L.A.: Djokovic and Sampras lose against the Bryans - MensTennisForums.com

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Old 03-05-2013, 02:41 PM   #1
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Default L.A.: Djokovic and Sampras lose against the Bryans

Novak Djokovic gets red-carpet treatment at UCLA's L.A. Tennis Challenge exhibition

By Jack Wang, Staff Writer

World No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic reacts after a fan in the front row is almost hit by a ball during his match with Mardy Fish during the L.A. Tennis Challenge on Monday at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion.

The crowd waited patiently for over two hours before its hero arrived Monday night, a small if dedicated throng crowding renovated Pauley Pavilion's first-ever red carpet event.

A family of six had created two cardboard signs mounted on sticks, each bearing enlarged, colorized versions of Novak Djokovic's face.

Some fans wore T-shirts bearing his nickname, "Nole." Others kept themselves warm with scarves that resembled Serbian flags.

The world's top-ranked player was finally playing in Los Angeles and, exhibition or not, was cause enough for some evening buzz.

The results of the first L.A. Tennis Challenge may not have mattered, but former UCLA and ATP player Justin Gimelstob was determined to make sure it signaled the importance of maintaining the sport's place in the city.

Last year, Los Angeles' ATP event license was sold to Colombian investors who took it to their home country.

Playing against Mardy Fish, once ranked as high as No. 7 in the world, Gimelstob decided this wouldn't be the end. He enlisted Fish's help in recruiting top talent and called in some favors.

The result? An event that had Djokovic featured in both singles and doubles matches on a makeshift blue hardcourt. He defeated Fish 8-7(2) in the marquee matchup of the night, and then partnered with American tennis legend Pete Sampras as a follow-up.

"We're going to really show that tennis is alive and well here," Gimelstob said. "That it's fun, entertaining. We're going to show great tennis (inside) $137-million renovated Pauley Pavilion. It's state-of-the art here tonight, and we're going to show that tennis in L.A. is alive and well."

Djokovic and Sampras lost to Bob and Mike Bryan 10-7, a match that was delayed after the lights went out at Pauley Pavilion, with its lower sections filled respectably for the first-time event. CW-25

It was the second hiccup of the night. During the opening event, former world No. 2 Tommy Haas broke the net on a serve - delaying his singles match against former No. 4 James Blake by over 20 minutes.

Fortunately, Gimelstob joked, the event wasn't live.

It will be broadcast at 4 p.m. today on the Tennis Channel.

Some celebrities walked by on the red carpet to help promote the event: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, actress Ali Larter and actor Timothy Olyphant were among the more recognizable faces.

They barely generated a peep.

It was only when Djokovic appeared outside the arena that the crowd erupted. "He's the Michael Jordan of the 2000 s!" a man cried out.

Fans, who had been told to stand behind a blue tape, swarmed in as closely as they could against the red rope. Djokovic obliged the many autograph requests, even picking up a young boy as he did a television interview. "It'll be a lot of fun, and hopefully, I'll perform well for the people," Djokovic said.

After soaking in the love, he headed inside to prepare for some tennis.

jack.wang@dailynews.com twitter.com/thejackwang
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: L.A.: Djokovic and Sampras lose against the Bryans

Djokovic forum...
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: L.A.: Djokovic and Sampras lose against the Bryans

A lot of words to say almost nothing.
Hopefully there's a video of the event.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: L.A.: Djokovic and Sampras lose against the Bryans

Sounds like it was an interesting event
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: L.A.: Djokovic and Sampras lose against the Bryans

hopefully there will be some good videos on you tube. darn, I want to see the Nole/Pete vs. Bryans bros.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: L.A.: Djokovic and Sampras lose against the Bryans

It was amazing. So many celebrities. I even got to sneak passed security and got on the court after the game but I couldn't approach Djokovic because Bruce Willis was taking photos with him
My mom though, snuck into VIP and hugged Djokovic and gave him a letter with my phone number on it, I'm waiting for his phone call
She's done this before I have no idea how she does it; she should have been a spy. The security thought she was one of the moms of the folklore kids that Djokovic was backstage with, amazing haha

