Pete Sampras is one of the greatest players to have played the sport. He was the greatest of his time until Roger Federer arrived.
American tennis player Pete Sampras played professional tennis for 14 years from 1988 to 2002. He won 14 singles Grand Slam titles which was the highest by any player till the time of his retirement.
One of his most notable achievements was his seven Wimbledon Open titles.
The American who retired in 2002 met Roger Federer only once in his career that too at the grass major. It was the fourth round match at the 2001 Wimbledon Open when the two locked horns and the 19-year-old Swiss pulled off an upset in their five-set thriller 7-6(7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5.
Sampras though ended up on the losing side, but was impressed by Federer’s style of play. Their sole encounter turned out to be the moment when he felt that the ‘Wimbledon baton’ was passed to Federer.
“This loss hurt, but I had to admit I liked this kid’s style. He was poised and dignified, yet he played with great flair. I was very impressed. The win was an important step in Roger’s path to greatness, and looking back on it, this was the moment when the Wimbledon baton was passed from me to him.”-Pete Sampras wrote in his book “A Champion;s Mind”
Roger Federer was the first person to surpass Pete Sampras’s record of 14 Grand Slam titles. He retired in 2022 with 20 Grand Slam titles which includes eight Wimbledon Open titles, the highest by any.
What a moment that was for me,— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) July 7, 2020
first time on center court at Wimbledon.
Only time vs Pete my hero
I miss the Pistol 🙌 https://t.co/XJH5j3Bhcf
“Pete Sampras and Roger Federer both were okay with losing” – Paul Annacone
Paul Annacone who has worked with great tennis players also had the chance to coach the likes of Roger Federer and Pete Sampras. He expressed his views on how they both managed the pressure before a match.
Paul Annacone coached Pete Sampras from 1995 to 2002 and Roger Federer from 2010 to 2013. He is the current coach of American tennis player Taylor Fritz. In a recent podcast ‘Rock and Roll Tennis’, he mentioned how the two managed pressure before a Major tournament.
“So first of all, they are very secure people. And the one thing that a lot of players forget, and I try to remind this to Taylor often, is guess what? They get nervous too. He gets nervous. Roger gets…everybody gets nervous. The great ones figure out how to manage that. And a lot of it is because they’ve been in that situation before.”-Pete Sampras on podcast
Annacone further mentioned that they were okay with losing if they were able to execute their plans well.
“And what I mean by that is Pete and Roger both were guys that were okay with losing matches if they try do what they do best, you know, and that’s about the security.”-Pete Sampras on podcast