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Sampras and seemingly everyone else says that his loss to Federer at Wimbledon was due to being in a slump. Well, I think that's one factor but not the primary factor.

Consider that that same year in 2001 Sampras lost to Federer, he had made it to the finals of a masters series event at Indian Wells, the final of the US Open AFTER reaching Wimbledon, as well as the finals of Los Angeles and Long Island.

Compare Sampras' slumping 2001 to Federer's 2001 where Fed won in Milan and was a finalist in Rotterdam and Gstaad. Despite Sampras not winning any titles, he made it to the finals of more important tournaments especially at the US Open.

Let's also look at Sampras' record at Wimbledon. He had won Wimbledon the four previous years. Even in 2000 which was the beginning of his slump where he had only made it to finals of US Open and Queen's Club, he had won Wimbledon. The drop off from 2001 and 2002 is probably the steepest in his career considering he only won the US Open and Houston, but the point is Sampras' 2001 record was pretty damn good. And Federer beat him at this point in his career.

Also compare their rankings. Sampras was no. 6 in the world while Fed was no. 15. Obviously Sampras was on his way down compared to previous years, but the ranking tells it all: Sampras was the better player going into Wimbledon. Even though there is a ten ranking spot differential, I'd argue further that there's not much that separates a top ten v top 15 player. Yet Sampras still lost.

So the central question is, how far actually was Sampras away from his prime? If you look at the above data, I think you'll find it wasn't by much in terms of results. Federer wasn't nearly at his prime as the data shows and to compare them in their primes I believe you'll find Federer's 2004 to 2007 beating anything Sampras has shown. But if a slightly slumping Sampras can't beat a still green Federer, there's really no chance that he'd be able to beat Federer "in his prime."

Personally, I think Sampras lost a bit of motivation but that his game was still there. That's why he could still win the last two majors. But the overriding reason he lost to Federer and the cause of his "slump" was that the game was passing him by. Baseliners became more efficient at passing thanks to slower balls and courts as well as just training-wise so serve and volleyers died out. Just look at how many s and v players left and you'll see that that kind of game is no longer feasible. Then look at who Sampras lost to, not old guard players but newer guys like Safin and Federer.

The embodiment of this new era of tennis player was Federer, one who could hit any shot whether its a big serve, drop shot etc as well as see dimensions of the court. Federer's dominance until recently has shown that the other players have taken until now to sort of catch up to him.

So bottomline: Federer was nowhere near his prime (he even serve and volleyed most of the match) and still beat Sampras who wasn't far off from his prime.
 

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So the central question is, how far actually was Sampras away from his prime? If you look at the above data, I think you'll find it wasn't by much in terms of results.
Wait, did you just say the Sampras of 2001 wasn't far off from his prime?? LOL

You realize there was a period where he held 3/4 of the slams? Also check out the 9 tournament victories in 1994 and the 8 tournament victories in 1997...versus, ONE in 2001...Also, that loss to Federer marked the first time in 7 or 8 years that he was not holding a slam...

You're smoking crack. He was WAAAAY off of his prime...
 

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Oh brother, it was one match that went down the wire. People are way too obsessed with analyzing that match.

How about drawing conclusions as to why Hrbaty is 2-0 over Federer h2h? What does that say? Not much.

Just a year later Sampras lost to Bastl. So was he suddenly then far off his prime?

It's all so silly. Why not just look at the match as a historic passing of the torch from one great on his way down to another his way up, and be happy for them both?
 

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I kind of get what youre trying to say. Sampras was way beyond his prime, but afterall he was a champ with loads of experience and knew what he had to do to win matches on wimbledon where he had just won 1 year ago and 7 out of the latest 8 grand slams. He was a player capable to go to gs finals and win some, he would after all go to a final in the USOPEN the same year and a grand slam victory the next year.

Federer on the other hand had just won his 1st title that year in a mm tournament in Milan. He was a clueless teenager who had no tactical knowledge of how to neutralise his players strength or use his own many weapons in a smart way. Federer should have no chanse against Sampras, Federer was at the time beeing trashed by players like Agassi, Hewitt, Henman and Rafter. He had never defeated a big name, he had never entered center court, there are so many reasons why he shouldnt have won this match, but still he did win the match and Sampras didnt play a bad match at all, even he admited it. For me it must have been the simple fact that Sampras game matches up well to Federer, return the big serve with the slice and then find a target passing shot, isnt that what Federer loves the most to play against?

In any case it was just one match, not enought to see a pattern there. I am not as sure of Federers matchup abilities against Sampras as Hewitt who really destroyed old Sampras over and over again as a teenager. Sampras was kind of lucky to not have Hewitt, Nalbandian and Federer around in his days, all great returners of 1st serves with deadly passing shots.
 

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Rafter never beat Sampras after 1999.
 

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Rafter never beat Sampras after 1999.
He barely ever beat him. He's 4-12 against Sampras. He won the first one in 1993 and it took him 3tie-break sets to do it, and then he had a 3 match win-streak between 1998 and 1999--and that's all she wrote...
 

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I kind of get what youre trying to say. Sampras was way beyond his prime, but afterall he was a champ with loads of experience and knew what he had to do to win matches on wimbledon where he had just won 1 year ago and 7 out of the latest 8 grand slams. He was a player capable to go to gs finals and win some, he would after all go to a final in the USOPEN the same year and a grand slam victory the next year.

