Pete Sampras


Pete Sampras

Infobox Tennis biography
playername = Pete Sampras


nickname = "Pistol Pete", "King of Swing"
country = [United States] | residence = Los Angeles
datebirth = birth date and age|mf=yes|1971|8|12
placebirth = Washington, D.C.
height = convert|1.85|m|ftin|abbr=on|lk=off
weight = convert|170|lb|kg|abbr=on|lk=off [ATP|id=S402]
turnedpro = 1988
retired = 2002
plays = Right-handed; one-handed backhand
careerprizemoney = US$43,280,489
(1st in all-time men's tennis earnings)
singlesrecord = 762–222 (77.44%)
singlestitles = 64
highestsinglesranking = No. 1 (April 12, 1993)
AustralianOpenresult = W (1994, 1997)
FrenchOpenresult = SF (1996)
Wimbledonresult = W (1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)
USOpenresult = W (1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2002)
Othertournaments = Yes
MastersCupresult = W (1991, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999)
Olympicsresult = 3R (1992)
doublesrecord = 64–70
doublestitles = 2
highestdoublesranking = No. 27 (February 12, 1990)
updated = July 5, 2008

Petros “Pete” Sampras (born August 12, 1971) is a former World No. 1 American tennis player. During his 15-year career, he won a record 14 Grand Slam men's singles titles in 52 appearances. Sampras was the year-end World No. 1 for six consecutive years, a record for the open era and tied for third all-time. Sampras won the singles title at Wimbledon seven times, a record shared with William Renshaw. He also won five singles titles at the US Open, an open era record shared with Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer. Bud Collins has named Sampras as one of the top five men's tennis players of all-time, [cite web|url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14489546|publisher=MSNBC|title=Bud Collins: Top five men's stars of all-time|accessdate=2007-02-14] and TENNIS Magazine has named him the greatest player from 1965 through 2005. [cite web
url=http://www.tennis.com/features/40greatest/40greatest.aspx?id=194
publisher=Tennis magazine
title=40 Greatest Players of the Tennis Era
accessdate=2007-02-14
] On July 17, 2007, Sampras was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. [cite web | url=http://www.tennisfame.com/famer.aspx?pgID=867&hof_id=243| title= Hall of Famers. Home to the Legends of Tennis| year=2006 | publisher=International Tennis Hall of Fame | accessdate = 2008-02-25]

Tennis career

Early life and career

Pete Sampras was born in Washington, D.C., and is the third son of Sammy and Georgia Sampras. His mother is a Greek immigrant, [cite web | title=Sampras visits ancestral home for first time | date=2007-05-15 | publisher=Associated Press | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18682181/ | work =msnbc.com | accessdate = 2008-02-20 ] and his father is half Greek and half Romaniot Jewish. [cite web|url=http://www.tennisserver.com/netgame/netgame_10_2_96.html|title=Questions from the Net: Your Top Ten Questions to Pete Sampras |first=David|last=Higdon|publisher=Tennisserver.com|date=1996-10-02|accessdate=2008-02-20] Greek culture played a big role in his upbringing, and Sampras attended Greek Orthodox Church on Sundays. [cite book|last=Srinivasan|first=Archana|title=Biographies of Bio-Sporting Legends|publisher=Sura Books|year=2007|pages=p. 80|isbn=8-174-78644-9]

From an early age, Sampras showed signs of outstanding athletic ability. The young Sampras discovered a tennis racquet in the basement of his home and spent hours hitting balls against the wall. In 1978, the Sampras family moved to Palos Verdes, California, and the warmer climate there allowed seven-year-old Pete to play more tennis. From early on, his great idol was Rod Laver, and at 11 Sampras met and played with his idol. The Sampras family joined the Peninsula Racquet Club, and it was here that Sampras's talent became apparent. He was spotted by Peter Fischer, a pediatrician and tennis enthusiast, who coached Sampras until 1989. [cite book|title=Break Point: The Secret Diary of a Pro Tennis Player|last=Spadea|first=Vince|coauthors=with Dan Markowitz|year=2006|publisher=ECW Press|pages=p. 36, p. 125|isbn=1-550-22729-7] cite web|url=http://www.petesampras.com/sampras2.html|title=The King of Swing. Pete Sampras|publisher=Petesampras.com|accessdate=2008-02-22] Fischer was responsible for converting Sampras's two-handed backhand to one-handed intending to increase Sampras' chances of winning Wimbledon. [cite book|last=Shifrin|first=Joshua|title=101 Incredible Moments in Tennis: The Good, the Bad and the Infamous|year=2005|pages=p. 229|publisher=Virtualbookworm.com Publishers|isbn=1-589-39820-3|]

Sampras turned professional in 1988, at the age of 16. He reached the fourth round of the 1989 US Open, stunning defending champion Mats Wilander in a five-set second round match. His first top-level singles title came in February 1990, at Philadelphia. In September of that year, he captured his first Grand Slam title at the US Open. Along the way, he defeated Ivan Lendl in a five-set quarterfinal, breaking Lendl's streak of eight consecutive US Open finals. He then defeated John McEnroe in a four-set semifinal to set up a final with another up-and-coming American player, Andre Agassi. Sampras beat Agassi in straight sets to become the US Open's youngest-ever male singles champion at the age of 19 years and 28 days. [Srinivasan, 2007, "Bio-Sporting Legends", p. 83.] The rivalry between Agassi and Sampras became a dominant rivalry in tennis in the 1990s, [cite web|url=http://www.usatoday.com/sports/comment/brennan/2001-09-06-brennan.htm|title=Sampras-Agassi too infrequent|last=Brennan|first=Christine|publisher=USA Today|date=2001-09-06|accessdate=2008-02-24] with Sampras winning 20 of the 34 matches they played.

1990s

1991 saw Sampras capture the first of five career titles at the year-end Tennis Masters Cup. However, upon entering the US Open as the defending champion that year, he caused controversy when, having lost in the quarterfinals to Jim Courier, Sampras said that he was not disappointed and felt relieved that the pressure to defend his title was no longer on him. This led to widespread criticism, which included disparaging remarks from Courier and Jimmy Connors.cite web |url=http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00016453.html|last= Schwartz|first=Larry|title=Sampras competes against best -- ever|accessdate=2008-02-20|publisher=ESPN.com] In 1992, he reached the quarterfinals of the French Open for the first of three consecutive times, made it to the Wimbledon semifinals, and was the runner-up at the US Open to Stefan Edberg. Sampras later stated that his loss in the US Open final that year was a "wake-up call" and that he needed to figure out how to become the World No. 1. [cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/15/sports/tennis/15tennis.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=sampras+open+1992&st=nyt&oref=slogin|title=Upon Hall of Fame Induction, Sampras Says a Loss Spurred Wins|publisher=The Associated Press|date=2007-07-15|accessdate=2008-02-20|] He also played doubles with John McEnroe on the U.S. team that won the Davis Cup, duplicating the feat in 1995.

1993

Sampras reached the semifinals of the Australian Open in early 1993, and matched the previous year's quarterfinal performance at the French Open. In April 1993, Sampras attained the World No. 1 ranking for the first time. His rise to the No. 1 spot was controversial because he had not recently won any Grand Slam titles. But he justified the ranking three months later by claiming his first Wimbledon title, beating former World No. 1 Jim Courier in the final. This was swiftly followed by his second US Open title. He finished the year as the clear No. 1 and set a new ATP Tour record that year by becoming the first player to serve more than 1,000 aces in a season.

Sampras dominated Wimbledon for the rest of the decade, and won three consecutive titles from 1993 through 1995. He lost a 1996 quarterfinal match to Richard Krajicek, who won the title that year. Sampras, however, then won four consecutive titles from 1997 through 2000 to become the most successful male player in Wimbledon history. His victory in 2000 also broke Roy Emerson's record of 12 Grand Slam men's singles titles.

Sampras won two Australian Open titles. In 1994, he defeated American Todd Martin in the final, and in 1997, he defeated Carlos Moyà of Spain in the final. One of Sampras's most memorable matches there came in 1995 when he played Courier in the quarterfinals. Sampras's longtime coach and close friend, Tim Gullikson, had mysteriously collapsed during the tournament and was forced to return to the United States. Gullickson was later diagnosed with brain cancer to which he succumbed the following year. Saddened by Gullickson's illness, Sampras began visibly weeping during the match, but somehow managed to win. Sampras then lost the final to Agassi. Paul Annacone took over as Sampras's full time coach after Gullickson's illness made it impossible for him to continue coaching.

Sampras's best surface was undoubtedly the fast-playing grass courts. He was also known for his all-round game and strong competitive instinct. He won back-to-back US Open titles in 1995 and 1996. Sampras's only real weakness was on clay courts, where the slow surface tempered his natural attacking serve-and-volley game. His best performance at the French Open came in 1996, when he lost a semifinal match to the eventual winner, Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Despite his limited success at Roland Garros, Sampras did win some significant matches on clay. He won the prestigious Italian Open in 1994, defeating Boris Becker in the final, and two singles matches in the 1995 Davis Cup final against Russians Andrei Chesnokov and Kafelnikov in Moscow. Sampras also won a 1998 clay court tournament in Atlanta, defeating Jason Stoltenberg in the final.

