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Sampras Pulls Out of Queen’s Club

June 5, 2002

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LONDON (AP) _ Pete Sampras has pulled out of next week’s Queen’s Club grass-court tournament, marking only the second time since 1989 he will miss the Wimbledon warmup event.

The seven-time Wimbledon champion had initially accepted a wild card to play at Queen’s.

But after a poor start to the season, including a first-round defeat at the French Open last week, Sampras decided to play instead in the Gerry Weber Open grass-court tournament at Halle, Germany.

The only other time Sampras passed on Queen’s was in 1996 when, after making the semifinals of the French Open, he decided he wouldn’t have enough time to adjust from the clay surface to grass.

Sampras won Queen’s twice, in 1995 and 1999, going on to win Wimbledon in both years.

``Whatever personal demons Pete is fighting at the moment, I suspect that, more than anything else, he feels he needs a couple of wins under his belt,″ Queen’s director Ian Wight said. ``I guess he feels those are more likely at Halle than at Queen’s.″

Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt heads the field for this year’s tournament, which runs June 10-16. He will attempt to become only the second man to win three straight Queen’s titles since John McEnroe from 1979-81.

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