World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Pete Sampras

Article Id: WHEBN0000065961
Reproduction Date:

Title: Pete Sampras  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 1993 ATP Tour, 1994 ATP Tour, 1995 ATP Tour, Roger Federer, 1996 ATP Tour
Collection: 1971 Births, American Male Tennis Players, American People of Greek Descent, American People of Jewish Descent, Australian Open (Tennis) Champions, Eastern Orthodox Christians from the United States, Grand Slam (Tennis) Champions in Men's Singles, Greek Orthodox Christians, International Tennis Hall of Fame Inductees, Living People, Olympic Tennis Players of the United States, People from Potomac, Maryland, Sportspeople from Los Angeles County, California, Sportspeople from Maryland, Tennis People from California, Tennis People from Washington, D.C., Tennis Players at the 1992 Summer Olympics, US Open (Tennis) Champions, Wimbledon Champions, World No. 1 Tennis Players
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras
Country (sports)  United States
Residence Lake Sherwood, California
Born (1971-08-12) August 12, 1971
Potomac, Maryland
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Turned pro 1988
Retired 2002 (last match)
2003 (official retirement)
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Coach(es) Peter Fischer (?–1989)
Tim Gullikson (1992–1995)
Paul Annacone (1995–2001)
José Higueras (2002)[1]
Paul Annacone (2002)
Prize money US$ 43,280,450
Int. Tennis HoF 2007 (member page)
Career record 762–222 (77.43%)
Career titles 64
Highest ranking No. 1 (April 12, 1993)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open W (1994, 1997)
French Open SF (1996)
Wimbledon W (1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)
US Open W (1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2002)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals W (1991, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999)
Olympic Games 3R (1992)
Career record 64–70 (47.76%)
Career titles 2
Highest ranking No. 27 (February 12, 1990)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open 2R (1989)
French Open 2R (1989)
Wimbledon 3R (1989)
US Open 1R (1988, 1989, 1990)
Team competitions
Davis Cup W (1992, 1995)
Last updated on: January 23, 2012.

Petros "Pete" Sampras[2] (born August 12, 1971) is a retired American tennis player and former world No. 1 widely regarded as one of the greatest in tennis history.[3][4] He debuted on the professional tour in 1988 and finished his career at the 2002 US Open, which he won, defeating rival Andre Agassi in the final. He was particularly esteemed for his precise serve, earning the nickname "Pistol Pete".

Sampras became the first professional to break Roy Emerson's pre-Open Era record of 12 Grand Slam singles titles and retired with 14 titles (seven Wimbledon, five US Open, two Australian Open), though this is no longer the record. He also won seven elite indoor titles (five ATP World Tour Finals and two Grand Slam Cups) and still holds the ATP record of six year-end No. 1 rankings, which were in consecutive years from 1993 through 1998.


  • Tennis career 1
    • Early life and career 1.1
    • 1988–1990 1.2
    • 1991–1992 1.3
    • 1993–1996 1.4
    • 1997 1.5
    • 1998 1.6
    • 1999 1.7
    • 2000–2002 1.8
    • Post-retirement activity 1.9
  • Rivalries 2
    • Sampras vs. Agassi 2.1
    • Sampras vs. Rafter 2.2
  • Playing style 3
    • Equipment 3.1
  • Personal and family life 4
  • Career statistics 5
    • Grand Slam Performance Timeline 5.1
  • Records and achievements 6
    • Records 6.1
    • Professional Awards 6.2
    • Other achievements 6.3
  • Other awards 7
  • See also 8
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • Video 12
  • External links 13

Tennis career

Early life and career

Sparta, Greece, and his father was born in the United States to a Greek father and a Jewish mother.[5][6] He attended regular services of the Greek Orthodox Church on Sundays.[7] From an early age, Sampras showed signs of outstanding athletic ability. At the age of 3, Sampras discovered a tennis racket in the basement of his home and spent hours hitting balls against the wall.

In 1978, the Sampras family moved to Palos Verdes, California, and the warmer climate there allowed the seven-year-old Sampras to play more tennis. From early on, his great idol was Rod Laver, and at the age of 11, Sampras met and played with him.[8] The Sampras family joined the Jack Kramer Club, and it was here that Sampras's talent became apparent. He was spotted by Peter Fischer, a pediatrician and tennis enthusiast, who coached Sampras until 1989.[8][9] Fischer was responsible for converting Sampras's double-handed backhand to single-handed with the goal of being better prepared to win Wimbledon.[10][11]


Sampras turned professional in 1988, at the age of 16, and finished the year ranked World No. 97 after starting the year at World No. 893.[12] His first professional match was a loss to Sammy Giammalva, Jr. at the February Ebel U.S. Pro Indoor in Philadelphia. However, just one week later at the Lipton International Players Championships in Miami, Sampras defeated two top-40 players before losing to world number 18 Emilio Sánchez. He did not defeat another top-40 player for almost six months, when he defeated World No. 39 Michiel Schapers at a US Open warm-up tournament in Rye Brook, New York. In his first Grand Slam singles match, Sampras lost to World No. 69 Jaime Yzaga of Peru in the first round of the US Open. Sampras did not advance past the quarterfinals in his next three tournaments, although he did record wins over World No. 79 Jim Courier in their first career match-up, and world number 8 Tim Mayotte.[13]

The following year, Sampras slightly improved his ranking to a year-ending world number 81.[14] He lost in the first round of the 1989 Australian Open to Christian Saceanu and the first round of Wimbledon to Todd Woodbridge. He won a Grand Slam singles match for the first time at the French Open, before losing in the second round to eventual champion, 17-year-old Michael Chang, in their first career match-up. At the US Open, Sampras defeated defending champion and fifth-seeded Mats Wilander in the second round before losing to World No. 13 Jay Berger in the fourth round. To end the year, Sampras lost in the first round of four consecutive tournaments.[15]

Sampras finished 1990 at World No. 5, having started the year ranked World No. 61 just prior to the start of the Australian Open.[16] He lost to Wilander in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Sydney. At the Australian Open, Sampras upset twelfth-ranked Mayotte in the first round before losing to thirteenth-ranked Yannick Noah in the fourth round in four sets. His first professional singles title came in February at the Ebel U.S. Pro Indoor in Philadelphia, where he defeated sixth-ranked Andre Agassi, eighth-ranked Mayotte, and eighteenth-ranked Andrés Gómez in the final. This title elevated his ranking into the top 20 for the first time.

Sampras did not play in the 1990 French Open and again lost in the first round of Wimbledon, this time to Christo van Rensburg. Sampras played seven consecutive weeks during the North American summer hard-court season. He defeated John McEnroe in the quarterfinals of the Canadian Open, but then lost to Chang in the semifinals. He also reached the semifinals of the tournament in Los Angeles, where he lost to World No. 2 Stefan Edberg. He did not advance past the quarterfinals in his next three tournaments, losing to Chang, Richey Reneberg, and Goran Ivanišević.

In September, Sampras captured his first Grand Slam title at the US Open. Along the way, he defeated sixth-ranked Thomas Muster in the fourth round and third-ranked Ivan Lendl in a five-set quarterfinal, breaking Lendl's streak of eight consecutive US Open finals. He then defeated 20th-ranked McEnroe in a four-set semifinal to set up a final with fourth-ranked Agassi. Sampras beat Agassi in straight sets to become the US Open's youngest-ever male singles champion at the age of 19 years and 28 days.[17] He played five more tournaments and won the Grand Slam Cup to complete his year.[18]


Sampras in 1992.

In 1991, Sampras captured the first of his five career titles at the year-end Tennis Masters Cup. Upon entering the US Open as the defending champion that year, he caused controversy when, after losing in the quarterfinals to Jim Courier, Sampras said that he was not disappointed and felt relieved that the pressure to defend his title was no longer on him. This led to widespread criticism, which included disparaging remarks from Courier and Jimmy Connors.[19]

In 1992, Sampras reached the quarter finals of the French Open for the first of three consecutive years, made it to the Wimbledon semifinals, and was the runner-up at the US Open to Stefan Edberg. Sampras later stated that his loss in the US Open final that year was a "wake-up call" and that he needed to figure out how to become the world number 1.[20] He also played doubles with John McEnroe on the US team that won the Davis Cup, duplicating the feat in 1995.