1997

He won his second Australian Open title in January, defeating Carlos Moya in the final, and Wimbledon for the fourth time in July, defeating Cedric Pioline in the final. He also won singles titles in San Jose, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Munich, and Paris and the ATP Tour World Championships in Hannover, Germany. His title in Munich was his 50th overall title.Fact|date=September 2008

He had a career-bestFact|date=September 2008 10-1 win-loss record versus top 10 opponents and was undefeated in eight singles finals. He held the World No. 1 ranking for the entire year and joined Jimmy Connors (1974-1978) as the only male players to hold the year-end World No. 1 ranking for five consecutive years. His prize money earnings of US$6,498,211 for the year was a career high.

1998

In 1998, Sampras's number-one ranking was challenged by Chilean player Marcelo Ríos. (In 1993, 1994, 1996, and 1997, Sampras had dominated the ATP tour.) Sampras failed to defend his Australian Open title, losing in the quarterfinals, and won Wimbledon only after a hard fought five-set victory over Goran Ivanišević. Sampras lost a five-set US Open semifinal to the eventual winner Patrick Rafter after suffering a leg injury in the third set while leading the match. He lost another semifinal at the Tennis Masters Cup. Nevertheless, Sampras finished the year as the top ranked player for the sixth year in a row.

1999

1999 also started out disappointingly, as Sampras withdrew from the Australian Open and failed to win a title during the early part of the season. However, he then went on a 24-match winning streak, including the Stella Artois Championships, Wimbledon (equaling Roy Emerson's record of 12 Grand Slam singles titles), Los Angeles, and Cincinnati. That run ended when he was forced to retire from the RCA Championships and the US Open because of a herniated disc in his back. Sampras's ranking was hurt through a combination of withdrawing from the Australian and US Opens, tournaments in which he had strong performances during the previous year, and the resurgence of longtime rival Andre Agassi, putting an end to Sampras' six consecutive years of finishing as the World No. 1. Agassi took over the top ranking and held it for the rest of the season, but Sampras recovered and managed to beat him in the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup for the fifth and final time, enabling Sampras to place 3rd in the rankings.

2000s

Sampras reached the semifinals of the Australian Open in early 2000 (falling to the eventual champion Agassi in a five-set match), and won the Miami Masters tournament for the third time in March. He then won a record-breaking 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, battling through a painful shin injury in the process. [cite web|url=http://www.sptimes.com/News/063000/Sports/Injured_Sampras_plays.shtml|title=Injured Sampras plays on|first=Hubert|last=Mizell|publisher=St. Petersburg Times|date=2000-06-30 |accessdate=2008-02-20] After this victory, Sampras did not win another title for two years. He lost in the final of the 2000 and 2001 US Open to Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt, respectively, leading many to speculate that Sampras would never capture another major title. At Wimbledon in 2001, Sampras lost to Roger Federer 7–6(7), 5–7, 6–4, 6–7(2), 7–5 in the fourth round. The upset ended Sampras's 31-match winning streak at Wimbledon. The match also marked the only time that the two men ever played each other on the ATP tour.

2002

In 2002, Sampras suffered another early exit from Wimbledon, losing in the second round to 145th ranked George Bastl of Switzerland, whose best surface was red clay. Sampras had a relatively poor summer leading up to the US Open. Greg Rusedski, whom Sampras had defeated in a long five-set third round match at the US Open, said that Sampras was "a step and a half slower" and predicted that Sampras would lose his next match. Sampras, however, then defeated two young and upcoming stars of the game, Tommy Haas in the fourth round and Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals. He then defeated Sjeng Schalken in the semifinals to reach his third straight US Open final. This time, he faced Agassi, whom he had met in his very first Grand Slam final 12 years earlier. After a four-set battle between the two veterans, Sampras claimed a record 14th Grand Slam singles title and matched Jimmy Connors's record of five US Open singles championships. The tournament was the last of Sampras's career.

Although he played no tour events in the following 12 months, Sampras did not officially announce his retirement until August 2003, just prior to the US Open. Sampras chose not to defend his title, but his retirement announcement was timed so that he could say farewell at a special ceremony organized for him at the open. After retirement, many regarded Sampras to be the greatest player of all time.

During his career, Sampras won 64 top-level singles titles (including 14 Grand Slams, 11 ATP Masters Series events, and five Tennis Masters Cup titles) and two doubles titles. He was ranked the World No. 1 for a record 286 weeks and was year-end No. 1 for a record six consecutive years from 1993 through 1998.

Rivalry with Agassi

Andre Agassi was perhaps Sampras's greatest rival, and the rivalry often brought out the best in both players' games.

The 1990 US Open was their first meeting in a Grand Slam final. Agassi was favored, having achieved a top-three season ending ranking and had last beaten Sampras 6–1 6–1. However, Agassi lost to Sampras in straight sets. On his way to reaching the final, Sampras had dispatched veterans Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe, two opponents that Agassi was glad not to face.

The Sampras-Agassi rivalry reached its height in 1995. The two players traded the number one ranking several times that year, and each player agreed to participate in the Davis Cup only if the other also played. They were concerned that if one played while the other rested during the weeks leading up to the French Open, the one who rested would have a competitive advantage heading into the year's second Grand Slam event. Both ended up playing, and the U.S. won the Davis Cup that year. Notable Sampras-Agassi matches of 1995 included the finals of the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Canadian Open, and US Open, with Sampras winning at Indian Wells and the US Open. The 1995 US Open men's singles final between Sampras and Agassi was the highest-rated match among U.S. television audiences, as Agassi declared that it would decide the number one ranking.

The next time Sampras and Agassi met in a Grand Slam final was at the 1999 Wimbledon, where Sampras won in straight sets. For both, it was considered a career rejuvenation, as Sampras had suffered a string of disappointments in the last year, while Agassi was regaining his status as a top-ranked player after winning the French Open. Sampras forfeited the number one ranking to Agassi, after pulling out of that year's US Open with injury. They faced each other twice in the season-ending ATP World Championships, with Sampras losing the round robin match but winning the final to capture the title. They then faced off in the semi-finals of the 2000 Australian Open, with Agassi prevailing in a five-set match.

The second highest-rated match of their rivalry was the final of the 2002 US Open. It was the first Sampras-Agassi meeting in a US Open final since 1995. It was also notable because both had defeated several up-and-coming players enroute to the final. Several commentators described the 2002 meeting as a symbolic way to close out their rivalry which had been ignited in the 1990 US Open final over a decade earlier. Sampras did not play any further competitive matches after his 2002 triumph.

In arguably their most memorable match, Sampras played Agassi in a 2001 US Open quarterfinal. Sampras battled to a 6–7(7), 7–6(2), 7–6(2), 7–6(5) victory. There were no breaks of serve during the entire match. Reruns of the match are frequently featured on television, especially during US Open rain delays.

The Sampras versus Agassi rivalry goes all the way back to their childhoods when they played against each other in a 1979 junior tournament in Northridge, California at ages eight and nine respectively.

Post-retirement activity

Sampras played the first exhibition match since his retirement on April 6, 2006, in Houston, Texas against Robby Ginepri. Ginepri won the match 6–3, 7–6.

In 2006, Sampras announced he would be playing in World Team Tennis events. 2007 saw Sampras announcing that he would play in a few events on the Outback Champions Series, a group of tournaments for former ATP players who have met certain criteria during their careers. [cite web|url=http://www.usatoday.com/sports/tennis/2007-02-05-sampras_x.htm|title=Sampras 'to see how it goes' in Champions Series return|first=Howard|last=Ulmann|publisher=USA Today|date=2007-02-07|accessdate=2008-02-20] Sampras won his first two events on tour, defeating Todd Martin in both finals (one of which included Sampras's first trip to his ancestral homeland, Greece). [cite web|url=http://www.sportsline.com/tennis/story/10190061|title=Pete Sampras beats Todd Martin to win Athens seniors event|last=|first=|publisher=Associated Press|date=2007-05-20|accessdate=2008-02-20] Many observers noted that despite his lengthy layoff from competitive tournaments, Sampras still possessed many of the previous skills he had once displayed on the ATP tour, with John McEnroe going as far as to say that Sampras would be worthy of a top five seed at Wimbledon if he were to enter the tournament. [cite web|url=http://championsseriestennis.com/boston2007/index.php?newsid=358&page=news|title=Senior tour a crowd-pleasing idea|publisher=The Gazette|date=2007-05-15|accessdate=2008-02-20]

On November 20, 2007, Sampras lost the first of three exhibition matches in Asia against Roger Federer 6–4, 6–3 in Seoul, Korea. [cite web|url=http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=3120068| title=Federer beats Sampras in first of three exhibitions|publisher=The Associated Press |date=2007-11-20|accessdate=2008-02-20] Two days later, Sampras again lost to Federer 7–6, 7–6. However, Sampras won the last match of the series 7–6(6), 6–4, though he stated his goal was to just win a set. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7110622.stm|date=November 24, 2007|title=Sampras pulls off Federer upset |publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-02-20]

