Tennis Legends Thrill Audiences at LA Exhibition

Current and former World Number One tennis players Novak Djokovic and Pete Sampras joined forces Monday night against Number One doubles team Mike and Bob Bryan in Los Angeles.

Sampras, showing off the huge serve and aggressive volleying that once dominated men’s tennis, and Djokovic were not able to find an answer to the newly-crowned best doubles team of all time, despite “help” from celebrity guest referee Rainn Wilson of NBC’s “The Office” and a blackout reminiscent of this year’s Superbowl.

Check out Sampras’s first service game of the evening (and please excuse this author’s cheering..Sampras as always been a personal hero).

In other action, Djokovic- who proved he is as every bit as natural at entertaining a crowd as being a world-class tennis player- defeated Mardy Fish 8-7 (7-2).  Fish, also one of the event’s organizers along with former professional Justin Gimelstob, recently announced he will make his return to the tour at next week’s BNP Paribas Open after a lengthy time away due to a heart condition.  Former world #2- and fellow comeback kid- Tommy Haas defeated former world #4 James Blake 6-5 in a sudden death tiebreaker after a Haas served collapsed the net and caused a lengthy delay.

Enjoy one of the first points of the night, which featured the infamous “tweener” shot from German native/recent LA transplant Haas.

The Los Angeles Tennis Challenge, in its inaugural year, was a collaboration by Fish and Gimelstob in response to the recent loss of one of America’s oldest tournaments, The LA Open (and its many other incarnations).  The event attracted many celebrities including Wilson, Sampras’s wife Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Academy Award winners Jodie Foster and Diane Keaton, Dr. Phil and Bruce Willis- whom Sampras (with help from the crowd) unsuccessfully lobbied to momentarily replace Wilson as celebrity guest referee.