Why Did Sampras Quit So Young? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Why Did Sampras Quit So Young?

lordmanji
11-08-2006, 02:10 AM
31 when he played his last slam and won at the us open in 2002. agassi was 36 retiring this year. but with sampras's game much less stressful than a agassi-type baseliner game, i wonder why he retired five years earlier than andre.

was the game starting to pass him by where hed start losing to guys he hadn't lost to before? while he won no titles in 01, he was a finalist in 01 at Indian Wells TMS, Long Island, Los Angeles, US Open and in 2002--Houston. if so, how could he possibly lose to these guys? loss of motivation? or just guys were better? so many questions...:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

nkhera1
11-08-2006, 02:21 AM
He himself said he stopped training as hard after he got #13, plus he got married and probably lost interest.

Katastrophe
11-08-2006, 02:28 AM
I remember watching the USO final in 2000, and to me he had clearly lost a step. That, and having to deal with his thalassemia minor played a part for sure, when he could no longer blow people off the court. He couldn't physically keep up with the younger guys and he knew it.

As sad a day that was when he retired, I was glad he did. Unlike Agassi who could continue successfully into his 30's, I honestly don't think Pete could. He went out with class. :)

Fee
11-08-2006, 02:50 AM
Pete had put so much of his life into maintaining the number one position for years and years and going after those slams, that it took a toll on him a few years sooner than his fans had wanted it to. He said many times it was emotionally and physically draining to live tennis 24 hours a day like he did. He had accomplished just about everything he wanted in tennis, and everything he thought he could, and he was able to walk away on his terms, content with the career he had. Not many can say that.

Also, Agassi has said that the time he was away from the tour during the course of his career may have helped him stay out there longer. Pete never had a break like that, did he? Except for the back injury, I don't remember him ever being out of the game for more than a few weeks at a time.

JW10S
11-08-2006, 03:26 AM
In tennis years 31 is not so young. Sampras had been playing full time on tour since he was 16. The body can only take so much pounding regardless of chronological age. Agassi after all is the exception, not the rule, for players succeeding past the age of 30.

screaminhead
11-08-2006, 06:56 AM
Winning the US Open '02, with almost everyone writing him off at that time, was like a storybook ending to his career. No matter how much greatness you achieved, how many records you broke & set, how many innovations & class you brought to the game, people will most often remember the last thing that you did before you left. I guess in part, he wanted to go out with class and he knew that he could never top that US Open title in the coming years. This was what he said in an article i saved from espn.com when he won the US Open in '02 and was practicing for the Wimbledon 03 ...

"I had Wimbledon in the back of my mind and felt like once that event came around, I might get myself going, get training and practicing," Sampras said. "And once I started that process of starting to practice, after three days, I was done.
"I just didn't want to practice. I didn't want to train. I didn't want to do everything you have to do. I feel like I did it all.
"I think that's when it hit me."

"I thought about it a little bit during the two weeks, but I never realistically thought I was going to win and stop.
"It's a process, retirement. It's not something you wake up one day and say 'I'm retired.' You need to go through all the emotions, and I did that. I went through everything I had to go through to be convinced I'm 100 percent done. And that's where I am right now."

Every athlete goes through this, when you think you've finally achieved everything you aimed for and contributed all that you have in the game, the reality starts to creep in that you are done with the game. It came to Agassi this year and not three years ago like with Sampras because Agassi still has his heart in it, he felt like he could hang around a few more years, accomplish & give something back to the game & to the fans as well.



As sad a day that was when he retired, I was glad he did. Unlike Agassi who could continue successfully into his 30's, I honestly don't think Pete could. He went out with class. :)

I totally agree with this. As much as I enjoyed watching Pete play, for me he couldn't have picked a more perfect time to retire.

J. Corwin
11-08-2006, 06:59 AM
IMO he had nothing left to give (doesn't he have some sort of blood disorder?) and he only stayed around til USO 02 to prove to the doubters that he still had another slam in him. He had nothing left to prove after that and the records speak for themselves. :cool: Of course not everyone's an Agassi. ;)

Katastrophe
11-08-2006, 02:53 PM
IMO he had nothing left to give (doesn't he have some sort of blood disorder?) and he only stayed around til USO 02 to prove to the doubters that he still had another slam in him. He had nothing left to prove after that and the records speak for themselves. :cool: Of course not everyone's an Agassi. ;)

Yes he does. It's called thalassemia minor, an inherited disease that causes anemia. It really limits a person's physical endurance. Lucky for Pete, most of the time his matches didn't go the distance. ;)

He was interviewed recently about that epic match with Corretja at the USO in '96. You could definitely see how fatigue was pushing him to the wall. He said he thought he was still okay, starting drinking some Coke and then...

