2006, NEWS ABOUT< PETE SAMPRAS. [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

2006, NEWS ABOUT< PETE SAMPRAS.

angiel
01-03-2006, 09:40 PM
This is a New Year (2006) and all the news about Mr. Sampras. :wavey: :D



My New Year was quite good and i hope for all of us here - and hope we only have good news to write about Pete and his Family this Year 2006.


http://www.santos-pfenning.de/408701_II.jpg

angiel
01-04-2006, 12:12 AM
telegraph.co.uk


Wishes for 2006
(Filed: 02/01/2006)


Tennis, by Mark Hodgkinson

1. A rivalry worth speaking of in men's tennis.

Not since Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, the loud American against the quiet one, has there been a proper battle, and it has been an element that has been badly missed. The sport so needs another pair of serial thrillers. It is to be hoped that Rafael Nadal will have the heavily-spun forehands, the power and the exuberance to trouble Roger Federer repeatedly during the 2006 season.

That is some demand on Nadal, with Federer certainly the finest player of his generation, and perhaps even the greatest to have ever swung a racket. But Nadal also has a freakish talent for hitting tennis balls. The 19-year-old Spaniard won 11 titles last season, including defeating Federer in the semi-finals of the French Open on the way to his first grand slam title, and he finished second in the world rankings. Nadal accumulated more ranking points than some past world No 1s, but never really threatened Federer. That could change this year.

Such a rivalry would offer a contrast in styles, tennis-wise and fashion-wise. Nadal is more confrontational with his tennis, while Federer employs more grace and deception. While Federer has a measured, conservative on-court persona (so very Swiss), Nadal is the Latin extrovert, with his long, rock-style hair, his three-quarter length shorts, his sleeveless tops, his sudden bursts of energy and his scissor-kick celebrations.

While Federer's brilliance undoubtedly can be enjoyed on its own, a rivalry with Nadal would add so much more to the sport. But any sustained rivalry between the two will not be bitter, acrimonious and tantrum-filled. They are far too polite, respectful and well-meaning for that.

PinkFeatherBoa
01-04-2006, 01:14 AM
Hi angiel. Happy new year sweetie. (:

:wavey: :wavey: :wavey:

peteslamz
01-04-2006, 03:47 PM
Former tennis star Pete Sampras, on how he's kept busy in retirement: "I've been playing a ton of golf. And my wife is pregnant, so I've done a little bit of that."

Angiel, this is one of the news that you have posted during late december, is this a recent news? Because if its a latest tidbit then does that mean that Bridgette is pregnant again??? :eek:

almouchie
01-04-2006, 08:32 PM
HAPPY NEW YEAR to every1 :)
what is that tennis gold racket angiel?
is it pete's??

angiel
01-05-2006, 12:10 AM
Hi angiel. Happy new year sweetie. (:

:wavey: :wavey: :wavey:



:wavey: Hi to you too, and how was your christmas & new year, hope you are going to stay with us here. :kiss: :kiss:

angiel
01-05-2006, 12:12 AM
Angiel, this is one of the news that you have posted during late december, is this a recent news? Because if its a latest tidbit then does that mean that Bridgette is pregnant again??? :eek:



No, this is an old quote I found in December :p ;) how are you. :wavey: :D

angiel
01-05-2006, 12:13 AM
HAPPY NEW YEAR to every1 :)
what is that tennis gold racket angiel?
is it pete's??



I think so, i found it under his name. :worship: :angel: :wavey:

angiel
01-05-2006, 12:33 AM
Colts of perseverance
Indy will rally behind coach to prove it is best team

Posted: Wednesday January 4, 2006 10:02AM; Updated: Wednesday January 4, 2006 10:02AM






The Patriots may be the defending champions and the team of the 21st century, but even as New England enters the NFL playoffs revitalized, it is another team that commands the superior interest: the Indianapolis Colts.

This was true even before Indy head coach Tony Dungy suffered the loss of his 18-year-old son -- to an apparent suicide -- a trauma that was bound to affect the whole team in some fashion.

Now, nothing annoys me more than when some tragedy intrudes upon sport and then some all-knowing, somber-sounding columnist or commentator intones that this has reminded the player or the team that games are not really important. As if anybody in any occupation operates under the delusion that any bit of business ever matters more than life or death.

But I do suspect that, given the nature of competition, tragedy may very well have a greater influence on the outcome of a sporting event than it does in most other professions, where the daily work is more level and not so concentrated. This is not to say, either, that a tragedy involving a player or someone close to the team must necessarily work adversely. In their emotions, athletes, no less than most people, are an inconsistent, unpredictable breed. Most famously, for example, recall how Pete Sampras somehow actually raised his performance, even as he literally played through tears, grieving over the news that his coach had cancer, as he came from two sets behind to beat Jim Courier at the Australian Open in 1995.

Then, too, inasmuch as Tony Dungy is held more fondly by his players than are most coaches, it is even more difficult to tell how his grief and the team's response to that will affect the Colts during the playoffs. Remember, this though: Dungy was greatly admired at Tampa Bay, too, but it was only after he departed that the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl for a coach with a very different, less endearing, personality. Should Indianapolis draw closer to the championship, Dungy will also start to have to deal with all the talk about how he might become the first African-American football coach ever to win a national championship, professional or college.

And this of history, as well: Indianapolis itself has never won a major-league sports championship. Ah, might the Hoosiers forever be cursed for stealing the beloved Colts out of Baltimore under cover of darkness?

But these current Colts are a potpourri of plot. They have already gone through the diversional duress of staying undefeated into their 14th game. Could they run the table? Then they lost a couple that didn't count and the nitpickers suggested maybe Indianapolis had invested too much in the winning streak. Can they get back on track? Plus, Colts' star quarterback Peyton Manning must do battle with the paradox that if he performs exceptionally well -- because he has to, for the team to win -- he will be criticized for, well, for performing too well himself...

Then again, the Colts have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which is in a dome, as they are a dome team -- and they appear to be the best, most well-rounded team in the league. Maybe all the other extraneous stuff counts for nothing.

angiel
01-10-2006, 08:48 PM
'Magician' irritates opponents

Margie McDonald
January 11, 2006


HE gets right under the skin of nearly every player he meets but please call Fabrice Santoro anything but Mr Annoying.

The Frenchman was given the nickname 'the Magician' by Pete Sampras after the 14-time grand slam champion lost to him in three sets at the Indian Wells Masters tournament nearly four years ago. His racquet repeatedly does things that defy logic.

Most on the tour would rather take their chances against Roger Federer than face Santoro's barrage of lobs and drop shots, his relentless backhand slice and shots he invents himself, like the double-handed down-the-line sliced half-volley.

Even Federer probably doesn't like facing him. Santoro took the world No.1 to two tiebreaker sets in Qatar last week before losing a second round match 7-6 7-6.

"Don't call me Mr Sneaky or Mr Annoying. I prefer magician than annoying. I think that is better for me," Santoro said after almost claiming another victim - Adelaide International winner and fellow Frenchman Florent Serra - in the first round in Sydney yesterday. He took the first set 7-5 but lost the next two 6-2 6-4.









"As long as I get the wins I don't worry about what they call me," Santoro said.

Surprisingly, the two had not met before, although there is a nine-year gap between the veteran of tricky shots, Santoro, 33, and the rising 24-year-old Serra, who was one of the big improvers on the ATP Tour last year jumping 159 spots to 50.

Watching Santoro play a match is like having a mosquito never far from your left ear.

Santoro is also a master of gauging conditions and used a blustery northerly and early afternoon sun yesterday to ensure Serra was returning lobs - once four times in the one point - while looking directly into the light. And he had to scramble to reach a drop shot which the wind held up sufficiently so it dropped just over the net on Serra's side.

Several times Serra glared back at Santoro after he had run forwards and backwards and then forwards again. All he wanted to do was stay back near the baseline and slug groundstrokes. But instead Santoro would slice, lob, rush the net, and lob again.

Serra would then let out a howl, while Santoro would smile at the crowd, never directly looking down the other end at Serra. When he hears his opponent curse and shout, he knows he is doing his job.

"They get nervous and frustrated sometimes and if they do this then, of course, that's going to help me."

To prove Santoro is not only annoying, or a magician, he hit a drop shot on the first of Serra's match points - not your conventional safe choice but a high-risk shot some might say was not just sneaky but perhaps stupid. He knows play like this divides the tennis world into two camps.

"Some people like my game, some people hate my game. But nobody has no opinion about my game," Santoro said.

"They all know me and they either like it or hate it ... and this is good."

angiel
01-12-2006, 12:16 AM
Tennis



The Times

January 12, 2006

Annacone content to shepherd Henman through final stages
From Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent, in Melbourne



WHERE Paul Annacone is, most coaches would give their right arm to be: in control of everything bar one element — his player’s results. As it was when he guided Pete Sampras to many glories and helped him to come to the realisation it was best over, so it is as Tim Henman’s career nears its final curve.

When Henman calls time, Annacone will go quietly and not to penury. Not for him the need to hang around waiting for the crumbs to fall from someone else’s far less adorned table. He will return to Los Angeles, a new wife of 18 months, two teenage children and contentment doing whatever takes his fancy.



But while Henman’s fire burns bright, so does Annacone’s. He spent two weeks before Christmas in Britain, assessing where his man is and where he is primed to go. “For me as the coach, the key elements are how I objectively evaluate where he is headed and how to get the most of what he has left,” the American said. “There is so much going on in the background that people don’t understand, be it personal or professional — much more than what happens between the lines (on court).

“Working with Tim is no different than it was with Pete — it is about getting players as close to fulfilling their potential as they can be. I want to make sure Tim squeezes as much from what time he has. At this stage of an athlete’s career, it is hard to retain a proper objectivity because in this world, people only look at what you have done lately. That’s the nature of sports fans and the media.

“After last year, I heard it, ‘Tim doesn’t have it any more.’ Much as when they said, ‘Pete can’t win, he’s married, he’s lost it, why is he still playing?’ I remember being totally convinced within a couple of weeks of Pete and I getting back together when he was 30 years old that he would win another major. I loved what I saw from him. I kept telling him, ‘If you keep doing this, you’ll win something. You’re too good.’

“Proportionately, I have to do the same with Tim. The goal is different. With Pete it was ‘did he win, did he lose?’ — that was the only way he measured himself. Tim is a tad lower but still one of the best in the world and has to put himself into positions where he might win. His is not such a results-orientated scenario. It is of a process, a strategy, a way of playing, of attacking it boldly and, hopefully, results will match the plan.

“Two years ago, he talked about playing the right way, getting the balance of his game right. He wasn’t worried about results and he did a great job, reaching the semi-finals of two grand-slams. It is easy to question, easy to second-guess, easy to plant the seeds of doubt, but ultimately, when you are happy with what you’re trying to do and still feel you have it in you, then do it. But buy fully into the process.”

Annacone has spent enough time in British company and environment to be fascinated by the progress of Andy Murray, who arrived here yesterday after his straight-sets defeat by Mario Ancic, of Croatia, in the second round of the Heineken Open in Auckland. Henman may still be the British No 1, but the column inches on Murray are growing at a frightening rate. Annacone witnessed a defining moment at close quarters in Basle two months ago, when Murray defeated his man and further altered the sport’s complexion.

Now, with early defeats in his first two events of the year, comes a healthy dose of reality. Annacone has not worked with a player of Murray’s age — Sampras was 23 when they first teamed up — but offered words of caution.

“I know Mark (Petchey, Murray’s coach) a little, we’ve chatted briefly,” Annacone said. “His role is vital. The pressure will build, there’s bound to be adversity and it is how the coach deals with the negativity. Is he calm, objective, how does he help bring his player down from the highs and build him up from the lows?

“They have to be careful because there will be a lot of barriers, just playing the whole year. As a coach, you must be able to project a sense of inevitability — that you’re confident in what you’re doing, that the guy you’re working for is going to come through and that you are secure in yourself. These are tricky things.”

And where Annacone and Petchey differ in experience, they are poles apart on the viability of a National Centre, the British version of which, planned for completion in the autumn, is castigated by Petchey as “a misguided waste”.

During his time as high performance director at the United State Tennis Association, a large plank of Annacone’s philosophy was bringing the best aspects of the sport under one roof.

“It is about a centralisation of the top talent, the best players, the best coaches,” he said. “I think it is a great idea, but it has to have the right people in the right places with a respected director and a programme that everyone believes in.”

angiel
01-12-2006, 12:24 AM
600 hours of tennis on TSN in 2006


TSN.ca Staff

1/10/2006 9:35:48 PM

TORONTO - TSN announced its extensive 2006 tennis broadcast schedule, which includes the biggest events of the year - the four grand slam tournaments, women's Rogers Cup in Montreal, men's Rogers Cup in Toronto, and the other nine Masters Series tournaments including the season finale Masters Cup from Shanghai.

A new season of tennis on TSN begins this Sunday with 97 hours of the Australian Open from January 15 to 29. Complete coverage of the first Grand Slam event of the season includes men's and women's early round matches, Round of 16, quarter-finals, semifinals and finals, as well as the women's doubles final.

TSN enjoyed an outstanding season of tennis in 2005, with an average audience of 81,000 viewers*, up 11 per cent from 2004. The four grand slam events - Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open - also saw a significant increase in viewership, with an average audience of 99,000 viewers, up 22 per cent from 2004.

TSN's 2006 tennis broadcast schedule is as follows:
· Australian Open - January 15-29
· ATP Tennis Masters Series: Pacific Life Open - March 13-19
· ATP Tennis Masters Series: NASDAQ-100 Open - March 27-April 2
· ATP Tennis Masters Series: Monte-Carlo - April 17-23
· ATP Tennis Masters Series: Rome - May 8-14
· ATP Tennis Masters Series: Hamburg - May 15-21
· French Open - May 29-June 11
· Wimbledon - June 26-July 7
· Rogers Cup (men's - Toronto) - August 7-11
· Rogers Cup (women's - Montreal) - August 14-18
· ATP Tennis Masters Series: Cincinnati - August 14-20
· U.S. Open - August 28-September 10
· ATP Tennis Masters Series: Madrid - October 16-22
· ATP Tennis Masters Series: Paris - October 30-November 5
· ATP Tennis Masters Series: Masters Cup: Shanghai - November 12-19

During the Australian Open, ESPN Classic salutes the greats of the tennis world with some vintage matches from Down Under. Featured stars include four-time champion Andre Agassi, two-time title-holder Pete Sampras, four-time winner Monica Seles, and three-time champion Martina Hingis, who will continue her comeback at this year's Australian Open (Check local listings for dates and times.) Classic Tennis on ESPN Classic can be seen every Sunday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET.




TSN's complete coverage of the 2006 Australian Open is as follows:
· Early Round Coverage Day 1 - Sunday, Jan. 15 at 12 midnight ET and Monday, Jan. 16 at 2 p.m. ET
· Early Round Coverage Day 2 - Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 3:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET
· Early Round Coverage Day 3 - Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 11 p.m. ET and Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 12:30 p.m. ET
· Early Round Coverage Day 4 - Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 10:30 p.m. (Encore Jan. 19 at 12:30 p.m. ET)
· Early Round Coverage Day 5 - Thursday, Jan. 19 at 11 p.m. ET (Encore Jan. 20 at 12:30 p.m. ET)
· Early Round Coverage Day 6 - Friday, Jan. 20 at 10 p.m. ET and Saturday, Jan. 21 at 12 noon ET
· Early Round Coverage Day 7 - Saturday, Jan. 21 at 10 p.m. ET and Sunday, Jan. 22 at 3 p.m. ET
· Round of 16 - Sunday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. ET and Monday, Jan. 23 at 2 p.m. ET
· Men's and Women's Quarter-finals - Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 3:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET and Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 2 p.m. ET
· Women's Semifinals - Thursday, Jan. 26 at 12:30 a.m. ET (Encore at 7:30 p.m. ET)
· Men's Semifinal #1 - Thursday, Jan. 26 at 3:30 a.m. ET (Encore at 12:30 p.m. ET and Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET)
· Women's Doubles Final - Thursday, Jan. 26 at 11:30 p.m. ET
· Men's Semifinal #2 - Friday, Jan. 27 at 3:30 a.m. ET (Encore at 12:30 p.m. ET)
· Women's Final - Friday, Jan. 27 at 9:30 p.m. ET (Encore Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. ET)
· Men's Final - Sunday, Jan. 29 at 3:30 a.m. ET (Encore at 2 p.m. ET

angiel
01-12-2006, 12:29 AM
SPiN's Hottest Significant Other Tournament

Special to CBS SportsLine.com





You knew this was coming.

So many athletes date celebrities (or Playmates, or fellow athletes) that the time has finally arrived: SPiN is going to let you, the reader, determine which professional athlete has the hottest significant other.

And before you pepper us with questions as to whether or not golf (or surfing, or hockey) is a professional sport, save the e-mail. Retired athletes count, too!

We commissioned a crack team -- or maybe it was a team on crack -- of experienced eyes to determine the seeding of each athlete's girlfriend/fiancée/wife. We'll play this out March Madness-style, based on your votes. Each Wednesday we'll break it down, round-by-round, until you've determined a winner.

* No, Jake Plummer's "girlfriend" is not a celebrity. Or a Playmate. Or an athlete. But their story generated so many headlines that we had to include him. She's quite a sleeper, huh?

** Derek Jeter, as always, was just an educated guess. We found out about his latest supposed lady friend here. And does a discussion such as this one exist without Jeter?

** We tried really, really hard to make all the links tasteful, considering some of the talent on hand. We cannot be responsible for your Googling -- and oogling. Enjoy!

1. Rony Seikaly (Syracuse basketball star who also had a solid NBA career, mostly with the Miami Heat) and Elsa Benitez (model).

2. Jeff Garcia (balding quarterback who was called "gay" by former teammate Terrell Owens) and Carmella DeCesare (Playboy Playmate).

3. Petr Nedved (Phoenix Coyotes center) and Veronica Varekova (model).

4. Tiger Woods (on par to be the greatest golfer in the history of the sport. Lame pun, we know) and Elin Nordegren (model).

5. A.J. Feeley (career-long backup NFL quarterback) and Heather Mitts (USA soccer star/sideline reporter).

6. Sean Avery (Los Angeles Kings center) and Elisha Cuthbert (actress).

7. Kelly Slater (surfer) and Gisele Bundchen (model).

8. Adam Archuleta (hard-hitting St. Louis Rams safety) and Jennifer Walcott (Playboy Playmate).

9. Tony Parker (point guard for the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs) and Eva Longoria (actress).

10. Casey Daigle (mostly minor-league baseball pitcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization) and Jennie Finch (softball pitcher).

11. David Pelletier (one lucky figure skater) and Jamie Sale (figure skater).

12. Dario Franchitti (race car driver) and Ashley Judd (actress).

13. Tom Brady (two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback of the New England Patriots) and Bridget Moynahan (actress).

14. Kris Benson (New York Mets pitcher) and Anna Benson (former stripper).

15. Tim Couch (Former No. 1 NFL draft pick, no longer in the league) and Heather Kozar (Playboy Playmate).

16. Derek Jeter (ladykilling New York Yankees shortstop with too many World Series rings to count) and Cassia Riley (Penthouse Pet).

17. Jake Plummer (Denver Broncos quarterback) and Kollette Klassen (Denver Broncos cheerleader).

18. Pete Sampras (one of the greatest male tennis players, ever) and Bridgette Wilson (actress).

19. Scott Erickson (soon-to-be retired MLB pitcher) and Lisa Guerrero (sportscaster).

20. Cale Hulse (Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman) and Gina Lee Nolin (actress).

21. Mike Piazza (sure-fire MLB Hall of Fame catcher) and Alicia Rickter (Playboy Playmate).

22. Quentin Richardson (lethal three-point shooting guard for the New York Knicks) and Brandy (actress/singer).

23. Memhet Okur (underrated forward for the Utah Jazz) and Yeliz Caliskan (Miss Turkey).

24. David Beckham (iconic English soccer player who has cheated on his wife with a nanny and lived to tell about it) and Victoria Beckham (singer/actress).

25. Rodney Peete (former standout quarterback at USC who had a mediocre NFL career) and Holly Robinson Peete (actress).

26. Tim Hasselbeck (NFL backup quarterback) and Elisabeth Hasselbeck (TV host).

27. Carmelo Anthony (superstar forward for the Denver Nuggets) and LaLa Vazquez (MTV veejay).

28. Alexei Yashin (New York Islanders center) and Carol Alt (model/actress).

29. Matt Treanor (Florida Marlins backup catcher) and Misty May (volleyball player).

30. David Eckstein (St. Louis Cardinals shortstop) and Ashley Drane (actress).

31. Nomar Garciaparra (oft-injured shortstop who made his name with the Boston Red Sox, but recently signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers) and Mia Hamm (iconic women's soccer player).

32. Andre Agassi (one of the greatest male tennis players in the history of the sport) and Steffi Graf (former women's tennis player).

angiel
01-14-2006, 07:49 PM
Serena out to kick butt
By JACKIE EPSTEIN
15jan06


THE butt of criticism this week, Serena Williams dispelled doubts yesterday over her fitness and endorsed her chances of defending her Australian Open crown.



http://www.tennisfreunde-much.de/Impressionen/Tennisspieler-Bilder/Williams-Serena/2004_06.jpg



The 13th seed said she was "absolutely" spot on despite being surprised by the size of her "hamstring muscle" in newspaper pictures this week.
"If I didn't like my chances of winning, I wouldn't be here," Williams said.

"It would be better for me to be on the beach, St Barts, jet skis. It would be much easier.

"I've had more time to prepare this year because I just took off since October. I've had more time to prepare mentally and much more physically.

"Honestly, I've never read any comments about my fitness. I don't read the papers. I saw (a picture) of me running. And I was like, 'wow, my hamstring muscle is that big?' I had no idea my muscle was like that. But that's about it."

Williams has suffered from a combination of ankle and knee injuries, and has not played a tournament since losing her opening match at the Beijing Open in September.

Keen to jump back up the rankings, she has welcomed the challenge of proving critics wrong.

"I like that," she said.

"It would be like, 'oh, she's not fit'. That's cool with me. Like I said, that's fine because then people will be like, 'OK, well, she won't be able to run'. That's a great position to be in."

Williams, 24, said she learned several valuable lessons while on the sidelines, particularly her game was too defensive last year.

She has worked on the technical side of her game with her Dad and coach Richard, in the hope of it leading to an eighth grand slam title.

"I've always criticised Pete Sampras for saying he wanted to win lots and lots of grand slams," she said.

"It was like, 'don't you want to be the best?' I definitely want to be No.1 in the world. I can kind of understand what he's saying because there's nothing like winning a grand slam. Both the goals are definitely what I want to do, but it all starts with winning the slams first."

Williams faces a tricky first-up match against China's Na Li, ranked just outside the top 50, but she struggled to remember if she had played her previously.

"I've always said, everyone talks about the Russians and I always thought the Chinese have a great (lot) of players coming up," she said.

"I think there's many Chinese players right now. Not only are they in the draw, but they're actually doing well.

"I'm going to have to really be ready for the match, definitely not underestimating my opponent at all."

Older sister Venus also has an unpredictable first match against Bulgarian Tzvetana Pironkova, 18, who is playing in her first grand slam.

The rankings have Venus listed at No.10 in the world, but she believes she is the best player in the world.

"I'd like to say I finished one, but there's a zero behind it," Venus said.

"In my head, I'm always a champ. Right now I'm going to work on my ranking and not say what number I am. You guys all know what number I feel like I am."

Well prepared and looking fit, Williams is clearly focused on winning in Melbourne. Her aim is to claim all the grand slam titles that have eluded her -- the Australian and French Opens and the Wimbledon and US Open mixed doubles titles.

"In my career, I'm missing like four titles, so to hold all the slams, in each event possible, is my goal," she said.

"Obviously, I have to win the singles here to kind of get it down to three titles. I think it's important not to be over-confident.

"I think that can be a big flaw, a big downfall. I'm just looking to show up healthy and get my game on."

angiel
01-14-2006, 07:57 PM
Oases Springing Up Here for Ancient Game of Go




By BLAKE ESKIN
Published: January 14, 2006


In September, a weekend carnival in Edison, N.J., celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival, a major Chinese holiday. Thousands of visitors swarmed past hawkers of pork buns and Kettle Korn, acupuncture and health insurance. In the booth of the Feng Yun Go School, a small crowd gathered around a woman in a sleeveless salmon-colored dress as she juggled 11 simultaneous games of go, the ancient Asian board game played on a grid. Oblivious to the fireworks exploding above, she drifted silently along an L-shaped table, pausing occasionally to place a single white stone on a wooden board.


For Feng Yun, who spent 18 years on China's national go team, the two-hour exhibition did not pose much of a challenge. Facing financial analysts and schoolgirls, she won nine matches, losing the other two only after offering substantial handicaps. Nor will Ms. Feng, 39, meet anyone of her caliber at the Hotel Pennsylvania this weekend during the Toyota/Denso North American Oza, a two-day tournament that begins today in New York and in Las Vegas.

"I expect I will win," she said in a tone less cocky than matter-of-fact. Ms. Feng turned professional at 13 and, competing mostly against men, became the second woman ever to reach 9-dan - the ninth degree, go's highest ranking. Organizers of the Oza ("throne" in Japanese) expect more than 250 competitors in New York, but only one other professional, and a 1-dan at that. For Ms. Feng, the toughest part of playing go these days may be finding a worthy opponent. America, she explained, is "the desert of this game."

There are oases: players meet at the New York Go Center in Midtown, at a Korean café in Fort Lee, N.J., a floating house game in Brooklyn. It also has a cult following in math departments (it made cameo appearances in the films "Pi" and "A Beautiful Mind") and among computer scientists interested in artificial intelligence. Go has simpler rules than chess but is so complex that no one has devised a computer program that can defeat a talented amateur, let alone Ms. Feng. Computers have, however, helped to overcome problems of geographical isolation, and players compete on go servers online.

Go has a much higher profile in East Asia. In China, weiqi, "the surrounding game," was historically considered one of the four arts that a cultured gentleman should master. It was condemned as bourgeois during the Cultural Revolution, but today there are roughly 30 million Chinese players and two television channels devoted to the game; Ms. Feng used to moonlight as a television commentator. Millions more play in Japan, the source of the game's name and much of its terminology, and in South Korea, now home of the world's top player, Lee Changho. These three countries are fierce rivals on a professional circuit sponsored by banks and newspapers.

Ms. Feng did not arrive in the States with grand illusions of further go glory. In 2000, having reached the top of her game, she put aside her routine of study and competition for the life of an immigrant housewife when her husband found a computer programming job in New Jersey. A year later, she was pregnant with their second child when he was found to have leukemia. "He wasn't able to return to work, so I decided to start a go school to support the family," she said. (Her husband recovered.)

Roy Laird, a former president of the American Go Association, said her arrival is as "if Pete Sampras moved to Bangladesh and started teaching tennis." But it is also akin to taking in a scholar in exile or having a missionary come to an indifferent land. "Typically, professionals teach advanced players, but there aren't enough advanced players to support them," said James Kerwin of Minneapolis, who has played go professionally in Japan. As for beginners, he said: "In Japan, Korea, China, most people learn without ever being taught. They pick it up. They see their friends play, they see their parents play."

Between private lessons, mostly taught online, and weekly classes scattered around New Jersey and in Flushing, Queens, Ms. Feng has managed to recruit more than 100 students. A few sought her out after becoming fans of "Hikaru no Go," a Japanese comic book about a young ruffian possessed by the spirit of an ancient go master. But most are Asian-American children whose parents esteem the game of go, even if they do not play it.

"You can win by not being overly aggressive," said Bonnie Liao, whose 10-year-old son, Lionel Zhang, has studied with Ms. Feng for four years. "You do not learn that from the typical Western culture."

Lionel is one of several dozen of Ms. Feng's students planning to enter the Oza's lower divisions. As for their teacher, who won the biennial tournament in 2002 and 2004, a threepeat is the likeliest outcome.

East and West Coast winners will take home $2,500 and qualify for the World Oza, which begins in Tokyo in August and offers a first prize of 30 million yen, or roughly $263,000, and a Lexus. A victory in Tokyo against world-class professionals who keep in tournament shape is much less probable. "In China, we study a lot, prepare openings, strategies," she said. "But here, I don't really have a chance to practice, and because I teach so much, that really hurts my strength."

angiel
01-14-2006, 08:01 PM
Class of 2000 gives Murray timely reminder of the perils of potential


Steve Bierley
Saturday January 14, 2006
The Guardian


At the turn of the millennium a brilliant crop of young men gathered at the Australian Open with the joint objective of obliterating the old guard of Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. Roger Federer (then 18 years old), Marat Safin (19), Lleyton Hewitt (18) and Juan Carlos Ferrero (19) had been singled out as the teenagers most likely to emerge as future grand slam champions, and since the start of 2000 they have won 11 of the 24 majors, while all have made it to world No1.


Mixed in with this outstanding quartet were another two highly talented youngsters: Xavier Malisse (19) of Belgium, who had reached his first ATP tournament two years earlier as a qualifier, and Sweden's Andreas Vinciguerra (18), who had already entered the top 100. But whereas Federer, Safin, Hewitt and Ferrero have amassed 84 career titles between them, Malisse and Vinciguerra have just one each.

If Andy Murray needed reminding of the flint-studded road ahead, and the fact that mere talent is no guarantee of a glittering future, then he need look no further. Malisse rose no higher than No19 in 2002, the year he reached his one slam semi-final at Wimbledon, while the left-handed Vinciguerra, who won his sole ATP title as a 19-year-old in 2000, has all but disappeared, ranked No410 and reduced to playing second-tier tennis.

Malisse remains inside the top 50, although his presence is a constant evocation of what might have been had the Belgian possessed the application to match his skills. Vinciguerra simply failed to mature physically, and suffered countless injuries as he strained to fulfil the promise.

Small wonder, perhaps, that Tim Henman has spent the best part of a decade insisting that he would play his best tennis in the latter stages of his career. To a degree he was proved right when in 2004, as a 29-year-old, he reached the semi-finals of the French and US Opens, possibly a greater achievement than his four previous Wimbledon semis, the first when he was 23. But in contrast Murray is a kid in a hurry and, therefore, remarkably vulnerable to disappointment.

Henman and Greg Rusedski had left their teenage years behind before they became established in the top 100 whereas Murray, this week at a career-high No62, has positively rushed into the upper echelon. Jeremy Bates, Britain's Davis Cup captain, has cautioned that Murray may find his first full year on the pro circuit one of consolidation rather than similar startling progress, although the 18-year-old, with the insouciance of youth, has set his year-end sights on a place in the top 20.

This is new territory in British terms. We are the nation that produces any number of LTA-drilled teenagers who, when the real world of hard tennis impinges, slink away or, worse still, linger hopelessly adrift outside the top 100 forlornly insisting that "one day" they will make it.

Murray was never in any doubt that an upbringing on the domestic scene was the road to ruination, and took himself off to Spain to hone his craft on courts, hard and clay, that properly prepared him, against hitting partners who could construct points, and with coaches who did not accept excuses or prolonged mediocrity.

But Murray has not risen in isolation. In 2004, the year the Scot took the US Open junior title, France's Gaël Monfils, just eight months older, won the junior titles in Melbourne, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, losing only two sets in the process and, arguably, missing out on the junior grand slam only because of an injury at Flushing Meadows.

Last year Monfils, 19, swooped into the top 50 and won his first ATP title. This year he has lost to Federer in the final in Doha, propelling him to No25 in the world and a seeded position here next week. "I have not set any targets for myself in the coming year nor do I have any career goals. I am just going to work hard and I am confident that results will follow," he says.

Monfils, the son of Guadeloupe-Martinique parents, may be less demonstrative than Murray but his appetite for winning is no less keen. Monfils has risen on the coat-tails of another French 19-year-old, Richard Gasquet, who is already in the top 20. Had it not been for the remarkable rise of Rafael Nadal - the world No2 who will miss the Australian Open because of injury - Gasquet would have led the 2006 teenage class: he and Monfils will benefit from their close rivalry, whereas Murray may have to plough a lone furrow as Britain's only rising talent.

Another young player to watch is the 18-year-old Novak Djokovic of Serbia & Montenegro, who last year finished the youngest player in the top 100, Murray being one week older, while another is the 17-year-old Juan Martín del Potro. The Argentinian rose to No159 last year, the youngest player in the top 200, and is believed to have at least as much potential as his compatriots David Nalbandián, Guillermo Coria and Gastón Gaudio, the former French Open champion.

Of course there is no telling if this group of teenagers will do as well as the class of 2000, or if any of them will edge anywhere near the feats of Federer. Nadal has already made it; Gasquet, Monfils, Murray, Djokovic, and Del Potro carry a bag full of dreams. But all would do well to keep the names of Malisse and Vinciguerra in mind as a salutary reminder of the perils ahead.

Dirk
01-14-2006, 08:02 PM
Colts of perseverance
Indy will rally behind coach to prove it is best team

Posted: Wednesday January 4, 2006 10:02AM; Updated: Wednesday January 4, 2006 10:02AM






The Patriots may be the defending champions and the team of the 21st century, but even as New England enters the NFL playoffs revitalized, it is another team that commands the superior interest: the Indianapolis Colts.

This was true even before Indy head coach Tony Dungy suffered the loss of his 18-year-old son -- to an apparent suicide -- a trauma that was bound to affect the whole team in some fashion.

Now, nothing annoys me more than when some tragedy intrudes upon sport and then some all-knowing, somber-sounding columnist or commentator intones that this has reminded the player or the team that games are not really important. As if anybody in any occupation operates under the delusion that any bit of business ever matters more than life or death.

But I do suspect that, given the nature of competition, tragedy may very well have a greater influence on the outcome of a sporting event than it does in most other professions, where the daily work is more level and not so concentrated. This is not to say, either, that a tragedy involving a player or someone close to the team must necessarily work adversely. In their emotions, athletes, no less than most people, are an inconsistent, unpredictable breed. Most famously, for example, recall how Pete Sampras somehow actually raised his performance, even as he literally played through tears, grieving over the news that his coach had cancer, as he came from two sets behind to beat Jim Courier at the Australian Open in 1995.

Then, too, inasmuch as Tony Dungy is held more fondly by his players than are most coaches, it is even more difficult to tell how his grief and the team's response to that will affect the Colts during the playoffs. Remember, this though: Dungy was greatly admired at Tampa Bay, too, but it was only after he departed that the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl for a coach with a very different, less endearing, personality. Should Indianapolis draw closer to the championship, Dungy will also start to have to deal with all the talk about how he might become the first African-American football coach ever to win a national championship, professional or college.

And this of history, as well: Indianapolis itself has never won a major-league sports championship. Ah, might the Hoosiers forever be cursed for stealing the beloved Colts out of Baltimore under cover of darkness?

But these current Colts are a potpourri of plot. They have already gone through the diversional duress of staying undefeated into their 14th game. Could they run the table? Then they lost a couple that didn't count and the nitpickers suggested maybe Indianapolis had invested too much in the winning streak. Can they get back on track? Plus, Colts' star quarterback Peyton Manning must do battle with the paradox that if he performs exceptionally well -- because he has to, for the team to win -- he will be criticized for, well, for performing too well himself...

Then again, the Colts have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which is in a dome, as they are a dome team -- and they appear to be the best, most well-rounded team in the league. Maybe all the other extraneous stuff counts for nothing.

It's a real shame he didn't win Oz that year. He was so so close. It would have made the story even better.

angiel
01-14-2006, 08:07 PM
The parent trap

Patrick Miles
January 14, 2006


LLEYTON HEWITT is a warrior without a weapon as he embarks on his 10th Australian Open campaign.


Pete Sampras without his serve, Pat Rafter without his volley, Roger Federer without his forehand, Gustavo Kuerten without his backhand, Samson without his locks - all impotent in the absence of their greatest quality.

The key to Hewitt's success has been his fight, his never-say-die attitude, his refusal to buckle under the severest pressure. There has never been a technical brilliance to Hewitt's style. The force that has taken him to 24 singles titles - one for each year of his life, including two Grand Slams - has come from within.

So Hewitt without his competitive fury is a player incomplete, and judging by his performances during the first fortnight of the season, there is every reason to suspect the key to his success is absent. Whether his mojo is missing or mislaid, Hewitt has two days to find it before he fronts up at Melbourne Park, where he fought so hard to make the final last year.

Hewitt blamed his loss of form in Sydney this week on his defensive play - something which he has never been guilty of in the past.



http://img.stern.de/_content/53/58/535808/hewittartikel_250.jpg





It suggests that something is different in his life, and there have been momentous changes recently in that regard, not least the birth of his daughter, Mia, in November.

There is not a long history of fathers at the top level of tennis. Andre Agassi is an obvious example of one who coped, but others, like Tim Henman, have struggled to make the transition.

Hewitt denies that parenthood has affected his competitive spirit, and only he can know that, but his first month on court as a father is proving to be difficult.

If anyone can testify to Hewitt's bloody minded will to win, it is the classy American James Blake, who was a successful participant and interested observer in Sydney this week when Hewitt joined the exodus of seeds.

Blake and Hewitt clashed most memorably at the US Open in 2001, when Hewitt was accused of making racist remarks during their hard-fought five-setter. Although they buried the hatchet over that regrettable affair, the antagonism resurfaced at last year's Australian Open when the normally mild-mannered Blake was driven to mimicking Hewitt's triumphalist hand gestures during their second-round match.

On the one hand, Blake suggested that Hewitt would be back on the rails by Monday; on the other, he speculated that the home favourite was being hindered by having a baby on board.

"He might not be getting as much sleep now that he's got a crying baby in the house," Blake said. "This could be a factor in playing just one bad match."

While conceding that early fatherhood could have an impact on a player's preparation, Blake is inclined to believe that it is simply impossible to predict results on the men's tour, particularly in the opening weeks of the season.

"It's funny," the American said. "My coach and some of my friends have been talking about all the matches, and we'll look through the schedule almost every day and just joke and we say, 'well, this person's going to win this one, this person's going to win this one ...'.

"We're supposedly in the know here on the ATP Tour - that's why we probably wouldn't be allowed to share that with anyone who's actually betting or anything. But we're wrong almost every time.

"At the beginning of the year, it's crazy to see how many upsets, how many strange things are happening on tour, because you don't know how guys have spent their off-season. It's two months where a guy could have been sitting on the couch eating chips, but someone else could have been out in the gym for five hours a day. And you just don't know that, how people have prepared.

"Anyone out here can beat just about anyone, with the exception of possibly Roger Federer.

"But it's really so close that if someone had a better preparation in the off-season, someone just had a bad night's sleep ..."

On the crying baby note, Henman was one to be affected badly. In an effort to find unbroken sleep, he wore ear plugs, which caused an inner-ear infection that kept him off the court.

During his halcyon years of 1997-98, when he won back-to-back US Open titles, Rafter earned the nickname "Mr August" for his exploits during the North American hard-court season. For Rafter, who based himself in Bermuda for much of his career, the northern summer season took place in his backyard and there was never far to travel from his home.

Hewitt, on the other hand, has continued to call Australia home, eschewing the benefits of a European or American base for the comfort and familiarity of his dwellings in Adelaide and now, since his marriage to Bec Cartwright, in Sydney.

By the same criteria that produced Rafter's sobriquet, Hewitt should be known as "Mr January", but it has not quite worked out that way.

The first fortnight of the month has invariably produced a Hewitt-dominated period, whether it has been in Adelaide or Sydney, or both, but the two weeks of greatest importance, the Australian Open, has so far failed to seal his rule over January.

Last year was the closest he has come to claiming the month. He won his fourth title in Sydney then reached the final in Melbourne before losing to Russia's Marat Safin.

It was Hewitt's best result at his home championships but it still fell short of his own towering expectations.

This January, the omens are not good. It was not just that he lost early in Adelaide and Sydney, what was more telling was the identity of his conquerors.

In Adelaide, it was Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany who upset the top seed in the second round and in Sydney, Italy's Andreas Seppi did the deed in the quarter-finals.

Without completely dismissing the abilities of these two baseline Eurobots, they would normally serve as a quick snack for an in-form and pumped-up Hewitt on home territory.

Hewitt should be making the most of his month at home before the real grind of the ATP Tour takes him away. As he pointed out this week, he is one of the most isolated of the leading players as far as his home base is concerned.

"I think that's why so many Australians in the past have lived overseas," Hewitt said. "There's no doubt that it's harder travelling around the world, particularly the stretch, the clay-court season and finishing at Wimbledon.

"The whole clay-court and grass-court season, we've basically got to stay there that whole time, whereas a lot of the European players and even some American players can go back for a week or two, back to their home base, whereas Australia, it's nearly impossible with jet lag."

Hewitt should be in his comfort zone right now, lending total concentration to his tasks on Rod Laver Arena. Time will tell whether the man has mellowed to the extent that his power has been sapped. Blake thinks Hewitt can still summon the spirit.

"I wouldn't expect him to lose any confidence over two weeks," he said. "It is unfortunate that it's in Australia, his home country, where I'm sure the press is going to have a field day with a slow start. But that's just unfortunate for him. I really doubt it's going to affect him one bit once he steps on the court in Melbourne Park."

angiel
01-14-2006, 08:12 PM
It's a real shame he didn't win Oz that year. He was so so close. It would have made the story even better.


Hello Dirk, happy new year to you and how are you doing, long no see :wavey: :wavey:

I agree, if he did won that open, the story would be a blast :D -- but no matter it is a great story and a lot of people use it for reference, not Andre who won. :worship: :wavey:

angiel
01-14-2006, 08:41 PM
TENNIS
Roddick warms up with title

Sat, 14 Jan 2006


Andy Roddick joined an elite group on Saturday in winning the Kooyong Classic — but the American isn't counting on that warm-up success to get him very far at the upcoming Australian Open.


"You come to this event hoping to get in some great matches," the former world number one said after defeating German Tommy Haas 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) to preserve a perfect 3-0 mark at this edition of the eight-man special event.

In recent years the Kooyong field has produced nine of the last 12 winners of the Australian Open. The last to clinch the double was Andre Agassi in 2003, 2001 and 2000.

But Roddick discounts the tenuous connection. "I think it's more a part of how many great players like (Pete) Sampras, Agassi and (Roger) Federer have played this event.

"If you have the best in the world here, more often than not you'll have someone win the Open. But those numbers don't put the ball onto the court.

"It's a great environment here, something you cannot simulate in training. I had a good week and I'm glad to have a gotten a couple of good matches in."

Roddick began with a victory over French teenager Gael Monfils, and advanced over Nicolas Kiefer when the German was unable to continue after rolling an ankle in their second game.

The American second seed, who opens his 2006 Grand Slam campaign at Melbourne Park against 221st-ranked Swiss qualifier Michael Lammer, honed his game to a fine point as he won his fourth consecutive match against Haas.

The contest in windy conditions turned into a workout, with Haas making a match of it in the second as he closed in on a possible third set. But the 27-year-old, ranked 41, was unable to capitalise on a 5-2 lead.

Roddick slowly began closing the gap, saving four Haas set points in a tense eighth game in front of the biggest crowd (8 000) ever in the 18-year history of the event.

A break of Haas for 4-5 put Roddick back in touch, with the American moving it into a tiebreaker. In the decider, Roddick finally closed on a second match point with a backhand from the net into the empty court.

"I knew it would be tough today," said Roddick. "Haas is in top form so far this year (losing to Federer in the Doha semis last week). I love this event, it's great preparation for next week."

Haas heads to Melbourne park well-pleased with his form. "It's a very good preparation. The match was tight, just a couple of points here and there.

"He came up with some good serves when he needed them. I go into the Open hoping to play aggressive and do well on the important points.

"My confidence is high," he said. "It's nice to shake hands and exit the court as a winner, even if it's an exhibition."

AFP

Dirk
01-15-2006, 11:36 AM
Hello Dirk, happy new year to you and how are you doing, long no see :wavey: :wavey:

I agree, if he did won that open, the story would be a blast :D -- but no matter it is a great story and a lot of people use it for reference, not Andre who won. :worship: :wavey:

I'm fine. Hoping to see Roger at Pete's half way mark by the end of January. Pete has 5 USOs and that is the hardcourt slam that really does matter. It just sucks that he lost to Andre. He was 2 sets from winning 3 slams in a year.

angiel
01-16-2006, 12:03 AM
I'm fine. Hoping to see Roger at Pete's half way mark by the end of January. Pete has 5 USOs and that is the hardcourt slam that really does matter. It just sucks that he lost to Andre. He was 2 sets from winning 3 slams in a year.


Hi there Dirk, hope all you want and not be so sure that will happen, but I wish you and him all the luck - Roddick, Hewitt and others will have something to say about that, dont you think. :eek: :mad:


He has two Aussie open. :wavey: :wavey:

the_natural
01-16-2006, 07:39 AM
Nah I think Roger Will Win but I dont want Him too, I know hes going to Win Wimbledon Easily because there are no good Grass courters like in Petes day, nor are there any real threats on hard court. Roddick and Hewitt are Dangerous but otherwise there arent any specialists like in Petes day. And the more Roger Wins the more people think "less" of Petes achievements. sigh I hate the fact that Pete has accomplished so much but he is put in Rogers shadow which makes no sense whatsoever

angiel
01-17-2006, 11:16 PM
Nah I think Roger Will Win but I dont want Him too, I know hes going to Win Wimbledon Easily because there are no good Grass courters like in Petes day, nor are there any real threats on hard court. Roddick and Hewitt are Dangerous but otherwise there arent any specialists like in Petes day. And the more Roger Wins the more people think "less" of Petes achievements. sigh I hate the fact that Pete has accomplished so much but he is put in Rogers shadow which makes no sense whatsoever


They say the same thing last year and he did lose to safin, it can happen again - and where on God earth is pete put in Roger shadow? Pete will never be put into anyone shadow my dear :mad: :mad:

angiel
01-18-2006, 12:02 AM
January 16, 2006 Edition > Section: Sports


Federer Opens 2006 With Sampras's Legacy In View
2006 Australian Open

By TOM PERROTTA
January 16, 2006

A As the Australian Open begins in Melbourne this week, Roger Federer, the safest bet in sports, finds himself even more a favorite than usual.

Just as Federer pronounced his injured ankle 100% healthy last week, several of his chief rivals at the first major of 2006 collapsed in a heap. Gone from the draw are defending champion Marat Safin (knee), world no. 2 Rafael Nadal (foot), and four-time champion Andre Agassi (ankle). Better still for Federer (and worse for everyone else), the men who have the best chance of upsetting the world no. 1 - Argentina's David Nalbandian, Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic, and American Andy Roddick - are thrown together in the same half of the draw. As they wear one another out, Federer will have little to contend with, save the hometown favorite, Lleyton Hewitt, who has shown poor form early this season and has lost nine straight to the master.

There is, however, a formidable competitor in the world of tennis this year that Federer, great as he is, will need more than a little luck to defeat: History. Having finished seven plus seasons as a pro, the 24-year-old Swiss is, on paper, nearly indistinguishable from the best player the game has known, Pete Sampras. But can Federer maintain his pace or even surpass Sampras, most notably his record 14 Grand Slam titles?

A detailed look at these two careers suggests that Federer's chances are average at best, though he could greatly help his cause by winning three majors in 2006, as he did in 2004.

The similarities between the two are remarkable. After playing little in their first seasons, Sampras and Federer over the next seven years won their matches at rates of .773 and .765, respectively. If one removes from the equation all matches played on carpet (more popular in Sampras's better years and far less so during Federer's) leaving only hard courts, clay, and grass, Sampras's winning percentage at age 24 stands at .783, compared to .778 for Federer. Sampras had won 36 titles, including seven majors; Federer 33 and six.Sampras had finished no. 1 for three straight years (he later set the record at six), while Federer has finished on top the past two seasons.He lost by a smidgen to Roddick in 2003.

In many ways, Federer has proven superior, justifying his reputation, in the words of Agassi,as the most skilled player ever. His winning percentage against Top 10 players is .670, compared to Sampras's .602 (from 1988-95). From 2003 through January of last year, Federer won 24 consecutive matches against Top 10 opponents, an absurd streak. While Sampras never finished a season with a winning percentage above .900, Federer has finished his last two years at .925 and .953. He won 11 titles in each of those years (Sampras never won more than 10), and his record in finals is better, too: .786 to .735.

Yet as phenomenal as Federer is, there are numerous reasons why one should not expect him to match or better Sampras.

The most obvious is that there is no margin for error or serious injury. During the final seven years of his career, Sampras was just as remarkable as he was in his first seven: He won another 28 titles, including seven majors, slightly improved his winning percentage (from .773 to .776), won slightly less often in finals (.718 from .735), and fared better against Top 10 players (.683 to .602). From 1997 to 2000, he won four straight Wimbledon titles, completing a stretch in which he won that title seven times in eight tries.

Even if Federer remains in excellent health (which history, not to mention Federer's recent foot and ankle problems, suggest is unlikely), matching these feats will be extraordinarily difficult.He'll have to win the bulk of his majors by the end of 2010, when he'll be 29, as Sampras was in 2000 (Sampras won one major after age 30; Agassi, considered the best late-career player since Jimmy Connors, has won two and does not look likely to win more). By the end of 1997, Sampras had collected 10 major titles, which means Federer would have to win a total of four this season and next just to even the score.

To do this, Federer likely will have to continue producing remarkable performances in finals, where he wins slightly more often than he does overall (.786 to .778).Perhaps he will prove to be the best ever in important matches, but he's unlikely to keep up this pace. Sampras lost four Grand Slam finals; Federer, who is 6-0, is bound to lose one along the way. Sampras's winning percentage in finals was lower than his overall percentage by about .050, as one would expect against better opponents.

Federer's style of play does not work in his favor, either.

No one will question that Federer's game has far more depth than Sampras's ever did.His forehand and backhand are superior,his footwork is better,his speed is better, his service return is better. He is by far the most complete player the game has ever seen, someone who could win all four majors (only the French Open, on clay, remains).

Yet versatility may not prove to be the best asset over the years. If Federer's ankle woes and struggles with plantar fasciitis, a painful heel condition,continue,one would expect him to lose a step. All the beauty in Federer's game begins with his remarkable feet; if they deteriorate, he'll become more vulnerable in rallies, less fearsome on passing shots, and less explosive on return games.

Sampras, far less versatile, owned a weapon more powerful than any in the Federer arsenal: his serve. It's still the most important stroke in tennis, and it's also the one that holds up the best over time,as it requires no running and is not influenced by the opponent. Even as he aged and ached, Sampras remained a phenomenal server until the end. From the time the ATP Tour began tracking serving statistics in 1991, he held his service games 88.7% of the time,and he did even better in his last seven years (89.1%). If we toss aside serving statistics from Federer's first three seasons, he holds serve at 87.4%.The difference is slight, but it could make a difference down the stretch if the rest of Federer's game looses its polish.

Of course, luck may still be on Federer's side. Maybe he will remain healthy until age 32 or even 33. Maybe, as frightening a thought as it is, he will improve, or win a few French Opens - a title that eluded Sampras. Maybe the rest of the men's field will decline, or suffer from a rash of injuries in the next few years. Having drawn such a weak field in Australia, Federer has an opportunity he cannot afford to miss. If he wins this and another major in 2006, the race with Sampras is still on. Three, and he takes the lead. One, well, that might just put Sampras out of reach. Looking at all the facts, it is not sensible to argue that Federer will succeed. But as always, it seems foolish to bet against him.

angiel
01-18-2006, 12:08 AM
Greatest Australian Open upsets

By Michael Coulter
January 16, 2006


1. Philippoussis d Sampras, 1996

IN 1996, one man was the king of tennis. His name was Pete Sampras and he was in the middle of a career that would net him 14 grand slam titles and make him one of the first names mentioned whenever pundits gather to discuss the greatest-ever player. Lining up against him in the third round was 19-year-old Mark Philippoussis, a largely unknown but exciting power-hitter from Williamstown. In a classic duel between two of the best servers of the era, the Scud fired down 30 aces as he pounded Sampras off the court in straight sets. Then, in a taste of the erratic career that was to follow, Philippoussis went on to lose to Mark Woodforde in the next round.

2. P. McEnroe d Becker, 1995

IT’S something of a shame for lovers of serve-and-volley tennis that John McEnroe’s powers had pretty much faded by the time Boris Becker burst on to the scene to win Wimbledon as a 17- year-old in 1985. During the time their careers overlapped, Boom Boom held an 8-2 record against the Superbrat, with one of those two wins being an upset of some magnitude at the 1992 Australian Open. But the shock that greeted the elder McEnroe’s Melbourne triumph was nothing compared with the slack-jawed wonder when his brother Patrick knocked out Becker in the first round three years later.

3. El Aynaoui d Hewitt, 2003

ROGER Federer’s dominance of the circuit has been so complete in the past two years that it almost feels like he has been around forever. But wind the clock back a mere three Opens, and you’ll find the world No.1, top seed and raging favourite was Australia’s own Lleyton Hewitt. After a typically torrid first-up match against Magnus Larsson, Hewitt blazed into the fourth round, where he was long odds-on to dismiss the challenge of Moroccan Younes el Aynaoui. But the local hero had no answer to El Aynaoui’s monster serve and brilliant shot-making and went out in four sets. El Aynaoui went on to play one of the modern classics against Andy Roddick in the quarter-finals.

4. Raymond d V. Williams, 2004

IN THE three matches Lisa Raymond had played against Venus Williams before their 2004 clash at the Open, Raymond had not won a set and won just 13 games — which, given that Raymond was ranked around 30 in the world, could be uncharitably interpreted as some sort of comment on the depth in women’s tennis. But there’s no better place to turn the tables than in a grand slam, and that’s exactly what Raymond did in the third round at Melbourne Park, sending the third seed packing in straight sets. It was the first time Williams had not seen the second week of a major tournament in three years. “I’m pretty much in shock,” she said afterwards.

5. Edmondson d Newcombe, 1976

AS THE sun was setting on the glory days of Australian tennis, the country’s leading light was still one John David Newcombe, seven-time grand slam winner. It would have been a brave punter indeed who bet against the moustachioed one in the 1976 final, when he faced off against countryman Mark Edmondson. Not only was Edmondson a rank outsider, but no unseeded man had won the event, making his victory in four sets on a blisteringly hot day at Kooyong even more remarkable. “He came out of the blue to win that,” Peter McNamara recalled recently. “You’d have probably got 100-1 on him before the tournament. No one could believe it.”

6. Van Roost d Sanchez Vicario, 1997

WITH 29 singles titles and $16 million in prizemoney, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario was one of the stars of her era. Had she not had to share the stage with players such as Steffi Graf and Monica Seles, there’s little doubt she would have added considerably to her four grand slams. The 1997 Open would not have been one of them, though, because it was not a fellow giant of the game that brought her down but little-known Belgian Dominique van Roost, who bounced the second-seeded Spaniard out in the third round. Perhaps because it was a slow news day, the result was described in the press as “one of the biggest upsets of modern times”.

7. Coetzer d Graf, 1997

THOSE same newspapers must have been scrambling for superlatives a few days later, when the ice queen herself, Steffi Graf, melted down on centre court against South Africa’s Amanda Coetzer in the fourth round. To be fair, Coetzer was the 12th seed and Graf was nearing the end of her career, while the Australian Open had never been her favourite tournament. But the German superstar had won the previous six grand slams she’d contested.

8. Weingartner d Capriati, 2003

COMING in to the 2003 Open, many questioned whether two-time champion Jennifer Capriati was in the right sort of shape to defend her title. Eye surgery the previous November had curtailed her training, and many suggested she didn’t have the physical fitness to go the distance in Melbourne’s heat. They needn’t have worried, however, as Capriati did not make it past opening night, becoming the first defending champ to bow out in the first round. Her conqueror was the 90th-ranked player in the world, 22-year-old German Marlene Weingartner. “I have to give myself credit for being strong enough to just come,” Capriati said in her postmatch conference, “to still be here and give my best and try to fight no matter what happens — even if I go out the loser.”

9. Mauresmo d Davenport, 1999

IN RECENT times Amelie Mauresmo has been a regular and worthy member of the top 10, even rising briefly to the top spot. In 1999, however, it was much more a case of “Amelie who?”, and her progress to the semi-finals of the Open astounded the tennis world. All that was expected to be set to rights when the hard-hitting Frenchwoman came up against world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, the player who had long set the standard for power in the women’s game. But Davenport, perhaps for the first time, found herself out-hit and out-muscled and lost in three sets, later commenting she felt like she was “playing a guy”.

10. Krishnan d Wilander, 1989

IN 1988 the crafty Swede Mats Wilander was pre-eminent, winning three of the four grand slams. He missed out only at the baseliners’ graveyard at SW19 — and even there he reached the quarterfinals. So it’s fairly safe to say that no one would have expected his 1989 Australian Open title defence to be interrupted in the second round by the 51st ranked player in the world, Ramesh Krishnan. None the less, that’s exactly what happened, the sweet-hitting Indian coming out on top 6-3, 6-2, 7-6. A shock at the time, the result actually presaged Wilander’s stunningly rapid decline from best in the world to uninterested former champion.

Source: The Sun-Herald

angiel
01-18-2006, 11:50 PM
DAILY NEWS.


THE KATE SERVE

JEAN CASSEGRAIN couldn't be more pleased that Kate Moss is the new face of Longchamp. "She's like the Pete Sampras of her industry," he told WWD. "We wanted her. We needed someone who was recognisable around the world. Kate was a no-brainer, because she's number one." Kate, who posed for Mario Sorrenti for the spring/summer 2006 ads, will also star in the label's autumn/winter 2006-7 campaign later this year. "The idea was to have something urban and contemporary, but also poetic, with a lot of energy," said Cassegrain of the current ads. "Kate just radiates energy." (January 18 2006, AM)

angiel
01-18-2006, 11:58 PM
Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Memo Pad: Bag It ... King Karl



BAG IT: "She's like the Pete Sampras of her industry," quipped Jean Cassegrain, managing director of Longchamp. His top-seeded reference, of course, was to Kate Moss, who stars in the Paris accessories firm's spring ads, which break in March editions of magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Cassegrain said the firm zeroed in on Moss just after allegations of her cocaine use broke in London tabloids. "We wanted her," said Cassegrain. "We needed someone who was recognizable around the world. Kate was a no-brainer, because she's number one." Shot by Mario Sorrenti, the ads have Moss posing with handbags slung over her shoulder against a low metal fence and a brooding red sky. "The idea was to have something urban and contemporary, but also poetic, with a lot of energy. Kate just radiates energy." Longchamp's contract with the British supermodel runs through next season's campaign.
— Robert Murphy

angiel
01-19-2006, 12:29 AM
Tennis fans' fervour reaches fever pitch

January 18, 2006 - 4:05PM



It started with the annoying but relatively innocuous Swedes.

They used to pour into Melbourne Park from the backpacker hostels every morning with their faces painted blue and yellow and their Viking horns and spend the day screaming rousing Scandinavian encouragement.

When Dutchman Richard Krajicek played at the Australian Open his supporters came with orange paint and similarly unintelligible cheering.

Pete Sampras had a solid core of Greek support.

Goran Ivanisevic could arouse plenty of good-natured nationalistic fervour, as Croatians do.

But there are signs it may be getting out of hand.

On an outside court on Tuesday some spectators caused some ugliness during the Paul Goldstein-Novak Djokovic match.

On Goldstein's serve, some in the crowd repeatedly called out "Osama".

And in Wednesday's match between Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus and the Czech Radek Stepanek, the cheering for the Cypriot went beyond good-natured.

In scenes more often associated with the soccer terraces, the mob got close to the limit as they urged their man on to victory by beating on the courtside hoardings, screaming when Stepanek was serving and getting into some highly provocative body movement.

On Rod Laver Arena come Thursday there is bound to be an Australian version of tennis parochialism when Lleyton Hewitt plays Juan Ignacio Chela.

The little Aussie Battler vs The Spitter.

Even when he isn't playing someone who shows their unhappiness by aiming a mouthful of muck at him, Hewitt can get the crowd going.

He did it this week against his first-round opponent Robin Vik, when he appeared to direct a stream of invective at the Czech player's entourage.

Hewitt later denied he'd said anything untoward.

Two years ago at the Australian Open another player described Hewitt's on-court behaviour as "cheating".

And at Melbourne Park last year American James Blake got Hewitt and the crowd jumping when he started mocking the Australian's antics.

Guillermo Coria has also found that Hewitt baiting can be a useful tactic.

Chela said his second-rounder against Hewitt could be a "special match".

Hewitt, who said last year he hadn't noticed Chela spitting towards him at a change of ends during their third-round match, was nevertheless pleased to throw something into the mix.

"I wouldn't call him my mate," he said.

Chela, who beat Britain's Andy Murray in the first round, said he had a good enough memory of what happened last year with Hewitt.

"From that point of view, this could be a special match," Chela said.

But he warned against any repeat of the behaviour that cost him a $1,000 fine.

"I will play my match ... nothing else."

As well as Hewitt, Australia's only other remaining hopes will be on court on Thursday.

In men's singles, Nathan Healey plays Amer Delic of the United States and Peter Luczak is up against 24th seed Olivier Rochus of Belgium.

The only Australian survivor in women's singles, Sam Stosur, plays Serbian teenage star Ana Ivanovic.

© 2006 AAP

angiel
01-20-2006, 10:13 PM
Tennis: Australian Open notebook


MELBOURNE: Roger Federer's coach, Tony Roche, says the 24-year-old Swiss star is just one Grand Slam win away from tennis immortality, and it will come when he wins the French Open.

"The big goal and what I would like to see him do is win the French,'' said Roche.

"If he could achieve that then I would think he would be up there with the all-time greats.''

"When you look at the great players, you win on all different surfaces and win all the Slams. I think if Roger can achieve that then he will go down with'' players like Rod Laver and Pete Sampras.

Federer has won five of his six Grand Slam titles in the last two years, becoming the first player to achieve that since Laver won five in back-to-back seasons in 1968-69.

Federer finished 2005 at 81-4, just missing John McEnroe's Open era record (82-3) for best winning percentage in a season.

Despite that, Roche says Federer is still a work in progress.

"Everyone says how can you improve Roger's game, but he is very keen to get better which I think is very important,'' Roche said Friday.

"He's looking at different ways in which he can improve, which I think is terrific. It's very tough in the men's game, the depth is very strong.''

Federer, who plays his third-round match Saturday, has lost only 12 games in six sets at the Australian Open.

"I know he is a red-hot favorite but each day is different,'' said Roche.

"You just hope that if he plays at his best, and obviously he is, that he will be very hard to beat.''

Federer has held the No. 1 ranking since February 2004.

_____

the_natural
01-22-2006, 12:18 PM
They say the same thing last year and he did lose to safin, it can happen again - and where on God earth is pete put in Roger shadow? Pete will never be put into anyone shadow my dear :mad: :mad:


But the problem is that there are so many people talking about how much better he is than Pete, I believe its all a load of garbage and they are just caught up with how fancy his game is and they all love him, they dont realise how hard it was for Pete to do what he did but there are so many people who think that he is far better/more talented than Pete and most of these fools are the ones who only think of Pete when he was very much older and had to rely heavily on serve, a lot of commentators and people say that Pete relied heavily on serve and thats why Roger would beat him but when Pete was in his prime he had no weaknesses and didnt even rely on his serve as much. His backhand wasnt even seen as a weakness till much later on yet people say "Pete had a weak backhand so federer would crush it". And When Federer retires they are still going to talk like that and that annoys me because after all Pete did he still hasnt been accepted and Federer has just recently come along and is considered to be "so much better" and "greater" than Pete. :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: THATS WHAT I HATE!!! :mad: :mad: :mad:

And people also believe that all he has to do is Win the french to be declared greater than Pete, even if he only wins 10 or 11 Grandslam titles. Thats so stupid.

angiel
01-23-2006, 11:02 PM
People can say anything they want, that dosen't make it so, natural, so dont worry about what they have to say, I dont, most of who is commenting dont know crap about the game - just last year Pete was declare the GREATEST PLAYER in the last 40 years in the sport, not Roger Federer.


Another thing you must also remember, Roger is playing into the weakest era in tennis, who is really pushing him, or who is rivialling him, nobody.


Even if Federer was to win 20 or 30 slams, he will never be Pete Sampras, never, trust me on that one, never. :worship: :wavey:


Here is something John McEnroe has to say about pete and Roger.

Complacency only threat to Federer
Leo Schlink
16jan06

PAT Rafter says Roger Federer's biggest danger at the Australian Open is himself.

Echoing the opinion of John McEnroe, who contends Federer is the best player he has seen and would have been vulnerable only to Pete Sampras at his peak, Rafter said Federer had only himself to fear.

Unbeaten in three meetings against the Swiss magician before his injury-enforced retirement, Rafter said if Federer was fully recovered from ankle soreness, he was virtually unbeatable at Melbourne Park.

"There are no obvious weaknesses in Roger's game," the former world No. 1 said.

"The only guy I've seen in the modern era who would really trouble him would have been Sampras at his best.

"I know Roger beat Pete at Wimbledon (in 2001), but Pete struggled a bit that year.

"I would have loved to have seen those two going at it when Pete was at his peak. I reckon Pete would have given Roger some trouble."

angiel
01-23-2006, 11:22 PM
All eyes turning toward Hingis

By TOM TEBBUTT

Monday, January 23, 2006

Special to The Globe and Mail


MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA -- If Lindsay Davenport's swollen ankle is not right and she is unable to play her highly anticipated quarter-final tomorrow against Justine Henin-Hardenne, there will not be a single American in the final seven days of the Australian Open.

With second-seeded Andy Roddick's 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss to Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus yesterday, the women's top seed is the lone remaining singles competitor from the homeland of Chris Evert and Pete Sampras.

The play of Serena and Venus Williams being unpredictable these days, and the depth behind Roddick being thin (except for injured Andre Agassi), it is not altogether shocking but still remarkable.

Host country Australia is also in the unusual position of being down to just one first-week survivor. Still in the running, after Lleyton Hewitt was knocked out in the men's second round, is Samantha Stosur. She had the challenge of playing Martina Hingis tonight.


Opinions vary on the former No. 1's comeback.

Current No. 1 Davenport is impressed. "She [Hingis] looks the same, which is at an extremely high level," she said. "She is still making her opponents look uncomfortable, coming in [to the net], being aggressive and changing direction with the balls."

Australians are so enamoured of the Swiss that on Saturday bookmakers made her the second favourite, behind Henin-Hardenne, to win the tournament.

All the attention on Hingis is a reason 16-year-old sensation Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic, already ranked No. 16, was not requested in the main interview room, despite winning her first three rounds by scores of 6-1, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-1 and 6-4, 6-2.

She showed her inexperience in a 6-1, 6-1 loss to Amélie Mauresmo today, committing 35 unforced errors to four for the third seed.

The match was played with the Rod Laver Arena roof open and the temperature at 24. It followed a day when the mercury soared to 42 and matches on the outside courts did not begin until 8:15 p.m. because the extreme heat rule was in effect.

Roddick was not pleased because he felt the Rebound Ace surface in Rod Laver Arena with the roof closed played more slowly than it would have with an open roof and the rubberized court softer in the baking sun. It is not often the big-serving American is outaced, but he was, 16-15 by Baghdatis.

The Greek Cypriot and world junior champion in 2003 plays with an exuberant mix of flair and power. He is charismatic, and that inspired members of the local Greek community to cheer lustily for him.

Roddick's round-of-16 upset follows his surprise first-round ouster at the 2005 U.S. Open by Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.

In a corridor after the loss, his brain trust -- agent Ken Myerson, coach Dean Goldfine and trainer Doug Spreen -- were discussing their man, and one could be overheard saying, "He's playing scared."

Baghdatis, 20, ranked No. 54, has lots of potential, but the Australian television commentators, former No. 1 Jim Courier and Australian Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald, could not agree on it. Fitzgerald saw Baghdatis as top-10 material, while Courier was less bullish.

One thing for certain, the Cypriot has personality. In a postmatch, on-court interview, he got a big laugh when asked whether he would check out the night match between (eventual winner) Ivan Ljubicic and Thomas Johansson to scout his next opponent. "My coach will watch," he said jokingly. "I'll be sleeping with my girlfriend."

Another couple, veteran Fabrice Santoro and his wife, Chrislaure, were in tears yesterday. Both were overcome after Santoro's 6-4, 7-5, 7-5 victory over David Ferrer of Spain.

The reason was that for the first time in 54 Grand Slam events, the crafty, double-handed (on both sides) Frenchman had reached the quarter-finals.

"I didn't have the potential to be No. 1, but I just fought with what I had," Santoro explained. "When you start your career at 16 and the first quarter-final comes at 33 -- it's a long time."

He said he talked to his friend Roger Federer before the match and that the world No. 1 said jokingly, "You've got a great chance, don't blow it."

almouchie
01-24-2006, 10:45 AM
hi every1
what u said (the_natural) is so true
I always got angry & upsset that Pete wasntappreciated much during his playing says or even after he retired
It was always something negative to say about, not winnin g RO, or him being boring
or something
& quickly came Federer & evry1 is making him look the second comming of tennis.
When I tell people that Federer isn being challenged & troubled by the players & the competition level is down, they start comparing Pete's rivals of becker, stich,rafter chang, courier & the like to hewitt, Roddick,Safin,& spanish armada
Just yesterday Sabatinin & Rafter were inducted to hallof fame (maybe a way too much) but fromthe players now I cannt see any of Federer's rivals in the Hall of fame
Hewitt won 2 GS, & has seen his best days, & roddick rode his high & can only do so much with his abilities,
apart from erratic injury prone Safin , Federer isnt troubled.
Nadal came last year & caused him some problems
Its the new boys around from Nadal, Gasquet, Murray & Bagdhatis who can set up & rival him
Another one I like is Argetinian David Nalbandian who has the talent & ability to win a GS

angiel
01-25-2006, 11:02 PM
Quarters line-up a grand slam record
January 24, 2006 - 3:14PM



The 2006 Australian Open has claimed a special place in tennis lore after Martina Hingis completed the most celebrated quarter-final line-up in grand slam history.

For the first time ever, six current or former world No.1 players made the quarter-finals of one of the year's four major tournaments.

Chasing a fourth title at Melbourne Park, Hingis joined reigning queen Lindsay Davenport and former top-ranked players Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo, Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin-Hardenne in the last eight.

Five No.1s - Davenport, Clijsters, Mauresmo, Sharapova and Venus Williams - made the same stage at last year's US Open, but never before in women's or men's tennis had a grand slam quarter-final draw featured half a dozen current or former world champions.

"It's phenomenal," said Australian Open director McNamee said.

"It started off as an amazing tournament with all 20 of the top 20 playing and to get six world No.1s through to the quarter-finals ... it's just a dream line-up."

With an unprecedented eight world No.1s flocking to Melbourne for this year's women's championship, the event always promised something special.

The early departures of Venus and Serena Williams prevented a clean sweep of No.1s in the quarters.

Seven of the top eight seeds made the last eight, with only fifth seed Mary Pierce missing out.

Apart from last year's US Open, the only other time five No.1s have made the quarters of a grand slam since rankings were introduced in November 1975 was when Hingis, Davenport, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario all made the last eight at the 1999 French Open.

Never since ATP rankings were introduced in 1973 have six men made the quarters of a major.

But on three occasions five have, most recently at last year's Australian Open when Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, Marat Safin and Andre Agassi all reached the fifth round.

The US Open has twice featured five No.1s in the last eight of the men's draw - in 1995 (Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Boris Becker and John McEnroe) and 2001 (Agassi, Sampras, Safin, Gustavo Kuerten and Yevgeny Kafelnikov).

© 2006 AAP

angiel
01-25-2006, 11:10 PM
Skupski makes tennis history Jan 24 2006



EXCLUSIVE by Ian Hargraves, Daily Post

LIVERPOOL tennis star Ken Skupski has made sporting history in the USA by becoming the first person ever to win the South East conference singles tournament two years in succession.

Despite having been under the weather for most of the Christmas break, he managed to find his best form in the tournament, at Lexington, and thrashed Georgia's highly rated Matic Omerzal in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.

By a stroke of good fortune, the match was played on a faster court than that normally used, and Skupski took full advantage, using a wide range of powerful shots, creating a top impression.

He is now due to take part in a major TV presentation, and could possibly be involved in a big charity match being staged to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, against the former great Pete Sampras.

It had been thought his younger brother Neal, the Liverpool open champion, who is still only 16, would be flying out to him in the US for a week or two next month, but that trip has now been cancelled. He will be watched by Louisiana University coaches at a later date.

the_natural
01-26-2006, 12:31 PM
People can say anything they want, that dosen't make it so, natural, so dont worry about what they have to say, I dont, most of who is commenting dont know crap about the game - just last year Pete was declare the GREATEST PLAYER in the last 40 years in the sport, not Roger Federer.


Another thing you must also remember, Roger is playing into the weakest era in tennis, who is really pushing him, or who is rivialling him, nobody.


Even if Federer was to win 20 or 30 slams, he will never be Pete Sampras, never, trust me on that one, never. :worship: :wavey:


Here is something John McEnroe has to say about pete and Roger.

Complacency only threat to Federer
Leo Schlink
16jan06

PAT Rafter says Roger Federer's biggest danger at the Australian Open is himself.

Echoing the opinion of John McEnroe, who contends Federer is the best player he has seen and would have been vulnerable only to Pete Sampras at his peak, Rafter said Federer had only himself to fear.

Unbeaten in three meetings against the Swiss magician before his injury-enforced retirement, Rafter said if Federer was fully recovered from ankle soreness, he was virtually unbeatable at Melbourne Park.

"There are no obvious weaknesses in Roger's game," the former world No. 1 said.

"The only guy I've seen in the modern era who would really trouble him would have been Sampras at his best.

"I know Roger beat Pete at Wimbledon (in 2001), but Pete struggled a bit that year.

"I would have loved to have seen those two going at it when Pete was at his peak. I reckon Pete would have given Roger some trouble."

:D :) :worship: Thanks guys, some ppl know how to speak truth rather than complete crap so true, Sampras had to fight off so many other players who were so talented and dangerous, and now we have a bunch of clay courters who hug the baseline and only come to the net to shake hands, they all play the same, and Roger, although hes talented, doesnt have to adapt to defeat different styles of players they are almost all the same. I believe hes talented, but hes better than the other players at playing from the baseline and he can mix it up a little by approaching the net which most cant do which is the advantage. Sampras had to face much more variety and the mental drain that would have is huge.

I just hope one day Pete gets the recognition he truly deserves because the way people talk, its like they are proclaiming Roger the Greatest ever even if he stopped now :rolleyes: .

BTW I LOVE YOU PAT RAFTER!!! ONLY PLAYERS LIKE U WHO KNEW HIM, CAN TALK TRUE SENSE!!!!

angiel
01-26-2006, 11:42 PM
He better dont stop right now, and then all his bandwagonnists will have to sing a different tune, about him been the greatest.


Trust me on this, if Pete was playing tennis today, Rogers knows it all would be also different. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

angiel
01-27-2006, 12:15 AM
Tennis fans lobby hard for piece of Safeco site
Community center - Players hope for new digs as the city moves toward buying the building

Thursday, January 26, 2006
LISA GRACE LEDNICER


Want to spend the winter trying to become the next Pete Sampras or Serena Williams? You're out of luck.

Lake Oswego's Indoor Tennis Center is so crowded that there's a waiting list for lessons from the seven pros. Courts are filled even in the middle of the day.

There's no locker room, concession stand or viewing area, and one team captain calls the 30-year-old building off Boones Ferry Road "an embarrassment to the community."


Lake Oswego's tennis enthusiasts, who have complained for years about the center, now see a glimmer of hope in the city's planned purchase of the Safeco Insurance building at Kruse Way and Carman Drive for a community center. So far, they've been the most vocal of the city's recreation groups in arguing that the center must include indoor courts.

"We've got a lot of constituencies that aren't being served," said Tom Holder, a member of a committee trying to persuade city councilors to build indoor courts on the 12.88-acre Safeco site. "We can't host tournaments; there's no drop-in court time. But despite all that, it generates money."

The Indoor Tennis Center, which contains four courts, will cost about $500,000 to operate during the current biennium, according to the city's 2005-07 budget. Between 100 and 200 people use the center every day, said Anni Miller, the city's director of tennis. Operations are paid by user fees.

In a community forum about the Safeco building this month, tennis fans noted that because the Indoor Tennis Center generates its own revenue, indoor courts aren't a drain on city revenues. Tennis fans have visited city councilors and written letters.

"Who would expect an affluent community like Lake Oswego to have such a crummy tennis center?" wrote team captain Carolyn Wiecks. "Occasionally, visitors are crabby. They're uncomfortable, cold and crowded, and then we are uncomfortable and embarrassed."

Although tennis supporters are thrilled that the Safeco building is up for sale, its conversion to a community center isn't guaranteed. City officials are negotiating with Seattle-based Safeco to buy the 86,196-square-foot building and may end up tearing it down.

Councilors are planning to send a bond measure to voters in November to pay for construction costs, which the city has not yet determined. A design team will decide what will go into a community center, and the competition will be fierce: Library supporters and pool advocates also are clamoring for a slice of the building.

City manager Doug Schmitz said of the tennis fans, "I think they make a good position for an indoor tennis facility."

"We'll see how it shakes out."

angiel
01-27-2006, 12:21 AM
Updated: Jan. 26, 2006, 2:07 PM ET
Witnessing greatness in Baghdatis

By Luke Jensen
Special to ESPN.com

MELBOURNE, Australia -- The biggest thing I'm impressed with, especially in a young player like Marcos Baghdatis, is his mental toughness.

Baghdatis came back from down two sets to love and then came back in the fifth set when he was down two breaks.



Then, when he was ready to serve for the match, the rain came.

After the rain, he got a bad line call from the umpire.

All that happened and Baghdatis didn't flinch.

Those are signs that tell me he's a player ready to take the next step.

I felt I played my best tennis when I was 25 or 26 years old, when mentally I was starting to mature and could handle certain situations. Physically, I was quick and strong, and I could recover after little injuries.

But there are special athletes who are able to do it in their teens. Pete Sampras won the U.S. Open at 19, Michael Chang won the French Open at 17, and Andre Agassi was knocking on the door as a teenager. These are special athletes who had not only the talent physically but also the mental toughness of a champion at such a young age. When those two worlds collide, there is a special individual.

