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Monfils beat Sampras 7:6(4), 6:4 in San Jose 2011 exhibition

Greg-Pete fan
02-12-2011, 04:10 PM
Pete Sampras, Gael Monfils leave them laughing in SAP Open exhibition

Feb 8, 2011 - For the lighter side of tennis, Monday night at HP Pavilion was the place to be.

Push-ups, sit-ups, between-point wind sprints, photo breaks ... the exhibition match between retired 14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras, 39, and up-and-coming French showman Gael Monfils, 24, had a little bit of everything.

When it ended, there was even some smack talk.

Peeking ahead to an exhibition match against longtime rival Andre Agassi (also retired) at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 28, Sampras told the crowd of 4,911, "I'm looking forward to playing Andre. I'm always looking forward to kicking his little (behind)."

It was the last laugh in a match filled with them.

On the opening night of the SAP Open, Sampras and Monfils ran around the court for a little more than an hour before the Frenchman emerged with a 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory.

"It's not easy to come up here sort of cold turkey and try to play him," Sampras said. "But all in all, I was very happy with the way I played and didn't embarrass myself. I had a few chances there to maybe squeak out a set. But I'm almost 40 now, and he's in the prime of his life."

Sampras, who won two SAP Open titles during his legendary career, has been no stranger to the tournament post-retirement. The exhibition Monday marked the fourth consecutive year in which Sampras kicked off the SAP Open by playing an opening-night exhibition.

Last year, Fernando Verdasco went on to win the tournament after playing Sampras in the Monday exhibition.

For Monfils, the second seed this week behind Verdasco, the match Monday was an honor.

"To play against you, Pete, was a dream come true," he said during an on-court interview.

While there were some superb shots in the match, a few of the memorable moments had little to do with tennis.

At one point, Sampras, perhaps underlining the fact he is approaching 40, took a seat behind the baseline as if to take a break. Monfils' response: He dropped to the ground and did five push-ups, then sprinted up the court and dropped again, this time doing five sit-ups.

The crowd erupted in laughter.

At another point, Monfils approached a group of photographers next to the court and asked one of them for his camera. Monfils took the camera on the court and snapped a shot of Sampras.

Showmanship aside, Sampras was impressed with Monfils' game.

"I played against a lot of good movers in my day," Sampras said. "But he was one of the best I've ever played. It was incredible. He slides like 8-feet long. He's got a great future."

Sampras, meanwhile, wants to keep playing, with one exception: "Next year, I hope I can play (John) McEnroe or Agassi," he said, "someone a little more my age."

Source: Mercury News

Greg-Pete fan
02-12-2011, 04:10 PM
Monfils defeats Sampras in exhibition

Gael Monfils of France took on Pete Sampras, the American great, in an exhibition match at the SAP Open in San Jose, California.

The match was part of the promotional activity for the tournament, and was scheduled in the evening session.

While Sampras has been in retirement since 2002, he has played several exhibition matches since then, including one against Tommy Haas at the 2008 edition of this very tournament.

He has also played Roger Federer twice and most recently colluded with Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andre Agassi in a doubles fund raiser for the earthquake struck country of Haiti.

He also won two Outback Champions Series titles in 2009, defeating both John McEnroe and Pat Rafter en route.

Since Monfils and Sampras play contrasting styles of tennis, this match was always going to be an exciting show.

As world no.12 and the second seed at this tournament, Monfils is an accomplished top-level player. His power, coupled with his incredible athleticism makes him an excellent, albeit unconventional, defender.

Sampras on the other hand is one of the finest aggressive players tennis has ever seen. His serve and volley game was unique during the 90s and it is so even more now.

The encounter was, as expected, close. The scoreboard said 7-6, 6-4 at the end, and even though it was a straight set victory for the second seed, it was a hard fought one.

The first set went into a tiebreak and saw some excellent game-play. Sampras's serve was obviously not as devastating as it once was, and unsurprisingly, Monfils, was the better server of the two.

