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WE STILL MISS "THE GREATEST"

angiel
08-22-2006, 08:30 PM
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?”

angiel
08-24-2006, 09:01 PM
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?

the_natural
08-27-2006, 12:07 PM
What beautiful articles of pete, he deserves those accolades.

angiel
08-27-2006, 06:08 PM
What beautiful articles of pete, he deserves those accolades.


Thank you my dear. :worship: :worship: :angel:

angiel
08-31-2006, 08:54 PM
http://www.tennisone.com/images/photos/federer.sampras.forehands.jpg

angiel
08-31-2006, 09:41 PM
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/39267/why_pete_sampras_is_the_greatest_male.html

Rog1
09-01-2006, 08:23 AM
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)

angiel
09-01-2006, 05:10 PM
Hey, I could be that fan you know. LOL. I miss him too

Linda (Luton-UK)


Me too Rog1. :worship: :worship: :angel: :wavey: :D

angiel
09-05-2006, 01:32 AM
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

Mimi
09-05-2006, 04:02 AM
he always just like let his racket to do the talkings :worship: :D

angiel
09-05-2006, 07:02 PM
he always just like let his racket to do the talkings :worship: :D


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. :worship: :worship: :D

Mimi
09-06-2006, 02:24 AM
me too, but andre still wins my respect for playing till such an old age :worship:
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. :worship: :worship: :D

the_natural
09-08-2006, 01:01 PM
And for his respect to Pete and for pushing pete to be even greater and for creating that rival which raised Petes legacy

angiel
09-08-2006, 03:09 PM
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. :wavey: :wavey: :D :)

angiel
09-09-2006, 02:47 PM
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
09-13-2006, 08:23 PM
Strokes for Agassi: He belongs among the 10 greatest ever

Bruce Jenkins

Wednesday, September 13, 2006




(09-13) 04:00 PDT New York -- In a fanciful moment after her final U.S. Open match, Martina Navratilova wondered who would be the men's top player if all the greats were in their prime, ideally using the wooden rackets of old. She mentioned Roger Federer, John McEnroe, Rod Laver, Pete Sampras -- "Whoo, that would be fun," said Martina -- and it raised the question: Where does Andre Agassi fit into all this?

Agassi has cracked the all-time top 10 in the eyes of many, and that's quite an accomplishment, something like a modern-day outfielder being compared with Mays, DiMaggio or Cobb. Without question, in the wake of his retirement, Agassi's case is pretty strong.

He's one of five men to have won each of the Slam events, listing his French Open title as his greatest accomplishment. He won eight majors, putting him in a tie with Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall. Though it's common to see magical ball-striking in this era of forgiving rackets, Agassi was nothing short of a revelation in his youth.

"When I first came onto the scene, I was the first person to hit the ball big off both wings," said Agassi in a rare acknowledgement of his contributions. "If I was in position to take the ball early off both sides, I'd give it a good ride. I'd love to feel like I was part of the evolution of the game."

Richey Reneberg, a Davis Cup teammate of Agassi's, made this observation a few years back: "The last person out there in the same league as Andre in hand-eye coordination was McEnroe. The only person in Andre's league as a serve returner was Connors. But he doesn't really play like either one of those guys. I've never seen anyone with Andre's ability to hold his position on the baseline and not give an inch. He can take a deep shot on the half-volley from there and hit it as if he were swinging at hip level, like a normal ground stroke. Because of that, he can dictate points like nobody I've ever seen."

Added Agassi's onetime coach, Brad Gilbert, "Because of Andre, now coaches don't teach their kids to return the ball deep to the backhand off an opponent's second serve. They teach them to crack it, like Andre does."

In attempt to lodge Agassi's place in history, here's a quick review of the penthouse, in alphabetical order:

Bjorn Borg: Pulled off the French-Wimbledon double three times in a row, a feat considered impossible among today's players. Won five straight Wimbledons and engaged McEnroe in that unforgettable 18-16 tiebreaker in 1980. Big part of the stay-back, two-hand backhand revolution. Won 11 majors, but never the U.S. Open. A legend at 21, gone at 26.

Don Budge: Born and raised in Oakland. First to win the Grand Slam, in 1938. Said to have one of the best backhands ever. The great Bill Tilden called him the best he'd ever seen for pure consistency. Eminently likable, huge crowd favorite, owned a 92-match win streak and the distinction of reaching the finals of six straight majors -- winning them all.

Jimmy Connors: Might have had the Slam in 1974, his greatest year (99-4), if he hadn't been banned from the French Open because of his association with the competing World Team Tennis. Won five U.S. Opens between '74 and '83. Gave new meaning to on-court aggression. Perhaps the most inspiring body language (in triumph) ever witnessed.

