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Posted on: October 01st, 2011

Former No.1 players arrive at 2011 China Open

- petepage

Former menís No. 1 players Marat Safin and Pete Sampras participated in a press conference and welcome ceremony Thursday at the 2011 Beijing China Tennis Open in anticipation of their match scheduled for Sept. 30.

This is Samprasís first trip to Beijing, Safin however returns as the first ever winner of the menís China Open singles title, which he won in 2004.

After speeches from 2011 China Open officials, the two athletes were adorned with gifts of Chinese calligraphy scrolls, 2011 China Open mascot figurines, wooden sculpted boxes and painted handprints.

During the ceremony, the players autographed boards to give to the China Tennis Youth Foundation. To the crowdís amusement, Safin admired Samprasís signature.

After competing in numerous tournaments throughout their careers, Sampras retired from tennis in 2002 and Safin retired in 2009.

Sampras explained what he misses from tennis since retiring, "I miss the moment, I donít miss the stress I donít miss the travel, I donít miss being the best player in the world, but you miss the big moments in the sport," Sampras said. "When the Wimbledon final comes around I watch it and certainty thereís a part of me that misses it, but you know you get to a point where you move on and you just admire the guys that are playing today。"

This is not the first time Sampras and Safin will play each other. The two faced off during the final of the 2000 U.S. Open where Safin defeated Sampras to claim the Menís Singles title.

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