Posted on: October 24th, 2002
Sampras Keeping Options Open- petepage
[October 24, 2002 Sky News] Organisers of the Australian Open are still waiting to hear whether US Open champion Pete Sampras intends to play in next year's first grand slam.
Officials at the Kooyong Classic, the final warm-up event before the Australian Open, said they were saving a spot in their invitation-only tournament for Sampras, who has not played since his win over Andre Agassi in New York last month.
Six of the eight available places have already been filled and tournament director Colin Stubs said one of the remaining two spots had been reserved for the 31-year-old American.
"I've spoken to his management and they say he still hasn't made a decision, but he will definitely make his comeback at Kooyong if he decides to play the Australian Open," said Stubs.
Sampras may decide to retire at the very top and settle down with wife Bridgette and their first child, due in December. But he has not made a formal announcement on his future and Australian officials are sweating on his next move.
Stubs also said Australia's world number one Lleyton Hewitt had turned down an invitation to play in the event because he wanted to save himself for the first grand slam of the year.
Hewitt was knocked out in the first round of this year's Australian Open after contracting chicken pox and is planning a lighter preparation for Melbourne, starting with the Hopman Cup mixed team event in Perth.
But Agassi, who is closing in on Hewitt for the number one ranking, has confirmed he will play Kooyong, ending any doubts about his plans to hang up his racket this year.
Also confirmed as starters for Kooyong are Sweden's reigning Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson, British number one Tim Henman, Spain's double French Open finalist Alex Corretja, Germany's Tommy Haas and Australia's Mark Philippoussis.
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