Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras -
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Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras

Memorable matches

July 05, 1999

Awesome Sampras eases his way into the history books
Alix Ramsay, Tennis Correspondent

Wherever you go in the All England Club, the place is doused in a sense of history. Much of it revolves around the two main protagonists in the finals yesterday, Steffi Graf and Pete Sampras, and both seized the day. Graf, the loser to Lindsay Davenport, made her excuses quietly and then left the place for the last time, while Sampras embossed his place in the record books with his sixth title in seven years and his twelfth grand-slam title in all, equalling Roy Emerson's record.

Since the challenge round was abolished and those hopefuls wishing to lift the silver-gilt trophy had to play all seven matches of the tournament, no one has won as many. Few have won any title here with such an imperious display of power, dominance and sheer brilliance to win 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.

The all-American final on the fourth of July had promised much - Andre Agassi, the rebel with a huge endorsement contract, against Sampras, the consummate professional. "We should see some fireworks out there," Agassi had warned, but the rain had dampened Agassi's fuse. He had pointed to Sampras's "obnoxious forehand" as a serious threat, but overlooked his equally obnoxious backhand, service and volley. He had spoken of Sampras bringing out the best in him, but forgotten that he brings the best out of Sampras, too. And when Sampras is chasing history, he can be a vicious opponent.

Agassi's run to the final had been touched with genius. The man with baggy shorts had bustled through the draw, picking up where he left off in the French Open and defying pundits, the formbook and the training manuals. He arrived on the Centre Court a bundle of nervous energy, scurrying around the baseline, directing operations with the ballboys and fretting over minor details. He looked as if he had been plugged into the mains and, given that he often prepares for a match with a couple of heavily-sugared espressos, he may have been.

He began the match like a sprinter, leaping on to the ball early and making it fizz off his racket. The service was not half-bad either. Only the woolly covering the oversized shirt seemed out of place, making Agassi look like a Fifties British holidaymaker - and within a matter of games he looked about as comfortable.

After 20 minutes or so to settle the nerves, Agassi let rip. He tore into the Sampras service, leaving the champion flatfooted as first the forehand and then the backhand whistled past him. With three break points in his hand, the first set was there for the taking. But Sampras simply moved his game on to another level - a knack that separates the supreme champions from the mere winners - snatched the points back and, in doing so, crushed Agassi for good.

"He breaks me there and wins the first set, it's completely different circumstances," Sampras said, "but that's grass-court tennis and that's where the momentum can switch in couple of minutes and I got it today."

There was rather more to it than that, however. Agassi took a few minutes to recover from the shock, dropped his service twice in succession and by that time he had lost the first set and was a break down in the second. Sampras was on a roll and for the next set he was simply untouchable.

Whatever Agassi did, Sampras read it. He started to wallop his backhand from corner to corner, landing the shot on a sixpence at full power. He was serving as if his life depended upon it and volleying as if it was the easiest thing in the world. It was not that Agassi was playing badly, it was just that Sampras was playing like a dream. As if in a dream, in fact.

"I was on fire in the middle of that second set," Sampras admitted. "I was playing in the zone and it's not easy to maintain that on grass, especially playing him. It was as well as I could play, plain and simple."

Agassi knew from the start that his chances would be as rare - "I went out there expecting him to be a huge pain in the ass," he said - and that if he did not grab whatever scraps came his way, he would be lost. Tim Henman had proved as much the day before when he held, and missed, break points on the Sampras service.

"From 3-3 and 0-40, six minutes later I was 6-3, 1-0 down," Agassi said. "That's how Pete plays. You've got to weather his storm, that's when he's vulnerable, but his storm was too strong today."

Not that Agassi was prepared to give in. There were moments in the third set when he showed flashes of genius, moments when it seemed that the fight was still on, but Sampras was simply too good. Some shots had Agassi staring in disbelief at the spot where they landed, while a missed return in the dying stages of the match brought a cry of anguish from the great showman. Agassi was well beaten and he knew it. An ace set up match point and a second-service ace won the title.

"He's taking chances out there and people think he's walking on water until he starts missing a few of those," Agassi said. "But he didn't miss today, so today he walked on water."

As for Sampras, he was still stunned by what he had achieved and the manner in which he had achieved it. "I don't know how I do it," he said, appearing human for the first time that afternoon. "It's hard to explain how I'm feeling, my mind is still reeling. It's so hard to explain the feeling of serving for the match. All of a sudden, the match is on your racket and you start breathing heavier. I just kind of went for it and hit a great second serve and it was a great shot. I surprised myself."

The fact that Sampras has now marked a new place in the history books with his 12 titles has left him "spinning a little bit", but the challenge of breaking the record, winning that thirteenth title, has whetted his appetite.

"I'm sure once the US Open comes around and people talk about it, I'd love to do it and do it where it all started for me in 1990," he said. The ink is not yet dry in the history books and Sampras is not finished.
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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras

Wimbledon: Seventh heaven for Sampras
By John Parsons
(Filed: 10/07/2000)

PETE SAMPRAS, already the undisputed modern master at the All England Club, become the most successful Grand Slam men's singles champion the game has seen when he won Wimbledon for the seventh time last night.

The 28-year-old American was close to tears after the last of his countless service winners brought him the 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2 triumph against Pat Rafter, which means he now stands alone with 13 Grand Slam titles to his name, one more than Roy Emerson.

Sampras had always said he hoped to achieve the record on the world's most famous stage where he has produced so many of his most awesome performances. To add to his joy, his parents, Sam and Georgia, had flown over yesterday to be at Wimbledon with him for the first time.

Despite the long delays for the rain, almost all the 13,800 ticket holders waited to watch Sampas achieve this most special slice of tennis history at 8.57pm - just an hour before Rafter had originally planned to be boarding a plane back to Australia for the Davis Cup semi-final against Brazil, starting on Friday.

The predictable serve-and-volley style of the match was evident from the first game. It began 62 minutes late, and the match had been under way for only 26 minutes when a slight drizzle drove the players off seconds after Rafter had held for 4-3 in the first game to go to deuce. In the event there were six of them.

Additional entertainment for the crowd during the 26-minute delay was the sight of former champion John McEnroe nipping out of the television commentary box to chat with film star Tom Hanks, who he had spotted in the stand directly opposite him.

Sampras showed no fear at having to begin cold again, resuming with an ace and holding to 15. Even so, just when he looked to be close to taking charge, he became tentative on a couple of returns and missed three break points before the rain returned on deuce for a third time in the ninth game.

What was initially a drizzle soon turned into a downpour and it was not until 6.34, after a break of just over 2.5 hours, that they restarted for a second time. Rafter, whose second serve was generally more effective than his first, as it had been against Andre Agassi, began with a double fault, his third of the game, but continued to attack the Sampras backhand at every opportunity as the set moved into a tie-break.