(Pete's quote): "Yeah, it (the coke) didn't really sit well with me."

For those of us who saw what happened in that match, what he said was an understatement. :p

lordmanji
11-08-2006, 03:24 PM
Winning the US Open '02, with almost everyone writing him off at that time, was like a storybook ending to his career. No matter how much greatness you achieved, how many records you broke & set, how many innovations & class you brought to the game, people will most often remember the last thing that you did before you left. I guess in part, he wanted to go out with class and he knew that he could never top that US Open title in the coming years. This was what he said in an article i saved from espn.com when he won the US Open in '02 and was practicing for the Wimbledon 03 ...

"I had Wimbledon in the back of my mind and felt like once that event came around, I might get myself going, get training and practicing," Sampras said. "And once I started that process of starting to practice, after three days, I was done.
"I just didn't want to practice. I didn't want to train. I didn't want to do everything you have to do. I feel like I did it all.
"I think that's when it hit me."

"I thought about it a little bit during the two weeks, but I never realistically thought I was going to win and stop.
"It's a process, retirement. It's not something you wake up one day and say 'I'm retired.' You need to go through all the emotions, and I did that. I went through everything I had to go through to be convinced I'm 100 percent done. And that's where I am right now."

Every athlete goes through this, when you think you've finally achieved everything you aimed for and contributed all that you have in the game, the reality starts to creep in that you are done with the game. It came to Agassi this year and not three years ago like with Sampras because Agassi still has his heart in it, he felt like he could hang around a few more years, accomplish & give something back to the game & to the fans as well.



I totally agree with this. As much as I enjoyed watching Pete play, for me he couldn't have picked a more perfect time to retire.

i think sampras wouldve stayed longer if federer had started his run a little earlier. i think he quit thinking his grand slam record was pretty secure, after all the closest anyone had come to emerson's (padded) record was borg with 11 slams. now hearing him talk, he wants to take on federer in an exhibition and with that sort of motivation, if goaded on would probably play at least wimbledon with a wc...

GlennMirnyi
11-08-2006, 03:37 PM
Maybe because he didn't want to embarass himself and lose to some Becker in his last match.

J. Corwin
11-08-2006, 03:52 PM
With a beautiful actress wife like Bridgette I would wanna stay home too. ;)

Boris Franz Ecker
11-08-2006, 03:54 PM
Yes he does. It's called thalassemia minor, an inherited disease that causes anemia. It really limits a person's physical endurance. Lucky for Pete, most of the time his matches didn't go the distance. ;)


Sampras is 33-15 in 5-setters, that's one of the best values for any player.
He had no problems with his condition.

J. Corwin
11-08-2006, 03:55 PM
i think sampras wouldve stayed longer if federer had started his run a little earlier. i think he quit thinking his grand slam record was pretty secure, after all the closest anyone had come to emerson's (padded) record was borg with 11 slams. now hearing him talk, he wants to take on federer in an exhibition and with that sort of motivation, if goaded on would probably play at least wimbledon with a wc...

Good point! Pete's an ultra competitive guy and I agree he would love nothing better than to teach Fed a few lessons if their generations overlapped more. :lol: Sadly you almost hear a hint of resignation in his voice now. :p

Yes he does. It's called thalassemia minor, an inherited disease that causes anemia. It really limits a person's physical endurance. Lucky for Pete, most of the time his matches didn't go the distance. ;)

He was interviewed recently about that epic match with Corretja at the USO in '96. You could definitely see how fatigue was pushing him to the wall. He said he thought he was still okay, starting drinking some Coke and then...

(Pete's quote): "Yeah, it (the coke) didn't really sit well with me."

For those of us who saw what happened in that match, what he said was an understatement. :p

Thanks! I really should have read the rest of this thread before posting lol.

Katastrophe
11-08-2006, 04:04 PM
[QUOTE=Thanks! I really should have read the rest of this thread before posting lol.[/QUOTE]

Not a lot of people knew about it because he was able to control it so well. I didn't see him struggle much either. Occasionally you'd see him feel it in the heat, but he rarely lost. :)

jazar
11-08-2006, 07:03 PM
agassi being from las vegas was a showman and kinda wanted to go out with everyone watching. sampras was always a quieter, more reserved character and the more he had gone on, the more people would have asked him when he was gonna retire and people would have known it was coming. the way he did it suited his personality and kept him happy

lordmanji
11-09-2006, 12:44 AM
im reading a biography on sampras now and it mentions how he broke serve in a match by slicing the return down the line. also, the book makes a point that to win wimbledon you have to not just serve but return well. from then on pete would start blocking back returns. perhaps federer read it too :) :) :)

R.Federer
11-09-2006, 12:49 AM
No better way to leave then when you're on the top (winning a slam is sort of like that), especially when your body is no longer going to be in peak shape, the up and comers have upped and come, your chances are most certainly going to dwindle in the future, and you have a young family you can focus on after years of grinding it out on the tour.