Federer on the other hand had just won his 1st title that year in a mm tournament in Milan. He was a clueless teenager who had no tactical knowledge of how to neutralise his players strength or use his own many weapons in a smart way. Federer should have no chanse against Sampras, Federer was at the time beeing trashed by players like Agassi, Hewitt, Henman and Rafter. He had never defeated a big name, he had never entered center court, there are so many reasons why he shouldnt have won this match, but still he did win the match and Sampras didnt play a bad match at all, even he admited it. For me it must have been the simple fact that Sampras game matches up well to Federer, return the big serve with the slice and then find a target passing shot, isnt that what Federer loves the most to play against?

In any case it was just one match, not enought to see a pattern there. I am not as sure of Federers matchup abilities against Sampras as Hewitt who really destroyed old Sampras over and over again as a teenager. Sampras was kind of lucky to not have Hewitt, Nalbandian and Federer around in his days, all great returners of 1st serves with deadly passing shots.

...Yeah, he only had Agassi to deal with...pfft!
 

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Any top player can lose to any other top player at any given point. We can deduct absolutely nothing from a head to head count that spans just ONE match - and a match that went to a close 5th set at that. Had Federer and Sampras met numerous times, maybe we could have deducted something. That's not the case. We'll never know how a prime Sampras and a prime Federer would match up with each other. I speculate that Federer would dominate based on an analysis of their respective strengths - not on the basis of the result of their lone tournament match.
 

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It was one match and an exhibition. How hard do one put in to an exibition. I don't know but there's no way I would go a long season like Fed did and put be able to put in everything. There's no way my focus would be like it is at a slam or even a masters tournament.
 

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Am I the only one who thinks Federer fans are bitter about Pete Sampras ? Can't we appreciate them both?

I sense from the argument of your post , that you're insecure as to whether or not Federer would have won in their respective primes .

I have no doubt that both players would have held their own and that no player would have dominated the other .

Give it up , this topic has been done to ad infinitum .
 

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Am I the only one who thinks Federer fans are bitter about Pete Sampras ? Can't we appreciate them both?

I sense from the argument of your post , that you're insecure as to whether or not Federer would have won in their respective primes .

I have no doubt that both players would have held their own and that no player would have dominated the other .

Give it up , this topic has been done to ad infinitum .
Actually moreso it seems the other way around, here and elsewhere. Regardless, I think a point that a lot of people are missing: Even if you are a bit past your physical peak, as pete was -- that doesn't mean you aren't capable of an inspired match where you play at your highest level. Week in, week out, was Sampras in his prime coming into Wimbledon? No. Does that mean he automatically plays at a lower level every match from there on out? Please.

Sampras was serving in excess of 130 mph consistantly, he was hitting all the angles, he was coming up with the big second serves on big points and coming up with the big passes. It was vintage Sampras. Let's compare Federer: Smacking return winners, incredible passes, serving huge, especially on break points, massive forehand, and his trademark, "out of this world" flicks.

Again for Federer: Was he at his week in, week out peak here? No. Does that mean every match he played then was at a poorer level? No. Both players played at, or very near their very best during that match, and the better player of the day won. End of story. The fact it was 7-5 in the fifth should let you know if they did play each other in their primes, on quicker courts, it would've been a very tight affair.
 

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I am a Fed fan and have no problem admitting that Sampras was far from his best in 2001 Wimbledon. And I dont mind admitting that on grass,Sampras at his best would probably beat Fed at his beat. But Federer is a more complete player IMO, 10 times better than Pete on clay. Overall who is better, we'll never know... Eventually I think Roger will become more accomplished than Pete.

Sampras was lucky he didnt have Hewitt, Nalbandian during his peak years! Whats the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. If anything , Roger is lucky he didnt have a true serve and volleyer in his era. Both players beat the players they had to beat. Lets not start a discussion about their competition. I think Sampras had a slightly better competition than Roger.
 

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I am a Fed fan and have no problem admitting that Sampras was far from his best in 2001 Wimbledon. And I dont mind admitting that on grass,Sampras at his best would probably beat Fed at his beat. But Federer is a more complete player IMO, 10 times better than Pete on clay. Overall who is better, we'll never know... Eventually I think Roger will become more accomplished than Pete.

Sampras was lucky he didnt have Hewitt, Nalbandian during his peak years! Whats the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. If anything , Roger is lucky he didnt have a true serve and volleyer in his era. Both players beat the players they had to beat. Lets not start a discussion about their competition. I think Sampras had a slightly better competition than Roger.
When has Federer ever had trouble playing serve and vlleyers? I mean it is not like guys like Stepanek, Mirnyi and Karlovic cause him any trouble, yeah they are not at the same level as the old champs, but still I cant see the indications that a big serve followed by volleys are enought to defeat Federer.

There where far more indications that Hewitt was a bad matchup for Sampras, I mean he destroyed him as a teenager, ofcourse some players hit their prime at that age and Sampras was beyond his prime but Sampras was still good enought to beat Agassi who was still in his prime in most places but no way he could beat 19 year old Hewitt. Why? Hewitt was part of a new generation "anti-serve and volleyers" with raquet technology and skills which allowed them to return really big serves and make amazing passing shots with alot of topspin, while Agassi was too slow reacting to big servers like most players of his generation.

Did you really think serve and volley was killed just by accident and that people stopped playing s and v for no particular reason? Or was it just the surface change? No, it is all about raquets which can produce alot of top spin and control big serves alot better and a generation of players who use the technology to the max.
 

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Fed would actually like it if there was more volleying at wimby. I don't really know how both in their primes would do in a serious competition since this was an exhibition. However I'm not exactly a Sampras fan but I rooted for him at his last US Open and was hoping he could go out with a win on his terms. I was more of a Agassi and Rafter fan. Anyway, I wouldn't expect Sampras to lose all his skills...just get a little slower so is a big deal that he won 1 out of 3 matches.
 
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