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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-17-2007, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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Pete Sampras - Wimbledon Greatest.






Greatest Champions: Pete Sampras

Alix Ramsay


This is a doddle. Pick a champion, the boss said, and make the argument that he is the greatest champion of all time. Bags I do Pete Sampras, then, says I. Seven Wimbledon Championships, 14 Grand Slam titles in all – beat that anybody. That's it, then, I win. My boy is the best, no questions asked.

Actually, there is a little bit more to it than that. The records and statistics are the dry proof that Sampras was king in his time at the All England Club but sport is not just about numbers. What grips us, the lucky few who get to sit at the court side, is the passion, the fear, the blood, sweat and tears that separates the players from the champions and the champions from the truly great.

Passion? Sampras? Oh, my, yes. Sampras was never the most expressive or effusive of characters on court, but there was a fire in him that burned brightly and scorched all who came near it. His whole life was devoted to achieving greatness and then hanging on to it. For six years between 1993 and 1998 his every waking moment was consumed with the thought of winning and maintaining his position as world No. 1. He did it, too.

During that spell, he won five of his Wimbledon titles together with three US Open and two Australian Open trophies. But it was here at Wimbledon that he felt most at home. Here he was in his comfort zone, here he had a head start on any opposition. The mere fact of playing the great Sampras reduced all but the best to tatters and gave him a few points in the bag before the match had even begun.

Every year he would come to London from the French Open looking grim. He could never win in Paris and the fact hurt. But as soon as walked through the gates of the All England Club his spirits lifted and he became a different man. He won here when he was injured, he won when his form was at its lowest and he won when his critics had written him off. Put Pete on Centre Court and he was unstoppable. On one leg and in a blindfold and he was still unstoppable.

Then there were the occasions when Pete was in his pomp. The 1999 final against Andre Agassi was possibly the greatest display of grass court tennis that Wimbledon has ever seen. He had stumbled around the circuit for the first half of the year, winning nothing and looking miserable but then he went through that Lazarus moment as he returned to the grass. He won at Queen's and then began his campaign for The Championships.

Round by round he gathered momentum until he was ready for Agassi. His fellow American had just won the French Open, he was the story of the moment having hauled himself back from a ranking of 141 and reinvented himself as a champion. He was at his peak. And in the first set he had the temerity to manufacture three break points on the Sampras serve.

That was it. That was the moment Sampras moved from champion to genius. He snatched back the break points and then took off. For a couple of minutes Agassi shook his head and tried to work out what happened but by then the first set was gone and he was a break down in the second. It was not that Agassi was playing badly, it was just that Sampras was sublime.

"Today he walked on water," Agassi said later. Sampras said simply: "Sometimes I surprise myself." He ended on a second service ace - naturally.

He was back the next year for his last Championship victory at Wimbledon, beating Pat Rafter in an emotional rollercoaster of a Final. He came to London on the back of a serious back injury and not having won anything since March and again his chances were not great. He had even been beaten at Queen's two weeks before but still Wimbledon worked its magic on the man. And him on it. Even the tendinitis that had almost felled him in the early rounds was shaken off as Sampras wrote his own chapter in the history books.

It carried his tally of Grand Slams to 13, breaking Roy Emerson's record and establishing Sampras as one of the truly great figures of the game. That was one of the rare times he allowed the world to witness the pent up emotion that he had hidden for more than a decade. As the last point was played, he burst into tears and then raced off to embrace his parents seated high up in the stands.

His last moment as a player was probably the US Open last summer. Again he faced Agassi, again he won and again he set a new record (14 Grand Slam singles title notched up). Since then he has not lifted a racket in anger. With nothing left to achieve, he can enjoy a life of retirement as a husband and a father. And, of course, the greatest ever Wimbledon champion. QED.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PETE SAMPRAS

Singles Champion: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000

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Re: Pete Sampras - Wimbledon Greatest.

of course he is the greatest

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.
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Re: Pete Sampras - Wimbledon Greatest.

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of course he is the greatest


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Re: Pete Sampras - Wimbledon Greatest.

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Re: Pete Sampras - Wimbledon Greatest.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-28-2007, 01:46 AM
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Re: Pete Sampras - Wimbledon Greatest.

Greatness isnt defined by pure ball waking talent, otherwise Marat may be the greatest ever, or even lew hoad (the aussies think he was the best aussie player ever), even titles arent the be all and end all of "greatness" its the mind, the heart and the soul all as one that make a great champion, the greatest weapon pete had was his heart. So many times he over came physical (you dont need any examples, but, Corretja FO96 2 of MANY ), emotional (Aus open 95 all the matches, corretja, FO 96 to name a few) and mental (00 wimbledon, 02 USO among his biggest, Corretja), obstacles to win, or at the very least to give it all hes got and make his opponent work harder than they had in their entire lives, to beat him (Yzaga 94 USO). Thats why he will ALWAYS be the greatest tennis player and the greatest sportsman who ever lived.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-30-2007, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Pete Sampras - Wimbledon Greatest.

