Los Angeles: Novak Djokovic will team with his idol Pete Sampras to play Bob and Mike Bryan in a doubles exhibition on March 4 at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion. Djokovic, the world's top-ranked player, also will play Mardy Fish in a singles match, and an opening singles match between two other players will be announced later for the event billed as the Los Angeles Tennis Challenge.
The three pro-set matches will be played days before the start of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. Fish and retired player and current broadcaster Justin Gimelstob are co-hosts. Proceeds from the event will benefit charities of Gimelstob, Fish and Djokovic, along with Call of Cure and the Southern California Tennis Association's community initiatives.
The event brings men's pro tennis back to the UCLA campus, which had hosted an ATP tournament for decades before it was discontinued in November and its sanction sold to a group in Bogota, Colombia. The Bryan brothers, from nearby Camarillo, Calif., won six doubles at the Los Angeles Tennis Center during the tournament's run.
"We are so thankful that a new professional tennis event will be in Los Angeles," Mike Bryan said. "Los Angeles is home to us and it is vital that competitive and entertaining tennis is accessible here."
Sampras won 14 career Grand Slam titles before retiring in 2003. Djokovic owns five Grand Slam titles, the Bryan brothers won doubles gold at the London Olympics, and Fish has an Olympic silver medal to his credit.