Anyhow, I'm off to school will give full rapport later tonight
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: L.A.: Djokovic and Sampras lose against the Bryans

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyForNole View Post
It was amazing. So many celebrities. I even got to sneak passed security and got on the court after the game but I couldn't approach Djokovic because Bruce Willis was taking photos with him
My mom though, snuck into VIP and hugged Djokovic and gave him a letter with my phone number on it, I'm waiting for his phone call
She's done this before I have no idea how she does it; she should have been a spy. The security thought she was one of the moms of the folklore kids that Djokovic was backstage with, amazing haha

Anyhow, I'm off to school will give full rapport later tonight
Your mum is awesome.
Mine would never do something like that.

By the way, was Nole getting as much love and attention from the fans as the articles say? how was his reception there?
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:48 AM   #8
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Default Re: L.A.: Djokovic and Sampras lose against the Bryans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nole fan View Post
Your mum is awesome.
Mine would never do something like that.

By the way, was Nole getting as much love and attention from the fans as the articles say? how was his reception there?
She has great courage, and she has superb talking skills like she always knows what to say in every situation. Again, there were almost 10,000 people there and out of everyone she snuck in to hug him and chat with him for a bit. It was awesome.

As for the attention when Djokovic came out, it was amazing. The crowd was going crazy. You have to know that half of the people in the stadium were Serbian. Everywhere I went, people were speaking Serbian and carrying flags, wearing custom made shirts, little girls wore Serbian tootoo's. It was an amazing experience. Justin is a great organizer cause he knew the Serbian community in LA is huge and he knew he'd have a great even if he could bring Nole. Nole is a legend for doing it. The only thing that was annoying was Rainn Wilson from the show "The Office" was guest referee during the doubles match and from the start he was really annoying the Bryan Brothers because he kept picking on them like calling them robots, making farting noises every time one of the bryan brother's would serve and he even called one of them weird which was extremely rude. He also insulted Sampras on a few occassions and called him a 64 year old man in which case Sampras proceeded to serve two aces in a row, I believe. However, he knew better than to insult Djokovic because Djokovic was hilarious the whole night and one time one of the Bryan brothers tried to one up Djokovic and Djokovic did something even funnier so Rainn knew better haha
Even someone from the arena shouted: "just let them play, man" and Rainn responded "yeah, whatever dude" Justin knew it was a big mistake to let him up there

One of the Bryan brothers (I always mix them up) grabbed the Mic and tried to get Rainn to step down so he called Bruce Willis to come to the chair, but Bruce wasn't having it as even he felt awkward with Rainn up there. Everyone gave Bruce a standing ovations and were chanting his name. Bruce later said that Djokovic is an amazing young man who has a world of opportunity ahead of him and will continue to see success. He even took pictures and chatted with him after the match.

Overall, it was a great tournament. The net came down once after Haas smashed the ball into it, so during the delay they brought down kids from the crowd to hit some shots while they set up a new net. The only major downfall was that they had to shorten up the matches because of that and then at the end of the match the lights went out when Djokovic and Sampras were winning, so the Bryan brothers took advantage of that and that's the only reason they won. Other than that, Djoko and mainly Sampras was just killing it on the court just absolutely demolishing and smashing every ball he got. He truly is a living legend. Djokovic said he wants to make it a seasonal thing and that he's willing to come back next year. However, I think he was annoyed at the end after Rainn Wilson and the lights going out (where he could have gotten injured during the super tie breaker but he still decided to play). I hope he comes back next year, I'm getting the V.I.P tickets then I don't even care about the money
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: L.A.: Djokovic and Sampras lose against the Bryans

Also, there was a vast amount of celebrities there. People from Dr. Phil, to Rain Wilson, to Bruce Willis, to that girl from the show "Big Bang Theory" and so on. It was really a great event bar a few mishaps but it happens.
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: L.A.: Djokovic and Sampras lose against the Bryans

Thanks, great to know.
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