1992 was also the year when Sampras made his only appearance at a Summer Olympics. The event was played on clay, which was considered his worst surface. Nonetheless, Sampras advanced to the third round before giving up a two-set lead and losing to Andrei Cherkasov of Russia.


Sampras reached the semifinals of the Australian Open in early 1993, losing again to Stefan Edberg and matched the previous year's quarterfinal performance at the French Open. In April 1993, Sampras attained the world number 1 ranking for the first time. His rise to the top of the rankings was controversial because he had not recently won any Grand Slam titles,[21] but he justified his ranking three months later by claiming his first Wimbledon title, beating former world number 1 Jim Courier in the final. This was followed by his second US Open title. He finished the year as the clear no. 1 and set a new ATP Tour record that year by becoming the first player to serve more than 1,000 aces in a season.

Except for a loss in the 1996 quarterfinals to eventual winner Richard Krajicek, Sampras continued to win at Wimbledon for the rest of the decade, becoming the most successful male player in Wimbledon history.[22]

Sampras won the first of two Australian Open titles in 1994, defeating American Todd Martin in the final. In 1995, Sampras experienced one of the most emotional matches of his career, when he played Courier in the quarterfinals.[23] Sampras' longtime coach and close friend, Tim Gullikson, had mysteriously collapsed during the tournament and was forced to return to the United States. Gullikson was later diagnosed with brain cancer, to which he succumbed the following year. Saddened by Gullikson's illness, Sampras began visibly weeping during the match, but managed to win. He lost the final to Agassi. Paul Annacone took over as Sampras' full-time coach after Gullikson's illness made it impossible for him to continue coaching.

Sampras's best surface was undoubtedly the fast-playing grass courts,[24] He was also known for his all-round game and strong competitive instinct. He won back-to-back US Open titles in 1995 and 1996, despite vomiting on the court at 1–1 in the final set tiebreak due to dehydration in the 1996 quarterfinals against Àlex Corretja.

Sampras's only real weakness was on clay courts, where the slow surface tempered his natural attacking serve-and-volley game. His best performance at the French Open came in 1996, when he lost a semifinal match to the eventual winner, Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

Despite his limited success at Roland Garros, Sampras did win some significant matches on clay. He won a 1992 clay court tournament in Kitzbühel, defeating Alberto Mancini in the final. He won the prestigious Italian Open in 1994, defeating Boris Becker in the final, and two singles matches in the 1995 Davis Cup final against Russians Andrei Chesnokov and Yevgeny Kafelnikov in Moscow. Sampras also won a 1998 clay court tournament in Atlanta, defeating Jason Stoltenberg in the final.


Sampras won his second Australian Open title in January, defeating Carlos Moyá in the final.[25] In July, he won Wimbledon for the fourth time, defeating Cédric Pioline in the final.[26] Sampras also won singles titles in San Jose, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Munich, and Paris, and the ATP Tour World Championships in Hanover, Germany. He became the only player to win both the Grand Slam Cup and the ATP Tour World Championships in the same year.

He had a 10–1 win–loss record against top-10 opponents and was undefeated in eight singles finals. He held the world number 1 ranking for the entire year and joined Jimmy Connors (1974–1978) as the only male players to hold the year-end world number 1 ranking for five consecutive years. His prize money earnings of US$6,498,211 for the year was a career high.


In 1998, Sampras's no. 1 ranking was challenged by Chilean player Marcelo Ríos. (In 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997, Sampras had finished as the year-end world number one player.) Sampras failed to defend his Australian Open title, losing in the quarterfinals to Karol Kučera,[27] and won Wimbledon only after a hard-fought five-set victory over Goran Ivanišević. Sampras lost a five-set US Open semifinal to the eventual winner Patrick Rafter, after leading the match two sets to one. He lost another semifinal at the Tennis Masters Cup to eventual champion Àlex Corretja. Nevertheless, Sampras finished the year as the top-ranked player for the sixth year in a row.


