WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST" - MensTennisForums.com

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2006, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
angiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,857
                     
WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

Sports News

The return of Pete Sampras

The ‘Prince of PV’ plays at JP Morgan Chase Open
by Paul Teetor


Four years after his stunning, see-you-later win at the 2002 U.S. Open, how much do we miss Pete Sampras? Let us count the ways - all on display Monday night in an exhibition match against Jim Courier at the JPMorgan Chase Open.

We miss his beautiful, flowing groundstrokes - especially the out-of-nowhere one-handed backhand down the line and the ferocious buggy-whip forehand that sends the ball screaming cross-court on an angle sharp enough to cut a loaf of whole-wheat bread.

We miss his best-ever serve, with its classic motion, coiled up energy and full-throated delivery that stunned Courier with its speed, placement and variety - topspin, slice or flat, whatever he needed.

And we miss his balletic movement, the graceful way the 6-footer floats around the court, always getting to the ball in plenty of time to crack a great power shot or change up with a gently under spun drop shot.

But most of all we miss his willingness to serve-and-volley at crucial moments and try bet-the-ranch service returns, risky chip-and-charge dashes to the net that paid off with point after point against Courier’s powerful pump-action serve.

Only Roger Federer among today’s top ranked players has anything close to Sampras’ versatility, his ability to stay back and defend from the baseline as a counterpoint to his attacking instinct and pure-as-a-snowflake volleying touch.

The rest of the men - in particular Federer’s main challengers, Spanish teen sensation Rafael Nadal and struggling American Andy Roddick - rely on neutron-bomb serves and hug-the-baseline groundstrokes to wage their wars of attrition, avoiding the net like Mel Gibson at a Bar Mitzvah.

The Sampras-Courier exhibition match drew a near-capacity crowd to the Home Depot Center on what is normally the slowest day of the Los Angeles stop of the women’s pro tour, now in its fourth year in Carson after a 20-year-run at the Manhattan Beach Country Club.

This was a Home Depot crowd rooting for the hometown boy, the balding guy with the bashful grin, the Prince of Palos Verdes. The loud voices from the boisterous crowd began early and often as the announcer revealed that Sampras has a 16-4 lifetime edge over Courier, his teenage pal from Florida who met him on the junior circuit in 1988 and convinced him he was ready to play the men’s tour.

The packed stadium, the constant interplay between the players and fans and the buzz generated by having two recently retired all-time greats - Sampras holds the record with 14 Grand Slam victories while Courier claims a not-too-shabby 4 Grand Slam titles - had Sampras playing like it was 1999. Like Wimbledon 1999, when he beat Andre Agassi in what many consider his finest match ever.

As in that match, service aces and groundstroke winners poured from his racquet like a magic wand that could find any opening no matter how small, generate any angle no matter how improbable, and knock back any bullet-ball Courier hit.

Displaying the unorthodox groundstrokes and bizarre grips that limit his great athleticism and bulldog persona, Courier managed to earn a break point at 30-40 in the first game. But Sampras banged a service winner and two aces to hold serve, easily broke serve in the next game, and soon Courier was concentrating more on comedy than competition.

By the third game - after a third ace in a row blew by him - Courier was taking odds from some guy in the front row that he would at least get his racquet on the next serve. He lost the bet, the game and soon the set 6-1.

The domination was so complete that after Sampras flicked a half-volley winner from the baseline he turned to the crowd in back of him and gave a what-can-I-say grin-and-shrug that was reminiscent of Michael Jordan the night he started raining three-pointers in the finals against Portland.

Sampras rolled on in the second set and soon walked off with a 6-1, 6-2 victory. He embraced Courier at the net and after the thunderous ovation died down one female fan high up with the bleacher bums couldn’t restrain herself.

“I still love you Pete,” she cried out in the quiet of the summer night. “Do you need a ride home?”

