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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-31-2005, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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Dec 31, 2005 - The Last Day Of The Year - Hope We Have A Better 2006, When It Comes - Happy New Year Everybody.


Often I ponder what makes a Person Successful, a Winner, or even what constitutes Greatness. We are all Winners in the Game of Life; after all, we're here aren't we? But sometimes I wonder "How do I get there from here?" How can I apply what I have observed first hand into a formula for achievement that I can then readily apply to my own Life?

A common thread amongst them is Grace - a silent knowing - they set their sights on where they want to go and never look back. Setting Goals, they Strive to surpass Personal Bests. With a Positive Attitude, Commitment,
Faith, Perseverance, a bit of Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, Overcoming
Limitations, Commitment, Attention to Detail. Unwavering in their Quest for Success, they are Relentless and Consistent and very Professional

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-31-2005, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What Makes A "TRUE CHAMPION"

Mental Toughness Makes Champions

Mental toughness means to have the ability to pull out your best when your back is to the wall, and when everyone else is counting you out - you are counting yourself in. Mental toughness is persistence.

To simply never, ever give up, no matter how many people say you are 'washed up'.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-31-2005, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What Makes A "TRUE CHAMPION"

Lessons from a champion

[October 29, 2003 Zenaida A. Amador] IN an exclusive interview one night over BBC, Pete Sampras fielded a lot of questions on his career as a tennis champion for six straight years.

Two questions and answers intrigued me no end. The first question asked of Sampras was about when he decided to pursue his career seriously. Meaning serious to the point of being determined enough to win all those titles.

Pete Sampras answered that he was just happy sailing along in the game as the number six player in the world. He was enjoying himself, no pressure, happy where he was. And then one day, at a match which he lost and he realized he could have won, the defeat was so stinging that he decided he wanted to be number one. He realized it meant a lot of hardwork and pressure, but at that moment it became crystal clear to him that he wanted to be dead serious about the game. He was going to the top and he was going to stay there. The rest is tennis history.

What struck me is how a defeat led to hundreds of victories. The defeat did not overwhelm Sampras, it spurred him to glory, fame and money.

The second question was about what helped Sampras stay on top. And how he kept his cool everytime there were bad line calls and he did not like umpire's decisions or when his opponent was rude or ill-mannered. Sampras answered that he just focused on what he had to do to win. He said it was a waste of time and energy to argue or quarrel. That was not part of the game. Not part of the sport. There you have it. Jewels of wisdom from a true champion. Victory indeed, is often achieved in the mind.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-31-2005, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What Makes A "TRUE CHAMPION"

What makes a champion?
September 12, 2002, Times UK. by Simon Barnes

There are few truly great champions, but Pete Sampras has just proved himself one by conquering his demons to win his 14th Grand Slam event. Our correspondent says genuine sporting greatness defies analysis - but we know it when we see it

Pete Sampras is one of the greatest athletes in history and the most successful tennis player who ever drew breath. He came to Wimbledon this year as a man who had won 13 Grand Slam events, more than anyone in history. He has won Wimbledon seven times. There is nowhere in the world where he plays better, where he feels stronger. It is his place. How could he fall so low, then? How could he be reduced to a morose, hunched, troubled, brooding figure ?a sort of Rodin statue entitled Self-Doubt? There he was on Wimbledon Court Two ?that the one they call he graveyard of champions??slumped in his chair, like a schoolboy punished for something the other fellow did, a picture of bewilderment, a lost soul.

Icarus without his wings, Samson without his hair, Superman beset by green Kryptonite: a man gelded by self-doubt and by Time. It was but the second round of the tournament, and there, incomprehensibly, Sampras was losing.

He was losing to a chap named George Bastl, who was ranked 145 in the world. It was an afternoon of piercing sadness.

All through the match, Sampras sought to stem the tide and put Time into reverse gear. He did so by means of a piece of paper, which he carried in his pocket like a holy relic. He drew it out at each change of ends to read and re-read. It was nothing less than an act of prayer.

It was a letter from his wife, Bridgette. It was the written version of a full-on marital hug: the kind of hug you need when you wake in the night and the demons come. y husband, seven times Wimbledon champion Pete . . .?Gill Allen, the Times photographer at the match, took the Picture that Said It All. The letter was plainly legible: full of urgent sweetness and shared trouble, things that are part of every marriage. A good marriage makes every bad day at the office bearable: this was the self-doubt, the despair, of one of the great champions. emember this. You are truly the best tennis player ever to pick up a tennis racket.?

The only snag about the letter was that it didn actually work. Bastl held his nerve, and Sampras failed to locate his own. Bastl won 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4. It was an epic of despair. And all of us who have a good understanding of these things knew then that Sampras would never be a champion again. With that 13th Grand Slam success he had reached a peak that no one else had climbed: and was sated. Age, marriage, content, achievement: these things had unmanned him. No wonder he needed the letter: no wonder it didn work. Goodbye, Pete. It has been a joy and a privilege watching you.

Please don hang about too long losing, because those of us who knew you as a champion find it painful. Retire, go gently into that good night, leave the arena of pain. Goodnight, sweet Pete, and flights of Bridgettes sing thee to thy rest.

We didn run the picture of the letter in The Times, it being a piece of private correspondence. But Sampras gave us permission to run it today, so thanks, Pete. And why the hell shouldn he give us permission to reveal his moment of weakness in such detail? He is a champion again. Remember those 13 Grand Slam successes I mentioned earlier? Erase that from your mind.

Make it 14.

On Sunday evening in New York he won the US Open. He beat the great Andre Agassi in the final, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. It was pretty agonising stuff: Sampras was masterful initially, then Agassi came steaming back in and found Sampras once again a victim of self-doubt. His serve is not just his weapon, it is his fortress: but the walls cracked and crumbled and he began to double-fault on big points: never a good sign.

In the last two sets Agassi was all over him. Sampras was doing his bewildered-bear walk again. No letter: just occasionally mute glances up at the seating where a pretty blonde woman sat nursing a bump and anxiety.

And he won. Just like that. Speaking as someone not inexperienced in watching the pivotal moment of a big sporting occasion, I have simply no idea at all what happened. It was as if Sampras just decided to win: and that decision was irrevocable. Bang: Agassi broken. Double-bang: Pete serving like a tsunami. In an eye blink or two, it was all over, Agassi washed away.

In those two games we saw the Sampras of old: there was music in the air again and all the old powers were there intact. He is not that ancient ?at 31 he is a year younger than Agassi ?but he has travelled, he has climbed peaks, and he has known little rest. He won his first Grand Slam event at 19 and went into a decline for a full year: he confessed, with an honesty that shocked many, that the esponsibility?of being a champion was too much for him. Old tennis hands scoffed and said he lacked the mettle of a real champion. Being a champion tends to demand that little bit of insensitivity ?after all, the only way to become a champion is by destroying lots of other people as you go ?but Sampras has always had a touch of sensitivity, a touch of vulnerability. He doesn work by naked aggression and demonic, obsessional motivation.

There is something a little mystical about him. His trademark is the second-serve ace: the ultimate piece of high-speed, high-power nerve-holding in tennis poker game. It is a shattering ploy when it comes off: showing your greatest strength at the moment of greatest weakness.

Sampras was asked what was going through his mind when he had played such a shot at the turning point of a game. After a moment thought, he said: here was absolutely nothing going through my mind at the time.?

This is nothing less than pure Zen: and it has been recognised as such by the Zen master Sister Elaine McInnes in her book Zen Contemplation: n action, Sampras lets go, and gives over to that inner momentum . . . in the Orient, not-knowing is highest wisdom.?It is one further mystery in sport greatest of all mysteries. All elite athletes are very good, but only some of them are serial winners, champions for all time. Why has Sampras won 14 Grand Slam events and Tim Henman none? Sampras has shown that he is as prone to fits of self-doubt as any of us. Yet he is a champion. What is still greater is that he lost whatever it is that makes people champions, and then found it again.

