Who here watched the 1996 French Open?
How good was Sampras' level throughout that tournament and did he come close to winning in his semi? Did he look like he was putting everything he had into that semi?
At the time was there much of a buzz in the tennis world that Sampras was going to finally achieve a career grand slam?
After that French Open did it become clear from his attitue or his priorities that he no longer really cared about ruthlessly going after the French Open title?
Well Sampras barely scaped against an out of form Bruguera who was coming back from injuries (on his knees) after leading 2 sets to love in the second round, the match went into a tight five setter.
Got stretched by Tood Martin to a fifth set as well, and in the quarterfinals Jim Courier once again choked another important match against a country man in the quarterfinals of a grand slam, just like it happenened at Australia 95, and 96 against Sampras and Agassi. This time again Courier up two sets to one and break points to serve out the match and the rest is history, another five setter for Pete.
He looked awful in the semis, very tired and with no reaction at all, and struggling as his first serve was not working either, he was routed 7/6 6/0 6/2 if my memory serves well by Kafelnikov, who he had beaten in the Davis Cup final in 95 on clay and in Russia.
He played with a lot heart in those fifth setter that he won, and with Stich, Rosset and Kafelnikov as the other three semifinalists his chances were incredibly high, at least looked good with no clay court especialists aside Kafelnikov who still by then had not won anything big on clay, but he already pushed his body to the limits in the early rounds.
I have this match taped, im sure i have the second set
a tribute 6-0 spank which was rare to see on Sampras.