Last edited by angiel; 08-27-2006 at 06:05 PM.
angiel is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-24-2006, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
angiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,857
                     
Re: WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

Greatness has no adequate explanation

Woods and Federer have almost made us believe the unthinkable, writes ROHIR BRIJNATH



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The matchless athlete has something we can't see, can't measure in a gym, can't calculate in a laboratory
Sampras's secrets lay not in his wrists, or twitch fibre, but in the mind
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




The excellent athlete does not merely win, he goes further, he evokes disbelief. As Tiger Woods tramped across fairways at last week's PGA Championship, the reaction he elicited was familiar: How does he do that? No answer is ever forthcoming for such greatness has no adequate explanation, no how-to formula.

We can examine how much Tendulkar practices, and note Federer's sweet hand-to-eye coordination. We can calculate VO2 max and skin-fold. We can study tactics and decipher strategy. Yet we are still not completely enlightened.

Bewilderment


The matchless athlete has something we can't see, can't measure in a gym, can't calculate in a laboratory. He is fascinating but impenetrable, captivating but unfathomable, and this is part of his appeal. How can he summon the magical shot as if on command; why does he not blink when adversity confronts him? With reverence comes bewilderment.

How uncommon these athletes are is evident from our response to them. With the good athlete we ask, will he win? Of Woods and Federer we ask, will they fail? They have almost made us believe the unthinkable, that success in sport can be guaranteed.

Eleven times Woods has led going into the fourth (and final) round of a major championship, 11 times he has won. When he again had a share of the lead on the third evening at the PGA Championship, the tournament was considered more or less over. Even though there were 18 holes left to play! It was as if even his rivals had accepted victory was ordained and stepped back admiringly.

Being human


Like Tiger, Federer's opponents know he will stumble eventually, but you sense it is not because they are confident of beating him, but because they figure he is human and thus must lose one day. It is why praise of Andy Murray last week was deserved; it did not matter that Federer had a poor day, what mattered was that Murray was only the second man all year who actually believed he could beat Federer.

What is interesting is that it is not only us, the non-athlete, who cannot fathom genius. Neither can the average athlete. He may view greatness from closer up than us, across a net, or in a ring, but he is also disconnected from it. He knows there is something indefinably different to his outstanding rival, some quality beyond muscle, something which cannot be found with an extra 20 laps.

When Pete Sampras beat Greg Rusedski at the 2002 US Open, the sulky Brit insisted the American was too slow to win the next round, let alone the tournament. But a dazzling Sampras found a way to win the Open.

Irresistible argument

And Nirmal Shekar, in The Sportstar (September 21, 2002), put forward an irresistible argument that Rusedski and others who felt an ageing Sampras was beyond a Grand Slam title were judging him "within the ambit of their own knowledge and experience" which was limited. A player without a Grand Slam title (Rusedski) could only have limited understanding of the mental fortitude ( i.e. level of desire) of a man (then) with 13 (Sampras).

Wrote Shekar: "It takes a touch of greatness to peek into the soul of the sort of greatness symbolised by Sampras and see it for what it is, see it for what it is capable of, see it for its timeless quality and transcendental brilliance. Average men with average thought patterns like Rusedski's will never enjoy that privilege."

Sampras' secrets lay not in his wrists, or twitch fibre, but in the mind, where competitiveness brews and will is cultivated (and where Rusedski cannot look). Woods' opponents know the mysteries to his greatness lie not in his swing, or in his biceps, but somewhere in his head, a conspiracy of cells they cannot completely understand. So they must guess.

A top Australian golfer last week insisted, "Whatever the right frame of mind Tiger seems to find it when he needs it." Another Australian claimed: "He's far better than everyone at focusing." An American explained: "He doesn't make many mistakes." An Englishman even suggested, "He kind of wills the ball into the hole," as if Tiger owns some telekinetic power.

Like us, even these men who play with Tiger, are struggling to answer one of sports' most compelling questions. How in God's name does he do that?
angiel is offline  
post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2006, 12:07 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 858
                     
Re: WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

What beautiful articles of pete, he deserves those accolades.
the_natural is offline  
post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2006, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
angiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,857
                     
Re: WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_natural
What beautiful articles of pete, he deserves those accolades.