This year also started out disappointingly, as Sampras withdrew from the Australian Open and failed to win a title during the early part of the season. However, he then went on a 24-match winning streak, including the Stella Artois Championships, Wimbledon (equaling Roy Emerson's record of 12 Grand Slam singles titles), Los Angeles, and Cincinnati. His victory over Andre Agassi in the Wimbledon final is often cited as one of Sampras' greatest performances (despite this, he lost his no. 1 ranking to Agassi the following day, when ATP Tour rankings were updated). That run ended when he was forced to retire from the RCA Championships and the US Open because of a herniated disc in his back.

Sampras' ranking was hurt through a combination of withdrawing from the Australian and US Opens, tournaments in which he had strong performances during the previous year, and the resurgence of longtime rival Agassi, putting an end to Sampras' six consecutive years of finishing as world number 1. Agassi took over the top ranking and held it for the rest of the season, but Sampras recovered and managed to beat him in the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup for the fifth and final time, enabling Sampras to place third in the rankings.

In a 1999 Master's final against Patrick Rafter, in Cincinnati, one of Pete's serves burst right through the strings of Rafter's racket, when he attempted to return it. It appeared as if hit by a shotgun blast.


Sampras reached the semifinals of the Australian Open in early 2000 (falling to the eventual champion Agassi in a five-set match) and won the Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida for the third time in March. He then won a record-breaking 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, battling through tendinitis in his right shin and a painful back injury in the process. This victory was his eighth consecutive year winning in a Grand Slam final (starting at 1993 Wimbledon), a record in the Open Era until being surpassed by Rafael Nadal in 2013. After this victory, Sampras did not win another title for more than two years.

Sampras lost handily in the finals of the 2000 and 2001 US Open to Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt, respectively, leading many to speculate that Sampras would never capture another major title. At the 2001 Wimbledon Championships, Sampras lost to Roger Federer, then aged 19, 6–7(7), 7–5, 4–6, 7–6(2), 5–7, in the fourth round, ending Sampras' 31-match winning streak at Wimbledon, and a match that marked the only time that the two men ever played each other on the ATP tour. Federer would go on to equal Sampras' record of 7 Wimbledon victories. At the 2001 US Open, Sampras defeated Patrick Rafter, Andre Agassi and Marat Safin in the round of sixteen, quarterfinals, and semi-finals, respectively. In the final, Sampras was beaten in straight sets by Lleyton Hewitt.[28]

In 2002, Sampras suffered an early exit from Wimbledon, losing in the second round to no. 145 fast-court specialist Paul Annacone to return and coach through the US Open.[29] Sampras had a relatively poor summer leading up to the US Open, losing at Cincinnati to No. 70-ranked Wayne Arthurs in the second round, and then being eliminated at the opening round at Long Island by No. 85. Paul-Henri Mathieu.

At the US Open, Sampras was seeded 17th. Greg Rusedski, whom Sampras had defeated in a long five-set third round match at the US Open, said that Sampras was "a step and a half slower" and predicted that Sampras would lose his next match. Sampras, however, then defeated two young stars, Tommy Haas in the fourth round and Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals. He then defeated Sjeng Schalken in the semifinals to reach his third straight US Open final, and eighth US Open final overall, tying Ivan Lendl's all-time record. This time, he faced Agassi, whom he had met in his very first Grand Slam final 12 years earlier. After a four-set battle between the two veterans, Sampras claimed a then-record 14th Grand Slam singles title and matched Jimmy Connors' record of five US Open singles championships.[30]

Sampras did not compete in any tour events in the following 12 months, but he did not officially announce his retirement until August 2003, just prior to the US Open.[31] He chose not to defend his title there, but his retirement announcement was timed so that he could say farewell at a special ceremony organized for him at the Open.[31] At the time of his retirement, many regarded Sampras as the greatest player of all time.[32][33]

Sampras won 64 top-level singles titles (including 14 Grand Slam titles, 11 Super 9/ATP Masters Series/ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles and five Tennis Masters Cup titles) and two doubles titles. He was ranked the world number 1 for a total of 286 weeks (the second most all-time) and was year-end no. 1 for a record six consecutive years from 1993 through 1998.

