By Cam Huffman
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS —
The Greenbrier has a long tradition of having some of the sport’s best serve as golf pro emeritus at the resort. Sam Snead, who holds the all-time record with 82 PGA Tour wins and also won seven major championships, was the first to hold the position, serving until his death in 2002. Tom Watson, a 39-time PGA Tour winner with eight major championships, took over the position in 2005, and the 2014 United States Ryder Cup Captain is still in that role today.
Now, The Greenbrier is looking to establish a similar tradition in tennis. The resort announced Monday that Pete Sampras has been appointed as its first tennis pro emeritus.
Like The Old White TPC Course and The Greenbrier’s other golf courses, tennis also has a storied past at The Greenbrier. The resort hosted the Mason and Dixon Championships in the 1920s and 1930s, with winners such as Bill Tilden, Francis Hunter and Ellsworth Vines.
For the last two years, The Greenbrier has hosted The Greenbrier Champions Tennis Classic, which has brought Sampras, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl and Tommy Haas to play on the five Har-Tru outdoor courts and five Deco-Turf indoor courts.
The 42-year-old Sampras spent 14 years playing tennis professionally, winning more than $43 million and 14 grand slam singles titles before retiring in 2003. He was the No. 1 player in the world at the end of six consecutive years from 1993 through 1998. Sampras was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007.
“Pete Sampras is the consummate gentleman ambassador for the international sport of tennis, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome him back to The Greenbrier and count him among our legendary group of sports pros representing America’s Resort,” said Greenbrier owner Jim Justice. “As our first tennis pro emeritus, he joins his fellow golf pro emeritus Tom Watson, along with golf legends Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, representing The Greenbrier. Maybe we’ll even see him out on the links to take on the golf pros soon.”
One of Sampras’ first responsibilities in his new role will be The Pete Sampras Tennis Clinic May 26-28. The three-day clinic will give 24 participants a chance to learn from Sampras, as well as participate in a round-robin doubles tournament and pro-am matches.
The clinic is priced at $2,000 per person and includes a welcome reception and breakfast and lunch in the champions room.
For more information on the clinic, call 304-536-7759 or visit the website at www.greenbrier.com.
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.