Baghdatis is 20, but already we are seeing what he can do physically and how well he holds up mentally.

There wasn't a specific turning point in this match. He just stayed with the game plan.

The biggest flaw of clay court players such as Nalbandian, Guillermo Coria or Rafael Nadal is that they lack a knockout punch. They are grinders on the court, but they can play only so long when an opponent knows they don't have that one shot that can put him away.

Nalbandian doesn't hit a big serve and doesn't have a monster forehand winner that knocks opponents off the court.

Baghdatis does. He sets up the point, opens up areas and, boom, hits a winner. He changes gears and paces with his ground stroke and tempo. Nalbandian, by contrast, starts the same way and ends the same way, whether he's up or down. It's very predictable. The toughest thing for clay court players to do is to put their opponent away.

Nalbandian is a workhorse. Beating him after being down two sets to love in the semis of a Grand Slam is not a fluke.

Baghdatis has passed every test. If he plays Nicolas Kiefer, there's no doubt he has a chance. Even if he has to play Roger Federer, it's going to be a lot of fun to watch.


Former ATP Tour pro Luke Jensen is providing ESPN.com with analysis during the Australian Open. Jensen, a two-time All-American at USC, captured the 1993 French Open doubles crown with his brother Murphy.

angiel
01-27-2006, 12:27 AM
This Day in Sports
01/25/2006

1997

Top-ranked Pete Sampras needed just one hour and 27 minutes to cruise to his ninth Grand Slam title with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 victory over unseeded Carlos Moya in the final of the 85th Australian Open. Sampras' victory earned him his second Australian Open title.

the_natural
01-28-2006, 02:21 AM
Wooot Wooot Go Baghaditis I hope he does a Pete Sampras :D Because there is always a chance that he will be overcome by the occassion

angiel
01-28-2006, 08:10 PM
Wooot Wooot Go Baghaditis I hope he does a Pete Sampras :D Because there is always a chance that he will be overcome by the occassion


Maybe, but he could win the whole thing, which would be great new for tennis, the game needs a breath of fresh air right now, and what a great story that would be. :wavey: :D :worship:

the_natural
01-29-2006, 12:48 PM
:sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad:

angiel
01-30-2006, 12:44 AM
:sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad:



Cheer-up my dear natural - Roger Federer can be beaten - after watching this Aussie Open, I believed that more than ever - let me let you into a little secret how..............

What the came of tennis needs is somebody ........ Who is.......

1. Versatile

2. Aggressive

3. Verve

4. Not Afraid

5. Mentally Tough & Physically Fit

6. And who can show some versatility.

He needs someone who is aggressive enough to get into his face and take the game to him or away from him, no one is doing that or they do it for only a short period of time, during each games played.

He needs someone who has some versatility or versatile enough ( some capable of doing many things) and have a variety to their game, and somebody who is not afarid of him, shots for shots with some verve in their steps.

It's time somebody figures out they will not beat him playing their usual game or Roger's game, everyone is playing the same type of game (baseliners game these days) - we needs changes or for someone to change the pace of the game on him - WE NEED SOME 90'S KIND OF GUYS - The......................

Samprases

Rafters

Beckers

Edbergs

Gorans

And even a McEnroe.etcs............

Tim Henman is not good enough and Andre is too old now to push Federer, Roger peers are too soft and easy on him.

Get into his head and face guys or they will ended up a loser all their life. :wavey: :D :rolleyes: :p

the_natural
01-30-2006, 06:36 AM
That us so true, I think Tommy can do it, he isnt scared of Federer at all, he even said "People all call him the greatest but what has he done to deserve that title, if he won 14 grandslams like Pete Sampras then he can be called the greatest" And Tommy wasnt afraid of him and only got match tight towards the end, with more practice he can destroy him haha. Davydenko also took the game too him but hes not used to closing out big matches :) Things may be looking out, and watch out for Thomas Berdych he may do the same he said that he can beat Federer if he wants and he has :)

Thanks Angiel ur the best Sampras fan ever :) Always posting everyday there would be nothing here without u posting :)

R.Federer
01-30-2006, 08:53 PM
Any updates on brigit and pete? I miss Pete sometimes, think of all hte happy memories I had when he was around
I love Roge too, but Pete was my first tennis crush!

angiel
01-31-2006, 11:39 PM
That us so true, I think Tommy can do it, he isnt scared of Federer at all, he even said "People all call him the greatest but what has he done to deserve that title, if he won 14 grandslams like Pete Sampras then he can be called the greatest" And Tommy wasnt afraid of him and only got match tight towards the end, with more practice he can destroy him haha. Davydenko also took the game too him but hes not used to closing out big matches :) Things may be looking out, and watch out for Thomas Berdych he may do the same he said that he can beat Federer if he wants and he has :)

Thanks Angiel ur the best Sampras fan ever :) Always posting everyday there would be nothing here without u posting :)


Hello natural, and how are you my dear - the players have to not only say they can beat him, they will have to do so - they need to start think out side the game a little - we need players who can raise their game to his level or above, not just talk the talk, but walk the walk also - I hate to say this but all of these players are too soft on Roger :eek: :D but somebody need to figure out away to tame him, else........ :devil: :devil: :wavey:

angiel
01-31-2006, 11:41 PM
Any updates on brigit and pete? I miss Pete sometimes, think of all hte happy memories I had when he was around
I love Roge too, but Pete was my first tennis crush!


:wavey: Hi there R.Federer and how are you doing? it nice seeing you here :angel: :worship: Seem like we of to go and unretired Mr. Pete Sampras :D What do you think? :wavey: :) :wavey:


I am going to see if i can find any news of them, stay tune. :cool: :angel: :worship:

angiel
02-01-2006, 12:13 AM
Pete's Quotes on Roger, for winning the Aussie Open sunday, hope you like it R.Federer......................


Pete Sampras speaking to the Times Online on Roger Federer: "I don't like to be reminded of the time we played at Wimbledon -- he beat me fair and square and though it hurt, I knew he was a real talent. From what I see, he is able to play at a higher level with less effort than the rest -- a bit like me. You see Andy Roddick and it is work. Roddick's out there grinding, but it doesn't take a lot of effort for Federer to play great. He is the complete package, head and shoulders over the rest. I put up the records and I know that is the most that I could give. If someone breaks those, my hat is off to them because I know what it takes. It seems that Federer has the temperament to stay at the top for as long as he wants."...

angiel
02-01-2006, 12:34 AM
THE DAILY FIX
By CARL BIALIK AND JASON FRY





Federer, Pushed by an Upstart,
Responds With 7th Slam Win
January 30, 2006 12:07 p.m.

In any given set and a half of a Grand Slam final, Roger Federer is beatable.

Stitch together the second set and first half of the third of last September's US Open final -- in which a 35-year-old Andre Agassi battered the world's No. 1 player with his ageless return game -- and the first set and a half of yesterday's Australian Open final -- in which unseeded Marcos Baghdatis swept to a big lead and exposed Federer's nerves -- and Federer is decidedly ordinary.

But winning in tennis takes three sets, and Federer is at his most lethal when he plays from behind: His groundstrokes are never harder, his feet never faster, his net play never more flawless, his all-around game never more dominating. After storming back against Mr. Baghdatis to take 19 of the last 24 games and win the Australian Open final in four sets, the 24-year-old Federer has won seven major titles. That's still only halfway to Pete Sampras's all-time record of 14 and to a plausible claim as the best all-time player. But, thanks to his fierce competitive fire in finals, the Swiss champ has already done something no other player ever has: win his first seven Grand Slam final matches.

angiel
02-01-2006, 12:39 AM
here is some more news about him.


2 Minute Drill -- Published January 30th, 2006

Published Monday, Jan 30, 2006



Holding court

We should probably congratulate Roger Federer, because that's what you do when someone wins the Australian Open. He beat some unseeded guy from Cyprus and is clearly the best player in the game today. But as for those comparisions to Pete Sampras, well, we'll take Pete in four sets.

angiel
02-01-2006, 12:43 AM
TOP 10 CLUTCH PERFORMERS

By Ethan J. Skolnick
Sun-Sentinel
Posted January 29 2006


Clutch performers

How do you know an athlete is clutch? When you are cheering against one in a critical situation, and know you are doomed. Good night. It's over. Here are 10 athletes during the past quarter-century that we wouldn't want to see on the other side of our rooting interest with something meaningful on the line:

1. Michael Jordan: You need a reason? Which game-winner do you want? 63-62 at North Carolina? Over Cleveland's Craig Ehlo? Over Utah's Bryon Russell? Need another?

2. Patrick Roy: Ten overtime games in the 1993 Stanley Cup playoffs. Ten wins. Four rings in all, which he used to clog his ears when rivals such as Jeremy Roenick yapped at him.

3. Joe Montana: Perfect in four Super Bowls. Thirty-one fourth-quarter comebacks, including the pass to John Taylor to win Super Bowl XXIII. Oh, and The Catch.

4. Pete Sampras: Won 14 of his 18 Grand Slam finals. Moment of truth: Puking his way through a fifth-set tiebreaker win against Alex Corretja in the 1996 U.S. Open quarters. Now, Roger Federer is closing on the closer.

5. Steffi Graf: Her husband, Andre Agassi, needed time to prove his tough-point mettle. The lady was a natural. Hopefully, Jaden got her genes.

6. Reggie Miller: He didn't merely bury you in the big spot with a big shot. He showed up your super-fan with simulated choking.

7. Diana Taurasi: For a team and town demanding perfection, she kept providing perfect endings. Take 2003, UConn vs. Tennessee. She tied it at the buzzer. Then, in overtime, she won it.

8. Adam Vinatieri: If he doesn't make two Super Bowl-winning field goals, Tom Brady's just another guy who couldn't get his team in the end zone.

9. Mark Messier: Former teammate Wayne Gretzky once scored 47 points in the playoffs. Impressive. To guarantee a playoff victory in title-starved Manhattan and deliver a hat trick? Now that's clutch.

10. Jack Morris: Ten shutout innings in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series cemented the legacy of this big-game pitcher.

angiel
02-02-2006, 12:33 AM
Tennis



The Times
January 31, 2006


Sampras is honoured to see Federer follow in his footsteps
From Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent in Melbourne

Sampras is honoured to see Federer follow in his footsteps


TO ROGER FEDERER, it is a scary coincidence. At 24, Pete Sampras captured his seventh grand-slam tournament, the US Open of 1995, having been crowned the Masters champion in Indian Wells and Key Biscayne the previous year. Federer collected his seventh grand-slam victory here on Sunday and — guess what? — the 24-year-old Swiss is the title-holder of the tennis showpieces of California and Florida.

Scary is right. The timing of their ascent to greatness apart, these are men who can boast an extraordinary range, who play down their talent yet realise how touched they have been, whose demeanours belie fiercely competitive instincts, who appreciate the toil it takes to win. The subtle difference is that Sampras — who won seven more grand-slam tournaments before deciding that he had nowhere else to turn and laid down his rackets — lost in two of his first seven finals. Federer has won them all, losing a mere three sets in the process.



Federer knows that he cannot escape those who will pursue him across the world questioning at each turn if he can match the American’s record 14 grand-slam victories and leave a mark of his own. Three years ago, when Sampras won the US Open for the final time and departed the scene, the logical assumption was that he had set a standard to last for all time.

Sampras did not win the French Open in 13 attempts; Federer has had seven shots and his best is a semi-final appearance last spring. He said that that was the only time he gave himself a legitimate chance on red clay and yet the force was with Rafael Nadal, the teenage Spaniard, who became the champion two days later.

Sampras played Federer once, on Centre Court in the fourth round of 2001, when a teenage Swiss burst the American’s Wimbledon bubble 7-5 in the fifth set. As Federer reaches halfway towards the Holy Grail, Sampras greets his achievements as one would expect, with no envy and recognising what it has required for the present world No 1 to have come even this far.

“I don’t like to be reminded of the time we played at Wimbledon — he beat me fair and square and though it hurt, I knew he was a real talent,” Sampras said. “From what I see, he is able to play at a higher level with less effort than the rest — a bit like me. You see Andy Roddick and it is work. Roddick’s out there grinding, but it doesn’t take a lot of effort for Federer to play great. He is the complete package, head and shoulders over the rest.

“I put up the records and I know that is the most that I could give. If someone breaks those, my hat is off to them because I know what it takes. It seems that Federer has the temperament to stay at the top for as long as he wants.”

Within three hours of going to bed on Sunday evening, Federer was up, bright as a button, to appear on morning TV in Australia. He reiterated that his joy was based, for the large part, in disbelief that he had recovered to defeat Marcos Baghdatis, the Cypriot story of the championship, in four sets. He had practised in Australia over Christmas with Tony Roche, his coach, flown to the Middle East to win Doha, played patchily at Kooyong in the pre-championship exhibition, then had to cope with the excessive demands of being forced to play so many matches under lights.

As the Australian Open squeezes more and more evening sessions into its schedule, so the big boys — ie, Federer — are required to play to sustain viewer figures. “I had so much time to think about my last four matches here,” he said. “It was nerve-racking. I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous before a grand-slam final. I try to save myself, but it isn’t easy.”

Making it look as though it is, makes Federer the champion he is.

angiel
02-05-2006, 04:37 AM
Tennis players find 'Billy the Banger' has healing touch
By Pilar Ulibarri

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Saturday, February 04, 2006


DELRAY BEACH — It was Pete Sampras who gave Bill Norris his nickname — Billy the Banger.

It seems fitting for a man who has been banging the kinks out of tennis greats since 1973.



Norris, 63, a sports medicine therapist for the Delray Beach International Tennis Championship, said he started out in the game during the "tennis boom in America," when players such as Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe started to shine.

And he has plenty of stories.

"I remember watching Andre Agassi practicing as a young boy at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, where his dad, Mike, worked," said Norris, who was working the Alan King Tennis Classic at the time. "His dad really wanted him to be a tennis player."

Now, at age 35, Agassi is one of the many players who stop in to see Norris in "the treatment room" during such tournaments as the Delray Beach ITC. Players visit when they need to be stretched out or cured of a cramp or any other ailment — even psychological ones.

"I have a lot of compassion toward the players," said Norris, who lives in Boca Raton. "I enjoy my role as a caregiver to these athletes."

On Friday morning, Norris was warming up 27-year-old Tommy Haas, who had a match later in the afternoon.

"This guy knows nothing," Haas joked as the therapist worked on him.

But soon Haas, who has known Norris since 1996, said how he truly feels about him.

"He's got over 30 years of experience and has a good feel for the body," Haas said. "Everything he tells you is pretty much true."

Norris fell in love with sports medicine as a teenager running errands for the Pittsburgh Pirates doctors during six seasons of spring training in what was then small-town Fort Myers, where he was born and raised.

"I wasn't a natural athlete as a boy but I loved sports," he said. "I wanted to be involved in sports somehow."

Norris went to Manatee Community College in Bradenton, where he made his way onto different teams' staffs, wrapping ankles, giving massages, and stretching the players.

"I really believe my hands are a gift because I can feel any type of tension in the body," said Norris, who eventually earned a degree in sports medicine from the University of Florida's technical school in Kissimmee.

He had already spent a couple of summers working in sports medicine for the Milwaukee Braves in Dublin, Ga.

"That was before the certification requirement now needed in the field," he said. "So that's how I got my foot in the door."

At 20, he was hired by the New York Mets, and the small-town boy left Florida for New York, where he met his big-city wife, Sherie.

In 1963 he was hired by the New York Knicks and also kept his job for the Mets until a tennis representative came looking for him.

That's when he left team sports and began working for the Association of Tennis Professionals.

He watched the Americans win the Davis Cup in 1978 and in 1982 — both great moments in his book. He worked the Davis Cup for 15 years. This year he's already traveled to Australia and will go all over Europe and the United States for Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, among other tournaments, until the season ends.

"Sherie might tell you I give too much of my time to my work but I love it," he said. "My hobby is my work."

Norris remembers Jimmy Connors once telling him, "You know, at the end of your career you've given so much to the game you have nothing left to give."

Norris said he himself is nowhere near the end.

Dirk
02-05-2006, 06:36 AM
Nah I think Roger Will Win but I dont want Him too, I know hes going to Win Wimbledon Easily because there are no good Grass courters like in Petes day, nor are there any real threats on hard court. Roddick and Hewitt are Dangerous but otherwise there arent any specialists like in Petes day. And the more Roger Wins the more people think "less" of Petes achievements. sigh I hate the fact that Pete has accomplished so much but he is put in Rogers shadow which makes no sense whatsoever

Ok, now most of you know me as a rabid Roger fan but I don't think Roger will top Pete's records of slams and years at number one. I don't think Roger slowly diminshes Pete by his winning. Some will say that but I don't buy it nor does many others.

Now the fact remains only Pete's 94 year can compare to the dominates Roger is doing to the tour. Pete never lost just 4 or 6 matches in a single year. The depth has gotten deeper that is why it is harder for a stable of slam stars to exist. Roger is better at some things than Pete and Pete is better at some things than Roger.

Roger has a fondness of Pete and Pete feels the same way. I just wish some fans could be content with that.

As for this Oz, they slowed it down and even Pete would have struggled and more so than Roger. Roger admitted he wasn't the same in this event after his let down with Haas in the 3rd set.

Let's just relax and enjoy Roger's achievements and be happy a smooth fluid great champion followed up Pete.

the_natural
02-06-2006, 01:01 AM
Well Id argue against the competition thing cos i think at the top there was more danger from others but I do love the fact that Roger really really did admire Pete and you could see it in his playing style, I think 2003-2004 were the years he changed to become more of a Baseliner because SV games arent too effective with slow courts now. But Rogers Forehand even looked like Petes earlier in his career and he also serves like Pete, is cool and calm (most of the time) like Pete and his backhand is the more attackable side. I think of Roger as what Pete would have been like as a baseliner (Except Pete woulda been more of a power player and roger is more of a Angle/shot maker).

Id rather have Roger win than Hewitt, Hewitt would have 7 GS titles if not for Roger and he would be named one of the all time greats as well, hed have a few Wimbledon titles too which would be a shame. And Roddick may have been Second for a while and considered one of the great players of this generation because hed have more GS titles and maybe 1 wimbledon.

The only problem ive ever had is that I constantly Hear pete being Diminished when compared to Roger, his talents and his achievements and thats what hurts and annoys me. Not only from fans but from Commentators too, like when they say he depended on serve and was bad from the back court, I agree if we are talking about the Older Pete, but everyone seems to have forgotten the younger guy who really was the best. I dont think the Image of Roger will ever fade even when hes 32, But already the image of young sampras is being tossed aside for the younger one. I do have no doubt that Roger will win the Calendar or Non Calendar GS this year and end up number 1. I also see him surpassing the All Time GS count, I dont believe any of the competition measures up especially on grass.

I do hope that one day Pete and Roger play an exhibition match against one another for fun, and Play a doubles match together against really good opponents, itd be amazing

angiel
02-07-2006, 12:21 AM
Hello natural & dirk, how are you doing guys. nice seeing you dirk and how are you keeping. :wavey: :wavey: :angel: :angel:

I would love to see then play too natural, that would be some match. :worship: :worship:

angiel
02-07-2006, 12:36 AM
Posted on Sun, Feb. 05, 2006
Who's more likely to break records?


ROGER FEDERER


It's a good thing Pistol Pete has a wife, two kids and a golf game to keep his time occupied. Otherwise, he might be more than a little concerned about Roger Federer, who's already halfway to his record of 14 Grand Slam titles.

While Tiger Woods has been bested by the likes of Rich Beem (remember him?) in the PGA Championship and pushed to the limit by little-known Bob May in another PGA, Federer is rarely challenged in the big events.

And Tiger's contenders are more of a threat than Federer's. Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Vijay Singh have each won multiple majors and should contend for more.

Meanwhile, Federer's so-called rivals are struggling because of age (Andre Agassi and Tim Henman), injuries (Rafael Nadal and Marat Safin) or just poor play (Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick).

Yes, Tiger might someday catch Jack Nicklaus. But Federer is a lock, if he stays healthy, not only to pass Sampras, but to obliterate the record. With no clear rival, Federer could win five more slams by the end of 2007, giving him 12 at age 26.

The life of a tennis career is brief, and tennis players normally don't win majors after age 30 (we'll call Agassi the exception that proves the rule), so time is not on Federer's side. But everything else is.

TIGER WOODS

With the way Roger Federer is dominating men's tennis, there doesn't seem to be any reason why he won't break Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles. He's halfway there, and he's only 24.

But . . . how do you go against Tiger Woods?

You don't. Not me, anyway.

So, I'll slip on a red Nike polo and attack this question the way Tiger does the final round of a tournament.

Jack Nicklaus won 18 major golf tournaments in a 24-year span.

Tiger has won 10 in eight years.

Jack won his last when he was 46.

Tigers just turned 30.

The math is important here.

The shelf life of a tennis player is shorter than a golfer. Injuries are more prevalent, not that I'm wishing ill will on Federer. But he's a rolled ankle, tricky back or balky knee from missing a major chunk of one season, possibly two. A major injury could all but take Federer out of the chase.

Tiger has time on his side.

There's no reason to think he won't still be a factor on the PGA Tour when he's in his mid-40s. If that's the case, then he has 16 years to win nine more majors.

Both Tiger and Federer can set the bar for their respective sports. Having to choose just one, I choose Tiger.

- Roger Mooney, Herald Staff

angiel
02-07-2006, 11:19 PM
So, we thought it would never end?

Halfway down Mount Tendulkar is still higher than most peaks in Indian cricket, writes Nirmal Shekar




So, we thought the show would last forever, smugly believed that time would remain frozen and the extra-terrestrially beautiful dream would never be interrupted.

So, feet in the air, glazed, mesmerised eyes on the object of our worship, mind willed into a sort of minimal consciousness, we came to believe that nothing can come between us and our seemingly ever-lasting enjoyment of one of the greatest spectacles sport has had to offer in this part of the world.

So, we thought that Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar landed amidst us on a UFO from another universe; that the physical laws and everyday realities of the one we live in did not apply to him; that he will forever remain the charming, invincible boy wonder who first captured our hearts from across the border 17 years ago.

Fantasy ride


Ah, what a fantasy ride! What a marvellous journey that carried us all on the wings of one little man's genius to every great emotional peak that sports-watching can possibly take us to!

But then, lost as we were in this other-world, riding the crest of a sensory tidal wave, it never struck us that the show would have to stop sometime, that we will indeed hear the fat lady sing sooner or later, that no force on earth — not even our little Mumbai superman with his magic wand — can arrest time.

The simple truth is, when it comes to Sachin, we cannot accept the truth. Fantasies and myths offer greater comfort. And it is not hard to understand why. For this is the man who helped many of us attain our sports-watching nirvana, the man who offered us a peak experience like no other.

In the event, how can we let go of something as supremely life-enhancing as that? But, firstly, how can we even bring ourselves to imagine that one day — maybe not tomorrow, maybe not in 2006, perhaps not even in 2007, and if we are truly blessed, maybe not even until the end of this decade — Sachin will not bat for us? That some day, in the future, the show will stop.

The real issue


Of course, those who suspected that it may have stopped already and, unbidden, quickly pronounced judgement were unabashedly eating their own words during the Peshawar ODI the other day. But we are hardly concerned here with reckless headline writers. The real issue has to do with the longevity of the most celebrated sporting career in this nation's history.

Unlike prescription drugs and supermarket products, sportspersons don't come with the use-by date stamped on their shirt-front. Every career, great and ordinary, goes through a process of evolution that is quite distinct although broad patterns can be gleaned from history.

Only human


And no single sportsman — not even a Bradman or an Ali or a Sampras — performed at any patented peak level from start to finish. They would not have been human if they had managed to. Limbs age, rhythms change, and even if hunger burns in the heart and mind, the carefree vigour of youth dissipates with age and maturity.

Tendulkar, in his 18th year in international cricket, stands nearer the end than the beginning; and, to accept this is not the same as joining the jarring

He's-Finished chorus.

What is more, it is only when we come to terms with this reality — that the little genius is not spring chicken anymore — that we can think of digging deeper and getting to the truth that matters more than anything else, something that is the real measure of the man's greatness.

Simple truth


That truth, like all great truths in life, is very simple — halfway down Mount Tendulkar is still higher than most peaks in Indian cricket. A battle weary, ageing Tendulkar close to the twilight of his career can still — on his day — do things with the bat that most other batsmen can only dream of.

His batting, post-elbow surgery, may not remotely resemble the atavistic frenzy of a Sehwag or Dhoni sizzler. But Tendulkar can still back his own instincts and deliver when it matters.

But then, the point of this column is not to reaffirm faith in Tendulkar's abilities — which will seem ludicrous if attempted — but simply to remind ourselves that the great man is not going to be around forever. And while he is still at it, let us not waste time and energy debating how near — or far — the end might be.

"Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be; the last of life for which the first was made.''

Robert Browning's immortal words might ring true soon vis-a-vis our little man on whose genius we have feasted for so long and with such avaricious relish. And, believe me, the dessert is still to come.

angiel
02-15-2006, 12:26 AM
Mike Johnson, Washington

The PGA Tour provides Tiger Woods the field to perform, as it did for Jack Nicklaus and the other greats in men's professional golf history. The same would be true in other sports: Barry Bonds and MLB; Joe Montana and the NFL; Wayne Gretzky in the NHL; Michael Jordan and the NBA; and Pete Sampras and the ATP. Would Bonds take a week off from the Giants and play in Japan? Of course, it works both ways, but Woods playing in Dubai for a $3 million appearance fee on top of what he won at the event is dismissive of the PGA Tour.

angiel
02-15-2006, 12:34 AM
A Perfect Match -- AEOS vs. ANF



February-11-2006


by Dr. Sheldon Shi

Imagine a match between two of my all time favorite sport figures, Pete Sampras and Andrei Agassi. That is how I feel about the competition between American Eagle Outfitters (AEOS) and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF). Granted, unlike Pete and Andrei, ANF is almost three generations older than AEOS. It was established in 1892 while AEOS only came to existence in 1977. But that is where the drastic differences between the two end. In almost every other aspects, they are tit-for-tat.

Both companies sell casual apparels to teenagers and young adults. Revenues are similar (around $2B). So are net incomes ($200M+), book values (around $1B), operating margins (upper teens), store counts (800+), revenue per square footage (about $400 a year), invested capitals ($1.1B), and returns on capitals (around 20%). ANF has a much larger market cap, $5.6B vs. AEOS's $3.9B. That is the equivalence of more fans and commercial endorsements in the sports world. ANF's higher valuation may be a reflection of its bigger brand name. But let's talk about serves, ground strokes, volleys and footworks, in the financial sense of course. Is one really better than the other? Let's do a financial statement play-by-play and find out:

AEOS: Market capitalization $3.9B; ANF: Market cpaticalization $5.6B (as of 01/27/06)
Q3 FY05 Q2 FY05 Q1 FY05 FY 2004 FY 2003 FY 2002 FY 2001
Revenue ($M)
AEOS 577.7 513.3 454.0 1,881 1,435 1,383 1,271
ANF 704.9 571.6 546.8 2,021 1,708 1,596 1,365
Operating Margin
AEOS 19.6% 16.8% 19.3% 19.3% 9.3% 11.5% 12.6%
ANF 16.4% 15.9% 12.5% 17.2% 19.4% 19.6% 19.6%
Net Income ($M)
AEOS 73.3 58.0 55.3 213.3 59.6 88.1 105.5
ANF 71.6 57.4 40.4 216.4 204.8 194.8 166.6
Owner's Income ($M)
AEOS 70.9 54.8 56.6 197.4 42.1 53.7 28.1
ANF 33.7 20.6 20.2 137.1 144.5 125.1
# of Diluted Shares (M)
AEOS 156.0 157.8 156.1 150.2 144.4 145.6 147.6
ANF 90.5 91.5 89.8 95.1 99.6 100.6 102.5
Shareholders' Equity ($M)
AEOS 1,070 1,136 1,059 963 637 572 497
ANF 836 842 689 669 858 736 582
Invested Capital ($M)
AEOS 1,163 1,224 1,143 1,040 723 600
ANF 1,149 1,166 1,008 934 1,072 778
Return On Invested Capital
AEOS 20.5% 8.2% 14.7%
ANF 23.1% 19.1% 25.0%
Total Stores
AEOS 866 854 845 846 805 753 678
ANF 820 804 783 788 700 597 491
Sales Per Square Foot ($)
AEOS 412 343 374 417
ANF 360 345 379 401
Comparable Store Sales
AEOS 13.6% 21.1% 27.1% 21.4% (6.6%) (4.3%) 2.3%
ANF 25% 30% 19% (2%) (9%) (5%) (9%)

Beyond the similarities mentioned above, they are pretty much shoulder-to-shoulder with each other in many other aspects. Both suffered staggering same store sales until a year or two ago, when comparable store sales jumped more than 20%. Both are expanding store counts. Both are buying back shares aggressively. Just last year, each company spent more than $100M buying back shares.

As close as these two companies resemble each other financially, there are differences:

ANF's store counts grow faster, from 187 fewer stores than AEOS in 2001 to only 46 stores fewer as of a few months ago. AEOS, on the other hand, relied on a more modest growth approach of upgrading the square footage of existing stores, opening new stores and closing poor-performing ones. As a result, its capital expenditure was significantly less than ANF's, by as much as $100M a year. That explains why AEOS had significantly higher owner's earning than ANF.

ANF is more diversified than AEOS. Although ANF's core customers are still teenagers and young adults, it outreaches to other demographics as well. Its flagship store, Abercrombie & Fitch, targets age 18 to 22. An off-shoot brand, abercrombie, targets 7 to 14. Hollister targets 14 to 18, and its latest addition, RUEHL, targets young professionals 22 to 35. AEOS, on the other hand, has mainly a single brand targeting age 15 to 25.

There are some other differences as well. AEOS has a stronger cash position, almost $600M, more than half of its equity. ANF's cash position is smaller, but by no means weak. ANF's stores are on average bigger, with 7,100 square foot per store. AEOS typically has smaller stores, averaging 5,400 square foot per store. In terms of insider ownership, according to the last ***** statement, the Schottenstein-Deshe-Diamond family controls 14% of AEOS; while Michael Jeffries, Chairman and CEO of ANF, owns 7.4% of it.

Number-wise, neither has a clear advantage. Which one is better is more a matter of style than substance, just like some fans prefer Sampras' serve-and-volley while others like Agassi's ground strokes and long-lasting performance. ANF enjoyed a higher market value largely because of its brand name, or "economic goodwill", or "economic moat", in Buffett's terms. But I don't believe ANF's "economic moat" is as wide and deep as, say, Coca Cola. Besides, I think that the youth apparel market is big enough to allow multiple companies with substantial "economic moats". I do believe ANF's "moat" has been fully reflected in its valuation. AEOS, on the other hand, with its lower price to owner's earning ratio (mid-teens), may offer more value if it can keep up its growth and margin, in my style of investing of course.

________________________

Sheldon Shi, Ph.D., editor of Buffetteer.com, a site for intelligent investors.

angiel
02-15-2006, 11:28 PM
Kwan not only great athlete to not win big prize
ESPN.com news services



STARTING OFF ...

There have been two collective thoughts over the last few hours on Michelle Kwan: She was selfish for coming to Torino or she was a competitive athlete trying to reach her dream.

No matter which side you choose, you can still agree with another point: Kwan will seemingly leave the big stage without winning the biggest prize.


So, who are some of the other great athletes who have dominated their respective sports without winning the ultimate?


• Dan Marino: I was never a fan of the Dolphins quarterback as I spent some of my childhood in South Florida. But you can't argue with the man's stats. Marino holds 25-plus NFL records, but the most impressive of all is his single-season passing record (5,084). In the end, though, Marino reached the Super Bowl just once (1985 vs. San Francisco), leaving without a win.


• Karl Malone: The Mailman retired in 2005 as the NBA's second all-time leading scorer with 36,374 points and trailed only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Of Malone's 36,000-plus points, 9,787 were free throws -- the most in NBA history. But in 19 seasons, Malone never won an NBA title.


• Pete Sampras: Well, this one is a little different, but ... Sampras won a record 14 Grand Slam titles, but none of them coming on the clay of Roland Garros. Some were critical of Sampras, saying he wasn't an all-around great player because he couldn't win on every surface.


• Barry Bonds: The Giants slugger set the single-season record for home runs with 73 over the 2001 season. His 708 career homers trail only Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755). But in his 20 seasons, he's never won a World Series.


• Marcel Dionne: We thought about Mike Gartner and Cam Neely, as well, but Dionne's numbers were too much. The Hall of Famer had 731 goals and 1,771 points over 19 NHL seasons. He is the NHL's fourth all-time goal scorer behind Gretzky, Howe and Hull, but no Stanley Cups.


Which brings us back to Kwan. She has five world championships and has made the world podium for nine straight years; she has nine U.S. titles and and reached that podium for 14 straight years. She also has won the silver and bronze at the Olympics.


What Kwan also shares with other athletes is her fierce competitiveness.


"For athletes, the whole nature of sports is to keep trying," said ESPN figure skating analyst Christine Brennan. "If Michelle were healthy, you'd want her on the Olympic team. It's unfortunate for her that it turned out this way. She wanted to try, and of all people, you give Michelle Kwan that chance.


"You see the sequins and you see the beautiful hair and make-up, and you think it's just foo-foo on ice. But Kwan is one of the toughest athletes and competitors I've met in any sport."


And in figure skating, Kwan will be remembered as one of the best.
-- Joy Russo

angiel
02-28-2006, 08:47 PM
Tennis Channel extends service across US


NEWS BRIEF: The Tennis Channel, a 24-hour network backed by Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, has secured its first nationwide distribution agreement in the US, launching on EchoStar-owned satellite TV service Dish Network.

The channel claims to be the world's only 24-hour network devoted to tennis and the lifestyle surrounding it, and the EchoStar deal comes on top of distribution agreements the channel already has with eight of the 10 US cable carriers.

Aside from Agassi and Sampras, investors include some big hitters from the world of television. These include Terry Elkes and Franki Biondi, both former chief executives of Viacom. Biondi was also once CEO of HBO. Kenneth Gorman, former Viacom executive VP, and Edward Horowitz, former Viacom senior VP and former EVP of HBO, are also backing the venture.



28 Feb 2006
© C21 Media 2006

angiel
02-28-2006, 09:55 PM
Pete on the Slippery Slope
Posted 2/28/2006 @ 2:06 PM

By Pete Bodo


ESPN is reporting that Pete Sampras is returning to the pro game via the emerging Underground Railroad of the ATP and WTA, World TeamTennis.


The money quote:


"Playing in front of some people—you kind of look forward to it a little bit."

Given Pete's penchant for understatement, this is the equivalent of a more demonstrative player (Boris Becker, anyone?) jumping on a table, ripping off his coat and tie, and screaming, "Man, I'm going to go out of my friggin' gourd if I don't get out in front of those fans again!"

It's funny, you can say what you want about the joy of competition and the sheer fun of hitting a tennis ball artfully, but that's what the Sunday Players always miss. The applause. The adulation. The adrenaline rush of stepping out in front of a big crowd on finals day to throw down for the title.

I'll never forget how, near the end of Jimmy Connors' career, I was sitting with him in a condo in Palm Springs while working on a profile. I asked him what he supposed he'd really miss when he retired. He looked at me and without saying a word, mimicked someone clapping, in slow motion.

World Team Tennis, incidentally, is a great vehicle for the kind of thing Sampras professes to have in mind. You don't have to be in great shape to play, nobody can draw many conclusions from how well—or badly—you fare, and the ambience is low-key and friendly.

The biggest mystery about WTT is how the league's founder, Billie Jean King, so consistently gets players like Sampras, Martina Hingis, Maria Sharapova, and Andre Agassi to take part. The second-biggest mystery is where the league gets the kind of money it takes to pay the top stars. Enter wealthy franchise holders who simply like the idea of owning a team, in roughly the same way you or I might like the idea of owning a flashy pair of lizard-skin cowboy boots.

Mind you, I'm a huge fan of the basic WTT concept. And the way things are going in tennis, in terms of the calendar and committment-challenged players, I often wish (and I've written this periodically for some 20 years now) that they blew up the game and started over, with Grand Slams, the Davis Cup and Fed Cup, and some more substantial form of WTT dominating the calendar with a split season (spring and fall).

Imagine, if you're a Scot, Andy Murray playing team tennis for the Glasgow Chieftans, and getting the chance to see him play at home some 15 or 20 times a year. One of the biggest impediments to the growth of tennis is the fact that none of the players are ever in one place long enough, often enough, to build real fan loyalty to the game and its players.

Can you imagine what it would do for tennis in Greece—and elsewhere—if Marcos Baghdatis were the playing captain of the Athens Olympians?

OK, this isn't going to happen any time soon. But Billie Jean King and her WTT crew are hanging in there, still firing shots across the bow of the conservative tournament game.

Let's not forget that Martina Hingis was lured back to the pro game by WTT, and she liked what she saw so much that she's back on the big tour.

Watch out, Pete. It's a slippery slope!

almouchie
03-02-2006, 02:32 PM
great articles as usual Angiel :)

angiel
03-02-2006, 09:00 PM
great articles as usual Angiel :)


Thank you my dear, how doing? :wavey: :D :)

angiel
03-02-2006, 10:05 PM
Sampras, Evert and King invest in Indian Wells site



By Jerry Magee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

March 2, 2006


In part because of the financial involvement of former players Pete Sampras, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden has gained solvency.

“We have assembled the most powerful tennis partnership in the world,” announced Ray Moore, with Charlie Pasarell an officer of the firm that created the $77 million complex. “We look forward to making this 'the U.S. Open of the West.' ”



In the agreement detailed yesterday, a consortium – including the Sampras-Evert-King troika, the publishers of Tennis magazine, the community of Indian Wells and the U.S. Tennis Association – has joined in acquiring the 50 percent interest in the Indian Wells facility held by International Management Group.

IMG had been weighing offers for the Pacific Life Open, conducted at Indian Wells and beginning next week, from interests in Shanghai and Doha, Qatar. Had Doha interests secured the tournament, it would have been scheduled in January and the Coachella Valley would have lost what is the second best-attended tennis event in the United States behind only the U.S. Open, and the fifth best-attended tournament in the world.

“We were skating on thin ice many times,” Moore said. “IMG had the right to pull the plug, but it did not. It gave us time. But even in the last eight weeks, we had no certainty we could accomplish this.”

As part of the agreement, the community of Indian Wells purchased 27 acres of land adjacent to the tennis garden for $15 million from PM Sports Management, the Pasarell-Moore firm. These monies and those provided by the other parties to the agreement will be used to refinance the remaining debt on the stadium, which is being facilitated by Desert Commercial Bank.

For former players to take financial roles in a tennis venture is without precedent, according to Moore. “This is not a transparent effort,” he said concerning the involvement of Sampras, Evert and King. “We are not just using their names. They have written substantial checks.”

Moore conceded that there is only one U.S. Open. “The best part of flattery is to try and duplicate, and that's what we are trying to do,” he said.

Sampras, Evert and King were attracted to the consortium by George Macklin and Bob Miller of Tennis magazine. Macklin said Sampras and Evert are minority owners of the magazine, which has a long-standing relationship with King.