Three times Rafter snapped back from being a mini-break down and he saved the first of Sampras's two set points before his determination enabled him to take it 12-10. Sampras, who had saved the second of Rafter's set points with an ace, double-faulted twice to offer a third and lose the fourth. The second set also went to a tie-break without a service break but by then Rafter was the one playing with the added assurance and he looked poised to establish a commanding lead.

He led 4-1, with a double mini-break in the tie-break but Sampras rescued the first with a whipped forehand, was handed the second on a double fault and Rafter compounded the error by missing a forehand crosscourt return which could have edged him ahead again.

Sampras's joy as he then struck a brilliant forehand pass to earn two set points was clear for all to see and he drew level on the second of them by putting a volley away easily after another fine first serve.

The third set turned in the fifth game, when, having boldly saved three break points, Rafter double-faulted to offer Sampras a fourth and then netted one of the simplest forehand volleys he had been asked to play. Sampras, never beaten over five sets at Wimbledon, went on to take the set with his 23rd ace.

The prolonged and infuriating rain stoppage inevitably resurrected the debate over whether there should be a roof over Centre Court, if only to make sure the fortnight finishes on time. Three Wimbledon officials, including head groundsman Eddie Seaward, last month visited Halle in Germany where they have the only covered grass court on the circuit and have plans for a second.

The breakthrough Sampras needed in the fourth set came as he took a 3-2 lead when Rafter, after saving two more break points, left a loping backhand which just dropped on the baseline before him.

Yet Rafter refused to hand it to the champion, who had to unwind an enormous second serve to save only the second break point of the match against him before he held for 4-2 after four deuces.

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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras


Sampras triumphs in U.S. open

By Howard Fendrich
Associated Press

Published Monday, September 9, 2002

Pete Sampras was right all along: He did have a 14th Grand Slam title in him. And just like the first, all those years ago, it came in a U.S. Open final against his old rival Andre Agassi.

His serve clicking, his volleys on target, his forehand as fluid as ever, Sampras beat Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 Sunday to win America's major for the fifth time. At 31, Sampras is the Open's oldest champion since 1970.

And though he stopped short of saying he'll quit, Sampras did sound like someone who's thinking about retiring on a high.

"To beat a rival like Andre, in a storybook ending, it might be nice to stop," he said. "But I still love to compete. I'll see in a couple of months where my heart is and my mind. My head is spinning."

Sampras' play faded in the third set and the fourth, and it was hard to tell whether Agassi or time was taking the bigger toll. But Sampras managed to hold on, the rebuke to his doubters as loud as the sound made by his 33 aces as they slapped the walls behind the baselines: Pop!

Sampras hadn't won a title since Wimbledon in July 2000, a drought of 33 tournaments, and he was seeded just 17th at the Open. He's deflected questions about whether he'd keep going for some time now, insisting he still could produce on the big stage. After all, he figured, his 13 major titles were a record.

"This one might take the cake," Sampras said. "The way I've been going this year, to come through this and play the way I did today was awesome. I peaked at the right time."

When the 32-year-old Agassi put a backhand into the net to give Sampras the last break he would need, making it 5-4 in the fourth set, Sampras was so drained he barely lifted a fist, slowly pumping it once as he trudged to the changeover.

He then served it out, with an ace to match point, and a volley winner to end it. And he had enough energy to climb the stairs in the stands to kiss and hug his pregnant wife, actress Bridgette Wilson.

Sampras played his best tennis at the U.S. Open the past two years, making it to the championship match before losing in straight sets to a pair of 20-year-old first-time Grand Slam finalists: Lleyton Hewitt in 2001, Marat Safin in 2000.

On Sunday, Sampras got to pick on someone his own age: Agassi, winner of seven Grand Slam titles. They've played each other since the junior ranks, before they were 10, and now have met 34 times as pros (Sampras holds a 20-14 edge, including 4-1 in major finals).

"It was special. You can't get around that," Agassi said.

If the match signaled the end of an era, they produced a gorgeous goodbye.

The crowd of more than 23,000 in Arthur Ashe Stadium split its rooting evenly, throwing more vocal support to whichever player trailed. Yells of "Pete!" from one corner would be echoed by "Andre!" from another.

"Pete just played a little too good for me today," Agassi said. "It's great to hear New York cheer again. It was beautiful being here."

What a study in contrasts. Agassi is the baseline slugger, the greatest returner of his generation, and a true showman (he is from Las Vegas, after all). Sampras is a volleyer always looking to get to the net, the greatest server of his generation, and almost always staid on court.

Each played the assigned role to perfection, Sampras smacking his serves at up to 132 mph, and winning the point on 69 of 105 trips to the net. Agassi ventured to the net just 13 times, but conjured up 19 groundstroke winners to Sampras' 16.

Yet, as though a mirror were at the net, each also showed he can do what the other built a career on. Sampras whipped a backhand return to a corner to set up a service break in the second set; Agassi slammed a service winner at 117 mph to save a break point at 3-3 in the fourth set.

"I played so well today," Sampras said. "Andre brings out the best in me every time I step out with him."

At 4-3 in the first set, Sampras earned the first break point of the match and converted when Agassi's backhand flew wide. Then, serving for the set at 5-3, Sampras faced his first break point. How did he handle it? A second-serve ace at 109 mph.

The second set was similar, Agassi not quite handling the speed and movement of Sampras' serving -he held at love four times- and Sampras getting a break.

Agassi finally was able to measure Sampras' serve with some regularity in the third set, like a hitter who catches up to a tiring pitcher's fastball in late innings.

With the crowd cheering Sampras' faults -hey, they wanted to see more than three sets -he obliged with a double to give Agassi set point. And Agassi took advantage, stretching for a sharp backhand return that Sampras volleyed into the net.

Showing a bit of gamesmanship, Sampras took a bathroom break. Then, during the grind of a fourth set, nearly three hours into the match, Sampras faced a break point with Agassi ahead 4-3. How did he erase it? An ace, of course. Pop!

"He's a good pressure-point player," Agassi said. "He senses the important times of the match and puts pressure on you and elevates his game."

They had walked out as shadows started to creep across the court, and neither looked much like they did in their 1990 U.S. Open final, where Sampras started his collection of majors.

Back then, Sampras was bushy haired and his arms were as thin as a ball boy's. Agassi was Mr. Image is Everything, with long blond hair and denim shorts. And on Sunday, there was Sampras, his hair thin on top, his bulging right forearm three times thicker than his left. There was Agassi, his head shaved, his outfit downright conventional. Both of their wives were in the crowd- Agassi's, Steffi Graf, watched with their baby son.

Based on recent play, the showdown seemed improbable. At July's Wimbledon, both lost in the second round to players ranked outside the top 50.

But they are in great shape. Agassi was out under the midday sun, swatting shots on a practice court in a black T-shirt. Sampras, headphones on, jogged in the hallway outside the locker room shortly before taking the court.

The last time they played on the Grand Slam stage was in last year's U.S. Open quarterfinals, a match Sampras won in four tiebreakers, with neither player breaking serve. It was presumed by many to be their last meeting at a major.

