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Sampras hints at Big W return

London: Seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras has dropped the biggest hint yet that he may return for one more crack at the All England title.

The American has asked for a wildcard to be held open for the Stella Artois Championships at London’s Queen’s Club, the traditional Wimbledon warm-up tournament which this year runs from June 9-15.

The 31-year-old, who has not played since winning his 14th Grand Slam title at the US Open last September, has also told Queen’s he will not play any other tournament in the same week.

Sampras, Queen’s champion in 1995 and 1999, pulled out of last year’s event, choosing to play in the grasscourt event in Halle, Germany.

Ivanisevic surgery

Meanwhile in Zagreb, former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic underwent surgery to remove a seashell piece stuck in the sole of his left foot, Croatian media reported Wednesday.

Ivanisevic, who has been struggling to get back onto the courts after a shoulder operation last year, stepped on the shell while strolling along a beach in Miami earlier this month.

Although doctors stitched up the sole of his left foot, X-rays later showed that a tiny sharp object remained lodged inside, causing pain that persisted after the initial operation. Doctors at the hospital, who were not sure about Ivanisevic’s injury, revealed the object to be a fragment of a seashell after the operation, the daily Sportske Novosti reported. Ivanisevic will be discharged from the hospital on Friday.

The injury forced Ivanisevic out of last weekend’s Davis Cup quarter finals. Without their captain, the Croats lost to Spain 5-0.

“I am sick of forecasts. I hope I will be able to play in Rome (in May),” Ivanisevic had said.

The 2001 Wimbledon champion, who had shoulder surgery last May, recently announced plans to make this year’s Wimbledon his last tournament.

Ivanisevic and his girlfriend, model Tatjana Dragovic, are expecting a daughter in late May.

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