Indian Wells plans to develop the acreage it has purchased for new housing. It also has agreed to lease another parcel of land for $1 a year to the Pasarell-Moore firm, with this land to be used for parking.

“We're a small little town out here in the desert,” Indian Wells Mayor Ed Monarch said. “We define ourselves by this tournament.”

The tennis garden and its 16,100-seat stadium opened in March 2000. It was built with the Pasarell-Moore amalgam expecting to receive $11 million annually for 10 years from ISI, a European marketing firm. After 2½ years, however, ISI went out of business, leaving Pasarell and Moore heavily in debt.

Franklin Johnson, president of the USTA, said the Pacific Life Open going abroad would have represented a negative signal to sponsors and others involved in tennis.

“Tennis people all over the country are thrilled,” Johnson said.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jerry Magee: (619) 293-1830; jerry.magee@uniontrib.com

angiel
03-02-2006, 10:20 PM
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS


SAMPRAS SAVES IW, WTT

Pete Sampras has announced he will play in the World Team Tennis league this summer: "This is more about just getting myself a little busier and focused on something I used to be good at," Sampras told the AP. "It's time this year to do a little more. Last year, I was kind of floating along. I miss playing the game. I miss the majors. I miss competing. But to play at the level I used to play is a whole other animal. I've done that, and I know what it takes. Me playing a little tennis this year is something I can control; there isn't any pressure. I can relax and have a little fun. Coming back is not something that crossed my mind. When you retire, you take time away, you don't want to have anything to do with tennis. After two years of having fun and not doing much in the sport, you get a little bored and want to know what's the next chapter in your life. Last year was a turning point -- 'What am I going to do next?' -- and I had to make a decision. Playing in front of some people -- you kind of look forward to it a little bit."...
From Leighton Ginn writing for The Desert Sun: "Thanks to a powerful tennis consortium that included Pete Sampras, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King, the Pacific Life Open bought out ownership partners International Management Group (IMG) and will complete the long complicated process of keeping the international tennis tournament in Indian Wells. Sampras, Evert and King are part of a group of 21 investors that also includes Tennis Magazine owner George Mackin and the United States Tennis Association (USTA)."

angiel
03-02-2006, 10:22 PM
More on The Tennis Channel's much-awaited deal with DISH Network, which now gives everyone in the U.S. access to TTC: "The transformational distribution partnership with DISH Network marks the ascension of The Tennis Channel from 'emerging network' to a member of the programming big leagues," said Ken Solomon, the chairman and CEO of The Tennis Channel. "When coupled with our cable deals with eight of the top 10 cable distribution organizations, it means that the world's greatest tennis players, biggest tournaments and the lifestyle enjoyed by millions will be available to all who subscribe to DISH Network's America's Top 180 service." -- Now TTC is working on catering to the clamoring Euro/Asia fans, stay tuned..

angiel
03-03-2006, 10:21 PM
SAMPRAS RULES OUT TOUR COMEBACK


Pete Sampras is not contemplating a comeback to the ATP tour after announcing he will join the World Team Tennis Pro League.

The 34-year-old is ready to end his three years away from the court with an appearance at Houston's River Oaks International exhibition tournament in April before playing in the Pro League in July.

"Coming back is not something that crossed my mind," Sampras said in an official ATP press release.

"Me playing a little tennis this year is something I can control; there isn't any pressure. I can relax and have a little fun."

Sampras, who bowed out of the game after winning a record 14th grand slam at the 2002 US Open, admits he has missed competing since his retirement.

"I miss playing the game, I miss the majors, I miss competing," he said.

"But to play at the level I used to play is a whole other animal. I've done that, and I know what it takes."

The 12-team Pro League has featured a mix of circuit stars past and present, including Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Andy Roddick and Venus Williams.

Sampras will be selected in the March 28 draft to join a team that comprises two men, two women and a coach.

angiel
03-03-2006, 10:27 PM
For Sampras, tennis deal is personal



Leighton Ginn
The Desert Sun
March 3, 2006

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
It's a Grand Slam of a different kind.

The ball was in his court and he kept a major economic engine in his neighborhood.

Tennis Hall of Famer Pete Sampras said the main reason he invested in the Pacific Life Open was the work of George Mackin, the co-owner of Tennis Magazine, which counts Sampras as an investor.

It was also a sentimental decision for Sampras, who owns a home in Palm Desert's Bighorn.

"It's a great event, I missed playing there," Sampras said Tuesday. "I remember I was out there with my son playing a little tennis on the site. We were walking around the stadium and I missed it. I missed playing there. I had some good times and I had some tough times, but I always looked forward to being in the desert."

Sampras, along with fellow tennis superstars Billie Jean King and Chris Evert, has become one of the headliners of a new investment group that helped rescue the Pacific Life Open from financial problems, all but securing its future in the Coachella Valley.

"It's nice to see players invest in the game," said Palm Desert resident Rosie Casals, a Hall of Fame tennis player who was King's doubles partner and is good friends with Evert. "I'd like to see the younger generation do that."

Tourney a city identity

On Wednesday during an international teleconference, the organizers of the Pacific Life Open formally announced the buyout of partners International Management Group, first reported Tuesday on thedesertsun.com. One report had the amount at $55 million, although none of the principals would confirm or deny the amount, citing confidentiality agreements.

Buying out IMG was the first step in a push aimed at keeping the tournament from moving overseas.


Today, the Indian Wells City Council voted formally to approve its purchase of a 27-acre piece of land for $15 million.

"This is a really important day for Indian Wells," Mayor Ed Monarch said at the teleconference announcement Wednesday. "We're a small little town out here in the desert. We define ourselves a lot through this tournament. The idea of this tournament leaving our city was tragic for us. So it's a joyous day for everyone in our city.

"It's another wonderful association for our city to have three legends like this with our name. It's a great thrill for us."

Impact on valley economy

And while retaining the tournament is a thrill for the city of Indian Wells, population about 4,000, it's a boon for the entire Coachella Valley, its tourism industry and hotels.

As a single event, the Pacific Life Open alone has total attendance greater than the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic golf tournament, Palm Springs International Film Festival (film) and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival combined.

The Pacific Life Open attracted more than 280,000 attendees last year while the other three events brought in a total of 292,000.

The complicated deal is headed up by the three named investors, 21 other investors, the city of Indian Wells and PM Sports, the local owners of both the tournament and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden itself.

The money raised from the sale of the land will be used to pay down the mortgage held by the tournament partners on Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the 85-acre complex that houses the tournament.

No exodus overseas

The whole endeavor took a year, with many trying moments in which the tournament could have ended up in China or the Middle East.

"I can tell you that I've had maybe one of the toughest years I've ever had in my life, just the anxiety of not being able to know whether we're going to be able to keep this event here," said Charlie Pasarell, a local resident and former pro player who took over the tournament in 1981 and built it into the fifth-largest tournament in the world.

"I don't want to go into a lot of detail, but about three months ago I had to actually, for my own physical health, start telling myself, 'Whatever happens, happens, but I'm not going to develop ulcers, or nothing worse than an ulcer, over trying to do this.'"

By paying down the debt, the tournament expects to return to profitability for the first time since the 2001 tournament.

"This is going to be, needless to say, the most enjoyable tennis tournament I've ever been to in my life," Pasarell said of this year's tournament, which opens on Monday.

"We're ecstatic about it. It's a very, very happy day here at Indian Wells today."

The investment group has been a self-proclaimed powerful strategic partnership.

There's the United States Tennis Association, with its deep pockets and influence with sponsors and television.

There's the group from Tennis Magazine, the largest tennis magazine in the world and its media pull.

Then there's the sizzle of three of the greatest tennis players ever.

"It's just a powerful group to add immeasurable value to this tournament and separate it from most other tournaments in the world," said Mackin, one of the co-owners of Tennis Magazine who quarterbacked the efforts to secure the investment group. "It's all a momentum game, right? Once you get Pete on board, you get Chrissy, Billie Jean, the USTA, it becomes a lot easier to get the rest of the money you need to successfully complete the buyout of IMG."

Sampras, the winner of 14 Grand Slams, and tennis greats Evert and King were the big names who have given sizzle to a group that was impressive before they lent their names.

However, Raymond Moore, the president of PM Sports, said their ownership is not superficial.

"This is not a transparent partnership or effort on their part. They have written real checks," Moore said. "We're not just using their names. They have written substantial checks as investors. We are extremely excited at having them aboard to help grow this event.

"People always talk about athletes guarding their financial net worth once they've accumulated it, and for not giving back to the game. Here we have a contradiction. Pete Sampras, Billie Jean King and Chris Evert reached into their pockets to keep this great event in the United States, in California, in the city of Indian Wells."

Athletes giving back

Sampras and Evert have deep roots in the tournament, and all three have strong relationships with tournament owners Moore and Charlie Pasarell.
From 1994 to 1999, Evert was the namesake of the women's event.

Evert was also a desert resident, having bought her first home in the area from Raymond Moore.

It is Pasarell who credits Evert, as well as IMG, for getting the women's event, making the Pacific Life Open one of the few tournaments in the world that has men and women playing concurrently.

"I don't think we could have done it without Chris' involvement and certainly IMG's involvement," said Pasarell, who took over the tournament in 1981. "We started with a men's event, and I worked for many years to get a women's event to be jointly played. I felt very strongly that combined events were the way to build the way we have done. It took me a while to secure that women's sanction."

Sampras's big break

Sampras got his first break in the tournament thanks to Pasarell.
As a 16-year-old in 1988, Sampras played in the prequalifying tournament and came up short.

However, Pasarell was impressed with what he saw.

Pasarell told Sampras to return next week and a wildcard would be waiting for him in the qualifying tournament.

Sampras went on to win his three matches, beating the top seed along the way, to qualify for the main draw.

Sampras, who was 5-10 and 160 pounds, would beat two top-30 players to reach the third round, including Eliot Teltscher, who was a finalist at Indian Wells five years earlier.

"It was tough on Charlie to give this little skinny kid a wild card there," Sampras said in 2002. "That was definitely a fun time. I'm not saying it's not fun anymore, but when you're 16, you're getting (ranking) points and a little bit of money, it's a pretty good high."

However, Sampras did struggle playing at Indian Wells, finding it hard to control the ball in the thin desert air.

Sampras Indian Wells wins

Since his 1988 debut, Sampras became No. 1 in the world, and still struggled at Indian Wells, something Pasarell pointed out in a newspaper article.

"He says to me, 'I understand you've been talking about me?' I go, 'I've been talking about you?' 'Yeah, I understand you've been talking about me in the paper.' I'm trying to think. I said, 'Oh, whatever was printed, don't believe it,'" Pasarell joked.

After the meeting, Sampras went into the gift shop while Pasarell returned to his office.

Moments later, Sampras walked into Pasarell's office.

"He looks at me and said, 'I'm going to win the tournament this year.' I looked at him and said 'great,'" Pasarell said.

Sampras went on to win the tournament for his first of two consecutive titles in 1994.

"I'm not trying to take credit for motivating him," Pasarell said. "It probably just reminded him."

King a sports hero

Pasarell and King were peers who came up as top junior players.
Over the years, Pasarell's admiration for King has grown.

"We use the words 'sports heroes' many times. That's something I'm careful to use, the word 'hero' to someone who has done something outstanding in sports," said Pasarell, who was college roommates and close friends with Arthur Ashe.

"To me, a sports hero has not only been a great champion, but has gone outside the realm of sports and used their reputation and their popularity to really fight and do things for other people. Sometimes they risk their career, money, their reputation to try to do that. My God, when you look at that, Billie Jean fits that criteria. No one has done more for women's sports, not women's tennis, but women's sports."

angiel
03-03-2006, 10:40 PM
Tennis



The Times
March 03, 2006


California dreams kept alive by Sampras

By Neil Harman

The thought of Pete Sampras prowling the grounds of a tennis stadium used to fill the opposition with respect and dread, writes Neil Harman


THE thought of Pete Sampras prowling the grounds of a tennis stadium used to fill the opposition with respect and dread. The thought of him poring over the accounts of one of the richest championships in the world is an extraordinary development in the career of the greatest grand-slam title accumulator of all.

Sampras, Billie Jean King and Chris Evert, as part owners of America’s Tennis magazine, have become significant investors in the Indian Wells championship, helping to buy out the half share owned by IMG and, in the process, seeing off multimillion-dollar sorties from Shanghai and Doha, Qatar — two tournaments that wanted to purchase Indian Wells, take it away and dress it very differently.



Now, thanks in no small part to the trio — who have 42 grand-slam singles titles between them — it is preserved as a jewel of the Californian desert. “This is not a transparent effort,” Ray Moore, co-tournament director with Charlie Pasarell, who own the other 50 per cent share, said. “We’re not just using the names. They have all signed substantial cheques and we’re really excited to have them on board as partners.”

For a long time, it seemed the Pacific Life Open would be lost to the United States, a nation that too often treats with appalling disregard a sport that has bequeathed it so many sporting giants.

Pasarell said: “This has been one of the toughest years of my life. I’ve had sleepless nights, as have so many others involved, not knowing if we were ever going to be able to keep the event here.”

Sampras appreciated the fact, even though when we met five minutes down the road from Indian Wells this time last year, he did not have the slightest inclination to pop in and see for himself, such was his lack of interest in the sport he once dominated. In the space of the past 48 hours, the 34-year-old, who retired from regular competition three years ago, has announced he will play World Team Tennis in America and endow an event he won twice in the mid-Nineties with his own money.

“I walked the grounds with him last year,” Moore said, “and Pete said though he was playing a lot of golf, in some ways he was bored. He wanted to get back into tennis in a meaningful way. He said he’d been offered several opportunities but none of them intrigued him. The minute it was put to him about becoming an investor in Indian Wells, he stepped up to the plate.”

The event has grown from humble beginnings in 1976 to become one of the sport’s main attractions and not just because of its idyllic location, though that helps. The desire and drive of Pasarell and Moore, in league with the city’s elders, has produced an event they claim as the US Open of the West — and their attendance figures are second only in tennis terms in the United States to the New York grand-slam tournament at the end of August.

The first of the year’s Masters Series on the ATP Tour and a foremost Tier 1 event on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, the 2006 championship starts a week today. Arlen Kantarian, chief executive officer of men’s professional tennis at the USTA, has described the new set-up as “the dream team of tennis” at the same time as he indicated progress on several fronts, including the prospect of a structured calendar, scheduling and TV packaging instead of the fractured manner in which tennis has gone about so much of its business in the past.

Indian Wells is a championship of enormous strategic importance and a huge boon to the local economy, to the tune of an estimated £80 million. And Andy Murray will be there for the first time next week — what more could it want? It almost certainly helped to secure the deal that Bob Kain, Sampras’s long-time manager, is one of the foremost strategists at IMG and helped to run the company in the vital period after the death of Mark McCormack, its founder, in 2003. As deadlines came and went and the pressure intensified, Moore revealed that several established IMG people, including Kain, “actively supported” keeping the event in Indian Wells — “ and gave us time to raise the funds and put all the pieces together, because this was a very, very complicated deal”.

angiel
03-06-2006, 11:25 PM
Sports




March 6, 2006, 12:35AM
TENNIS NOTEBOOK



By DALE ROBERTSON
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle






No comeback, Kid


Pete Sampras wants to make one thing perfectly clear: His decision to come out of more than three years of tennis hibernation — starting with an appearance at the River Oaks International on April 6 — isn't to be construed as a comeback.

"I miss the game, I miss the majors, I miss competing," Sampras, 34, said. "But to play at the level I used to play is a whole other animal. I've done that, and I know what it takes.

"Me playing a little tennis this year is something I can control. There isn't any pressure. I can relax and have a little fun."

Sampras' last competitive match was his memorable U.S. final against Andre Agassi, whom Sampras defeated to win a record 14th Grand Slam title.

He has committed to play World Team Tennis in July.


Seeing Sampras

Purchasing a River Oaks season pass or a Thursday-through-Sunday championship pass guarantees a seat for Pete Sampras vs. a yet-to-be-determined player from the River Oaks International main draw. Single-day tickets go on sale March 15.

angiel
03-06-2006, 11:34 PM
Valley business week in review




The Desert Sun
March 5, 2006

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Locally owned, young bank growing fast; tennis pros sign on to save Pacific Life Open

Less than a year after its opening, Desert Commercial Bank is taking on yet another project demonstrating that it is growing up fast.

The Palm Desert-based bank opened for business in June 2005 and recently received state approval to build a second branch in El Centro. Now it will lead several financial institutions in finalizing a mortgage refinancing expected to keep the Pacific Life Open tennis tournament in the Coachella Valley.

Desert Commercial president and chief executive R. Albert Roensch said his firm will lead financing efforts in what is expected to be a larger, multi-phase buyout process involving other parties, and likely to encompass transactions totaling $50 million to $55 million.

"We competed against several banks that are much larger than us to work on this syndication - I feel pretty good about that," said Roensch.

A powerful tennis consortium - including star players Pete Sampras, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King - has bought out Pacific Life Open ownership partners International Management Group

angiel
03-06-2006, 11:38 PM
Indian Wells set for tennis bonanza




New investors see big potential

By Jerry Magee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER


March 6, 2006

INDIAN WELLS – Its charge is grandiose: no less than to enhance the visibility of tennis in America.

To this end, the Pacific Life Open, its permanence at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden having been assured, today begins a quest to elevate the game in the country's consciousness.

“There is a huge job to be done,” said George Mackin, publisher of Tennis magazine and among the members of a consortium that has purchased a 50 percent interest in the tournament from the International Management Group in a move meant to keep it in the Coachella Valley.

Joining Mackin in the venture were the community of Indian Wells, the U.S. Tennis Association and three former players, Pete Sampras, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King. Said Sampras, expressing the stance of the investors:

“Our group believes that even though this event is already the most attended event outside the Grand Slams, it has the potential to reach even greater heights. There is not a better place for that to happen than at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.”

There, $3.169 million in prize money is to be distributed to men and $2.1 million to women at the conclusion of an event that offers competition for players of both genders. Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters are the defending champions.

Federer has captured the men's phase of the event the past two years. He is coming here after being proved fallible by Rafael Nadal's 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 conquest of him in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Open. The defeat concluded a run of 56 straight triumphs on hardcourts for the Swiss star.

The current most successful player in the women's game, Amelie Mauresmo, also is competing here following a defeat. Nadia Petrova checked her 6-3, 7-5 in the final of the Qatar Total Open at Doha, Qatar.

Women go first at Indian Wells, beginning with qualifying today and tomorrow, for which there is no admission. Men take up their challenge of Federer on Friday.

A woman certain to be a focal point of attention is Martina Hingis. A winner at Indian Wells in 1998 (when she defeated Lindsay Davenport in the final 6-3, 6-4) and a finalist in 2000 and 2002 (losing to Davenport and Daniela Hantuchova, respectively), Hingis has moved her ranking to No. 44 since her return to the game in January.

“We are thrilled that Martina is coming back,” said tournament Chairman Charlie Pasarell. “Her comeback has been impressive. She is quickly returning to her past form as the No. 1 player in the world. Our fans are in for a treat when they watch her.”

A year ago, the Pacific Life Open attracted total crowds of 280,000.

Among the women who have been granted wild cards into the main draw is Alexandra Stevenson of San Diego. Wild cards also were deeded to veteran Brenda Shultz McCarthy, Anna Tatishvili, Alexis Glatch, Ashley Harkleroad, Vania King and Shenay Perry, winner of a $75,000 ITF event last week at Las Vegas.

Men deeded wild cards include 2000 Olympic silver medalist Mardy Fish, No. 1-ranked junior Donald Young and Sam Warburg. A Stanford player, Warburg was scheduled to participate in the Pacific Coast Doubles Championships that concluded yesterday at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, but his partner, K.C. Corkery, suffered a neck injury, forcing the pair's withdrawal.

The No. 1 seed in the 48-player women's qualifying draw is Marie Elena Camerin of Italy. Of the 48 players, 24 received seeds. Twelve of these players can win places in the main draw.

Abigail Spears' ranking, No. 327, was too high to get her into the singles qualifying, but the former Valley Center resident is in the main doubles draw with partner Laura Granville.



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angiel
03-07-2006, 09:50 PM
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS



From Leighton Ginn writing for The Desert Sun: "Tennis Hall of Famer Pete Sampras said the main reason he invested in the Pacific Life Open was the work of George Mackin, the co-owner of Tennis Magazine, which counts Sampras as an investor. It was also a sentimental decision for Sampras, who owns a home in Palm Desert's Bighorn. "It's a great event, I missed playing there," Sampras said Tuesday. "I remember I was out there with my son playing a little tennis on the site. We were walking around the stadium and I missed it. I missed playing there. I had some good times and I had some tough times, but I always looked forward to being in the desert." Sampras, along with fellow tennis superstars Billie Jean King and Chris Evert, has become one of the headliners of a new investment group that helped rescue the Pacific Life Open from financial problems, all but securing its future in the Coachella Valley. "It's nice to see players invest in the game," said Palm Desert resident Rosie Casals, a Hall of Fame tennis player who was King's doubles partner and is good friends with Evert. "I'd like to see the younger generation do that."

angiel
03-08-2006, 11:26 PM
Pacific Life Open notes for Wednesday, March 8





Leighton Ginn
The Desert Sun
March 8, 2006

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CONTRACT UP: Pacific Life's contract as title sponsor runs out after this tournament, but tournament director Steve Simon said indications are good the insurance company is happy with the international tennis event.
Following this year's tournament, PM Sports, which owns and runs the event, will enter a 60-day renewal period after the tournament.

"Pacific Life has given us nothing but positive feedback. Certainly, they've liked their relationship and expressed it with us," Simon said. "They have to look and see if it makes sense for both of us to go forward.

"It's going to be a business decision as it needs to be. It will be a fair decision. We certainly hope they've found value in their five years here and stay. I think it will come down to business and their investment."

Pacific Life was waiting until a resolution was reached on the tournament's future. The USTA, Tennis Magazine and tennis greats Pete Sampras, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King have become investors, helping the tournament buy out former partner IMG. The tournament also sold a plot of land to the City of Indian Wells, which organizers expect will return the event to profitability for the first time since the 2001 event.

TENNIS! LINK: The Pacific Life Open will offer spectators handheld radios that will broadcast all Stadium Court matches, as well as keep listeners up to date with scores from the outside courts. Tennis! Link is providing the service.

Radios will be sold on the grounds of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Fans can purchase a one-day use for $10, which will provide 12 hours of continuous coverage, or a radio for the entire tournament for $20.

JIMMY CONNORS PRESENTS: Three-time champion Jimmy Connors is filming an instructional DVD, "Jimmy Connors Presents the Fundamentals of Tennis," which is being filmed this week at the tournament.

Among the stars that will be in the DVD are Chris Evert, John Lloyd, Tracy Austin, Bob and Mike Bryan, James Blake and Andy Murray.


The DVD is scheduled for a May release.

Connors and Michael Chang are the only players to win the Pacific Life Open three times.

MONTEZ'S OPPONENT: Katerina Bohmova of the Czech Republic defeated top-seeded Maria Elena Camerin 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-2 in women's qualifying to earn a spot in the main draw.

Bohmova defeated La Quinta freshman Pam Montez 6-2, 6-1 in the first round of qualifying.



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angiel
03-09-2006, 10:48 PM
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS


The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Charlie "The Brick" Bricker hitting the blog: "It was good to hear Pete Sampras wants finally to get back on court and will play World Team Tennis this year. Hopefully, this is merely a stepping stone back into some real tournament play on the Jim Courier-backed Champions Tour. I spoke with Courier on Tuesday and, while Sampras has discussed the tour with Courier and shown interest in playing Courier, Todd Martin, Michael Chang, Petr Korda and others of his generation, there's no commitment there. Yet. My sense is that Sampras is testing the water with the WTT, in which he has only to play one set of singles per team match. If it feels good physically and emotionally, I think he could be playing more serious tennis by the end of this year

angiel
03-11-2006, 08:22 PM
20s: Tiger Woods





NBCSPORTS.com

You had to be pretty special to win this category, because many top athletes have their best seasons when they are in their 20s. But Woods not only dominated a sport, he changed it. He opened golf up to minorities and his victories, long drives and aggressive style of play helped the sport boom in popularity beyond anyone wildest dreams. TV ratings, international appeal, players’ earnings and endorsement opportunities have never been higher. Golf has Tiger to thank for that.

He won two PGA Tour events as a 19-year-old in 1996, but that was a mere prelude to greatness. In his 20s, Woods won 44 additional PGA Tour events, including 10 majors. He also won eight international titles plus nine other events (like the Grand Slam of Golf). He broke Greg Norman’s record for consecutive weeks as the Tour’s No. 1 player, holding that title for 264 weeks until Vijay Singh wrested away top honors from Tiger in 2004.

Talk of a mysterious “slump” subsided in 2005 when, at age 29, Tiger had a spectacular season, regaining the No. 1 ranking with six PGA Tour victories, including a pair of majors — the Masters and British Open — and earning a near-record $10,628,024.


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Honorable mentions:


Michael Jordan: He was an unstoppable force, stringing together seven consecutive NBA scoring titles in which he averaged more than 30 points a game in each season. He also led the Bulls to three consecutive league titles.

Wayne Gretzky: He rewrote the NHL record books in his second decade. Among them: 50 goals in 39 games; 92 goals in a season; 163 assists in a season; 215 points in a season. And, by the way, led Edmonton to four Stanley Cups.

Jim Brown: Incredibly, he was at the top of his game when he retired at age 29. Before that, he led the NFL in rushing five times, including 1,863 yards in a 14-game season in 1963. Remains the all-time career leader in yards per carry at 5.2.

Babe Ruth: Only athlete on our list who could have won or been honorable mention in his 20s and his 30s. In his second decade, Ruth starred as a pitcher for three years then became a slugging outfielder, winning six home run titles.

Pete Sampras: Won most of his record 14 Grand Slam titles while in his 20s. Loved the grass at Wimbledon, winning seven out of eight in one stretch. Was ranked No. 1 for a record 286 consecutive weeks and for a record six consecutive years.

Carl Lewis: Achieved immortality by matching Jesse Owens record of four gold medals when he captured the 100, 200, 400 relay and long jump at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Greatest long jumper in history.

Muhammad Ali: Socially relevant because he changed his name from Cassius Clay for religious reasons in 1967. Had many big wins before that, including career-making upset of Sonny Liston in 1964. Epic Ali-Frazier I came when he was 29.

angiel
04-01-2006, 08:32 PM
March 08, 2006

Sampras read for real tennis?

It was good to hear Pete Sampras wants finally to get back on court and will play World Team Tennis this year. Hopefully, this is merely a stepping stone back into some real tournament play on the Jim Courier-backed Champions Tour. I spoke with Courier on Tuesday and, while Sampras has discussed the tour with Courier and shown interest in playing Courier, Todd Martin, Michael Chang, Petr Korda and others of his generation, there's no commitment there. Yet.

My sense is that Sampras is testing the water with the WTT, in which he has only to play one set of singles per team match. If it feels good physically and emotionally, I think he could be playing more serious tennis by the end of this year.



Posted by Charles Bricker at 06:30 PM | Permalink

angiel
04-21-2006, 10:32 PM
Posted on April 19, 2006


ATP Promotion Machine Starts Sputtering

By Richard Vach, Tennis-X.com Senior Writer

Back in 1999 when Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi dominated tennis, and also the ATP publicity machine (remember "The Rivalry!"??), European organizers were up in arms about the ATP being too American-centric, concentrating only on the two American stars.

Sure, in retrospect they were two of probably the Top 3 greatest players ever, but what the hell. No. 2-ranked Yevgeny Kafelnikov and No. 4 Thomas Enqvist, the marketing machines that they were, weren't getting their props.

Nowadays it's all Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and you don't hear the Americans complaining -- unless it's fans complaining about Andy Roddick and crew failing to put up any big results.

But back then it was all Pete and Andre, and the ATP Euro contingent felt like they were getting the short end of the stick, so the ATP did what they do best. They reacted to the situation. Except the re-action was packaged like a pro-action, a great big campaign blitz to introduce fans to future stars -- future stars such as Mariano Zabaleta, Jan-Michael Gambill and Nicolas Lapentti. Ouch.






This was the infamous "New Balls, Please" campaign, which was well received at the time (as is any campaign to -- gasp -- promote tennis), though you're still today pressed to find a Joe Schmo sports fan in the U.S. who could differentiate Tommy Haas from Tommy Robredo.

Haas, if you weren't paying attention back then, was part of the "New Balls" squad, and went on to challenge Sampras head-on, reaching the No. 2 spot on the ATP Rankings before blowing out his shoulder. Also keeping Haas from breaking out in the spotlight, at least in the U.S., has been his Germanic inability to tolerate stupidity in interviews and promotional situations.

But back to the ATP, over the past year the men's governing body has been forced to react once again, this time when their behind-the-scenes plan to kill doubles was unexpectedly shoved on center stage after their own players sued them. This time the ATP reacted by -- you're probably getting the picture by now -- rolling out a great big campaign blitz to promote doubles, the "Doubles Revolution."

Something about "revolution" rhyming with "evolution" and pictures of apes evolving into the Bryan brothers...something the ATP has since pretty much gotten rid of since receiving feedback of 'Apes? What the hell were you guys thinking?'

The "Doubles Revolution" (sans apes) goes off nominally well when featuring the twin marketing success of the ever-ready Bryan brothers, but stalls when you delve into the abyss of no-name doubles specialists.

Here's some of the ATP Doubles Revolution promotion from this week:

"As a part of the ATP doubles revolution, Spaniards IVAN NAVARRO-PASTOR and DANIEL GIMENO-TRAVER designed a graffiti together with a local artist and the top-seeded Argentine doubles pair MARTIN GARCIA and SEBASTIAN PRIETO."

Well hell, where's the video!?! Sign me up! Is that downloadable from the website? Can I pay to see that through the ATP's new broadband service?

Now maybe I'm just out of touch with how hard Navarro-Pastor/Gimeno-Traver are rocking the mic in Spain, or how Garcia/Prieto are garnering national sports headlines in Argentina, but this seemingly comes in on the lame side of PR efforts.

The problem for the doubles-only players, and the fans for that matter, is that to the ATP it's OK if the Doubles Revolution is lame. It's OK if it's not successful. No harm, no foul. In fact, it's somewhat of an inside joke at ATP headquarters, because doubles is on its way out anyways.

When the doubles players sued the ATP, they "won," dropping their lawsuit and getting some publicity and rankings concessions from the tour, but they also lost.

With the increased publicity the ATP is giving to doubles, behind the scenes it's jiggling the wall plug connected to the life-support system.

As the Bryan brothers admitted a few weeks ago in Miami, doubles is dying a slow, ATP-calculated death. The rankings have been skewed now so doubles-challenged singles players can get directly into doubles draws, while some doubles-only players are finding they no longer make the cut.

"There's no more (doubles) qualifying -- once we retire, the doubles (only) players will be pretty much gone," Mike Bryan said. "They can't break through in the smaller tournaments like we did."

The Bryan brothers lost a chunk of their own money fighting the ATP in court, and while they say they're still looking for answers, the ATP has a choke-hold on doubles. Meanwhile the ATP tournament directors who started the whole doubles problem in the first place are the only winners, sitting off to the side counting their extra cash from not having to pay hotel and food for as many doubles specialists at their events.

Over the last couple years the United States Tennis Association (USTA) has been very pro-active, giving fans the US Open Series, and pushing through the video replay challenge. After the ATP gets done reacting to the doubles brouhaha by killing the sport's sub-genre, just out of curiosity -- is there anything pro-active on the horizon that can maybe help the sport?

Word on the street is that new ATP President Etienne de Villiers has some sport-changing plans in the pipe. So before we collectively jump in the car to go to K-Mart to buy our Navarro-Pastor/Gimeno-Traver t-shirts, how about laying it on us?

Richard Vach is a senior writer for Tennis-X.com who can currently be seen on The Tennis Channel's "Tennis Insiders: Super Insiders" episodes, and was recently awarded "Best Hard News" story for 2005 by the United States Tennis Writers Association.

angiel
05-06-2006, 07:04 PM
Posted on Sat, May. 06,

King's Freedoms to help ring in WTT's 31st year

By Marc Narducci
Inquirer Staff Writer


When Billie Jean King helped draw up the concept for World Team Tennis, one of the motivating factors was to showcase a sport with true gender equity.

The league made its debut in 1974 with men and women as teammates and both having the same impact on the outcome of a match.

World Team Tennis has endured some rocky moments, along with a two-year hiatus in 1979 and 1980, but for the most part it's been a summer staple, squeezed into three weeks in July. This will be its 31st season.

"I thought World Team Tennis was a good business opportunity, but I also wanted to do something that put the men and women on equal footing," said King, the league's cofounder and owner of the Philadelphia Freedoms.

King was speaking Wednesday at Cabrini College, which will be the Freedoms' home for the sixth consecutive year.

She was player-coach of the original Freedoms franchise in 1974, which lasted just one year. In 2001, King returned to the area with the Freedoms, and both the team and the league mirror her attitude of working outside the box.

Since its inception, the WTT has encouraged wild cheering before, during and after points.

Music often blares, and while that is common at most sporting events, it was unusual in 1974. Last year, instant replay was introduced.

"The whole thing is having fun, and that is the atmosphere we want in Team Tennis," King said.

Highly successful in business, the 62-year-old King acknowledged there were other ventures that could have earned her more money, but few have brought more satisfaction.

"I love WTT, the gender equity, and the level playing field," she said.

This year, there are 12 WTT franchises. The Freedoms will play 14 matches July 6-26, seven home and seven away. The WTT semifinals and championship match will be July 28-30.

"When we first started, it was a three-month season, and I wish our season was longer now," King said. "But with people's schedules, this is the best we can do."

Largely due to King, the WTT has attracted some of the best players in the history of the game.

This year's biggest addition is Pete Sampras, who will play for the Newport Beach (Calif.) Breakers. Sampras will compete in seven of the Breakers' 14 matches, including the July 18 match at Cabrini against the Freedoms.

Other noted performers competing in limited WTT schedules this season include Martina Navratilova with the Boston Lobsters, Anna Kournikova of the Sacramento Capitals, and Martina Hingis and John McEnroe, both of the New York Sportimes.

The Freedoms will have Venus Williams for three matches, including one at home July 21. Wayne's Lisa Raymond is the Freedoms' other headliner.

"The players have a lot of fun, and that is why so many of the top names play Team Tennis," King said. "Over the years, what has shown is that this really works."


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Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com.

almouchie
05-07-2006, 01:35 AM
the king is back i mean pete
it seems like billie has a lot of power in the game of tennis till now

angiel
05-09-2006, 12:39 AM
the king is back i mean pete
it seems like billie has a lot of power in the game of tennis till now


Yes she does. :angel: :wavey: :D

angiel
05-31-2006, 07:52 PM
Armstrong to make Celebrity-Am appearance






May 31, 2006



Capturing Tour de France titles has always kept cycling great Lance Armstrong far away from the American Century Championship in Stateline.

But after winning his record seventh straight Tour title last July, Armstrong retired from competitive cycling. With most of his time spent on the appearance trail these days, Armstrong has just enough time to squeeze in a round of golf at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in July.

Armstrong, 34, will play in the Celebrity-Am on July 13, which precedes the 54-hole tournament that begins on July 14.

However, Armstrong will be unable to play in the July 14-16 tournament as he must fly to France to crown his successor.

In the past, the 18-hole Celebrity-Am has attracted such athletes as golf star Annika Sorenstam, Brandi Chastain of soccer fame and major league pitcher Scott Erickson. Sorenstam was between LPGA events and used the day to school some celebrity players and Erickson, who has a home on the South Shore, was on his All-Star break.

Armstrong recently collaborated with American Century Investments, making the Lance Armstrong Foundation a major beneficiary of the tournament's charity fundraising.

The field for the 17th annual championship includes Michael Jordan, Ray Romano, Charles Barkley, Donald Trump, Ben Roethlisberger, Mario Lemieux, Don Cheadle, Pete Sampras and Jerry Rice.

Among the first-time participants are Chastain, Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers' All-Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson, 2006 Olympic halfpipe silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler and actors Aidan Quinn, Cheech Marin and Dennis Haysbert.

Tickets are available daily at the gate. Prices are $10 each day for the Lake Tahoe Celebrity-Amateur on July 11 and the practice round on July 12 and $20 for the American Century Celebrity-Am on July 13 and for each tournament round July 14-16.

For ticket information as well as tournament packages, phone 1-800-AT-TAHOE or (530) 544-5050, or go to bluelaketahoe.com or tahoecelebritygolf.com.

Mimi
06-02-2006, 08:12 AM
actually what is this WTT, who sponsors this :confused:

angiel
06-03-2006, 08:16 PM
Consumer: DOLCIELO SUPPORTS JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION Previous Release
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DOLCIELO SUPPORTS JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION



Celebrities Receive Dolcielo Brownies for Adults at the Event



[ClickPress, Thu Jun 01 2006] Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Pete Sampras, Todd Zeile, and others received something elegant and luxurious in their VIP gift bags: Dolcielo Brownies for Adults. Dolcielo’s decadent gourmet brownies pair dark chocolate, dried fruit, nuts and liqueur. For the occasion, Amureo (apricot), Celesola (pineapple), and Donamato (plum) brownies were packaged in beautiful gold organza bags and presented along with a gift certificate for a half dozen brownies of any flavor.

The event, referred to as “A Love Story Gala,” was hosted by the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) on Wednesday, May 24 and honored Garth Brooks and Anne and Steve Rader for their work on behalf of the charity.

Jewels and Pinstripes, one of the nation’s premier gift bag companies, created the gift bags and has raised over $150,000 for events that include The Carousel of Hope Ball, Andre Agassi's Grand Slam for Children Event, Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night, EXTRA Awards Lounge, Race to Erase MS, and Chris Evert’s Pro-Celebrity Classic.

Dolcielo, which debuted in January 2006, stands for elegance and sophistication. Only the finest ingredients and premium liqueurs are used. There are five flavors, including Bellasanti (cherry) and Divina (original), plus the Dolcielo Collection which offers a get-acquainted sampling of each.

Dolcielo Brownies for Adults are available on the internet at www.dolcielo.com, or by calling 1-888-DOLCIELO.

# # #




Company: Dolcielo, Inc.
Contact Name: Nanette Littlestone
Contact Email: nanette@dolcielo.com
Contact Phone: 770-232-0273
Related website

angiel
06-03-2006, 08:25 PM
Celebrities to play golf at Tahoe in July




LVN News Service

June 2, 2006


What do Lance Armstrong, Michael Jordan, Ray Romano, Charles Barkley, Donald Trump, Ben Roethlisberger, Mario Lemieux, Don Cheadle, Pete Sampras and Jerry Rice have in common?

They will be among the 80 stars of stage, screen, sports arenas and stadiums at the 17th annual American Century Championship, celebrity golf's most popular event, at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, July 11Ð16.

Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion will be making his first appearance at the event and playing in the Thursday Celebrity-Am field prior to departing for France to crown his successor.

Participants in the field, arguably the best ever, include Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward of the World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, Olympic Snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, actors Aidan Quinn and Dennis Haysbert, Chargers All-Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson, soccer superstar Brandi Chastain, Iron Chef superstar Ming Tsai, actor and comedian Cheech Marin, Colorado Avalanche star Joe Sakic, Miami Heat All-Star forward Antoine Walker, Grammy recording artist Michael Bolton, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Herman Edwards, and former Yankees outfielder Paul O'Neill.

NBC Sports will televise the second and final rounds of the tournament live on Saturday, July 15 from noon-2 p.m., and on Sunday, July 16 from noon-3 p.m. The Golf Channel will carry Friday's opening round from 1:30-4 p.m.

The American Century Championship will award $500,000 in prize money - with $100,000 to the winner. Scoring is based on a modified Stableford format with 10 points for a double eagle, 8 for a hole-in-one, 6 for eagle, 3 for birdie, 1 for par, 0 for bogey, and minus 2 for double-bogey or higher.

Defending champion and two-time winner Billy Joe Tolliver, former NFL quarterback, will likely see his stiffest competition from four-time winner Dan Quinn and past champions Mario Lemieux, Al Del Greco and Mark Rypien. By virtue of his qualification for a conditional Champions Tour playing card, six-time winner Rick Rhoden is not in the field.

All-Pro football players featured are Ronde Barber, Tomlinson, Derrick Brooks, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Trent Green, Jason Taylor, Roethlisberger and Ward. Current and future Hall of Famers include John Elway, Marcus Allen, Rice, Emmit Smith, Bruce Smith, Marshall Faulk and Tim Brown.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation will be a major beneficiary of the tournament's charity fundraising.

Tickets are available daily at the gate. Prices are $10 each day for the Lake Tahoe Celebrity-Amateur on Tuesday, July 11 and the practice round on Wednesday, July 12, and $20 for the American Century Celebrity-Am on Thursday, July 13, and for each tournament round, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

For ticket or lodging information as well as Tournament packages, call 1-800-AT-TAHOE or (530) 544-5050, or visit the Web sites at www.bluelaketahoe.com or www.tahoecelebritygolf.com.
---

On the Net:

American Century Championship: www.tahoecelebritygolf.com.

Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority: www.BlueLakeTahoe.com

Greg-Pete fan
06-03-2006, 08:46 PM
Great news ;) Pete likes taking part in many golf tournaments with Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley ;)

angiel
06-03-2006, 09:33 PM
Great news ;) Pete likes taking part in many golf tournaments with Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley ;)


Yes, he did almost every year now or since 2003 when he retired from tennis. :worship: :worship: :angel: :wavey:

Greg-Pete fan
06-03-2006, 09:45 PM
Yes, he did almost every year now or since 2003 when he retired from tennis. :worship: :worship: :angel: :wavey:

In my opinion he started playing golf tournaments with Jordan, Barkley and other famous people in 1998 or 1999...

angiel
06-05-2006, 07:50 PM
In my opinion he started playing golf tournaments with Jordan, Barkley and other famous people in 1998 or 1999...


You are right, he did skip the 1999 Ausie Open and play golf, you remember that? :wavey: :D :)

angiel
06-06-2006, 10:22 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/players/05/30/workout0605/index.html?section=si_latest

angiel
06-09-2006, 12:09 AM
Read this guys and tell me what you think.



Why do tennis players with attractive wives always play poorly? When Andre Agassi was married to Brooke Shields, his career plummeted. Pete Sampras hasn’t won a Grand Slam event since marrying Bridgette Wilson. Maybe tennis players should start marrying ugly women in an attempt to resurrect their careers. I hear wedding bells for Michael Chang and Marge Schott … Heroine is bad news …

tangerine_dream
07-06-2006, 05:06 PM
Nice Petey article I read today :wavey:

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/brennan/2006-07-05-sampras_x.htm

A bit homesick, Sampras edges back into game
By Christine Brennan USA TODAY
7/5/2006

For three years, Pete Sampras didn't pick up a tennis racket. He retired cold turkey. Other than the occasional playful tap with his now-3-year-old son, he didn't hit a "serious ball" from the summer of 2003 until the spring of 2006. He considered himself done with tennis, throwing himself into retirement the way he once threw himself into the game, with all his heart.

"The first year of retirement, you really enjoy it, you have some fun," he said over the phone the other day. "The second year of retirement, you still have fun but you wonder what's next. The third year, it's like, 'OK, I'm ready to do something more than just playing poker once a week and playing golf and staying at home,' so I decided to play a little bit."

You hear the news that Pete Sampras is coming back to competitive tennis and your natural reaction in this week of all weeks, with U.S. tennis players going 0-for-Wimbledon, is to start humming the national anthem and wonder how Roger Federer will handle the sport's best-known gentleman-athlete.

But Sampras, now nearly 35, can't do anything about the current disarray in U.S. tennis, with Americans being shut out of the quarterfinals at Wimbledon for the first time since 1911. He's not coming back to save the American game. Someone else will have to do that.

No, his sport has come calling at a different, more laid-back, entertaining level - Billie Jean King's World TeamTennis - and, for this summer anyway, Sampras wants to try his hand at it, starting Monday in Newport Beach, Calif.

"Billie Jean and Ilana (Kloss, WTT commissioner and CEO) have been asking me for quite some time to play," he said. "I'm a big fan of Billie Jean's. I admire her not only for what she's done for ladies sports but for sports in general. She really, truly is an icon. My respect for her is a big reason why I decided to play a little bit, to get myself in shape and have some fun out there. This is not cutthroat tennis, but I take a lot of pride in still playing well and seeing if I have a little bit of what I used to have."

Sampras doesn't miss the limelight - he was never in tennis for that - but he does miss "the focus, the working hard," he said. "I miss Sundays at the majors, especially at Wimbledon, that nervous anxiety where you feel kind of sick before you go out there but you get through it and you win. It is tough to replace that. You miss it, you miss the structure, you miss being really good at something."

Sampras has been watching Wimbledon on television from his home in Southern California and, when Andre Agassi announced his retirement and subsequently lost, Sampras empathized with his peer and rival.

"I felt melancholy," he said. "I actually felt like it was the end of an era. This was the last one of a crew of Americans to retire. He's always been such a great player, and he brought a lot to the sport. He brought a lot to my career and to my tennis. He made me a better player. We both added to each other's legacy."

Where the men's game once belonged to Agassi or Sampras, it now clearly is dominated by Federer, who has a fan in Los Angeles.

"We have someone who is better than everyone else at the current time and I really think he will be dominant for years," Sampras said.

Every single time he watches Federer, Sampras finds himself thinking about how he would play him. "Our games would have matched up. I think I would have had my fair share of wins and he would have had his. It's funny how the generations in tennis have worked out. I just missed McEnroe; he was on his way out as I was coming up. We didn't quite hit at the right time. It's the same for Federer and me. We just missed."

What Sampras misses in his tennis life he is making up for with his family. When he was growing up, his father worked two jobs. "I never saw him much," he said.

It's different for Sampras, who with his wife, Bridgette, has two young sons. "I have the luxury of being around, taking them to the court, to the pool, having fun with them. They know their dad. Hopefully I can be some kind of hero to my kids."

He has videos of his Grand Slam triumphs to show the boys someday, but in the meantime, there's another reason to play WTT this season.

"I would have loved for my kids to see me play at Wimbledon, but it didn't quite happen," he said. "So I want them to come out and watch this summer. I want them to know their dad and know his life."

Deboogle!.
07-06-2006, 05:24 PM
aw, Pete :inlove: I cannot wait to see him in WTT play :D:D:D

Mimi
07-07-2006, 10:20 AM
thank you so much tangerine :D

Mimi
07-07-2006, 10:20 AM
hi flashdeb :D

i miss pete too :wavey:
aw, Pete :inlove: I cannot wait to see him in WTT play :D:D:D

Greg-Pete fan
07-08-2006, 08:49 AM
Another articles and interviews about Pete ;)


Friday, July 07, 2006

Bored and restless, Sampras returns to the court

By Steve Ginsburg, Reuters

WASHINGTON - Bored, restless and looking to add a little structure to his life, Pete Sampras returns to the tennis court next week but the 14-times Grand Slam champion has no thoughts of coming back to the ATP circuit.

The 34-year-old will dust off the mothballs to his game on Monday when he plays a World TeamTennis match for the Newport Beach Breakers who host the St. Louis Aces.

TeamTennis features teams playing sets of singles, doubles and mixed, a relaxed atmosphere compared to the high-pressure of the big-money ATP circuit.

"I think end of last year, I was getting a little bit restless, maybe a little bored trying to figure out what was next for me," Sampras told a conference call on Thursday.

"I kind of opened myself up to playing this year, just to give me a little bit of a structure in my day, a little bit of a focus."

Sampras, who retired in 2002 after winning the U.S. Open, will play seven matches for the Beach Breakers over the next two weeks.

The American has no plans to return to the big stage or enter the coaching ranks. He considers his fitness as "okay."

He said: "I'm not killing myself out there, but at the same time I probably hit three, four days a week for about an hour and a half, getting to the gym for a little bit, just to get my body used to hitting some serves, moving around.

"Nothing like I used to be, but enough to get through some matches."

Sampras has "no idea" how he will react when he returns to competition. "I'm just going to see how it goes," he said. "What I want to do is play well and not hurt myself. I think that's my main concern.

"I'm a competitive person, especially on the tennis court. I'll want to do well and win. But it's not the cut-throat tennis that I used to be a part of."

Sampras said he is "a fan" of the current top-ranked player, Roger Federer, and expects the Swiss to eclipse his record of 14 Grand Slam titles.

Federer is on track to claim his fourth straight Wimbledon title and at the age of 24 already has won seven Grand Slams. He has been ranked number one since February 2004 and might ultimately topple Sampras's record of 286 weeks as the world's top player.

"Records are made to be broken," said Sampras. "I'm pretty confident that he's well on his way to not only breaking the No. 1 ranking, but this Grand Slam record.

"I just think he's got all the tools, he's got the demeanor. He really has the whole package to do it."

Few players today use the serve-and-volley tactic that Sampras deployed during his reign as the world's top player in the 1900s. On Monday, Sampras will go with what he knows best.

"I will die serving and volleying," he said.


Source: www.samprasfanz.org


What a great last sentence... :worship:

Greg-Pete fan
07-08-2006, 08:51 AM
Friday, July 07, 2006

WTT: Teleconference with Pete Sampras

2006 TELECONFERENCES: World Team Tennis Teleconference with Pete Sampras

JOSH WEISSMAN: This is Josh Weissman with the World Team Tennis. I appreciate everyone coming on the call today. We have Pete Sampras on the line. He will be debuting on Monday night in Newport Beach with the Newport Beach Breakers. He'll be playing one home match this year in Newport Beach, and he'll be on the road throughout July for six more matches.

I want to say thank you to Pete for joining us on the call today.

We'll take some questions for Pete.

Q. A question about Andre Agassi, who two weeks ago retired. I was wondering your comments on the retirement of Andre.

PETE SAMPRAS: Like I said, when he announced it, it was the end of an era. He was a great player that brought a lot to the sport, brought a lot to my legacy, just in our matches. He's going to be missed, but at the same time I think he knew it was time to move on and make a decision. I think physically it's taken its toll over the last few years. When that happens, mentally, I think it wears you down to a point where you pretty much make it known that it's time to move on. He'll be missed, and life goes on.

Q. Speaking of Andre, how did he affect your legacy?

PETE SAMPRAS: I didn't get the beginning. What was that?

Q. In what way did he affect your legacy?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think through the years that I was dominating, there wasn't maybe a lot to write about. I think when he had his moments of really playing well, when he and I played in the final of Wimbledon and the US Open, I played some of my best tennis. I think we as a rivalry hit mainstream sportsfans that might not be tennis fans, but maybe tuned into the match.

I think our games were really different, our personalities were different. Whenever I walked out there against Andre, I felt different than playing Becker, Stich or Edberg. There was a little more on it, both being an American, 1, 2 in the world. It was as close to a great rivalry as I think we've had in the sport the past 10, 15 years.

I think the tennis we played was some of the best tennis ever. We both respected one another. There wasn't any ill will towards one another. As competitive as it was, I think we handled it really well.

I've always said he's made me a better player, made me add some things to my game that against other guys I could get away with.

You know, he's always going to be the one guy, when people ask me who my rival was, he's the one.

Q. A question of your fitness right now, where would you put it as far as playing days?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's okay. I'm not killing myself out there, but at the same time I probably hit three, four days a week for about an hour and a half, getting to the gym for a little bit, just to get my body used to hitting some serves, moving around. Pretty good. Nothing like I used to be, but enough to get through some matches.

Q. How would you describe your reasoning for wanting to come back and play in World Team Tennis?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think end of last year, you know, I was getting a little bit restless, maybe a little bored trying to figure out what was next for me. I kind of opened myself up to playing this year, just to give me a little bit of a structure in my day, a little bit of a focus.

Alain and Billie have been asking me to play Team Tennis for quite a few years. She approached me about playing a few days. I was at a place in my life where I was ready to play a little bit, and have some fun out there. I decided to play a few more dates than I originally thought. That was kind of how it all happened.

I'm actually going to play some more after World Team Tennis, a few exhibitions here and there just to give me a little bit of a focus. After my third year of retirement, I felt myself getting a little bit unfulfilled with what I was doing. I think playing tennis is something that I'm good at. I love to still play. This is something I can control with how much I can play and how much I need to practice and train, nothing to kill myself, but something just to keep my week structured and do something I used to be pretty good at.

Q. Do you expect the competitive juices to be flowing at any level like it used to be for you?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know. I have no idea. I mean, I'm just going to see how it goes. What I want to do is play well and not hurt myself. I think that's my main concern.

You know, you get in the right situation, I'm a competitive person, especially on the tennis court. I'll want to do well and win. But it's not the cut-throat tennis that I used to be a part of.

We'll see what happens.

JOSH WEISSMAN: Pete is also going to be playing in Sacramento on July 12th.

Q. You said before you have no intention of playing another ATP Tour event, do you?

PETE SAMPRAS: No.

Q. You said you were getting a little bit bored. What had you been doing before you started playing tennis again? Was it golf that filled your time?

PETE SAMPRAS: I was playing a ton of golf. I mean, I must have played five, six days a week. Got to be pretty good at it. There was moments where I got a little burnt out and didn't really find myself really filling my day with what I wanted to do. I was kind of at home with my kids. I love being a part of that, seeing them grow up, but at the same time I've always worked, I've always had a structured day. When I first retired, I really enjoyed the non-structure, really enjoyed the relaxation, no work, just kind of more play. After three years of that, I found myself waking up in the morning a little bit restless. I tell my wife a lot, I need to find something, I need to start doing something.

Then I just kind of opened myself to seeing what was out there from the tennis standpoint playing-wise. I think it's been one of the best things for me. Like I said, three, four days a week, I can practice, hit a few balls, go into the gym, do some stretching. It gives me a little bit of what I used to have. Once you take that away, when I had that life of structure, initially it's fun, then you kind of miss it in some weird way.

Q. Who have you been playing with down there? Do you have a practice partner?

PETE SAMPRAS: Two, three guys from UCLA that I've been hitting with. There's plenty of practice around here.

Q. I assume your family is going to be able to come out and watch Monday night.

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. I know my wife and older son will come up. The younger one is probably going to stay home.

Q. Were they able to see you play Ginepri?

PETE SAMPRAS: You know, it didn't come across I guess on the computer. It was a little fuzzy. They didn't see much. But obviously they'll see it live.

Q. How aware is your little guy that dad was...

PETE SAMPRAS: He's somewhat aware. I tell him, we talk about it, but I don't think he really grasps it. I think once he sees me out there playing in front of people, I think he'll better understand.

Right now, he's more concerned about his construction toys, watching Dora the Explorer, Thomas the Train, any of those things.

Q. Changing subjects a little bit, how do you sort of view Nadal's progress at Wimbledon, considering he only won a couple matches on grass the year before this?

PETE SAMPRAS: You know, I must admit, I'm a little surprised. Just after winning Paris, his game not suited for grass. On the other hand, you know, he's a great player. I mean, I think he's mentally really positive on grass. Where I think a lot of the clay-courters kind of come into Wimbledon with a negative attitude, I think his attitude is great. He seems like he respects Wimbledon and he wants to do well there.

I was going to say, since there aren't really any true grass court players, guys that can really serve and volley, pick a baseliner apart, it's almost like you watch Wimbledon and you're watching the French but it's green because everyone is staying back. He's able to kind -- no one is going to come in, he's just as good as anyone staying back.

So I'm not that surprised. 10 years ago, with a lot more serve-and-volleyers, I think he'd have a harder time really doing what he's doing today.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about Roger. Obviously this tremendous run that he's having on grass, is he likely -- they are really on a crash-course right now with a couple of guys standing in their way. What do you think about the likelihood of a Roger/Nadal final? Is Roger going to roll through this?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yes and yes.

Q. Can you tell us a little more?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think Roger is pretty much unbeatable on grass, pretty much unbeatable anywhere but maybe a little bit on clay against Nadal. I think Nadal has a good chance to get to the final. I think Federer will have his way with him on grass if they both make the final. I just think, you know, too much power, the fast surface will help him. I think Nadal will compete hard against him, but I don't see him winning.

Q. Lastly, you were talking about your kids. Anybody playing tennis in your house other than you these days?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, Christian, not every day, but I got a court here. We go down there, he hits the ball. I toss him a few here and there. He loves it. He loves hitting that ball. He's got a little hand-eye coordination on his side.

Q. Who knows what is going to happen at the Open, whether Andre can reach another final. Regardless of what happens there, where do you put him with the great players of all time once he walks away from the game? Where does he rank?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's hard to put a number on it, where I see him. I see him somewhere in the top 10 of the greats of all time, being able to win on all surfaces, being No. 1 in the world. He got to the finals of like five or six majors.

You know, he's up there. It's hard to -- was he better than Connors, McEnroe? Just the generations. I just think it's hard to mention who was the best ever or the list. I think you just have -- each generation has their best players. I think in the '90s, he was one of the best players, with me included. It's hard to compare the eras and all that stuff. Just, you know, one of the best.

Q. You put him in there with the mix, maybe the top 10?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, the way I look at the top five, Laver, Federer, myself, Borg and Lendl. I think those five guys dominated their generations better than anyone. Maybe Roger will dominate better than any one of the other four. Maybe I put Andre as kind of 6 through 10 with, you know, McEnroe and Connors, kind of those guys. That's kind of how I see it.

JOSH WEISSMAN: Back to a little Team Tennis, do you know much about your teammates on the Breakers? How about the coach, Dick Leach?

PETE SAMPRAS: You know, I don't think anyone on the call really cares (laughter).

JOSH WEISSMAN: Can you talk about Dick Leach, the coach?

PETE SAMPRAS: I'm just kidding. I know Rick Leach pretty well. I don't know the girls. Delgado, I know him a little bit, I played him one time in Paris. Rick is a good guy. His dad. I think it will just be a fun time. I think when you have good teammates, fun teammates, I think, you know, it will be fun.

Q. When you watch Wimbledon, you see Federer getting close to winning four titles there, your own records, what kind of goes through your head when you see someone making a legacy for himself in some of the same ways you did?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think when I look at Roger, I mean, I'm a fan. I mean, I'm a fan of how he plays, what he's about, just the fact that I think he's a class -- I don't know him personally, but seems like he's a class guy on and off the court. He's fun to watch. Just his athletic ability, what he's able to do on the run. I think he can and will break every tennis record out there.

I just think he's the only really great player I see playing. I think Nadal is really good, shows -- and he's a great player, but I just think there's less of him. Today I think Roger is two, three levels above the rest. The fact that he seems like he's even getting better. You combine all that, I don't really see anyone threatening the No. 1 ranking. I think he's just too consistent and too good and has a fear factor in everyone else that I had at times, but I think he has it even more.

Q. Do you have any mixed feelings when you see him getting close to the record books?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't believe in that. I don't believe in rooting against someone. You know, records are made to be broken. I'm pretty confident that he's well on his way to not only breaking the No. 1 ranking, but this Grand Slam record. I mean, I just think he's got all the tools, he's got the demeanor. He really has the whole package to do it.

Q. Do you worry at all about American tennis right now?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think it's pretty good. I mean, I think it's hard to duplicate what we had with Jim, myself, Michael and Andre. I think it's unfair to Andy and James and the rest to compare what happened the last 10 years to where they're at, where they're going.

I think it's in pretty good shape. Unfortunately for American tennis, we do have Federer/Nadal who are really good, really kind of dominating the game at the moment.

I think James and Andy really can kind of get it together and do some things at the Open. But knowing American fans and American media, we expect Wimbledon winners, we expect US Open winners, we expect an American No. 1 in the world. Hard to do that. I think James and Andy have potential, but it takes a great player and someone that can handle it all.

I think they have it, but it takes a lot of commitment, a lot of sacrifice. Hopefully they can figure something out.

Q. Seems like you're trying out World Team Tennis to ease back into the competitive scene here, but also have some fun. I have to imagine Jim Courier has hit you up for the Champions Tour.

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, he has. I've talked to Jim. I'm not quite ready for that sort of deal. Playing a few one-nighters here and there is something that's competitive but it's not cut-throat like Jim's deal with those guys. It's a little more serious. I'm just not quite ready. I don't know if I ever will be ready to play those things. I'm just easing my way back into it.

World Team Tennis is a great, fun arena that I've been a part of a few times playing the Elton John AIDS Foundation night. It's a little fun to see some doubles, singles, mixed doubles. See a little bit of everything. It's maybe my way of giving back a little bit to the sport, doing a lot more interaction with the fans, with the media, with sponsors. I'm just easing my way back into it, not looking to come back at any point. Just have a little fun, give my life a little structure and focus.

Q. You talked about structure. With World Team Tennis, it looks like you're looking for new ways to (indiscernible) tennis. Have you considered coaching at all?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. No interest.

Q. Even at Wimbledon, serve-and-volley tennis seems more or less extinct. Do you intend to serve and volley when you're playing out there?

PETE SAMPRAS: I will die serving and volleying. Yeah, I mean, even yesterday I was serving pretty hard and coming in. It's my natural instinct, something I'm pretty natural at. I don't know if I'll be able to get to the net as quickly as I used to, but I'll be coming in.

Q. Do you think players today still could make that an effective strategy?

PETE SAMPRAS: Serve and volley?

Q. Yes.

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think it's anything you learn overnight. I think it's something you do as a kid. As you get older, you get better at it. I don't think it's something you wake up at 23 and say, I'm going to serve and volley. As a former tennis player, I miss the serve and volley tennis, watching it, especially on grass. Now everyone is staying back. I miss that contrast of someone being able to come in and someone staying back.

Q. Earlier there was a question about American tennis. One thing I've been wondering about, other greats from your time, a lot of them were in Bollettieri Academy or something like it. Do you think that's necessary for a player today? As far as I know, you weren't in that.

PETE SAMPRAS: I think it depends where you're from. With someone like Andre and Jim, growing up in an area where there was not a lot of competition, I think Bollettieri was a great thing just to be able to play other players, whereas I had Michael Chang, players of that type in southern Cal. I didn't feel like I needed to go anywhere. If you're from Mississippi, you have nobody to practice with, it's cold in the winter, I think going down to a Florida academy is something I recommend.

Q. This time of year, is this when you miss it the most, during Wimbledon? Have you gotten past that?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think I always will miss it. I miss it. I'm just so familiar with that feeling of playing there, the court, just the daily life at Wimbledon. I'll miss it at 34, 44, 54. So familiar with the place, so many good memories, that I think these are the two weeks that I really do miss the sport.

And I miss the Open and the rest, but I think these two are just -- I was so successful, so many good memories there, I definitely miss it.

Q. When you played Federer back at Wimbledon, when you lost to him, was it clear to you this might be the heir apparent?

PETE SAMPRAS: At the time, I wasn't sure. I knew he was talented. I mean, I knew he was really, really good. I actually didn't play a bad match. I just lost a tight one at the end.

I didn't know how far he was going to take it and where he was going to go. I think I've seen him the last couple years just get a little better, a little better, just kind of figure it out. I mean, that's what I think guys -- I figured it out. You just kind of figure it out on your own. He has his formula for being the best player in the world, like I had.

I didn't know if he was going to dominate like he is today, but just who I see, him playing the way he's playing, I just think he's really, really good. Kind of sit back and watch him, put myself on the other side of the net, see how I would play him. You know, I think we both would have our hands full.

Q. With all the talk about Andre retiring, obviously Andre is not on the top of his game now. You retired, you still won a Grand Slam. Was it harder for you to retire knowing you could still win and still play at the top of your game?

PETE SAMPRAS: It was a tough decision. It took me probably six months to get to the grips with moving on, not playing any more. It was the next year after the Open. I thought I was going to get ready for Wimbledon. After three days of practice, that's when I knew in my heart that it was time to move on. It wasn't in my blood any more. I didn't want to practice. At the end of the day, I had nothing left to prove to myself. It was time to call it a day.

Everyone's path to retirement is different, especially in tennis. It's not like a team sports guy where they have the last year of their contract and they're done.

Andre physically has gone through some tough times the last year. I think mentally it's taken its toll. When you do all that work at 35, 36, you want the instant reward. When he didn't get it, I think that took a little bit out of him.

I think physically, just dealing with a bad back, coming back, not playing for six months, can't expect to be at the level that he once was. To announce it, to be able to pay homage to him over the next couple months is something that he obviously planned.

It was time. I think he felt in his heart it was time to move on, give it one last kind of go at it and see how it goes.

Q. What is your handicap in golf? Are you going to be playing in the celebrity event in Tahoe?

PETE SAMPRAS: I actually can't play in the Tahoe event because my tennis is getting in the way. I'm about four. I've gotten a little bit better. Still just an athlete playing golf, I'm not a golfer. I don't know all those little nuances of the game that you just know as a kid, as a pro. I just have fun with it, just grip it and rip it.

JOSH WEISSMAN: We're going to wrap this up here. I want to thank Pete again for coming on. We will see him through the month in July, Newport Beach, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Hartford and New York.

PETE SAMPRAS: All right, guys.

End of FastScripts...

Source: www.samprasfanz.org

Greg-Pete fan
07-08-2006, 08:54 AM
Friday, July 07, 2006

Sampras Says His Return Is Brief

Recent American slide doesn't inspire the seven-time Wimbledon winner to try comeback. He'll play a TeamTennis match Monday.

By Lisa Dillman, LA Times

July 7, 2006

The poker hand folded and golf clubs in the bag, it's time to go back to the tools of the old day job.

On Monday, Pete Sampras will play tennis in front of a significant Southern California crowd for the first time since he retired in 2003. But don't get any ideas that, coming on the heels of the worst U.S. performance at Wimbledon since 1911, the 34-year-old legend might be on a comeback trail.

Sampras said he will not be returning to the ATP Tour, nor is he seriously contemplating a turn on the seniors' tour.

After Monday's World TeamTennis match for the Newport Beach Breakers, there will be six road appearances in July. Beyond that, perhaps some one-night exhibitions. That and answering questions about the dominance of Roger Federer, or the rapidly improving grass court game of Rafael Nadal, or the fortunes of U.S. tennis in the era after Sampras, Michael Chang and Jim Courier and soon-to-be after Andre Agassi.

"It's hard to duplicate what we had with Jim, myself, Michael and Andre," Sampras said during a conference call with reporters on Thursday. "I think it's unfair to Andy [Roddick] and James [Blake] and the rest to compare what happened the last 10 years to where they're at, where they're going…. Unfortunately for American tennis, we do have Federer-Nadal, who are really good, really kind of dominating the game at the moment. I think James and Andy really can kind of get it together and do some things at the Open.

"But knowing American fans and American media, we expect Wimbledon winners, we expect U.S. Open winners, we expect an American No. 1 in the world. Hard to do that. I think James and Andy have potential, but it takes a great player and someone that can handle it all."

Sampras won the first of his seven Wimbledon titles in his fifth attempt. He was asked about Nadal, who in his third Wimbledon is two matches from winning the title. Should Nadal face three-time defending champion Federer in the final, Sampras picked Federer to win.

"I must admit, I'm a little surprised, just after winning Paris, his game not suited for grass," Sampras said of Nadal. "On the other hand, he's a great player. I think he's mentally really positive on grass. Where I think a lot of the clay-courters kind of come into Wimbledon with a negative attitude, I think his attitude is great.

"I was going to say, since there aren't really any true grass court players, guys that can really serve and volley, pick a baseliner apart, it's almost like you watch Wimbledon and you're watching the French but it's green because everyone is staying back."

Source: LA Times

Greg-Pete fan
07-09-2006, 11:51 AM
Saturday, July 08, 2006

In His Return to Tennis, Sampras Puts the Focus on Grinning

By KAREN CROUSE, New York Times

LOS ANGELES, July 7 — The tennis player who once likened himself to the reclusive Howard Hughes, who accumulated major titles the way Hughes did phobias, was practicing in plain view, wearing a smile as his disguise.

"Let's see if I can still do this," Pete Sampras said, laughing. After walking to the baseline of the Bel-Air Country Club court Wednesday morning, Sampras uncorked a serve that blew past his hitting partner, Kris Kwinta, like a Porsche in high gear. Earlier, Sampras hit a textbook running forehand that froze Kwinta, then exclaimed, "That's how I built my house!"

Sampras's playful side was the doubles alley of his personality during his 15-year professional career. He tried not to go there, willfully working around it when he was accumulating a record 14 major singles crowns and maintaining a white-knuckle grip on the world No. 1 ranking.

Four years after his last match on Tour, a four-set victory against Andre Agassi in the 2002 United States Open final, Sampras is returning to the competitive arena this month for a limited engagement with the Newport Beach Breakers of World Team Tennis. He is coming back for a handful of reasons, not the least of which is that he wants his alter ego, Smiley, to take a bow.

"It's maybe my way of giving back a little to the sport, doing a lot more interaction with the fans, with the media, with sponsors," Sampras said.

There is a tennis court in the backyard of the Beverly Hills home where he lives with his wife, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, and sons Christian, 3, and Ryan, 11 months. But Sampras wanted to get out of the house, mingle with the public after a self-exile that, in truth, began long before he announced his retirement in June 2003.

"I always felt uncomfortable on the pedestal," Sampras said. That was why he spent a lot of energy over the years trying to avoid those who might exalt him, why he was forever running around praise the way he might a ball to his backhand side.

His monastic approach won him 64 singles titles but not many casual sports fans. It became a vicious cycle: Sampras bottling his feelings in order to win and the public holding back its affection because he was not effervescent enough.

"As I got older, as I started to dominate, I think I maybe could have lightened up a little bit," Sampras said. In his defense, he added, "People talked about me being robotic and mechanical, but the majors is when most people would see me and that's when I was at my most focused."

World Team Tennis, with its team format and its panoramic focus on entertainment and excellence, is the perfect stage for the 34-year-old Sampras to let down his wall. The seed to play in the summer league was planted in Sampras's mind years ago by Billie Jean King, a W.T.T. founder and somebody close enough to Sampras to be aware of Smiley's existence.

When Sampras was a child, everybody at the Jack Kramer Club courts in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., knew Smiley. That was the nickname bestowed upon Sampras by the older kids because he wandered around the courts in a constant state of good cheer. As his game matured, he seemed to grow out of the nickname. In his late teens, after deciding that being in the top 10 in the world was not good enough, that only No. 1 would do, Sampras embraced a new stage presence. He became tennis's Buster Keaton, the Great Stone Face.

"When I was competing and out there on the court, it wasn't a time for fun and games," said Sampras, who won his first major title, at the United States Open, in 1990 at the age of 19. "I was very businesslike. That was my deal."

Between 1993 and 1998, when Sampras was stringing together his record six-year season-ending run at No. 1, King tried to recruit him every summer to join her band of merry players. She did not let his polite rejections deter her. She recognized years before Sampras did that he needed World Team Tennis perhaps even more than World Team Tennis needed him.

"He's funny as heck," King said in a recent telephone interview, "and I always thought it was a shame that the public didn't see that side of him. He's just a great guy, but you have to take time with him. You can't know him right away."

Sampras would never break character to show it — he was far too disciplined in his craft — but it did bother him that his recipe for excellence was so unappetizing to the general public. "I never understood it," he said.

He remembered John Newcombe once saying that Sampras needed to "lighten up" and thinking, "If I did, I'd lose my edge."

In 1999, Sampras was paired with the golf legend Arnold Palmer in a pro-am at the Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. As he watched the charismatic Palmer turn the gallery ropes into a receiving line that ran from the first hole to the last, Sampras grew wistful. "I wish I could do that," he remembered thinking as Palmer shook one fan's hand after another. "I wish I could smile and look people in the eye."

The warmth Palmer invested in his fans was returned with interest, which did not go unnoticed by Sampras. After years in the public eye, Sampras saw the light while in Palmer's shadow. "All fans want to do is have a connection with the athlete," he said.

All Sampras wanted in retirement was a structure to his days. He was playing golf five or six times a week and he had his weekly poker night, but Sampras, bless his blue-collar soul, believed those things should be a reward for a day fruitfully spent, not a reason to get out of bed.

King's annual invitation gave him a reason to resurrect his practice routine. He could have his structure and reach out to the fans, too.

During Wednesday's 80-minute practice, Sampras's strokes were sharp, but his face was soft.

His hitting partner, Kwinta, a former U.C.L.A. player from Poland, clearly wanted to impress Sampras, who was his idol growing up. Every time he pushed a backhand into the net, Kwinta upbraided himself. "This game," Sampras said at one point, his words landing as gently as drop shots, "say nothing negative."

Kwinta nodded earnestly. His next few strokes were winners. Later, Kwinta said it was a privilege to hit with Sampras. "I always wanted to be calm like Pete on the court," he added.

Toward the end of their hitting session, a BMW sedan pulled up to the parking lot and a gangly teenage boy emerged from the driver's seat. He had a noon lesson on the far court, and rather than walk alongside the fence on the outside to get to the waiting pro, he waited until Sampras and Kwinta were finished with a point, then loped across their court.

He seemed oblivious that he was showing poor etiquette, never mind putting himself squarely in the potential path of one of Sampras's 120-mile-an-hour serves. Perhaps he simply did not recognize the player waiting to serve, the one with the big forehand and the broad smile.

Source: New York Times

Greg-Pete fan
07-11-2006, 07:44 PM
PETE SAMPRAS PLAYED HIS FIRST TENNIS MATCH SINCE APRIL


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sampras Has Some Team Fun

By Lisa Dillman, LA Times
July 11, 2006

The same old mannerisms hadn't disappeared.

He still had that way of getting ready to serve, choosing one ball and then casually flicking back the other with the slightest touch of arrogance, not even looking back to the ball kid.

Nor, more important, had the serve itself vanished.

Pete Sampras reappearing on the tennis court on Monday night would almost be like Michael Jordan showing up and hitting jumpers in a summer league game. Or finding Wayne Gretzky scoring goals in a recreation league or Joe Montana throwing spirals in a public park.

Only Sampras was playing in front of a couple thousand people at Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach in a World TeamTennis match, putting himself on the line, or at least the service line. It was his first significant performance in Southern California since the tennis legend retired from the tour in 2003.

And the verdict?

On paper, a split.

Sampras and his doubles partner Ramon Delgado won their match against Brian Wilson and John Paul Fruttero of the St. Louis Aces, 5-3. In the finale, Fruttero defeated Sampras, 5-4, in singles, needing a tiebreaker to do so. That gave St. Louis a 22-20 victory against the Newport Beach Breakers.

As for Sampras' verdict …

"It felt OK," he said. "Didn't return all that well. All things considered, my body pulled up fine. I served and volleyed OK. It's been a while, so I didn't expect miracles out here. Give him credit, he had a good serve and I had a hard time getting ahold of it there. I haven't played competitive points like that in a while, so I really couldn't get my return down.

"But it was fun. I had a good time."

For Sampras, the seven-time Wimbledon champion and winner of 14 Grand Slam titles, the competitive juices took about a nanosecond to return.

"And they had Pearl Jam playing tonight, which inspired me," he said. "I think I'll just get a little better and better. Every time I step on the court, I want to play well. I don't care whether it's World TeamTennis or having a hit, I always wanted to improve."

Earlier, Sampras spoke about his motivation to return to some form of competitive tennis.

"You know, a man works," he said. "And I've always worked my whole life. I told my wife, I'm not Mr. Mom. I'm not going to stay home and change diapers."

Source: LA Times

Greg-Pete fan
07-11-2006, 07:45 PM
Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sampras happy to have fun on court in WTT debut

By Mark Lamport-Stokes, Reuters

NEWPORT BEACH, California, July 10 - Driven by victory during his glittering ATP career, Pete Sampras settled on having some fun in his World TeamTennis (WTT) debut on Monday.

The 34-year-old won his doubles match but lost his singles encounter to world number 211 John Paul Fruttero as his Newport Beach Breakers team were beaten 22-20 by the visiting St Louis Aces at the Palisades Tennis Club.

Sampras, who produced a mix of vintage serve-and-volley form with some rusty backhands, took great delight in entertaining a capacity crowd of 2,000.

"The atmosphere was great," the former world number one told reporters after making his Pro league debut.

"The crowd really got behind the team. I didn't know how it was going to be tonight but I actually enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to playing some more.

"When you practise you can get away with things, here you feel a little more pressure playing in front of people.

"You want to put on a good show and I thought I did pretty good. I missed a few here and there and I had a hard time getting my backhand going. That was really the key.

"But I'm going to have some fun the next couple of weeks, hopefully play some good tennis and entertain some people."

LOW-KEY RETURN

Sampras, who retired after winning the 2002 U.S. Open final against American compatriot Andre Agassi in his last professional match, decided to make a low-key return to the game after admitting he wanted something to focus on.

He does not plan to return to the ATP circuit and has set his sights on playing as well as he can in the relaxed atmosphere of WTT without doing his body any harm.

"All things considered, I played okay," he said after losing his singles match to Californian Fruttero on a tie-break.

"My body held up fine and I was serving pretty hard.
"It's not easy when you haven't played a match under the lights in years and I had a hard time picking it (the ball) up. But I think I'll play a little better as we go along."

Sampras, who won 14 grand slam titles and more than $43 million in prize money during his 15-year career, will play six more matches for the Beach Breakers over the next two weeks.

The WTT Pro League consists of 12 teams and past players include Agassi, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Andy Roddick and Venus Williams.

The league, created by Billie Jean and then husband Larry King, ran for five years from 1974. After a two-year break it returned in 1981 and has since been a feature of the U.S. calendar.

The top two teams from the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference play in the finals from July 28-30.

almouchie
07-11-2006, 10:31 PM
anybody got any pictures of pete at WTT debut

Greg-Pete fan
07-12-2006, 02:03 PM
I haven`t found any photos yet...


So, We know that Pete lost to Fruterro (good challenger player) in singles, but won his match in doubles (partner: Ramon Delgado).

And another article ;)


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sampras shows ability, rust

By CARLOS ARIAS, The Orange County Register

July 11, 2006

NEWPORT BEACH – There was a buzz going through the sellout crowd of 2,000 on Monday night at Palisades Tennis Club.

"I came to see Pete," one fan said on his way to center court.

The Pete he was talking about was tennis legend Pete Sampras, who came out of his 31/2-year retirement to play for the Newport Beach Breakers this summer in World TeamTennis.

