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psychotic banana
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Top women tennis players skip, Sampras might play

INDIAN WELLS (California): Serena and Venus Williams, Monica Seles and Justine Henin-Hardenne, four of the world’s top 10 women, will be absent when top WTA and ATP players gather here starting Wednesday.

But Pete Sampras might yet show up. The WTA and ATP Masters Series hardcourt event opens with Belgium’s world number three Kim Clijsters atop the women’s bracket and reigning US Open champion Sampras considering a comeback at the 28th annual event. Sampras is included in the draw here but it is still uncertain whether the American will make Indian Wells his first event since winning the US Open final in dramatic fashion over Andre Agassi in September.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion has already skipped tournaments in San Jose and Scottsdale and his brother said last week he is pondering his future. “I talked to Pete and he’s still trying to figure out whether it makes sense to continue,” Gus Sampras said. “He said he doesn’t want to retire right now and maybe have to come out of retirement again.”

Agassi, who has won 57 career titles, joins defending champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, Russia’s Marat Safin and American Andy Roddick as favorites for the men’s crown.

The women are without top-ranked Serena Williams, who owns all four Grand Slam titles, and her second-ranked sister Venus plus fellow American Seles, a nine-time Slam winner, and Belgium’s fourth-ranked Henin-Hardenne. The Williams sisters have not played here since 2001, when Serena won a semi-final against Venus by walkover and fans felt denied of a much-awaited showdown. After fans booed Serena during the final, her father Richard Williams said his daughters would never return here.

Former world number one Seles withdrew because of a left foot injury. Seles, who won the event in 1992, injured her left foot while practising in Florida. Seles lost to Swiss star Martina Hingis in last year’s semi-finals here. Sixteen of the world’s top 20 female players are on hand, including Jennifer Capriati, scheduled to make her first appearance here in three years.

Clijsters was knocked out in the second round last year by France’s Nathalie Dechy and has also struggled this year. Clijsters squandered two match points and a 5-1 lead in losing to Serena Williams at the Australian Open and coming within two points of victory Sunday before losing to Japan’s Ai Sugiyama at Scottsdale. The women’s draw gets underway Wednesday, while the men begin play next Monday. Both finals will be March 16 with the men’s total prize money being $2.45m and the women competing for $2.1m.

Slovakian teen Daniela Hantuchova won her first career singles title here last year, beating Hingis in the women’s final. Hantuchova is seeded third and will play in the same side of the draw as Clijsters and Yugoslavia’s Jelena Dokic, who is seeded sixth. In the other half of the draw, there is a potential showdown between number two seed Capriati and American compatriot Lindsay Davenport, seeded fourth. In last year’s men’s final, world number one Hewitt captured his first Tennis Masters Series title with his 6-1, 6-2 blitz of Britain’s Tim Henman. In six matches, Hewitt lost only one set. —AFP
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Will Sampras actually play? Now that would be a shocker!


:eek: ;)
 

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No Sampras won't play.


Sampras Out of Pacific Life
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By Lisa Dillman

March 7 2003

Pete Sampras' return to the men's tennis tour remained on hold after he
withdrew Thursday from next week's Pacific Life Open. His decision was relayed
to the tournament office at Indian Wells and the ATP, sources said. But his
withdrawal was not announced by tournament officials or the ATP, despite media
inquiries.

The complete article can be viewed at:
http://www.latimes.com/la-sp-sampras7mar07,0,714756.story

Visit Latimes.com at http://www.latimes.com
 

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psychotic banana
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Discussion Starter #4
And the delay continues...
 

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His withdrawal is now on the Pacific Life Open website:

Sampras Withdraws; Wild Cards Announced



American tennis veterans Michael Chang and Todd Martin, 1999 Indian Wells Champion Mark Philippoussis of Australia and Mario Ancic of Croatia have been awarded wild cards into the main draw of the 2003 Pacific Life Open, which is presented by the City of Indian Wells.
They join a men’s field which includes defending champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and James Blake of the United States, Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten of Brazil, Roger Federer of Switzerland and Marat Safin of Russia.

Two-time champion Pete Sampras, Guillermo Cañas, Nicolas Escude, Tommy Haas, Paul-Henri Mathieu and Greg Rusedski have withdrawn from the event.

“We are disappointed that Pete won’t be back at the Pacific Life Open,” said Charlie Pasarell, Tournament Director. “Our fans have always enjoyed watching this great champion compete at our event. We wish him and his family well as he decides on his future.”

Chang, a three-time Pacific Life Open champion (1992, 1996, 1997), announced earlier this year that following the 2003 US Open, he will be retiring from the tour after a remarkable 16-year career. He has won 34 singles titles, including the 1989 French Open, and is the first Asian American to reach the world’s Top 10, where he held the career-high No. 2 spot in 1996. Chang, along with Agassi, are the only two players in ATP history to win a singles title in three different decades. He will be honored during an on-court ceremony at the 2003 Pacific Life Open.

Martin, an Illinois native, has won 10 singles titles throughout his long career, including back-to-back wins in Memphis in 1994 and 1995. A doubles finalist at the 1998 Pacific Life Open, he is a two-time singles quarterfinalist at the tournament. He was a finalist at both the 1994 Australian Open and 1999 US Open. Chang and Martin were also wild card entries at the Pacific Life Open in 2002.

Philippoussis, a former champion of this event in 1999, has played consistently well at the Pacific Life Open. He is a nine-time career singles title holder and finalist at the 1998 US Open, where he lost to fellow Aussie Patrick Rafter in four sets. Ancic, 18, climbed 187 positions in the ATP Champions Race in 2002. He qualified at his Wimbledon debut, then defeated Federer, the No. 9 seed, in the first round.

In addition to 52 direct entries, eight players will advance through the 32-player qualifying draw, held March 8 and 9, into the main draw.

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Anybody else think he might not come back at all, save Wimbledon?
 
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