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Close Encounter with Pete Sampras

Event: Autograph signing
Sponsor: Movado Watch
Date: August 24,2000
Venue: Macy's New York

Movado sponsored an autograph signing by Pete Sampras at Macy's New York and of course, a group of Samprasfanz members was on hand to meet and greet him. Members who attended included Anna, Elle, Deb, Sandie Anthony, Lily Miller, Ivy Sta-Maria, Miriam Quansah. Here is their account of the event.

(Photo courtesy of Miriam Quansah)


Deb: I had to go into the city last night, so of course I went by Macy's to see what the set-up was. They have pictures of Pete in the window with the caption "MEET PETE IN GREEN", what that means I have no idea.I will find out though, maybe I"ll ask the "MAN" himself. There is a cute video running in the back of the desk where I guess Pete will be standing. The video shows Pete in a photo shoot, he's blinking and making some faces as if to say, "can I please leave now".

The Crowd

Elle: Folks, I was the 1st in line. Yes, I was surprised at myself. I really thought that Macy's will be packed by the time I got there which was somewhere around 1 PM. But alas, there's wasn't anybody (yet) and I was glad to be the #1 greeter.

Sandy: There was a huge crowd to greet him. They had to cut the line off and not allow any more people to get in line to meet Pete. It was winding all through the store!!! Then, everyone started to line up around the balcony so they could still get a good view of Pete.

Elle: It was mob packed. I don't think there were any shoppers. Just fans to see Pete.

Ivy: I was supposed to leave work at 3pm but got caught up at work and wasn't able to leave until 4:45pm! I got there at 5:15pm and just went straight to the end of the line... my main concern was to get in line so I can see Pete face-to-face! Guess I made it just in time because around 5:30pm, they closed the line and wouldn't let anyone line up anymore! Around 6:45pm, one of the officials started counting how many people were left (I was #75) -- he said Pete'll only be there for 15 more minutes. All I could think of was, "darn it people, just get your autograph and move along!"

Sandy: Security was tight and they only allowed one person up with him at a time and only one person waiting in the wings. While I was waiting for my turn, I spoke to the security man. He was flustered. I told him he was doing a good job. He smiled and said he does this kind of thing all the time but that they never expected this large of a crowd and they were a bit overwhelmed by it all. I was glad to see so many people show up to greet our Pete!!!

Samprasfanz Banner

Elle: We were holding up the banner all the time up until Pete made his grand entrance to the podium. We drew lots of attention for sure. Photographers from USA network, Daily News, NY Post, Topspin....to name some, were taking pictures of us with the banner. It was loads of fun. There were so many shoppers, fans taking our website addresses, email address and some even recognized it from watching it on TV. They were really impressed with our group. Most of them said they would love to join us and be a part of us.

Sandy: Several people in line asked about our banner. The guy next to me said, "Hey, what's up with that banner? I've seen it at every tournament Pete's in. I love the 'Playing for History' thing you've got going there. I first saw it at the Australian Open. Do you guys have lots of those floating around or what?" I had plenty of time to explain how we send the banner to people all over the world to make sure it's where Pete is. He was truly amazed and said someone should do a piece on the banner. He loved it

Meeting Pete

Elle: Fellow fanz, Pete is gorgeous. Well, we all knew that. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here. That tanned face, those sexy light brown eyes! HE IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND GENUINELY KIND!!!

Sandy: He did a little speech in the beginning and said he was very happy and "going to tie the knot soon." That drew some sighs and moans and his come back was "as long as I'm happy - - - right?" That brought laughs and applause.

Elle: He looked very happy and awwwwwww that smile is breathtakingly refreshing! Bridgette is so darn lucky! … He said he's so happy now and looking forward to tie the knot with Bridgette later this year.

Lily: I MET PETE!!!! Pete looked great. He was wearing a red polo shirt and blue jeans. I'm guessing one of his favorites, as both looked like they've seen the washing machine a few times. He was smiling non-stop, took the time to talk to people and very happy and comfortable.

Sandy: PETE LOOKED WONDERFUL!!! It always amazes me how much younger he looks in person. He was adorable in his red polo shirt and blue jeans. He looked very relaxed, smiles galore and looked very comfortable amidst all the hoopla.

Ivy: I was finally at the front of the line at exactly 7pm! Pete's so cute!!!!!! He's wearing a red long-sleeved polo shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. And for the life of me, I don't know if he's wearing jeans or slacks or whatever. All I know is he's wearing pants! LOL. I'm sorry, but I really couldn't keep my eyes off his face long enough to pay attention to what he was wearing!

One on One

Elle: A little after Pete arrived on the stage and after his speech, I was the 1st one to go up to Pete. I would be lying if I said that I was not nervous. All the little lines that I, Anna and Deb were practicing while we were in line...suddenly seem to go blank. ?? But somehow I managed to gather my thoughts in an instant second and went up to Pete. I congratulated him on his 7th Wimbledon and 13 Grand Slams. I also congratulated him on his engagement. He said, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you." I told him lots of luck at the open and go for #14. He said thank you again. Just before I left, I said, "God Bless you, Pete." He said thank you again.

Sandy: When it was my turn to go up to see Pete I became so unbelievably nervous. He was, as I said, very gracious and smiling from ear to ear. I told him my name and how to spell it and he wrote it on the picture. I told him I wanted to thank him for the past ten years. For all the excitement and joy he had given me and how much I had enjoyed watching him play. He smiled and said, "Thank you very much." I said, no really Pete, it's I who thanks you. You truly are a National Treasure and I've enjoyed watching you so very much. I shook his hand, looked at him and said, "Pete, be safe, stay healthy, and be happy." He looked right at me and said, "Thank you, I will."

Lily: I asked him to sign it for my husband even though my husband hasn't gotten past Jimmy Connors, and he asked me about my husband, which I thought was very nice.

Ivy: When it was my turn, I gave him the picture to sign, then wished him good luck. He said thank you. Then I was just staring at him and he was looking at me expectantly. After a few seconds of me not saying anything, he said, "yes?" I said, "what?" He said, "Should I just sign my name or should I make this out to someone?" LOL. Silly me. So I laughed and said sorry and spelled my name out for him. Then when he handed me back the picture, I thanked him and told him congratulations about his engagement and that I think they look great together. He smiled, "A perfect fit!"

Deb: I found the way to get Pete talking, just mention music and he's off. I said the magic words, "Pearl Jam". He was really cute he said "you like Pearl Jam, I saw them last night on Long Island". At that point I got brave and mentioned that I was from Long Island and that Jones Beach was a great place to see a concert and he was off. I must mention that Pearl Jam is really not my type of music, and when he asked me what my favorite Pearl Jam song was, I said Given to Fly because I knew it was his favorite. Thank God I really didn't have to say anything after that because that's the only song I know. Pete would have gone on forever but the Macy's bulldog pushed me along while Pete was in mid-sentence. I can't tell you what a nice guy he is, and how willing he is to talk.

Final Words

Elle:Shook his hand, got my autograph.....What a lovely experience that was. I really saw Pete this time face-to-face and up close.

Sandy: It was a wonderful experience for me and I'm so glad I went up to NYC to see him. He was worth the bus trip up and back, worth the long wait in line, and worth fighting the crowds.

Lily: I'm still flying high, unfortunately I already washed my hand.

Ivy: Aaaahhhhh! That smile!

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