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Sampras, Courier Head Elite Field at Indian Wells Men’s Tournament

Top-ranked Pete Sampras and defending champion Jim Courier lead a strong field in the Newsweek Champions Cup, which runs today through Sunday at Hyatt Grand Champions.

Seven of the top 10 and 14 of the top 18 players in the world are entered.

As the first of nine Championship Series events on the ATP Tour, the Newsweek Champions Cup is guaranteed a top field each year, but Brad Gilbert, at 32, the oldest player in this year’s field, said the tournament has long been a popular stop.

“This is a great event,” Gilbert said. “It’s a nice time of year, especially if you’ve been playing indoors and been in cold weather. It’s such a festive atmosphere: in the day, full crowds. And enthusiastic people. You can’t ask for much more from a tennis tournament.”

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In addition to Sampras, who has won the last three Grand Slam events, the field includes Sergi Bruguera of Spain, who defeated Courier in last year’s French Open final; and up-and-coming Todd Martin of Lansing, Mich., who lost to Sampras last month in the Australian Open final.

“Todd Martin’s coming real hard,” Gilbert said. “He’s playing excellent tennis. He can make results on clay, hardcourt, grass, indoors. If you can make results on all four surfaces, your future is looking great. I suspect by the end of the year, he’ll be in the top four in the world.”

This week, though, Martin is only fourth among the Americans in a stellar field--behind Sampras, Courier and Michael Chang.


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