On February 18, 2008, in an exhibition match during the SAP Open, Sampras defeated another active player, former World No. 2 Tommy Haas, 6–4, 6–2 in 43 minutes. [cite web|url=http://www.gmanews.tv/story/81271/Sampras-shows-no-mercy-in-beating-Haas-in-exhibition|title=Sampras shows no mercy in beating Haas in exhibition|publisher=Associated Press |date=2008-02-19|accessdate=2008-02-20]

On March 10, 2008, Sampras played an exhibition match against World No. 1 Federer at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Sampras lost the match 6–3, 6–7(4), 7–6(6). [cite web|url=http://www.tennischannel.com/federer_sampras|Clash_of_the_Tennis_Titans|title=Clash of the Tennis Titans|publisher=The Tennis Channel|year=2008|accessdate=2008-02-22]

Sampras is expected to play two events on the BlackRock Tour of Champions in 2008, including the BlackRock Masters in London in December 2008. [ [http://www.blackrocktourofchampions.com/1/default.asp Sampras Joins the BlackRock Tour of Champions] ]

Playing style

Sampras was an all-court player who would often serve-and-volley. In the early years of his career, when not serving, his strategy was to be aggressive from the baseline, put opponents in a defensive position, and finish points at the net. In his later years, he became even more aggressive and would either employ a chip-and-charge strategy—just chip back the return and run up to the net, waiting for a volley or try to hit an offensive shot on the return and follow his return to the net.

"The Serve"

He used both first and second serves as opportunities to win the point with one swing. The ability to strike quickly with an aggressive serve was the key to his game. Indeed, the serve and Sampras are practically synonymous. As a serve-and-volleyer, he looked to capitalize on his delivery and move to net and attack. His second serve was the equal of many players' first and allowed him to be ultra-aggressive on his first offering. He had an effortless motion that incorporates every power source beginning with his feet pushing off the ground.

Sampras's classically smooth service motion gave him many easy points on aces or service winners. The keys to Sampras's serve was the height of his elbow in the back stretch position, the contact at full extension, the speed of the racquet head through the contact zone. The speed of his serves was frequently 120-140 mph on 1st and 100–120 mph on second serves. Sampras is considered by many to have had the best second serve in history. He was known for producing aces on critical points, even with his second serves. [cite web|url=http://www.tennisserver.com/set/set_03_11.html|title=Pete Sampras's serving style|last=|first=|publisher=|date=|accessdate=2008-07-07] [cite web|url=http://www.tennisplayer.net/members/tour_strokes/john_yandell/sampras_serve/sampras_serve_second_serve_part8_images/sampras_serve_second_serve_part8.html|title=Second Serve Style and Speed|last=|first=|publisher=|date=|accessdate=2008-07-07] He had an accurate and powerful first serve, one of the best of all time; [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Had you written off Pistol Pete? | date=August 19, 2002 | publisher= | url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/sports_talk/2202611.stm | work =BBC Sport | pages = | accessdate = 2007-05-20 | language = ] His second serve was nearly as powerful as his first, possibly his most dangerous weapon. He had great disguise on both his first and second serves.

"Return of Serve"

Because he held serve at such a high percentage, he could be opportunistic with his return game. Depending on the situation, he would vary his return of serve. Against a good server, he usually looked to block or chip his return with an abbreviated swing on first serves to get the point started. But on second serves he'd be more aggressive, going after his forehand or slicing his backhand and attacking the net. To get a forehand on the ad side, he positioned himself in the doubles alley just as his opponent started his delivery.

"Forehand"

This was a weapon that put his opponent on the extreme defensive or won the point outright. He held the racquet with an Eastern Forehand grip, which allowed him to hit flat, penetrating drives to the corners of the court. He could put more topspin on the ball if he desired, but that wasn't his style. He wanted to draw a mid-court shot (an opportunity ball) from his opponent and then punish it to either corner and follow it to net. His forehand, and in particular his "Running Forehand" (a forehand hit on the run), was considered the best in the world. He was known for hitting his Running Forehand with an Reverse Forehand, a shot in which the racket rises on a much more vertical plane and finishes with the entire instrument above the player's head and the top of the racket pointing backward.

"Backhand"

With his one-hander, he could drive the ball flat, slice it, or roll it with topspin. The stroke also provided great flexibility for his attacking game. At a young age, he switched from a two-handed to a one-handed backhand with an Eastern Backhand grip. This was done to help his transition game and make him an all-court player. Although not the weapon his forehand was, his backhand kept him in the rally from the baseline and could deliver the goods on passes or carve out specialty shots when needed. Over the years, he developed an effective slice that changed the pace of a rally or he used to approach the net.

