A Face in the Crowd 1986~1988

  1. June 1986: Junior Davis Cup Tryout Announcement
  2. April 1987: Defending Easter Bowl Champ Upset
  3. April 17, 1987, Friday MIAMI, Florida
  4. May 1987: Sampras Improves to 54-0
  5. May 1987: Sampras Makes It Perfect Season
  6. July 1987: Junior Davis Cup Selection Announcement
  7. July 21, 1987, Tuesday
  8. March 1988: Indian Wells Surprise
  9. March 1988: Sampras Serves Up Teltsher Loss

1. Los Angeles Times
June 15, 1986, Sunday
Junior Davis Cup Tryout Announcement

Junior Davis Cup competition will be held June 22-July 4 at UC Santa Barbara. Greg Patton, tennis coach at UC Irvine, will captain the team of boys 16 and 18.

Among the players invited to try out are: 16 -- Pete Sampras, Rancho Palos Verdes; Giora Payes, Los Angeles, and Michael Chang, La Costa. 18 -- Steve Oliver, Westlake Village; Carl Chang, La Costa; Mike Briggs, Newport Beach, and Jeff Tarango, Manhattan Beach

2. April 15, 1987, Wednesday Miami, Florida
Defending Easter Bowl champ upset

Unseeded Dean Cohen upset defending champion and second seeded Francisco Montana of Miami 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the Boys 18s division of the Omega Easter Bowl junior tennis tournament.

Cohen, of North Miami Beach, was joined in the quarterfinal by top seed Jonathan Stark, of Medford, Ore., 15th-seeded Jose Ayala of Sunrise, Fla. and 9th-seeded Pete Sampras of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

An erratic Stark beat 16th-seeded Chris Gambino of Matawan, N.J., 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 at the Doral Country Club. Ayala upset 7th-seeded David DiLucia of Norristown, Pa., 7-5, 6-3.

Sampras also was a surprise winner, upseting 6th-seeded John Falbo of Charleston, W.Va. 6-3, 6-4.

Top seed Amy Frazier of Rochester, Minn., and second-seeded Sandra Birch of Huntington Bay, N.Y. advanced to the Girls 18s quarterfinals. Frazier beat 13th-seeded Krista Amend of Rolling Hills, Calif., 6-3, 6-3. Birch beat unseeded Kay Louthian of Columbia, S.C., 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

3. April 17, 1987, Friday Miami, Florida

Top-seeded Jonathan Stark of Medford, Ore. and third-seeded Malivai Washington of Swartz Creek, Mich., Friday won semifinal matches in the Boys 18s division of the Easter Bowl junior tennis tournament at Doral Country Club.

Stark defeated ninth-seeded Pete Sampras of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; and Washington defeated eighth-seeded Geoff Grant of Sudbury, Mass. 6-3, 6-3.

In the Girls 18s semifinals, fifth-seeded Andrea Berger of Plantation, Fla., and eighth-seeded Luanne Spadea of Boca Raton, Fla. posted victories. Berger upset No. 2 seed Sandra Birch of Huntington Bay, N.Y., 6-4, 6-2; while Spadea beat fourth-seeded Noelle Porter of San Clemente, Calif., 6-4, 6-2.

4. Los Angeles Times
May 30, 1987
Sampras Improves to 54-0
By Barbie Ludovise

In the opinions of his opponents, Peter Sampras, a sophomore tennis player from Palos Verdes High School, can be beaten.
He has a weak side, they say. Push him back to the baseline, keep him off the net. But, whatever you do, don't give him a nice, high lob.

That's what Rob Grant of Corona heard about Sampras, who was 53-0 before their quarterfinal match at the Southern Section Individual Championships Friday at Edison High School.

"You have to send it to his weaker side," said Grant's coach, Jose Nino. "You keep him running and you'll get him. Believe me."
Grant seemed to believe it, and for a short time had Sampras scrambling with soft topspins and line-skimming corner shots. But Grant never established a lead and lost, 6-3, 6-3.

Sampras advances to today's semifinals at the Balboa Bay Racquet Club in Newport Beach where he will play third-seeded Bill Behrens of Rolling Hills at 10:30.
Behrens, third-seeded in the tournament, beat Willy Quest of Long Beach Wilson, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2.

If Sampras beats Behrens, he could meet what might be his toughest competition this season, Mike Briggs, the tournament's top-seeded player from Corona del Mar, in the afternoon's final. Briggs defeated Andrew Sheppert of San Marino, 6-3, 6-4, in his quarterfinal match and faces Bill Miller of Santa Barbara in the semifinals.

"Behrens could be a good match, but Pete's sort of geared himself to play Briggs all season," said John Fullerton, Palos Verdes coach. "And I think Briggs would say the same about Pete."

Asked how he might direct the next opponent to play Sampras, Fullerton said, jokingly, "I'd probably tell him to cheat. There might not be another way."

In doubles, Willi Dann and Pete Bohan of University upset third-seeded Steve Arnott and David Moore of Edison, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4).
Dann and Bohan will meet No. 2 Stan Sanders and Ned Grover of Dana Hills in the semifinals. Top-seeded doubles team Brent Peus and Dan Medvene of Santa Barbara defeated Jamie Atcha and Blake Denison, 6-1, 6-2, to advance to a semifinal match against Brad Magers and Grant Hughes of Laguna Beach.

Sampras Makes It Perfect Season
By John Fawaz, Times Staff Writer

Sophomore Pete Sampras of Palos Verdes High School is so good that it doesn't seem fair. So good, so young and so cool.

Sampras capped a perfect season Saturday as he defeated Bill Miller of Santa Barbara, 6-2, 6-1, to win the Southern Section Boys individual tennis title at the Balboa Bay Racquet Club in Newport Beach.

In a sport known for the emotions shown by its players, the 15-year-old Sampras is a breath of fresh air. He said hardly a word during the match. His only emotion was an occasional grin after missing an occasional shot. Not only is he relaxed and under control, he's also very good.

"That's what I do best," Sampras said. "I'm not too emotional. I don't worry about bad shots, I just go for the next one."

For the season, he won 58 sets without a loss in high school play. Maybe Palos Verdes Coach John Fullerton had it right when he jokingly said the only way to beat Sampras would be to cheat.

Nothing probably would have helped Miller. In the morning, he had played some of his best tennis to upset the No. 1-seed, Corona del Mar's Mike Briggs, in the semifinals.

Briggs, who won the title in 1985, was playing on his home court and brought a 56-0 record into the match. But Miller beat him for the first time, 6-3, 6-3.

Beating Briggs got him into the final, but it was a little too much to expect Miller to beat Briggs and Sampras in the same day.
"I'm satisfied," Miller said. "I played a pretty good match in the finals. (But) it's kind of hard to play two really good matches in the same day."

Sampras set the tone for the match with an ace on his first serve and took a 3-2 lead in the first set as each player held serve.
In the sixth game, Miller led, 40-15, and it appeared the pattern would continue. But Sampras, working on Miller's backhand, rallied to win the game for a 4-2 lead.

It was the last bit of resistance Miller offered as Sampras controlled the match after that with his powerful serves and deep volleys.
"I was very confident in the finals," Sampras said. "I thought he was going to be a little more pumped up."

"This guy (Sampras) is a hell of a player," Santa Barbara Coach Jack Trigueiro said. "His approach shots were so deep that he just had Bill handcuffed. "There will be a whole lot heard from this guy's tennis."

Sampras' victory means that the Southern Section individual champion for both boys and girls came from the same house. Sampras' sister, Stella, won the girls' individual title in December. It is the first time a brother and sister have won both titles.

In the doubles, Stan Sanders and Neel Grover of Dana Hills defeated Brad Magers and Grant Hughes of Laguna Hills, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4.

