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post #1 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-19-2005, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Proof, if More Proof Were Needed,
That Pete Sampras is the Greatest Tennis Player of Them All
by: Cynthia Smith (UK)

Those who love and admire Pete Sampras had been through a painful and difficult period after his historic victory at Wimbledon 2000, with his failure to add to his 63 titles for more than two years. Of course it must have been even harder for Pete, but as the months went by I found myself torn between the old excited anticipation when he was going to play and the increasing dread that he might lose again. I kept telling myself that people endowed with genius don't suddenly lose it - Pete couldn't have forgotten how to play great tennis. But what had become of this formerly peerless champion? Where was the supremely beautiful game that tennis aficionados had known and loved so well? Where was the fire, the confidence, the will to win? I felt disloyal for thinking it, but the Pete Sampras of 2001 and so far in 2002 seemed an inferior replica of the superbly efficient tennis machine who had powered his way to a record 13 Grand Slams.

“ I kept telling myself that people endowed with genius don't suddenly lose it — Pete couldn't have forgotten how to play great tennis."

As tournament followed Slam followed tournament, it was no longer a question of would Pete win the title - but would he even make it past the first round? So many painful times during this drought I watched him play with increasing disbelief and dismay. I did not want him to retire from tennis, but I could not bear the pain of his losing to player after player who was hardly fit to tie his shoe laces. It became a vicious circle: the more he lost, the less confidence he had, so he lost again. There were the odd glimmers of hope, but one or two good matches were then followed by another miserable exit.

When it came to Wimbledon 2002, I convinced myself that this was where Pete was going to re-ignite his winning fire-power and regain the title. We all know how that turned out. I was there, courtside, when Pete sat motionless on his stool after that dreadful defeat by another unknown. He stared blankly into space, as if seeking answers there as to how he had been brought so low. It could not have hurt more if Pete had been my own son and I longed to run and comfort him. But even his wife couldn't do that until the shattered legend had trudged off court to the comparative shelter of the locker room.

As the US Open came round again, so did the all-too-familiar wrestling match between my optimism and anxiety. Thankfully, however, the first match against Albert Portas was just the kind of start Pete needed. How long had it been since I had been able to watch him play a whole set without any need for nerves? Pete took it 6-1! True, his game was far from perfect yet, but I felt he had built something solid enough on which to base a credible US Open campaign. His serve had started to click and he attacked Portas aggressively at the net, taking both the 2nd and third sets at 6-4. In his second round match, I had to stop myself veering towards over-optimism, thinking that Kristian Pless wouldn't give Pete too much trouble. But he didn't! It was straights again: 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.

Pete's third round opponent, however, Greg Rusedski, presented a different proposition. When he gets his big serve going well, Rusedski can be a threat to any player. Just to make things more nail-biting, because the match was halted by rain in the first set with Rusedski leading 5-4, when play resumed next day Pete had to come out cold and hold serve. This he did easily enough, but with no break of serve the set had to be decided by the lottery of a tie-breaker. Suddenly Pete thrilled us with one of his special 'Air Sampras' overhead smashes, then went on to take the set with two aces. P-h-e-w, I breathed easily again. But not for long! The Sampras roller coaster swung us up, down and around - then into a fifth set. When it counted most though, Pete made no mistake. Breaking Rusedski again, he closed out the match 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4.

So, that wasn't bad: two fairly easy matches, and a long, testing one. Now Pete needed to see off Tommy Haas in similar fashion - or preferably better. That wasn't likely to be an easy task, but I felt Pete was gaining not only match fitness with each round but the confidence which was equally needed. Here we were in the second week, round of 16, and not only was Pete still there but looking good. ("Be calm my thumping heart - long way to go yet!") Against Haas, Pete looked very purposeful, like a workman back at the job he loves and does so well. Crafting out a gutsy 4-setter for a 7-5, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 victory, he notched up 27 aces, as well as 80 winners to the German's 36.

My hope could not be dimmed even by the fact that Pete's Quarter Final opponent was to be Andy Roddick, who had beaten him on both previous occasions they had met. But that was then - this was now! I prayed that Pete would put those losses out of his mind, come out fast and shoot Roddick down before he knew what had hit him. I saw Pete as a born-again believer in himself, who could surely beat the youngster this time. In fact he did just that, but the ease and style with which he accomplished it exceeded even my expectations. He was all over Andy from the first point, giving him no chance to settle or assert himself. The straight sets score-line was a deeply satisfying 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

My faith in Pete had increased during the tournament in line with his renewed self-assurance. The Haas match seemed to be the real turning point. There were more flashes of the old dominant Pete, but against a top ten player rather than lower lights such as Portas and Pless. Next, taking his game so brilliantly to Roddick, a player who had held a 2-0 advantage over him, surely indicated that Pete was on a roll. I began to feel that he was unstoppable now!

"This is what I play for", said an elated Sampras after beating his younger compatriot so decisively. "I mean, these are big moments, playing Andy in a night match here. You know, he's a young up-and-comer that has a great future. I'm pumped up." Yes, Pete, so was I!

Pete's Semi-Final was to be against Sjen Shalken, who I thought was likely to be considerably less dangerous than some other players it might have been. And I wasn't exactly disappointed that Andre Agassi had a date with Leyton Hewitt in his Semi.

“ By now I was convinced that the tennis gods had finally relented and that destiny was beckoning Pete again."

.The Sampras serve had been going from strength to strength. His stats against Roddick were stunning: 87% of points played off his first serve, 46 net points to Andy's pitiful 4, and only one break point against him, which Pete didn't allow Roddick to convert. As long as Pete's stamina and fitness held out (the rain delays being responsible for his having to play 5 matches in 7 days) I felt sure that Shalken would soon be on his way home. So it proved, with the Dutchman finding few answers to the problems Pete posed him, going down in three sets for 6-7, 6-7, 2-6. To complete my joy, Agassi had disposed of Hewitt, so there was the prospect of another classic Final between the greatest server and the best returner in the game.

Sunday, 8th September dawned brightly in the UK. As soon as I woke, my thoughts flew across the ocean to New York, where I hoped Pete was enjoying a deep, rejuvenating sleep. I had been so anxious at the beginning of the Open, but by now I was convinced that the tennis gods had finally relented and that destiny was beckoning Pete again. Fortune had smiled so favourably on him at Wimbledon 2000, when he achieved the amazing feat of winning there for the seventh time, despite suffering from tendonitis and being unable to practise. I don't believe he deserved to pay for this by being condemned to wander in tennis wilderness for two years, but who can fathom the workings of fate?

The day couldn't pass quickly enough for me. I spent it feverishly fussing around, repeatedly checking the weather forecast for the States and the start time of the match. I even dusted the furniture and arranged fresh flowers, although no visitors were expected. (Let unexpected ones dare, on a day like this!) But I wanted everything to look nice in honour of Pete - as if he could see into the room from the television set!

Eventually it was time to don the 'lucky' clothes I had worn to watch all of Pete's matches, including the special King of Swing T-shirt. One of my prize possessions, the candle holder I had made from a water bottle Pete had drunk from, with a blue candle in it (his favourite colour) was ready to be lit as soon as His Gorgeousness appeared on court, and I had a stash of nibbles and cold drinks on hand to keep my strength up. Perhaps I did feel a tiny bit nervous, but most of all I was s-o-o-o excited. I was almost certain that Pete would win and put an end to our mutual misery!

You don't need me to take you through that historic match in detail, as it has already been eulogised by innumerable sports writers. But I should like to share with you the unforgettable feelings that it left with me.

I sat spellbound during the first set and a half, savouring every minute of Pete's scintillating performance. As he was to say afterwards, he was 'in the zone', that special corner of tennis heaven, from where Pete had been absent far too long. No human being could keep up that level of perfection indefinitely, and as Pete started to tire, fear struck my heart like violent indigestion. ("Oh Pete, how shall we bear it if you're denied for the third year running!) But, being the great champion he is, the mighty Sampras dug deep, found that extra ounce of resolve, and suddenly, from being a break down he was serving for the match. And winning it - his first slam - first title - for 26 months! Pete, you deserved it so much!

At last our warrior was restored to us! All the hard times were forgotten as we happy voyeurs shared in the joy and pride that radiated from Bridgette Sampras, while her beaming husband sought her out in the crowd to hold her close and whisper in her ear. Was ever a sporting victory more poignant - a drama fit even for Shakespeare's interpretation. With apologies to the latter, I can imagine it now: A valiant king, tested by cruel adversity, fights and loses numerous hard battles in his own and foreign lands. Yet he refuses to yield his sovereignty. Despite years of suffering, he returns at last with his faithful queen to his own land, winning his most glorious victory and restoring his fortunes.

Pete Sampras is not a man to stoop to trading insults with lesser mortals. He speaks most eloquently with his racket, with the athletic poetry of his movement, and above all, with the fighting heart that all conquerors must possess. How proud and joyful I am to have followed his unique career, through tears and triumphs, and now to delight in his greatest reward so far. As Pete said, with characteristic under-statement, "I guess I'm back." And thousands of tennis fans world-wide are so very glad he is.


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post #2 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-20-2005, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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The Superhero
by: Dalia King - Trinidad & Tobago

Disclaimer: I'm not going to lie to all you readers out there - don't expect the following article to be impartial. I'm probably going to be as biased as they come - and as unrepentant as all get out...which shouldn't be much of a change from all those reporters who get paid to tout their favourites right? Another warning: it's an article about a tennis player, the tennis player, but largely, it's not about tennis. Don't look for analysis of his serve motion.

Pete Sampras spun a magical web for his fans during Wimbledon 2000. He overcame adversity throughout the fortnight, culminating in a glorious win over an in form and always pumped Patrick Rafter. As fans, we were beside ourselves with joy - could it possibly get any better? Our minds were in hyper-drive - of course it could get better! The man had won Wimbledon with a gimpy leg!! The French Open was small fry compared to this! Bring on Flushing Meadows!

This Superhero of ours didn't climb walls wearing tights or fly wearing tights or drive a hot car...wearing tights. No, he won matches…in unfortunately baggy shorts. We weren't that disappointed - at least he was winning.

It's 2002 and we're desperate. He isn't winning and he's still wearing baggy shorts. What's a fan to do??

You've probably had it up to the eyelids with this phrase and its many sickening derivatives:

"It's been X number of tournaments since Pete Sampras has won a title."

No doubt we've all come close to murder a couple of times while reading disparaging articles about the state of our beloved's game - especially as there is almost always that annoying little nugget of truth. This is not Pete Sampras. He isn't closing out as he used to. What good are all those finalist plates? Pete Sampras isn't a finalist - he's a champion!

Everybody knows exactly why Pete is no longer the dominant force - even on grass as some over-zealous reporters had the audacity to claim. It was his aura - it was gone. It was his second serve - where was it? His feet - they were slower. Look at his hair - he's just older.

Through it all, as a Pete fan, you plug on, accustomed to negative comments though not quite like this. We're used to holding our own by shouting rejoinders such as: "He's not boring!"

"He does NOT look like a monkey!!"

"He is sick, he wasn't faking it!"

Nothing we couldn't handle.