Opponents frequently played to his backhand, which was considered to be his weaker side. To counter this, Sampras often camped on the backhand side while rallying from the baseline and often baited opponents for his great running forehand. Later on in his career, as his foot speed slightly declined, Sampras was forced to play closer to the center of the court.

"Net Game"

He had every volley in the book and set them up with his huge serves and approach shots. His volley technique is flawless. He could hurt you with high, half, and shoestring volleys, and he had a devastating overhead. With his firm hold on his Continental grip and an upright racquet head, he used his athleticism to smother the net and was rarely caught out of position. He was also very smart with his shot selection at net, always cutting down the passing lanes and anticipating his opponent's next move. If he didn't have a clear putaway, he'd volley straight ahead, forcing his opponent to create a difficult angle.

"Strategy"

The consummate front-runner, he came into a match with the mind-set that if he was never behind, he wouldn't lose. When he was playing his best, he was forcing his opponent to catch up in the points. He used his big shots and athleticism to close in on the net and finish points quickly. If he happened to get behind in the point, he'd look for a shot (like his running forehand) that would immediately grab the momentum back. It was the same with the match as a whole. All Sampras wanted was that one service break a set and then he could cruise. He had so much confidence in his serve that he believed he could hold it every time. And if he couldn't find the break during the set, he felt he'd get a mini-break during the tiebreaker. His relaxed intensity and big serve have allowed him to handle the big points better than any player ever has.

"Grass Courts"

On grass because the serves retain more of their speed when they hit the service box and bounced relatively lower than on any other surface. This significantly improved Sampras' single biggest advantage, the serve. That was certainly the case at Wimbledon, where Sampras's second serve was almost unreturnable and the worse the grass got the better it was for Sampras. In addition, his one-two punch was considered the best in the world. On grass courts, Sampras served and volleyed on both serves throughout his career.

He's secondary advantage was his net game and since it's important to move in after the serve and win the point with a volley or overhead from the short/mid-court ball. He volleyed extraordinary, particular on his backhand and he arguably possessed the greatest overhead smash in the history of the game especially his Jumping Smash. One of the major advantages Sampras had was that since the points tended to be shorter on grass this protected his weakness in the stamina area.

Another advantage Sampras had was that on grass the ball bounces around knee height and he was more comfortable meeting the ball around knee heigh, especially on his backhand. But because the ball was lower this improved his backhand into a world class shot because of his grip and technique. The additional advantage Sampras had was the comparative flatness of his groundstrokes. He did hit topspin on both sides, but not nearly as much as a typical clay-court specialist. His lower, flatter groundstrokes had more power and made the ball travel faster after and before the ball hit the ground and since on grass the ball bounces lower and faster his opponents had to reach the ball faster.

"Hard Courts"

His style changed dramatically between the early 1990s and the time he retired. He served and volleyed on his first serve and frequently stayed back on his second serve. Towards the latter part of his career on hard courts, Sampras played a serve and volley game on both his first and second serves.

"Clay Courts"

On clay, serves slow down more when they hit the service box than on any other surface. This reduced Sampras' single biggest advantage. The other difficulty for Sampras was that the topspinning shots caused the ball to kick up high and he was less comfortable meeting the ball up high, especially on his backhand. His backhand was a world-class shot, but because of his grip and technique, he preferred to hit the ball lower. When the ball really kicked high he struggled and he often dropped the ball short and into the centre of the court.

Another factor that made it tough for Sampras on clay was the comparative flatness of his groundstrokes. He did hit topspin on both sides, but not nearly as much as a typical clay-court specialist. Lower, flatter groundstrokes slow down relatively more on clay than do those with more topspin, and they don't kick up above the opponent's comfort zone the way higher, heavy topspins do.

Personal and family life

Sampras's older sister Stella is the women's tennis head coach at UCLA, [cite news | first=Ajaybir | last=Behniwal | coauthors= | title=Women’s tennis nets good draw through recent wins | date=May 2, 2007 | publisher=ASUCLA Student Media | url =http://dailybruin.com/news/2007/may/02/womens_tennis_nets_good_draw_through_recent_wins/ | work =The Daily Bruin | pages = | accessdate = 2007-05-20 | language = ] and his younger sister, Marion, is a teacher in Los Angeles. His older brother, Gus, has been tournament director at the Scottsdale ATP event, but from 2007 he became president of the firm managing Pete's business activities. [cite web|url=http://www.puresportsmanagement.com/files/Pure_Sports_Management_announcement.pdf|work=Press Release|title=TENNIS LEGEND PETE SAMPRAS FORMS NEW COMPANY – PURE SPORTS MANAGEMENT|format=pdf|date=2007-03-29|accessdate=2007-08-24]