He was not young for a professional athlete in a quite physically demanding sport like tennis.

Merton
11-09-2006, 12:50 AM
In tennis years 31 is not so young. Sampras had been playing full time on tour since he was 16. The body can only take so much pounding regardless of chronological age. Agassi after all is the exception, not the rule, for players succeeding past the age of 30.

This is an excellent point, cummulative time spent on court matters more than age itself. The physical and pshycological stress eventually take their toll on the body.

Emilio
11-09-2006, 12:52 AM
he had scary from Safin

lordmanji
11-09-2006, 01:10 AM
No better way to leave then when you're on the top (winning a slam is sort of like that), especially when your body is no longer going to be in peak shape, the up and comers have upped and come, your chances are most certainly going to dwindle in the future, and you have a young family you can focus on after years of grinding it out on the tour.

He was not young for a professional athlete in a quite physically demanding sport like tennis.

you'd have a point if it were not for the fact that sampras was such a gifted athlete. unlike agassi who had awkward pigeon steps across the court, sampras's was fluid and languid movement. Effortl without effort. factor in that his type of tennis - serve and volley tennis - isnt exactly the most exacting on the body as a clay courter or a retriever's game like chang, courier and hewitt - i dont buy into the argument that sampras's body broke down. Courier and Chang, retiring at age 30 and 31 respectively, I can buy but Sampras retiring at the same age? NO WAY.

I am on the camp of some of the other posts who have said he just started lacking motivation after his wimbledon win in 2000 giving him 13 grand slams - one more than Emerson for most of all time. 14 was just the icing on the cake, the security blanket that his record would never be threatened. So he left. There was nothing left to prove. I think that can be the only explanation.



P.S. then came federer...

Merton
11-09-2006, 05:13 AM
you'd have a point if it were not for the fact that sampras was such a gifted athlete. unlike agassi who had awkward pigeon steps across the court, sampras's was fluid and languid movement. Effortl without effort. factor in that his type of tennis - serve and volley tennis - isnt exactly the most exacting on the body as a clay courter or a retriever's game like chang, courier and hewitt - i dont buy into the argument that sampras's body broke down. Courier and Chang, retiring at age 30 and 31 respectively, I can buy but Sampras retiring at the same age? NO WAY.

I am on the camp of some of the other posts who have said he just started lacking motivation after his wimbledon win in 2000 giving him 13 grand slams - one more than Emerson for most of all time. 14 was just the icing on the cake, the security blanket that his record would never be threatened. So he left. There was nothing left to prove. I think that can be the only explanation.



P.S. then came federer...

How is type of play related with longevity? Even if a certain type of play afforrds for less body stress per minute of play, eventually numbers will inevitably add up. Not to mention the fact that the pshycological stress is not measurable.

R.Federer
11-09-2006, 05:38 AM
you'd have a point if it were not for the fact that sampras was such a gifted athlete. unlike agassi who had awkward pigeon steps across the court, sampras's was fluid and languid movement. Effortl without effort. factor in that his type of tennis - serve and volley tennis - isnt exactly the most exacting on the body as a clay courter or a retriever's game like chang, courier and hewitt - i dont buy into the argument that sampras's body broke down. Courier and Chang, retiring at age 30 and 31 respectively, I can buy but Sampras retiring at the same age? NO WAY.

I am on the camp of some of the other posts who have said he just started lacking motivation after his wimbledon win in 2000 giving him 13 grand slams - one more than Emerson for most of all time. 14 was just the icing on the cake, the security blanket that his record would never be threatened. So he left. There was nothing left to prove. I think that can be the only explanation.



P.S. then came federer...


Yes, this was the official line when he retired. That he had nothing left to prove, and (between the lines) that he had amassed a great number of majors that he had built a legacy that probably would not be threatened.

I mean, I don't know, but I think it is unlikely he would come out and say "because my body simply cannot work like it did 11 years ago" or "yes I agree with Grusedski that I'm a bit slower". It's not just sportspeople, everybody's physical abilities decline with age, so why would it not be the case for someone who had taxed it day in and day out year after year?

By the way, Chang and Courier and their style of play did lead them to decline far quicker than Pete's languid style had him retire. Chang, well he didn't retire, but sorry to say he might as well have given how quickly his results deteriorated on the pro tour.

lordmanji
11-09-2006, 07:15 AM
Yes, this was the official line when he retired. That he had nothing left to prove, and (between the lines) that he had amassed a great number of majors that he had built a legacy that probably would not be threatened.

I mean, I don't know, but I think it is unlikely he would come out and say "because my body simply cannot work like it did 11 years ago" or "yes I agree with Grusedski that I'm a bit slower". It's not just sportspeople, everybody's physical abilities decline with age, so why would it not be the case for someone who had taxed it day in and day out year after year?

By the way, Chang and Courier and their style of play did lead them to decline far quicker than Pete's languid style had him retire. Chang, well he didn't retire, but sorry to say he might as well have given how quickly his results deteriorated on the pro tour.

yes, after 97 where he won five titles, his results despite two titles were horrible. he was never a grand slam contender again. in his book, interestingly enough he mentions how after 97 he shouldve rested but his brother carl insisted he train harder and beef up his game in the off season - similar to carl's own go for broke game - and that taxed his body too much leading to an injury-plagued year while also taking him away from the retriever style that made him successful. i think he started to play out of his comfort zone and as commentators have mentioned, try to go toe to toe with the big hitters. this dilemma is now facing hewitt. i hope hewitt remembers though what got him to the top in the first place.

moon language
11-09-2006, 07:37 AM
Haha wow I never thought of Sampras as "young" when he retired. I guess Agassi really threw off people's notions of what is "old" in tennis.

You could see Sampras losing it bit by bit starting around the age of 27.

mtw
11-09-2006, 11:02 AM
He had enough. He was not so very young as tennisplayer.

Experimentee
11-09-2006, 12:00 PM
31 is not young in tennis. He was starting to slow down and was definitely past his peak, so it was a good time for him to retire. Not everyone can play well into their 30's like Agassi. And I disagree with S&V game being more easy on the body than baseline, in fact it takes a lot of effort to keep rushing the net after every serve.

lordmanji
11-09-2006, 05:54 PM
31 is not young in tennis. He was starting to slow down and was definitely past his peak, so it was a good time for him to retire. Not everyone can play well into their 30's like Agassi. And I disagree with S&V game being more easy on the body than baseline, in fact it takes a lot of effort to keep rushing the net after every serve.

sampras slowing down i believe was a result of a lack of motivation. without motivation, you train less hard. unlike agassi who wasted so many years of his talent rebelling and finding himself, sampras was at the top of the game for six straight years and near the top in the years before and after that. guys like henman and bjorkman and fabrice at 32, 34, 34 years are still grinding it out on the tour because they still have motivation to keep their bodies in the best possible condition.

you can disagree with me on s and v being more taxing but most people would laugh at you :devil: on the baseline, you're running more and making more abrupt stops. moreover, a baseline point lasts longer than a serve and volley point. compare how many points it takes for chang to win a point than sampras then perhaps reconsider your statement :wavey:

moon language
11-09-2006, 09:58 PM
sampras slowing down i believe was a result of a lack of motivation. without motivation, you train less hard. unlike agassi who wasted so many years of his talent rebelling and finding himself, sampras was at the top of the game for six straight years and near the top in the years before and after that. guys like henman and bjorkman and fabrice at 32, 34, 34 years are still grinding it out on the tour because they still have motivation to keep their bodies in the best possible condition.

you can disagree with me on s and v being more taxing but most people would laugh at you :devil: on the baseline, you're running more and making more abrupt stops. moreover, a baseline point lasts longer than a serve and volley point. compare how many points it takes for chang to win a point than sampras then perhaps reconsider your statement :wavey:

Whether it's motivation or physical breakdown, or both, he had a lot of miles on him. Guys like Henman etc are obviously well past their best years despite still playing. I don't know why Sampras would have wanted to go out like that. People thought he should have retired before 2002.

almouchie
11-09-2006, 11:03 PM
a class act
simply the best in my eyes

I have read in several places that sampras would be up to playing federer in an exhibition
why federer has said its interesting but refused to say more
as he is the one who has more to lose.
he might change his mind in a few years time,
but would be a great match to see

scoobs
11-09-2006, 11:18 PM
At the time it was a confusing sort of retirement because after winning the Open in 02 there was talk of him play Australia, then the French, then Wimbledon...but it didn't happen and it was said his long protracted retirement was a dumb way to go.

But with the perspective of a few years, all of that is rightly forgotten and all we really see is that he went out on the highest of highs, winning his last match and a 14th slam title. It really was the perfect end to a superb career in many ways - Agassi in the final, the US Open, book-ending his slams that started at the US Open in 1990 with the last one at the US Open 12 years later...

And it was one of those rare instances of a player knowing went to stop and doing so.

Agassi chose a different path and fair enough - the showman wanted to do a farewell tour and did one, of sorts. Still it would perhaps have been more fitting if he had retired after the 05 US Open final loss to Federer than a hobbling loss to Benjamin Becker in R3 one year later.

Who knows.

Pete, though, got it right, as he got so many things right. Amazing player.

ezekiel
11-09-2006, 11:28 PM
he got bored ?