Pancho Gonzalez: Forget the theatrics of McEnroe, Ilie Nastase or even Rafael Nadal -- this was the greatest combination of grace, power, temper and panache. There wasn't a Hollywood actor with more style, although Gonzalez, due to his Mexican descent, had to fight his way through the L.A. establishment in the 1940s. Once there, he was the game's most commanding figure. Turned pro early, after twice winning the U.S. Championships (now the U.S. Open), and thus was banned from playing the majors for some 20 years. Continued to beat top players well into his 40s.

Jack Kramer: Won Wimbledon and two U.S. Championships, then turned pro, dominating everyone on those gypsy-like tours and setting bold standards with his serve-and-volley style. Lost three years to the Coast Guard in World War II, but never broke stride. For those who saw him, Kramer's elegance is an unforgettable memory. (In this mythical tournament, we're all using the old Kramer-model wood.)

Rod Laver: Perhaps the only player without an "if." He had every shot and was the ultimate sportsman. Won the Grand Slam as an amateur (1962) and as a professional (1969). Won 11 majors and missed another 21 until the Open Era let him back in. Said to be the father of modern topspin. The Rocket. Unparalleled.

John McEnroe: Falls short in longevity, but set lofty standards between 1979 and '84, when he won four U.S. Opens, three Wimbledons and held the edge over Connors and Borg. Never won the Australian or the French, and still agonizes over losing the '84 French final to Ivan Lendl (7-5 in the fifth). Inadvertently popularized the game by being an irreverent, incorrigible genius.

Pete Sampras: Won more majors (14) than anyone. Would probably be everyone's No. 1 if he'd won the French (he reached the '96 semis but didn't even clear the second round in his last five attempts). Epic farewell, going out with the 2002 U.S. Open title.

Bill Tilden: As the man who brought tennis into the Roaring Twenties mainstream, Tilden was his sport's answer to Babe Ruth and Red Grange. Totally invincible between 1920 and '26. Won Wimbledon both times he entered. Had .936 record (907-62) over 18 years as an amateur.

My own picks? I saw enough of Laver to close my personal case for No. 1. I also saw Gonzalez, in the dingy halls of the old L.A. Sports Arena, and I think he would beat Federer on the strength of his will. Sampras has to be No. 3, just on the numbers and his phenomenal reliability on huge points. I put Kramer fourth, imagining the joy of watching his all-court game. McEnroe has to be fifth -- just too much pure talent -- followed by Connors (stirred the soul) and Borg (boring style, yet an intriguing man of mystery).

Bypassing such esoteric picks as Ellsworth Vines and Lew Hoad (you should hear players of the '50s talk about his talent), I give Tilden and Budge their due in the eighth and ninth spots. And Agassi has to round out the field. Nobody ever struck the ball quite like him, and he carved out those eight majors in the Sampras era.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Experts' top ten

Why take The Chronicle's word on the top 10 men's tennis players of all time? For a truly authentic analysis, I asked the only three American writers on tennis' Hall of Fame nominating committee (and also the three I'd ask, anyway): TV analyst and Boston Globe columnist Bud Collins, historian and magazine writer Steve Flink, and the multi-faced media maven of Oakland, Joel Drucker. Here are their lists, in order. (We all agreed to wait on Federer until his career has ended; if anyone asked me, I'd have him at No. 4 -- and on the rise.)

-- Bruce Jenkins


Joel Drucker

Pete Sampras, Rod Laver,

Pancho Gonzalez, Jack Kramer, Don Budge, Bill Tilden, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, (tie) John McEnroe and Andre Agassi

Steve Flink

Sampras, Laver, Kramer, Tilden, Borg, Budge, Gonzalez, Connors, McEnroe, (tie) Lendl and Agassi

Bud Collins

Laver, Gonzalez, Tilden, Budge, Borg, Sampras, McEnroe, Connors, Ken Rosewall, (tie) Lendl and Kramer

E-mail Bruce Jenkins at bjenkins@sfchronicle.com.

angiel
09-18-2006, 03:44 PM
Posted on Fri, Sep. 15, 2006
Notes from the sports world . . .
By Scott Fowler

McClatchy Newspapers

(MCT)

Noting the sports world:



Before we hand off "Greatest of All Time" honors to Roger Federer in men's tennis, let's not forget just how incredible Pete Sampras was. Sampras still has 14 Grand Slam titles. Federer has nine. And on Thursday, the retired Sampras faced off against 2006 U.S. Open finalist Andy Roddick in Elton John's annual charity tournament in California.

The result? Sampras beat Roddick in straight sets.

---

© 2006, The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.).

the_natural
09-25-2006, 02:46 PM
thanks especially for that last one its a great article even if its only tiny, I dont agree with collins and that guy who wrote the article, pete is 2ND least of all (just cos he didnt win the french, but hes number 1 in my books)

angiel
09-26-2006, 05:51 PM
thanks especially for that last one its a great article even if its only tiny, I dont agree with collins and that guy who wrote the article, pete is 2ND least of all (just cos he didnt win the french, but hes number 1 in my books)


He is the greatest my friend, the grreatest. :) :D :worship: :wavey: