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Posted on: July 22nd, 2006

Sampras loses to Weiner of FoxForce

- petepage

Sampras Arrives In Style But Without Stylish Game

By Tommy Hine, Hartford Courant

July 22 2006

AVON -- One arrived and returned to Manhattan on a private helicopter; the other drove his car from an Avon motel.

One has 64 ATP singles titles, 14 of them Grand Slams, and more than $43 million in career earnings. The other is 256th in the singles rankings and is still looking for his first ATP win.

But Glenn Weiner can add something to his resume that not every tennis player can. He beat Pete Sampras in singles Friday as the FoxForce defeated the Newport Beach Breakers 24-16 in a World TeamTennis match before 2,500 at Blue Fox Run.

"I was very nervous and very excited, both at the same time," said Weiner, who once hit balls with Sampras seven years ago when they were both training in Tampa, Fla. "This was almost surreal. Boris Becker and Pete Sampras were the two players I loved to watch while growing up."

There maybe should also be an asterisk added next to Weiner's 5-2 victory because Sampras, arguably the greatest player of all time, strained his right hamstring in the fourth game.

"I tweaked it a little bit," said Sampras, who ended a three-year retirement to play seven matches with the Breakers this summer. "It will be OK.

"I wish I could have played a little better, but I did the best I could."

Sampras, 34, managed to play in the men's doubles match, as well, with Rick Leach, but they lost to Weiner and Goran Dragicevic, 5-4.

Accompanied by two plain-clothes policemen who were at his side except when he played, Sampras left the court to be treated by a doctor during the third match. He returned to the Breakers' bench to watch the final two matches, and then signed 100 autographs - all part of his appearance contract.

Sampras, 34, was the only player without a name on his jersey - stipulated in his contract with Nike - but he obviously didn't need his name on his back. The capacity crowd gave him a standing ovation when he appeared on court, and Weiner promptly greeted him with an ace. It was a questionable call by a linesman, and Sampras simply rolled his eyes. Both players held serve until Weiner broke Sampras to take a 3-1 lead when Sampras injured his hamstring.

"I didn't even know he was hurt," Weiner said. "The way we were playing, there wasn't much running back and forth."

There were some glimpses of the serve-and-volley game that Sampras made famous in his long run as the No. 1 player in the world. There were also a couple of nifty drop shots and some nicely aimed passing shots that left Weiner flat-footed and almost defenseless.

But there were also some unforced errors that a well-tuned Sampras wouldn't have made.

"I could tell he hadn't been playing a lot," Weiner said. "But it was good to see him back on the court."

Source: Hartford Courant

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