After, Agassi leaned over the net, offering good luck the rest of the way in that tournament by whispering, "Win this thing."

One year later, Sampras did.

Yes, the same Sampras who beat Agassi in the 1990 U.S. Open, setting the record for youngest winner, 19.

Nice career bookends, huh?

© Associated Press 2005
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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras

Sampras Aces Third Straight Wimbledon Win
By J.A. Adande
Washington Post Staff Writer
July 10, 1995

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND, JULY 9 -- If Wimbledon fans didn't embrace Pete Sampras today, it seems they never will. The Wimbledon history books, however, have no choice.

Sampras drew only the most polite British applause from the Centre Court crowd for each of his 23 aces and well-executed volleys during his 6-7 (7-5), 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Boris Becker in the men's final today. The fans urged on Becker even though he looked hopelessly overwhelmed as the match progressed. And they saved their greatest cheers afterward for Becker, then called for him to take a rare "victory" lap for a runner-up.

Sampras's victory made him only the third man since World War I to win three consecutive Wimbledon championships. It's a feat great champions such as Bill Tilden, Rod Laver, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors never accomplished.

Becker -- whose own bid for a three-peat fell short in 1987 -- speculated on what it might take for Sampras to become a fan favorite.

"I think with many things, you just don't appreciate things at the moment," Becker said. "And when Pete is going to get a little older and other new players will come, then you would maybe appreciate Pete Sampras more. Many people have been talking about a role model with Andre Agassi. If there's one role model in tennis, it's Pete Sampras. He's behaving perfectly on the court, he's a real nice fellow off the court, and he's playing great tennis altogether. He doesn't really have a bad shot in his game. I think he's definitely extremely good for the game of tennis."

In the 10 years since he won the first of his three championship appearances, Becker has quickly transformed from boy wonder to afterthought to sentimental favorite. The No. 3 seed, he attracted little attention at this tournament until he beat Cedric Pioline, 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (8-6), 6-7 (12-10), 9-7, in a memorable quarterfinal matchup, then came back from being down a set and down two service breaks to knock off the popular Agassi, 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), in the semifinals. Suddenly the English, awash in nostalgia for Becker's triumph as a 17-year-old in 1985, had a new, old hero.

Yet if there was a heart-tugging story at this Wimbledon, it belonged to the No. 2 seed, Sampras. Sampras played on while his coach, Tim Gullikson, sat at home in suburban Chicago, still recovering while undergoing chemotherapy for the brain tumors that caused him to be rushed home from the Australian Open in January.

"He and Pete have such a good relationship," said U.S. Davis Cup Coach Tom Gullikson, Tim's twin brother. "They're very good friends. It goes way beyond tennis."

Tom Gullikson did his part, providing a left-handed practice partner for Sampras before his matches with left-handers Greg Rusedski and Goran Ivanisevic, and filling in for his brother by standing up throughout the match today and yelling out Tim's customary rallying cry, "Pistol!"

"It sounded just like Tim," Sampras said. "Tom is a great friend, and obviously we both have dealt with Tim's situation in a very public way. . . . Just to have him here, to have that support really felt good on the court."

Sampras had called Tim Gullikson for advice and mutual support throughout the tournament, and called him soon after his victory today.

"We were all pretty pumped up," Sampras said. "The last couple of months have been a little bit rough. I really dedicated this win to Tim, because he's the true champion today. The way he handled his treatment is just an inspiration."

Apparently it was enough inspiration for Sampras to overcome the serving difficulties he encountered earlier in the tournament. Sampras had his first serve buzzing in at up to 129 mph with pinpoint location. After one ace in the fourth set, Becker covered his eyes and waved his racket blindly.

"It wouldn't have made a difference whether I had my eyes open or not," Becker said. "He would have hit the line anyway."

Consider this tell-tale statistic: Becker never reached a break point against Sampras in the match. Becker did manage to hold serve in the first set, then won the tiebreaker. But the effects of his previous two matches began to catch up with him. The double faults grew, from two in the first set, three in the second to six in the third, eventually reaching 15 -- one fewer than his ace total.

"After the first set, I kind of lost power in my whole game," Becker said. "He sensed that and he took his opportunity then."

Sampras broke Becker in the third game of the second set to begin his run, and at one point Sampras even urged the crowd to show some enthusiasm and help him get fired up. They responded, but only briefly.

Afterward, if you didn't know that the champion gets the trophy and the runner-up gets a silver salver, it would be tough to tell the winner from the loser today. The Duchess of Kent spent more time talking to Becker than Sampras during the trophy presentation. Sampras threw his shirt, towel and other items into the crowd, without much response. And while the crowd gave a perfunctory cheer as Sampras carried the Challenge Cup to the four corners of Centre Court, it beckoned for Becker to do a tour of his own. He obliged by holding the plate over his head and trotting around.

"It was one of the nicer feelings I ever had," Becker said. "It made me feel like a part of Wimbledon, part of the whole tournament, and that was always very important to me. I think I showed them everything I had, and I think they were happy with the last two weeks."

For all of Sampras's accomplishments, that special feeling is one he has never had. "I went out with the attitude, Let my racket do the talking,' " Sampras said. "I hope people appreciate the tennis I play. I'm not going to throw tantrums or act like a jerk out there. That's the way I was brought up and that's the way I will continue to be."

Asked what indulgences he will allow himself now that he has reached his goal, he said he would treat himself to a greasy burger, French fries and a Coke. His plans for the $584,000 he gets for winning? "Put it in the bank."

That's what you get with Sampras: no-frills, high-caliber tennis, at a level that now invites historical comparison. He is the seventh man to win at least three Wimbledon titles in a row, joining Bjorn Borg (champion 1976-1980) and Fred Perry (1934-1936) as the only men to do it in the past 81 years. Becker paid him this compliment: "Unfortunately, he owns the Centre Court now. I used to own it a few years back, but it belongs to him now."

© 1995 The Washington Post Company
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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras

History awaits at Centre Court

Sampras seeks to continue personal Wimbledon tradition

Posted: Saturday July 04, 1998

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- It's a Wimbledon tradition, just like Strawberries, cream and rain: Pete Sampras standing proudly on the Centre Court lawn, holding high the most treasured trophy in tennis.

The scene has become familiar in the 1990s, and Sampras hopes to repeat it Sunday. He'll bid for his fifth Wimbledon title in six years against big-serving Goran Ivanisevic.

"This place over the years has brought out the best in me," Sampras said. "It's been treating me pretty well."

History is always in the air at the All England Club, and that will be the case Sunday. With a victory, Sampras would match Bjorn Borg's modern men's singles record of five Wimbledon titles, which the Swede won consecutively in 1976-80.

H.L. Doherty also won five times in the first decade of this century. W.C. Renshaw holds the record with seven titles, all in the 1880s.

A win would give Sampras 11 Grand Slam titles, tying him with Borg and Rod Laver for second place on the all-time list. Roy Emerson holds the men's record with 12 titles.

In sum, a victory by the 26-year-old Sampras would strengthen the argument that he's the greatest player of all time

"Sampras is our Michael Jordan at this point," said three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe, a commentator for NBC-TV.

London bookmakers list Sampras as a 1-3 favorite, in part because he's 4-0 in Wimbledon finals and 26-1 on Centre Court, with the only loss in the 1996 quarterfinals to eventual champion Richard Krajicek.

But Ivanisevic poses a threat because of his thundering left-handed serve. Both players have topped 132 mph during the fortnight, and as in any match between big servers on grass, the final could be decided by just a handful of points.

"You're going to have to ride the wave with Goran," Sampras said. "He's going to hit his aces. He's going to hit his double-faults."

Ivanisevic, a Wimbledon runnerup in 1992 and 1994, survived a 15-13 fifth set against Krajicek in the semifinals.

"I don't think he's going to win," Krajicek said of Ivanisevic. "There were a few holes in his game. He's playing good, but I don't think Pete would let him get away with what he got away with against me."

The 26-year-old Ivanisevic's quick temper has always been blamed for his failure to win a Grand Slam. The Croatian's poise was tested in the semifinals, when he blew a two-set lead and failed to convert a pair of match points.

McEnroe -- and most everyone else -- expected Ivanisevic to fold at that point.

"You say, `Forget about it. Here's Mr. Mental Midget. He's gone,'" McEnroe said. "That's been his knock in the past."

Instead, Ivanisevic rallied from a break down in the epic fifth set to earn a shot at Sampras.

Ivanisevic trails the series 10-6 and has won only one of the past eight meetings, but they haven't met since 1996. They've played twice at Wimbledon, with Sampras winning in straight sets in the 1994 final and in five sets in the 1995 semifinals.

Sunday, Ivanisevic said, may be different.

"Pete has just maybe a slight advantage in that he knows how it is to feel that victory," Ivanisevic said. "You know, he was holding the trophy four times. But I think we're both going to be a little nervous, and I think this year I have the best chance."

Both finalists are best on grass, and the return to Wimbledon has helped them shake long slumps. Ivanisevic, a former top-five player now ranked 25th, had won only one match in his previous five Grand Slams. He began the tournament a 20-1 longshot to win the title.

Sampras entered as the favorite, even though he had failed to reach the semifinals in the past three majors. This year Sampras' results have been so far below par that if he loses Sunday, he'll drop to No. 2 in the rankings behind Marcelo Rios.

But although Sampras spoke recently about how badly he needs a vacation, Wimbledon has erased any doubts regarding his motivation.

"It would be nice to win every week, but I'm not going to," he said. "I'm going to have my bad days. But I've been pretty consistent since I've been here at Wimbledon, and I certainly hope I can do it one more time."

A 10-2 record in Grand Slam finals suggests that Sampras is at his best in pressure situations. But he was uncharacteristically testy during a semifinal victory over Tim Henman, complaining to the chair umpire and tossing a broken racket into the stands.

"I was very intense," Sampras said. "You have to be at this level, and at this stage in the tournament."

He knows what's at stake, even without looking at the record book.
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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras

'It's just really sweet'

Sampras repeats for record-tying 5th Wimbledon title
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Posted: Monday July 06, 1998

Sampras' fifth Wimbledon title is matched during the modern era by only Bjorn Borg

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Closing in on one of the mightiest records in tennis, Pete Sampras is the king of Wimbledon again.

He won the tournament for the fifth time in six years Sunday with a 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (11-9), 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 triumph over Goran Ivanisevic.

"It's just really sweet," Sampras said. "I can't believe I've won five of these."

When Ivanisevic sailed a backhand long on the first match point, Sampras raised his arms and flashed a big smile.

The victory tied Sampras with Bjorn Borg for the most Wimbledon singles titles of the open era. Borg won five straight from 1976-80.

Sampras, who received $722,000 for the win, also moved into a second-place tie with Borg and Rod Laver on the list of Grand Slam victories, just one behind the record 12 of Roy Emerson. Ivanisevic took home $361,000.

"It's a little overwhelming to think of myself in those terms," Sampras said. "I've tried to stay humble through all of my accomplishments. I've got some years left in me where hopefully I can do this again."

By reasserting his grass-court superiority, and extending his Wimbledon record to 44-2 since 1992, Sampras ended a yearlong slump in which he failed to get past the quarterfinals of the last three Grand Slam events.

"The year has been a little bit up and down but I know why," he said. "I had a little bit of burnout. But I knew when Wimbledon came around, this is where it is for me and what it's all about."

It was the first time Sampras had played a fifth set in a Grand Slam final.

"I was very nervous in the fifth set," he said. "I was able to raise my level just a little bit. The next thing I knew I won the match. It was kind of a weird feeling."

Sampras looked in big trouble after losing the first set and going into a tiebreaker in the second. But he saved two set points in the tiebreaker to turn the match around.

"I got a little lucky out there," he said.

For Ivanisevic, it marked his third defeat in a Wimbledon final. He lost to Andre Agassi in 1992 and Sampras in 1994.

"I had a chance," he said. "This was my best chance ever here."

Ivanisevic, who had won only one match in his five previous Grand Slam events and was largely overlooked this year, was devastated.

"I know people die, but this is the worst ever," he said. "Nobody died yet. I had to get motivated to play tennis again, I don't know how long it's going to take to get over this."

Ivanisevic said he would have won the match had he taken the second set. He blamed his fifth-set fade on the marathon 28-game fifth set in his semifinal win over Richard Krajicek.

"I was more tired than him," he said. "My legs didn't listen."

The match was dominated by big serves and featured few extended rallies, another example of the power tennis that has typified Wimbledon finals in the 1990s.

Ivanisevic had 32 aces and Sampras had 12. But the key was Ivanisevic's 20 double faults.

The match was settled in the sixth game of the fifth set when Sampras broke for 4-2, ripping a backhand return at Ivanisevic's feet.

After Sampras held for 5-2, Ivanisevic buried his head in his towel and muttered to himself during the changeover. Sampras then broke him at love in the next game to end the 2-hour, 52-minute match.

Ivanisevic said he was so drained he had little on his serve in the last game -- "no pace, nothing there."

Ivanisevic won the first set with a roller-coaster serving show that included 13 aces and nine double faults. Ivanisevic saved six break points, including four double faults in one game, while Sampras saved three.

The tiebreaker went Ivanisevic's way when he hit a backhand passing shot for a mini-break and 2-0 lead and increased the lead to 5-2 with a forehand winner. He then followed with an ace and a service winner.

The first service break of the match came in the second game of the second set when Sampras, head to head with Ivanisevic across the net, stabbed a reflex backhand volley to go up 2-0.

But Ivanisevic broke right back in the next game. It took four break points before he converted by driving a forehand pass down the line.

Sampras didn't serve his first ace until the fifth game of the second set, when he hit three in a row. Only five points went against serve over the next nine games as the two headed into another tiebreaker.

Sampras saved two set points, while serving at 5-6 and 7-8, both times Ivanisevic failing to take advantage of second serves and hitting high backhand returns into the net.

"The two set points going to my backhand I missed the balls, which is ridiculous," Ivanisevic said.

Sampras had two set points with Ivanisevic serving at 6-7 and 8-9, but the Croatian saved both with service winners.

The turning point came on the 19th point when an Ivanisevic shot was ruled in but was then changed to out by the lineswoman. Sampras, initially thinking he had lost the point, shouted, "Oh, my God," and held his head in his hands in disbelief.

But the point was replayed, and Ivanisevic sailed a sloppy forehand volley way long to give Sampras a third set point, this time on his own serve. He promptly hit a service winner to take the set and even the match.

"I felt the match slipping away in the breaker," Sampras said. "I thought this could be Goran's year. Once I won the second set I thought, `Now he's down and I'm up a little bit.'"

Sampras needed just one break in the fifth game to win the third set.

Ivanisevic played a weak forehand volley into the net at deuce to give Sampras a third break point. Sampras converted by punching a backhand crosscourt return for a winner, then pumped his right fist and screamed, "Yeah!"

In the fourth set, Ivanisevic broke at love for a 4-2 lead with four spectacular backcourt passing shots. On the break point, he chased a volley way off the side of the court and slammed a forehand crosscourt winner.

Two games later, he served his 30th ace to close the set and send the match into a decisive fifth.
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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras


Sampras to battle Henman, his British supporters on Centre Court
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Posted: Thursday July 02, 1998

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Pete Sampras usually feels at home playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon. It won't be that way in Friday's semifinals.

Centre Court will reverberate with "Henmania" as Britain, still mourning over England's loss to Argentina in the World Cup, pulls for Tim Henman to go where no homegrown male player has ventured in 60 years.

"It's safe to say it's my favorite court," Henman said. "When you've got 15,000 people cheering you on and willing you on, it gives you a buzz."

Sampras knows he won't have many supporters.

"Playing Tim here in England, it will be tough," he said.

But Sampras said he has faced similar situations, namely playing Boris Becker in Germany, and knows how to cope.

"Hopefully, you can put the crowd out of the match," he said. "You've still got to play. It's still one on one. Tim is going to have some emotional support behind him, but you have to play, and I feel like I'm playing well."

Henman is playing more than just the No. 1 player in the world, the man who has won Wimbledon four of the last five years and who hasn't dropped a set so far this tournament.

Henman is also playing the burden of history. By beating Petr Korda in Wednesday's quarterfinals, he became the first British man to make the semifinals since Roger Taylor in 1973.

Now he's aiming to become the first Brit to reach the final since Henry Austin in 1938 and the first to win the title since Fred Perry in 1936.

"I wasn't born when Taylor got to the semis," the 23-year-old Henman said. "I don't want to stop at the semis now."

The other men's semifinal will feature two of the game's biggest servers -- Richard Krajicek and Goran Ivanisevic.

Despite a swollen knee, Krajicek is playing as well as when he won the Wimbledon title in 1996. A bigger surprise is Ivanisevic, a former two-time finalist who won only one match in his previous five Grand Slam tournaments and was written off by many people.

"It's my 11th Wimbledon," he said. "I'm having fun. I don't know how it's going to finish, but maybe this year is the year for me."

Ivanisevic will be favored Friday because he has beaten Krajicek eight consecutive times dating back to 1992.

The men have a day off today, which was set aside for the women's semifinals.

Scheduled first was Nathalie Tauziat, the lowest seed at No. 16, against unseeded Natasha Zvereva. Next up was what many considered the real final -- defending champion Martina Hingis vs. her doubles partner, Jana Novotna, in a replay of last year's championship match.

Henman has enjoyed relatively restrained media coverage this tournament because of the focus on the World Cup. But with England out of the Cup following Tuesday's penalty shootout defeat to Argentina, the hopes of a nation are now turned on Henman.

"What I'm doing is far more important to me than the World Cup," he said. "They [England soccer players] are out there representing their country, but when I'm on the court, I'm playing solely for myself."

Henman said he never played better than in his win over Korda and has no reason to believe he can't beat Sampras.

"The way I'm playing, I definitely feel I've got a good chance," he said.

Don't count on it, says Mark Philippoussis, who was swept away by Sampras in straight sets in the quarterfinals and hasn't seen anybody who can stop the defending champion.

"I think he's too solid," Philippoussis said. "He's dedicated out there and he wants to prove a point. When somebody serves like that, they want to say something. So I think he's ready. I don't think anybody will beat him."

Hingis, 17, was the only one of the women teen-age stars to reach the semifinals. By contrast, Tauziat is 30, Novotna 29 and Zvereva 27.

Anna Kournikova, 17, missed Wimbledon with a thumb injury, 16-year-old Serena Williams went out in the third round and her 18-year-old sister, Venus, lost to Novotna in the quarters.

The Williams sisters certainly made a lot of noise with their brash talk and rattling beads, but failed to live up to their title-winning expectations.

"I really did think I was going to win," Venus said. "I think next year I'm going to get much better. This time last year, I improved a lot, and from this point last year to now, I've improved much more. So next year, I don't think there's anything that should be stopping me, except for me."

Jack Waite of Waukesha, Wisconsin, and Kimberly Po of Incline Village, Nevada, won a second-round mixed doubles match over Jamie Delgado and Elizabeth Jelfs of Britain, 6-1, 6-2.

In over 35 men's doubles round robbin play, Colin Dowdeswell and Buster Mottram of Britain defeated Leif Shiras of Milwaukee and Tomas Smid of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras

Powerful Pete

Sampras stops Henman, to face Ivanisevic in Wimbledon final

Posted: Friday July 03, 1998

LONDON (Reuters) -- World No. 1 Pete Sampras fought off a spirited challenge from Tim Henman on Friday to join Goran Ivanisevic in the Wimbledon men's singles final.

The top seed beat Henman -- the first Briton to reach the men's semis in 25 years -- 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 and now seeks his fifth title in six years here.

Earlier, Ivanisevic survived an attack of nerves to win a thrilling five-set marathon 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-7, 15-13 against 1996 champion Richard Krajicek.

A patriotic Centre Court crowd roared Henman's every shot but, although he took a set off Sampras for the first time this tournament, he could not keep the defending champion at bay.

After coasting through the first set, Sampras suddenly ran into trouble with Henman stroking winners almost at will.

The 12th seed broke Sampras twice in the second set to win it 6-4.

In a see-saw third set, Henman held break points in each of Sampras's service games but was unable to convert and a volley into the net at 5-6 handed Sampras the set.

A break in the fourth game of the fourth set proved enough for Sampras to clinch the match.

'By far that was the toughest [match] out there,' Sampras said. 'The crowd ... all the support he had -- it was really tough.

'I got off to a good start and when I won the third set, I know I had him. But one day he [Henman] is going to win this thing, I can tell you that.'

Ivanisevic did his best to throw away a two-set lead before beating Krajicek in an epic duel lasting three hours, 22 minutes to set up his third tilt at the title.

The relieved 14th seed sank to his knees and clenched his fists in triumph when he finally converted his third match point in the 77th minute of the deciding set.

Both players were given a standing ovation by a packed Centre Court crowd.

'I was mentally very strong today, I've never been like that in my life,' said Ivanisevic.

Asked how he felt about being called one of the best players never to have won a grand slam, he added: 'It's time to change that on Sunday.'

The 26-year-old Croatian lost to Andre Agassi in 1992 and to Sampras two years later.

The often explosive Ivanisevic kept his cool after letting the match go to the wire.

'I knew if I lost my temper for a second I would lose the match and I didn't want that, I had come so far,' he said. 'I thought just keep control and keep your mind on what you have to do.'

The erratic left-hander appeared to be coasting to a straight sets victory, but made three careless errors in the 12th game to give Krajicek his first break of serve in the match and the set 7-5.

Ivanisevic appeared to slam the door shut on his opponent in the next set, breaking Krajicek's serve straight away to regain the initiative but then squandered two match points when serving for the fourth set.

Krajicek, feeling the match was beyond his grasp, was on the brink of throwing in the towel after Ivanisevic appeared to hit an ace to seal victory, but the umpire ruled it had hit the net.

'I was walking to the net because I didn't hear the net call. I thought the match was over,' said Krajicek.

'But I got back in it, won the fourth and was a break up in the fifth ... it just slipped away from me.'

At 40-15, Krajicek saved the first with a volley winner, Ivanisevic then double-faulted before the Dutchman fired stinging backhand and forehand passes to deny his rival.

The ninth-seeded Dutchman held serve to love to level at 6-6 and then rode a wave of adrenalin to take the tiebreak and level at two sets all.

In a tense final set, Krajicek grabbed the advantage for the first time in the match after breaking Ivanisevic's serve in the fifth game. But the Croat's fighting character showed through in the next game, breaking back to love to level at 3-3.

Both players then held serve in a set featuring 38 aces, until the 28th game when an exhausted Krajicek mis-hit two volleys and was left flat-footed by stinging Ivanisevic backhand.

With two more match points at his disposal, the Croat this time made the most of his chances, sealing the match on Krajicek's netted backhand volley.
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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras

Serving sonic booms

Sampras, Ivanisevic slam way into Wimbledon finals

Posted: Friday July 03, 1998

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Pete Sampras punched holes in a British fantasy with the fastest serves at Wimbledon, and Goran Ivanisevic curbed his stormy temper to win a "horror thriller" Friday and set up a second clash for the title.

Sampras, seeking to tie Bjorn Borg's Open-era men's mark of five Wimbledon championships, crushed aces from 136 mph in the first set to 134 mph on match point to take out England's Tim Henman, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Ivanisevic, a two-time finalist who lost to Sampras in the 1994 title match, outlasted 1996 champion Richard Krajicek in a thunderous, 70-ace serving duel, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (7-5), 15-13.

"You know he's going to hit his aces, he's going to hit his double faults," Sampras said of the prospect of playing Ivanisevic on Sunday. "You're going to have to ride the wave with Goran."

Ivanisevic is weary of hearing himself called the greatest player who's never won a major title. He's joked about his wild matches -- he served 37 aces in the 1992 Wimbledon final he lost to Andre Agassi -- but he desperately wants to win this time.

"I'm really keeping my mind well and believing I can do it this year," said Ivanisevic, who flung his racket crosscourt and 12 rows up in the stands to celebrate his victory.

"I think I have a good chance. He's going to be nervous like me. He's going for the record. I'm going for my first one. We both want to win badly. There's just maybe a slight advantage that he knows how it is to feel that victory. He was holding this trophy four times."

On a gray day of a tournament that had been bereft of compelling men's matches, the two semifinals produced tennis of the highest quality and were won by players who had been struggling through their worst years.

Sampras, shut out of Grand Slam finals since he captured Wimbledon last year, faced a player in the No. 12 Henman who is at his best on grass and who had the Centre Court crowd roaring for him on every point. No British man had won Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, and Henman came into this match confident that he could break the jinx.

British fans bought into that fantasy, backing Henman at the betting parlors, and the nation looked to him to soothe its wounded pride over England's loss this week in the World Cup. The stakes gave the match the aura of a heavyweight title fight.

"Not only was I battling Tim, the crowd was very tough," said Sampras, who looked edgy and tense throughout, arguing with the umpire more than usual and tossing a cracked racket high into the stands.

"I was very intense, and you have to be at this level and at this stage in the tournament. ... Obviously I was going to show a little more emotion than usual."

Sampras' game is built around his serve, and in the first set he came close to perfection as he held three times at love and delivered a 136-mph ace that was faster than Ivanisevic's previous best of the tournament, 133 mph.

But it was not all power. Sampras, who practices often with Henman and occasionally plays doubles with him, returned well and finessed his way to breaks in the seventh and ninth games of the set as he strung together four straight winning games.

Henman finally found ways to pressure Sampras with angled returns and passes as he broke him twice for a 4-1 lead in the second set and went on to tie the match at a set apiece.

"I dug my heels in a little bit, created some opportunities, hit some good returns at 1-1, and got ahead," Henman said. "That obviously gave me a lot of confidence, and I built on that. A set all, going with serve in the third, it's anyone's match. But at 5-6, he was the one who came up with the goods."

The goods Sampras produced virtually gave him the match. With Henman serving at 30-30, Sampras sprang a few feet into the air for an overhead smash that bounced into the stands for the first of three set points. Henman survived the first two but not the third, which Sampras notched with a brilliant backhand volley crosscourt. Sampras followed that up with a blistering backhand crosscourt pass that Henman barely reached.

It was the only break of the third set, and Sampras leaped to celebrate.

"When I won the third set, I knew I had him," Sampras said.

The fans kept hoping for a miracle, but Henman was at Sampras' mercy. As well as the 23-year-old from Oxford played, Sampras played better. Serving to close out the match, Sampras showed he wasn't the least bit weary as he whacked a 133 mph ace for 40-0 and, two points later, a 134 mph ace, his 16th, for the match.

"I can't say enough good things about Tim's game," Sampras said. "He's a very, very solid player and will eventually win this tournament one year."

Maybe, though probably not as long as Sampras is playing.

Ivanisevic will have his third shot at the title, and second with Sampras on the other side. That prospect is somewhat surprising in view of Ivanisevic's recent history: He won only one match in his previous five Grand Slam events.

"A lot of people say, `He's gone, he's never going to be back,' and, you know, you have two ears and you have to listen all the time," the Croatian said. "But I knew that I had a bad six months, and Wimbledon came at the right time. I was practicing hard for the last one month, trying to not feel sorry for myself and keep working. I think this is the time it's going to pay off for me."

Ivanisevic squandered two match points in the fourth set, then outlasted Krajicek, who finished with 42 aces. The final set lasted one hour, 19 minutes.