6. July 2, 1987, Thursday ROHNERT PARK, Calif.
Junior Davis Cup Selection Announcement

Mike Brown of Sebring, Fla., Davis Diluscia of Norristown, Pa., John Falbo of Charleston, W. Va., and Pete Sampras of Palos Verdes, Calif., were the winners in a 16-field selection process for places on the 11-member Boys 18 Junior Davis Cup tennis team announced Thursday.

Seven others won places on the team on the basis of ranking and performance.
That group was made up of Martin Blackman of New York City, Jim Courier of Dade City, Fla., Chris Garner of Bay Shore, N.Y., Al Parker of Claxton, Ga., Johnathan Stark of Medford, Ore., Malivia Washington of Swartz Creek, Mich., and David Wheaton of Excelsior, Minn.

All 11 members of the team will compete next week in the National Hardcourt Championships at Burlingame, Calif.
Brad Stine of Fresno is the team coach and Gregg Patton of Irvine, Calif., is the team captain.

7. July 21, 1987, Tuesday

Fifteen-year-old Pete Sampras of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., won the gold medal in men's tennis at the U.S. Olympic Festival Tuesday with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Chris Entzel of Las Vegas, Nev.

Top seed Debbie Graham of Fountain Valley, Calif., defeated second seed Stacey Martin of Laurel, Md., 6-1, 6-1 to take the gold medal in the women's competition. Graham and Martin had each played doubles matches earlier in temperatures that hovered over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sampras, also the top seed, jumped to a 3-1 lead, then lost his serve for only the second time in four matches.
''I was pretty upset with myself,'' Sampras said. "I wanted to get the break back as soon as possible.''

Sampras broke back in the next game, then won the next six games to take a 4-0 lead in the second set.
''The heat took a lot out of me,'' Entzel said. ''It's pretty tough to come back from 0-4 in this heat. Still, I was pretty pleased with the way I played. I gave it everything I had and this was my best tournament of the year.''

Graham, 18, did not lose a set in four matches, and credited her consistent serve as the key to her victory.

8. March 1988 INDIAN WELLS, Calif.
Indian Wells Surprise

Top-seeds Stefan Edberg of Sweden and Miroslav Mecir of Czechoslovakia posted straight-set victories Wednesday, but four other seeds were upset in the second round of the $702,500 Newsweek Champions Cup.

Pete Sampras, a 16-year-old high-school junior playing in only his second pro tournament, registered the afternoon's most surprising triumph, knocking off 10th-seeded Eliot Teltscher, 7-5, 6-3. Both are neighbors in the community of Palos Verdes, Calif.

In other highlights yesterday, 16-year-old Pete Sampras continued his surprising play with a 7-5, 6-3 upset over Eliot Teltscher.
The match was pupil against teacher, as Sampras has worked on and off with Teltscher for the last six years.

"I played well and I don't think he was on top of his game," said Sampras, a 5-8, 130-pound amateur who's a high schooler in Palos Verdes. "I took advantage of that."

Eight months ago, Sampras, a quiet, self-assured youngster off-court, switched from a two-handed backhand to a more versatile one-handed version.
Despite his recent success, he insists he will not turn pro for a few years.

9. Los Angeles Times
March 3, 1988 INDIAN WELLS
12 Years Later, Youth Serves Up Teltsher Loss
By Lisa Dillman

Eliot Teltscher never thought it would take him 12 years to realize how Cliff Richey felt on that day they played at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

For Teltscher, the victory over Richey in 1976 came to mind when he played 16-year-old Pete Sampras Wednesday at nearby Grand Champions Resort.

This time, however, the 28-year-old Teltscher was trying to stop a teen-ager from making his mark. Youth again prevailed.

Sampras recorded the biggest victory of his career, defeating Teltscher, 7-5, 6-3, in the second round of the $702,500 Newsweek Champions Cup.

"Twelve years ago at the same tournament," said U.S. Davis Cup captain Tom Gorman, shaking his head in wonder. "Same thing, teen-ager against the veteran. Eliot was saying now he knows how Cliff Richey must have felt."

A few hours later, the Richey match was the first thing Teltscher mentioned when he met with the press.
"It's tough," said Teltscher, seeded 10th. "I remember... when I was 17 and I played Cliff Richey. I now can understand what he was going through. It's really hard because I played then really loose, and for Pete it's easy." "It's easy when you start because no one expects anything of you. Everything you do is a bonus. It's easier at the beginning."

Sampras and Teltscher could have easily played this match in Palos Verdes, and actually, they have played many times there. Teltscher is from Palos Verdes Estates, and Sampras lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, but this is the first time they've met in a tournament.

Sampras, playing in his second professional event, thought his familiarity with Teltscher's game helped him win the match.
"I was confident, since I know his game and he knows mine," Sampras said. "So I wasn't surprised by anything he did."

Reaching the third round of a prestigious tournament filled with big names has surprised Sampras. He went through qualifying, defeating No. 1-seeded qualifier Todd Nelson in the second round. In the first round of the main draw, Sampras fought off five match points in a third-set tiebreaker en route to his victory over No. 37-ranked Ramesh Krishnan.

Teltscher looked to be a considerably tougher test because of his No. 25 ranking and his excellent results last year, which moved him back into the top 20 by the end of 1987.

But Sampras showed no signs of nervousness and broke Teltscher in the opening game. Teltscher broke back in the sixth game, and they stayed on serve until 5-5. In the 11th game, Sampras broke Teltscher at 30 when Teltscher hit a forehand lob long. Then, Sampras won the first set as he held at 15, winning with a forehand volley.

Again, in the second set, the players exchanged early service breaks before getting back on serve. After Teltscher broke Sampras to tie it, 3-3, Sampras broke right back and did it again on Teltscher's next service game.

"I felt like I lost to a good player," Teltscher said. "He is a good player. That's the bottom line of it. Obviously, he beat Krishnan, so you knew, at that point, he was a good player. I knew it before from practicing and playing with him."

"I didn't play the match of my life out there. I was a little tentative. He
serves well and volleys well and he's aggressive. I needed to serve well and keep the ball deep. He was smart. He took my second serve and he came in. Whenever he got a short ball, he hit it and came in. He pressured me throughout the match when I didn't keep the ball deep enough to keep him off the net."

A strong net game hasn't always been a Sampras trademark. Not long ago, he had a weak serve and net game, and a good two-handed backhand. But, showing remarkable foresight, he and his longtime coach Pete Fischer realized it would take more to succeed on the pro tour, even if he was winning in the juniors.

The new game didn't come easily and it showed during his first summer on the junior circuit with the one-handed backhand and commitment to rushing the net. Sampras's ranking dropped to No. 56 in the 18-and-under division for 1986, and he didn't progress past the third round in any of the major U.S. national junior events.

"It was extremely hard," Sampras said of the switch. "I wanted to go back, but my coach told me to stick with it."

It took eight months before Sampras felt comfortable with the stroke, and it took a little longer before he began recording impressive junior results again. Last summer, the move began to look very wise when he reached the final of the National Hardcourts, losing to Michael Chang, and then, avenging the loss as he beat Chang in the U.S. Open junior event.

"There was a lot of agonizing with the one-handed backhand and he fought it," Fischer recently told a national tennis magazine. "But he just wasn't going anywhere with the two-hander. He couldn't play the net with it. Now his one-handed backhand is better than his two-hander ever was. And he can do so much more with it."

Which was illustrated during the match against Teltscher. Next, Sampras meets No. 8-seeded Emilio Sanchez of Spain. As for the loser of Wednesday's match, Teltscher certainly won't be forgetting it soon.
"I wish him the best," Teltscher said. "I know him and he's a good kid. But when I'm out playing I want to win no matter who I'm playing. It's a bit of a tough loss for me."

Still, despite the result, as he was leaving the press conference, Teltscher joked about his prematch discussion with Sampras, saying: "I asked him if his truant officer knew he was away from school."