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Virgen: Sampras still boring? No

Virgen's View

July 12, 2011|By Steve Virgen, steve.virgen@latimes.com
(Scott Smeltzer…)

Back in 1999, Pete Sampras appeared on "60 Minutes." Charlie Rose posed a somewhat leading question that could've made Sampras uncomfortable.

Instead, the tennis great just smiled.

"So when you read, 'he's boring,' you say," Rose prompted.

"I'm not," Sampras said. "I got my own jet. Hollywood girlfriend."

Twelve years later, most would still want to describe Sampras as boring, but they can't. Not when that Hollywood girlfriend is now his wife. They have two boys, Christian and Ryan, and they certainly bring their own brand of excitement.

"It's very different," Sampras said of being a father rather than a top-ranked pro. "They are at the age now that they understand what's going on. They're in school and doing all the homework and reading … You're just trying to help them any way you can. You want your kids to listen and behave and do what you say, but they do the opposite. They are boys. First thing in the morning they are up and ready to go. I'm just barely waking up. As a tennis player you only worry about you, but now I'm thinking about them. I enjoy it. It's a lot of fun."

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Sampras brought the fun to The Tennis Club Newport Beach Saturday night. He said he agreed to play for the World Team Tennis league because he could choose his team. When you've won 14 Grand Slam titles, including seven at Wimbledon, you can call the shots. He chose Newport Beach because it was close to his home in Los Angeles.

He knew his wife, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, and the boys could come and see him play. Bridgette and the boys also made a mini vacation of it. They visited The Wedge in Corona del Mar and went to Fashion Island in Newport Beach during the day before the match.

Yes, things have changed since Sampras talked about his life and personality on "60 Minutes." He talked about his desire to be the best. And, others, like John McEnroe gushed about Sampras and how he made it all look so easy.

Things didn't come so easy on Saturday. Sampras tweaked his ankle. After he played his two sets, losing in doubles, 5-0, and winning in singles, 5-3, he went to the clubhouse to rest his leg for treatment on his ankle. Nearby, Christian, 8, and Ryan, 5, played. Bridgette agreed to speak with me.

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