Sampras Plays Tour Guide to His Sweet Wimbledon 7. [Archive] -

Sampras Plays Tour Guide to His Sweet Wimbledon 7.

06-27-2006, 09:20 PM
Bill Dwyre.

Sampras Plays Tour Guide to His Sweet Wimbledon 7
June 27, 2006

Pete Sampras is feeling that little tug in his gut. He gets it once a year. Across a continent and an ocean, eight times zones away, Wimbledon is underway.

As one of the greatest tennis champions of all time, and one of the two greatest male achievers at the All England Club, he has his memories.

Seven times, he stood at Centre Court on the last day, held a trophy over his head, bowed to the English royalty and slipped quietly off to a side room, where they engraved his name on the trophy. While they did that, he called his parents in Palos Verdes.

Actually, the seventh time, the record-setting day, he didn't have to call. They were there, finally having overcome their nerves and anxiety at watching him play. That time, he climbed high into the stands and hugged them.

He is thinking about other things, such as the post-victory blur of time. You meet the press, take a shower, put on the tuxedo that the All England Club magically produces — how many sizes does it keep on hand? — go to the dinner party with members and dignitaries and make a speech.

"By the end, my speech was getting a little longer," Sampras jokes now.

Eventually, he says, you are sitting on the edge of your bed, too wired to sleep, trying to absorb it all.

Others have won at Wimbledon, but only one other man knew the feeling as often as Sampras, and the long white pants, long-sleeved shirt and tiny wooden racket of England's William Renshaw hint at an era gap. Renshaw, like Sampras a proponent of getting to the net often and fast, beat his twin brother, Ernest, for his seventh and final Wimbledon title in 1889, and died in 1904.

In 2001, exactly 112 years after Willie had taken out Ernie in the final set at love for that seventh title, Californian Sampras took to Centre Court for a fourth-round match against a 19-year-old from Switzerland. Roger Federer had promise, but so did lots of other 19-year-olds on the tour.

With all due respect to Willie Renshaw, Federer was playing the virtual owner of the real estate on which they stood. Boris Becker of Germany, a three-time champion and a seven-time finalist, once said of Wimbledon's Centre Court, "It used to be my house, but Sampras stole the keys."

Federer was also going against one of the more amazing statistical feats in sports, something of Wooden and DiMaggio proportions. When they began the match, Sampras' record at Wimbledon, starting with his first title in 1993, was 56-1.

What a run it was. Sampras, 34, and living in Beverly Hills, will take us through it.


'The final was tough, because it was Jim.'


Sampras beats Jim Courier, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3: "Andre [Agassi] had won the year before, and the crowd was behind him in our quarterfinal. But I think he was feeling the pressure of that and I won in five. I beat Becker in the semis. I loved playing Boris. We had about the same game, serve and attack, but I always felt I did all that just a little bit better than he did.

"The final was tough, because it was Jim. We were good friends, he had talked me into going to Florida, showed me how to really train. But as I got closer to his No. 1, it got a little tougher. We didn't go out to dinner all the time, like we had. Tennis is different. In golf, you play the course. In tennis, you look across the net and there is Jim.

"Now, we're great again. We keep in touch."


'The hardest thing is to defend your title in a major.'


Sampras beats Goran Ivanisevic, 7-6, 7-6, 6-0: "The hardest thing is to defend your title in a major. You have that big bull's-eye on you. Yup. Six, six and love. That was about the last time they used the real hard balls at Wimbledon, and Goran was hitting bullets. His serve was always unreturnable there, but I got enough back to win.

"I remember feeling, after that, like I was really starting to dominate. Life was good."


'I was the next-best thing to sliced bread.'


Sampras beats Becker, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2: "It was funny. This was my third straight title, and things were now perceived differently. The first year, I wasn't interesting enough. The second, the tennis wasn't interesting enough. The third, I was the next-best thing to sliced bread."


I 'served and volleyed the best I ever had.'


Sampras beats Cedric Pioline, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4: "I had lost to Richard Krajicek in the '96 quarterfinals and he had gone on to win. He had played a great match — it rained and it went over two days — and he started hitting the most important stroke you need to win at Wimbledon, a big second serve.

"So when I got to '97, I was ready. I lost serve only twice in the entire tournament and served and volleyed the best I ever had."


'It's OK to win ugly.'


Sampras beats Ivanisevic, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2: "He was up a set and two set points, and I somehow squeaked it out. The crowd was really for him, and I understood that, because he had been so close so often. That's why, when he finally won , I was happy for him.

"For me, in '98, it was like Johnny Miller said at the golf tournament the other day. It's OK to take out the four-wood. It's OK to win ugly."


'I played the best tennis I ever had.'


Sampras beats Agassi, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5: "I got a break in the quarterfinals, when [Mark] Philippoussis slipped and fell, up a set, and had to default. You never want to win that way, but your body gets a break.

"When I got to the final against Andre, I played the best tennis I ever had. In a final, you rarely get into a zone because of nerves. But this time, I was in that zone.

"It got to 3-3 and love-40 on my serve and I won the game and never looked back.

"I remember even staying back a bit and playing some points from the baseline, just to kind of show people I had the whole package."


'He said I better just gut it out.'


Sampras beats Patrick Rafter, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2. It is his record 13th title in a Grand Slam event: "I'm still not sure how I got through this one. Early in the tournament, my shin started feeling sore. Apparently, I had used a pair of heavy running shoes and when they took an MRI, I had fluid on my shinbone.