Now we have to deal with serious arguments that cannot be ignored, no matter how hard we may wish for it to go away. So far we have yet to see if the real Pete Sampras shows up for this Wimbledon 2002, but it would be foolish to argue that for the majority of the past two years the Pete Sampras of old has not been in hibernation. We can only hope he's well rested when he returns. We can only hope he wins. This is no longer a given - has not been for a while - now not even at Wimbledon. I still get chest pains when I recall that match against Roger Federer in 2001 and I'm a young and reasonably healthy woman.

It's not easy being a Pete fan. I don't expect you to believe me however. Many fans of other tennis players say we've had it too easy - wins have always been the order of the day; they were expected and we wondered how much he would thrash his victim by, not whether he'd win. Please - that went without saying.

These days his pampered fans are all nervous wrecks. We look at draws where he's paired with an unknown player in the first round and take some pills in preparation.

Another dreaded quote always looms:

"He was just too good."

I would hope Pete says this in order to get pesky reporters off his back and tiresome post match conferences out of the way. Just tell them what they want to hear and head home. However, if this is his honest opinion, Pete's problem is mental. Unless Jose Higueras dabbles in sports psychology Pete may be looking in the wrong direction for answers. Nobody is too good for Pete Sampras and from any other mouth that quotation would be secular blasphemy. We only just tolerate it from the man himself.

I feel sorry for Pete - such weak words, but true. For so many years he's been all tennis, driven by the sport. He found his lady love in Bridgette Wilson and if only all aspects of his life could have then been a Happily Ever After. Instead his tennis career took a harsh fall - the only way to fall when you're at the top. I don't think his marriage to Bridgette is a reason why he's not the same Pete we've grown to see kiss those trophies. Getting married and playing tennis isn't exactly the toughest multi-tasking job there is. I always found it quite an insult to both bride and groom to suggest falling in love and making it legal played an essential part in the problems he's now facing. Bridgette is not his kryptonite (I had to stick to the theme) and the faster we all realise that, the easier it's going to be to get to the root of the problem - or problems.

Other general tennis fans wonder why we seem to throw so many drama sessions, railing at myriad uncaring gods. Isn't this the guy who got to the finals of two US Opens in a row beating Rafter, Safin and Agassi in 2001?

Well yes...but wouldn't it sound better if we could say he won the thing twice in a row? Never content those Sampras fans. We're also well aware time isn't exactly standing still. For the optimistic amongst us, Pete's got three of four more Slams left but the man is in his thirties and his back gets thrown out at all the crucial moments. You'd think it was working with the enemy.

It's been a harsh two years, especially this 2002 where he dedicated his time once again to tennis, made some eyebrow raising changes - and still lost. Roland Garros 2002, like Wimbledon 2001 was "devastating".

Pete never gives up though - but should he? A bone of contention even amongst steadfast fans. Nobody disputes that Pete should retire only when he feels to (Yevgeny Kafelnikov notwithstanding and who cares about him anyway?) but how sad it would be to see only the shadow of Mr Sampras still on court five years or even two years down the road. This is not how champions should go out.

When Pete Sampras, Grasscourt King, loses to Alex Corretja who is allergic to chlorophyll in a Davis Cup match on home soil, the word retirement is bandied about and rightly so. Reporters, however annoying they may be...and they are annoying... would not be doing their job if they didn't tell it like it is. This is not Pete Sampras.

"I was in the zone."

It seems as if the last time I heard him say that I was in diapers. I want to hear it again - and soon. It's always been a bit corny to me; he sounds like a jock in those teen movies:

"I was in the zone man!"

But I grin whenever I hear it. It reminds me of who he is. So he's not perfect, he's not invincible, he doesn't have abs of steel - but he's the best superhero the tennis world has today (bias alert, bias alert!). Too often these stars give up when they realise there's no chance of a win and behave badly when they are losing or have lost. Pete's no angel, but anyone would be hard pressed to think of instances when he was less than the gentleman. It makes him so much easier to follow during the hard times.

You'll never be embarrassed to say you're a Pete Sampras fan whether he's losing in the first round or closing out the set for the title.

It's time to make those reporters eat every one of their words and this summer at that croquet club would be the perfect time to do it. Spin another magical web for us Pete baby.

"If I didn't believe it, I wouldn't be here."

He believes and I believe. We'll see you at Wimbledon.

June 24, 2002

- end -

Last edited by angiel; 01-20-2005 at 12:03 AM.
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post #3 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-20-2005, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Age Ain't Nothing but a Number
by: Georgia Christoforou (UK)

When Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi contested the 2002 US Open Final their combined ages amounted to 63!

Long before the tournament began, the critics and journalists had been writing about the possible impending retirement of two of the greats in the game.

Some of the headlines regarding record breaking Pete Sampras were nothing short of soul breaking. For example one US Newspaper ran an article with the headline "For Pete's Sake Stop" but had any of them bothered to listen to the great champion Pete Sampras then they would have heard the words and heeded them "I still believe I have one or maybe two great moments, otherwise I wouldn't be playing" "I want to go out on my terms, I think I've earned the right to do that!"

If it had been written about a player who was more openly sensitive to what was spoken about them then perhaps they would have agreed and retired, but not Pete Sampras a player and a living legend who has built his successful career on a foundation of mental toughness and an unwavering belief in himself and his ability to rise above and allow his natural talent and skill to carry him through to success.

Of course he had earned the right to retire on his terms, and perhaps this is being presumptuous but he most definitely deserved to be shown a little more respect by the people in the media and by his fellow players.

