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Roger battles past Pete

11.03.2008 | Tennis

It was a very special moment for Roger in New York on Monday, playing an electrifying exhibition match against Pete Sampras in New York's Madison Square Garden. Our star had to fight hard before prevailing 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (6) in two hours and 14 minutes.


"It was like a dream come true for me," Roger said. "Playing my childhood hero here at the Garden. I had never played here. It was great. We had lots of fun."


John McEnroe, commentating the match for US television, made an important observation during the second set: "there is no sign of aftermath of of his illness." And Roger indeed played great tennis, a very promising sign that the mononucleosis is no longer bothering him. "I felt great. Now, I really need more matches. It is nice to have been pushed to the brink," our star said.


Roger and Pete, considered two of the greatest male tennis players of all time, performed before a crowd of 19,000, including golfing legend Tiger Woods. "I have messed up the Grand Slam this year," Roger said. "Pete is not playing anymore so the only one really going for it is Tiger Woods. It was great that he came. I always appreciate when he does a trip like when he came to see me in the US Open in '06."


The two faced each other for the first time in a three-city Asian exhibition tour in November. Roger edged Pete twice, with the American veteran coming on top in their last encounter. "I'd love to do it again," Sampras said. "I am retired and he is very active. It is up to Roger if he wants to do it."

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