Los Angeles Times

SAMPRAS PUTS HOUSE ON THE MARKET

Pete Sampras is looking for a new home. According to the Los Angeles Times, Sampras and his wife, actress Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, have listed their seven-bedroom, 11 ½ bathroom compound in Lake Sherwood for $25 million.

According to the Times, “The gated contemporary north of Los Angeles sits on 20 hilltop acres with 360-degree views, a north-south tennis court and a swimming pool. The more than 13,000-square-foot main house has a combined theater and game room. Including the 1,200-square-foot guesthouse and the 2,000-square-foot detached gym, the property has seven bedrooms and 11 1/2 bathrooms.”

Perhaps the 11 ½ bathrooms was a little much as Sampras, his wife and two kids have three bathrooms to themselves!

Sampras won 14 major singles titles, including seven Wimbledon titles and held the No. 1 ranking for 286 weeks. Since he retired from the ATP World Tour after winning the 2002 US Open, Sampras has played exhibition matches as well as on the Jim Courier-run Champions Series tennis circuit.

According to the Times, Sampras did not offer a reason for putting the house on the market. Wrote the Times, “Sampras does have an impressive real estate record, having sold a Beverly Hills mansion in 2008 for $23 million as well as other homes in Los Angeles’ Benedict Canyon and Beverly Hills since 2003.”

ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY: ANDY RODDICK STOPS “THE WORM”

From the book, ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com), it was on February 24, 2008 when Andy Roddick stopped “The Worm.” The book excerpt from February 24 is featured below.

2008 – Andy Roddick beats Radek Stepanek 6-4, 7-5 to win the SAP Open in San Jose, Calif. Roddick celebrates the win by mimicking Stepanek, known for performing the belly-on-the-ground dance called “the worm” on court after big victories, by wiggling his right leg and left arm. Said Roddick, “Everybody’s asking me about the Worm. All I hear is the Worm. I wanted to find something as cheesy if not cheesier to go with, which was tough. I figured one bad leg kick and I’d be on par.” Said Stepanek of Roddick’s celebration, “I don’t know what that was. “

Also on this day, Roddick’s current coach, Larry Stefanki had perhaps his greatest day as a player, as documented below;

1985 – Twenty-seven-year-old tennis pro Larry Stefanki, ranked No. 143 in the world, caps off an incredible week of upsets, defeating David Pate 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to win the Pilot Pen Classic in LaQuinta, Calif. Stefanki, the touring pro at the LaQuinta Resort, is given a last minute wild-card entry in the tournament when bigger name players – namely Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg – decline opportunities to play in the event. Stefanki rides a string of upsets to win the second pro title of his career to go with a 1981 title in Lagos, Nigeria. Wrote the late Mike Penner of the Los Angeles Times, “In fact, the Larry Stefanki Story is almost too good, too sensational. This is the stuff of comic books, Steven Spielberg movies and prime-time TV drama.” “Unbelievable,” says Stefanki of his run. “I’ve never experienced anything like this. You dream about this.” Tournament Director Charlie Pasarell says, “I’m not sure the match would have been any better than this. If we could’ve written the script, we couldn’t have done it any better…I have a tremendous responsibility to this event and to the ticket buyers to bring in some big names. We wanted Wilander and Edberg, but after today’s match, I walked over to Larry, shook his hand and said the worst mistake I could’ve made was getting Wilander and Edberg.”

Federer commemorative stamp launched in Austria: This Week in Tennis Business

From the Austrian Postal Service launching a commemorative Roger Federer stamp to the Andre Agassi Foundation raising $8 million during the Grand Slam for Children event in Las Vegas to former top-ranked doubles player Ai Sugiyama retiring from professional tennis to Li Na signing with IMG to tennis icon Jack Kramer being remembered at a memorial service at Starus Stadium at UCLA to John Isner and Melanie Oudin agreeing to team up in January to represent the United States in Hopman Cup, these stories caught the attention of tennis fans and insiders this week.

  • According to a report by AFP, the Austrian Postal Service will launch a commemorative stamp honoring Roger Federer and his record 15 Grand Slam singles titles. About 400,000 Federer stamps will be issued.

  • The Andre Agassi Foundation’s Grand Slam for Children event raised $8 million over the weekend in Las Vegas. The Engelstad Family Foundation also pledged another $7.5 million to Agassi’s Foundation over a five year period.