Thank you my dear.
angiel is offline  
post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-31-2006, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
angiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,857
                     
Re: WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

angiel is offline  
post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-31-2006, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
angiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,857
                     
angiel is offline  
post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-01-2006, 08:23 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 373
                     
Re: WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

Quote:
Originally Posted by angiel
Sports News

The return of Pete Sampras

The ‘Prince of PV’ plays at JP Morgan Chase Open
by Paul Teetor


Four years after his stunning, see-you-later win at the 2002 U.S. Open, how much do we miss Pete Sampras? Let us count the ways - all on display Monday night in an exhibition match against Jim Courier at the JPMorgan Chase Open.

We miss his beautiful, flowing groundstrokes - especially the out-of-nowhere one-handed backhand down the line and the ferocious buggy-whip forehand that sends the ball screaming cross-court on an angle sharp enough to cut a loaf of whole-wheat bread.

We miss his best-ever serve, with its classic motion, coiled up energy and full-throated delivery that stunned Courier with its speed, placement and variety - topspin, slice or flat, whatever he needed.

And we miss his balletic movement, the graceful way the 6-footer floats around the court, always getting to the ball in plenty of time to crack a great power shot or change up with a gently under spun drop shot.

But most of all we miss his willingness to serve-and-volley at crucial moments and try bet-the-ranch service returns, risky chip-and-charge dashes to the net that paid off with point after point against Courier’s powerful pump-action serve.

Only Roger Federer among today’s top ranked players has anything close to Sampras’ versatility, his ability to stay back and defend from the baseline as a counterpoint to his attacking instinct and pure-as-a-snowflake volleying touch.

The rest of the men - in particular Federer’s main challengers, Spanish teen sensation Rafael Nadal and struggling American Andy Roddick - rely on neutron-bomb serves and hug-the-baseline groundstrokes to wage their wars of attrition, avoiding the net like Mel Gibson at a Bar Mitzvah.

The Sampras-Courier exhibition match drew a near-capacity crowd to the Home Depot Center on what is normally the slowest day of the Los Angeles stop of the women’s pro tour, now in its fourth year in Carson after a 20-year-run at the Manhattan Beach Country Club.

This was a Home Depot crowd rooting for the hometown boy, the balding guy with the bashful grin, the Prince of Palos Verdes. The loud voices from the boisterous crowd began early and often as the announcer revealed that Sampras has a 16-4 lifetime edge over Courier, his teenage pal from Florida who met him on the junior circuit in 1988 and convinced him he was ready to play the men’s tour.

The packed stadium, the constant interplay between the players and fans and the buzz generated by having two recently retired all-time greats - Sampras holds the record with 14 Grand Slam victories while Courier claims a not-too-shabby 4 Grand Slam titles - had Sampras playing like it was 1999. Like Wimbledon 1999, when he beat Andre Agassi in what many consider his finest match ever.

As in that match, service aces and groundstroke winners poured from his racquet like a magic wand that could find any opening no matter how small, generate any angle no matter how improbable, and knock back any bullet-ball Courier hit.

Displaying the unorthodox groundstrokes and bizarre grips that limit his great athleticism and bulldog persona, Courier managed to earn a break point at 30-40 in the first game. But Sampras banged a service winner and two aces to hold serve, easily broke serve in the next game, and soon Courier was concentrating more on comedy than competition.

By the third game - after a third ace in a row blew by him - Courier was taking odds from some guy in the front row that he would at least get his racquet on the next serve. He lost the bet, the game and soon the set 6-1.

The domination was so complete that after Sampras flicked a half-volley winner from the baseline he turned to the crowd in back of him and gave a what-can-I-say grin-and-shrug that was reminiscent of Michael Jordan the night he started raining three-pointers in the finals against Portland.

Sampras rolled on in the second set and soon walked off with a 6-1, 6-2 victory. He embraced Courier at the net and after the thunderous ovation died down one female fan high up with the bleacher bums couldn’t restrain herself.

“I still love you Pete,” she cried out in the quiet of the summer night. “Do you need a ride home?”

