Articles Comments

Samprasfanz » Archives 2003 to 2011 » Monfils defeats Sampras in exhibition

Monfils defeats Sampras in exhibition

Gael Monfils of France took on Pete Sampras, the American great, in an exhibition match at the SAP Open in San Jose, California.

The match was part of the promotional activity for the tournament, and was scheduled in the evening session.

While Sampras has been in retirement since 2002, he has played several exhibition matches since then, including one against Tommy Haas at the 2008 edition of this very tournament.

He has also played Roger Federer twice and most recently colluded with Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andre Agassi in a doubles fund raiser for the earthquake struck country of Haiti.

He also won two Outback Champions Series titles in 2009, defeating both John McEnroe and Pat Rafter en route.

Since Monfils and Sampras play contrasting styles of tennis, this match was always going to be an exciting show.

As world no.12 and the second seed at this tournament, Monfils is an accomplished top-level player. His power, coupled with his incredible athleticism makes him an excellent, albeit unconventional, defender.

Sampras on the other hand is one of the finest aggressive players tennis has ever seen. His serve and volley game was unique during the 90s and it is so even more now.

The encounter was, as expected, close. The scoreboard said 7-6, 6-4 at the end, and even though it was a straight set victory for the second seed, it was a hard fought one.

The first set went into a tiebreak and saw some excellent game-play. Sampras’s serve was obviously not as devastating as it once was, and unsurprisingly, Monfils, was the better server of the two.

The American’s serve and volley game was also effectively castrated by the pace and fitness of the 24-year old Frenchman. The younger man rained down three speedy aces at one point, and it is a testament to Pete’s supreme skill that he kept right on the heels of his opponent throughout.

The second set was a little easier for the Frenchman, who finally got a break to win it 6-4.

Monfils made the match the spectacle it was supposed to be. Playing his childhood hero, he was exuberant and excited, at one point even asking a ball boy to take his picture with the Legend.

In the post match interview, Sampras was impressed by the young man’s movement, lauding him as one of the best movers he’d faced.

A Pete Sampras exhibition match is a tradition at the SAP Open, and a fine one it is. It is a chance for the world to see arguably the greatest tennis player ever in action, and a chance for many young tennis players to face their idol.

This match served well as such an occasion, and the organizers must be thanked for their efforts regarding it.

Filed under: Archives 2003 to 2011

Leave a Reply