"The fifth set was a just a horror thriller," he said. "I never saw somebody serving like that in my life. They were just bombs. I couldn't even react. I said, `Just keep your serve. He has to miss a couple of first serves.' And that happened at 13-14."

The most surprising aspect of Ivanisevic's victory was how he didn't lose his temper or his composure after missing the two match points in the fourth set and going down a break in the fifth.

"I don't think anybody bet on me when I lost the fourth set," he said. "I was just mentally very strong today. Never like this in my life. I just believed I was going to win it."
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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras

Wimbledon legends: Pete Sampras

Believe it or not, in his first three years at Wimbledon, Pete Sampras only won one match, losing twice in the first round and one in the second.

It was puzzling to a man who had won the US Open at the age of 19.

Although he had barely played on grass as a junior he thought his serve-volley game would be well-suited to the fast grass-courts of SW19.

But things eventually came right, and in some style.

In the 1993 final he beat the then world number one, Jim Courier, having already dismissed Andre Agassi and Boris Becker in previous rounds.

From then on, of course, 'Pistol Pete' made Centre Court his own.

He may not go for quite the pace of a Greg Rusedski or Mark Philippoussis on his serve, but its accuracy, disguise and above all consistency, make it far and away the best the game has ever seen.

Similarly, Stefan Edberg could claim to have been a better volleyer and Pat Rafter a superior athlete, but no one has ever put it all together like Sampras.

The American also boasted fierce groundstrokes and a will to win that saw him play through injury and sickness on a regular basis.

These are all reasons why Sampras has won more Grand Slams than anyone else and was voted the best player in the history of the Association of Tennis Professionals.

If any of Sampras' games are forgettable, which many are, it is because he was so far ahead of the rest, they could barely give him a game.

His power may have dimmed over the last year, but his achievements will never be forgotten.
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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras

Tournament ends in re-Pete
TENNIS: Sampras defeats rival Agassi in anticipated rematch of last month's Wimbledon final

By Dave Denicke
Daily Bruin Senior Staff

Throughout the week around the Los Angeles Tennis Center, the focus was on one event: Pete Sampras against Andre Agassi.

From the celebrity doubles match on Monday to the exciting play from the Australians, the two biggest stars loomed above everything else.

"It's just like two heavyweights going at it," said Sampras, who entered the Mercedes-Benz Cup final ranked No. 1 in the world.

Sampras slew Agassi, the defending champion, in straight sets in front of a sold-old Straus Stadium crowd, 7-6(7-3), 7-6(7-1).

Agassi used a surprisingly powerful service game which resulted in 10 aces from the Las Vegas native.

"I have been serving well this week - it's quite a shocker" Agassi said.

He held a set point on Sampras' serve up 6-5 in the second set, but his return landed in the net, and Sampras went on to hold and eventually force another tiebreak.

"It could have gone either way out there. I had my opportunities," said Agassi, who had not dropped a set entering Sunday's showdown with Sampras.

"Against a guy like Pete you only get a few chances, and those are the ones you've got to take advantage of," Agassi said.

Agassi served notice that he intended to step up his game from the start of his first service game, which he began with a 126 mph serve. In fact, Agassi, who usually relies on his ground strokes and return game, held five service games at love, compared to Sampras' one.

In the tiebreaks, however, Sampras' serve proved to be the difference. He did not drop a point on his serve during either tiebreak, while Agassi won only four of nine service points.

"He played great breakers, and I didn't," said Agassi. "Sometimes serving so well, then getting into a tense situation like a tiebreaker, it makes you think about it a little more, and you might force it a little extra."

"On the other hand, Pete is used to serving big all the time, (and) tends to relax in a tiebreaker and continue to execute his serve," he added.

For Sampras, the win not only marked his 15th victory in 25 career meetings against Agassi, but also $46,000 in prize money.

Before the showdown, Sampras clinched the No. 1 spot in the world, overtaking Australian Patrick Rafter. With the top ranking, Sampras eclipsed Ivan Lendl's record of 270 weeks at the top of the rankings.

"Two things I'll remember this week are breaking the record and beating Andre in the final," said Sampras, who practices on the LATC courts during the year.

"It's good to be home," said Sampras, who grew up in nearby Palos Verdes. "I practiced here quite a bit, and was used to the surroundings."

Sampras also credited the surroundings for bringing out a different, more personal side of himself. He interacted with the crowd several times throughout the week, including climbing fences and running into the stands after points.

"L.A. just brings that out in me. I love Southern Cal. The atmosphere (this past week) was tremendous."

Agassi agreed, "There's an energy with the crowd that I don't feel unless I'm playing Pete. I think it's really good for the game; rivalries are important in any sport."

But Sampras spoke of the rivalry in different terms.

"My relationship with Andre is sort of off the cuff remarks," he said. "But when it's all said and done, it's a lot of respect."

Sunday also showcased the doubles final between two contrasting teams. Byron Black and Wayne Ferreira took the first set from challengers Brian MacPhie and Goran Ivanisevic comfortably, 6-2.

In the second set, Black and Ferreira, who defeated Sampras and his coach Paul Annacone in the first round, again prevailed, 7-6 (4), to take the title in straight sets.

Ferreira lost to Sampras in the quarterfinals of the singles draw in three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. He was the only player to take a set from Sampras throughout the tournament.

Sampras' title gives him an impressive 12-3 mark on hardcourts this year as he continues to prepare for the U.S. Open, which begins next month.

"The U.S. Open, that's our Super Bowl," said Sampras. "The test is trying to maintain this level (of playing)."

Sampras, in addition to holding two titles at Los Angeles, is also a four-time U.S. Open champion, most recently in 1996. He will have four weeks before the tournament begins at Flushing Meadows, N.Y. on Aug. 30.
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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras

Tennis world will miss ‘Pistol’ Pete
Geeta Kaushal

THE tennis world will miss Pete Sampras, once hailed as the 'toast of Wimbledon', who announced his retirement before 20,000 fans at the US Open on August 25, 2003.

Winner of 14 Grand Slams, including seven Wimbledon, five US Open and two Australian Open titles, Sampras was an icon in tennis. Lovingly called Pistol Pete by his fans, he mastered every stroke in the book. With an uncanny sense for the serve and volley game, Sampras played with seamless ease. Being a true gentleman and sportsman on and off court, Sampras was admired by colleagues and opponents alike. Tennis legend and sports commentator, John McEnroe said about Sampras: "Pete, I tried to serve like you. I couldn't. I tried to hit the big forehand like you. I couldn't. I tried to act like you. I failed at that."

There seemed to be no looking back for the invincible Sampras. Considering his other achievements besides his Wimbledon record, he occupied a special place in the game's history. In 1990 he became the youngest tennis player to win the men's singles US Open at the age of 19. He had the unique distinction of being the number one player for six consecutive years from 1993 to 1998. he was voted as the best tennis player of the 20th century by CNN/Sports Illustrated poll. He was also voted by current and past players and the media an the best male player in the past 25 years. He was ranked No I for a record 276 weeks.