On September 30, 2000, Sampras married American actress and former Miss Teen USA Bridgette Wilson. [cite news |title=Actress Brigette is Sampras love match | date=October 2, 2000 | publisher=Associated Press | url =http://cnnstudentnews.cnn.com/2000/fyi/news/10/02/sampras.wedding/index.html | work =CNN.com | accessdate = 2007-05-20] On November 21, 2002, their son Christian Charles was born. [cite news | title=Sampras Adds New Title: Father | date=November 26, 2002 | url =http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=980DEFD71F39F935A15752C1A9649C8B63&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fPeople%2fS%2fSampras%2c%20Pete | work =The New York Times | pages = | accessdate = 2007-05-20 ] On July 29, 2005, the couple welcomed their second son, Ryan Nikolaos. [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Review 2005: Celebrity births, marriages and deaths | date=2005-12-12 | publisher= | url =http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/showbiz/s/191/191185_review_2005_celebrity_births_marriages_and_deaths.html | work =Manchester Evening News | pages = | accessdate = 2007-05-20 | language = ]

Sampras has thalassemia minor, a genetic trait that sometimes causes a mild anemia. [cite web | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/french_open/1952120.stm | title= Clay soils Pete's record | date=2002-05-23| publisher= BBC Sport| accessdate = 2008-02-22]

Head-to-head

Against former World or U.S. No. 1 players, he was 20–14 versus Andre Agassi, 12–7 versus Boris Becker, 12–8 versus Michael Chang, 2–0 versus Jimmy Connors, 16–4 versus Jim Courier, 8–6 versus Stefan Edberg, 5–3 versus Ivan Lendl, 3–0 versus John McEnroe, 2–1 versus Mats Wilander, and 12–4 versus Patrick Rafter. The only players with winning records against Sampras (minimum three matches) are Christo Van Rensburg (1–2), Andy Roddick (1–2), Max Mirnyi (1–2), Marat Safin (3–4), Lleyton Hewitt (4–5), Paul Haarhuis (1–3), Richard Krajicek (4–6), Sergi Bruguera (2–3), Michael Stich (4–5), and Derrick Rostagno (1–2).

Career statistics

Grand Slam singles finals (18)

Wins (14)

Runner-ups (8)

valign=top width=33% align=left

Doubles (4)

Wins (2)

Runner-ups (2)

*1989:
**Forest Hills
*1991:
**Orlando

ATP Tour career earnings

enior tour titles

*2007: Champions Cup Boston - defeated Todd Martin 6–3, 5–7, 11–9 (tiebreaker)
*2007: The Championships at the Palisades - defeated Martin 6–3, 6–4
*2007: Champions Cup Athens - defeated Martin 6–3, 1–6, 10–6 (tiebreaker)

