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Sampras, Blake To Square Off In Baton Rouge Charity Match

November 24, 2008 01:46 PM

The Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation is proud to announce that tennis greats Pete Sampras and James Blake will meet across the net for the very first time at the Duel Under the Oaks fundraising event. Organized by Paula Pennington de la Bretonne, the exhibition match will take place at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center (PMAC) on LSU’s campus on Sunday, Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. This year, Sampras returns to Baton Rouge to take the court with Blake to raise funds for non-profit organizations aiding those impacted by the recent effects of Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike. Click for more information.

Tickets: $25 - $75, students/children $10. On sale at LSU Ticket Office or online or call 225-578-2184. Major event sponsors include Baton Rouge General, WBRZ Channel 2, The Advocate, Guaranty Broadcasting-Eagle 98.1 FM, The Stanford Financial Group Company, the John W. Barton Family Foundation, The Baton Rouge Area Foundation and Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation.

In 2006, Sampras played in an exhibition match against Todd Martin which helped raise money for LSU Medical Center students who were displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This year, Sampras returns to Baton Rouge to take the court with Blake to raise funds for Baton Rouge area non-profit organizations aiding those impacted by the recent effects of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.

Pete Sampras is one of the all-time greatest tennis players. He became the youngest man to win the U.S. Open in 1990 when he was just 19 years old. Sampras dominated men’s tennis winning 14 Grand Slam titles and from 1993-1998 he ended each year as the top ranked player in the world. Sampras’ book: A Champion’s Mind: Lessons from a Life in Tennis, gives insight into the life of the unassuming tennis legend and debuted at #20 on the New York Times Best Seller list.

James Blake is currently ranked number 10 in the world and was named People Magazine’s Sexiest Athlete in 2002 and 2008 Single and Sexy. Blake defeated Roger Federer in the quarterfinals of the Beijing Olympics and was named “The next big American tennis star” by Sports Illustrated. Blake's book, Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life, discussing his comeback after his unlucky 2004 season, was released and debuted at #22 on the New York Times Best Seller list.

The December event is sponsored by the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation to raise funds through sponsorships and ticket sales. The proceeds from the event will go to the ‘Hurricane Relief and Recovery Fund of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation,’ which will award grants to non-profit organizations and programs that shelter, feed and provide necessities to people impacted by the storm. The fund will also provide grants to organizations that aid residents returning to the impacted areas.

“The Pennington Foundation is deeply committed to assisting the Baton Rouge area non-profit organizations that are now facing even larger challenges and are in dire need of more resources to help communities recover after Hurricanes Ike and Gustav,” said Paula Pennington de la Bretonne, Chairman of the Committee.

The multi-faceted event will feature:

11:00 to 1:00 Children’s Clinic

Pete Sampras and James Blake, along with Tony Minnis, Jeff Brown, Stella Sampras Webster, Rance Brown and the LSU women’s and men’s tennis teams will give tips and instruction to community children at LSU Dub Robinson Tennis stadium on LSU campus

1:00 to 1:45 Stephen Welch/Jon Rydberg Wheelchair Tennis Exhibition Match

Former teammates and doubles partners of the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis team in Beijing will compete against each other.

2:00 to 4:00 Sampras/ Blake Exhibition

“Best of three” exhibition match

About Pete Sampras

Sampras turned pro at the age in 1988, won his first pro tournament in 1990 and reached the # 1 ranking for the first time in his career in 1993. Pete has gone on to win more Grand Slam titles (14) – Wimbledon (7); U.S. Open (5); and Australian Open (2) – than any other men’s player in tennis history, including his idol, Rod Laver. He has held the year-end # 1 ranking for a record six consecutive years (1993-1998). Pete has won many awards during his career and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007. He retired from the professional tour in 2002 however continues to play selected exhibitions such as “Duel Under the Oaks.”

About James Blake

Blake turned pro in 1999 while he was the number one collegiate player at Harvard University. He has led the Davis Cup team since joining in 2001, with a record of 20-9. Blake was ranked number four in the world, making him the highest ranked American tennis player in 2006 and is currently ranked number eight. Blake was named the 2005 ATP Comeback Player of the Year after a near-death incident and case of the shingles left him partially paralyzed with blurred vision. One year later, he climbed from number 210 to become one of the top ten players in the world. Recently, James won perhaps the biggest match of his career by beating World # 1 and 13-Time Grand Slam Champion Roger Federer at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

About the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation

During their lives, Claude B. “Doc” Pennington and his wife, Irene Wells Pennington were noted philanthropists and volunteers. In 1982, their private family foundation, the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, was established to share their success with the community that had been an important part of their lives.

The Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation provided philanthropic support through organizations who promote the overall well-being of families and communities. Much of the foundation’s support is given to nonprofits and agencies that provide direct service to people in need, from disadvantaged youth to the medically underserved.

The foundation’s giving primarily focuses on the organizations and agencies within or new the Greater Baton Rouge area and surrounding parishes. This includes East and West Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Ascension, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, and Iberville Parishes.




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