Sampras, a winner of a record 14 Grand Slam titles, had been feeling the itch to play competitive tennis, especially, around this time of year when Wimbledon has center stage in the sports world.

This wasn't Wimbledon where Sampas was a seven-time winner, but it was a chance to challenge himself. And Sampras is all about challenges.

"We're thrilled to have him," said Hall of Famer Billie Jean King, who is one of the co-founders of World TeamTennis. "We've been wanting him to play. He said he would and now we have him for seven matches. It's going to be great."

Sampras received a standing ovation during the pre-match introductions. The crowd was eager for Sampras to get on the court and kept chanting "We want Pete!" throughout the preliminary matches. Sampras played to the crowd firing balls into the stands between matches.

Sampras looked to be in good shape when he finally took to the court for warmups.

He showed flashes of his former form in the men's doubles match when he and his partner Ramon Delgado defeated the St. Louis Aces' Brian Wilson and John Paul Fruttero, a pair of former NCAA All-Americans.

The crowd roared when Sampras connected on a backhand service return winner in the first game of the doubles match.

The first serve Sampras hit on the night went whizzing past Fruttero for an ace. The usually poker-faced Sampras even had to crack a smile after that first ace.

Sampras showed off his reflexes and maneuvering at the net. He had plenty of pop on his legendary serve. He went up the ladder for a leaping overhead smash. He even tracked down a drop shot. Each shot Sampras made was greeted by cheers.

He and Delgado ended up winning the doubles match, 5-3, to keep the Breakers in contention for the victory.

Sampras went toe-to-toe with Fruttero in the final match of the night. That's when some of the rust surfaced.

Sampras took Fruttero the distance, but ended up falling to Fruttero, 5-4 (5-3), in the tiebreaker. The Aces ended up winning the match.

"I felt OK all things considered," Sampras said. "My body held up fine. Give him credit. He had a good serve. I couldn't get my return down."

Martina Hingis' run with the New York Sportimes in the WTT last summer was the catalyst for her return to the pro tour. Sampras maintained he has no intentions of returning to the tour, but he said his competitive juices are still flowing.

"It's a little taste of what I'll have to deal with in the next couple of weeks," Sampras said. "I'll get better with each match. That's how I am."

King liked what she saw from Sampras in his first competitive match in three years.

"He's a little rusty," King said, "but I saw a lot of nice things."

Sampras said he enjoyed being back in the spotlight.

"You want to put on a good show for the people," Sampras said. "The atmosphere was great. The people really got behind the team. I really have some fun teammates. It's great to entertain the people. But I'm still competitive and want to win."

Source: Orange County Register

almouchie
07-12-2006, 03:17 PM
check the link
http://www.stirringinmysoul.com/pete/

its has pictures & videos

Greg-Pete fan
07-12-2006, 04:44 PM
check the link
http://www.stirringinmysoul.com/pete/

its has pictures & videos


Thank you almouchie for this link, I will try to post these photos here as soon as possible ;)

angiel
07-12-2006, 09:40 PM
Thank you almouchie for this link, I will try to post these photos here as soon as possible ;)


Great news guys, that he is playing again, I love it, just love. :worship: :wavey: :angel: :D :) :cool:

angiel
07-13-2006, 01:31 AM
Sampras to visit
By Scott Cacciola, Journal Register News Service
07/07/2006


Three years after he retired as the owner of 14 Grand Slam titles and with "nothing left to prove to myself," Pete Sampras was bored. He puttered around his home in Southern California. He had long since trimmed his golf handicap to four, thanks to five or six rounds per week. What remained of his mornings and afternoons were filled with episodes of "Dora the Explorer," which he watched with his two young sons and his wife, the actress Bridgette Wilson-Sampras.


It took him six months to decide to retire from tennis in 2003, at age 32 and at the peak of his game, having concluded his career by claiming his fifth U.S. Open title, but now he realized he missed the sport, the competition, the activity.

"I was home with the kids, and I love being part of that," Sampras said Thursday during a conference call with reporters. "But at the same time, I’ve always worked, I’ve always had a structured day. When I first retired, I really enjoyed the relaxation, the non-structure. But after three years, I woke up feeling restless. I told my wife, ‘I need to find something, I need to start doing something.’"

Sampras, who plans to appear in seven matches, will make his debut with the Newport Beach (Calif.) Breakers at home against the St. Louis Aces on Monday. He also is scheduled to play for the Breakers when they visit the Hartford FoxForce in Avon on July 21.

"I think it’s been one of the best things for me," said Sampras. "It gives me a little bit of what I used to have."



©The Bristol Press 2006

angiel
07-14-2006, 01:12 AM
GETS HIS KICK
Sampras laments the loss of tennis stars' net worth

Friday, July 07, 2006

From wire reports

Former U.S. tennis star Pete Sampras laments the dearth of serve and volley in tennis.

"Since there aren't really any true grass-court players, guys that can really serve and volley - pick a baseliner apart - you watch Wimbledon and it's the French [Open], but it's green because everyone is staying back," Sampras said Thursday in a conference call from the United States.

"Ten years ago there were a lot more serve and volleyers. No one now is going to come in."

Sampras, who has signed to play World Team Tennis with the Newport Breakers in California, said he won't change his own style.

"I will die serving and volleying," he said. "It's my natural instinct, something I am pretty natural with. I don't know if I will get to the net as quickly as I used to though."

Sampras retired in 2002 after winning a record 14 Grand Slam singles championships, including seven Wimbledons.

angiel
07-14-2006, 01:28 AM
Sampras feeling a little 'bored'
By JANE MCMANUS

jmcmanus@lohud.com
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: July 7, 2006)



A life of leisure isn't for everyone apparently, and after three years of golf-filled retirement, Pete Sampras just got bored. That is what led the former tennis great to commit to play four matches for World TeamTennis this year.

"In the last year I was getting a little restless maybe, a little bored wondering what was next for me," Sampras said yesterday by phone.

Sampras will visit Westchester's New York Sportimes on July 19 as a member of the Newport Beach Breakers.

Since retiring after winning the 2002 U.S. Open, Sampras has spent lots of time with his wife and two young children, yet the tennis world has not stood still. Former rival Andre Agassi has announced his upcoming retirement, and Roger Federer has emerged to threaten some of the records Sampras now holds — such as 14 career Grand Slam titles.

"I don't believe in rooting against someone," Sampras said. "Records are made to be broken."

Sampras expects Americans like Andy Roddick and James Blake to remain strong, he called Agassi a great rival and said that the two weeks of Wimbledon always make him nostalgic.

"I'll miss it at 34, or 44, or 54," said Sampras, who won the singles title on Centre Court seven times. "(It's) just so familiar, the place and the court. These are the two weeks I really miss the sport."

angiel
07-14-2006, 01:54 AM
A bit homesick, Sampras edges back into game
Updated 7/6/2006 11:50 AM ET


For three years, Pete Sampras didn't pick up a tennis racket. He retired cold turkey. Other than the occasional playful tap with his now-3½-year-old son, he didn't hit a "serious ball" from the summer of 2003 until the spring of 2006. He considered himself done with tennis, throwing himself into retirement the way he once threw himself into the game, with all his heart.

"The first year of retirement, you really enjoy it, you have some fun," he said over the phone the other day. "The second year of retirement, you still have fun but you wonder what's next. The third year, it's like, 'OK, I'm ready to do something more than just playing poker once a week and playing golf and staying at home,' so I decided to play a little bit."

You hear the news that Pete Sampras is coming back to competitive tennis and your natural reaction in this week of all weeks, with U.S. tennis players going 0-for-Wimbledon, is to start humming the national anthem and wonder how Roger Federer will handle the sport's best-known gentleman-athlete.

But Sampras, now nearly 35, can't do anything about the current disarray in U.S. tennis, with Americans being shut out of the quarterfinals at Wimbledon for the first time since 1911. He's not coming back to save the American game. Someone else will have to do that.

No, his sport has come calling at a different, more laid-back, entertaining level — Billie Jean King's World TeamTennis — and, for this summer anyway, Sampras wants to try his hand at it, starting Monday in Newport Beach, Calif.

"Billie Jean and Ilana (Kloss, WTT commissioner and CEO) have been asking me for quite some time to play," he said. "I'm a big fan of Billie Jean's. I admire her not only for what she's done for ladies sports but for sports in general. She really, truly is an icon. My respect for her is a big reason why I decided to play a little bit, to get myself in shape and have some fun out there. This is not cutthroat tennis, but I take a lot of pride in still playing well and seeing if I have a little bit of what I used to have."

Sampras doesn't miss the limelight — he was never in tennis for that — but he does miss "the focus, the working hard," he said. "I miss Sundays at the majors, especially at Wimbledon, that nervous anxiety where you feel kind of sick before you go out there but you get through it and you win. It is tough to replace that. You miss it, you miss the structure, you miss being really good at something."

Sampras has been watching Wimbledon on television from his home in Southern California and, when Andre Agassi announced his retirement and subsequently lost, Sampras empathized with his peer and rival.

"I felt melancholy," he said. "I actually felt like it was the end of an era. This was the last one of a crew of Americans to retire. He's always been such a great player, and he brought a lot to the sport. He brought a lot to my career and to my tennis. He made me a better player. We both added to each other's legacy."

Where the men's game once belonged to Agassi or Sampras, it now clearly is dominated by Federer, who has a fan in Los Angeles.

"We have someone who is better than everyone else at the current time and I really think he will be dominant for years," Sampras said.

Every single time he watches Federer, Sampras finds himself thinking about how he would play him. "Our games would have matched up. I think I would have had my fair share of wins and he would have had his. It's funny how the generations in tennis have worked out. I just missed McEnroe; he was on his way out as I was coming up. We didn't quite hit at the right time. It's the same for Federer and me. We just missed."

What Sampras misses in his tennis life he is making up for with his family. When he was growing up, his father worked two jobs. "I never saw him much," he said.

It's different for Sampras, who with his wife, Bridgette, has two young sons. "I have the luxury of being around, taking them to the court, to the pool, having fun with them. They know their dad. Hopefully I can be some kind of hero to my kids."

He has videos of his Grand Slam triumphs to show the boys someday, but in the meantime, there's another reason to play WTT this season.

"I would have loved for my kids to see me play at Wimbledon, but it didn't quite happen," he said. "So I want them to come out and watch this summer. I want them to know their dad and know his life."

Posted 7/5/2006 11:31 PM ET

Fee
07-14-2006, 05:24 AM
I was at this match last night. If any of my pictures come out, I'll let you know. I use film, so it will be a few days.


Sampras is no longer sweating it
By Tim Casey -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:01 am PDT Thursday, July 13, 2006

Surrounded by two security guards and a few World TeamTennis officials, Pete Sampras walked into the second floor of Macy's at Sunrise Mall on Wednesday night.
Looking around, he seemed confused.

"I've never done something like this in a furniture store before," he said.

Sampras then sat in an off-white leather chair for a news conference before the Capitals' 20-17 victory over the Newport Beach Breakers, Sampras' new team.

No, it wasn't a typical setting. It also was strange seeing Sampras in such a relaxed atmosphere and playing at a lower level.

Sampras lost 5-2 to Jesuit High School alum Sam Warburg, who idolized Sampras growing up. In doubles, he and Rick Leach lost 5-2 to Warburg and Mark Knowles.

Sampras still had his booming serve, hitting a few above 120 mph. But he didn't move as well or hit his groundstrokes and volleys as consistently and crisply as he did before.

"It's kind of a mystery," Sampras said after his singles match. "I'm a little rusty, just getting my game back and getting rhythm out there.

"I want to play better. But it's not like it used to be, when I couldn't sleep after losing."

Indeed, this is a fairly different Sampras. Despite his subpar performance, Sampras joked with teammates and interacted with fans, even signing autographs after the loss. He appeared jovial, a contrast from his ATP Tour days when he gained a reputation as a serious player who rarely displayed emotion.

He wasn't John McEnroe, cursing and throwing rackets. He wasn't a young Andre Agassi, wearing loud outfits and long hair and declaring image is everything.

Sampras focused on winning, not wooing crowds or getting endorsements. Within tennis circles, he was held in high esteem, particularly compared with McEnroe and other stars in the 1970s and 1980s known for their temper tantrums.

"I didn't like that (behavior)," Capitals coach Wayne Bryan said. "Here comes a guy (Sampras) that shows you can be passionate, dedicated and be a great athlete. And win with class, win with dignity and be a great sport. He left tennis better than when he (came into) it."

And yet, Sampras never attained the popularity accorded to Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods, contemporaries of Sampras who could also make a legitimate claim as the best their sport has ever seen.

He behaved like a gentleman and won a men's record 14 Grand Slam singles titles, though some naysayers wanted more. The same public that criticized prima donna athletes also chided Sampras as too boring.

He couldn't win. And that reputation still somewhat bothers Sampras.

Sampras said he didn't feel respected until late in his career when he wasn't as dominant.

His highlight came at the 2003 U.S. Open, when Sampras was honored in a ceremony. As players such as Agassi, McEnroe and Boris Becker spoke about Sampras' career, Sampras shed tears.

"As hard as I worked, you kind of want that," Sampras said. "I felt appreciated that night."

The sell-out crowd Wednesday also showered Sampras with affection. It could be his last time here for a while, perhaps ever.

Before agreeing in February to play seven WTT matches, Sampras had only played one competitive match since his career ended at the 2002 U.S. Open. Although he's not playing as he'd like and won't commit beyond this summer, Sampras is enjoying the WTT's laid back nature.

His 3-year-old son, Christian, watched Sampras compete for the first time Monday night. Christian lasted three or four games. Then he played with his construction toys.

"I guess I wasn't that exciting," Sampras said, smirking.


About the writer:
The Bee's Tim Casey can be reached at (916) 326-5510 or tcasey@sacbee.com.

http://www.sacbee.com/content/sports/story/14277586p-15086643c.html

angiel
07-14-2006, 11:32 PM
Thank you Fee and please post any photos you have of that match, would love to see what you got. :wavey: :wavey: :angel: :worship:

angiel
07-15-2006, 12:16 AM
Wimbledon-Sampras, Becker inspire France's Bremond
Tue Jul 4, 2006 7:04 PM BST

By Pritha Sarkar

LONDON, July 4 (Reuters) - When it came to learning the nuances of serve and volley tennis, French qualifier Severine Bremond picked up tips from Wimbledon greats Pete Sampras and Boris Becker.

The pair who have won 10 Wimbledon singles titles between them, however, could not prepare Bremond for her first outing on Wimbledon's court one, one of tennis's most famous arenas.

"I learned it (serve and volley tennis) looking at Pete Sampras and Boris Becker on TV when I was 10 years old," the Frenchwoman said on Tuesday following her 6-4 6-4 quarter-final defeat by Belgian third seed Justine Henin-Hardenne.


"I always wanted to play like that. I always loved grass. This year the grass was good for me."

Despite being ranked 129th in the world, the French qualifier knocked out three seeds to reach her first grand slam quarter-final.

Eighth seed Patty Schnyder, 31st seed Gisela Dulko and 18th seed Ai Sugiyama would have all fancied their chances against a player who had never before progressed beyond the second round at one of the four majors.

They were all shown the exit by Bremond.

In the end it took a sleepless night, the imposing surroundings at Wimbledon and the skills of Henin-Hardenne to finally stop Bremond's run. Continued...

"It was too much for me the first time... I was not so ready to play like that on this court," said the 26-year-old Bremond.

"I didn't sleep so well but I said to myself 'Okay, what you did is already great, now everything is a bonus so just go and play and do what you can'.

"Justine's wonderful on grass. I knew it was tough but I did my best."

Having proved to herself that she is capable of competing with the best, Bremond hopes to build on her Wimbledon success.


"I will try to learn from what this tournament has given me, and so I'll try to do it next grand slam," Bremond said after pocketing $141,500, the biggest pay cheque of her career.

"It's been a good year for me and now I'm thinking about the U.S. Open and I'm saying, 'okay, it would be good to do the same'."

angiel
07-20-2006, 01:13 AM
Posted on Tue, Jul. 18, 2006

Sampras sees the end of an era for U.S. men's tennis
By Ray Parrillo

The Philadelphia Inquirer

(MCT)

RADNOR, Pa. - As his flight descended on Philadelphia International Airport the other night, Pete Sampras looked down on the city and his mind flashed back nearly two decades.

Philly, he thought to himself, is where his life changed.

"It's definitely a lot of good memories here," Sampras said Tuesday night. "You never forget your first win."

Sampras was at Cabrini College with the Newport Beach Breakers, whose World Team Tennis match against the Freedoms was postponed by a thunderstorm during the third game of the first match, which was men's doubles.

For the 2,500 spectators who had squeezed into the stands surrounding the multicolored court, the chance to get an up-close look at perhaps the greatest player in the history of the game was brief. Sampras rocketed a 123-m.p.h. serve for an ace, then sought cover like everyone else.

The match was rescheduled for Thursday night. Tuesday night's ticket stubs will be honored, and Sampras, who was making his third WTT appearance, will return.

For Sampras, who retired after defeating his old rival, Andre Agassi, to win the 2002 U.S. Open, the WTT offers a chance to end the boredom that he said began to grip him. First, though, there was the memory of his first victory on the tour, at the Spectrum 16 years ago.

"When I flew in here and looked at downtown, there's no question I thought about my first win here," said Sampras, who will turn 35 next month. "It's where my life changed." Ranked 32nd in the world, he won $137,250.

Smiling, he added: "I was nervous to fly after that. It's a lot of money."

Sampras recalled defeating Agassi in the round of 16 and a veteran Ecuadoran, Andres Gomez, for the championship "in front of a packed crowd at the Spectrum. Tennis was really hopping here. It's nice to be back and playing again in Philly."

Sampras went on to win a record 14 Grand Slam singles titles, including seven at Wimbledon. When he set down his racket after the `02 U.S. Open, he didn't pick it up again until a couple of months ago, when he answered Billie Jean King's call to add some star power to the league she co-founded 30 years ago.

Although Sampras has no designs on returning to the ATP Tour, he said he missed the structure and focus it brought to his life.

"Your first year, you enjoy it (retirement)," he said. "You get to do some things you weren't able to do. You have some fun. You play some golf. The second year, it's, what's next? And the third year, you get a little bored and restless. So I told myself if I had some tennis opportunities, I would maybe play again. And I've always had a lot of respect for Billie for what she's done for the game. So I thought I'd give it a try.

"It's certainly a shock to the system when you retire, from being so structured and so focused. After a while, you miss hitting balls and getting sore. This is more for fun. It's not that I'm trying to hold on. But I want to win. I want to help my team win."

For the United States, tennis hasn't been quite the same since Sampras retired. No American has remotely come close to taking his place. The rivalry between Roger Federer of Switzerland, who has won four consecutive Wimbledon titles, and Rafael Nadal of Spain promises to have a run as long as Sampras-Agassi.

But, as Sampras said, American tennis needs a resurgence to rekindle interest in the sport.

"It (Federer-Nadal) is good for the game," Sampras said. "The unfortunate part is that overOver the history of the game, there's been an American in the rivalry for the fans to cling on to. Borg-McEnroe. Chris (Evert) and Martina (Navratilova). Me and Andre.

"I don't really see anyone really challenging Federer. I just think he's going to go on and really dominate even more so."

With Agassi planning to retire after the U.S. Open, Sampras sees the end of an era for American tennis.

"You might not see a group of four guys - Andre, myself, Jim (Courier) and Michael (Chang) - maybe ever in the U.S.," he said.

---

© 2006, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Visit Philadelphia Online, the Inquirer's World Wide Web site, at http://www.philly.com

angiel
07-20-2006, 02:06 AM
Sampras returns to Philly


Wednesday, July 19, 2006
By Bill Evans
billevans@sjnewsco.com

RADNOR, Pa. -- Pete Sampras walked away from tennis suddenly after winning his record 14th major title at the 2002 U.S. Open, beating rival Andre Agassi.

Having overcome questions about whether he still had the ability to win one more major, Sampras retired having proven his doubters wrong.



Now, he's back. Sort of.

The seven-time Wimbledon champion returned to the area where he won his first of 64 tournament titles as a member of the Newport Beach Breakers of World Team Tennis on Tuesday.

Sampras isn't looking for a comeback to the tour -- he even lost his first two singles sets with the Breakers to a pair of players who probably will never sniff the second week of a grand slam -- but is just feeding an urge to compete again and fill in his time.

"The way I looked at it, the first year you enjoy retirement, the second year you say 'what's next?', the third year you're a little bored," said Sampras, who will turn 35 in a month. "I told myself if I had the opportunity to play tennis, I would maybe play again and I figured I would give this a try.

"You need a focus in your life, a challenge. Getting out and playing golf every day gets old. I decided to do something I'm good at."

Sampras noted he initially made a clean break from the sport, but has been watching the grand slams the last few years. He didn't pick up a racket after his retirement until recently, when he needed to prepare for his debut with the Breakers.

"This is my way of slowly getting back in touch," said Sampras.

"I was looking at downtown (Philly) and I thought about that first win here," said Sampras."I went from 16th to 14th in the world, got a check for $120,000. I beat Andre in the quarters and (Andres) Gomez in the finals. It's nice to be back."

Sampras, who could be the last of the great serve-and-volley players, is arguably the greatest tennis player ever. Roger Federer, who just won his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title and eighth major at the age of 24, is challenging Sampras for that lofty designation.

Sampras didn't see much of a challenge for Federer the next four or five years -- even with Spaniard Rafael Nadal developing at a rapid rate and splitting the last two major finals against the No. 1 Swiss star -- but couldn't compare legacies.



"I don't look at it as being the greatest of all-time," said Sampras. "I don't think you can compare different generations. I think you're the best player of a 10-year period, whether it's (Rod) Laver, (Ivan) Lendl, myself, Federer. Even when I won the 14th major, I didn't see it as being the best ever. I didn't get to play Laver in his prime, Federer in his prime, so I don't know."

Sampras' rival, Agassi -- an eight-time Grand Slam winner himself -- has continued to play at a high level and recently announced his retirement effective at the end of this year's U.S. Open. The two haven't spoken recently, according to Sampras.

"It will be a little different for Andre, because he's been off quite a bit this year (because of injuries), but retirement's a shock to the system," said Sampras."You get used to hitting balls, of being sore. It's a change of lifestyle."

Sampras still has the same booming serve. In the opening doubles match, Sampras cranked out four straight without a sniff of a return before a lightning storm quickly halted play on the outdoor courts at Cabrini College.

He also possesses the same competitive spirit. Though he played to the crowd and seemed relaxed, he also grimaced at every missed volley and pumped his fist on many won points.

Sampras admitted having a slight regret to retiring when he did.

He is the father of two boys -- Christian and Ryan -- with the oldest being born three months after the 2002 U.S. Open. Christian just saw his dad play the sport which made him famous for the first time.

"(Christian) watched me when we played in Newport for about 20 minutes and then he started playing with construction toys," said Sampras. "When I went to play, he said 'daddy, you didn't talk to me' and I had to tell him it was because I had something to do.

"Retiring young, he didn't get to see me play the U.S. Open or Wimbledon, but that's how life worked out."

the_natural
07-21-2006, 09:56 AM
I hope that last line sticks in Sampras' head, so he realises he should go back again :P win the french for Christian

angiel
07-21-2006, 02:51 PM
I hope that last line sticks in Sampras' head, so he realises he should go back again :P win the french for Christian


His boys would love that, see him win a slam. :worship: :angel: :D :cool:

angiel
07-21-2006, 02:58 PM
:angel: I hope that last line sticks in Sampras' head, so he realises he should go back again :P win the french for Christian


I hope so too, his boys would love that and us. :worship: :angel:

angiel
07-21-2006, 03:08 PM
Tennis legend Sampras to hold court in Avon
Jim Fuller, Register Staff
07/21/2006


The vision, if not caught by an Outdoor Life Network camera crew, could have merely been chalked up as something of an urban legend.


The tennis ball left Sam Warburg’s racket, slowly made its way across the net and headed straight for the wheelhouse of 14-time Grand Slam singles champion Pete Sampras.


Of all the images during Sampras’ glorious tennis career, none are more vivid or more frequent than Sampras soaring off the tennis court and blasting an overhead winner past an overmatched opponent.

So as Sampras waited for his chance, the crowd held its breath in anticipation of some impending magic. With a whack of his racket, the ball found its mark — smack dab in the middle of the net.

Perhaps the most automatic shot in the modern era of tennis suddenly was not as routine as it once was. Yes, three and a half years away from the game can even cause one of the sport’s all-time greats to appear human.

Tonight, Sampras will continue his whirlwind tour around the World Team Tennis circuit when he leads the Newport Beach (Calif.) Breakers against the Hartford FoxForce in a 6:45 match at the Blue Fox Run Golf Course in Avon.

Without saying it in as many words, Sampras made it clear at a Wednesday press conference in Rye, N.Y., that this was not a comeback tour. Unlike Martina Hingis who used an outstanding 2005 season with the New York Sportimes to springboard her back into prominence on the WTA tour, Sampras does not have visions of hoisting another Wimbledon or U.S. Open championship trophy.

Sampras is back playing tennis in front of the adoring fans because his restlessness pushed him back into the public eye and on the tennis court. His first year playing World Team Tennis has seen moments of brilliance but also stretches of un-Sampras like play.

"I’m playing OK," Sampras said Wednesday. "I am not expecting any miracles. I am serving pretty well and doing OK but I miss a little more than I used to. In fact I miss a lot more than I used to when I played. I hope not to get injured, play good tennis and hopefully the fans enjoy the tennis. I am not looking to beat anybody 5-0, I just want to hit the ball well.

"It’s business as usual. I am a little anxious because I don’t know how I am going to play. I just want to see how it goes but it feels good to get the perspective of the crowd who like the fact that I am playing again."

Sampras’ World Team Tennis career with Newport Beach began with losses to John Paul Fruttero and Warburg, who are a combined 1-3 in their careers in ATP-level matches. His third match against Philadelphia was rained out. Sampras, a winner of seven Wimbledon and five U.S. Open singles titles, picked up his first WTT singles victory with a 5-1 win over Alex Bogomolov Jr. of the New York Sportimes Wednesday night.

Tonight, his opponent in singles figures to be Glenn Weiner of the FoxForce.

"I am trying it," Sampras said. "I am in the middle of it and it has been fun. Making the commitment to play here was more of an attempt to get some structure in my life. Three or four days a week, I am hitting balls, going to the gym, nothing to go nuts about just something that I can focus on and see how it goes. So far, it has been OK.

"I didn’t know what to expect. There is not a book on retirement at 32, you take kind of a wait and see approach. You take the first year after retirement and you decompress, you enjoy it and do some things that you didn’t get to do — whatever that may be. After three and a half years of being retired, I don’t think bored was the right word but I think it was more of a (need) of a focus and structure in my life and my day. I promised myself that if I had a tennis opportunity, I would potentially play."

Sampras wrapped up his glorious career by topping long-time rival Andre Agassi to win the 2002 U.S. Open. With a record 14 men’s singles Grand Slam titles, Sampras walked away from the game at the age of 32. He was back in New York a year later for an emotional farewell ceremony at Flushing Meadows.

He had not returned to the East coast until this week. Tonight’s match will be the first for Sampras in Connecticut since a loss to Leander Paes in the third round of the 1998 Pilot Pen.

He is expecting a warm reception from the FoxForce crowd, one similar to the lovefest he enjoyed from fans in Newport Beach, Sacramento, Philadelphia (before the match was suspended early in the first set) and Mamaroneck, N.Y.

"It’s more interaction (than on the ATP tour)," Sampras said. "It’s a fun event, they can watch a little bit of everything. It is not the most serious (event) but it is competitive and I still want to play well and win. I have a lot of pride out there but it is more of a relaxed atmosphere out there."

Sampras is mixing in an occasional exhibition to keep his tennis game fresh. Next up is a match with former rival Jim Courier in August. A potential doubles exhibition could be coming later in the year.

"I am not looking to play a ton," Sampras said. "I just want to see how it goes. I just have a few things every couple of months to keep me busy, keep me sharp and keep me in shape. That is basically what I am doing this for.

"I think some players when they retire are still involved in their sport. Tennis players historically have kind of gotten away from it and then come back. You are not going to see me be like (John) McEnroe who is so involved in the commentary and still plays a lot. I am just testing the waters right now."

The latest test comes tonight in Avon.

Jim Fuller can be reached at jfuller@nhregister.com.



©New Haven Register 2006

Greg-Pete fan
07-22-2006, 07:50 PM
Friday, July 21, 2006

Sampras still impresses

By JANE MCMANUS, The Journal NEWS

(Original publication: July 20, 2006)

MAMARONECK — Pete Sampras might not have looked very interested last night before his match. In his first year playing World TeamTennis, he didn't even have a matching Newport Breakers uniform T-shirt. He even yawned just before the deciding point of the women's singles event that preceded him.

But on the court, Sampras showed the near-capacity Sportimes crowd at Harbor Island Stadium in Mamaroneck glimpses of his old self. The loopy backhand, the skill at the net — and that patented Sampras serve.

The Sportimes beat the Breakers 21-10, but most in the crowd rooted for Sampras. The 34-year-old beat young Alex Bogomolov Jr. 5-1 in men's singles in 13 minutes. Sampras still has the ability to intimidate as Bogomolov uncharacteristically double-faulted on his first serve.

Sampras loosened up during mixed doubles, and played to the crowd after leaping to smash the ball ... into the net. The crowd grinned along with him.

The match almost didn't happen. Sportimes owner Claude Okin said people worked all day to clear the court of tree limbs and debris after Tuesday night's storm. But by match time it was business as usual, and Martina Hingis was in the stands to watch her team even though she wasn't scheduled to play.

Hingis will be the featured player in the last match of the season tomorrow night at 7:30.

Sampras said it felt strange to be back in New York. The last time he walked into his traditional room at the Trump International in Manhattan, he had just taken part in a moving retirement ceremony to commemorate his 14th and final Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open a year earlier.

It was 2003, and Sampras took a well-earned standing ovation on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court with his young son, Christian, facing New York as a champion for the last time. Although this year he is traveling to the East Coast alone, he couldn't help but be reminded of all the times he had been there to play.

"You just walk into the room, it brings back that nervous feeling you had before the matches," Sampras said. "It's eerie no question."

Life is very different for him now. Unlike his own father, who worked two jobs to support the family, Sampras can spend a wealth of time with his two young sons and wife Bridgette Wilson.

But after having spent his career in search of titles and rankings, Sampras found that leisure didn't fit him well. It's something Sportimes coach Chuck Adams could see from their Tuesday night basketball game in Beverly Hills, where they both live.

"For a couple of years you're glad to be in one place," said Adams, who was as high as No. 33. "And then after a few years of being in one place you want to get out again."

Early this year Sampras played an exhibition against Robby Ginepri before signing on for World TeamTennis. He was 6-10 through the first two matches, and a planned Philadelphia match was rained out Tuesday night.

"In the last year I promised myself if I had some tennis opportunities I would try to play," Sampras said. "Making the commitment to play here, it was making the commitment to get some structure in my life."

Yesterday, Sampras greeted dozens of fans in the Sportimes' VIP tent. He smiled, shook hands and listened as people tried to sum up what his years on the court meant to them.

"(WTT) is more interactive," Sampras said. "Doing photos and autographs before I play is something I would never do."

Although it was a little bit of a melee, it was appreciated by the fans. A.J. Jadhav and his wife, Pranita, had circled the date of the Sampras visit on their calendar, and, along with their 10-year-old daughter, Kris, posed for a photograph with Sampras last night.

"It was great," said Kris, who is also a ball girl for the team and lives in Mamaroneck. "A dream come true."

As for the future, Sampras said he is mulling a more complete return to tennis in some capacity, but not on the ATP Tour. He pointed to John McEnroe's involvement with television and exhibition matches, but said that he enjoys being home too much at this point and has an — ahem — quieter demeanor.

For many, he could be a powerful motivator for young Americans. Okin hopes to motivate young, local tennis players by bringing Sampras to Mamaroneck.

"I was at the Open the year he gave his retirement speech," Okin said, "and I teared up."


Source: www.samprasfanz.org

Greg-Pete fan
07-22-2006, 07:51 PM
Saturday, July 22, 2006

Sampras loses to Weiner of FoxForce

Sampras Arrives In Style But Without Stylish Game

By Tommy Hine, Hartford Courant

July 22 2006

AVON -- One arrived and returned to Manhattan on a private helicopter; the other drove his car from an Avon motel.

One has 64 ATP singles titles, 14 of them Grand Slams, and more than $43 million in career earnings. The other is 256th in the singles rankings and is still looking for his first ATP win.

But Glenn Weiner can add something to his resume that not every tennis player can. He beat Pete Sampras in singles Friday as the FoxForce defeated the Newport Beach Breakers 24-16 in a World TeamTennis match before 2,500 at Blue Fox Run.

"I was very nervous and very excited, both at the same time," said Weiner, who once hit balls with Sampras seven years ago when they were both training in Tampa, Fla. "This was almost surreal. Boris Becker and Pete Sampras were the two players I loved to watch while growing up."

There maybe should also be an asterisk added next to Weiner's 5-2 victory because Sampras, arguably the greatest player of all time, strained his right hamstring in the fourth game.

"I tweaked it a little bit," said Sampras, who ended a three-year retirement to play seven matches with the Breakers this summer. "It will be OK.

"I wish I could have played a little better, but I did the best I could."

Sampras, 34, managed to play in the men's doubles match, as well, with Rick Leach, but they lost to Weiner and Goran Dragicevic, 5-4.

Accompanied by two plain-clothes policemen who were at his side except when he played, Sampras left the court to be treated by a doctor during the third match. He returned to the Breakers' bench to watch the final two matches, and then signed 100 autographs - all part of his appearance contract.

Sampras, 34, was the only player without a name on his jersey - stipulated in his contract with Nike - but he obviously didn't need his name on his back. The capacity crowd gave him a standing ovation when he appeared on court, and Weiner promptly greeted him with an ace. It was a questionable call by a linesman, and Sampras simply rolled his eyes. Both players held serve until Weiner broke Sampras to take a 3-1 lead when Sampras injured his hamstring.

"I didn't even know he was hurt," Weiner said. "The way we were playing, there wasn't much running back and forth."

There were some glimpses of the serve-and-volley game that Sampras made famous in his long run as the No. 1 player in the world. There were also a couple of nifty drop shots and some nicely aimed passing shots that left Weiner flat-footed and almost defenseless.

But there were also some unforced errors that a well-tuned Sampras wouldn't have made.

"I could tell he hadn't been playing a lot," Weiner said. "But it was good to see him back on the court."

Source: Hartford Courant

Greg-Pete fan
07-22-2006, 07:54 PM
Saturday, July 22, 2006

Sampras takes on the FoxForce

Associated Press
07/22/2006

AVON -- Pete Sampras is back. Well, sort of.

After a nearly four-year retirement, Sampras is playing for the Newport Beach Breakers in the World Team Tennis Pro League. He was in Avon Friday for a match against the Hartford FoxForce at the Apple Arena at the Blue Fox Run Golf Course.

Sampras ended his career in 2002 after beating rival Andre Agassi for the U.S. Open championship, his record 14th Grand Slam.

During his first year away from the sport, he spent a lot of time decompressing because he was burned out, he said. Then he began getting a little bored.

"I kind of took that first year to have some fun and let loose a little bit and after three years of doing that I got a little bit restless," Sampras said in a news conference before the match. "I decided to maybe play some this year."

Friday's match was delayed more than 45 minutes because of rain. When play finally started, Sampras took on the FoxForce’s Glenn Weiner in a men’s single set.

Amid shouts of "Pete, Pete" and "I love you Pete!" Sampras struggled against the little known Weiner, but showed occasional flashes of brilliance with a couple of winning running forehands and crisp volleys.

Overall, however, Sampras was less than sharp and lost the set 5-2. Afterward, Sampras appeared to be in pain, rubbing his right hamstring, flexing his leg and stretching. He was later treated for a pulled hamstring.

But Sampras came out for the second set and played doubles with Rick Leach against Weiner and Goran Dragicevic.

At one point before he served, the quiet Sampras drew laughter from the crowd when a Pearl Jam song was briefly played on the PA system. He stopped his toss and said to the soundman, "That’s the best thing you played all night."

Sampras and Leach ended up losing the set 5-4. That was all for Sampras, but tennis fans still left knowing they had seen a legend.

The FoxForce won the match 24-16.

"I wish I could have played a little better. I did the best I could," Samoras said.


Source: www.samprasfanz.org

angiel
07-23-2006, 12:33 AM
I cant find your post Greg??? :confused: :(

angiel
07-23-2006, 12:46 AM
Jeff Jacobs

Sampras Still Looks The Part

12:18 AM EDT,July 22, 2006


AVON -- He took a seat at Blue Fox Run Golf Course and, as a way of greeting, Pete Sampras asked, "What's on your mind?" The impulse was not to answer him. The impulse was to sit there and look at him.

Just sit and look.

The last time we had laid eyes on him in person he had beaten Andre Agassi in four sets for the 2002 U.S. Open title. He could have gotten a little ugly that day. He could have lashed out at the hard-hearted who had called him washed up and insisted his actress-wife was responsible for his game falling apart.

Sampras had done none of that. He remained the portrait of a champion.

The last time we had laid eyes on him at all was through the television lens of the 2003 U.S. Open, when he finally had decided to retire and had come to say goodbye to tennis, farewell to New York. He carried his son Christian around Arthur Ashe Stadium, holding him up like the hardware he had carried after each of his record 14 Grand Slam singles titles. Three minutes, the standing ovation lasted. For three minutes, the man who had shown such little emotion when he came to play, couldn't stop crying when it came time to play no more.

As crazy as it sounds, we thought we might have seen the last of him. He has the carriage of DiMaggio.

He even once compared himself to Howard Hughes.

Like DiMaggio and Hughes, Sampras has a bent toward the reclusive. If he and Bridgette had holed up forever in their Hollywood Hills home or taken off to Tibet to play tennis with the Dalai Lama, well, the thought wasn't entirely fantastic.

But here he was Friday at 6 p.m. Pete Sampras, in the flesh, before his World TeamTennis match against the FoxForce. That little bald spot on the back of his head hadn't grown much in three years. He looked the same, although his 5-2 loss to Glenn Weiner demonstrated he didn't play the same.

Heck, if the man who never stopped screaming -- John McEnroe -- can play in the WTT ...

And if the woman who always made them scream -- Anna Kournikova -- can, too ...

Why can't the man who never screamed play for the Newport Beach Breakers?

"When I retired, I took that first year to sleep in, have some fun, let loose a little bit," Sampras said. "I didn't miss anything. I took that first year to decompress. I didn't talk tennis. I didn't watch tennis. I didn't read tennis. You're kind of burnt out on it, because it's been your life since 8 [years old].

"After three years of doing that, I was getting restless. The last year, I was getting a touch bored. Billie Jean King [WTT co-founder] has been a friend of mine. They have asked me for the past 10 years to play a few World TeamTennis matches. I decided to give it a go. So far it's been pretty fun."

Sampras had been playing golf five or six times a week. He got his handicap down to four. He loved his time with Christian, now 3 and starting to hit a tennis ball, and Ryan, 11 months. But more and more he'd wake up mornings and tell his wife, "I need to start doing something."

