Sampras confirms return to Queen's

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The Independent Online
Pete Sampras, newly restored as the world No 1, confirmed yesterday that he would defend the Stella Artois title at Queen's Club, London, from 10 to 16 June, in preparation for his attempt to win a fourth consecutive Wimbledon championship.

Sampras is to be joined by five former winners of the $700,000 (pounds 470,000) Queen's tournament: Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Michael Stich, Wayne Ferreira and Todd Martin.

Edberg, a frequent visitor to the practice courts at Queen's, which is within walking distance of his Kensington home, will be making a farewell appearance at the tournament as part of his retirement season.

Thomas Muster will be making his debut. The Austrian, who was supplanted as No 1 by Sampras on Monday, rose to the top of the game without winning an ATP Tour match on grass as a senior player, his solitary victory on the surface having been in the Davis Cup in February.

Goran Ivanisevic, twice a Wimbledon finalist, will also feature in the Stella draw, along with two British direct entries, Greg Rusedski and Tim Henman. A wild card has been provided for Jeremy Bates to enable him to make a farewell appearance at the event.

The Direct Line Insurance international women's championship, at Eastbourne from 18 to 22 June, has attracted five of the world's top 11 players, including Conchita Martinez, the 1994 Wimbledon champion, and Chanda Rubin, the runner-up at Devonshire Park last year.

This year's event is to be preceded by a legends tournament, featuring among others Ken Rosewall, Tony Roche and Fred Stolle, to be played on Monday 17 June.

Monica Seles, the Australian Open champion who has been out of the game for three months because of a shoulder injury, has entered a second- tier WTA Tour event in Madrid the week before the French Open, which starts on 27 May.

Byron Black, the losing finalist in the Indian Open on Sunday, lost 6-3, 6-0 to Richey Reneberg in the first round of the Japan Open yesterday. Black, the No 9 seed, said he still was suffering from jet lag.

Rain prevented any play on the outside courts, and only six matches were played under the retractable roof of the Ariake Colosseum.