Many players may have felt or thought that Pete was slowing down, but many respected and admired Pete Sampras and his achievements too much to voice them openly. One player however dared to voice his opinions in a press conference following his defeat at the hands of Pete Sampras in a five set battle! That player was Greg Rusedski. Upon entering the pressroom where he proceeded to arrogantly state, "I lost that match, he didn't win it!" He then followed that statement with "He's a step and a half slower coming into the net… I can't see him winning another match, in fact I'll be very surprised if he wins against Haas in the next round!"

As usual Pete Sampras chose to ignore the bait to get involved in a media fight and let his trusty racket do the talking. Not only did he beat Tommy Haas in the following round, he did it in the style that many had forgotten Pete Sampras to play. He served well, his returns impeccably accurate. Perhaps Greg's comments re-awakened Pete's awesome talent and brought it out again to shine in the Stadium that he began his amazing Grand Slam haul at the tender age of 19 way back in 1990. Whatever the reason for Pete turning on the genius play that has earned him countless trophies and accolades in a career spanning more than a decade, he has proven why he is and should always be known as the great champion that he is.

His next round opponent was in the form of up-and-coming, future of American tennis star, Andy Roddick, it was billed as the match between the changing of guard.

What in fact the match was, was a master-class in tennis, Pete Sampras destroyed Andy Roddick in straight sets, breaking the youngster in his opening service game, perhaps even breaking the youngster's spirit, which set the tone of the match and firmly stamped Pete Sampras' authority on the match.

In the press conference after his win against Roddick, the press decided to question Pete Sampras again about Greg Rusedski's comments. Pete in his usual understated yet charming manner replied with "I don't really take much notice of what he has to say, I have better things to use my energy and time on. Besides against him I don't need to be a step and a half quicker do I?" Despite Pete's calm response, his eyes did show a burning anger, that he obviously wanted to harness and use in helping himself to win his matches and prove the doubters wrong the best way - by WINNING!

What was emerging over the course of the championships was that you should never underestimate the capabilities of a player despite the fact that he had not won a tournament since breaking the Grand Slam record with his 13th Grand Slam win at Wimbledon 2000. Had people forgotten that he had been the finalist the past 2 years at Flushing Meadows? Who could honestly predict him not making it 3 finals in a row, but coming out victorious the 3rd time around?

Sampras's semi-final match was to be against Schalken, a fast improving player. Sampras took advantage of being the first semi-final match to be played and beat Schalken convincingly in straight sets, 7-6, 7-6, 6-2. The look of satisfaction and elation on making the final was priceless; Sampras was through to the final of the US Open. Now he had to wait and see who his opponent would be. Would it be the defending champion, Leyton Hewitt or would it be his oldest rival Andre Agassi?

Agassi fought hard and beat Australia's Leyton Hewitt in four tough sets. So, the two players that the media had so quickly dismissed and written their epitaph's were to contest the 2002 US Open Final - a dream final in many a tennis fans eyes!

So what if Pete Sampras is 31, Agassi 32…. Age is nothing but number, and it is not right to disregard these two players who have achieved so much and without a doubt have had the longest standing rivalry in tennis. A rivalry that both players have admitted has brought out the best in their games.

For the first 2 sets of their final contest, Pete Sampras could have walked on water… he played near flawless tennis, his serve as accurate as ever. His returns blistering! Pete Sampras somehow managed to turn back the clock and despite his hair thinning looked like the player that won at the age of 19 by dismissing his opponents as though he was swatting flies in his back yard!

In the third set Agassi found his form and briefly looked as though he would push his rival to five sets. Despite Agassi winning the 3rd set 7 games to 5, Sampras hung in despite feeling and showing obvious fatigue in the fourth set to clinch the match and his 14th Grand Slam title 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

“ He speaks most eloquently with his racket, with the athletic poetry of his movement, and above all, with the fighting heart that all conquerors must possess."

It was an emotional and most sweetest of wins for Pete Sampras. He ran into the crowd to celebrate and thank his biggest supporter, his beautiful wife Bridgette, who is expecting their first child at the end of the year. He later went on to say that if had not been for his wife he may have given up, but she kept his spirits up and kept on reminding him of who he is and what he has achieved. "Just shows I chose the right woman to be my wife!" Sampras proudly said.

Despite this win, people still insist on bringing up the retirement question, Pete and Andre both refuse to give a set date. As long as they feel as passionately as they do about competing then who can realistically put a time limit on them playing?

In my honest opinion, Pete Sampras can still play and compete with the best for at least 3 or perhaps 4 years. Perhaps this 14th Grand Slam win will be the start of Pete Sampras on another winning streak…. Who can say that he won't win numbers 15,16 or even 17 next years at the Grand Slams to come? No one can predict anything in sport, but one thing is for sure, no one can ever take away the fact that Pete Sampras is the Greatest Ever to Play the beautiful game of TENNIS.

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post #4 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-20-2005, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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The Sampras Song
by: Perizad Dalal (Mumbai, India)

They said you should retire
You should call it a day
Proved so much already
What else was there to say
Thirteen titles in the bag
A place in history
What's left to play for
Just bow out gracefully

But you knew yourself better
You know you are The Best
You've got your 14th title
You've passed your toughest test

Well done, Pete
Champion of Champions
Bravo Pete
You're a real Superstar
That's why you're ahead
And others are where they are

You showed them Pete
Showed you could do it
Talent and grit
Took you right through it
When you're on a roll
You just rock,
Pete, you rule!
When you're on a roll
You just rock,
Pete you rule
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post #5 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-21-2005, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Pete Sampras' Current Situation
by: Jane Nixon, UK

I don't believe Pete looks at his position as a slump because Pete Sampras has always believed that more great successes are just around the corner. Yes, he's slipped a fraction in the rankings, but Pete Sampras does not play for ranking points anymore, he plays for History. What else has he to prove? Nothing to anyone except to himself which is why he's still playing. Pete is a very fit athlete and I don't see any reason why he shouldn't continue to play for as long as he is still enjoying competing because the longer he plays the more he will imprint his name in the record books.

Hope is all I have left, and the many posts from the members of the Samprasfanz group which continually lift me during this very sad time. I find the Samprasfanz group a wonderful tonic because it's a place where I can go to vent my feelings whether angry, sad or happy about our GREAT CHAMPION THE GREAT PETE SAMPRAS. After having said this I find the hardest thing to cope with is the tennis writers opinions about what they think is the case everytime Pete loses a match, and what they believe Pete Sampras should do about it. However, since I've stopped reading the negative articles, I am beginning to cope better with Pete's current situation.

Pete Sampras' current situation of not winning a title since Wimbledon 2000 seems to be never ending. However, I have to keep reminding myself that Pete is playing for the Grand Slams and for history and then I immediately feel better. Pete helps me feel better too when he says that he's an optimist and he isn't getting too down on himself. Like Pete, I'm an optimist too and this certainly helps me to keep a positive outlook for his heroic comeback. One phenomenon that helps me to keep a positive outlook for Pete's return to winning ways is the aura which enveloped him whilst winning his first Grand Slam the US Open aged only 19 years. Pete is now the grand slam king, a legend and I believe all great players find a way to return. Many argue that Pete has lost his aura but perhaps they never saw it in the first place. I don't believe this just because he isn't winning at the moment because an aura and I quote: is a distinctive character or quality around a person that is a visible faint light, and a visible faint light never goes out (Chambers Dictionary). Pete has always had this light ever since he was a child and one lovely quote from player Justin Gimelstob who summed it up beautifully after he played Pete Wimbledon 2000. "Whilst in his mother's womb, God spent a little extra time on his right shoulder and touched it". This quote says so much and really sums up that aura's are everlasting.

"It is true that although Pete hasn't won a title since Wimbledon 2000, he is still as talented a player as ever and has the game to win more tournaments. For some time since that great and historic record-breaking win, it was possible (and certainly argued amongst the tennis elite) that he had lost the hunger and motivation to win tournaments, however I believe that this was only temporary otherwise he would have no real reason to keep on playing. Keep on playing he has, appearing to be as determined and committed as ever, and certainly fitter than he's been for many months. As he himself said "Before I needed to win (tournaments), now I want to". I am sure that elusive win will come sometime this year, and this so-called twilight period of his career where he seems to play himself into a tournament winning frame of mind and gradually gather momentum; whereas when he was younger, he was winning tournaments more frequently and earlier on in the year. He is certainly confident that he has another Grand Slam or two left in him" Sue Dodds, Australia

This he nearly did at last year's US Open after beating three former US Open champions on his way to the final. When you have been a champion like Pete Sampras has, the champion of all champions, I cannot begin to understand why so many are writing him off for more Grand Slam glories. He would not be treated like this in any other sport and I believe the constant hounding he is having to endure by the tennis media is absolutely unforgivable because they are certainly not helping him to make a revival by continually referring to the retirement question. Luckily for them Pete doesn't read half of what's written about him, but at the same time I believe a certain amount must filter back to the Sampras camp and to Pete himself which obviously isn't helping.

I found the US Open quarter-final match between Sampras and Agassi lasting three and a half hours one of the most nerve wracking matches I have ever seen and what made it worse was that the tennis experts were predicting that Agassi would win as he was the player in form. However, I felt as Sampras had beaten Rafter in such great style that perhaps he would be alright. I stayed with the match from the first point to the last and by the end I was over-tired but at the same time so elated that Pete came out the winner. Both players were playing at the highest level perhaps ever seen in the sport which made it according to many experts one of the best handful of matches ever played. I agree with these experts which leads me on to why I don't believe Pete Sampras should retire.

Pete's terrific display at last years US Open showed me that Pete can hold his own in very tough matches which proves he's not over the hill by any means. Pete shouldn't retire just to please those in the tennis media whose theory is that he's over the hill because he hasn't won a tournament since Wimbledon 2000. Perhaps Pete not winning a tournament since his historic Wimbledon 2000 victory might be due to how much it mentally it took out of him when he was only about 80% physically fit due to suffering with tendonitis in his ankle. Pete has said that winning Wimbledon 2000 did take a lot out of him mentally. So why is it then that some want him to retire?

Is it because Pete Sampras is 30 years old that he's supposed to be over the hill, washed up and finished by so many, or is it because some in the tennis media want to see him go to stand aside for the next generation? Whatever the reason, the tennis media should just leave him alone to enjoy the rest of his tennis career. When Pete is ready to go he will announce his retirement to the world and in the meantime he doesn't need this continual harassment from the tennis media. Pete has said on many occasions that he will stop playing when he doesn't want to go to the practice courts anymore because this will tell him that he isn't enjoying playing tennis anymore.

At first the talk about Pete's retirement really upset me because the media were relating to his age as the most important factor he should be considering to continue on in the sport he has always loved. But I am learning from those in the know that you shouldn't be listening to the media talk, because these sports writers are more interested in the style than the content. So I now ignore the writers whose articles are just painting doom and gloom, that is writing negatively.