Don't take this as Martina Hingis using the WTT to launch her comeback.

Don't take this as Michael Jordan or Sugar Ray Leonard.

As his great rival Andre Agassi is stepping into retirement Sampras is not coming back to the men's tour.

"I'm just having fun, working out, getting some focus, getting some structure in my everyday life," Sampras said. "I still want to play well. I have a lot of pride out there. But it's not any sign for me to come back and play again. My time is over."

You tend to forget about the early life cycle of tennis players. Gabriela Sabatini and Pat Rafter were inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame the other day in Newport and the first reaction to a photograph of them was, "Wow, they're so young."


Sampras played forever, has been out of the game for three years and he's 34. He is two years younger than Phil Mickelson. He's younger than Jason Giambi. Heck, he's younger than Agassi.

Sampras calls Roger Federer two or three levels above anybody else today. A few weeks ago, he ranked Federer and himself among the top five players of all-time along with Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl and Rod Laver. He has called Agassi the greatest player he ever faced but he put Agassi in the 6-10 range with McEnroe and Jimmy Connors.

"Andre retiring is the end of an era," Sampras said. "He is the last of our crew, the four [including Michael Chang and Jim Courier]. He is a tremendous player, a great personality. He put tennis on the front page of the sports [section].

"You might not ever see a group of four guys like that again in the U.S. We all hit No. 1. We combined to win more than 20 majors. Andy Roddick and James Blake, who are kind of carrying the torch, I think they're really, really good players. But the fact of the matter is we have two great players, Rafael Nadal and Federer, who are kind of lapping the field. ... It's unfair to put the pressure on [Roddick and Blake] thinking they're going to do what we did. We have to be realistic about it. But knowing the American media and the fans, we expect Wimbledon and U.S. Open winners and an American ranked No.1."

Sampras continues to watch the majors, but says he doesn't watch other tennis much. It is during the Wimbledon fortnight when he misses the game. He says he'll miss Wimbledon when he's 34, 44, 54. He'll miss it forever.

"It was my most favorite event," Sampras said. "For those two weeks I think about playing again, just in kind of a fantasy world."

Sampras told The New York Times recently that he saw how fans flocked to Arnold Palmer at the 1999 pro-am at the Bob Hope Classic and wished he could have such a personal connection. So he's using this WTT season and a few ensuing exhibitions to interact more with fans and sponsors, to have a little fun.

Instead of disappearing, Sampras even wants to appear in an exhibition against Federer.

"I heard some rumbling, some people might be trying to put something together," Sampras said. "I would welcome it. Just for the sport. I'm still hitting the ball well enough where I can at least compete against him a little bit. He'd probably tune me up pretty good. He's busy with his priorities and I don't blame him. But it could happen if we want it to happen."

Then again, Pete, maybe you'd want to challenge him to 18 holes of golf.

Contact Jeff Jacobs at jjacobs@courant.com.

Greg-Pete fan
07-23-2006, 08:32 AM
I cant find your post Greg??? :confused: :(

Why?

angiel
07-23-2006, 03:21 PM
Why?


I am crazy ;) I did find it my dear. :worship: :angel:

angiel
07-23-2006, 03:47 PM
'Bored' Sampras back on the court for WTT


Sunday, July 23, 2006
BY ANN LOPRINZI
TIMES TENNIS COLUMNIST


Pete Sampras made an appear ance at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa., for a World TeamTennis match on Tuesday, the hottest day of the recent heat wave. No problem for the former world No. 1 player who many think may have been the best of all time.

He once played an Australian Open match where the court temperature reached 135 degrees, a situation he described as "just awful, the hottest I've ever been."




Perhaps more pressing for Sam pras, who came out of retirement to play for the Newport Beach Breakers, was his level of play, which he described in a pre-match press conference, as "rusty."

In his previous few outings with the Breakers, he played sets of singles, men's doubles and mixed doubles, winning a few and losing a few.

In facing the Philadelphia Freedoms Thursday night, a continuation from Tuesday night when rain forced postponement of the remainder of the match, Sampras won the five-game-set format in singles against Jaymon Crabb, 5-3. With partner Rick Leach, he lost men's doubles, 5-2, to Daniel Nes tor and Crabb. Both games won in the doubles match were on Sam pras' big serve. In fact, to the delight of the sell-out crowd of 2,500, he served three aces in his first service game.

"Retirement is fun," said the winner of 14 Grand Slam singles titles, "but you need something that is fun and challenging."

In the first year of his retirement, Sampras enjoyed doing things he hadn't had a chance to do. In his second year, he started to ask, "What's next?" By the third year, he started to get a little bored and decided that if he had some tennis opportunities, he would play them.

Billie Jean King, the WTT co- founder, and Ilana Kloss, the WTT CEO/Commissioner, had been asking him to play the league for quite a few years. When they approached him this year, he was ready to play.

However, his answer was an emphatic "no" about playing an ATP tour event. He has no interest in coaching and is not ready to play on Jim Courier's senior tour.

Among other things, Sampras, whose retirement came after win ning the 2002 U.S. Open, has spent the past three years playing golf and hitting balls to his 3 1/2-year-old son, Christian.

He picked up a racket again just a few months ago, practicing with guys from the UCLA tennis team. He calls himself a fan of current No. 1, Roger Federer.

When asked about being the best of all time, though, Sampras doesn't look at himself in that way.

"I was the player of my generation but I don't look at my self as the greatest ever. In tennis, it's too hard to compare eras. But I felt unbeatable when I was at my best."

The Philadelphia Freedoms have two matches remaining in the season -- tomorrow and Wednesday. Information is available on www.philadelphiafreedoms.com.



Contact Times tennis columnist Ann LoPrinzi at annlop@optonli ne.net.

angiel
07-23-2006, 03:52 PM
I've Got A Feeling
Skrivet av Thomas Tynander 22 juli 2006, klockan 18:24

I väntan på nästa möte med Tiger Woods måste Ni läsa avslutningen på gårdagens presskonferens. Lite touch of Sweden, om man säger. Både Björn Borg och frugan Elin fick lite utrymme.
Och med lite eftertanke är det stort att Tiger tokhyllar Björn Borg!

Och håll med om att den liilla frågan från reportern är underbar!

Q. I come from another country and I come from another sport. I come from Italy, and I come from tennis, and a few minutes ago Nick Faldo talked about yourself and Bjorn Borg. He said you are able to control your emotions in many situations like Bjorn Borg. What do you know about Bjorn Borg? What do you know about tennis? And what do you know about Italy, if you can?

TIGER WOODS: Where do I start with this one?
Tennis, I'm an avid tennis fan. I watch tennis all the time. I was a huge Sampras fan and now obviously I'm a huge Federer fan, just love watching them play. And anytime I get a chance to watch them play, I do.
I do follow tennis quite a bit, but as far as any comparison to Bjorn Borg, he's one of the greatest ever to play the sport. I guess any comparison with somebody that's played their sport and been considered one of the greatest of all times is awfully flattering because he did it on different surfaces and he was able to control his emotions and played in different generations. What he was able to do has been truly remarkable, especially going from obviously from the French to Wimbledon and making that transition, not everybody can do that.
Italy, lots of garlic. I've never been to Italy. I've always wanted to go, I just haven't gotten a chance. My wife has been there a bunch of times and she loves it there and I just wish I could get there and hopefully someday I will.

Sångtiteln i rubriken är från Beatles-plattan "Let It Be".

Nyckelord:

angiel
07-25-2006, 08:44 PM
July 25, 2006, 1:32AM
Sampras scratches his itch
Tennis legend takes up racket again as a Breaker


By LOURDES CASTILLO
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

More than 4,500 fans were at Westside Tennis Club on Monday night to witness the play of one of the game's legends.

Pete Sampras, a member of the Newport Beach Breakers, is taking some time off his retirement for World Team Tennis.

"In the last year, I was getting a little bit restless, and I just basically promised myself that if I had a tennis opportunity this year I would maybe play," Sampras said. "I'm not really looking for the competition; it's more of just having a bit of a focus, a structure in my day."

The Wranglers (3-10) played their last home match of the season against the Breakers (5-8). Sampras teamed with Rick Leach in doubles to defeat Jan-Michael Gambill and Graydon Oliver 5-4. In singles, Gambill defeated Sampras 5-3, but the Breakers edged the Wranglers 20-19 overall.

"I've never played with him on the tour, and so it is such an honor to play with him in Team Tennis," coach Dick Leach said before the match. "He definitely brings the potential to beat anybody, and even if he hasn't played in three or four years, he still has one of the best serves in the game."


Now it's about team

Sampras has 14 Grand Slam singles titles, but WTT is a new experience for him. "It's been fun. It's kind of a different format, something I'm not really used to," Sampras, 34, said. "My body is a little bit nicked up at the current time just playing one set and then sitting around.

"I'm not anywhere near as good as I used to be but I can still show a little bit of what I used to have."

Sampras often is considered by some the greatest tennis player of all time. Although he appreciates the sentiment, he doesn't agree.

"It's flattering, but I don't think of myself as the greatest player," he said. "I don't think there is one greatest player of all time. I just look at each generation and I feel like in the '90s I was the player to beat."

Sampras played in Houston several times during his impressive career, and is always glad to be back.

"Houston is a great tennis town," Sampras said. "I must have played here a dozen times over my years. I've always enjoyed coming here."

With an extensive résumé, including seven Wimbledon, five U.S. Open and two Australian Open titles, Sampras never imagined he would accomplish so much and have a lasting impression on the sport.

When he won his first major at 19, he was unsure of what he wanted from the sport, how far he wanted to go or if he was willing to deal with the pressure and expectations of being No. 1.

"I wasn't like Tiger (Woods) who said he wanted to win 19 more titles than Jack (Nicklaus); I was just trying to win the next tennis match," Sampras said. "I didn't have those big aspirations, but when I got into it and won nine, 10 and 11 (titles) I felt like it was realistic and that I could do it. I wasn't very good at the junior (level) so it was all kind of a surprise to me."


Next year uncertain

Whether fans will get another chance to see Sampras on the WTT courts next year is unknown.

"It's kind of a wait-and-see approach and kind of getting my feet wet a little bit," Sampras said. "I've always been kind of a slow starter so I'm not really helping my team right now."

lourdes.castillo@chron.com

angiel
07-27-2006, 01:41 PM
Sampras back in spotlight with WTT

By Ashley Bachelor
The Daily Times

Published July 27, 2006

Everyone who attended the World Team Tennis match in Houston Monday got a piece of Pete Sampras — in the form of a 7-inch bobblehead sculpture.

The World Team Tennis Corp. created a bobblehead sculpture to commemorate him playing in his first season on the Newport Beach Breakers team, said Linda McIngvale, co-owner of the Houston Wranglers team.

He was the only player honored with a bobblehead this year, she said.

The Newport Beach Breakers played against the Houston Wranglers on Monday in Houston.

McIngvale said she decided to give these out to the fans as they entered the stadium for the Wranglers last home match because she thought it would be a good souvenir for them to have of a such a great player.

“Pete is the greatest player of all time,” she said.

Sampras said he is flattered by this opinion but does not agree with it. He does not think there is a “greatest player of all time,” he said.

In each era, there is a specific player that was the best at that time, he said.

“I just look at each generation as the player,” he said.

Sampras said he believes he was the player to beat of the 1990s and that Rod Laver was the player of the 1960s. Roger Federer is a great player and is the one to beat in this generation, he said.

“Unfortunately, he’s not American,” Sampras said.

Sampras’ last appearance in a professional tennis tournament was in the all-American 2002 U.S. Open finals against Andre Agassi.

In his first season of World Team Tennis, he is the marquee player on the Newport Beach Breakers team. Sampras said he decided to play World Team Tennis because he was getting bored last year, and he promised himself this year that he would play if he got the opportunity.

Playing World Team Tennis has given him the opportunity to show a more human side and be able to sign more autographs, instead of having to completely focus on his career.

“When I was playing (on the tour), I was so focused on winning,” he said.

After the match, Sampras stayed after to sign autographs along with the Houston Wranglers’ Jan-Michael Gambill. About 500 kids got in line to get autographs from Sampras, McIngvale said. She was surprised by the number of kids that came to the match and then stood in line for autographs afterward, she said.

World Team Tennis is a good atmosphere for kids because it is different than a normal tennis match. There is live music before the match and a Kids Zone that includes face painting and a moonwalk. During the match, kids can be loud and walk around instead of having to be quiet and sit still for an entire professional tournament match, she said.

Anna Francis, a Houston resident, attended World Team Tennis matches last year and decided to bring her 5-year-old daughter Amber with her to the Houston Wranglers last home game. She said her daughter loved being at the match and that she would definitely bring her again next year.

“I didn’t want to go home,” Amber Francis said.

World Team Tennis is good family entertainment at affordable prices where people get to come see great players like Sampras, McIngvale said.

“It’s a real thrill for people to come see him play,” she said.

Sampras said he is not sure if he will play World Team Tennis again next year He is also not making plans to play in the Senior Tour, but he has not ruled it out of his career.

“I want to wait a while if I ever do it,” he said.

Sampras said he is not sure that he wants to be that competitive by playing in the Senior Tour right now against players like Jim Courier.

His body is not letting him be too competitive either. He had a bandage around his left hamstring Monday.

“My body is a little knicked up,” he said.

Even though it has had an effect on his body, Sampras said he was glad he did this because he was able to play in different cities which he had never had the opportunity to play in during his professional career.

The July 24 match between the Houston Wranglers and the Newport Beach Breakers airs on OLN 4 p.m. EST July 29 and on The Tennis Channel at 8 p.m. EST Aug. 1.

The World Team Tennis Finals airs on OLN at 3 p.m. EST Aug. 6.

For more information on World Team Tennis, visit www.wtt.com.

angiel
07-28-2006, 02:59 PM
Sampras Leads Newport Beach into Semifinals at WTT Playoffs

Sampras Leads Newport Beach into Semifinals at WTT Playoffs

Newport Beach, Calif. (July 27, 2006) --- Pete Sampras used a hard fought victory over Nick Monroe of the Springfield Lasers to lead the Newport Beach Breakers into Saturday's semifinals of the World TeamTennis Playoffs with a 23-18 (OT 1-1) win in action Thursday at the Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach.

Sampras' 5-4 win in men's singles evened the match at nine all after Springfield won the opening set of women's doubles with Victoria Azarenka and Andreea Vanc teaming up to defeat the Breakers' Tina Krizan and Anastassia Rodionova, 5-4.

Sampras and Ramon Delgado were up 2-0 in men's doubles, when Sampras was substituted for at the start of the third game of the set after straining his left hamstring. The Breakers replaced Sampras with Rick Leach and went on to win men's doubles, defeating Monroe and Alex Vlaski 5-1. The Breakers then added to their lead as Leach and Krizan defeated Vanc and Vlaski in mixed doubles with a quick 5-2 win.

Vanc sent the match into overtime, capturing a 5-3 win over Rodionova in women's singles. Rodionova sealed the victory for the Breakers, winning the game in overtime.

"I was playing well tonight in both singles and doubles," Sampras said following the match. "Early in the doubles I felt I had tweaked my hamstring and I pulled myself out. I really wanted to help the team win tonight and advance, but at the same time, I was not going to risk an injury."

After the match, Sampras was listed as questionable for Saturday's semifinal.

The Breakers will now face the Western Conference champion Sacramento Capitals in the first semifinal match at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The New York Sportimes will meet Eastern Conference rival Philadelphia Freedoms in the second semifinal at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Earlier in the evening, Azarenka and New York Sportimes' David Martin were named the WTT 2006 Female and Male Rookies of the Year. The 16-year-old Azarenka finished the regular season ranked second in women's singles with a .605 winning percentage and fourth in women's doubles. Martin, from Tulsa, Okla., ended the regular season in first place in men's doubles with a winning percentage of .593% and was eighth in mixed doubles.

Lee
07-29-2006, 04:10 AM
Roddick, Sampras, Kournikova Headlines Smash Hits


Photo By Fred Mullane By Tennis Week
07/28/2006


Andy Roddick, Pete Sampras and Anna Kournikova are preparing to get smashed in September — and you can be there to see it. The trio will join Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King to raise money for the fight against HIV and AIDS when the 14th annual Advanta World TeamTennis Smash Hits returns to Orange County starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 14 at the Bren Center on the University of California Irvine campus.


A Roddick-Sampras singles showdown is the scheduled for the event.

Tickets for the special night of tennis will go on sale on Monday, July 31 at 10 a.m. (Pacific) at all Ticketmaster ticket centers and at the Bren Center Box Office. A limited number of priority seating tickets will be sold in advance at the World TeamTennis finals, July 29 and 30 at the Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach. Proceeds from Advanta WTT Smash Hits will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the AIDS Services Foundation Orange County. The event, which was last held in California in 2004, is expected to raise more than $500,000 for the fight against HIV and AIDS.

"We are thrilled to bring Smash Hits back to Orange County," said Ilana Kloss, CEO and Commissioner of World TeamTennis. "Pete was a big part of Smash Hits in the early years and to have him back again along with Andy and Anna gives us the makings of a very entertaining and thrilling night of tennis. Most importantly, we will be able to raise a significant amount of money for a very deserving cause."

Five sets of tennis, using the World TeamTennis (WTT) format, will be played. In addition to the Roddick/Sampras feature match in men’s singles, several other top players on the men’s and women’s professional tennis tours are expected to compete in men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. The players will form two teams, with one team captained by John and the other by King. John and King also plan to participate in a celebrity doubles event to open the evening.

Kournikova is expected to play both women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Former World No. 1 Sampras made his return to professional tennis this season, playing World TeamTennis for the Newport Beach Breakers. Kournikova is a two-time Australian Open doubles champion and a former No. 1 in doubles and No. 8 in singles in the world rankings, was a member of the Sacramento Capitals this summer.

Reserved seat tickets for the 14th annual Advanta WTT Smash Hits range from $45 to $110 and are available at all Ticketmaster ticket centers and the Bren Center box office. Discounts are available for UCI students with a valid student ID. For more information, please call Ticketmaster at (714) 740-2000 or the Bren Center box office at (949) 824-5000.

Special VIP ticket packages, which also include premiere seating and admission to the Smash Hits VIP Reception, are available through the AIDS Services Foundation for $250. The VIP Reception, which begins at 5:30 p.m., includes a silent and live auction and will be attended by John, King and all players. VIP tickets are available by calling Michelle Burton at (949) 809.5720 or mburton@ocasf.org.

Since its establishment in 1992 by Founder and Chairman Sir Elton John, the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) has raised over $100 million to support HIV/AIDS prevention and service programs in 55 countries around the globe. Today, EJAF is one of the world's leading nonprofit HIV/AIDS organizations. EJAF focuses on supporting community-based prevention education programs, harm reduction programs, and direct services to persons living with HIV/AIDS, especially populations with special needs. These efforts include HIV/AIDS-related physical and mental health services, HIV testing and counseling, street outreach and education, food distribution, assisted living services, social service coordination, and community volunteer recruitment and support. For additional information, please visit the Elton John AIDS Foundation at www.ejaf.org.

Greg-Pete fan
07-29-2006, 09:35 AM
Great news :) Sampras vs Roddick :eek:
It will be a very tough match for Pete, but it is good that he wants to play against better players than Fruterro, Bogomolov Jr or Gambill ;)

angiel
07-29-2006, 03:10 PM
Great news :) Sampras vs Roddick :eek:
It will be a very tough match for Pete, but it is good that he wants to play against better players than Fruterro, Bogomolov Jr or Gambill ;)


This is great news guys, cant wait, the more he plays the better he will gets, love it. :cool: :cool: :angel: :worship:

angiel
07-30-2006, 06:20 PM
Posted on Sun, Jul. 30, 2006



Good cause

Andy Roddick, Pete Sampras and Anna Kournikova will join Elton John and Billie Jean King in a benefit tennis exhibition to raise money in the fight against AIDS.

Five sets of tennis, using the World TeamTennis format, will be played in the 14th Smash Hits charity benefit Sept. 14 at UC Irvine in California.

Roddick and Sampras, who retired in 2002, will play the featured men's singles match.

Kournikova, no longer a regular on the women's tour, is set to play doubles and mixed doubles.

''Pete was a big part of Smash Hits in the early years, and to have him back again along with Andy and Anna gives us the makings of a very entertaining and thrilling night of tennis,'' said Ilana Kloss, CEO and commissioner of World TeamTennis.

angiel
07-30-2006, 06:23 PM
SPORTS NEWSMAKERS
Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tennis stars to help fight AIDS




Andy Roddick, Pete Sampras and Anna Kournikova, below, will join Elton John and Billie Jean King in a benefit tennis exhibition to raise money in the fight against AIDS.

Five sets of tennis, using the World TeamTennis format, will be played in the 14th Smash Hits charity benefit on Sept. 14 at UC Irvine in California.

Roddick and Sampras, who retired in 2002, will play the featured men's singles match. Kournikova, no longer a regular on the women's tour, is set to play doubles and mixed doubles.

"Pete was a big part of Smash Hits in the early years, and to have him back again along with Andy and Anna gives us the makings of a very entertaining and thrilling night of tennis," said Ilana Kloss, CEO and commissioner of World TeamTennis.

John and King will play a celebrity doubles match and captain the two teams.


Prince at the Super Bowl


Prince is expected to be the headline performer during halftime of Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4 at Dolphin Stadium in South Florida, according to Sportsbybrooks.com.

It will be CBS' first broadcast of the NFL's championship game since Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" in 2004, when the FCC responded to the singer's bared breast with $550,000 in fines.


-Newsmakers compiled from wire reports

angiel
07-30-2006, 06:26 PM
Roddick, Sampras and Kournikova to play Advanta WTT Smash Hits

07/28/06 - World TeamTennis (WTT)


Newport Beach, Calif. (July 28, 2006) --- Tennis superstars Andy Roddick, Pete Sampras and Anna Kournikova will join Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King to raise money for the fight against HIV and AIDS when the 14th annual Advanta World TeamTennis Smash Hits returns to Orange County for one night only at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 14 at the Bren Center on the University of California Irvine campus.

Tickets for the special night of tennis will go on sale this Monday, July 31 at 10 a.m. (Pacific) at all Ticketmaster ticket centers and at the Bren Center Box Office. A limited number of priority seating tickets will be sold in advance at the World TeamTennis Finals, July 29 and 30 at the Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach. Proceeds from Advanta WTT Smash Hits will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the AIDS Services Foundation Orange County. The event, which was last held in California in 2004, is expected to raise more than $500,000 for the fight against HIV and AIDS.

"We are thrilled to bring Smash Hits back to Orange County," said Ilana Kloss, CEO and Commissioner of World TeamTennis. "Pete was a big part of Smash Hits in the early years and to have him back again along with Andy and Anna gives us the makings of a very entertaining and thrilling night of tennis. Most importantly, we will be able to raise a significant amount of money for a very deserving cause."

Five sets of tennis, using the World TeamTennis (WTT) format, will be played. In addition to the Roddick/Sampras feature match in men's singles, several other top players on the men's and women's professional tennis tours are expected to compete in men's doubles, women's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles. The players will form two teams, with one team captained by John and the other by King. John and King also plan to participate in a celebrity doubles event to open the evening. Kournikova is expected to play both women's doubles and mixed doubles.

Roddick has consistently been ranked in the top 10 players in the world since turning professional in 2000. He won the 2002 US Open and has reached the finals of Wimbledon twice (2004 and 2005). This year he has reached the quarterfinals or better at seven events, including a runner-up finish earlier this month at Indianapolis.

Sampras, considered by many to be the greatest tennis player of all time, holds the all- time record for Grand Slam singles titles at 14 and won a total of 64 career singles titles. He retired in 2002 after winning his last ATP event at the US Open defeating Andre Agassi and made his return to professional tennis this season, playing World TeamTennis for the Newport Beach Breakers.

Kournikova is a two-time Australian Open doubles champion and a former No. 1 in doubles and No. 8 in singles in the world rankings. She became the second woman in the Open era to reach the semifinals of Wimbledon in her debut. Holder of 16 doubles titles; this native Russian is one of the world's most popular female athletes. Kournikova was a member of the Sacramento Capitals this summer.

Reserved seat tickets for the 14th annual Advanta WTT Smash Hits range from $45 to $110 and are available at all Ticketmaster ticket centers and the Bren Center box office. Discounts are available for UCI students with a valid student ID. For more information, please call Ticketmaster at 714/740-2000 or the Bren Center box office at 949/824-5000.

Special VIP ticket packages, which also include premiere seating and admission to the Smash Hits VIP Reception, are available through the AIDS Services Foundation for $250. The VIP Reception, which begins at 5:30 p.m., includes a silent and live auction and will be attended by John, King and all players. VIP tickets are available by calling Michelle Burton at 949.809.5720 or mburton@ocasf.org.

Since its establishment in 1992 by Founder and Chairman Sir Elton John, the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) has raised over $100 million to support HIV/AIDS prevention and service programs in 55 countries around the globe. Today, EJAF is one of the world's leading nonprofit HIV/AIDS organizations. EJAF focuses on supporting community-based prevention education programs, harm reduction programs, and direct services to persons living with HIV/AIDS, especially populations with special needs. These efforts include HIV/AIDS-related physical and mental health services, HIV testing and counseling, street outreach and education, food distribution, assisted living services, social service coordination, and community volunteer recruitment and support.

For additional information, please visit the Elton John AIDS Foundation at www.ejaf.org and World TeamTennis at www.wtt.com.

angiel
08-08-2006, 12:20 AM
Article Launched: 08/07/2006 12:00:00 AM PDT

Americans to open Chase
BY MATTHEW KREDELL, Staff Writer



The JPMorgan Chase Open will get under way today with a first-round match between American tennis players Jill Craybus and Amy Frazier at 7 p.m. in Carson's Home Depot Center.

That will be the only tournament match of the first day. An exhibition between men's tennis greats Pete Sampras and Jim Courier will follow.

The Tuesday evening session will feature hometown favorite Serena Williams against Maria Kirilenko of Russia at 7 p.m.

Williams won JPMorgan titles in 1999 and 2000. She didn't participate in the event last year because of injury.

Maria Sharapova is the tournament's top seed and has a first-round bye.

Other seeds are



No. 2 Nadia Petrova of Russia, No. 3 Elena Dementieva of Russia, No. 4 Lindsay Davenport, No. 5 Dinara Safina of Russia, No. 6 Ana-Lena Groenfeld of Germany, No. 7 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and No. 8 Flavia Pennetta of Italy.

matthew.kredell@dailynews.com

(818) 713-3607

angiel
08-31-2006, 09:34 PM
You need to vote guys.



The Distinguished 'Heineken Star Award' to Honor Smoothest Champions in US Open History

Theme Complements New Heineken Premium Light Presence at the Event


WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Heineken USA (Heineken), the official beer sponsor of the US Open (taking place Aug. 28 -- Sept. 10), is activating its renewed sponsorship of the tournament on a national level, by inviting fans to vote for the "Smoothest Champions in US Open History" with the 2006 Heineken Star Award. The theme this year pays homage to legendary players with the smoothest wins from US Open tournaments played over the past 26 years at Flushing Meadow, while reinforcing new Heineken Premium Light's smooth taste and premium image.

Established in 1996, the Heineken Star Award is a unique Tiffany(R)-designed crystal trophy that originally recognized players who displayed the gutsiest performance during the US Open. Modified in 2003, the Award concept took a more historical and thematic approach, honoring past US Open competitors who thrilled fans with their memorable on-court play.

"The US Open represents our longest active sponsorship and the Heineken Star Award is an important part of our involvement in this prestigious and high-profile event," said Andy Glaser, Heineken brand director. "The Award theme this year pays tribute to the smoothest champions in US Open history, while complementing the introduction of smooth new Heineken Premium Light to the tournament and around the country."

Below are the six "Smoothest US Open Champion" nominees for 2006 Heineken Star Award:

Andre Agassi

In addition to winning the US Open twice, Andre Agassi is the only male player in the Open era to win every Grand Slam event as well as the Masters, the Davis Cup and an Olympic Gold. Playing in his final US Open this year, Agassi will be looking toward a rematch of his 2005 defeat by Federer.

Pete Sampras

Ranked as the ATP #1 player for a record six years (283 weeks), Sampras counts five US Open trophies among his unequaled 14 Grand Slam titles. In 1990, he overcame Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe then Andre Agassi to become (at 19) the youngest US Open champ in History.

Roger Federer

At the age of 25, Roger Federer is already being talked about as one of the greatest players in tennis history. The current #1-ranked player in the world, Federer is also the defending US Open Champion. He comes into this year's tournament on the heels of an emphatic Wimbledon victory over archrival, Rafael Nadal.

Jimmy Connors

One of the all-time US Open favorites, Connors won five Open titles. He is the only male player to have won the Open on three different surfaces: grass, clay and hard court. Connors has a unique history with Flushing Meadows, having won the very first open played here, in 1978.

Stefan Edberg

Stefan Edberg parlayed his flawless serve-and-volley game into six Grand Slam victories. The Swede won back-to-back US Open titles in 1991 and '92, with the last coming against Pete Sampras, in a thrilling comeback after dropping the first set.

Arthur Ashe

For a man who has many "firsts" in his career, Arthur Ashe shares a notable one with tournament that is now played in a venue that carries his name. Ashe was not only the first African American to win the US Open; his victory here in 1968 was the first US Open ever played. He also captured Wimbledon in 1970 and the French Open in 1975.

Fans 21 and older can visit http://www.heinekenlight.com/ to review the nominees, view vignettes posted by Heineken and CBS and cast their votes for the Smoothest US Open Champion. Voting will open Thursday, August 24 and conclude with the last men's quarter final match, scheduled for Thursday, September 7.

The winner will be announced on Saturday, September 9 on CBS. In addition, Heineken will make a donation to the charity of the winner's choice. Past recipients of the Heineken Star Award include Pete Sampras, Patrick Rafter, Carlos Moya, Todd Martin, Amelie Mauresmo, Andy Roddick and Juan Ignacio.

Now in its 15th year of sponsorship, Heineken recently announced the renewal of its contract with the US Open through 2010.

About Heineken USA

Heineken USA Inc., the nation's largest beer importer, is a subsidiary of Heineken International BV, which is the world's most international brewer. Brands imported into the U.S. include: Heineken Lager, the world's most international beer brand; new Heineken Premium Light, Amstel Light, the largest-selling imported light beer brand; and Buckler non-alcoholic brew. Heineken USA is also the exclusive USA importer for the Tecate, Dos Equis, Sol, Carta Blanca and Bohemia brands from FEMSA Cerveza of Mexico. Please visit http://www.enjoyheinekenresponsibly.com/ .

About the USTA

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. It owns and operates the US Open, the largest annually attended sporting event in the world, and launched the US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 94 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. A not-for-profit organization with 675,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. For more information on the USTA, log on to http://www.usta.com/ .

angiel
09-05-2006, 08:25 PM
All Black vanities do Tests no credit
By Mick Cleary


(Filed: 05/09/2006)



Never mind Jake White's job prospects, South Africa did us all a favour in beating New Zealand on Saturday. Sure, the victory was late and narrow, and yes, the Springboks coach might not survive beyond this weekend's closing Tri-Nations fixture against Australia, but at long last someone has managed to puncture the overbearing hype about next year's Rugby World Cup.



Maybe even Graham Henry is pleased at the outcome although to admit as much to the one-eyed Kiwi nation would cause him to be roasted on a spit anywhere from Auckland to Invercargill. The All Blacks coach might now perhaps go back to the business of treating Test rugby as it should be treated: that is, as the focal point of the sporting calendar and not as some trumped-up dummy run for next year's World Cup. Henry has mixed and matched his side over the past 12 months to the point where only he knows for sure who his best XV might be. The rest of us have lost interest. Pretty soon the entire rugby public will. Let's just give New Zealand the Webb Ellis Trophy and then we can get back to preparing for Test matches in a proper fashion.

I know. I know. The All Blacks have not done badly in messing us all about. Fifteen straight victories before the Rustenburg reverse is a tidy run of results. Thank goodness they didn't field their first team. Well, more's the pity in my book. If the All Blacks really are that good — and I'm not wholly convinced — then let's see it out there, Test match after Test match. Let's revel in their superiority.

Some misguided fools moan about how boring Wimbledon became with Pete Sampras in the ascendancy. Ditto Roger Federer. The same is said of Tiger Woods in golf. Don't these dolts realise that genius passes our way only now and again. We should relish the moment, not bleat about the lamentable quality of the opposition.

The World Cup looms over everything and is in grave danger of undermining all else around it. Henry is also under fire for plans to withhold leading players from next year's Super 14 series.

This Thursday, Sept 7, sees the countdown clock hit exactly 12 months before the opening game of RWC 2007, France against Argentina, at the Stade de France. 'Jour 365' will bring a raft of announcements and updates in Paris tomorrow on the progress of the tournament. The organisers have done well so far although nothing can make up for the hideous botch job of farming out six matches to Wales and Scotland in return for support in the voting committee rooms.

The closer we get to the event the crasser it seems that Cardiff will host Wales-Australia (nice home advantage leg-up there), as well as Fiji-Canada and then Wales against the Asian qualifier. Cardiff even has a quarter-final! Scotland, meanwhile, which barely contributed one token bit of bunting when legitimately staging part of the 1999 Rugby World Cup, has two games: Scotland versus the second European qualifier as well as a tasty-looking encounter with the All Blacks, by which time Henry might have deigned to put out his first XV.

Madness. How much better to have seen more matches in the rugby heartlands of south-west France. We have all been cheated of something very special.

There is little doubt that on other fronts France will host a terrific tournament. But because of this horse-trading mess, they cannot claim it as their own, nor can their people. Three years ago in Australia, the nation came together as one to celebrate a global event, as did the Germans this summer in football. That opportunity has been lost.

Over a million tickets have been sold and organisers are soon to announce that individual tickets to games are to be made available.

It hasn't taken too much effort to be scathing about England's prospects. Five successive defeats tells its own tale. All is not quite lost. The margins at the top end are too fine for that ever to be the case even if New Zealand, in whatever guise, are ahead of the rest.

Rob Andrew has been in his new job as director of elite rugby for five days. In theory, he has an input into Andy Robinson's selection. New Zealand are first up on Nov 5. No better time to ignite a bonfire of those Kiwi vanities.

www.telegraph.co.uk/cleary

angiel
09-07-2006, 08:49 PM
Tiger Woods

Posted 2006-09-07




Back when Pete Sampras was dominating tennis, columnist Thomas Sowell wrote one of the pleasures of life was being able to watch perhaps the finest tennis player in history and the finest golfer in history.

The finest golfer was, of course, Tiger Woods. If the history of golf continues for 500 years, Mr. Woods may still be remembered as the finest individual to ever pick up a driver or stroke a putt into a hole.

An eight-under 63 gave him a two shot-victory in the Deutsche Bank Championship Monday, which was his fifth consecutive victory. He quickly erased a three-stroke deficit to Vijay Singh — not exactly a journeyman player — and went on to win the tournament in a breeze.

Jack Nicklaus holds the record for the number of wins in major tournaments – 18. However, with a dozen wins already, it’s only a matter of time until Mr. Woods overtakes him.

He will take next week off, which no doubt other PGA members will appreciate. However, if anyone has a chance to watch Mr. Woods the next time he tees up, remember you will be watching the finest player in the history of the game.

angiel
09-07-2006, 09:02 PM
Sampras, Connors OR Agassi – Which Swing Brings in the Most Bucks at Auction?


On Friday, September 8, the International Tennis Hall of Fame will find out if tennis fans would prefer to return a swing from Pete Sampras, trade ground strokes with Andre Agassi or go head to head with Jimmy Connors. At their 2005 gala, the Hall auctioned a hit session with Agassi for $30,000. Last month, at their annual induction ceremony, a hit session with Connors scheduled for this Thursday at the US Open netted $26,000. On September 8 at their annual Newport in New York Gala at the Waldorf=Astoria, the Hall will auction off a similar session with Sampras in Los Angeles. Bidders need not attend as absentee bidding will be allowed for this unique experience.



For more information call 917-663-2259 or email mcdonnell@tennisfame.com.

angiel
09-09-2006, 03:40 PM
Posted on Fri, Sep. 08, 2006

Today in History, Sept. 8



1996: At the U.S. Open, Pete Sampras defeated Michael Chang and Steffi Graf beat Monica Seles to win the top prizes.

angiel
09-11-2006, 01:26 PM
BILLIE JEAN KING will talk tennis on the father/daughter gabfest today on 570 at 9, although we'll certainly try to change the subject. We'll also chat with former Nebraska punter Darin Erstad, who married a girl from Nebraska, and probably will make the case that Nicholls State was just as big a test as USC.

King and Elton John will be co-hosting the 14th annual Advanta World Team Tennis Smash Hits benefiting the Elton John AIDS Foundation on Thursday at the Bren Center at UC Irvine. Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick will play each other in a singles match, and later Anna Kournikova will join in. Hard to believe tickets are still available.



T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.

MariaV
09-13-2006, 07:31 PM
Here the article about Pete if you haven't read it. :wavey:

The Sunday Times
September 10, 2006

Dreaming of SW19
ANDREW LONGMORE IN BEVERLY HILLS

Pete Sampras admits that in retirement he finds the green grass of Wimbledon calling him

The last great match of Pete Sampras’s career is being played out inside his head. Each summer, he watches Wimbledon, hears a voice and then goes in search of his racket. The other 50 weeks of the year, he is merely another former champion, playing some golf, enjoying his weekly game of poker and taking his eldest son out to lunch. The problem is that the soothing voice, the voice that he wants to hear, the voice that says he could still play one last Wimbledon, is getting louder. The bigger problem is that the other, quieter voice knows the truth.

An interview with Sampras now is more conversation than question and answer. The period of isolation, the re-entry into real life, is over and the 14-time Grand Slam and seven-time Wimbledon champion — world No 1 for 286 weeks — is rediscovering exactly what it is about the game he once dominated that he now misses so much. Most of the time he can cope with the gnawing feeling of loss, but during Wimbledon the ache becomes persistent.

He sees player after player staying at the back of the court, he sees Jonas Bjorkman reach a semi-final and Rafael Nadal, a clay-courter, in the final and wonders aloud what damage he, Sampras, could still do.

The danger of embarrassment if he came back seems irrelevant. What could be more embarrassing than his last match, losing to George Bastl, a qualifier, in 2002 on Court Two, the so-called Graveyard of Champions. He would still be younger than Andre Agassi, who played his final Wimbledon this summer at the age of 36.

So the phrase just slips out. “I mean, great a player as Nadal is,” Sampras says, “you put a really good serve-and-volleyer against him and you have got to feel pretty good about it.” So you would fancy your chances against him on grass? “Oh yeah, even today. If I worked at it and I . . . I’ve had those moments, they come and go, like playing Wimbledon again — I haven’t ruled it out. I’m not saying I’m going to come back, but I’ve had moments of wanting to play there more now than I ever have.”

Haven’t ruled it out? “Well, I have. But seeing how everyone’s playing, staying back on grass like it’s Paris, and just the fact that I miss Wimbledon and the fact that I ended it on such a poor note on Court Two against someone I shouldn’t have lost to. That still left a bad taste in my mouth. So you think, ‘Wow, one more time’, and if I wanted to do it, I could do it. But there would be so much more work to do. In reality, it’s not going to happen.’”

That seems to be the end of the rally, the backhand down the line, the forehand volley. But there will be more points. Last summer, Sampras began playing competitive tennis again. He ordered his new Federer rackets, bigger and more powerful than the Wilson Pro-Staff he used in his prime, and, three years after he last struck a tennis ball, went to hit with some kids from the University of Southern California. He had forgotten how sweet it was to hear the gentle thud of ball on racket, to feel the satisfaction of returning to the office.

“Frankly, I was pretty bored, pretty restless,” he says. “I was playing a lot of golf, a lot of poker, recreational things, and I had a talk with my wife about it at Christmas. I was a little bit down and she could see it and I promised myself that if I had some tennis opportunities I would consider playing again.

“So I opened myself up this year and some people called from Houston asking me to play an exhibition. I had about a month and a half to hit some balls and when I got off the phone I was excited.

“I played that exhibition and then a friend of Billie-Jean King’s, who’d been wanting me to play Team Tennis since I was about 20, asked me again and I decided to play. The preparation was just what I was looking for, I wanted the structure in my life. I felt an element of life in me.”

Sampras gave a press conference in a furniture store in Sacramento, made his debut for the Newport Beach Breakers in a 2,500-seater arena on a golf course in northern Connecticut and sold out the Dwight Davis Memorial Tennis Center in Forest Park, St Louis. He played in Boise, Idaho, and Atlanta.

He also lost 5-0 — four-point games, first to five — to a guy called John Paul Fruttero in Carson, California. But in the Home Depot Centre in Orange County, Sampras beat Jim Courier, a good friend and an old foe, 6-1 6-4 in 64 minutes and felt like a proper player again. His first point was an ace timed at 125mph. “He was serving right, he was returning right and when you put those two together, he’s, well, he’s Pete,” said Courier.

“The first step was the toughest, not swallowing your pride so much as being prepared to lose,” says Sampras. “When I played Jim here in Los Angeles, because he’s a rival, I played really good. I’m not going to be as good as I once was, I don’t move as well, I’m not as sharp, I’m not holding on as tight as I used to; when I lose to some of those guys, I shrug it off.

“But I’m still a competitive person inside. I’ll play a few more matches at the end of the year (including a charity match to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina) and that’s where I’m at.”

AFTER Agassi retired in New York, Sampras called and left a message. A few days later, Agassi returned the call. It was a significant moment for both men. Agassi’s tearful farewell at Flushing Meadows had marked the end of a golden era of American tennis, begun by 17-year-old Michael Chang’s astonishing victory in the French Open in 1989 and continued by Courier, Sampras and Agassi through 17 years and 26 more Grand Slam victories. Sampras found the scenes as moving as the rest of America and rang to say so.

But there was more to the call than congratulation and support. “I wanted to say how much I had enjoyed the matches we’d had (34 in total, 20-14 to Sampras). When we were one and two in the world it was difficult to be close, but we always liked and respected each other. We’re very different, but we still have a lot in common. He’s got two kids, I’ve got two kids, I go to Las Vegas, he comes to LA. It would be good to catch up in a way, to remove ourselves from what we used to be, so we agreed to stay in touch. It was just like two guys talking.”

What will Agassi be feeling this week? “Relief. It’s over. He was banged up pretty bad. His back was hurting, his thigh muscle had gone, everything was breaking down. He doesn’t have to deal with all that any more, he doesn’t have to worry about tennis, about eating, sleeping, working out — all that stress. He’ll get excited about doing some things with his foundation and with his kids and he’ll go through the whole emotional cycle when you don’t miss it and then you slowly miss it.”

While Agassi’s body finally gave out, it was Sampras’s mind that folded first. “My heart,” he corrects. After winning his 14th Grand Slam at the US Open in 2002, two months after his ignominious exit from Wimbledon, Sampras put down his racket and never quite picked it up again. The rewards no longer justified the sacrifices. He had nothing left to prove. For three days that spring, he practised in anticipation of his return to Wimbledon, the one tournament sure to stir his emotions. Midway through the third day, he told Paul Annacone, his old coach: “This is for real, I’m done.”

His retirement was neither expected nor scheduled.

Agassi always compared his career in tennis to a journey through life. Sampras was never as philosophically minded or as chameleon-like in his temperament or image. Sampras appeared as a fully fledged champion to win the US Open at the age of 19 and didn’t change his approach much thereafter. He was, he admits, a creature of habit, keeping to the same routine, staying at the same hotel, eating at the same restaurant at the same tournaments year after year. “Same shit, different city” was the unofficial motto of the Tour. But no less than Agassi, Sampras developed as a character through his tennis.

Initially shy, sometimes dour, he was criticised for being dull, just as Courier was accused of being an untalented blue-collar grinder and Agassi a flamboyant fake. “What do you want?” Ivan Lendl once asked the press in New York. “In Pete, you have a kid who behaves well, plays great tennis and wears white.”

Lendl was right, but it took several Wimbledon championships for people to acknowledge that a proper heart beat beneath the unchanging half-smile. Having said in the aftermath of his retirement that he didn’t want to talk, watch or read tennis, that he just wanted to “decompress”, Sampras’s passion for the game has remained undimmed.

Over an hour and a half’s conversation, he talks of how much he could help today’s players with their mental approach, of how much Goran Ivanisevic scared him as a player — “I knew he could serve me off the court” — and how his real reward for winning Wimbledon came not with the trophy but on the plane home when he read all the descriptions of his victory in the British newspapers.

“Some of you guys said things that got me, got the sport; it wasn’t a bunch of quotes, it was like you were writing about theatre,” he says. “Then when I got home to Florida I’d go to a place called Checkers, a greasy hamburger joint, and have a celebration meal.”

Equally apparent is his concern for the future of tennis in an age of big Babolat rackets and punishing groundstrokes. The serve-and-volleyer, he believes, is now officially extinct or will be with the passing of Tim Henman. After the last Wimbledon, he rang Annacone to ask what was going on. “He said the balls were a little bit slower, but I don’t buy it,” says Sampras. “It’s still grass. I’m amazed at everyone staying back. Serve and volley is an art, it’s something that you learn as a kid, not when you’re 20. But that’s hard because you’re going to get passed a lot, it’s much easier to stay back.

“Roger (Federer) is a legend in the making, he’s such a great mover and can go from defence to attack in an instant. Regardless of whether he stopped tomorrow, he’s dominated his generation more than anyone has. Nadal is a great player, but the rest I look at are really good players.

“But even Roger’s staying back at Wimbledon. When I played him, he came in on every ball. I have always felt the best tennis was a contrast, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, me and Andre, someone stays back, someone comes in. Now it’s just guys banging from the back courts.

“When I watch Roger freewheeling, so confident, it’s such a great feeling, but if I was playing him now, I would still try and take his time away, come to the net first and second serve, attack his second serve, same as with Andre. Nobody takes his time away. I’d just come at him and keep coming.”

For all the praise for his Wimbledon heir, Sampras was genuinely appreciative when, during one of the many breaks for rain at this year’s US Open, they replayed his last final against Agassi four years before. “McEnroe said some nice things — ‘It was just four years ago and we forget just how great Sampras was’. You hear so much talk of Roger, it felt pretty good to hear,” he says.

Federer and Wimbledon, though, will have to wait on his return. Sampras says that he wants his sons, Christian, four, and one-year-old Ryan to be old enough to appreciate the significance of the surroundings before they make the pilgrimage.

“I miss it badly and I want to come back,” Sampras says. “I just want to wait a little bit longer.” But, deep down, he knows that there’s another reason for the delay. Sampras cannot come back until the conversation in his head has been silenced for ever.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,5205-2350458.html

angiel
09-13-2006, 10:22 PM
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Irvine tennis event to raise AIDS funds
Billie Jean King, Elton John and top players rally to fight the disease.


By JANIS CAAR
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER


Billie Jean King, a former No. 1-ranked tennis player and activist, watched with despair as her longtime friend and fellow tennis player Arthur Ashe died from AIDS-related pneumonia.

The disease had ravaged his body, but not his spirit. Ashe's battle with AIDS was played out on a public stage and, despite his initial reticence over the news of his struggle, Ashe became a champion for the disease.

Ashe, a Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion, began a $5 million fundraising campaign and questioned the lack of government funding for research. "Talking to audiences about AIDS has become in some respects the most important function of my life," he wrote in his memoir, "Days of Grace."

This was a fight Ashe, 49, fought until he died in 1993. It was a fight King took up shortly after his funeral.

"Watching it take its toll on Arthur was hard. I had known Arthur for so long, and it was difficult to deal with his death," King said last week at the U.S. Open in New York, where U.S. Tennis Association officials renamed the facility the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Today, King, 62, is director of the National AIDS Fund and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and brings her 14th annual Advanta/WTT All-Star Smash Hits benefit Thursday to the Bren Center on the UC Irvine campus.

Proceeds from an auction and tennis exhibition featuring U.S. Open finalist Andy Roddick, Pete Sampras, Anna Kournikova and Rennae Stubbs, will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the AIDS Services Foundation Orange County.

In Orange County, 3,199 people have died of AIDS since 1981, and 5,970 cases have been reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during that span, according to the AIDS Services Foundation Orange County Web site.

Nationally, more than 1.1 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in 2003.

"When Elton started his foundation in 1992 or '93, he asked me to be involved, and of course I said yes," King said. "He and I always wanted to do something together, so when Ilana Kloss (World Team Tennis president) suggested that we team up to do a series of tennis exhibitions, it seemed like a natural thing to do.

"I want to help Elton as much as I can."

King and John first met back in 1974 when the singer/songwriter penned "Philadelphia Freedom" as a tribute to her World Team Tennis team, the Philadelphia Freedoms. King founded the league.

"Elton has been a part of the fabric of World Team Tennis," King said, adding that John is an avid tennis player, who travels with a teaching pro when on tour.

"He has a very big forehand and can go deep with it," she said. "He tries to get out on the court about once a week."

In 14 years, King and John have raised $8 million through the Smash Hits event.

"We're trying to make a difference in AIDS awareness and prevention," King said.

King's involvement with HIV/AIDS goes beyond her annual tennis event or board of director duties. She said she routinely visits AIDS patients in hospitals, including several while on a trip to Africa a few years ago.

"We also visited with a lot of children. You need to teach the kids about the prevention of AIDS," she said, "because that's where it starts."

Greg-Pete fan
09-14-2006, 09:03 PM
"AFTER Agassi retired in New York, Sampras called and left a message. A few days later, Agassi returned the call. It was a significant moment for both men. Agassi’s tearful farewell at Flushing Meadows had marked the end of a golden era of American tennis, begun by 17-year-old Michael Chang’s astonishing victory in the French Open in 1989 and continued by Courier, Sampras and Agassi through 17 years and 26 more Grand Slam victories. Sampras found the scenes as moving as the rest of America and rang to say so.

But there was more to the call than congratulation and support. “I wanted to say how much I had enjoyed the matches we’d had (34 in total, 20-14 to Sampras). When we were one and two in the world it was difficult to be close, but we always liked and respected each other. We’re very different, but we still have a lot in common. He’s got two kids, I’ve got two kids, I go to Las Vegas, he comes to LA. It would be good to catch up in a way, to remove ourselves from what we used to be, so we agreed to stay in touch. It was just like two guys talking".


I knew Pete would do it ;) Great :) I would like to see them playing an exhibition game or something like that ;) They should keep in touch :)

the_natural
09-25-2006, 03:25 PM
That was a GREATTT article really it was.

angiel
09-26-2006, 06:56 PM
That was a GREATTT article really it was.


:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:

angiel
11-20-2006, 07:40 PM
Courier courting Sampras for 2007

Published November 14, 2006


One season down, Pete Sampras to go.

That could be Jim Courier's mantra for the rest of 2006 as he signs off on the final bills and does a more comprehensive assessment of the success of his first year running a five-stop seniors tour.

And could Sampras make his first appearance in Naples, next March 7-11?

"We've been talking, verbally and in emails," Courier said. "I think Pete is very interested in playing and he seems eager to be on that path."

But there are no commitments yet, and you could speculate that, clay not being Sampras' favorite surface, he probably won't play at Naples, which is on the clay courts at the Lely Resort.

I don't suppose I'm going to get a look at the books, but Courier is assuring everyone that InsideOut Sports and Entertainment, the company he founded and which was the umbrella for the five tournaments this year (Naples, Boston, Charlotte, Memphis and Houston) is financially sound and ready to embark on a six-stop tour in 2007 - the additional city to be announced next month.

This is the second seniors tour attempted in the U.S., coming several years after the group initiated by Jimmy Connors went belly-up. The quality of play with this group is better and the distribution of prize money doesn't depend on your name.

You win one of Courier's events without losing in the round-robin phase and you take home $48,000, and it doesn't matter that your surname isn't Connors or McEnroe.

Courier won two events this year and Todd Martin, Magnus Larson and Wayne Ferreira each won one, with Ferreira winning over Larson in the final at Houston on Sunday.

What this proves is that there is a market for these players in the United States if the tour is run right, perhaps as great a market here as there has been over the last few years in Europe, where Marcelo Rios has dominated in 2006.

The moody Rios is not the guy you want schmoozing your sponsors at one of these seniors events. Still, he's playing high-quality tennis. He was forced off the ATP tour by a succession of leg injuries, but he's still only 30 and good enough to beat John McEnroe, Goran Ivanisevic, Sergi Bruguera and the rest of the cast of characters that have been touring Europe.

I asked Courier if there was any chance Rios could be enticed over here into a sort of east-meets-west playoffs between the tours, or even just as an individual entrant.

"This is about putting the best product out there," he replied, diplomatically. "We've got great names and we're hoping to incorporate some new names next year."

One would be Sampras, another would be getting Michael Chang back. Chang played Naples in March and looked extremely fit before snapping an Achilles' tendon in a match. He's still recovering from surgery.

Courier has a three-year deal with title sponsor Outback Steakhouses, and he's probably had almost as many travel days this year as he did when he was on the ATP Tour. He's 36, in great shape and you'd swear he could come back on the men's tour right now at a small event and win matches.

"Yeah, that always creeps into your mind," he said. "I do wonder how well I'm playing, compared to, say, Andy Roddick, especially on clay. First of all, I'd rule out five sets. I can't train hard enough to do that. Best of three, that's a possibility. But it's not something I'm thinking seriously about."

So, if Butch Buchholz called next year and offered a wild card into the Sony Ericsson Open on Key Biscayne, would you consider it?

"I wouldn't expect to say yes," said Courier. "But it would be much appreciated."

Warming up to Delray

The Delray Beach International Tennis Tournament (Jan. 28-Feb. 4) will hold a pre-qualifying tournament this weekend at the Delray Beach Tennis Center. The winner get a wild card into the regular qualifying event with four players coming out of that into the main draw. Ticket informationfor the Delray tournament: www.yellowtennisball.com.

Charles Bricker's tennis column appears weekly. He can be reached at cbricker@sun-sentinel.com.

oz_boz
11-27-2006, 01:35 PM
"I do wonder how well I'm playing, compared to, say, Andy Roddick, especially on clay. First of all, I'd rule out five sets. I can't train hard enough to do that. Best of three, that's a possibility. But it's not something I'm thinking seriously about."


:haha:

Courier vs ARod, even on clay that wouldn't be funny. Considering Jimbo's last year in regular clay tournies, 1999, he lost twice to clay giant Mirnyi in three-setters no less, and went out in the 2nd round of RG after beating qualifier Calatrava. His wins on clay were against such clowns as Tillstrom, Gimelstob and Roudrigez.

Stick to the Delta tour Jimbo. You did well in the early 90's but those days are by and gone.

angiel
11-27-2006, 03:20 PM
:haha:

Courier vs ARod, even on clay that wouldn't be funny. Considering Jimbo's last year in regular clay tournies, 1999, he lost twice to clay giant Mirnyi in three-setters no less, and went out in the 2nd round of RG after beating qualifier Calatrava. His wins on clay were against such clowns as Tillstrom, Gimelstob and Roudrigez.

Stick to the Delta tour Jimbo. You did well in the early 90's but those days are by and gone.


Did he say he was coming back on tour????????:( :( :rolleyes:

Eden
12-06-2006, 12:04 PM
Sampras eager to return to his former day job

During his competitive tennis career, Pete Sampras found satisfaction in being an athlete: the energy expended, the sweat dispensed, the physical nature of it.
In retirement, Sampras found lots of things he enjoys — golf, poker, quality time with his two young sons — but nothing that gives him the same satisfaction as a day of hard work.
"Every man needs to work," Sampras told the Idaho Statesman during a telephone interview last week. "I'm not much of a business coat-and-tie guy, not much of a computer-and-phone guy. I'm an athlete."
The 35-year-old Sampras, who holds the record for most Grand Slam titles with 14, will return to the court Friday at Qwest Arena in Downtown Boise as the headliner of the St. Luke's-Idaho Elks Rehabilitation Services (SLIERS) Tennis Shootout.
Sampras faces American pro Robby Ginepri in the second of three exhibitions between the two this year. Since his retirement after the 2002 U.S. Open, Sampras has played very few public, competitive events.
He lives in Beverly Hills, Calif., with his wife, actress Bridgette Wilson, and their two sons, Christian (4) and Ryan (1).
The opportunity to play several exhibitions sounded perfect to Sampras, who played plenty of golf and poker, but felt as if he needed more physical pursuits.
"I felt like I needed just a little more than doing recreational activities," he said. "It's given me some structure, some focus, a little bit of what I used to have. I miss working."
It's typical Sampras, who exuded a business-like approach during a playing career that included 64 singles titles. Sampras' quiet approach made him a perfect rival for Andre Agassi,who participated in a similar exhibition event last December in Boise. The American rivals dominated the sport for much of the 1990s and their dueling personalities made for excellent theater.
"That's what made it great. It was natural. Andre was more abrasive, more of a showman. I was a lot more conservative. It was one of those rivalries that was born to happen," said Sampras, who first played against Agassi when he was 7.
Even as a teen, Sampras exhibited extraordinary ability — and little of the arrogance that sometimes accompanies great talent.
"Just a shy, introverted kid who had this incredible talent," said Boise State tennis coach Greg Patton, who coached Sampras on the U.S. Junior Davis Cup Team in the mid-1980s. "He'd do things on the court that were way ahead of his years, and his athleticism was just incredible."
With Sampras, considered by many as the greatest tennis player ever, and Agassi, one of the game's most dominant personalities, now out of competitive tennis — and both raising young children — the sport has declined in popularity in America. Younger Americans such as Andy Roddick, James Blake and Ginepri have not had the success of the previous generation.
"The slams will still have big sellouts at the stadium. But in order to be transcendent, they still need an American presence. Fans don't know (Rafael) Nadal from (Richard) Ljubicic. In order to get those football guys, those basketball guys and baseball guys, they need an American presence," Sampras said.
That's why few outside tennis circles have noticed the dominance of Swiss star Roger Federer. Federer, who has nine Grand Slam championships, is threatening to overtake Sampras' record for major titles — but lacks a true foil.
John McEnroe had Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors. Sampras had Agassi. Federer has Nadal, occasionally, and little else.
"No one is really pushing him consistently. He's going to break all the records in tennis. He could win as many as 16, 17 majors. He could stay No. 1 as long as he wants. Clearly, he's the best player," Sampras said.
Sampras regrets that their careers did not overlap, but he knows how he would take on Federer: by rushing the net as he did against the other great baseliners, including Agassi.
But would he win?
"It's hard to say. When I was on my best, I felt like I was unbeatable. It's hard to say who was better in his prime," said Sampras, who finished ranked No. 1 from 1993 through 1998.
Sampras said the idea of returning to competitive tennis has "crossed my mind," especially during Wimbledon season. Sampras captured the grass-court championship a record-tying seven times and he thinks his serve-and-volley game could still be very effective against today's pros, who prefer to stay near the baseline.
For now, he's content with getting back to work. Sampras said he rarely saw his father, who worked two jobs during his childhood. Though he loves the time he spends with them, he doesn't want his sons to get the wrong idea about work.
"I hope my sons don't think it's normal," he said of his retired status. "I'll teach them right."

Source: http://www.idahostatesman.com/101/story/62774.html

angiel
12-06-2006, 08:39 PM
Thank Eden,:wavey: :wavey:



Great read.:worship: :worship: :angel:

tangerine_dream
12-10-2006, 08:38 PM
I've never understood where the crazy(ier) Federer fans get the idea that Petey is afraid of Roger or scared of Roger breaking his records? :scratch: Because Petey's own words say otherwise:

Q: Do you get asked more about Roger Federer than yourself?

A: Yeah. How do you think he'll do? How good is he? It will be a comparison for the next number of years. I really think Roger is going to go on and break most of my records. That's OK. I've reached out and offered him congratulations. I've told him how much I admire and respect what he's been doing.

The full interview here:

http://www.theage.com.au/news/tennis/wimbledon-still-an-attraction-for-sampras/2006/12/10/1165685554336.html
Wimbledon still an attraction for Sampras
12/11/06

IN 2002, Pete Sampras, one of tennis' greatest champions, slipped into retirement. He and his wife, actress Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, concentrated on raising two sons in California, out of the glare of celebrity.

Now 35, he is returning part-time to the court. He has just finished one short season of World Team Tennis and embarked on a series of exhibitions.

Sampras says he has dropped the five kilograms he gained in retirement, and that his serve has remained in the 210-km/h range.

His modern-era records — 14 grand slam titles, seven Wimbledon championships, a six-year span of being ranked No. 1 in the world — are all being challenged by Roger Federer. Sampras spoke on the weekend about his life and his legacy:

Question: What is the best and the worst part of retiring at 31?

Answer: Throughout my life, I always had the job and sport in the back of my mind. When you'd go out and have a few beers or go out for a nice dinner, there was always the thought of how it would affect my tennis. After "retiring" I could have some fun and not worry about people trying to knock me out of No. 1. I do miss the work and the structure and the focus.

I miss the high of playing Wimbledon and the other majors. I miss the rush of standing on Centre Court of Wimbledon.

Q: Now that you've begun hitting a tennis ball again, how active do you plan to be?

A: I'm looking to get myself busy again. I'm looking to get a little more structure and focus in my life. I love being with my kids, but a man has to go to work. I'm playing a little bit now, but nothing like it used to be. I hit some balls three or four times a week. I get to the gym almost every day. We'll just see how it goes next year and take it from there.

Q: Ever think of making a full-blown comeback?

A: The only time I really think about it — and it's not going to happen, believe me — is around Wimbledon. Especially when I see everybody staying back on the grass. That was something I loved to see.

Q: When you see a guy like Jimmy Connors succeeding as a coach with Andy Roddick, do you have any interest in that?

A: It has crossed my mind, and people do ask about that. To be a coach takes quite a bit of travelling, and I don't know if I'd like that part. Realistically, I don't see that happening. But I don't know, if someone asks me to do it … I do know what to do out there.

Q: Do you get asked more about Roger Federer than yourself?

A: Yeah. How do you think he'll do? How good is he? It will be a comparison for the next number of years. I really think Roger is going to go on and break most of my records. That's OK. I've reached out and offered him congratulations. I've told him how much I admire and respect what he's been doing.

Q: Do you allow yourself to imagine what it would be like to play Federer when you were both in your prime?

A: I think it would be an interesting match-up. Roger is more of a baseliner; he doesn't like to come in to the net as much. I'm all about pace. I think we both would have our fair share of wins. Neither would dominate the other.

Q: Do you watch a lot of tennis any more?

A: Not a lot. Just the majors.

tangerine_dream
12-10-2006, 11:12 PM
Petey, Petey, everywhere. :p

http://www.tennisreporters.net/sampras_ginepri_121006.html
Sampras' game may be ready for US senior circuit
Pete on missing French title: ‘I should have tried a bigger racket’
By Ron Cioffi, TennisReporters.net

FROM KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY OUTSIDE ATLANTA, GA. – The pistol is cocked and it surely is loaded.

"Pistol" Pete Sampras is firing like a 24-year-old. After defeating Robby Ginepri in back-to-back exhibitions, the all-time Grand Slam record holder told the crowd, "I still have a few tools in the shed."

Sampras' return to tennis – a few exhibitions and sub-par play in the '06 World TeamTennis season – hit a high point this weekend. After thumping Ginepri in straight sets in Boise, Idaho on Friday, Sampras flew into Atlanta for a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory.

The 35-year-old was giving away 11 years and hometown advantage to Ginepri, who lives Kennesaw, a suburb in the sprawling Atlanta metro area. "I don't care if you're the hometown boy," he shouted to Ginepri after easily holding his first service game.

What bodes well for American tennis fans is Sampras' comments that he considering joining Jim Courier's Outback Championship Series tour next year.

The Sun-Sentinel reported Courier said his friend, Sampras, is “very interested in playing, and he seems eager to be on that path."

"Jim's talked to me and I am considering it. Nothing's planned right now," Sampras said in an Atlanta press conference. "You never know," he added. "Who would have thought Jimmy Connors would be coaching right now?"

The seven-time Wimbledon seems to have more on his mind than playing with his kids and working on his self-proclaimed mediocre golf game. Pistol Pete has been practicing his tennis strokes three to four times a week and visits the gym almost every day.

"A man's got to work," he said. "I still have a passion for the game. Playing tennis adds structure to my life."
Hearing that Andre Agassi has been seen on the tennis courts only so shortly after his retirement at this year's U.S. Open, Sampras was taken aback. "I was shocked. After I retired, I didn't want to pick up a racket for months. … I've got to talk [Agassi] in the next few months.”

Sampras brought a steady and confident game here, delivering booming aces, well-placed spin serves and razor-sharp returns. Of course, he was helped by glossy super-fast SportCourt surface that played like the basketball court it was covering up. On one down-the-middle winner, Ginepri didn't have enough time to move five feet to get his racket on the ball. In his fifth set on both sides of the continent in 24 hours, Sampras did not seem winded in the least.

Though his backhand got a little loose in the second set, it was Sampras' personality and wit that was loose throughout the evening. When Ginepri couldn't run down a drop shot, he tossed his racket across the net. Pete didn't return it, but picked it up and tossed in deep into the crowd.

There is no doubt sold-out crowd had one thing on its mind: throwing down its love on Sampras. MC Wayne Bryan boomingly announced him as "the greatest player ever" and the Atlanta fans showed their appreciation for his accomplishments as much as for his legendary running forehand.

Few interviews with Sampras don't include the questions about how he would stack up against Roger Federer. Sampras admitted that Federer is well on his way to breaking all the Californian's records. "Federer's a tremendous player. He's won Wimbledon and he stays back."

Sampras seemed upbeat on the state of men's American tennis, citing the success of Andy Roddick, James Blake and Ginepri., who had a down 2006 But, he conceded, the glory days of the 1990s – Sampras, Agassi, Courier and Michael Chang – will be hard for the US to repeat.

On the Slam that eluded Sampras – Roland Garros – is still a subject he thinks about. "I should have tried a bigger racket. I'm a stubborn guy and I didn't want to change. There are some places where you feel comfortable and one where you fell a little bit extra pressure."

Often criticized for not playing enough preparatory European clay-court tournaments, he said he tried playing just a few in some years and numerous ones in others. "But, neither strategy worked," he added a bit glumly about the only jewel missing from this champion's crown.

Mimi
12-11-2006, 03:04 AM
thanks eden and tanger for the articles :D

yes pete seems genuine on wishing roger the best and does not mind seeing him break all his records, and of course he is not thinking bitterly and jealous on roger as many roger fans said :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :mad: :mad:

angiel
12-12-2006, 07:27 PM
thanks eden and tanger for the articles :D

yes pete seems genuine on wishing roger the best and does not mind seeing him break all his records, and of course he is not thinking bitterly and jealous on roger as many roger fans said :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :mad: :mad:


I love these articles too, thank guys.:worship: :worship: :wavey: :D

angiel
12-12-2006, 07:54 PM
No-brainer times two


There are two nominees for the International Tennis Hall of Fame this year — Pete Sampras and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. That's easy. Check. Check.

No, Sanchez Vicario didn't win 14 Grand Slams like Pistol Pete, but the spunky little Spaniard did collect four singles, six doubles and four mixed doubles titles at the majors. She was an eight-time runner-up in singles as well, being frequently thwarted by Steffi Graf and Monica Seles.
:wavey: :wavey:

Deboogle!.
12-12-2006, 08:36 PM
thanks eden and tanger for the articles :D

yes pete seems genuine on wishing roger the best and does not mind seeing him break all his records, and of course he is not thinking bitterly and jealous on roger as many roger fans said :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :mad: :mad:I agree with you. Some of the Roger fans are trying to find a conspiracy or ulterior motive in Pete's words :rolleyes:

Mimi
12-13-2006, 02:09 AM
thanks Deb :D

yes, how could some of the roger fans know what pete is thinking :rolleyes: ? they are not hiding under his bed right :rolleyes: :p
I agree with you. Some of the Roger fans are trying to find a conspiracy or ulterior motive in Pete's words :rolleyes:

Deboogle!.
12-13-2006, 02:17 AM
thanks Deb :D

yes, how could some of the roger fans know what pete is thinking :rolleyes: ? they are not hiding under his bed right :rolleyes: :pThey're not under his bed, but they are apparently inside his brain :eek::eek::eek: :p

Mimi
12-13-2006, 02:32 AM
:bowdown: :haha: yes so true :p

They're not under his bed, but they are apparently inside his brain :eek::eek::eek: :p

Deboogle!.
12-13-2006, 02:35 AM
:angel:

angiel
12-13-2006, 03:23 PM
:angel:



:worship: :worship: :D :D

angiel
12-13-2006, 03:36 PM
Sampras considering return


Pete Sampras has said he is considering joining Jim Courier's Outback Championship Series tour next year. The 14-time Grand Slam winner officially retired from professional tennis in August 2003, although he played his last tournament at the 2002 U.S. Open.

Players in the Champions Series must have either been ranked in the top five in the world in the ATP rankings during their career, have been a Grand Slam singles finalist or champion, or have been a singles player on a victorious Davis Cup team. Players cannot be currently ranked on the ATP singles computer.

"Jim's talked to me and I am considering it," the 35-year-old confirmed. "Nothing's planned right now.

"You never know. Who would have thought Jimmy Connors would be coaching right now?"

The seven-time Wimbledon champion has been on the practice court three or four times a week, and says he visits the gym almost every day.

"A man's got to work," he said. "I still have a passion for the game. Playing tennis adds structure to my life."

Sampras has just finished one short season of World Team Tennis and has recently been playing a series of exhibition matches.

Last week, Sampras beat 24-year-old American Robby Ginepri - currently ranked 51 in the world - 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in an exhibition match in Atlanta.

Eurosport - AS - 13/12/2006 13:19

angiel
12-19-2006, 06:32 PM
Leaving on a high




Add Kathy Sullivan to a very short list that includes Pete Sampras, Mikhail Gorbachev, John Glenn, Ted Williams and Robert Redford.

Whether it’s tennis, world politics, space travel, the science of hitting or being the sexiest actor in Hollywood, they all stopped trying to be that while they were on top.

Sullivan does the same with her stunning decision not to seek the party chairmanship.

What could she do for an encore to Nov. 7?

Nothing, so why try?

Eden
12-22-2006, 05:41 PM
Thoughts from Justin Gimmelstob:

Happily retired Sampras still has game to topple No. 1

Posted: Friday December 22, 2006 10:41AM; Updated: Friday December 22, 2006 10:49AM

http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2006/writers/justin_gimelstob/12/21/sampras.federer/p1_sampras_1222.jpg

Pete Sampras officially retired in 2003, but has been playing competitively in exhibitions and World TeamTennis since April

December is the offseason for professional tennis. Exhibitions and charity events fill up the calendar as players scurry around picking up some extra holiday spending cash, all while training and preparing for the upcoming year.
In most of these types of events, the game itself is purely for entertainment value. But when you get great athletes together, competitive instincts and pride are always bubbling right underneath the surface.
During this past month, my back has healed enough that I've got on the court to practice a few times a week. (For more on the story behind my surgery, click here.)
It has been exhilarating to reconnect with the sport I love and have missed dearly, and the old adage that you don't realize how much you miss something until it's gone certainly applies. That being said, the pain and frustration of trying to rehabilitate such a severe surgery has been incredibly challenging at times.
But this column isn't about me -- it's about one of, if not the greatest, tennis players of all time. Everyone, me included, has been quick to anoint Roger Federer the new alpha male of tennis history. But after spending some time practicing with retired Pete Sampras, I think we've shortchanged Pistol Pete.
Sampras has participated in a few of the aforementioned charity/exhibition events this month, so obviously he has been practicing plenty. Since we live in such close proximity to each other in Los Angeles, working out together was a convenient fit. Our practices vary in intensity -- the main factors being how my back is feeling on that particular day and how motivated Pete is -- but the tennis Sampras is still capable of playing at 35 is astonishing.
What so-called "experts" often fail to mention (and I use that term very loosely, considering that most people who spout opinions aren't qualified to do so) is how much the evolution of rackets and string have impacted the quality of the sport. Sampras now uses a racket with a little more surface area (compared to the squash-like racket he used to employ) and his weapon of choice features the in-vogue hybrid synthetic/gut string that enables players to increase the torque of the tennis ball by staggering amounts.
With the benefits of these equipment enhancements to a shoulder that I once described as "being touched by God," the tennis that is being produced in Pete's backyard (to clarify: on only one side of the court) is beyond impressive.
I was laughed at and ridiculed in ATP Tour locker rooms a few years back when I defended John McEnroe when he was boasting about his ability to still compete at the highest levels of tennis in ideal conditions. (We were both proven right by the way, with his doubles win in San Jose earlier this year.) I will probably be mocked again when I make this statement:
Pete Sampras is currently playing at a level as high as anyone in the world except for Federer.
Now let me clarify. I'm not saying Sampras could hold up to the physical rigors of tour life, or even a best-of-five-set match. But what I am saying is that, in a best-of-three scenario, he is as good as anyone in the world right now, except for perhaps a younger version of himself -- also known as Roger Federer.
Sampras and the current world No. 1 are eerily similar in many ways, mostly in that they are the two best athletes the game has seen since Björn Borg dominated the ATP. Besides all of their more obvious attributes, Federer and Sampras put so much pressure on you with their court coverage, strength and ability to raise their games when it matters most.
That's why I believe the most imposing threat to Federer's stranglehold on Wimbledon is my practice partner. Pete possesses skills that could actually disrupt the Swiss master by taking his timing away, something very few people can do these days. All this being said, don't hold your breathe for some grand comeback at Wimbledon or anywhere else, for that matter.
Would Pete like to take his chances against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon? You bet. But does he want to deal with the life of a professional tennis player again? Definitely not. And who could blame him? He had the perfect career with the perfect ending, winning the 2002 U.S. Open when everyone said he was finished. He left the sport like John Wayne, riding off into the sunset with guns blazing, something few athletes get to do.
Sampras went out on top (note to Brett Favre and Evander Holyfield). But if you're eager to see hear how accurate I am in my assessment, drive around Beverly Hills at around 1:30 p.m. a few times a week and listen for that sweet sound of a perfectly hit tennis ball. And when security chases you away, go check out Pete in an exhibition, the likes of which he has been dominating since this past fall with wins over Andy Roddick, Robby Ginepri and Todd Martin.

http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2006/writers/justin_gimelstob/12/21/sampras.federer/p1_sampras_federer_1222.jpg

In their only meeting, Roger Federer (left) upset Pete Sampras in the third round at Wimbledon '01 in a tense five-set thriller.

Source: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/justin_gimelstob/12/21/sampras.federer/index.html?eref=si_more

angiel
12-22-2006, 06:57 PM
Thank you Eden:worship: :angel:


Great article, keep posting my friend.:wavey: :cool: :)


Have a merry christmas and a properous new year when it comes, 2006 was good hope 2007 even better, God bless.

Eden
12-23-2006, 11:05 PM
Have a merry christmas and a properous new year when it comes, 2006 was good hope 2007 even better, God bless.

Thank you :)

Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year to you and all other Sampras fans here as well :)

angiel
12-24-2006, 10:53 PM
Thank you :)

Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year to you and all other Sampras fans here as well :)



:worship: :angel: :angel: :D :) CHEERS & ONE LOVE.:) :D :D :)

pente
01-02-2007, 09:06 AM
Leaving on a high




Add Kathy Sullivan to a very short list that includes Pete Sampras, Mikhail Gorbachev, John Glenn, Ted Williams and Robert Redford.

Whether it’s tennis, world politics, space travel, the science of hitting or being the sexiest actor in Hollywood, they all stopped trying to be that while they were on top.

Sullivan does the same with her stunning decision not to seek the party chairmanship.

What could she do for an encore to Nov. 7?

Nothing, so why try?

HI!:angel: :wavey:
:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:
----------------
You gotta go after the things You want while You are still in your prime.
----------------
Whatever You ask for in prayer, BELIEVE that You have received it, and it will be yours.
MARK 11:24
:worship: :worship: :) :wavey: :angel: ;) :) :worship: :worship:

angiel
01-06-2007, 12:02 AM
HI!:angel: :wavey:
:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:
----------------
You gotta go after the things You want while You are still in your prime.
----------------
Whatever You ask for in prayer, BELIEVE that You have received it, and it will be yours.
MARK 11:24
:worship: :worship: :) :wavey: :angel: ;) :) :worship: :worship:


Hi yourself, and how is the new year so far???:angel: :angel: :wavey:

pente
01-06-2007, 11:13 PM
Hi yourself, and how is the new year so far???:angel: :angel: :wavey:

:wavey: :angel:
so far, so good...

The onlyinteresting answers are thouse which destroy the questions. -Susan Sontag, b. 1933
American writer and social critic
*****
if love is the answer, could you please rephrase the question?
Lily Tomlin b. 1939
American actress and comedienne
*****
LOVE comes to town... I feel I can fly again... Thanks to my SUPERMAN!!!:)
New Year-New Life! Hope same for U and everyone at MTF!
All my best for You and yours!!! Sorry didn't answer on time, was relly busy...
*****
what the latest news on Pete?! ...please, keep us updated...
*****
:) ;) :wavey: :angel::worship: :worship: :worship: :) :wavey:

angiel
01-08-2007, 01:23 PM
:wavey: :angel:
so far, so good...

The onlyinteresting answers are thouse which destroy the questions. -Susan Sontag, b. 1933
American writer and social critic
*****
if love is the answer, could you please rephrase the question?
Lily Tomlin b. 1939
American actress and comedienne
*****
LOVE comes to town... i feel i can fly again... Thanks to my SUPERMAN!!!:)
New Year-New Life! Hope same for U and everyone at MTF!
All my best for You and yours!!! Sorry didn't answer on time, was relly busy..., my puppy got an operation yesterday..., i LOVE him sooooo mush.:)
*****
(Being a parent) is tough. If you just want a wonderful little creature to love, you can get a puppy. -Barbara Walters, b. 1931
-.-.-.-.-.
what the latest news on Pete?! ...please, keep us updated...
-.-.-.-.-.
:) ;) :wavey: :angel::worship: :worship: :worship: :) :wavey:



Happy to hear from you my friend:wavey: :wavey: and will keep posting about Pete latest, stay tune.:D :)