  • Ai Sugiyama of Japan has retired from the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour following a first round defeat to Nadia Petrova at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. Sugiyama was honored on court during a special ceremony put on by WTA Tour officials and players to honor her remarkable career, which included speeches by her regular doubles partners Daniela Hantuchova and Katarina Srebotnik. Throughout her career, Sugiyama won six singles titles, 38 doubles titles and earned more than $8 million in tournament prize money.

  • Li Na, the highest ranked Chinese player ever on the WTA Tour, has signed a representation deal with IMG. “We are very pleased to have Li Na as an IMG client,” said Max Eisenbud, the Senior Vice President of IMG.

  • Tennis legend and the first executive of the ATP Tour Jack Kramer was remembered on Saturday during a memorial service at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on the campus on UCLA. Hundreds of people were in attendance during the service, as former WTA Tour star Pam Shriver and Los Angeles Times reporter Bill Dwyre acted as hosts of the ceremony. Barry MacKay, Tracy Austin, Donald Dell, US Open tournament director Jim Curley and former player Charlie Pasarell were among the speakers during the service.

  • John Isner and Melanie Oudin will represent the United States at the Hopman Cup from January 2-9, 2010 in Perth, Australia.

  • The inaugural Maria Sharapova South American Tour will take place from November 29 to December 4 and will feature the former Grand Slam singles champion and Argentine Gisela Dulko. The tour will feature exhibition matches between the players in San Paulo, Brazil on November 29, Santiago, Chile on December 2 and Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 4. Fashion shows, charity appearances and tennis clinics for the local children will also be a part of the three-city exhibition series.

  • The USTA and Levy Restaurants, the official restaurateur of the US Open, combined to donate more than 21,000 pounds of unused food from the US Open to City Harvest. City Harvest, which is based in New York City, is a food rescue organization that feeds people in need of food. “We are very thankful to the USTA and Levy Restaurants and for this generous donation,” said Jilly Stephens, the Executive Director at City Harvest. “Our long-standing partnership with the US Open demonstrates their commitment to helping us feed hungry New Yorkers.”

  • AEGON signed a five-year deal until 2013 to become the title sponsor of the prestigious Masters Tennis at Royal Albert Hall in London and will now be called the AEGON Masters Tennis. The tournament has featured former Wimbledon champions such as Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg. “We are delighted to welcome AEGON as our new title sponsor,” said Peter Worth, the Senior Vice President of IMG.

  • Defending US Open champion Kim Clijsters has announced her 2010 tournament schedule. Clijsters will play at Brisbane, Australian Open, Fed Cup, Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, French Open, Eastbourne/Rosmalen, Wimbledon, Cincinnati, Montreal, US Open, Beijing and possibly the year-end championships in Doha.

  • The 2010 Davis Cup World Group opening round ties have been announced:

      • Spain vs. Switzerland

      • France vs. Germany

      • Russia vs. India

      • Sweden vs. Argentina

      • Croatia vs. Ecuador

      • Serbia vs. United States

      • Chile vs. Israel

      • Belgium vs. Czech Republic

  • Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu has signed a sponsorship deal with Lagardere.

  • Romanian Andrei Pavel officially retired from the ATP World Tour following a straight sets loss to Pablo Cuevas in his hometown tournament last week in Bucharest. Pavel, who lives in the United States, will continue to be the captain for the Romanian Davis Cup team and has plans to open a tennis academy in Arizona.

  • Argentine tennis player Sergio Roitman has announced that he will retire from the ATP World Tour at the conclusion of the Copa Petrobas Challenger tournament in Buenos Aires. Roitman reached a career high ranking of No. 62 in October 2007 and has won more than $1.2 million in tournament prize money. “It is a strange moment for me, but the time has come for me to leave professional tennis,” said Roitman.

  • A lawsuit filed against Frenchman Richard Gasquet has been dismissed in Parisian courts stating no finding whether he took cocaine or if somebody else was responsible.

  • A Serbian court has confirmed that Jelena Dokic’s father has been sentenced to 15-months in prison for threatening to kill the Australian Ambassador to Serbia.

  • The Tennis Industry Association (TIA) is set to launch the website, www.playtennis.com. The website is designed to allow people to join the sport, learn more about tennis and get on a system to become a frequent player. “PlayTennis.com will be the first step,” said TIA President Jon Muir. “We’ll get key messaging out there through this site. It’s a wonderful opportunity for all stakeholders to get behind.”

