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Tennis Legends in Fort Lauderdale

John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, and Jimmy Connors are coming to the BankAtlantic Center. In their younger days, they were the best players in the world. Now, they’re competing against one another in a national tournament, the 2011 Champions Series, that’s moving from city to city and that’s almost mythical in its pitting of old tennis gods against other old tennis gods.

Here in SoFla, if you buy VIP tickets, you get to be in a tennis clinic with Connors — the world’s number one for more than 200 weeks — and Sampras — a 14-time Grand Slam winner and perhaps the greatest tennis player that ever lived, the sport’s Zeus. The clinic starts at 3 p.m., and there’s another an hour later with Courier and the notoriously angry McEnroe (so don’t cross him). At 6 p.m., there’s a cocktail party with all four. At 7:30 p.m., they square off in one-set, semifinal matches and then a finals (no VIP tickets needed to attend the matches). The stakes are real: At the end of the whole national tournament, the top three players split a $1 million pool.

The HSBC Tennis Cup matches start at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the BankAtlantic Center (1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise). Tickets cost $35 and up. Call 800-745-3000, or visit
Thu., Sept. 22, 7:30 p.m., 2011

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