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Originally Posted by the_natural View Post
Greatness isnt defined by pure ball waking talent, otherwise Marat may be the greatest ever, or even lew hoad (the aussies think he was the best aussie player ever), even titles arent the be all and end all of "greatness" its the mind, the heart and the soul all as one that make a great champion, the greatest weapon pete had was his heart. So many times he over came physical (you dont need any examples, but, Corretja FO96 2 of MANY ), emotional (Aus open 95 all the matches, corretja, FO 96 to name a few) and mental (00 wimbledon, 02 USO among his biggest, Corretja), obstacles to win, or at the very least to give it all hes got and make his opponent work harder than they had in their entire lives, to beat him (Yzaga 94 USO). Thats why he will ALWAYS be the greatest tennis player and the greatest sportsman who ever lived.


You are so right natural, a lot of people dont know what the word even means.
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Re: Pete Sampras - Wimbledon Greatest.

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Originally Posted by the_natural View Post
Greatness isnt defined by pure ball waking talent, otherwise Marat may be the greatest ever, or even lew hoad (the aussies think he was the best aussie player ever), even titles arent the be all and end all of "greatness" its the mind, the heart and the soul all as one that make a great champion, the greatest weapon pete had was his heart. So many times he over came physical (you dont need any examples, but, Corretja FO96 2 of MANY ), emotional (Aus open 95 all the matches, corretja, FO 96 to name a few) and mental (00 wimbledon, 02 USO among his biggest, Corretja), obstacles to win, or at the very least to give it all hes got and make his opponent work harder than they had in their entire lives, to beat him (Yzaga 94 USO). Thats why he will ALWAYS be the greatest tennis player and the greatest sportsman who ever lived.
I agree. Great words the natural

PETE SAMPRAS - KING OF THE COURT
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Re: Pete Sampras - Wimbledon Greatest.

From The Times
July 10, 2000

Sampras takes title of greatest player

By John Goodbody

PETE SAMPRAS became the greatest men's tennis player last night when he
won his seventh Wimbledon Championship, giving him a record 13 Grand Slam titles.


After beating the Australian Pat Rafter, the American wept for joy and climbed into the stands to embrace his parents, Sam and Georgia, who were watching him at Wimbledon for the first time.

During a match which had been interrupted by rain twice, Sampras fought back after losing the first set to match the Wimbledon record of seven singles titles held by William Renshaw, the British player, who achieved his feat in the 1880s.

Afterwards Sampras told the packed 13,000 capacity Centre Court: "It means so much to me, particularly because my parents are here today and can share it with me."

He also thanked his watching fiancee, actress Bridgette Wilson, for "helping to put me together in the last couple of weeks". Sampras, 28, has been nursing a shin injury from the start of the tournament.

He told the applauding crowd, who remained in the stands in the gathering gloom, that he regarded Wimbledon as a home. "I will always come back. I will be back next year and after my retirement I will still return to sit in the Royal Box."

He said that he would be taking a "little break" after these championships, in which he has now won 53 matches out of the last 54 that he has played since 1993. He added: "These are the moments that one remembers, particularly as there was a tough guy on the other side of the court."

Sampras recovered from losing the first set and then being 4-1 down in the tie-break in the second to win the final 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Although the pigtailed Rafter was the favourite of the Wimbledon crowd, the spectators stood to applaud the triumph of the American. Sampras went on to meet the American Venus Williams at the Champions' Dinner at the Savoy Hotel in Central London last night. Miss Williams beat the 1999 winner Lindsay Davenport in the women's single final on Saturday.
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Re: Pete Sampras - Wimbledon Greatest.

Sampras curious, but won’t play Wimbledon
McEnroe: 'Roger would say he’d want to play him, but he’d be concerned'

By Matthew Cronin, TennisReporters.net



FROM THE CHAMPIONS CUP IN BOSTON – The question on the tennis world’s lips was just how superhuman Pete Sampras could become again. He’s 35 now, his hair continues to recede and he is not as quick as he was back in 1990, when he thumped Andre Agassi for his first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

But, oh, how he can still serve, still sharply put away a volley, still rocket a forehand when he gets it into his wheelhouse. Even before he went out on court at the Agganis Arena and destroyed Petr Korda 6-1, 6-2 in his first "senior" match at the Champions Cup Boston, the other players were singing his praises, talking about how if The Sweet One decided to play '07 Wimbledon, that he just might be able to win his eighth title.

John McEnroe put him in his top five favorites and went as far to say that the mighty Roger Federer wouldn’t even want to tangle with him. Tim Mayotte (a late substitute for Mats Wilander who had back spasms) ventured that Sampras actually will play and is hitting an incredibly heavy ball. Korda said that on grass, the Californian’s serve is still murder and that the new generation wouldn’t know how to return it, because the only way to properly return Pete’s heater is to slap it back.

