Tennis Channel's Pete Sampras Documentary to be Screened at First U.S. Sports Film Festival

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 1, 2008 - Tennis Channel’s documentary on tennis legend Pete Sampras will be highlighted during a special screening at the inaugural U.S. Sports Film Festival (USSFF) in Philadelphia this month, set for Oct. 23-26. The film, Signature Series: Pete Sampras, will be followed by an audience discussion with writer/director/producer Craig Shapiro and a panel of tennis luminaries.

Signature Series: Pete Sampras was the second in an original line of documentary programs unveiled by the network in spring and summer 2008, each of which use a visually distinctive approach, original footage, access to family photo archives and high-end production values to tell the story of a notable moment or contributor in the tennis pantheon. Premiering July 8, 2008, the Sampras edition is a new-look retrospective that chronicles the phenomenal career of the man many consider to be the greatest player in history. Moving from his first days as a scrawny kid hitting balls against walls to his record 14 Grand Slam singles titles by the time of his retirement, the film covers his greatest triumphs and most heartbreaking losses, using interviews with rivals, coaches, friends, reporters and others.

“We’re excited to have Tennis Channel’s Signature Series: Pete Sampras screened at the U.S. Sports Film Festival,” said Victoria Quoss, executive vice president, programming and network strategy, Tennis Channel. “Pete is a legend who goes beyond just tennis. During his period of dominance he was a mainstay of the nightly news, non-tennis magazine covers, and national ads from Nike and other widely known brands. He transcended the game and remains popular with all people who love sports - not just tennis fans. The festival is a perfect venue for a look at his rise, triumphs and post-career life.”

The U.S. Sports Film Festival is the most comprehensive sports film festival in United States history and will debut in Philadelphia Oct. 23-26. In addition to Tennis Channel’s Signature Series: Pete Sampras, the event has announced the screenings of nine other films covering everything from basketball and mixed martial arts to soccer and the New York City Marathon. The festival will also revisit a number of sports classics, like Invincible, Miracle and The Rookie.

“Philadelphia is very much a tennis city and is a city that has always embraced championship greatness, so we could think of no better way to marry the two by bringing this documentary on Pete Sampras to the USSFF,” said festival president and founder Stephen Hartman.

Pete Sampras is commonly included in most discussions about the best champions in the history of men’s tennis. As the sport’s all-time Grand Slam singles titlist with 14, his name is usually listed with his predecessor Rod Laver and, more frequently, current star Roger Federer, who is quickly gaining on Sampras with 13 Grand Slam trophies of his own after winning this year’s US Open for an Open Era record fifth consecutive time. Sampras retired in 2002 after winning the US Open and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this year.

Tickets to the U.S. Sports Film Festival can be purchased at or 646-233-2033.

Tennis Channel ( is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and passionate lifestyle of tennis. A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community. It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights to the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Olympus US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup. Tennis Channel is carried by eight of the top 10 MSOs and has a national footprint via DIRECTV and DISH Network.


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