Sampras doubtful for Davis Cup

NEW YORK, JULY 12. King of the Slams Pete Sampras, on Tuesday (July 11) took a well-earned place as cereal box cover boy for Wheaties `breakfast of champions' but said it was ``highly unlikely'' he would be able to accept a berth for the upcoming Davis Cup matches.

Sampras fought through a painful case of tendinitis in his left shin on his way to winning a seventh Wimbledon singles title on Sunday for an all-time best 13 Grand Slam triumphs.

``It's highly unlikely I'll be able to play,'' Sampras said about the Davis Cup semifinals tie against Spain that will be played on clay in Santander from July 21 to 23.

``It's questionable. I'm going home (to Los Angeles) and get it checked out and I will talk to John (U.S. Davis Cup captain McEnroe).''

Sampras said he was only able to play through the pain and discomfort at Wimbledon by taking ``aggressive measures'' in treating his injury and that now rest may be required.

``Now it's time for it to heal,'' said Sampras after unveiling the new cereal box on the rooftop courts of the Midtown Tennis Club in Manhattan.

``I'd like to play but I have to be smart. I definitely need time to let my shin heal properly.''

Sampras, who turns 29 next month, has had an uneasy relationship with Davis captain McEnroe, who has questioned Sampras's grit in battling through injury and his commitment to Davis Cup in terms of how he arranges his playing schedule.

``John and I have had our moments of miscommunication,'' said Sampras. ``But we've cleared the air.''

Asked if he had already discussed his current predicament with McEnroe, Sampras said curtly: ``No, not really. We haven't talked in a while.''

Sampras was more than happy to talk about his latest All-England Club victory, which allowed him to surpass Australian Roy Emerson and stand alone with the most career Grand Slam crowns.

``That was my toughest Slam,'' said Sampras, whose injury kept him from practicing between matches.

``And I wasn't playing that well. I had to find a way to win those matches. I got through some tough situations which makes it that much sweeter.''

Having his parents there for the first time in a Grand Slam final and his fiancee, actress Brigette Wilson, lending support made this last Wimbledon performance top the charts.

``It was a dream come true,'' he said. ``A memory I'll have forever.''

Sampras plans to continue campaigning for more Grand Slam glory, with his next stop coming at next month's U.S. Open in nearby Flushing Meadows, where a back injury forced him to withdraw last year on the eve of his opening match.

``I play for history,'' said Sampras. ``That is my motivation.''- Reuters

Pete Sampras and fiancee Brigette Wilson photographed during a promotional event for Wheaties cereal in Manhattan (New York) on Tuesday. The two are planning to get married later this year.

- Reuters