“Most of the guys in the draw, he would beat badly on grass,” Korda said.

And how about Johnny Mac, who even at 48 could still win a few rounds at Wimbledon with his finely-tuned serve and volley attack? It’s not as if McEnroe hasn’t sung the praises of Federer before and doesn’t closely pay attention to the pro tour. He and most of the tennis cognoscenti are aware that since Sampras came back last summer out of shape and slogged through some World Team Tennis matches (when his coach at the time, Dick Leach, accused him of embarrassing the team), he’s cracked himself with a whip. According to Wayne Bryan’s count – who pays as close attention to tennis in America as anyone – since then, Sampras has taken down Andy Roddick, Robby Ginepri, Mardy Fish and Jim Courier in exhibitions. He’s also hung tough with Federer (the Swiss beat him 7-5 in a practice set), Sam Querrey and Tommy Haas in practice sets at his LA home.

“Pete is arguably the greatest who ever lived and he could step on a surface like this and beat most of the guys on tour,” McEnroe said of the quick hard court at Agganis. “He might not be ready for best of five, but he’s stepped it up from when I saw him a year ago. He’s got more movement, he’s holding his own against top 10 guys. It’s taken him some time, but I can see the marked difference. He has more rhythm on his serve, he’s hitting a backhand better, he’s a league ahead [of everyone here].

“The guy has won seven Wimbledon’s, but why bother [to play it again] – so he can prove he can beat guys we all know he can beat? I’ve watched Guillermo Cañas the last few months and I rarely see a guy who tries harder than him. But would I place a bet that Pete would beat Cañas at Wimbledon? I’m going with Pete right now. Best of five, maybe that’s a little different because Cañas is really fit and none except Nadal tries as hard as this guy. I couldn’t name five players I’d take over Pete on grass. Davydenko? On grass? Go down the list. I’m not sure about Nadal either. Pete is the master on grass. Best of five and luck of the draw would be the difference. There wouldn’t be a guy in the tournament who’d want to play him. Roger would say he’d want to play him, but he’d be concerned. He’d be a lot more concerned than he would be against all these other guys.

“But the reality is that your body breaks down and it’s hard to keep up and I don’t know how fit Pete is, but his game is tailor-made for Wimbledon. I could see him getting to the quarters and he loses because he’s tired and strains something, but I’ve told him that’s not going to take away from his place in history if he went there and loses in the first few rounds.”

But, what about Pete himself? He’s not going to ask for a wild card this year. He’s tempted to play, but he won’t. End of story, at least for today. There really is something to lose, given that he did go out on top when he won his 14th Slam title by besting Agassi at his final tournament at the '02 US Open. Of course, he wouldn’t ruin his legacy, but he could stain it a little.

“It’s not realistic,” Sampras said. “I'm curious because the grass is natural to me and especially with all these guys staying back, but a lot of different things come into play. I’m not ready for the day-in, day-out grind. I’ve been a pro and I know what it’s like. I wouldn’t play Wimbledon just to play; I’d play to win. I didn’t retire because the game passed me by. I wasn’t injured. My heart wasn’t in it. There has to be a reason to come back and there isn’t one. I have nothing to prove to myself. It’s fun to play against the guys here and some of the young guys at my home court, but to come back for one event at Wimbledon is a little crazy. It’s crossed my mind out of curiosity, but realistically, to set it up, is not for me anymore. I’m not going to play Wimbledon.”

Now back to Sampras’ reality, where he is a husband, a father of two and looked very pleased to be competing again. As he’s said frequently, he needed to get back to work and he’s looked very happy both on court and off on Thursday. Like most high-level athletes, he needs to get a charge once in a while and performing well in front of a large crowd, which applauded him for a job well done, was satisfying. Don’t be surprised if he ends up playing more than three events this year and a heck of a lot next year. Even at a pro-am at Harvard earlier in the day he looked fairly comfortable nudging balls around with various well-meaning folks who pledged money in support of Boston’s fine inner city youth program, Tenacity. It’s a perfect post-career choice for him.


