Black Rock Masters Betting: Good enough to do it again?

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The 1.36 for Pete Sampras to win this week's tournament might be short odds but it's an unmissable bet, says Ralph Ellis of Betfair.com.

I once bumped into John McEnroe in a hotel lift. One of those embarrassing moments when you want to say something to a sporting icon that's not totally stupid. And it wasn't helped by the fact that I could tell he half recognised me from asking some awkward questions at a Wimbledon press conference in the distant past.
He was holding a CD, so that seemed as good a place as any to start. After all, he's known for playing a fairly decent guitar riff. What was it? "A new band I got given to listen to," he said. "The album's called: 'Old enough to know better, young enough to do it again.'" And with that he reached his floor, the door opened, and off he went.
It seemed an apt title for the original Superbrat of tennis, and reading this morning's Daily Mail it's clear he's adopted that album as a way of life! Just 75 days away from his 50th birthday he can still throw a tantrum to make Cristiano Ronaldo look like the most passive sportsman on the planet.
Probably it's all an act these days, because that's what the middle aged Mums who turn up to watch the Masters tournaments want to see. But it seems it took him just six points against Pete Sampras at the start of the Black Rock Masters to blow his top and dispute the legality of the first ace that whistled past him. According to the Mail's Alan Fraser he gave umpire Kim Cravan a barrage of abuse and then turned his attention to the line judge. "Don't be intimidated," shouted Sampras from the other side of the net.
The two great champions from different eras had never played each other before. As Fraser so tellingly points out, McEnroe began his career waving a wooden racket like a magic wand while Sampras won his 14 Grand Slam titles in the age of power tennis. But what both have very firmly is the sportsman's instinct for winning and the result was a bit of a mis-match.
Sampras - described by Fraser as a thirty-something with thinning hair and the hint of a double chin - was still far too good for McEnroe as he won 6-3 6-4. And it's very unlikely to be his last win of the week. He plays Cedric Pioline next and that should be a virtual walkover.
After quitting the game when he retired he picked up a racket again for an exhibition match in 2006, and by last year was practising with Roger Federer in California and finding he could hold his own against the world number one. He even beat him in an exhibition match. McEnroe says: "I would still seed him in the top five at Wimbledon."

All of that means that the 1.36 for Sampras to win this week's tournament might be short odds but it's an unmissable bet. Think of it as an investment - especially on the day when Gordon Brown is bringing down interest rates on what's saved in your bank. Here's a chance to make 36% on your money in half a week!
Five things you might not know about Pete Sampras
1. Born in Washington DC to Greek immigrant parents, he found an old tennis racket in the basement of his tenement home as a kid and started hitting a ball against the wall

2. When he was seven the family moved to California and his career in junior tennis became more serious

3. He broke into the top 100 in his first year after turning professional at 16

4. He accomplished his amazing 286 weeks at number one despite suffering an inherited blood disorder thalassemia

5. He married American supermodel and former Miss Teen USA Bridgette Wilson and they have two sons, Christian and Ryan.
 

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