• LA directs appearance money at game's golden oldies

    7/27/09 1:40 PM | Johan Lindahl
    LA directs appearance money at game's golden oldies After failing with late attempts to lure either Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic into this week's Los Angeles Open field, tournament officials have directed unused appearance money to former greats.

    Some of their appearance money budget is now spent on retired Pete Sampras, who was facing Marat Safin in an exhibition re-play of the 2000 US Open final won by the Russian.

    The Hollywood-style ATP stop played on the UCLA campus just a few blocks from Sunset Boulevard was unable to land Murray or Djokovic despite their representation by the CAA agency which mainly concentrates on show business personalities.

    Tournament director Bob Kramer, son of former great Jack Kramer, told the Los Angeles Times that the field which is headed by Germany's Wimbledon semi-finalist Tommy Haas is getting the rock-star treatment with rooms at the trendy Sunset Marquis hotel in West Hollywood.

    "We have the money necessary and we made very focused attempts to get a few top-10 players", said Kramer. "When it became clear Roddick and James Blake were un-doable, we began working strongly to get Murray and Djokovic. It didn't work out, and so we went another direction with our money".

    Like Indianapolis last week, the event is now mired the the last-tier 250 series on the ATP, with a prize packet of $700,000. By contrast the Washington tournament next week, a 500 series, offers $1.6 million and has attracted players headed by Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick.

    The tour four in the world won't bother to lift a racket in anger for another fortnight, beginning with the Montreal Masters followed by Cincinnati.

    In addition to Sampras, LA has brought in former greats Jim Courier, Michael Chang and Stefan Edberg to play in a parallel veteran's series.

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The arrival of twin girls in Roger Federer's life will have no negative impact on the Swiss master's tennis career, according to Pete Sampras.

World number one Federer became a father for the first time when his wife Mirka gave birth to daughters Charlene Riva and Myla Rose in Switzerland Thursday.

"I don't see Roger changing diapers at four in the morning," Sampras, 37, told reporters with a broad grin on Monday, the first day of the LA Open.

"I don't think it will affect his career. It's a life changer for him but he is focused on his tennis and he's got the help from his wife and his parents and whoever else," added the American, who is a father of two boys.

Federer became a father 23 days after beating American Andy Roddick in a gripping five-set final at Wimbledon, clinching a 15th grand slam title to break the record held by Sampras.

"I am content with the 14 that I have and I am amazed with what Roger has been able to do," Sampras said. "It's incredible."


Asked if he had any regrets about ending his career at 32 with 14 grand slams, Sampras replied: "I was happy when I stopped.

"It was more than a number for me. I wanted (Roy) Emerson's record, I got it. I wanted to win one more, and I did. And then I won the U.S. Open and I was cooked.

"Emotionally I was spent. I didn't have much left in the tank. When I was done, I felt I had put up some numbers that nobody would touch.

"Little know did I know that Roger was going to come along and surpass me in eight years. He saw 14 as his goal and now he has 15 and he's going to go on and win some more."

Although reluctant to compare great players of different era, Sampras said he would probably name Federer as the best of all time if pushed.

"It's a hard question to answer and I just feel each generation has its player," he added.

"You had (Rod) Laver in the sixties, (Bjorn) Borg in the seventies and the eighties, me in the nineties and Roger today.

"The greatest player of all time? It's hard to say but I would give it to Roger"Do I think I could beat Roger at my best? There is no reason why I couldn't. That's not being cocky. It's just how I feel."

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

torres9 , 7/28/09 9:01 AM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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