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Old 12-22-2005, 10:39 PM   #1
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Default Old News, About Him.





Still No. 1

Sampras virtually unaffected by missing Australian Open

Posted: Monday February 01, 1999 12:45 PM




LONDON (Reuters) -- World No. 1 Pete Sampras gambled by missing the Australian Open but it paid off Monday when the new ATP world rankings showed him still on top.

His lead, following the first Grand Slam of the year, has been eaten away from 351 points to just 214, but the statistic that counts remained the same.

Five men had the chance to topple the American when the action started at Melbourne Park two weeks ago but were undone either by lackluster performances or bad luck.

Home hope Pat Rafter fizzled out as early as the third round, losing in four sets to eventual finalist Thomas Enqvist. He could have become the first Australian to top the rankings since John Newcombe in 1974.

World No. 5 and French Open champion Carlos Moya failed to make it past the first round.

World No. 7 Andre Agassi would have had a chance but Moya's defeat meant he could no longer accumulate enough of the bonus points awarded for victories over top 10 players.

Marcelo Rios, second before the Open and now ranked sixth, pulled out with a back injury without striking a ball.

French Open runner-up Alex Corretja fell to unheralded Norwegian Christian Ruud in the second round.

Eventually it was left to Yevgeny Kafelnikov to take the title.

His second Grand Slam victory - the first was the 1996 French Open -- lifted the Russian to No. 3 in the world and he acknowledged Sampras in accepting the trophy.

"My last message is to one person -- Pete," he grinned, "This is a great, wonderful feeling. Thanks for letting me do that."

Sampras finished 1998 as the number one player in the world for a record sixth consecutive time.

But the effort of beating Jimmy Connors's record of five straight years in the 1970s took its toll.

Trailing around the end-of-season European tournaments to pick up valuable points left Sampras fatigued and unprepared for Melbourne.

With the ranking record under his belt, Sampras is now gunning for Roy Emerson's record of 12 Grand Slam titles.

Wimbledon 1998 was his 11th and many players were surprised by his absence in Australia, the first Grand Slam tournament he has missed since the 1992 Australian Open.

After breaking the rankings record, Sampras said: "You need the game, you need the heart and you need the mind. Some guys have two of the three, but to do it for six years you need to have everything."

Sampras's decision to leave Australia alone this year could be the proof that he certainly has the brains.

Wimbledon was his sole Slam success last year and remains his best chance for glory this year.

If Sampras uses the first part of the year to recharge his batteries and build up to Wimbledon in June and the U.S. Open in September, his name could find its way into the history books yet again -- this time as a record Grand Slam winner.

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Old 12-22-2005, 10:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Old News, About Him.

Sun. Jun 15, 2003


Sports



Pete undecided on future

AFP, Paris

US legend Pete Sampras, who is taking a break from tennis that looks more and more like an undeclared retirement, said Saturday that he will make a decision on his future at the end of this year.

Sampras has not played an ATP event since winning the US Open title last September, his record 14th Grand Slam singles crown.

"I don't want to totally close the door," the 31-year-old former world number one told the French sports daily L'Equipe.

"I've given myself to the end to the year to make a decision on whether to stop or not; maybe in November or December after more than a year without competition I'll feel like playing some tournaments again."

Sampras, who has won 64 ATP titles, and won more than 43.2 million dollars in his career, admitted that past achievements coupled with happiness on the domestic front with wife Brigitte and nine-month old son Christian Charles, meant he had trouble motivating himself for tennis.

"If I had made a comeback in the middle of the season, I've have done it at Wimbledon," he said.

"Two months ago I started training again seriously with the aim of going back to Wimbledon. But it didn't last, my heart wasn't in it any more.

"This decision not to go to Wimbledon was followed immediately by that not to play in 2003, because If I can't motivate myself for the tournament that I put above all the others, it's not even worth thinking about the rest."

"I said to myself: 'What do you have to prove?' And I said 'stop'. I stayed at home, I stopped training. I didn't have any aim, I can no longer have any aim after all that I achieved in my career and what happened in the US Open."

The American said that if he did decide to continue next year it would be to play at Wimbledon or the US Open, but that he would not bid to chase the only title missing from his collection - the French Open.

"It's final. You won't be seeing me again at Roland Garros," said the Los Angeles-based player.

"I came every year for nearly 15 years, I did everything I could to win this title, so I can forget it without having any regrets."

But his heart will always be at the All England Club, where he won seven titles, and will be in spirit on June 23.
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Old 12-22-2005, 10:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: Old News, About Him.

America's ace of place leaves us with a volley of tears



Pete Sampras came back to Arthur Ashe Stadium last night to say goodbye. He should have been standing at the net, unpassable, but somebody who doesn't know tennis put the microphone near the baseline.

He'd driven to the National Tennis Center in the twilight, grabbing hold of his emotions. He told himself he would not be addressing Congress, that he was merely talking to tennis fans. But his voice had cracked when he told the journalists he was done, when he thanked his parents for their support, when he thought again about leaving the sport. Then he cried a bit before the big crowd.

"It's something I love to do and something I've done since I was 7," he said. "It's not easy. This is the last time I'm going to be here."

The other players watched from the stands and the locker rooms last night, from a distance, as they always had. They talked about him quietly.

Sampras was never the most fun to watch on the court. He wasn't the life of the locker room, either. He had a deceptive hangdog look, and his tennis was so perfect that few felt comfortable approaching him unless asked. He rarely issued such an invitation. He says now he can see sharing future Christmas dinners with Andre Agassi. But when he was playing, he was a severe captain of the courts.

"He does not want to share his thoughts," Yevgeny Kafelnikov said, inside the door of a player's lounge. "He put a lot of fear in players."

Back in April 2002, when Sampras blew a Davis Cup match on grass in Houston against Alex Corretja, Kafelnikov suggested that Sampras was embarrassing himself and should retire immediately. Kafelnikov wasn't the only one who thought that way, but nobody else on the tour dared to say it.