"Ah, the dreaded 'R' word. For those who love Pete, whenever he retires will always be too soon. I still firmly believe that he will beat the demons which are hounding him, but it seems increasingly possible that he may need some extra outside help to do so. However, I am still hopeful that his mighty champions heart will finally break the mental chains which are fettering him" Cynthia Smith UK

"I think the retirement issue is something that shouldn't really be discussed, especially as Pete Sampras himself has made it clear that he has no intention of retiring anytime soon. As long as he has the desire to play, physical health and has the belief that he can still compete with the rest of the guys on the tour then I don't see what right anyone has to comment on this matter" Georgia Christoforou, UK

"Pete will retire when he believes he's no longer in contention for winning Grand Slams. It is his inherent belief that he still may have another Grand Slam (or two) and this is the fuel which drives him to keep striving for that goal. As he has said in the past "winning the majors is what it's all about for me" Sue Dodds, Australia

I believe Pete Sampras will win another Grand Slam or two as do all those in his camp/entourage, Jose Higueras, Patrick McEnroe, Bridgette his beautiful and very supportive wife, Tom Gullikson, and Paul Annacone when he is able to support Pete on court. Also the very supportive Samprasfans who help me everyday to see that there will be a light at the end of this dark tunnel. If the people Pete has most contact with believe that he can, then why should anyone else question his ability to do so? I suppose they question because he hasn't won a tournament since Wimbledon 2000 but quite honestly Pete judges his years by what he does in the slams and not a first round exit somewhere in some 3rd league tournament. I know winning breeds winning but in Pete's case this isn't how he should be being judged. As a fan, desperation has begun to set in as to when the number fourteen will happen but my faith in Pete succeeding remains high because whenever I see him play either on court or on the television I still see that wonderful aura that has enveloped him from the very first time I saw him win his first slam at the US Open 1990.

"I have no doubt and every belief that Pete can and will win another Grand Slam title…. He came very close at last year's US Open…and had his draw been a little less mentally and physically exhausting then he would have won the title. I believe that with all my heart! His new coach will help him to do this and I cannot wait to see him claim a fourteenth Grand Slam. J Also it will satisfy me greatly to see all the people that have doubted this will happen being made to eat their words and perhaps be brought to their knees begging for forgiveness or even mercy from Pete Sampras" Georgia Christoforou, UK

"As a fan of his for many years I still believe he has the talent to win at least one more slam, if not two. The fact that he has made the final of the past two US Opens is indicative enough for me that he can still do it, and crack that magic number fourteen. This is something that I don't expect to see any other player do for many years, maybe not even in my lifetime" Sue Dodds, Australia

Conclusion: Pete's current situation hopefully won't continue for much longer and as I said at the beginning I have to keep optimistic, holding the belief that the best player ever will find a way back to within the top five. I say the top five because Pete isn't interested anymore in the number one ranking as he has been there and held that position for six consecutive years 1993-1998. To be fair to Pete he has told the world this in many an interview, so for those who don't know, now you do. Another belief is that in other sports, the great sportsmen do have a habit of coming back and doing great things. This I believe will be the case for THE GREAT PETE SAMPRAS, THE GREATEST TENNIS PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF THE SPORT OF TENNIS.

June 8, 2002

- end -

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post #6 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-21-2005, 09:10 PM
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Great articles.........perfect for my train ride home.

Serve 'Em Up
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post #7 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-22-2005, 01:44 AM
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wow, so many long article, i need long time to read, but thanks a lot angiel for posting
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post #8 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-22-2005, 02:50 AM
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Angiel, how come you are able to gather so much info??

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer - Ralph Waldo Emerson.
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post #9 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-22-2005, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ultraman
Great articles.........perfect for my train ride home.

Hello there Ultraman - how are you doing - hope you enjoy reading the articles and have a great weekend at home. see ya.
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post #10 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-22-2005, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Lalitha
Angiel, how come you are able to gather so much info??

Hi there Lalitha,how are you my dear and how is the job doing, I browse all over the internet and found these super articles from his fans - so I post them for you guys to read - enjoy.
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post #11 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-22-2005, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mimi
wow, so many long article, i need long time to read, but thanks a lot angiel for posting

You are welcome Mimi, and take your time my dear, to read them, no rush.
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post #12 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-22-2005, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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By: Sandie Anthony

Written with heart-felt thanks for the years of nail biting, breathtaking, floor pacing, cover my eyes because I can’t bear to watch, jubilant, tearful, beaming with pride memories to the greatest tennis player of all time……….Pete Sampras. Thanks for the memories Pete!

Isn’t it funny how things happen, isn’t it funny how things go,
Isn’t it funny they never appreciated you until you no longer showed?
Isn’t it funny they didn’t acknowledge your serve and volley game,
Isn’t it funny now they’re saying without you the sport is not the same?

Isn’t it funny how they’re lining up to shout your accolades and praise,
Where were they for the past 12 years during your glory days?
Isn’t it funny they labeled you boring, and refused to acknowledge your feats,
Isn’t it funny how they almost wallowed in your occasional defeats?

Isn’t it funny how the talent and grace you brought into the game
Were labeled very boring, dull, and even lame?
You didn’t have a personality; you certainly had no flair,
And watching you win Slam after Slam was just more than they could bear.

It was nearly torture, so they said, to have to watch you play,
Same old boring Sampras blowing all the opposition away.
Same face showing no emotion, same shoulders hanging low,
Pete Sampras, a great champion……no, they didn’t think so.

But to those of us who knew better, watching you was such a gift,
And it wasn’t just your high jumps that gave us such a lift.
Watching as you painted the lines, time and time again,
Rendering your opponents helpless, just mere mortal men.

I laughed so many times as I saw them try desperately to guess,
Just which damn line that serve of yours was to powerfully caress.
And just when they thought they had you running desperately side to side,
You’d nail that running forehand as they stood helplessly watching it fly by.

You brought a certain style and grace that was certainly your own,
You refused to ever allow yourself to become the media’s clone.
You always remained true to yourself, no matter what they clamored for,
You learned to laugh and ignore it when they continued to call you a bore.