The American's serve and volley game was also effectively castrated by the pace and fitness of the 24-year old Frenchman. The younger man rained down three speedy aces at one point, and it is a testament to Pete's supreme skill that he kept right on the heels of his opponent throughout.

The second set was a little easier for the Frenchman, who finally got a break to win it 6-4.

Monfils made the match the spectacle it was supposed to be. Playing his childhood hero, he was exuberant and excited, at one point even asking a ball boy to take his picture with the Legend.

In the post match interview, Sampras was impressed by the young man's movement, lauding him as one of the best movers he'd faced.

A Pete Sampras exhibition match is a tradition at the SAP Open, and a fine one it is. It is a chance for the world to see arguably the greatest tennis player ever in action, and a chance for many young tennis players to face their idol.

This match served well as such an occasion, and the organizers must be thanked for their efforts regarding it.

Greg-Pete fan
02-12-2011, 04:11 PM
Monfils beats Sampras in exhibition at SAP Open

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)-After one long point, Pete Sampras sat in a chair to catch his breath, while Gael Monfils dropped to the ground to do a push-up, followed by a sprint and then a sit-up.

That was just one piece of evidence of the 15-year age difference between the two competitors in the exhibition match that highlighted the opening night of the SAP Open on Monday.

Monfils was faster on the court, showing the ability to track down drop shots and other volleys Sampras thought would be winners. Monfils had more power on his serve as evidenced by three straight 130-plus mph aces at one point. And Monfils got the better of the 14-time Grand Slam winner, beating Sampras 7-6 (4), 6-4.

"I felt I played a little better than I did last year and held my own," Sampras said. "Physically, that's the most I've served and volleyed in the last seven years. Not easy. Gael is a great mover, returns well and made me work really hard on my service game. All in all, I'm very happy with the way I played. I had a few chances in the first set that I let slip away. He's the real deal."

This exhibition marked Monfils' debut at the San Jose tournament. He can only hope that opening his first trip here with a victory over Sampras will work out as well as it did last year for Fernando Verdasco, who followed up his exhibition victory over Sampras with a tournament win.

Monfils thoroughly enjoyed the lighthearted affair, playing to the crowd of 4,911 whenever he got the chance. At one point, Monfils grabbed a camera from a photographer and snapped a shot of Sampras. Then between games, Monfils fetched his cell phone from his bag and had a ball boy take a photo of him with Sampras.

Monfils later filmed Sampras' postmatch interview with his phone, recording praise like this: "I've played a lot of good movers in my day. He's one of the best I've ever played."

Monfils, who was just 4 years old when Sampras won his first major title at the U.S. Open in 1990,

"To play against you, Pete, is a dream," he said after the match.

Sampras played an exhibition here for the fourth straight year. Afterward, he said he'd like to play someone closer to his own age next year, like John McEnroe or Andre Agassi.

Sampras will square off with his old rival Agassi later this month in an exhibition at Madison Square Garden and he took the opportunity to hype up that match.

"I always beat him in New York," he said. "I will say that."

Sampras is also finally starting to embrace the technology that has taken over the sport in recent years, switching from the old Wilson racket he used during his career to the more powerful Babolat that is so popular with today's players.

"I need a little bit more pop," he said. "I need it if I'm going to play some tennis."

Greg-Pete fan
02-12-2011, 04:14 PM
Some photos

Part I

Greg-Pete fan
02-12-2011, 04:15 PM
Part II

Greg-Pete fan
02-12-2011, 04:17 PM
And one more photo

02-14-2011, 01:24 AM
thanks Greg, not a bad score even though Pete lost:D

Greg-Pete fan
02-21-2011, 09:02 PM
Yes and remember that Monfils runs like Nadal, so not bad result for Pete :)

02-22-2011, 12:35 AM
Yes and remember that Monfils runs like Nadal, so not bad result for Pete :)

yeah, beaten by someone who is much younger than him in such score is not bad at all:wavey: