Federer to battle Sampras in clash of legends

May 23, 2007 - 2:02 PM By PA SportsTicker

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (Ticker) -- Two of the greatest tennis players in history will face off in Kuala Lumpur when Roger Federer meets Pete Sampras as part of Malaysia's 50th anniversary of independence celebrations.

Federer, who recently ended Rafael Nadal's record-breaking 81-match winning streak on clay in the Hamburg Masters Series final on Sunday, boasts 10 Grand Slam titles and has been ranked No. 1 in the world since February 2004.

Sampras, 35, dominated tennis throughout the 1990s, collecting a record 14 Grand Slam titles en route to six straight years atop the rankings, although Federer is well on course to surpass both marks.

Billed as the "Clash of Times," Sampras is looking forward to meeting the 25-year-old Swiss superstar as part of the Inaugural Merdeka Tennis Challenge on November 22.

The legendary duo will also square off in two other matches in Asia, including the Chinese gambling city of Macau on November 24. The site for the other match has yet to be determined.

"Roger and I playing each other is great for the game of tennis," Sampras said. "It will definitely create a lot of interest. I am sure I will be a little nervous as there is a lot of history there. I hold the record for most Grand Slam titles but I am confident that Roger will break that record someday.

"For us to play each other while I am still young enough to play competitively is truly special. Having this also take place in Asia is remarkable for tennis."

The pair only met once before Sampras' retirement in 2002, with Federer upsetting the American at Wimbledon a year earlier in five sets.

"To play against Pete is a dream come true. The only time I ever played him was in my first appearance at Wimbledon in that famous match which I won 7-5 in the fifth set," Federer said. "I was still very young and Pete was clearly dominant at that time.

"I felt we should share our brand of tennis with the fans. I'm really looking forward to visiting Malaysia for the first time. There is no doubt that we will play some great tennis."

The two practiced together in March at Sampras' Los Angeles home as part of Federer's preparations for the Indian Wells Masters Series tournament.

"After practicing with Roger in March, I felt that I really could hold my own," Sampras said. "And playing Roger will be so special. It will be two players who have a similar temperament playing some great tennis for the sake of history. Both of us like to let our rackets do the talking."

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