball twice a week in Los Angeles with friends, including former tour player Alex O'Brien. Beach volleyball and golf have also kept him busy when he wasn't chasing his two kids, 1½ and 4½, around the house.

But now that he's back on the court, he plans to make a few appearances - not the entire seven-event tour - including Athens, Greece, in two weeks. "I'm excited about taking my folks there, being a Greek-American," Sampras said.

Sampras went 3-0 in the round-robin before beating Martin in the final. McEnroe beat Courier 6-2, 6-3 in the consolation match.

Even so, the others were glad to have Sampras around.

"I think it adds a tremendous amount of legitimacy to what we're doing out here to have somebody who still plays at that level," Martin said. "For me, it's great to know that the best player in our era still wants to compete, still wants to beat me."






© The Canadian Press, 2007

RagingLamb
05-07-2007, 04:16 PM
^this is the first article as the first post

Lee
05-07-2007, 04:32 PM
Pics from the championship

Greg-Pete fan
05-07-2007, 04:40 PM
Pics from the championship

Thank you Lee:) Pete is THE BEST:worship: He should come back:devil:

angiel
05-07-2007, 04:47 PM
Thank you Lee:) Pete is THE BEST:worship: He should come back:devil:


Maybe he will.:worship: :worship: :D :angel: :cool:

angiel
05-07-2007, 04:49 PM
Pics from the championship


Big thank you Lee.:worship: :worship: :cool: :angel:

angiel
05-07-2007, 05:08 PM
TennisX News.


Champions Cup Boston
Boston, MA, USA

Singles Final:
Pete Sampras d. Todd Martin 6-3, 5-7, 11-9

Sampras win in his senior debut, beating John McEnroe along the way and in the final saving three match points against Martin. In the third-place playoff, McEnroe beat Jim Courier 6-2, 6-3. "It would be have been nice if I'd have played as well against Pete (as Courier)," McEnroe said. "Of course, Pete had something to do with throwing me off. He's so difficult to get rhythm and deal with -- he doesn't give you a chance to get into a groove."

angiel
05-07-2007, 05:24 PM
Pistol Pete prevails - Sampras returns to Boston, takes Champions Cup



By MIKE FINE
The Patriot Ledger

BOSTON - For all the years he appeared to be the quintessentially dispassionate tennis star, Pete Sampras showed a true understanding of his surroundings yesterday.

After staving off three match points to take the final five points of a tiebreak set over Todd Martin to win the Champions Cup, Sampras told the Agganis Arena crowd, ‘‘I don’t know if you guys heard, I believe the New York Yankees just signed Roger Clemens.’’

Don’t let anyone say that Sampras and his fellow slightly-over-the-hill pros don’t have a feel for their surroundings.

‘‘It’s like a religion,’’ he said of the Sox fans. ‘‘I’ve never seen anything like it. Being from L.A., people are passionate, but here, it’s a whole new ballgame.’’

Indeed, the principals in the Outback Champions Series, which features former Grand Slam winners, know that they’re participating in a whole new ballgame, too. There have been senior tours before, but series creator Jim Courier, who finished fourth after losing to John McEnroe, has assembled a strong group of players whose talents are being appreciated in some carefully chosen locations.

Sampras used this Boston stop on the tour to return to competitive tennis nearly five years after retiring. His match against McEnroe on Saturday drew 4,720 fans, while yesterday’s two matches drew in another 3,560. The tennis is surprisingly good. These are mostly late 30-something players who aren’t far removed from their ATP careers, and while the rallies aren’t as long and the footwork might not be as crisp, the strokes are there, as is the power and the finesse.

Knowing this, Courier, a former top-ranked player who’s co-founder of InsideOut Sports, which runs the tour, has selected seven locations that he figures will appreciate the pros’ talents. The first stop was in Naples, Fla., in March, and now that Boston is over, it moves on to its only non-U.S. venue, Athens, Greece, May 17.

Courier is in the unique position as one of the players who takes these $142,000 tourneys very seriously (McEnroe at one point shouted at a linesman, ‘‘What line are you watching, pal?’’), and he’s also the man whose head is on the line.

‘‘From a playing perspective, I’ve got a few things to work on,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m looking forward to hitting the playing court in the next few days to try tighten things up before I head over to Greece. From the InsideOut perspective, this tournament has grown exponentially since our first year last year at Bosse Sports Club (Sudbury), which is a fantastic venue. We had about 2,300 to 2,500 seats and were sold out over the weekend, which was great, and this year we’ve had even more people. We’ve had a really significant uptick in awareness. I think more people in the city felt the buzz because it’s a year in, so there’s a little bit of that recognition of how was it last year, what it’s gonna be like this year. Adding Sampras has certainly added some extra buzz as well.’’

Courier is well aware that Boston has been missing something over the years - professional tennis. There is none, other than the Boston Lobsters of World Team Tennis, but the sport has otherwise been moribund for many years. The last major event held in Boston might have been the Davis Cup quarterfinals at Longwood Cricket Club in 1999. For many years, Longwood hosted a major tournament, the U.S. Pro Championships, which at one time was a tuneup for the U.S. Open. The Tournament began in 1964 and lasted until 1999, but by then it was little more than an exhibition for second-level players.

In the 1970s, tennis was so big that the Virginia Slims Tour staged events at the site of the South Shore Sports Center in Hingham, which was originally Old Colony Tennis Club. The event moved at one point to an old aircraft hangar that had been converted to a tennis club at Marina Bay in Quincy. Elsewhere around New England, the Volvo International Tennis Tournament, played on a 10,000-seat arena carved into the side of North Conway’s Cranmore Mountain, was a huge draw for Greater Boston fans. That tournament eventually moved to Stratton and then New Haven as the Pilot Pen tourney. It signaled the waning of professional tennis availability.

Courier has done his homework.

‘‘This not something we’ve taken lightly,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s something that takes a lot of energy and effort and manpower and brainpower from the other part of my company. We’ll see if we’re able to sustain this. I think there’s a market for this. I think this week shows that there’s an appetite for this brand of Boston.

‘‘As we look across the sports landscape and look for opportunities, certainly we seek places like Boston, like Charlotte and a lot of other major markets that are lacking in top-flight professional tennis with big names, and as you watch the ATP and WTA tour take more tournaments off the table, shrink the calendar and send more and more overseas, you recognize that American tennis fans in particular are going to get shortchanged unless there are some other alternatives, albeit exhibitions or the Outback Championship Series.’’

Having Sampras participate was huge. Having him look quite like the old Pete Sampras, who was ranked No. 1 for a record-breaking six years (1993-98), will only create that buzz Courier is looking for.

‘‘It would be really tough to beat him but I feel like I’ve done my job,’’ McEnroe said. ‘‘Basically I’ve passed the torch. I’ve done my best to try to make this a viable option for tennis fans in playing in the Champions and seniors tours. I feel it can add something to our sport. Back when Jimmy Connors started the tour back in the early 90s, before I even started playing, I was 35. The past dozen, 13 years, I’ve been playing pretty consistently, probably 10 to 12 events a year, supported it. Now in order for it to remain successful you have to have people like Pete play.’’

‘‘The bar is already very, very high the last year and a half,’’ Courier said, ‘‘but there’s no question when you bring in 14 major titles in one body that you have to recognize that it’s going to get tougher.’’

Mike Fine may be reached at mikefine@ledger.com .

Copyright 2007 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Monday, May 07, 2007

angiel
05-07-2007, 05:30 PM
CHAMPIONS CUP BOSTON
Sampras displays old flair
He beats Martin to claim crown

By Barbara Matson, Globe Staff | May 7, 2007


http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2007/tennis/05/04/sampras.seniors.ap/p1.pete.sampras.ap.jpg




It was almost anticlimactic when Pete Sampras and Todd Martin took the court yesterday for the Champions Cup Boston title match at Agganis Arena.


Sampras, playing his first competitive event since retiring after winning the 2002 US Open, had won the weekend's most anticipated event the night before, beating John McEnroe, 6-3, 6-4, before a packed house of spirited fans starved for top-flight tennis from players they recognize. The 14-time major winner was playing so well, his opponents were spending time thinking up jokes to share with the crowd to deflect attention from the pasting Sampras was putting down.

But Sampras put on another show in the finale, abetted by the surprise performance of the scene-stealing Martin. The 35-year-old Sampras survived a second-set revival by the 36-year-old Martin, as well as a triple match point in the tour's 10-point tiebreak, to win, 6-3, 5-7, 11-9 (tiebreaker). The tournament was testament to Sampras's continued mastery of the game despite a five-year break to live a regular life: His serve is stronger, his backhand more biting , and his demeanor more relaxed than when he dominated the professional tour.

"He can beat most of the guys out there now," said McEnroe, after deftly dispatching his host, tour promoter Jim Courier, 6-2, 6-3, in the third-place match. "He's got one of the biggest forehands in the history of the game, he moves great -- it's a harder style to appreciate, plus he's sort of 'out there,' sometimes he looks like he doesn't even know how good he is."

McEnroe, 13 years older than Sampras, couldn't find his touch or strategic mastery to turn back Sampras's sizzling serves, nor the mobility to run down the fierce ground strokes Sampras whipped to the corners.

Martin was having similar trouble in the championship, waving weakly at Sampras's 105-mile-per-hour serves as the first set slipped past. Sampras won the third game of the second set, cracking three aces before Martin could get his racket in the vicinity of the ball. After the third ace, Sampras looked toward the sideline and crooked a baffled smile, almost as if he were the one fielding the impossible serves and didn't know how to handle them.

But Martin was thinking, and he adjusted his game. "In the first set, I served great," said Martin. "I returned OK, considering his [big] serve, and the ball kept flying by me. The only recourse I had was to turn it into a tennis match rather than a skills test, because his skills are better than mine."

Sampras raced through his serve at love to take a 5-4 lead in the second set, and Martin was left walking back and forth along the baseline, shaking his head and muttering. But Martin was thinking hard, and making adjustments. Instead of taking the ball early, as he likes to do, Martin backed up to take Sampras's serve and, "lo and behold," he said, "I got the point started some of the time."

When Sampras couldn't finish off the point abruptly with his serve or return of serve, he was vulnerable. For a while.

"[Martin] picked up his level a lot," said Sampras. "When he was serving at love, that puts that much more pressure on me. You try to get control of the point."

Martin, also a big server, held serve, and then broke Sampras for a 6-5 lead, as Sampras hit a series of shots that hit just outside the line or just under the tape on the net.

"It was good to see Pete allow himself to get a little nervous at the end of the match like that," said Martin, who had Sampras scrambling in the tiebreaker. Martin took a 5-2 lead and when Sampras caught up at 6-6 with an ace, he immediately gave it back with a double fault. A service winner and a backhand cross-court gave Martin three match points, but Sampras fought them off. He got one back with a backhand volley, then just started hitting the ball harder and harder, his strokes ticking the lines before Martin could get in position to return.

Sampras closed out his first Champions Cup title with a fiery serve, which Martin stretched to get his racket on, but tipped the return wide.

"Pete's bringing the bar up," said Courier, caretaker of the Champions series. "When you bring in 14 major titles in one body, it's going to get tougher."

Barbara Matson can be reached at matson@globe.com.

© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.

angiel
05-07-2007, 08:14 PM
The Hindu: Sport.


Sampras shows he can still compete


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sampras has been playing beach volleyball and golf to keep fit
McEnroe defeated Courier to take the third spot
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



BOSTON: Pete Sampras overcame three match points to win his seniors' tour debut on Sunday, splitting the first two sets 6-3, 5-7 before prevailing 11-9 in the tiebreak against Todd Martin.

Sampras hadn't played competitive tennis since winning the 2002 U.S. Open when he clinched his record 14th Grand Slam title. The American, who retired at 31, didn't pick up a racket or watch tennis on television for almost three years before deciding to play a limited schedule of exhibitions and Champion's Cup events.

His presence was a coup for the seniors tour and a reminder for his opponents — Petr Korda, Tim Mayotte, John McEnroe and Martin — of why he dominated the regular tour when they were in their prime.

Extra buzz


``Adding Sampras has certainly brought some extra buzz,'' said Jim Courier, a competitor and organiser of the tour. ``There's no question that when you bring in 14 major titles in one body, it's going to get tougher.''

In a nod to the players' fitness, the matches are best-of-two sets, with a 10-point tiebreak in case they split the sets. Sampras won the first set 6-3 and it was 5-5 in the second when Martin broke Sampras's serve, then held serve to tie it.

``I was thoroughly unprepared for a lot of what he had to offer,'' said Martin, the winner of last year's Boston event. ``The only recourse I had was to turn it into a tennis match rather than a skills test, because his skills are better than mine.''

Trailing 9-6, Sampras won five consecutive points. Martin was serving for the match at 9-8 when he hit a backhand — a ``pretty easy'' one, Sampras said — into the net; Sampras won when Martin returned a serve wide.

``Athletically, he's still closer to the speed he was when he was competing. The rest of us have depreciated more,'' Martin said. ``I hit a few shots today, but I was reacting 9 times out of 10, if not 19 times out of 20.''

Sampras had been doing his best to stay in shape, playing 3-on-3 basketball twice a week in Los Angeles with friends, including former tour player Alex O'Brien. Beach volleyball and golf have also kept him busy when he wasn't chasing his two children, aged 4-1/2 and 1-1/2, around the house.

But now that he's back on court, he plans to make a few appearances — not the entire seven-event tour — including Athens in two weeks. ``I'm excited about taking my folks there, being a Greek-American,'' Sampras said.

Sampras was 3-0 in the round-robin before beating Martin in the final. McEnroe beat Courier 6-2, 6-3 in the consolation match.

``I think it adds a tremendous amount of legitimacy to what we're doing out here to have somebody who still plays at that level,'' Martin said about Sampras's involvement. ``For me, it's great to know that the best player in our era still wants to compete, still wants to beat me.'' — AP

Mimi
05-08-2007, 02:27 AM
thanks pj80, angiel and Lee for the articles and photos :D

its so easy for pete, won a title as soon as he stepped on court again :D :

angiel
05-08-2007, 04:55 PM
Page Two: Top page blurbs

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

This just in

Pete Sampras won his first Champions Cup tournament in Boston, then broke the news of Roger Clemens' signing with the Yankees to the crowd during the trophy ceremony. Following his next victory, Sampras will reveal who's getting whacked in the last episode of The Sopranos.

The Sapp Diet - Step 1

Warren Sapp showed up at Raiders minicamp nearly 50 pounds lighter than the end of last season. Hmmm, wonder how he was able to get rid of the munchies?

angiel
05-08-2007, 04:56 PM
thanks pj80, angiel and Lee for the articles and photos :D

its so easy for pete, won a title as soon as he stepped on court again :D :


:D :) You are welcome my dear:angel: :angel:

angiel
05-08-2007, 05:35 PM
Sampras Squeezes Past Martin To Win Senior Debut


By Tennis Week
05/07/2007


Pete Sampras captured the 2007 Champions Cup Boston title today in his Outback Champions Series debut.



Sampras saved three match points in winning the last five points in the decisive match tiebreak to edge defending champion Todd Martin 6-3, 5-7, 11-9 (match tiebreak) Sunday in the championship match of the $142,000 Champions Cup Boston, the second tournament of the 2007 Outback Champions Series.

In his first competitive tournament since beating Andre Agassi in the finals of the 2002 U.S. Open for his record 14th Grand Slam title, Sampras lost just one set in four matches, taking home $50,000 in prize money by virtue of going undefeated for the week.

"I thought everyone really played at a high level this week," Sampras said. "Todd can still play and his serve was really giving me trouble out there today. I really had fun competing again."

After falling in the first set, Martin broke Sampras’ serve to snap a 5-5 tie in the second. Martin then held serve to force the match tiebreak, where he went up 9-6 before Sampras came roaring back. Sampras won two service points to make it 9-8, broke Martin twice to go up 10-9, then won the match when Martin’s return sailed wide.

"Pete is a true champion and a fierce competitor," said Martin. "It's great to have him on the tour. I felt like I had a chance out there today but just wasn't able to capitalize on a few key opportunities which ultimately cost me the match."

In the third-place playoff also on Sunday, John McEnroe beat Outback Champions Series co-founder Jim Courier 6-2, 6-3.

In what he described as his best match of the event, McEnroe held all but one of his service games. He took control of the first set after breaking to go up 3-1, then won two straight in the second to extend a 3-2 lead into a 5-2 advantage.

"There's some great players in this field, so I’m certainly not ashamed to finish in fourth place," Courier said. "But it does give me a little something to chew on in the next few days."

McEnroe, a seven-time individual Grand Slam champion, finished the five-day tournament with a 3-1 round-robin record. His only loss came Saturday night to Sampras 6-3, 6-4 in front of a standing-room only capacity crowd of nearly 5,000 fans.

"It would be have been nice if I’d have played as well against Pete (as Courier)," McEnroe said. "Of course, Pete had something to do with throwing me off. He’s so difficult to get rhythm and deal with — he doesn’t give you a chance to get into a groove."

Champions Cup Boston, like all Outback Champion Series events, 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. Each event features $142,000 in prize money with an undefeated winner taking home $50,000 as well as Champions Series ranking points that will determine a year-end champion. 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

angiel
05-08-2007, 05:37 PM
Evergreen Pistol Pete returns with a bang

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pete Sampras overcame triple match point against Todd Martin and won his seniors tour debut, splitting the first two sets 6-3, 5-7 before prevailing 11-9 in the tiebreak.

Sampras had not played competitive tennis since winning the 2002 US Open for his record 14th Grand Slam title. Retired at 31, he did not pick up a racket or watch tennis on TV for almost three years before deciding to play a limited schedule of exhibitions and Champion's Cup events.

His presence in Boston was a coup for the seniors tour and reminder for his opponents - Petr Korda, Tim Mayotte, John McEnroe and Martin - of why he dominated when they were in their prime.

"Adding Sampras has certainly added some extra buzz," said Jim Courier, a competitor and organizer of the tour. "There's no question that when you bring in 14 major titles in one body, it's going to get tougher."

Trailing 9-6 in the tiebreak, Sampras won five consecutive points. Martin was serving for the victory at 9-8 when he hit a backhand into the net; Sampras took the victory when Martin returned a serve wide.

"Athletically, he's still closer to the speed he was when he was competing. The rest of us have depreciated more," Martin said.

Now that he is back on the court, Sampras plans to make a few appearances - not the entire seven-event tour - including Athens in two weeks. ASSOCIATED PRESS