"I never questioned his ability," Kafelnikov said. "I questioned whether he wanted to win or not. You travel with him, watch him play every week, I never thought he could win again like that."

Kafelnikov was talking about the U.S. Open final last year, Pete's victory over Agassi, the perfect ending.

"Most of us haven't seen or heard from him in a year," Todd Martin said.

Hours before Sampras' retirement ceremony, these other players had spilled out onto the courts yesterday for the first round. They scrambled back and forth behind the baselines. Forehand down the line, crosscourt backhand. Rinse, and repeat.

A few players dared to serve and volley. Greg Rusedski ... Todd Martin ... the usual suspects. Mardy Fish, one of America's young hopes, ventured forward cautiously.

None of them looked like Sampras once did. Nobody was as persistent, as exacting. None of them placed his serves on a dime, on the tiny residue of a raindrop. His art is dying, which is what made his retirement so much sadder than just a champion's farewell.

When Sampras left last night, he took a big piece of the net game with him.

"The serve-and-volley game is all but gone now and I worry about that," Sampras said, talking wistfully about the potential of Roger Federer, an all-court genius.

A few years ago there were so many great volleyers, from Stefan Edberg to Michael Stich, from Goran Ivanisevic to Richard Krajicek, from Pat Cash to Pat Rafter. The women had their share, too — from Martina Navratilova to Jana Novotna.

Sampras was the king. "Art in motion," Fish said.

It was always different playing Sampras than it was the one-dimensional bombers like Mark Philippoussis. "Some players have great serves, but Pete has a great service game," Agassi said.

Sampras always took advantage of his heavy serves, had an uncanny feel for angles. He rarely bothered to break opponents more than once in a set.

"All he needed was one break," Fish said. Fish remembered watching Sampras train at Saddle Brook in Tampa, where coaches would place cones in the box and Sampras would knock them all over on 10 straight serves.

"Nobody could ever get a lob over his head," Fish said. "His net coverage after his first serve, he would get so tight. He'd knock off an overhead like nobody else."

Sampras quit last night. The U.S. Tennis Association sent him off with a cluttered musical salute, filled with frills and everything that the classical Sampras never was. He could put up with it, even enjoy it, for a night. Now, Sampras says, he will be a good husband to Bridgette and watch his boy, Christian, grow up.

"He quit kind of like the way he did things," Brad Gilbert said. "He did them well and quietly."

Goodbye to a man, to a career. Maybe worst of all, goodbye to a playing style.

Originally published on August 25, 2003
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Old 12-22-2005, 11:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Old News, About Him.





Sunday, July 4, 1999 Published at 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK


Sport: Tennis

Sampras: King of SW19




Pete Sampras's sixth Wimbledon title in seven years has cemented his place in tennis history as the game's greatest grass court player.

He achieved his 1999 title with typical flair - two second serve aces - and in doing so tied Roy Emerson's record of 12 Grand Slam titles, passing Bjorn Borg to become Wimbledon's greatest men's singles champion of the last 100 years.

Despite his success, Sampras remains a reluctant hero.

As a man he is fiercely private, but as a champion he demands that others appreciate his achievements.

His pursuit of Grand Slam titles might have begun as a painfully shy 19-year-old at the US Open in 1990, but it was at Wimbledon in 1993, when he defeated Jim Courier in the final, that his career came of age.

Master of the grass

He has never looked back, treating the 1996 blip against Holland's Richard Krajicek in the quarter-finals with typical contempt to secure consecutive wins over the next three years.

This year's tournament, more than most in recent years, has tested him to the full.




He wandered through with hardly so much as a by-your-leave. The Americans have been as besotted as the British by the retirement of Boris Becker, the renaissance of Andre Agassi, the birth of a new sensation in Alexandra Stevenson, and John McEnroe's mixed doubles magic.

Sampras's progress has simply followed its normal route, undisturbed, understated.

"It's been a strange Wimbledon," he said. "There's no magic formula for dealing with what happens when the schedule is disrupted, in fact, in my quarter-final against Mark Philippoussis, I didn't handle anything very well.

"I've never had a secret here at Wimbledon. I suppose it has helped having been here for 10 years, renting a house in the village, living the same kind of existence every year.

"I had a massage after the Philippoussis match, went home, rented a couple of videos, ate a nice dinner, went to bed, slept well. That's me."

Champion of champions

If he appears understated, his tennis is not. The record books continue to be filled with his exploits and his 1999 victory will send shivers down the spine of his rivals.




This was Sampras at his weakest, we were all told before the tournament began.

In the last 18 months, he had sustained a number of injuries and there were signs that the game was moving into a post-Sampras era.

Last year, Sampras won four titles, including Wimbledon where he beat Goran Ivanisevic in five service-battering sets, and handed over the number one spot to Marcelo Rios before winning it back at the year-end for a record sixth successive year.

The effort required to stay at the top for so long clearly took its toll on the 27-year-old, both physically and mentally.

His decision not to play Davis Cup for the US made him few friends and tennis seemed to give him little enjoyment in 1998 as he constantly complained about the drudgery of the tour.

It was brave decision to take some time off but it worked wonders for Sampras's psyche. "Not going to Australia was perhaps not the best decision as far as tennis is concerned but it was the best decision of my life," he said.

"I was exhausted, both physically and mentally, and I needed to take some time off."

"After all those years I felt like a robot," he said in May.

Doubters proved wrong

The bookmakers again made Sampras favourite for Wimbledon after his success at Queens. But the doubters remained sure that this time he would slip up.

He did not of course. And if one considers his history - in form or not - he should never be underestimated.

Whether he returns to defend his title next year remains to be seen. He has complained that he is tired of the tour.

"The older I get, I feel I want to start to enjoy more of what I'm doing," he said.

"You think, 'Is this worth it?' If you don't enjoy the victories, it's not. I've been at this level, this high level that people have come to expect from me, for a long time now.

"The expectation is flattering, in a way. But at times I want people to appreciate how difficult it has been."

Few could disagree.

No-one has done more on a tennis court than the mild-mannered American, a man whose name will live on for as long as the game is played.

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Old 12-24-2005, 05:36 PM   #5
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Sunday, 9 July, 2000, 22:40 GMT 23:40 UK

Sampras' magnificent seven




(1) P Sampras (US) bt (12) P Rafter (Aus) 6-7 (10-12) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-2


A tearful Pete Sampras became the most successful player in men's tennis by claiming the Wimbledon singles crown for a seventh time.

The all-conquering American eclipsed Roy Emerson's record of 12 Grand Slams by snuffing out the threat of Pat Rafter in a rain-affected match.

There to see Sampras' triumph on Centre Court were his ecstatic parents, who were quick to embrace their son minutes after he had clinched victory.

It was an emotional moment - and one which lit up the All England Club in the gathering gloom.

Emotions

Sampras certainly found it hard to stop the tears from rolling down his cheeks.

"It means so much to me," he said as he pondered his achievement.

The match eventually finished just shy of 2100 BST but was worth the wait.





Until Sampras took control of the match midway through the fourth set, it was by no means certain just who would prevail.

Both players were in top form, Sampras showing no signs of the tendinitis injury which had dogged him for most of the championships.

But it was Rafter who started slightly the better.

Deep

The Australian won the first set after a lengthy tie-break - but needed to dig deep into his reserves to do so.

Resuming at 4-4 and deuce after a two-and-a-half hour break, he was in danger of handing Sampras a crucial break when he served a double fault.





But, with the atmosphere beginning to build, the 12th seed held his nerve as the set went down to the wire.

Sampras' serve, normally so reliable, let him down in a big way in the tie-break.

Both players had chances but the American cracked first, his fifth double fault giving Rafter the opening set.

It was a totally different story in the second set.

Gasket

That also went to a tie-break - but this time it was Rafter who blew a gasket when seemingly in control.

At 4-1 up, he was on course to increase his lead as Sampras threw in another double fault and then over-hit a regulation forehand.

But the defending champion hit back in stunning fashion, celebrating his fifth straight point with a rare show of emotion.





That gave him a firm grip of the tie-break - and he did not let go as he squared the match up a one set apiece.

Sampras seemed to step up a gear as a result, putting Rafter's serve under even more pressure with a string of fiercely-hit returns.

They eventually took their toll in the fifth game of the third set.

Convert

Sampras had failed to convert any of the nine break points which had previously come his way.

But he made the 10th count as he went 3-2 in front.

That breakthrough proved vital, Rafter battling hard to level but failing to stop Sampras from claiming the set 6-4.





The fifth game was also the important one in the fourth set.

Sampras broke for only the second time in the match to take another giant step towards victory.

With the light fading, there were concerns that the match would have to be suspended until Monday.

But Sampras ensured there was no need to make a special trip back to Centre Court by breaking again in the seventh game.
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Old 12-24-2005, 05:42 PM   #6
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Lucky No. 13


Sampras sets record with win against Rafter



WIMBLEDON, England (CNN/SI) - Nothing was going to stop Pete Sampras from history on this fortnight, not the weather, the darkness, or the injury that had hampered him for nearly two weeks.

Sampras overcame Patrick Rafter in four sets Sunday to win his seventh Wimbledon title and record-breaking 13th Grand Slam championship.

Sampras served 27 aces and whipped 13 passing shot winners to beat Rafter 6-7 (10-12), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-2 in a rain-delayed match that ended at dusk.

After Sampras hit a service winner on match point, he threw both arms in the air, then bent over, put his hands to his eyes, bit his lower lip and began to cry.

Sampras climbed into the stands and hugged his tearful father, Sam, and mother, Gloria, who came to Wimbledon for the first time to watch him go for the record.

Even tournament referee Alan Mills' eyes brimmed with tears.

The victory confirmed Sampras' place as among the greatest players of all time -- if not the greatest.

The 28-year-old American matched the record of seven Wimbledon titles, set by William Renshaw in the 1880s, and surpassed the men's record of 12 Grand Slam tournament victories he had shared with Australia's Roy Emerson.

Sampras has won 28 straight matches at Wimbledon, extending his mark there to 53-1 over the past eight years.

"It meant so much to me," he said. "My parents are here today. It's so important to me they could share it with me.

"I love Wimbledon. This is the best court in the world. It's my home away from home."

Sampras also is only the sixth player in history to win Wimbledon four straight years. The last to do it was Bjorn Borg, who won five straight from 1976-80.

Sampras accomplished the feat despite tendinitis at the front of his left shin, which hobbled him most of the fortnight.

In the end, he did it the way he always has -- by outserving his opponent.

Firing first serves at an average speed of 123 mph, with a top delivery of 133 mph, Sampras was never broken Sunday, saving the only two break points against him. He broke Rafter three times.

In seven Wimbledon finals, Sampras has lost his serve only four times in 131 service games.

But mixed in with all his aces and service winners Sunday, Sampras also had 12 double-faults, including several at crucial junctures that nearly cost him the match.

Sampras hit two double-faults in the first-set tiebreaker, including one at 11-10 that gave Rafter the set.

Sampras opened the second tiebreaker with another double, his ninth of the match, and Rafter capitalized to go up 4-1.

Then, suddenly, the match turned in Sampras' favor as Rafter let him off the hook.

A double-fault from Rafter brought Sampras back to 4-4 as he ran off five straight points, punctuated by a searing inside-out forehand pass which he celebrated with an uppercut fist pump.

Sampras ended the tiebreaker by wrong-footing Rafter with a forehand volley, clenching his fist again as he turned to his entourage in the stands.



The first break of serve came after 2 hours, 11 minutes of play, when Rafter, who had saved nine break points until then, slapped an easy forehand volley into the net in the fifth game of the third set. Rafter bounced his racket on the turf in anger.

Sampras slammed his 24th ace to serve it out at love in the 10th game of the third set to go up two sets to one.

By then, it was nearly 8:30 p.m., but play continued into the fourth set.

Sampras got a bit of luck when he broke for a 3-2 lead, a mis-hit backhand flying over Rafter and landing on the baseline.

In the next game, Sampras double-faulted again to give Rafter a break point and chance to stay in the match. Showing the grit that has dug him out of trouble so many times in his career, Sampras saved the break point with a 118 mph second-serve winner.

Sampras held for 4-2 with his 27th ace. Rafter had nothing left, losing serve at 15 in the next game and watching almost helplessly in the final game as Sampras served out the match at love.

"This game is a matter of nerves," Sampras said. "We were both feeling it. I felt it in the first tiebreaker. He felt in the second. The whole match just changed in a matter of minutes."

There were only a handful of baseline rallies in the whole match. The longest point came in the third game of the fourth set and had 13 shots, ending with Rafter hitting a forehand lob volley over Sampras' shoulder.

The match began an hour late because of rain and play was interrupted twice in the first set. There was a 2 1/2-hour interruption at 4-4, with Rafter serving at deuce.

"The way the past week and a half has gone it's the been the most difficult" of the seven titles to win, Sampras said, referring to his leg injury. "Obviously it's a very emotional time for me. I want this event so bad."

Sampras received $720,000, Rafter $360,000.

Venus Williams won the women's title Saturday, beating defending champion Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) for her first Grand Slam singles championship and the second for the Williams sisters.

Venus and Serena teamed Monday to become the first sisters ever to win the Wimbledon women's doubles itle, beating Julie Halard-Decugis and Ai Sugiyama 6-3, 6-2. The match had been put off until Monday due to Sunday's rain.

The Williams sisters now have a total of nine Grand Slam titles between them in singles (2), doubles (3) and mixed doubles (4).
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Old 12-27-2005, 10:45 PM   #7
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Sampras gets last laugh

By Joe Guistina
Sports Editor




So this is what it feels like to be outnumbered -- 22,548 people were rooting against Andre Agassi on Sunday evening.

It was nothing against the American tennis player. It had nothing to do with how he had played that evening. It had nothing to do with his strong performance, but after three and a half sets, the crowd's cheering changed. The shouts for "Andre!" ceased and instead came a tremendous roar in anticipation of his doom.

It had nothing to do with anything he had said or done over his career, now marked with seven major championships. It had nothing to do with his failed marriage to actress Brooke Shields and his current mate Steffi Graf, for Graf and Agassi are widely recognized as the first couple of tennis. It had nothing to do with his heart and his grit to return to a Grand Slam final for the first time since he won the Australian Open in January of last year.

It had to do with an external force that had beaten Agassi 19 times previously in his career. Sunday night in Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, N.Y., that force had something to prove.

Pete Sampras, 31, once again proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the best tennis player ever. In a sport dominated by youth, men who can barely drink legally seem to win a majority of the championships. Sampras, 12 seasons past his first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open, won his 14th grand slam, the 2002 U.S. Open.

The media frenzy can begin again, or stop, or whatever it will do because after two years without a slam, Pete Sampras is back. He's back with a 130-plus mile per hour serve. He is back with the same game that led him to his first U.S. Open title when he was only 19 years old.

He is back when the media had given him up for dead. He is back when it had been written that he gave too much time to his Los Angeles lifestyle and not playing tennis. Sampras, on Sunday, did what no one was sure he could do anymore.

Sal Paolantonio wrote simply in the 2002 ESPN Sports Almanac, "Is Sampras done? The easy answer is yes. He has not won a major championship since Wimbledon in 2000."

The answer was not yes, though, and to credit Paolantonio, he did predict that "Sampras [would] not go away." For 13 seasons, Sampras has been a force in pro tennis like none that had ever been seen. He has the best serve ever and he rode that to unprecedented domination at Wimbledon, where beginning in 1993, he won seven of the next eight tournaments at the fabled All England Club.

But it was his final win at the club in 2000 that many thought was the crowning achievement in his tremendous career. If he had left the sport on the afternoon of his seventh Wimbledon Championship, no one would have faulted him. No one but Sampras himself.

In his last two years, however, Sampras has grown maybe not more apart from the sport he has loved from the time he was a toddler, but up. He has married actress Bridgette Wilson. In the past several years, his relationship with Agassi, that was tense at best when both were in the early stages of their careers, has blossomed into one of the best friendships in all of sports. Though rivals, there is no doubt that respect between them is strong.

On Sunday, all those components came together. He dropped a volley past Agassi for a 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory and the crowd roared. He held his arms, racket in his right hand, up to the sky in triumph for the first time in a long while. He was an old warrior, returning to reclaim what was rightfully his, the title of the best in the world. He then shook Agassi's hand and embraced him. Both smiled in the moment. Then Sampras moved through the crowd to find Wilson and hugged her. For if nothing else, in the past two years, they have shared the heartache of his losses together. And Sunday, they shared the joy of a victory that many doubted would come.

And now Pete Sampras has a decision to make. He was the youngest player to ever win the U.S. Open in 1992. At age 31, he is the oldest player to win the Open since Ashe in 1968.

Sampras could leave the game the best ever, leaving at the top of his game. He could be John Elway winning the Super Bowl and then riding into the sunset. He could be Ted Williams hitting a blast into the right-field stands in his last at-bat. He could be Dominik Hasek kissing the Stanley Cup in Detroit after years of drudgery in Buffalo. He could leave at the top.

Sampras has already proven he is the best ever, and on Sunday he stamped the endorsement of that fact. But Sampras could go on and prove, one more time, that he is the best tennis player in the world and no one would fault him if he did.

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Old 01-03-2006, 10:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: Old News, About Him.

It's 95% over for Sampras

Posted: 5:28 AM (Manila Time) | Jun. 23, 2003
Agence France-Presse



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.
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Old 01-03-2006, 10:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Old News, About Him.

Pete, make a memorable exit

U.S. Open a perfect opportunity for Sampras to call it quits
Bruce Jenkins

Saturday, August 9, 2003



As Pete Sampras made his withdrawal from the upcoming U.S. Open, you got the feeling he had something to say -- that definitive announcement about the end of his career. He just couldn't bring himself to make it official.

It would seem, though, that Sampras has painted himself into a corner. He's not going to show up at the '04 Wimbledon or anywhere else just to hear the applause. He plays to win, not to take a good-natured loss to somebody ranked 159th in the world. He has skipped the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in succession, so the notion of Sampras being truly primed for a major -- in the kind of form that won him 14 such trophies in the past -- is inconceivable.

He wants to retire, he just doesn't seem to know how. Well, here's a suggestion: Show up at the Open and tell the world from courtside at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

If you've followed Sampras' career, you know he's not big on pageantry. He once skipped a very public gathering of past champions at the U.S. Open because he had an upcoming match. Just as his parents didn't make a big show of the family's success, Pete didn't strut around a tennis court as if he was the best damn player alive.

"I'm really not a '90s kind of guy," Sampras said recently on Bob Costas' HBO show. "I'm more of a '50s guy."

Take this to heart, Pete: Rod Laver, Roy Emerson or Tony Trabert wouldn't have found anything ostentatious about an unscripted, heartfelt message to some of the world's greatest tennis fans. I'm picturing a scene sometime during the second week of the Open, the stadium buzzing in anticipation of the evening session, and suddenly here comes Sampras with a microphone, ready to deliver a historic message on the stage of his last great victory.

At that point, it would be up to Sampras. He's a highly emotional man behind the poker-faced veneer; he very well could break down. That would be wonderful, too. It would add great riches to his legacy. Most importantly, the timing would be right. It would be New York, where his triumphs (and failures) of the early '90s shaped the rest of his career. It would be a scene for the highlight reel, right there with his awe-inspiring moments against Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Patrick Rafter and so many others.

It's just a thought. The idea of Sampras holding some tepid news conference,

or phoning it in from his kitchen, seems entirely inadequate.
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Old 01-03-2006, 10:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: Old News, About Him.

BBC News Online: Sport: Tennis


Sunday, 28 November, 1999, 17:56 GMT
Sampras crowned world champion



Pete Sampras justified his reputation as the best tennis player of the modern era with victory in the last major tournament of the century, the ATP Tour World Championship in Hanover.

Andre Agassi may have supplanted his arch rival at the top of the world rankings, but Sampras showed he is still the man to beat with a straight sets victory in Sunday's final.

Sampras rediscovered the dominant form that saw him demolish Agassi in similar fashion in the Wimbledon final last July.

Agassi, whose ascent to the top of the world rankings was largely the result of Sampras' long injury lay-off, crashed to a 6-1 7-5 6-4 defeat.

Revenge time

In a showdown pitting the player of the year against the player of the decade, Sampras captured this season-ending tournament for the fifth time to equal the mark set by Ivan Lendl.


In round-robin play earlier in the $3.6m event, which features the world's top eight players, Agassi had beaten Sampras 6-2 6-2.

But when it really mattered, Sampras again came up with the goods.

"It's been a tough week, but I played very well today," Sampras said. "I was able to play on a very high level.

"I wanted to prove that I still have it. I was very pumped up, ready to go.

"It was a big match and I've always believed in myself, that I can rise to the occasion," Sampras said.

Agassi deflated

Agassi, who had looked so impressive throughout the tournament, admitted he had lost his form at precisely the wrong moment.

"It was a bad day to be flat," he said. "I was really unhappy with the way I played."

Sampras has now defeated Agassi four of the five times they have played this year, and he leads their lifetime series 17-11.

He paid tribute to his beaten opponent, who has won the French and US Open titles this year. "He had an incredible year and deserves to be No. 1," Sampras said.

Athletic effort

Sampras hit winners from all over the court, including his trademark leaping overhead smashes, much to the delight of the crowd of 13,500.


He got off to a quick start by breaking Agassi's serve in the second game. He broke serve again for a 5-1 lead and clinched the set with a backhand volley.

But Agassi rallied and Sampras fell behind 3-0 in the second set.

Agassi, though, surrendered his own serve in the seventh game and a backhand into the net by Agassi put Sampras 6-5 up and he served out the set in the next game.

"I was frustrated with the rhythm of the match, he was changing pace," Agassi said.

The third set began with another break of serve for Sampras as Agassi hit a forehand long.

After that he never lost the momentum and won the match with his 15th ace after one hour, 46 minutes.
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Old 01-10-2006, 08:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Old News, About Him.





TENNIS
Sampras savours taste of his greatest victory

Mon, 09 Sep 2002


Pete Sampras wrote a fairy-tale finish to the worst slump of his fabled career, capturing the US Open on Sunday to end a 26-month win drought in the finest hour of his legendary tennis reign.


Sampras defeated arch-rival Andre Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to take a record 14th Grand Slam singles crown, a title that means more than any other to Sampras because of the confidence needed to disprove critics and make the dream a reality.

"This one might take the cake," Sampras said. "This might be my biggest achievement so far. Struggling this year, hearing I should stop and the negative tone, to believe in myself through a very tough time means a lot.

"To come through that adversity and win the Open, it's pretty sweet."

Sampras blasted 33 aces, one for every event he lost between his fifth US Open title and his 2000 victory at Wimbledon, where he broke Roy Emerson's all-time Slam title mark.

"I never thought anything would surpass what happened at Wimbledon a couple years ago," Sampras said. "But the way I have been going this year, to come through this and play the way I did, it was awesome.

"I felt like I still had one more moment, maybe a couple, and it happened."

Sampras won his fifth match in seven days, firing 84 winners past Agassi. After failing to finish off Agassi in in the third set, a tiring Sampras served notice that his skills are far from gone at age 31.

"I guess I'm back," Sampras said. "I played so well. Andre brings out the best in me every time I step out with him."

Agassi, who slid to 140th in the rankings before making a comeback to world number one, could understand why Sampras saw this as his proudest moment.

"It might feel more special to him than any of them just because any time you ask more of yourself it's that much more of an accomplishment, and it means a lot more to you," Agassi said.

Sampras matched Jimmy Connors with a record five Open-era US crowns and became the oldest US Open champion since Ken Rosewall in 1970 at age 35. He was the oldest Slam champion since Arthur Ashe won Wimbledon in 1975 a month shy of 32.

The dry spell included runner-up finishes to Australia's Lleyton Hewitt at last year's US Open and Russia's Marat Safin in 2000. Sampras was only 19-17 this year when he arrived, including a second-round defeat at Wimbledon.

Dismissing any thought of retirement, Sampras repeated his plans to play another year and ponder his future after the arrival of his first child in December.

"I still want to play. I love to play," Sampras said. "In a storybook ending, it might be nice to stop (now). But I still want to compete. I want to see where my heart and my mind are in a couple months.

"I want to stop on my terms. That's one thing I promised myself."

Sampras seized a 20-14 edge on Agassi in one of the greatest rivalries in tennis history. That includes an 9-7 lead in finals and a 4-1 advantage in Grand Slam finals.

"He's the best I've ever played. He brings out the best in me," Sampras said. "A little destiny? Sure. It might have gone my way in this event. And with Andre in the final it was a fitting way to end it."

Sampras beat Agassi in the 1990 and 1995 US Open finals and 1999 Wimbledon final while Agassi topped Sampras for the 1995 Australian Open title. Sampras also beat Agassi in the US Open last year in a classic quarter-final duel in four tie-breaker sets.

Agassi (32) and Sampras had the highest combined ages of any US Open men's final pairing and were the third-oldest of any Slam final. That mark was set at the 1972 Australian Open when Rosewall, 37, beat Mal Anderson, 36.

Sampras added the Slam title to those he won at the 1990, 1993, 1995 and 1996 US Opens, the 1994 and 1997 Australian Opens and Wimbledon in 1993-95 and 1997-2000.

Sampras won $900 000 while Agassi, thwarted in his bid for a third US Open title and eighth Slam crown, settled for half that sum.

"It was a tough day for me," Agassi said. "On top of him playing well, I got off to a rough start. I was flat. I tried to get myself into the match and had to work pretty hard to give myself a chance. Just was never quite enough."

"Pete just played a little too good for me."

Sampras' 64th career title was his first at Arthur Ashe Stadium, not yet built when he won here in 1996. The six-year gap between Sampras' latest US Open crowns is the longest in the Open era.

Sampras broke Agassi in the ninth game of the fourth set, cracking through for the first time since the second set on his third break-point chance when Agassi netted a forehand.

Serving for the match at 5-4 in the fourth, Sampras fired a 119-mph ace to earn two match points. Agassi saved the first with a forehand winner but Sampras slammed a backhand winner to end the match and make history after two hours and 54 minutes.

Sampras saved two break points in the fourth game, finally winning the longest game of the match on the 20th point with an overhead smash after seven deuces and 12 minutes to level at 2-2.

"I felt pretty outplayed for the first two sets and even in the third I wasn't convinced I was outplaying him," Agassi said. "I started to, but that's when he stepped up and started answering with some big shots."

Agassi captured the third set by breaking Sampras in the final game. Sampras missed three game points that would have forced a tie-breaker, then committed his eighth double fault and handed Agassi the break by netting a forehand volley.

"I felt like I still had a little ways to go to secure the momentum," Agassi said. "I felt like I had a chance. I had a couple break points in the set and I didn't convert those. That turned out to get me."
AFP
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Old 01-10-2006, 08:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: Old News, About Him.

Deep Satisfaction for Pete and Venus


Dateline: 07/10/00


Pete Sampras defeated Patrick Rafter Sunday 6-7 (12-10), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-2 to win his seventh Wimbledon and a record 13th Grand Slam singles title. He and Roy Emerson had shared the previous record at 12. Sampras's other six Grand Slam titles consist of four US Opens and two Australian Opens.

As expected, Sampras's serve was the biggest weapon carrying him to victory. Rafter had only two break opportunities in the entire match, neither of which he could convert. In the first two sets, neither player was broken, and both tie-breaks came down to a net difference of just one mini-break (losing one point while serving). Patrick was up 4-1 in the second set tie-break, but showed what could have been some nerves as he let Pete back in to win the set. Sampras was able to break Rafter in the following two sets.

Pete's return of serve, while not among the very best, is better than Patrick's, and his serve is widely considered to be the best overall in tennis. Sampras hits most first serves in the 120s to low 130s, which is plenty fast, even if not quite as hard as Philippoussis's or Rusedski's. He also places the serve extremely well and backs it up with a second serve only slightly less aggressive than the first.

Rafter's serves are, on average, 10-15 m.p.h. slower, with more of his swing energy going into spin. He likes to serve and volley behind a heavy twist (kick) serve that makes the ball jump up high on Sampras's backhand. Patrick is the best volleyer in men's tennis, but the ball doesn't jump as high on grass as on the other outdoor surfaces, and this helped Pete's return. Rafter's kick serve was a key to his victory over Sampras at the 1998 US Open, but the grass at Wimbledon took some of the kick out of that serve while at the same time making Sampras's serve, which relies more on speed, more potent. Pete has a lot of reasons to like the grass.

The Wimbledon grass made Venus Williams pretty happy this weekend, too. On Saturday, she defeated defending champ Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) to take her first Grand Slam title. She was also the first African-American woman to win Wimbledon since Althea Gibson in 1958. It wasn't a great match, but it was a great display of power, versatility, and speed from Venus. Lindsay couldn't set up well enough on Venus's shots to execute the lethal power and accuracy that are her main weapon, and even when she did nail a ball into a deep corner, Venus often had the speed to run it down. Venus takes huge swings at the ball, and those swings can sometimes go a little wild, but they were connecting well on Saturday. As a result, the match became a contest between two equally powerful players, but with one covering the court much better than the other. Lindsay, at her best, is nowhere near as fast as Venus, and she seemed to be further slowed by lingering injuries. Venus was in command throughout. She played with confidence and intelligence, using a nice mix of power groundstrokes, short angles, finesse drop shots, and volleys.

Venus probably made quite a few new fans Saturday, not only by the win itself, but also by the way she joyfully bounded around the court celebrating match point, then by her charming and funny comments as she was interviewed during her trophy acceptance. Wimbledon broke with tradition this year, having the players interviewed so that the crowd could hear their thoughts. They chose a good year to start this new tradition, because Venus was so much fun to hear. Among the several comments that drew a good laugh from the crowd was this: "It's strange. I always dream I win a Grand Slam. When I wake up, it's a nightmare. Now that I've got it, I don't have to wake up like that any more."

The doubles events had some historic significance, too. Venus and Serena Williams became the first sisters to win the women's doubles title, defeating Ai Sugiyama and Julie Halard-Decugis, 6-3, 6-2. Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge beat Paul Haarhuis and Sandon Stolle, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 for their sixth Wimbledon doubles title and a record 60th career title. They are one Grand Slam shy of the record 12 held by John Newcombe and Tony Roche.

In mixed doubles, Don Johnson and Kimberly Po prevailed in a tough match against Lleyton Hewitt and Kim Clijsters 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).

Stop by the forum and let us know, "Did Venus Win You Over?"
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Old 01-10-2006, 08:33 PM   #13
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Default Re: Old News, About Him.





Davenport, Sampras Win Wimbledon



Dateline: 07/06/99

Lindsey Davenport defeated Steffi Graf 6-4, 7-5 Sunday to win her first Wimbledon singles title and reclaim the number one WTA ranking. After years of feeling awkward on grass, a fitter and quicker Davenport adjusted to the low bounces and speed of the court and overpowered each opponent on her way to the title. Graf was unable to hit her slice backhand with the same pace and depth she used against Martina Hingis in the French Open final a few weeks ago, and even Graf's huge forehand was matched by Davenport's power on both sides. Clearly discouraged, Graf announced minutes after the match that she would not play Wimbledon again.

The earlier women's rounds were full of interesting surprises, the biggest of which was Jelena Dokic's victory over top seed Martina Hingis in the first round. After a long slump, Mirjana Lucic recaptured the power and confidence that had made her a top young prospect, reaching the semifinals against Graf, while the other semi featured the even more surprising Alexandra Stevenson, the first qualifier ever to get so far.

On the men's side, the surprises were fewer. The hot streak that carried Andre Agassi through the French Open final did not cool at Wimbledon, but Pete Sampras was simply unbeatable in the final, overwhelming Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 7-5. Agassi's unrivaled returning abilities proved too much for every opponent on the way to the final, including second seed Patrick Rafter, whom he met in the semifinal, but Sampras served both first and second serves with too much accuracy and power for even Agassi to handle. In the other semi, Sampras had dashed England's best hope for a long awaited singles title, defeating their Tim Henman. With his victory, Sampras becomes the first player in this century to win six Wimbledon singles titles, and he ties Roy Emerson's record of twelve Grand Slam singles titles. With these records in hand, winning a French Open is the only major accomplishment missing from Sampras's career.

In doubles, Davenport teamed with Corina Morariu to defeat Mariaan de Swardt and Elena Tatarkova 6-4, 6-4, while Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes took the men's doubles 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 over Paul Haarhuis and Jared Palmer.
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Old 01-10-2006, 08:46 PM   #14
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Default Re: Old News, About Him.






Sampras scorches young pretender Roddick


Pete Sampras brought the flaming torch of American tennis to the U.S. Open on Thursday night. But instead of passing it to Andy Roddick, he scorched the young pretender.

In a prime time clash of yesterday and tomorrow Sampras proved he was best today, swaggering into the semi-finals of the hardcourt grand slam with all the pomp and elan only a great can muster.

His 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory spanned just 90 minutes and turned what Roddick had called his dream quarter-final into a sweat-inducing nightmare.

The leader of the new guard banging on his door had provided more than enough inspiration for Sampras to storm to a 201st grand slam match victory and stretch his perfect night-time record in New York to 20-0.

"Absolutely, it fired me up," the 31-year-old said as he sat on his courtside seat with cheers ringing in his ears.

"You know, he's the young up-and-comer who has a great future... I was pumped up, there is no question.

"I love it here. It is awesome at night in New York."

Sampras, too, was awesome and his performance will have done little to settle the nerves of Sjeng Schalken.

The Dutchman must face Sampras next after earlier beating Chile's Fernando Gonzalez to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final.

HAIR-RAISING

Due on court at 1900 EDT (0000 GMT), Sampras and Roddick didn't show until more than half an hour later as the Flushing Meadows crowd continued to filter in to Arthur Ashe stadium.

By the time the two Americans began brandishing their rackets, the atmosphere was hair-raising.

Roddick likes it that way, deliberately teasing his locks to stand high above the sun-visor currently in vogue with New York's fashionistas.

He took to the court, unshaven in a bright blue shirt, all grimaces, gestures and lop-sided grins.

Sampras was Sampras, straight as they come.

White socks, white shorts, white shirt.

Nowadays he has less hair to play with than when he won his first grand slam here in 1990 -- aged 12 months younger than Roddick's 20 years -- but even in his hirsute heyday, he was never tempted by style statements.

On the tennis court, Sampras has always let his strokes do the talking. For 10 years they spoke louder and longer than anyone else, as he amassed a record 13 grand slam titles.

Since his 13th major at Wimbledon in 2000, he has not won a title of any description.

On Thursday, though, he was irrepressible.

SWIRLING WIND

Serving with authority and smothering the net at every opportunity, the 31-year-old outshone the brilliant floodlights on centre stage.

Roddick had won both previous matches these two Americans had played, in Houston earlier this year and in Miami last year.

Both those matches were in ATP Tour events, however, and by his own admission, they are not what gets Sampras going these days.

This is.

A prime time grand slam quarter-final in front of a vibrant New York crowd is what Sampras dreams of, now that the lawns of Wimbledon no longer slake his thirst for success.

Sampras loved it, spectators were treated to a masterclass. Only Roddick looked like he wished he were anywhere else.

Broken at the first opportunity, 11th seed Roddick looked startled as he swiftly fell behind 3-0 in the swirling wind.

Once Sampras got a grip on the set, he squeezed harder, closing it out in 27 minutes.

Sampras has won four U.S. Open crowns and been runner-up on three other occasions including the last two years. All his big stage presence came to the fore in the second set.

He broke Roddick in the third and seventh games before serving it out to take a two-set lead after only 56 minutes.

TRIUMPHANT ROAR

Roddick, muttering to himself and rubbing his face, was running out of ideas fast. As the second set closed, the 20-year-old dropped his racket and wailed in despair.

As soon as the third set began it was Sampras's turn to scream, a triumphant roar and a clenched fist accompanying another break of serve for 1-0.

Roddick was all but done as the crowd shifted uncomfortably in their seats. They had come for a battle and were served a massacre.

Slicing through the wind with heavy groundstrokes and pin-point serving, Sampras ambled towards the finishing line with a steely look in his eye.

Roddick had a wild look in his, but could not translate that into genius, or even fight, on court, and Sampras served out after 90 minutes ending the match with a delicate drop shot which had Roddick scurrying off the court and out of the tournament.

"Disappointing? Yes, I am trying to soak it all up at the moment," the youngster said.

"This is all still a learning experience. I watched what I should be doing on all the big points because I was on the other side of it.

"You know, I think I'll have my moment here some day."
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Old 01-10-2006, 08:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: Old News, About Him.

Tournament ends in re-Pete
TENNIS: Sampras defeats rival Agassi in anticipated rematch of last month's Wimbledon final


By Dave Denicke
Daily Bruin Senior Staff


Throughout the week around the Los Angeles Tennis Center, the focus was on one event: Pete Sampras against Andre Agassi.

From the celebrity doubles match on Monday to the exciting play from the Australians, the two biggest stars loomed above everything else.

"It's just like two heavyweights going at it," said Sampras, who entered the Mercedes-Benz Cup final ranked No. 1 in the world.

Sampras slew Agassi, the defending champion, in straight sets in front of a sold-old Straus Stadium crowd, 7-6(7-3), 7-6(7-1).

Agassi used a surprisingly powerful service game which resulted in 10 aces from the Las Vegas native.

"I have been serving well this week - it's quite a shocker" Agassi said.

He held a set point on Sampras' serve up 6-5 in the second set, but his return landed in the net, and Sampras went on to hold and eventually force another tiebreak.

"It could have gone either way out there. I had my opportunities," said Agassi, who had not dropped a set entering Sunday's showdown with Sampras.

"Against a guy like Pete you only get a few chances, and those are the ones you've got to take advantage of," Agassi said.

Agassi served notice that he intended to step up his game from the start of his first service game, which he began with a 126 mph serve. In fact, Agassi, who usually relies on his ground strokes and return game, held five service games at love, compared to Sampras' one.

In the tiebreaks, however, Sampras' serve proved to be the difference. He did not drop a point on his serve during either tiebreak, while Agassi won only four of nine service points.

"He played great breakers, and I didn't," said Agassi. "Sometimes serving so well, then getting into a tense situation like a tiebreaker, it makes you think about it a little more, and you might force it a little extra."

"On the other hand, Pete is used to serving big all the time, (and) tends to relax in a tiebreaker and continue to execute his serve," he added.

For Sampras, the win not only marked his 15th victory in 25 career meetings against Agassi, but also $46,000 in prize money.

Before the showdown, Sampras clinched the No. 1 spot in the world, overtaking Australian Patrick Rafter. With the top ranking, Sampras eclipsed Ivan Lendl's record of 270 weeks at the top of the rankings.

"Two things I'll remember this week are breaking the record and beating Andre in the final," said Sampras, who practices on the LATC courts during the year.

"It's good to be home," said Sampras, who grew up in nearby Palos Verdes. "I practiced here quite a bit, and was used to the surroundings."

Sampras also credited the surroundings for bringing out a different, more personal side of himself. He interacted with the crowd several times throughout the week, including climbing fences and running into the stands after points.

"L.A. just brings that out in me. I love Southern Cal. The atmosphere (this past week) was tremendous."

Agassi agreed, "There's an energy with the crowd that I don't feel unless I'm playing Pete. I think it's really good for the game; rivalries are important in any sport."

But Sampras spoke of the rivalry in different terms.

"My relationship with Andre is sort of off the cuff remarks," he said. "But when it's all said and done, it's a lot of respect."

Sunday also showcased the doubles final between two contrasting teams. Byron Black and Wayne Ferreira took the first set from challengers Brian MacPhie and Goran Ivanisevic comfortably, 6-2.

In the second set, Black and Ferreira, who defeated Sampras and his coach Paul Annacone in the first round, again prevailed, 7-6 (4), to take the title in straight sets.

Ferreira lost to Sampras in the quarterfinals of the singles draw in three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. He was the only player to take a set from Sampras throughout the tournament.

Sampras' title gives him an impressive 12-3 mark on hardcourts this year as he continues to prepare for the U.S. Open, which begins next month.

"The U.S. Open, that's our Super Bowl," said Sampras. "The test is trying to maintain this level (of playing)."

Sampras, in addition to holding two titles at Los Angeles, is also a four-time U.S. Open champion, most recently in 1996. He will have four weeks before the tournament begins at Flushing Meadows, N.Y. on Aug. 30.
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