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Tennis: Sampras tops bill at Queen's

PETE SAMPRAS, who has consolidated his position as the world No 1 since winning the Wimbledon title last year, will reacquaint himself with grass courts by competing in the Stella Artois championships at London's Queen's Club from 6 to 12 June, writes John Roberts.

Three former Wimbledon champions - Michael Stich, Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker - will feature in the 56-draw for the ATP Tour event. Goran Ivanisevic, the runner-up at Wimbledon two years ago, has also confirmed his entry, along with Todd Martin, the runner- up to Sampras at the Australian Open in January, and the South African Wayne Ferreira, who won the Stella tournament in 1992.

With the 'power game' controversy bound to resurface during the summer, it is interesting to note that the Centre Court at Queen's Club, virtually untouched since the 1920s, has been relaid during the winter. The groundstaff discovered that the court had become compacted, which had increased its speed but reduced its durability.

The organisers promised that a maintenance programme will ensure that the Centre Court's performance is on a par with the club's other show courts, No 1 and No 2.

The tournament's 'rain check' system of refunds will again be in use, giving ticket- holders their money back and a guaranteed seat for next year.