NEWPORT BEACH — Twenty-four years had passed since tennis legend Pete Sampras won a big tournament at The Tennis Club Newport Beach.
The club was called the Balboa Bay Club Racquet Club in 1987, when Sampras, a 15-year-old kid, captured the CIF Individuals singles title as a student at Palos Verdes High.
Sampras returned Saturday night for the Newport Beach Breakers as one of the greatest players in tennis history.
"Someone said I won some event here," Sampras, the 14-time Grand Slam champion, said in a pre-match press conference. "Is that true? I don't [remember] … There's still courts here? They didn't burn it down? Which court [did I win CIF on], do you know?"
Nobody at the press conference knew which court. On the center court during the match Sampras, who turns 40 next month, looked rusty at first in his return. The marquee player recovered to win in men's singles but the Breakers were unable to do the same, falling to former world No. 1 Martina Hingis and the New York Sportimes, 19-17, in overtime.