Rozek, Shaw Play With McEnroe, Sampras
RALEIGH, N.C. - When tennis legends John McEnroe and Pete Sampras visited the RBC Center this Saturday, July 21, as a part of their "Serving Up Aces" tour, two Wolfpack men's tennis netters had the opportunity of a lifetime. Rising senior David Rozek and recent graduate Will Shaw played doubles with McEnroe and Sampras following their main event one-on-one tussle.
Shaw and Sampras downed Rozek and McEnroe, 10-8.
Surely the envy of many local tennis die-hards, Rozek and Shaw were in the right place at the right time. A representative of the United State Tennis Association (USTA) called NC State men's tennis head coach Jon Choboy a few days prior to the event, looking for some local talent.
Needless to say, Choboy had a few guys in mind.
"It was a lot of fun for the guys," said Choboy. "I know the rest of the team was jealous. They got to meet those guys and talk tennis with them. It was really the thrill of a lifetime to play alongside them."
"It was an incredible opportunity," said Rozek. "It's amazing that college tennis has taken me somewhere that would allow me to play with two greats like McEnroe and Sampras."
"I'm still excited about it," said Shaw. "It's surreal to think that I was on the same court as two guys that I've idolized as a tennis player my whole life.
"I just hope that I didn't make a complete fool of myself in front of those two."
McEnroe is certainly no stranger to NC State tennis, having taken on Wolfpack legend John Sadri in the 1978 NCAA singles championship match. The match, widely considered to be one of the greatest college matches of all time, featured power vs. finesse, No. 11 in the country vs. No. 1, east coast vs. west coast.
Heading into the match, McEnroe was the heavy favorite, being ranked 15th in the world and coming off a trip to the semifinals in Wimbledon. However, he received a big scare. Sadri lost the four-hour epic battle in four sets 7-6, 7-6, 5-7, 7-6, but the match was even closer. McEnroe, who came in as the highest ranked player ever to compete in the NCAA Championship, barely won the overall game total by one, 26-25, and only scored a single point more, 144-143. The difference was the tiebreakers where Sadri lost all three, 5-3. Sadri, the fan favorite, brought his power game smashing 24 aces.
McEnroe, a Hall of Famer, won seven Grand Slam Singles titles, as well as 10 Grand Slam Doubles Championships. McEnroe has represented his country in the Davis Cup Competition claiming five titles as a player and serving as the U.S. Davis Cup Captain in 2000.
Sampras, known as the "King of Swing," holds many records including 14 career Grand Slam titles and six seasons as the world's #1 ranked player. He has claimed 64 singles titles and won 762 career matches.