  • Nine tennis professionals earned the distinction of Master Professional by the USPTA. The nine honorees were honored during the recent USPTA World Conference on Tennis at the Marriott Resort, Golf Club and Spa in Marco Island, Fla. Only about one percent of the 15,000 USPTA members have achieved the Master Professional merit.

  • Cory Ross of Littleton, Colo., won the men’s open division $30,000 USPTA International Championships on Thursday in Marco Island, while Marina McCollom of West Des Moines, Iowa won the women’s open division title.

  • Robert Greene Jr., of Rangeley, Maine, who is the Director of Tennis at the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch, N.H., earned the USPTA’s Alex Gordon Award for the Professional of the Year.

Roddick Goes “Cheesier”, Stefanki Stars in Spielberg Movie

Andy Roddick and Radek Stepanek have has a mini rivalry over the last two weeks – Stepanek beating the American 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the semifinals of San Jose two weeks ago, while Roddick avenged his loss to the Czech in the final in Memphis on Sunday by a 7-5, 7-5 margin. Roddick and Stepanek had a memorable – and humorous – match a year ago on Tuesday as excerpted below from my book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY (which you can buy at www.tennishistorybook.com for $19.95) Appropriately, Roddick’s current coach, Larry Stefanki, has his career highlight – described as something out of a Steven Spielberg movie – on this day in 1985. Read below and enjoy events that happened on this day in tennis history.

1985 – Twenty-seven-year-old Larry Stefanki, ranked No. 143 in the world, caps off an incredible week of upsets, defeating David Pate 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to win the Pilot Pen Classic in LaQuinta, Calif. Stefanki, the touring pro at the LaQuinta Resort, is given a last minute wild-card entry in the tournament when bigger name players – namely Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg – decline opportunities to play in the event. Stefanki rides a string of upsets to win the second pro title of his career to go with a 1981 title in Lagos, Nigeria. Writes Mike Penner of the Los Angeles Times, “In fact, the Larry Stefanki Story is almost too good, too sensational. This is the stuff of comic books, Steven Spielberg movies and prime-time TV drama.” “Unbelievable,” says Stefanki of his run. “I’ve never experienced anything like this. You dream about this.” Tournament Director Charlie Pasarell says to the Times, “I’m not sure the match would have been any better than this. If we could’ve written the script, we couldn’t have done it any better…I have a tremendous responsibility to this event and to the ticket buyers to bring in some big names. We wanted Wilander and Edberg, but after today’s match, I walked over to Larry, shook his hand and said the worst mistake I could’ve made was getting Wilander and Edberg.”

2007 – Justine Henin claims her 30th career WTA Tour title – defeating Amelie Mauresmo 6-4, 7-5 in the final of the Dubai Open in the United Arab Emirates. Henin’s 2007 title in Dubai is her fourth to go with her titles in 2003, 2004 and 2006

2008 – Andy Roddick beats Radek Stepanek 6-4, 7-5 to win the SAP Open in San Jose, Calif. Roddick celebrates the win by wiggling his right leg and left arm, mimicking Stepanek, known for performing the belly-on-the-ground dance called “The Worm” on court after big victories. Says Roddick, “Everybody’s asking me about the Worm. All I hear is the Worm. I wanted to find something as cheesy if not cheesier to go with, which was tough. I figured one bad leg kick and I’d be on par.” Says Stepanek of Roddick’s celebration, “I don’t know what that was. ”

1984 – John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors join forces on the U.S. Davis Cup team for only the second time in their careers as Connors defeats Florin Segarceanu 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 and McEnroe defeats Ilie Nastase 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 as the United States takes a 2-0 lead over Romania in Bucharest.

2007 – Playing in her first tournament since the previous October, 26-year-old Venus Williams shows no sign of her injured left wrist in defeating No. 1 seed Shahar Peer of Israel 6-1, 6-1 in the final of the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, Tenn., The title is the 34th of her career. Says Williams, “I’m so excited.”

2007 – Mikhail Youzhny fends off three match points to defeat Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 in the semifinals of the ATP event in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Youzhny goes on to win the title, defeating Croat Ivan Ljubicic 6-2, 6-4  in the final. Says Youzhny, “Last week I beat Djokovic in Marseille and that helped me today when I was a break down in third set. It was a tough match but sometimes in a tournament it is better to play matches like this on your way to the final.”