Hey, I could be that fan you know. LOL. I miss him too

Linda (Luton-UK)
Rog1 is offline  
post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-01-2006, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
angiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,857
                     
Re: WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rog1
Hey, I could be that fan you know. LOL. I miss him too

Linda (Luton-UK)

Me too Rog1.
angiel is offline  
post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-05-2006, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
angiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,857
                     
Re: WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

SO TRUE.



Sampras doesn't owe us charisma or ego or flambouyance or anything we
seem to equate with sporting success these days. All he owes us is good
tennis. You want to see who Pete Sampras is? Watch him play. -- Paul
Daugherty, Boston Globe columnist
angiel is offline  
post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-05-2006, 04:02 AM
Registered User
 
Mimi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 22,136
                     
Re: WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

he always just like let his racket to do the talkings

Rafa! Rafa! Rafa!

Epic movies, like brokeback mountain, are seldom found in the industry or worthy for the mainstream viewer. As often as I have watched the clips of this movie, I always find something more to it. For one, the gay stuff doesn't enter the picture for me, only the dimension of the highest love I have ever witnessed in life or on film.
Mimi is offline  
post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-05-2006, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
angiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,857
                     
Re: WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimi
he always just like let his racket to do the talkings

And so it should be, that why Andre could never be my cup of tea, sorry - I will take Mr. Sampras anyday over him, thank you.
angiel is offline  
post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-06-2006, 02:24 AM
Registered User
 
Mimi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 22,136
                     
Re: WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

me too, but andre still wins my respect for playing till such an old age
Quote:
Originally Posted by angiel
And so it should be, that why Andre could never be my cup of tea, sorry - I will take Mr. Sampras anyday over him, thank you.

Rafa! Rafa! Rafa!

Epic movies, like brokeback mountain, are seldom found in the industry or worthy for the mainstream viewer. As often as I have watched the clips of this movie, I always find something more to it. For one, the gay stuff doesn't enter the picture for me, only the dimension of the highest love I have ever witnessed in life or on film.
Mimi is offline  
post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-08-2006, 01:01 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 858
                     
Re: WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

And for his respect to Pete and for pushing pete to be even greater and for creating that rival which raised Petes legacy
the_natural is offline  
post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-08-2006, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
angiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,857
                     
Re: WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_natural
And for his respect to Pete and for pushing pete to be even greater and for creating that rival which raised Petes legacy

Hello natural, long time no see.
angiel is offline  
post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-09-2006, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
angiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,857
                     
Re: WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

09.08.06


MORE ON THE BEST EVER:


The question of who is better, Sampras or Federer, is only difficult because their careers overlapped, and even though Federer won their only meeting, Sampras continued to dominate the sport for a few years more. But anyone who has seen old tennis footage can see that Federer would have destroyed McEnroe or Laver at their best. So would Robby Ginepri. But, Cass Sunstein wonders, shouldn't we account for historical differences--wooden rackets vs. today's graphites, for example--before we jump to any conclusions? Shouldn't we measure each player by his or her respective era, Alex Massie asks.


Well, no actually. It's easy to look at most sports--especially baseball with its rich statistical data--and judge players by titles won and individual statistics (home runs, points per game, rushing yards). By this logic, Pistol Pete belongs alongside Michael Jordan.


But once you look at individual sports in which a person competes not so much against other individuals but against a stopwatch, these sorts of comparisons are rendered moot. Let's take track and field, for instance. Here are the men's world records. You'll notice there are no records from the 1800's. In fact, Jurgen Schults's discus record (1986) is the oldest record that still stands. Swimming records also correspond to this trend. In these sports, you're quite lucky if you hold onto the record for a few years.


Simply put, athletes (and sports themselves) evolve. The reasons are myriad: increased competition with increased participation and organization, better training, technological innovations and, yes, chemical tampering. Of course, Jesse Owens was a fantastic athlete. But don't tell me he was faster than Michael Johnson. While tennis players don't compete against a clock, it's not much of a stretch to say that the general trend in athleticism applies here as well. So, is Federer the best ever? In 50 years, the answer assuredly will be no.


--Paul Wachter

posted 6:10 p.m.
angiel is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the MensTennisForums.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome