Re: Out Of Bounds - Sampras
It's 95% over for Sampras
(Manila Time) | Jun. 23, 2003
LONDON -- Seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras has admitted that he is now "95 percent" certain he has played his last professional match.
Sampras, who lifted the title at the All England Club from 1993 to 95 and 1997 to 2000, told the Sunday Times the time had come to leave the stage to younger stars after making it a record 14 Grand Slam titles at last year's US Open.
"It's time for other guys to hold up the trophies. I'm 95 percent sure I'm stopping," said Sampras, who turns 32 on August 12 and who held the year-end top ranking every season between 1993 and 1998 -- a record streak of six years.
"I'd been putting off the decision and putting off the decision in the hope that something would come back."
But after some practice sessions with coach Paul Annacone the old warrior said he knew his time was up.
"On the third day I called over to Paul and said 'let's sit down for a second.' He knew what was coming.
"I said 'this is real. I can't do it.' I just knew my heart wasn't in it. It wasn't my body that felt bad. It was just getting up and going to practice."
When Sampras beat old rival Andre Agassi at last year's US Open it was his first title success since his record-breaking achievement of a seventh Wimbledon crown in 2000, snapping a drought of 33 events.
The Washington-born star has won more than 43 million dollars and 64 singles titles in his career since turning professional in 1988.
He finished last season ranked 13, his first finish out of the world top 10 since 1989.
At Wimbledon, Sampras boasts a win-loss career record of 63-7.
Last year he lost to unheralded George Bastl of Switzerland in the second round, a defeat which will now prove to be his swansong showing at the tournament where he proved unbeatable between 1993 and 2000 -- save for a 1996 quarterfinal reverse to Dutchman Richard Krajicek.