"So the doctors told me the only way I might get through is to take a shot before each match. I could barely walk after I played, and I couldn't practice between matches or even warm up much. My routine was the same: play, limp off, ice it, sleep, have some acupuncture, ice it some more, then get a shot about 10 minutes before I went out.

"Rafter went up a set and 4-1 in the tiebreaker. I got through that, but then it rained and we had a delay. The shot was supposed to last for an hour, so I was hoping that it would keep raining and I could come back the next day. But about 8 o'clock, the sun came out and we had another hour of daylight. I asked the doctor if I could get another shot, and he said I better just gut it out.

"I remember at match point, being relieved, dead tired, and pretty choked up. Then I decided to find my parents and climb up to them. I decided, for a moment, to come out of my shell."


When Federer upset Sampras the next year, Sampras had not yet turned 30. But the struggle for that record-breaking 13th title had drained him. He floundered for the next two seasons, losing to players only their mothers had heard of, losing in the second round of the 2002 Wimbledon to a qualifier named George Bastl, and finding his only high moments in U.S. Open final losses in 2000 and 2001.

And that's where he was, the U.S. Open final, in September 2002, when he played his last masterpiece. Looking a step slower and less confident, he somehow beat Agassi in the final.

He never played again, spending much of the next year agonizing over the merits of plodding on or leaving Cinderella with her slipper on.

Now, he says he is happy being out of it. He is married to actress Bridgette Wilson, has two sons, all the money anybody could ever want, and a single-handicap golf game.

In the inane expression of the day, for Pete Sampras, it is all good.

But the itch will never be completely scratched. Courier has been after him to join his senior tour, and Sampras is considering playing some exhibitions. He even signed up to play a few TeamTennis matches, which is a little like having Rembrandt do your ceilings.

Coming up, there is breakfast at you-know-where, where some kid named Federer is going for his fourth consecutive title.

"He's a great player. I'm a fan," Sampras says.

And how much will he watch?

"Not a ton," he says. "It's hard, because I want to be there."


[I]Bill Dwyre can be reached at To read previous columns by Dwyre, go to

06-27-2006, 09:39 PM
On This Date in History:

In 1999, top-seeded Pete Sampras won his sixth Wimbledon men`s singles title, defeating fellow American Andre Agassi.

06-27-2006, 09:45 PM
Tara & Sons antes up in Vegas

JUNE 27, 2006 - New York -- Tara & Sons, Inc. anted up for the second poker invitational tournament in Las Vegas, giving out its pearl jewelry as prizes during a star-studded night of gambling.

The "No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em Tournament" was organized by NetJets Inc., a Berkshire Hathway-owned jet ownership company and held at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, June 16-18, 2006.

Tara & Sons donated five signature pearl creations, from its "Dancing Diamond Collection by Tara," for the tournament. Hosted by Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, NetJets CEO Richard Santulli and Wynn Hotel CEO Steve Wynn, the event drew more than 200 attendees, including Pete Sampras and Bill Gates as well as Hollywood actor Dean Cain and poker champion Phil Ivy. NetJets had invited its best customers to participate in the tournament providing free "chips" and luxury prizes.

Among the luxury prizes awarded at the tournament was Tara & Sons', "Tahitian Night," a diamond briolette and natural color Tahitian pearl necklace with matching earrings, retailing for $75,000.

Tara & Sons also donated five bounty prizes, which were given during the bounty drawings throughout the tournament. Tara & Sons bounty prizes came from their signature "Dancing Diamond collection by Tara", featuring natural, multi-color, cultured pearls with floating diamonds and retailing for $3,500 each.

"This was a great opportunity for us at Tara & Sons to connect with our high-net worth customers on a personal level. Last year's NetJets Poker Invitational Tournament was such a success that we were thrilled to be invited to participate this year as well; each event has proven to be an even greater success for Tara & Sons," Tara & Sons CEO Sonny Sethi said in a press release issued Monday.

06-28-2006, 09:56 PM

06-28-2006, 10:20 PM
The Times
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.

06-28-2006, 10:23 PM
The Times
July 05, 1999

Awesome Sampras eases his way into the history books
By 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.

06-29-2006, 02:35 AM
thanks angiel for the article, perhaps we should show this article to some nasty roger fans who said pete is jealous of roger to read, then they can see, pete only has good words for roger :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Coming up, there is breakfast at you-know-where, where some kid named Federer is going for his fourth consecutive title.

"He's a great player. I'm a fan," Sampras says.And how much will he watch?

"Not a ton," he says. "It's hard, because I want to be there."

06-30-2006, 12:08 AM
thanks angiel for the article, perhaps we should show this article to some nasty roger fans who said pete is jealous of roger to read, then they can see, pete only has good words for roger :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Coming up, there is breakfast at you-know-where, where some kid named Federer is going for his fourth consecutive title.

"He's a great player. I'm a fan," Sampras says.And how much will he watch?

"Not a ton," he says. "It's hard, because I want to be there."

I think so too, are maybe he has already has. :worship: :wavey:

07-11-2006, 09:42 PM
great articles as always

07-12-2006, 08:42 PM
great articles as always

You are welcome my dear almouchie, and how are you doing? I am in Atlanta. :wavey: :wavey: :angel: