August 26, 2003
The Best Ever?
They tried to make it as big as they could at the U.S. Open tonight, with a cascade of flags and a host of highlights and a Broadway singer serenading him at mid-court. They tried to give Pete Sampras a send-off in proper proportion to his mammoth career, but that was an impossible mission, and besides, all the pomp and circumstance in the world was no match for the simple act of gratitude performed by the fans at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
One by one, they rose to clap on his behalf, the applause swelling to such a crescendo Sampras, 32, was nearly swept off the court. A minute into the standing ovation, he started to quietly weep. Two minutes in, he broke down completely, using one hand to cover his face and the other to acknowledge the crowd.
Quiet, unassuming, professional, and one of the best ever- he never got the respect he deserved, IMHO.
Filed under Sports by John Cole
When it comes to class and professionalism, nothing can top Sampras. However, in terms of greatest ever, I'd have to go with Rod Laver, who (like Ted Williams) won 11 Grand Slam titles (including 2 Grand Slams) despite missing out on 5 years of opens in the prime of his career.
Posted by: Norbizness on August 26, 2003
It's an enduring irony that flamboyant tennis players who had a lot less to offer than Pete Sampras have always gotten louder accolades and more love -- but then, the same could be said of Bjorn Borg.
Posted by: Francis W. Porretto on August 26, 2003
All that and he is able to say that he dumped Kimberly Williams.
Posted by: Ricky on August 26, 2003
Pete was THE best, period IMO. 14 titles, a record six years at No. 1. And he did it with consistency and hard work and without whining.
I think the no-whining part kept him from the spotlight, look at McnRoe for chrissakes.
Posted by: Tman on August 26, 2003
Sampras is the Stan Musial of tennis--arguably the greatest player of his generation (probably more than arguably in the case of Sampras), but overshadowed by more spectacular and/or colorful talents. Fifty years from now, tennis fans will still be looking at Sampras' records the way that a baseball fan looks at Musial's numbers, and they will wonder why there are so many more stories about Agassi, Connors, and McEnroe.
Posted by: M. Scott Eiland on August 26, 2003