The New Mexico Sports Authority, a program of the New Mexico Tourism Department, is joining ProLink Sports-Entertainment-Media of Austin, Texas to host “the greatest tennis player of all time,” Pete Sampras, and ATP Tour star Sam Querrey in an exhibition tennis match September 12, 2008, at University of New Mexico Arena (the Pit) in Albuquerque.

Sampras, a seven-time Wimbledon winner and holder of a record 14 Grand Slam tournament singles titles, will play Querrey, a member of the U.S. Olympic team, in a two-out-of-three-set exhibition.

The pair will headline the first-ever Tennis Classic, which will also feature local players in an innovative tiebreak shootout format. The format highlights the skills of area juniors, wheelchair athletes and local college players. All proceeds from the exhibition will benefit the UNM Children’s Hospital.

“Events like the Tennis Classic help keep New Mexico on the sports enthusiast’s map,” said Michael Cerletti, Secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department. “ is a perfect venue for national and international sporting events, from bike to auto racing, from boxing to skiing. The continued success and expansion of the Sandia Classic is an important step in the process of proving the economic viability of in the sporting world.”

Sampras is still on top of his game and is excited about the opportunity to come to American Sam Querrey. Querrey staked his claim as one of the top players in the word last year when he defeated No. 10 James Blake to advance to the ATP semifinal at the 2007 Indianapolis Tennis Championships. In his win over Blake, Querrey fired a career-high 36 aces, including a record 10 in a row.

“Sam is playing great and he should be match tough following the Olympics and the U. S. Open," Sampras said. “And, as a huge basketball fan, it will also be an honor for me to battle it out in the Pit. It is a legendary arena that has such great sports history and tradition.”

“Thanks to the tremendous support of the New Mexico Sports Authority and the tennis community, we plan on making this an annual event,” said Tim Stallard, president of ProLink Sports, Entertainment & Media. “This will be an amazing night of world-class tennis and family entertainment.”

The New Mexico Sports Authority uses sports as a tool to attract tourism as well as increase media exposure.  It pursues spectator as well as participation events, works with national sports media and creates new avenues to enhance the image of as a visitor destination.

Tickets for the Tennis Classic are available online through, at select Albertson stores in the Albuquerque/ Santa Fe area or by calling 505-925-5858 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Ticket prices are $28.50, $48.50 and $88.50.