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Pete Sampras aiming for Federer?

R.Federer
05-25-2007, 06:23 PM
Is Pistol Pete aiming at Federer? May 25, 2007

http://www.sportsnet.ca/images/tennis/sampras_seniorstour_hor.jpg
Sampras has agreed to play Federer in three exhibition matches throughout Asia in November. (file)

By Mike Cormack, Sportsnet.ca

Wimbledon, July 2008.

Roger Federer has just been presented with the runner-up plate. His bid for a record-breaking sixth straight men's title and 15th career Grand Slam title to move out of a tie with Pete Sampras for the most all-time has come up short.

Standing next to him is the 2008 champion and winner of his record-breaking 15th Grand Slam, Pete Sampras.

A first glance the idea might seem ridiculous. After all, Sampras has been all but invisible since authoring a fairytale ending to his career with a victory over arch-rival Andre Agassi in the final of the 2002 U.S. Open.

But a series of recent events suggest Pistol Pete is re-loading his weapon to take aim at the current world No. 1.

To little fanfare earlier this week it was announced that Sampras-who until recently had gone five years without playing a competitive match-had agreed to play Federer in three exhibition matches throughout Asia in November.

Intriguingly, the genesis for the event came back in February when Sampras invited Federer to practice with him at his home in Los Angeles before the nearby Indian Wells tournament in March.

Following the 'practice,' Sampras said: "Obviously he's a great player, but I felt like I didn't embarrass myself out there. I feel like I can hold my own."

Do these sound like the words of a man who had just invited a friend over to hit a few balls in his backyard?

When he retired in 2002, Sampras was just 31-years-old; and his place in history as the greatest to have ever played the game seemed secure.

There was nothing left for him to accomplish.

But at Wimbledon the following year-the first of the post-Sampras era-Roger Federer claimed his first Grand Slam title and over the following four years with Sampras watching at home has gone on to win 9 of the next 14 Grand Slams.

Most observers, including Sampras, agree it's just a matter of when, and not if, Federer surpasses Sampras' record 14 Grand Slam titles.

This begs the following questions: Would a man as fiercely proud as Sampras have walked away so easily back in '02 had he known Federer was about to go on such a run?

Does he regret not sticking around for a couple more years to set a higher target for Federer to reach?

Does the competitor in him secretly wonder whether he is still capable, at age 35, of world-class tennis on the sport's greatest stages against the man who has stolen his mantle the greatest ever to have played the game?

Sampras may have given us the answer earlier in May on the eve of his debut in the Outback Champions Series, tennis' equivalent of the senior tour.

"I kind of regret stopping," Sampras told the Associated Press, without revealing much more.

In two Champions Series events, Sampras has recorded back-to-back titles, despite having not played a competitive match in five years prior to this month.

Sampras appears to have even impressed himself.

"I feel really good," he said. "I played quite well. I have a few things still left in the game."

When he said 'left in the game,' was Sampras referring to his ability to still hit one of his patented running forehand winners, or was he referring to some unfinished business?

"Roger's game doesn't have many cracks," Sampras said following the announcement of the exhibitions. "It's one of those sorts of matchups where I just need to overwhelm him with some power and try to come in and hopefully serve well."

Just a hunch, but it says here should Sampras give Federer a reasonable run for his money this November, we'll see him lace them up at Wimbledon in 2008, especially if Federer is sitting on Slam No. 13 or 14.

Following his most recent Champions Series win, Sampras said, "It is flattering knowing that I can still be competitive."

He immediately followed up by ruling out a return to Wimbledon in 2007 for a chance to win an eighth title.

"I don't want to tempt it."

Maybe not this year, but 2008 might every well be a fairytale year for Pete Sampras and tennis fans.





http://www.sportsnet.ca/images/spacer.gif http://www.sportsnet.ca/tennis/article.jsp?content=20070525_125203_2448

angiel
05-25-2007, 07:07 PM
Is Pistol Pete aiming at Federer? May 25, 2007

http://www.sportsnet.ca/images/tennis/sampras_seniorstour_hor.jpg
Sampras has agreed to play Federer in three exhibition matches throughout Asia in November. (file)

By Mike Cormack, Sportsnet.ca

Wimbledon, July 2008.

Roger Federer has just been presented with the runner-up plate. His bid for a record-breaking sixth straight men's title and 15th career Grand Slam title to move out of a tie with Pete Sampras for the most all-time has come up short.

Standing next to him is the 2008 champion and winner of his record-breaking 15th Grand Slam, Pete Sampras.

A first glance the idea might seem ridiculous. After all, Sampras has been all but invisible since authoring a fairytale ending to his career with a victory over arch-rival Andre Agassi in the final of the 2002 U.S. Open.

But a series of recent events suggest Pistol Pete is re-loading his weapon to take aim at the current world No. 1.

To little fanfare earlier this week it was announced that Sampras-who until recently had gone five years without playing a competitive match-had agreed to play Federer in three exhibition matches throughout Asia in November.

Intriguingly, the genesis for the event came back in February when Sampras invited Federer to practice with him at his home in Los Angeles before the nearby Indian Wells tournament in March.

Following the 'practice,' Sampras said: "Obviously he's a great player, but I felt like I didn't embarrass myself out there. I feel like I can hold my own."

Do these sound like the words of a man who had just invited a friend over to hit a few balls in his backyard?

When he retired in 2002, Sampras was just 31-years-old; and his place in history as the greatest to have ever played the game seemed secure.

There was nothing left for him to accomplish.

But at Wimbledon the following year-the first of the post-Sampras era-Roger Federer claimed his first Grand Slam title and over the following four years with Sampras watching at home has gone on to win 9 of the next 14 Grand Slams.

Most observers, including Sampras, agree it's just a matter of when, and not if, Federer surpasses Sampras' record 14 Grand Slam titles.

This begs the following questions: Would a man as fiercely proud as Sampras have walked away so easily back in '02 had he known Federer was about to go on such a run?

Does he regret not sticking around for a couple more years to set a higher target for Federer to reach?

Does the competitor in him secretly wonder whether he is still capable, at age 35, of world-class tennis on the sport's greatest stages against the man who has stolen his mantle the greatest ever to have played the game?

Sampras may have given us the answer earlier in May on the eve of his debut in the Outback Champions Series, tennis' equivalent of the senior tour.

"I kind of regret stopping," Sampras told the Associated Press, without revealing much more.

In two Champions Series events, Sampras has recorded back-to-back titles, despite having not played a competitive match in five years prior to this month.

Sampras appears to have even impressed himself.

"I feel really good," he said. "I played quite well. I have a few things still left in the game."

When he said 'left in the game,' was Sampras referring to his ability to still hit one of his patented running forehand winners, or was he referring to some unfinished business?

"Roger's game doesn't have many cracks," Sampras said following the announcement of the exhibitions. "It's one of those sorts of matchups where I just need to overwhelm him with some power and try to come in and hopefully serve well."

Just a hunch, but it says here should Sampras give Federer a reasonable run for his money this November, we'll see him lace them up at Wimbledon in 2008, especially if Federer is sitting on Slam No. 13 or 14.

Following his most recent Champions Series win, Sampras said, "It is flattering knowing that I can still be competitive."

He immediately followed up by ruling out a return to Wimbledon in 2007 for a chance to win an eighth title.

"I don't want to tempt it."

Maybe not this year, but 2008 might every well be a fairytale year for Pete Sampras and tennis fans.





http://www.sportsnet.ca/images/spacer.gif http://www.sportsnet.ca/tennis/article.jsp?content=20070525_125203_2448



I love this, really.:haha: :haha: :haha: :bowdown: