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Millennium Challenge – Pete vs Safin exhibtion match

May 14, 2009

LOS ANGELES – Pete Sampras, the 14-time Grand Slam Champion who held the No. 1 ranking for a record 286 weeks, will return to the LA Tennis Center at UCLA this summer for the “Millennium Challenge” as part of the 83rd annual LA Tennis Open.

Sampras, a two-time LA Tennis Open champion, will take the court on opening night, July 27, for the “Millennium Challenge,” a rematch of the 2000 US Open final against Russian Marat Safin. Safin claimed the first of his two career Grand Slam titles with that win over Sampras in New York, and holds a 4-3 edge over the American in professional matches. Safin won their last meeting, which came in the fourth round of the 2002 Australian Open.

“We’re thrilled that Pete Sampras, perhaps our greatest champion, is coming back to the LA Tennis Open,” Tournament Director Bob Kramer said. “This will be an outstanding way to kick off our event in 2009. Pete had a great fan following when he played here during his career, and this will be a great way for tennis fans to get to see him play again. It’s hard to believe it’s been nine years since he and Marat played in the US Open final. The rematch on July 27 should be some great tennis.”

In 2002, Sampras won his final tournament, the US Open, giving him a record 14 Grand Slam titles. In his career, Sampras was 762-222, including 64 titles in 88 finals. He held the year-end No. 1 ranking for a record six consecutive years (1993-98). In seven appearances at the LA Tennis Open, Sampras was 19-5, with two titles in three finals. He was enshrined at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007.

During the Monday evening session, a ceremony will be held to recognize Sampras as the 2009 LA Tennis Open Tournament Honoree. This distinguished award has been given annually since 1985 to a person who has greatly influenced the growth of tennis through their playing career and other contributions to the sport.

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