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Pete Sampras

Turned pro in 1988.

Won his first pro tournament in 1990.

Reached the # 1 ranking for the first time in his career in 1993.

Won 14 Grand Slam titles, 7 Wimbledon, 5 U.S. Open, 2 Australian Open.

Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007

Retired from the professional tour in 2002 however continues to play selected exhibitions

James Blake

Turned pro in 1999.

Lead the Davis Cup team since joining in 2001, with a record of 20-9.

Ranked number four in the world, making him the highest ranked American tennis player in 2006 and is currently ranked number eight.

Named the 2005 ATP Comeback Player of the Year.

Beat World # 1 and 13-Time Grand Slam Champion Roger Federer at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

 

Sampras and Blake Duel for Gustav Relief

The LSU men’s and women’s tennis teams are joining up with Pete Sampras and James Blake for the Duel Under the Oaks II fundraising event December 14.

The event, hosted by the Irene W. and C. B. Pennington Foundation, provides support to organizations who promote the overall well-being of families and communities. The funds raised will go toward grants to aid people impacted by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Although members of the tennis team weren’t severely affected by the storms, they are looking forward to helping with the event.

“The hurricane made things difficult,” said junior Nicole Kantor. “While our personal homes weren’t affected, school was cancelled and we had seven people staying with us.”

The event will feature a children’s clinic, giving community children a chance to learn from Sampras, Blake, and the tennis teams and a wheelchair tennis exhibition between Stephen Welch and Jon Rydberg. Following that will be the main event, a “best of three” exhibition match between Sampras and Blake.

In October 2006, Sampras participated in the first Duel under the Oaks, which helped LSU Medical Center students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

LSU tennis senior Mykala Hedberg said children of all ages can benefit from the event.

“At the last duel, nearly everyone who plays tennis in this town participated in the clinic,” Hedberg said. “They get to see the pros first hand. It’s an experience they might not have again.”

The community and the tennis team can look forward to seeing the match up between Blake and Sampras—one that’s never happened before.

“The best part is being able to hit with the pros ourselves,” Hedberg said. “They are amazing tennis players. It’s nice to meet people you used to watch on TV.”

Kantor said the overall mood of the match is different from a competitive tournament.

“The atmosphere is relaxed,” she said. “Since it’s not a real match, the pros are more social, and they talk on a more personal level.”

“It’s a great learning experience,” Hedberg said. “It’s a really fun time for everyone.”

Duel Under the Oaks II takes place at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on December 14. To purchase tickets, visit www.lsusports.net.

 

 

Holly Ann Phillips | Writer | Office of Public Affairs
Fall 2008


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