By Cam Huffman
Tennis royalty will be in Greenbrier County this weekend as the Greenbrier Tennis Classic returns to The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs.
Started last fall with an exhibition match between John McEnroe and Pete Sampras, the event was designed to honor The Greenbrier’s tennis history, which dates back to the 1890s, and put some of the game’s all-time greats on display.
This year, the event has expanded to two days. McEnroe and Sampras will return, but they’ll be joined by Ivan Lendl and Tommy Haas.
McEnroe and Lendl will meet in a singles match Saturday at noon, followed by a singles match between Sampras and Haas at 2 p.m.
A doubles match will be on the slate on Sunday, with the Americans battling the Europeans. Sampras and McEnroe will take on Lendl and Haas at noon.
Preferred seats have sold out for Saturday’s singles matches, but general seats remain. Both preferred and general seats remain for Sunday’s match.
General admission seats are $125 per day, while preferred seating is $200 per day. Tickets can be purchased by calling 855-239-7531. The event will be played indoors if weather conditions make that a necessity.
McEnroe is one of the most recognized tennis players of all time. Known as much for his temper as his play, the left-hander is 875-198 in career singles matches and was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1980.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame member won more than $12 million during his career. He won Wimbledon three times (1981, 1983, 1984) and has four U.S. Open titles (1979, 1980, 1981, 1984).
He’s currently a tennis analyst for television.
Sampras, who retired in 2002, had one of the best tennis careers of all time, earning more than $43 million before being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007. He won 64 career titles and was ranked No. 1 in the world in 2003.
Sampras won a pair of Australian Open titles (1994, 1997), seven Wimbledon crowns (1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000) and was a five-time U.S. Open champion (1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2002).
Lendl, born in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, is also a former world No. 1, reaching that milestone in 1983. He’s a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, as well, inducted in 2001.
Lendl won eight Grand Slam title — a pair of Australian Opens (1989, 1990), three French Opens (1984, 1986, 1987) and three U.S. Opens (1985, 1986, 1987).
He’s currently involved in the game by coaching Andy Murray, the No. 3 player in the world.
Haas hasn’t quite reached the legendary status of the other three, but the Hamburg, Germany native, who now makes his home in the United States, is one of the best current players in the world.
Ranked as high as No. 2 in the world in 2002, Haas, who has made the semifinals three times in the Australian Open and once at Wimbledon, is currently ranked No. 12 in the world. He’s beaten current No. 1 Novak Djokovic three times since 2009, including earlier this year in Miami. He also beat Roger Federer in 2012.
This year, Haas made it to the quarterfinals at the French Open and into the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Opportunities for fans to meet these tennis stars are also available. Tickets remain for Sunday meet and greets with Haas, Lendl and Sampras. They can be purchased for $25 per session.
For more information, visit www.greenbrier.com/