NOTES FROM ALL OVER: MAC AND DJOKOVIC?
McEnroe looked okay, too, in dispatching Mayotte 6-1, 7-5. Mayotte has been contending with back problems and is carrying too many extra pounds, but he was in good cheer and tried as hard as he could to stay with McEnroe, but couldn’t keep up from the back court. Mayotte was so excited to be performing for the first time since 1998 that just as the match was starting he asked an on-site staffer to call his sister and tell her he couldn’t make it to dinner, but to hustle down instead to see the match. The Massachusetts native is teaching tennis in Manhattan. He and Mac contested the '82 Wimbledon semis, which Johnny Mac won in the bat of an eye. When asked to assess up and comer Novak Djokovic, Mac called him, “The Man” and said the Serb has more potential than Andy Murray. Mac added that Djokovic’s agent has called him and asked him to coach the teenager, but Mac can’t find time in his schedule yet. Mac added that Carlos Costa called him last year and asked him to consider playing doubles with Nadal at the US Open. … Sampras says he might do a charity event in LA sometime in the near future. … Mac says if he ever starts a US academy, it will have to contain clay courts. … Bud Collins, the dean of Boston and US tennis, is coming off hip surgery and is feeling great. He’s barely walking with limp and will be headed to his beloved Italy for the Italian Open on Monday. You can’t keep a good tennis journalist down. … Senior tennis is gaining in popularity in the media. In town at various times during the event have been Peter Bodo, Bruce Schoenfeld, Dan Weil and Todd Skovron. Our buddy Leif Shiras is doing color commentary for NESN.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-07-2007, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Pete Sampras - Wimbledon Greatest.

TennisX News.


May 7th, 2007

Pete Sampras Curious About Wimbledon

by Sean Randall
So Pete Sampras can win on clay after all! Okay, it was a little Boston senior event and he beat a bunch of guys – John McEnroe, Todd Martin, Tim Mayotte, Petr Korda – who don’t exactly strike fear into people on the dirt. But give the guy some credit, a year after looking real bad against Robby Ginepri he takes the Boston title in this his senior debut.





What’s most interesting about the win is what he had to say and what others said along the way. Here’s a sample:

“I hit the ball better today than I did in my prime because of the bigger racket,” Sampras said. “I think I can still play at a pretty high level. I can probably compete against anyone in the world today just one match, two sets.” – Pete after his win over Mac.

“I’m not going to play Wimbledon again. I’m curious how I’d do, especially with all the guys staying back. I always licked my chops when I saw baseliners…A lot of things come into play. It’s a lot of work. It’s a daily grind. I wouldn’t play Wimbledon just to play. I’d play to win. There’s got to be a reason to come back, and there isn’t a reason. To come back for one event is crazy.” - Pete.

“If he served the way he served tonight, not many guys on the tour (could return). They swing at the serve. They don’t block the serve. On grass he could beat many guys in the draw, badly.” – Petr Korda, after losing to Pete.


“I could see him get to the quarterfinals and then lose because he was tired or strained something. I told him if he went there and lost in the first few rounds, it wouldn’t take away from his place in history.” – Johnny Mac


I didn’t see any of the tennis in Boston but from the sound of it Pete’s playing pretty well. When Mac and Korda are raving about Pete’s game you have to believe them. And even though Pete says “I’m not going to play Wimbledon again” he did say that he was “curious”, which, translation, means he’s thinking about it. Pete then says that with the newer racquets he’s hitting the ball better now than ever, and when you throw in the fact that Wimbledon requires the least in the way of fitness and rewards those with the biggest serves, I think the door may have swung slightly open for a possible return at Wimbledon this year.

Thing is, and we’ve seen it time and time again in sports, when retired elite athletes think that they can comeback and compete again at the highest level, just like Pete has said, guess what? They usually do and give in to their curiosity.

I think Pete once said he wasn’t interested in playing senior tennis, now he is. I think he once said he would never play Team Tennis, then he did and he’s playing again this year. So could he flip-flop on his statement and play Wimbledon again? Why not. My guess is if he wins his next senior stop in Greece next month and even more players put it in his head that he could still do damage on the regular tour, I wouldn’t put it passed him to make one last appearance at SW19.

Plus, as McEnroe said, it wouldn’t take anything away from his history if he lost early again at Wimbledon. And he’s right. The reality of it is Pete couldn’t do any worse than losing to George Bastl, right? Unless of course Bastl qualifies and beats Pete again. (Could you imagine!) Well, on second thought, that could be reason enough not the play!
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Re: Pete Sampras - Wimbledon Greatest.

Sampras rules out Wimbledon

From correspondents in Boston
May 08, 2007


PETE Sampras enjoys testing himself against other former ATP stars in the 30-and-over Champions Series, but a return to Wimbledon apparently doesn't tempt him.

Sampras returned to competition at the weekend, for the first time since his retirement five years ago, defeating Todd Martin in the final of the Champions Cup of Boston.

On his wawy to the final he defeated John McEnroe, who voiced the opinion that the 35-year-old could still be a force on grass.

But Sampras, who earned half of his 14 grand slam titles at the All England Club, said he wouldn't return to Wimbledon on a whim.

"I wouldn't play Wimbledon just to play - I would play to win," he said.

"There needs to be a reason to come back, and there really isn't a reason for me to come back."

Sampras retired after winning the 2002 US Open, the last of his 64 career titles.

Agence France-Presse
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