Muhammad Ali was also washed up and defeated for ever on more than one occasion. He came back not once but twice. In all he won the world heavyweight championship three times. There was always a feeling of destiny about Ali: and it had nothing to do with the civil rights movement, for all that this is an inextricable part of his story. It was about his desire to win: to be the best. ing of the World!?he shouted after he had beaten Sonny Liston for his first championship.

ing of the World!?Steve Redgrave, the oarsman, went into the Sydney Olympics two years ago as the weak link of a defeated crew. He had set off in pursuit of an impossible fifth gold medal, having famously told the world that anyone who saw him in a boat again had full permission to shoot him. He then contracted diabetes. He had more than enough excuses to give up: or at least lose.

But he didn. A man with a strange obsession who sought to turn pain into gold, and did it again and again. An aspect of his greatness is that he never got bored. But why? Don ask him. That sort of thing is always as much a mystery to the athlete as to the spectator.

Sebastian Coe won his first Olympic medal in Moscow in 1980. Partly he did it for his father, Peter, who was his coach. Four years on and coaching himself, he had been written off for the Los Angeles Olympics after disastrous preparation. In Moscow he won like a gazelle, all pure, beautiful talent and naivety. In Los Angeles he won by means of wild storming aggression that should have got him locked up. ho says I ++++ing finished??he raged at the press afterwards, eyes like organ stops.

Calm down, Seb, youe won. ho says I ++++ing finished??Many athletes use hatred, often hatred of the press, as a motivation.

Others use their loyalty to a coach, or even to a marriage partner. Others work some personal mythology of greatness and destiny. Lord knows what Sampras?uses: he is pretty close with his secrets (apart from his adoration of his wife) and, Zen-like, avoids too-close analysis.

But all the great champions, the very few for whom the word reat?can be used without embarrassment, have something beyond these common motivational forces. They may use various mental tricks to trigger it ?love, hatred, lust for glory ?but the real motivation for greatness is subtle and elusive of analysis.

There have been oarsmen as strong as Redgrave, runners as fast as Coe, boxers who punch as hard as Ali. There have been tennis players who hit the ball as hard and as accurately as Sampras: but only one man has won 14 Grand Slam events. It is not because of his tennis ?nor even because of his wife ?that Sampras is truly the best tennis player ever to pick up a tennis racket. He, like the other few genuine greats, has that within that passes show and defies analysis.

But we know it when we see it all right: and it is high and rare and beautiful. And terrible.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-31-2005, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What Makes A "TRUE CHAMPION"

Classy Sampras forever a Champ
Source: USA Today

[September 2, 2002 NEW YORK] — Pete Sampras is sitting there with his headset on, nodding and smiling and waiting out the rain, reminding you there is at least one place in sports offering refuge from the divas and louts. His U.S. Open locker is No. 163 if you're scoring at home. No brooding, ranting or preening allowed, just ordinary grace from an extraordinary champion who has every right now to abuse a racket or three.

He should be raving mad, Ilie Nastase mad, over this question posed by writers and fans who should know better: How dare Sampras win 13 majors and then stumble about his sport the way a failing Muhammad Ali stumbled about the Bahamas while Trevor Berbick rearranged his pretty face?

Excuse me, but can Andy Roddick advance to one Grand Slam semi before we ask Sampras to quit committing unforced errors against his own legacy?

No, this five-set victory against Greg Rusedski wasn't a work of art and, no, the odds of Sampras winning five matches in seven days aren't good. But the man just turned 31, not 41. Phil Mickelson is older than Sampras, for goodness sake, and nobody's telling him to surrender his hopeless pursuit of Major No. 1. Jack Nicklaus endured five years without a Grand Slam title before taking his 18th at 46, an Augusta National triumph that defines him like no other Sunday.