Records and achievements

* Sampras won a record 14 Grand Slam singles titles.
* Sampras finished the year ranked World No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) for a record six years. He is the only player to have been ranked World No. 1 by the ATP for six consecutive years (1993–98).
* Sampras was ranked World No. 1 by the ATP for a record 286 weeks.
* Sampras, Jimmy Connors, and Roger Federer share the record for most US Open men's singles titles won during the open era, with five titles each.
* William Renshaw and Sampras share the record for most Wimbledon men's singles titles won, with seven titles each. Sampras never lost a Wimbledon final.
* Sampras (7 Wimbledon and 5 US Open), Bjorn Borg (6 French Open and 5 Wimbledon), and Roger Federer (5 Wimbledon and 5 US Open) are the only male players to have won two different Grand Slam singles titles at least five times.Fact|date=April 2008
* Sampras is the only male player to have won at least three consecutive Wimbledon singles titles twice in his career (1993-95 and 1997-2000).
* During the open era, only Sampras (1997-2000), Federer (2003-07), and Borg (1976-80) have won at least four consecutive Wimbledon singles titles. During the open era, only Borg (1978-81 French Open and 1976-80 Wimbledon), Sampras (1997-2000 Wimbledon), Federer (2003-2007 Wimbledon and 2004-08 US Open), and Nadal (2005-08 French Open) have won at least one Grand Slam tournament four consecutive times.
* Sampras was included in the year-end ATP top ten rankings for 12 years. Only Connors, Ivan Lendl, and Andre Agassi have stayed in the ATP top ten longer.
* Sampras earned US$43,280,489 in prize money.
* Sampras captured 64 ATP singles titles during his career, which makes him fourth on the all-time list.
* Sampras won 11 ATP Masters Series titles. Only Agassi (17), Federer (14), and Nadal (12) have won more of those titles.
* Sampras appeared in at least one Grand Slam final for a record 11 consecutive years (1992–2002) (a record shared with Lendl (1981-91)). Sampras won at least one of those finals for a record eight consecutive years (1993–2000) (a record shared with Borg (1974-81)).
* Ken Rosewall and Sampras are the only men to have won Grand Slam singles titles as a teenager, in their 20s, and in their 30s.
* Sampras won at least one title for 11 consecutive years (1990–2000) and 12 of 13 (except 2001). He won at least four titles per year from 1990 through 1999 and captured at least two per year from 1990 through 2000.
* Sampras captured the ATP Tour World Championship (now known as the Tennis Masters Cup) a record five times in Germany (1991, 1994, 1996–97, and 1999). He shares this open era record with Lendl.
* Sampras compiled a 19–9 career Davis Cup record (15–8 in singles) and was a member of the winning teams in 1992 and 1995.
* Sampras served a career-high 1,011 aces in 1993 and 974 aces in 1995 to lead the ATP tour.
* Sampras won a career-high 10 titles and compiled a personal-best 29-match winning streak in 1994.
* Sampras won a career-best 85 matches in 1993 and on April 12 of that year became the 11th player in the history of the ATP rankings to reach World No. 1.
* Sampras was the youngest US Open men's singles champion at 19 years, 28 days in 1990.
* Sampras won 40 of the 42 singles matches he played on on Wimbledon's Centre Court and 63 of the 70 singles matches he played at the All England Club.
* Sampras compiled a 762–222 win-loss record in singles during his 15 years on the ATP tour, winning more than 77% of his matches.
* Sampras won singles titles in 11 different countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium, People's Republic of China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States.
* Sampras is the only male player during the open era who played in at least seven singles finals at two different Grand Slam tournaments (8 US Open and 7 Wimbledon).
* During the open era, Sampras is the only male player to have won the same Grand Slam singles tournament 7 times (Wimbledon).

Awards

* Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Player of the Year for six consecutive years from 1993 through 1998.
* International Tennis Federation World Champion for six consecutive years from 1993 through 1998.
* U.S. Olympic Committee "Sportsman of the Year" in 1997. He was the first tennis player to receive this award.
* GQ Magazine's Individual Athlete Award for Man of the Year in 2000.
* Selected the No. 1 player (of 25 players) in the past 25 years by a panel of 100 current and past players, journalists, and tournament directors to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the ATP in 1997.
* Voted 48th athlete of Top 50 Greatest North American Athletes of ESPN's SportsCentury (also youngest on list).
* In 2005, TENNIS Magazine named Sampras the greatest tennis player for the period 1965 through 2005, from its list, "The 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS Era".

References

ee also

*List of Grand Slam Men's Singles champions

Further reading

*cite book |author=Collins, Bud; H. A. Branham |title=Sampras: A Legend in the Works |publisher=Bonus Books |location=Chicago |year=1996 |pages= |isbn=1-56625-062-5 |oclc= |doi=

Video

*"Wimbledon Classic Match: Federer vs Sampras (2001)" Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: October 31, 2006, Run Time: 233 minutes, ASIN: B000ICLR98.
*"Legends of Wimbledon - Pete Sampras (2006)" Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: October 31, 2006, Run Time: 60 minutes, ASIN: B000ICLR84.
*"The Netjets Showdown: Pete Sampras vs. Roger Federer (2008)" Arts Alliance Amer, DVD Release Date: April 22, 2008, Run Time: 180 minutes, ASIN: B0013PVGN6.

External links

* [http://www.petesampras.com/ The official Pete Sampras website]
*ATP|id=S402
*ITF male profile|number=10001217
*DavisCupplayerlink|id=10001217
* [http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/about/history/pete_sampras.html Official Wimbledon website profile]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/wimbledon_history/3742109.stm BBC profile]
* [http://www.tennisfame.com/ Sampras' induction speech to the Hall of Fame]
* [http://www.tennisfame.com/famer.aspx?pgID=867&hof_id=243 International Hall Of Fame profile]
* [http://www.informationtennis.com/#/shalloffame/4526310029 Pete Sampras] profile on [http://www.informationtennis.com Information Tennis]

Persondata
NAME=Sampras, Pete
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Sampras, Petros
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Tennis player
DATE OF BIRTH=August 12, 1971
PLACE OF BIRTH=Washington, D.C., United States
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=


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