Sampras to defend PowerShares Series title

The PowerShares Series – previously called the Champions Series Tennis event – resumes Oct. 13, featuring past tennis legends in exhibition matches across the U.S. for six weeks.  The brainchild of Jim Courier, quite a bit is at stake: ranking points determine a Top 3, all of whom receive US$1 million in bonus money at the end of the tournament.

Last year, it was Pete Sampras who ran away from the competition, finishing with 2,200 points and 600 ahead of his closest rival No. 2 Courier.  Sampras returns to defend his title in 2012, and other challengers on the 12-city schedule include Courier, Michael Chang, Todd Martin, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Patrick Rafter, Mats Wilander and Andre Agassi.  While that schedule unfortunately does not include the Nation’s Capital this time, Sampras did head there in 2011, speaking at length with reporters about Novak Djokovic’s year to that point; the current “Big Four”; the state of American men’s tennis; his early childhood in the Washington, D.C., area (where he was born and lived until age 7); and other topics.

“It goes through cycles,” Sampras said in response to a question by Meniscus Magazine about U.S. men’s tennis today following the success of the original “Big Four.”  “Not every decade is going to have me, Andre, Jim and Michael.  You just have to face facts that, we’d love to have every decade, but it’s a pretty rare group…I think the world has gotten better.  You look at golf, it’s the same way – Europe is getting stronger.  The sport has gotten more global and more players around the world are playing.”

“They’re hungry,” Sampras added.  “I don’t know if we’ve gotten complacent or what it is, but it’s just the way the game is today, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.”

For the rest of Sampras’ Q&A, as well as photos from the D.C. event that featured Sampras, Chang, Agassi, Courier, watch our YouTube clip and check out our photos below.  Ticket information for the 2012 PowerShare Series is available at powersharesseries.com.

Video: Pete Sampras press conference, Washington, D.C., Sept. 23, 2011

video by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Photo Gallery: Champions Series Tennis, Washington, D.C., Sept. 23, 2011
all photos by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Kwai Chan contributed to this report.