In his heart of hearts, Sampras believes he has an '86 Masters coming his way. "Yes I do," he said. "That's why I'm still here. I think I've got one or two moments left in me, one more big bang."

As he spoke inside the locker room, Sampras was oblivious to the rain-delay testimonial playing on the overhead monitors. He was beating Andre Agassi all over again in last year's quarterfinal classic, a reminder that his best days and nights aren't the distant flickers many claim them to be.

Sampras was in the final here the last two years. Fatherhood beckons, but Sampras will still be a threat to win Wimbledon when his first grandchild's on the way; he is to grass what Anna Kournikova is to tan lines.

He shouldn't be escorted to the door now as if he were some dockworker getting ugly in a bar, not after peacefully making history while being told he wasn't making it with enough flair. "From Grand Slam 2 to 10," Sampras said, "people felt I was boring. It wasn't until Grand Slam 10 and 11 that people said, 'Let's appreciate what we're seeing here.' "

With the champion laboring on labor day the Louis Armstrong fans chanted, "Let's go Pete," before the decisive game in the fifth set.

Too little, too late. Sampras was convicted of being a vanilla scoop of serenity when he should've been celebrated for refusing to join the riotous band of village idiots headlined by Connors and McEnroe. "I never sold out," Sampras said. He remained true to himself, broke Roy Emerson's record with Arthur Ashe's class, and couldn't stir the public's imagination until his game and hair thinned. "That will always baffle me," he said.

It's not like he lived a humdrum life. Sampras suffered through the deaths of two friends (Vitas Gerulaitis and Tim Gullikson), married an actress, and cramped and puked his way through a few Shakespearean dramas.

He became the Tiger Woods of his sport, somehow without securing a fraction of Woods' mass appeal, before age and perspective conspired to keep him title-free since his historic Wimbledon two years back.

"I see a lot of similarities between Tiger and I," Sampras said. "It's that single-minded focus. It's his life, just like my life was being the world's best player. But now it's tough for me to be who I was five years ago. ... I've had enough of being No. 1 and looking over my shoulder."

That doesn't mean Sampras is Arnold Palmer trying to break 90 at The Masters, or Willie Mays trying to look able in the Shea Stadium outfield. It only means Sampras is a family man with fresh priorities, a forever champion who's earned the right to go out, as he said, "on my terms only."

Remember, boring isn't watching the greatest player ever chase his 14th major title, not when the alternative is watching Roger Federer chase his first.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-31-2005, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What Makes A "TRUE CHAMPION"

Teen ace Pete Sampras an unlikely U.S Open champion

Posted: Wednesday July 28, 1999 03:55 PM

By Alexander Wolff

He takes three balls from the ball boy and examines each. The briefest frown may cross his face before he throws the fuzziest one back, as if it were an undersized bass. That frown is all the emotion you're likely to get from Pete Sampras, the youngest man ever to win the U.S. Open and the first American to prevail since 1984. He keeps two balls, thrusts one into his pocket, hoists the baldest one -- ''I like the fuzz thin,'' he says, ''because the thinner ones go through the air quicker'' -- rocks, cocks and powders it toward some poor soul obliged to do something with it.

One hundred times, over the length of the tournament, the best tennis players in the world, including Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl and a rejuvenated John McEnroe, could do nothing with the serve of Sampras, 19 years old, seeded 12th and now all-three-network-morning-shows famous. ''I've got a heater and a changeup,'' he says like some phenom just up from Triple A. Sampras is so welcome to U.S. tennis precisely because he splits the difference between the pious Michael Chang and the ostentatious Agassi. His style is classic serve- and-volley, and someday this Southern California kid of Greek ancestry will win Wimbledon. But Sampras will be forever linked with the U.S. Open, just as Boris Becker and Mats Wilander are identified with the tournaments that midwifed them, Wimbledon and the French Open, respectively.