I am who I am, I’m not going to change, and I do my talking out on the courts,
I’m chasing some records, I have my goals and I’ll do it quietly without your support.
If you can’t learn to like me for who I am and what I can bring to this game,
I suggest you go chasing the others out there that are in it for glory and fame.

Isn’t it funny they just didn’t get it, isn’t it funny they just couldn’t see,
That being the best to ever play the game was just your destiny.
Seems they have all gotten glasses, as they now see things quite clearly,
Isn’t it funny how they miss you now and actually find you endearing.

Isn’t it funny now how many seem to realize just what they had?
Realizing it so late in the game isn’t funny though, it’s sad!
Why weren’t the so-called experts supporting you just like all your fans?
Why weren’t they holding up banners and shouting your praises from the stands?

Where were all the headlines in the local papers and magazines?
Stating for a fact that Sampras is the best they’ve ever seen!
They were too busy looking elsewhere for someone with perhaps a little more flair,
Someone to sign the endorsements, to help them sell their wares.

Too bad they missed the party; too bad they missed the show,
Too bad the so-called experts were the ones who didn’t know.
Didn’t know the best to grace the courts and ever play the game,
Had been there right before their eyes for more than the past decade.

Is it possible a decade has passed by as quickly as a wink?
Is it possible you were here and gone before we could even think?
Gone is that beautiful serve that no one ever learned to read,
Gone is the Sampras high jump that left us all unable to breathe.
Gone is the greatest second serve to ever grace the game,
Gone is the running forehand that left opponents shaking their heads in vain.
Gone is that beautiful net game that showed off your gentle touch,
Gone are so many other things we miss so very much.

Although our main wish for you is happiness and we’re glad you have your family,
Please know just how much you’ll be missed by many more than me.
They say the sign of a true champion is one who truly changes the game,
If that is true then the champion can only go by one familiar name.
That name is Pistol Pete Sampras and if you missed him it’s your loss,
For on the courts of tennis he was king, he ruled, he was boss!

Although we miss you terribly and the selfish side of us wants you back,
Cause without you there’s so many things the game just sadly lacks!
What we truly want is your happiness and if you choose to no longer play,
Then we’re grateful for the time we had and we’d just like to take the time to say:
You’ll always be our champion, and we’ll never really part,
For we’ll carry you and all our memories forever in our hearts.
The one thing we still ask for, the one thing we still need,
Is to send our very best wishes and say, Thanks Pete for the Memories!

Last edited by angiel; 01-24-2005 at 07:55 PM.
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post #13 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Sampras Completes the Circle
by: Cynthia Smith (UK)

Arthur Ashe Court at Flushing Meadows, New York on Monday evening, 25th August, 2003 was packed with more than twenty thousand expectant tennis lovers. Pete Sampras, five-time winner of the US Open, was due on court shortly, as he had been almost every August for the past fifteen years. But this year was different. This year Pete was not competing. The greatest competitor of them all had decided he must make the difficult decision to end his illustrious career, in the place where he had won the first and the last of his history-making 14 Grand Slam titles.

So often during that career Pete seemed not to have received due recognition for his supreme talents and achievements. On this special night, however, the United States Tennis Association had persuaded the shy and self-effacing Sampras to attend a ceremony honouring his career. How I wished I could have been there at such a momentous occasion in Pete’s life.

Waiting for the ceremony to begin, I reflected on how I had been similarly disappointed not to be present on that euphoric evening almost a year ago, when Pete had confounded his critics by triumphing for a fifth time at the Open and breaking his own Grand Slam title record. That had held for twenty-six months, since Wimbledon 2000. But from that date until 8th September 2002 Pete had not won a single title. So all that mattered was that he had restored his fortunes; of course the fact that I was not there was unimportant. Instead, I had shared the building tension with members of Samprasfanz in the Chatroom and then watched the match on television. No drama conceived by any playwright could have surpassed the one unfolding then!

Americans like to do things in style and the crowd and television audience were treated to a lengthy build-up, from a rock band, an excerpt from a Broadway musical, and a spectacular procession of flag waving and trumpet blowing. Well, Pete Sampras would never blow his own trumpet so he needed someone to do it for him. Fans were waving banners for him too, including a distinctive yellow one with blue lettering, held proudly aloft by a group of his loyal Samprasfanz.

Camera views from the top of the stadium were awe-inspiring, with the sheer size of the spectacle laid out in miniature so far below. There were off-court shots of Pete with wife Bridgette, smiling happily as they watched what was taking place. How different their thoughts must have been from those they normally shared before Pete went on court, especially during the long win-less months prior to last September.

At last, the phenomenon himself appears in the stadium. Pete walks towards the line-up of VIPs assembled to pay court to the king of tennis, accompanied by enthusiastic cheers and a standing ovation. His well-cut black suit accentuates his dark good looks, but the grey-blue shirt is casually open at the neck. He always hated those formal occasions, such as the Wimbledon Ball, when he was required to wear an awkward bow tie. He pauses for a moment to look around, as if he can hardly believe that all the fuss is for him.

David Enberg of CBS Sports gives Pete an appreciative welcome and then introduces those who are there to give their accolades. First up is Pete’s long-time friend and coach Paul Annacone. Pete is fairly comfortable with what Paul has to say, although he glances down at his shoes much of the time, smiling shyly. Some of the more extravagant compliments from John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Jim Courier and Andre Agassi cause Pete to look slightly embarrassed and he seems glad to laugh at their jokes to ease his self-consciousness.

The Chairman of USTA, Alan Schwartz, then steps forward. He shows to Pete, the crowd and watching millions on television a magnificent, free-standing, commemorative plaque. Surmounted with an engraving depicting Pete in slam-dunk mode, there is a red super-hero cape attached to his shoulders. Mr Shwartz reads out the inscription, as follows:

“In a career that spanned three decades, Pete Sampras re-wrote the record books for the men’s game and re-defined the word ‘champion’. His quiet confidence, unfailing courage and unparalleled commitment to excellence defined him as a player and a person. Sampras’ 14 Grand Slam titles are a record which is likely to stand for all time, as will the legacy of a man who graced the great sport of tennis with his singular brilliance and class. He finished at number one in the rankings a record six years (1993 – 1998) and held the top spot a total of 286 weeks, another record. Sampras also tops the career earnings list with $43 million.”

I smiled inwardly at how ‘American’ the red cape and mention of his earnings seemed. And why not? Pete may be of Greek descent but he’s an all-American boy too, and one at last taken to the hearts of his compatriots.

The crowd and VIPs roar their approval as Sampras the Supreme is presented with the plaque. An expectant hush falls for a second and then it’s Pete’s turn to respond to all the lavish but well-deserved praise. The man who so often has been unfairly described as ‘boring’, ‘robotic’ and lacking in emotion now proves his detractors wrong again. Several times his deep, soft voice falters as tears threaten to get out of control. He wipes his eyes, puts a hand over his face and tries again, several times. Camera shots of the crowd show how enthralled they are by this unique piece of tennis theatre. As if remembering who he is and why he is there, Pete recovers his dignity and finally gets through his speech. Bridgette and baby Christian Charles come to join him and loud applause erupts again. Sampras junior sits quiet and solemn in his mother’s arms, a cherub at the Olympian court of King Pete. Requested to do a novel lap of honour so that all sections of the crowd can take their photos, Pete carries little Christian with him instead of his customary trophy.

The baby gazes wide-eyed and wondering at all the people and the noise. Clutching a tennis ball and looking gravely about him, the flashes from so many cameras prompt the little boy to drop the ball and reach for the security of Daddy’s broad chest. Pete kicks the ball into the crowd, to be retrieved by a jubilant young fan.

Watching Pete walking round the court with his greatest prize tenderly cradled in his arms and the exuberant response of the crowd, I am transported back to when I had first become aware of what a remarkable tennis player, what a special human being Pete Sampras is.

It was the summer of 1995 and I had been in hospital for several weeks. The days were long and boring, which I found depressing. My husband had to be abroad on business and I was missing him badly. I was only half-watching the television; they were showing tennis. Of course, it was late June – this was Wimbledon. I had only ever seen the highlights before, which we used to watch in the evenings after work.

I suddenly became aware of a dark, good-looking young man who attracted me with his brooding intensity. Oh I’d seen him briefly before, flashing dark and white across the court, and holding up the trophy in 1993 and 1994. Now I witnessed him on the way to his third title; so quiet, so graceful, so swift and deadly in execution of his shots and pursuit of the ball. I was held spell-bound. Between sets, after he had towelled down his Greek god-like face and broad chest, he stared pensively into the camera lens – straight at me it seemed. The significance of that moment was as powerful as a religious conversion. I know it was no the medication which induced what I felt then, and ever since when I’ve been in the presence of Pete. I swear he ‘came to me’ through the television screen and inspired me, with the burning self-belief of his gaze, to get well. Shortly after the Final and watching Pete hold up his third Wimbledon trophy, I was told I could go home.

Since then I have followed Pete’s career avidly. Each time I watched him hold up yet another trophy I could not have been more proud than if he were my own son. I was house-bound for some time, waiting for operations to restore my mobility, and Pete was a great source of solace. In fact he opened a new window in my life when I found Samprasfanz in 2002 and was able to share my feelings about him with so many like-minded people. Pete has engendered so many emotions in me for the past eight years: euphoria, pride, delight, encouragement, worry, stress, tears, joy. It’s been an exhilarating roller-coaster ride.

Back at Flushing Meadows, Pete gives the crowd a final solar smile and waves them farewell. As he walks off court for the last time, I feel sure that whoever comes after his blazing presence has departed will be an anti-climax.

I will miss Pete not only as the greatest tennis player ever but as a source of joy and inspiration in my life. I may never have the chance to thank him in person for all he has given me, but mere words could not convey what I owe him. Instead, I will continue to enjoy the many friendships which have grown from a shared admiration and love of the greatest tennis player of all time – hundreds of people of different ages, colours, creeds and backgrounds, brought together by what I call The Power of Pete.

These words from the greatest writer ever, William Shakespeare, seem apt for the greatest tennis player ever:

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” (Henry V)

“Good night, sweet prince,
May flights of angels sing thee
To thy rest.” (Hamlet)

And also from Voltaire:

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

Pete, I like to think that a tiny little bit of yourself will always belong to your numerous fans. How you deserve your new contented life, with your dear wife and son, after all the hard lonely years on the tennis circuit, chasing your dreams. These dreams you made reality and they are enshrined forever in tennis history. There are so many who will miss you so much, but we will always be grateful for the time you spent with us and what you gave each one.

The King has abdicated.


in our hearts.


Last edited by angiel; 01-24-2005 at 07:54 PM.
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post #14 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-25-2005, 01:29 AM
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thanks angiel for posting, but sorry, i am afraid that i cannot read them all, its too long, i don't have enough time to read the old and you already post the new but don't worry, there are lots of pete fans, and many of them are going to read them all
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post #15 of 75 (permalink) Old 01-25-2005, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mimi
thanks angiel for posting, but sorry, i am afraid that i cannot read them all, its too long, i don't have enough time to read the old and you already post the new but don't worry, there are lots of pete fans, and many of them are going to read them all

that's the idea Mimi - do you look at the view column and see how much people visit here - a lot, and most of them has never seen these articles about him,

When they visit here they can do so.
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