After reaching such heights, there seemed nothing left for Sampras to prove and aim for. Such a feeling usually comes from defeat rather than exceptional achievement. However, men like Sampras quit while they are still way ahead. The only place in his remarkable career where he fumbled was on the dusty red clay of Rolland Garros. He may always regret never having won the French Open, but this also goes to prove that after all Sampras is only a human being.

It was not until Sampras arrived that Bjorn Borg's feat of five titles was considered unbeatable. Hardly anyone believed the record could be broken until Sampras went on to win seven in eight years.

Sampras will be remembered as a true champion who rose to the occasion and displayed excellent composure even when circumstances were not in his favour. None other than Pete Sampras is worthy of the respect and recognition that he has received during his illustrious career as a tennis player.

Tennis will not be the same after ‘Pistol’ Pete.
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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras

Sampras wins 10th Major!

Pete Sampras wins 10th Major!

By adding 4th Wimbledon to his 10 Grand Slam wins!

Is Sampras the greatest ever?

Written by J. P. Essene


Editor What's HOT!

After all that rain in England, Pete Sampras took around 1 1/2 hours to show how superior he is to the competition!

He won his 4th Wimbledon and 10th Grand Slam singles title to tie legend Bill Tilden for 3rd place on the all time Grand Slam wins list. He's just one win behind Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver and only 2 behind all time leader Roy Emerson!

Now remember Pete isn't quite 25 yet!

In golf, young Tiger Woods who is only a couple of years younger than Pete, won the Western Open today! Now Tiger only has one major or Grand Slam win! For in golf, 25 is a young pro. But in tennis, 25 is almost an old man.

Boris Becker made it known that it was his last Wimbledon. He's retiring. What is he only 30 or so?

For sure, it looks as if Pete Sampras will win more Grand Slams than anyone else has. Is that enough to say he is the GREATEST!

In the age of high tech equipment and 130 MPH serves, I doubt if Roy Emerson would win 12 Grand Slams again!

The accomplishment of Sampras winning so many majors, will put him in a league with Jack Nickalaus. The original maven of golf before Tiger!

Will Tiger match Jack's record of 20 or so Major golf titles?

From what I hear about Tiger and his future, I'm sorry to say he won't!

I got that information from a person who is so accurate with his predicting of future events, that somehow he was able to put the details of TWA 800 and Valujet 592 into a federal court record before the tragedies occurred!

He says Tiger Woods has a racist assassin in his future!

Will Tiger listen and take the warning seriously?

If he does, the person who is known as the Nostradamus of the 90's says Tiger may be around to give Jack's record a run.

Congrats Pete, when you win the 13th, I'll call you the greatest in tennis!

Good luck Tiger, I hope you get the message!
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-07-2005, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras

Past winners - men

July 07, 1997

Sampras produces performance close to perfection
By Julian Muscat, Tennis Correspondent

PETE SAMPRAS, his game seemingly blessed by celestial forces, produced an exhibition of grass-court tennis at Wimbledon yesterday to win the men's singles title for the fourth time in five years. He defeated Cedric Pioline, of France, with a cocktail of near-flawless play, his sublime talent more than redeeming a one-sided encounter.

It was Pioline's grave misfortune to meet Sampras in this mood. No contemporary player - and precious few previous champions - could have extended Sampras, who now stands two grand-slam event titles short of the ultimate accolade. Barring injuries, Sampras, 25, will surely eclipse the 12 accrued by Roy Emerson, of Australia.

"I have no fear in the game," Sampras said. "I feel like I'm tough to beat when I'm confident and playing well. It all clicks when you start playing, when you get to the heat of the moment."

Pioline would certainly vouch for that. Sampras started with a flourish, probing Pioline's service in the opening game before breaking through at 1-1, a spiteful backhand return relegating Pioline to the role of a helpless spectator. The tone was set.

Sampras's progress against the benchmarks of history will now become more significant than his performance in individual tournaments. Typically, however, he refused to entertain the prospect in advance. "I don't like thinking of myself in terms of history. I am doing quite well for my age, and I am still in the middle of my career. I still feel I can get better."

That is a sobering thought when set against his dismissal of Pioline, for whom there would be no respite. When Pioline, threatening to redeem the early break in the opening set, exquisitely lobbed his opponent to reach 30-30, Sampras responded like a wounded lion. He punished Pioline with an ace to reach set point and a winning first service to secure it 6-4. Pioline had taken just four points off the Sampras service thus far.

Worse was to follow. At 2-2 and 15-30 in the second set, Pioline put a difficult volley into the net before an identical error, this time off an easier ball, told of the pressure that he faced. For good measure, Sampras broke again at 4-2 as Pioline's net-play, so secure against Michael Stich in the semi-final, collapsed under the assault. At the close of the second set, Pioline's gains off the Sampras service had dipped to three.

Only mildly did the third set differ in shape. After Sampras had seized the initiative to lead 3-1, Pioline conjured his first break point of the match when 4-3 in arrears. It arrived after 87 minutes of play; Sampras promptly negated it with an unreturnable second service, followed by an ace.

When, eight minutes later, another winning service closed the match, Sampras smiled more in satisfaction than joy. His all-embracing dominance had swept him into joint-fourth place in the pantheon of Wimbledon champions, alongside Laver, among others. More meaningful is his progress towards the record of grand-slam event titles, as he acknowledged.

"To have won ten makes me feel that 12 is now much more realistic," Sampras said. "To be put into the same sentence as a Laver (who won 11) is important to me. You can't have a more flattering comparison.

"As a player, you want to break records and that's important to me. Now I am in a position to do that. As long as I stay healthy, I'm going to keep on playing until there comes a day when I'm not in contention for the slams. I am nowhere near that day."

Pioline faced a significant handicap from the outset. He lacked a match-winning shot and it told in the post-match analysis: the average speed of Sampras's second service all but matched the fastest that Pioline delivered all afternoon. That helped to dictate a contest overwhelmingly dominated by winning services than rallies of substance. In these circumstances, the brutal beauty within Sampras's game offered ample compensation.

It was almost the stuff of fantasy. Sampras lacked for nothing in as authoritative a performance that the Centre Court has recently witnessed. If there have been easier victories, gained in quicker time, it must be remembered that standards continue to rise. The dispersal of seeds in the draw's lower half offers ample evidence that nothing can be taken for granted in the contemporary game.

Nothing, that is, except for Sampras's undoubted brilliance. By his account, his serving was the best that he had produced in his career. His returns were equally potent, his volleying skills had no equal and he has lost none of his speed around the court.

Perhaps the best example of his grip on the match came early in the third set, when Sampras, horror of horrors, served his first double fault. A ripple of disbelief swept through the crowd, which, after more than a hour of the match, had just seen evidence that Sampras was human after all.
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-07-2005, 08:33 AM
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Re: Memorable Matches - Pete Sampras

wow, angiel, you are unbelievable, thanks for finding so many articles about pete, i miss the golden old days, oh pete, monica ...........
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