Tennyson, anyone? In Sunday's final, Agassi watched cannon to the left of him, cannon to the right of him, as Sampras thundered and volleyed. Agassi could not make reply; he could not reason why. ''Why are you so slow?'' he muttered to himself between points. There was an answer in the numbers that the announcer up in the Flushing Meadow press box calls ''sadistics.'' Sampras hit 13 aces in the match. Agassi not only never had a break point in the first two sets, but he also never even forced a deuce game on Sampras's serve, which hovered around 120 mph during the final. The final arithmetic -- 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 -- had a grim progression to it.

Sampras's father stayed home too. For all their son's reserve, Soterios (Sam) and Georgia Sampras, who reside in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., are so emotional that they can't even watch him live on TV, preferring instead to view the matches on tape, with the outcome already known. Not that Pete believes in on- site support. He has a coach, Joe Brandi, but his spiritual mentor is none other than his victim in the quarterfinals, Lendl. Last December, to prepare for the Masters, Lendl invited Sampras to his Greenwich, Conn., home to be a workout and hitting partner. Sampras sampled the ascetic life-style -- rigorous training, plenty of sleep, eat-to-win diet -- that had turned Lendl into the best player in the world. Between the end of last year and the start of the U.S. Open, Sampras rose steadily from No. 81 to No. 12. Still, he had no premonition of what he would do at the tournament. Indeed, after an easy third-round defeat of Jakob Hlasek, Sampras summarized his chances thus: ''Maybe in a couple of years, but I don't think it's realistic right now.''

Only after he had upset Lendl 6-4, 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 did Sampras feel he could take the prize. In the final he seized breaks early in the first two sets, and by the third, Agassi's spirit was broken. Sampras went up 4-2 in the clinching set by breaking Agassi at love, and wherever he was, Robby Benson must have been bracing himself for the prospect of people stopping him in the street and saying, ''Hey, aren't you Pete Sampras?''

Sampras had learned from his opponent's semifinal. ''Agassi hit it in the corner for three hours,'' Becker had said after losing 6-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. But Sampras realized that Becker had let Agassi do so.

''Becker had a bad game plan,'' said Sampras. ''He tried to outslug Andre. He should have come to the net as soon as possible.''

Only five years ago Sampras was just another counterpunching junior with a two- fisted backhand. After he did poorly in the 1985 Easter Bowl junior tournament, his coach at the time, Dr. Peter Fischer, prevailed upon him to change his game. Sampras went to a one-handed backhand, improved his serve by studying tapes of Rod Laver and began rushing the net. Over the short term the switch seemed rash; he lost to players he had beaten easily, and his ranking plummeted. But the trade-off was meant to pay dividends later on. As Sampras grew into his body, the tumblers of his serve-and-volley game began falling into place. It was Agassi's misfortune to get whacked in the face as the safe door swung open. After reaching the finals of the only two Grand Slam events he played this year, drawing one guy (Andres Gomez) who seemed too old to beat him and another (Sampras) who appeared to be too young, Andre was oh-fer.

''For whatever I do the rest of my career,'' Sampras told the crowd as he accepted his trophy on Sunday evening, ''I'll always be a U.S. Open champion.''

To some, image may be everything. But Sampras -- with his feet on the ground, an ace in the air and a “NO I'M NOT” T-shirt in his future -- has proved that reality counts for something too.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-01-2006, 08:03 AM
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Re: What Makes A "TRUE CHAMPION"

Remember, boring isn't watching the greatest player ever chase his 14th major title, not when the alternative is watching Roger Federer chase his first.

Why did they place Roger Federer in the article?? Was he the next "new kid on the block" at the time?
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-03-2006, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What Makes A "TRUE CHAMPION"

Originally Posted by the_natural
Remember, boring isn't watching the greatest player ever chase his 14th major title, not when the alternative is watching Roger Federer chase his first.

Why did they place Roger Federer in the article?? Was he the next "new kid on the block" at the time?

Hi there natural, Happy New Year to you.

I think so, this article was written after pete won the 2002, US Open.
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