Post-retirement activity

Pete Sampras at Champions Cup Boston, in 2007.

On April 6, 2006, three and a half years after his retirement, Sampras resurfaced and played his first exhibition match in River Oaks, Houston, Texas, against 23-year-old Robby Ginepri. Ginepri won the match in two sets. Sampras later announced that he would be playing in World Team Tennis events.

2007 saw Sampras announcing that he would play in a few events on the Outback Champions Series, a group of tournaments for former ATP players who have met certain criteria during their careers.[34] Sampras won his first two events on tour, defeating Todd Martin in both finals (one of which included Sampras's first trip to his ancestral homeland, Greece).[35] Many observers noted that despite his lengthy layoff from competitive tournaments, Sampras still possessed many of the previous skills he had displayed while on the ATP tour, with tennis legend John McEnroe going as far as to say that Sampras would be worthy of a top five seeding at Wimbledon were he to enter the tournament.[36]

On November 20, 2007, Sampras lost the first of three exhibition matches in Asia against Roger Federer in Seoul, Korea.[37] Two days later in Kuala Lumpur, Sampras again lost to Federer in two tiebreaks. However, Sampras was able to win the last match of the series, winning in two sets on fast carpet.[38]

On February 18, 2008, in an exhibition match during the SAP Open, Sampras defeated another active player, former world No. 2 Tommy Haas. Sampras dispatched the German in 43 minutes.[39]

On March 10, 2008, Sampras played another exhibition match against world No. 1 Roger Federer at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Sampras once again lost the match in three tight sets.[40]

In 2009 Sampras won two Outback Champions Series titles. He defeated McEnroe in the final of the Champions Cup Boston in February and Patrick Rafter in the final of The Del Mar Development Champions Cup in March.[41]

Sampras was present at the 2009 Wimbledon final between Andy Roddick and Roger Federer to witness Federer eclipse his mark of 14 major titles and become the most successful man in Grand Slam history. Sampras's record of 14 majors had lasted for seven years.

The following year along with Federer, Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal, he played an exhibition doubles match at Indian Wells to raise money for the people of Haiti who had been affected by the earthquake.

In November 2010 Sampras reported that many of his trophies and other memorabilia had been stolen from a West Los Angeles public storage facility.[42] The loss included not only one of his 14 Grand Slam title trophies, from his first Australian Open victory,[43] but also included two Davis Cups, an Olympic ring and six trophies for finishing top in the year-end rankings.[44] Most of the stolen items have since been recovered and returned.[45]

On November 17, 2011, Sampras played and lost an exhibition match against Milos Raonic. Sampras’ serve approached 200 km/h throughout the night.[46]


Sampras vs. Agassi

Sampras won 20 of the 34 matches he played against Agassi.[47]

The 1990 US Open was their first meeting in a Grand Slam tournament final. Agassi was favored because he was ranked world number 4, compared to the world number 12 ranking of Sampras and because Agassi had defeated Sampras in their only previously completed match. However, Agassi lost the final to Sampras in straight sets.

Their next meeting in a Grand Slam was at the 1992 French Open, where they met in the quarterfinals. Although Sampras was higher ranked, Agassi prevailed in straight sets. Their next Grand Slam meeting was at the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 1993, where Agassi was the defending champion and Sampras was the newly minted world number 1. Sampras prevailed in five sets, and went on to win his first Wimbledon championship.

With both Sampras and Agassi participating, the U.S. won the Davis Cup in 1995. Notable Sampras-Agassi matches of 1995 included the finals of the Australian Open, the Newsweek Champions Cup, the Lipton International Players Championships, the Canadian Open, and the US Open, with Sampras winning the Newsweek Champions Cup and the US Open.

The next time Sampras and Agassi met in a Grand Slam final was at Wimbledon in 1999, where Sampras won in straight sets. For both, it was considered a career rejuvenation, as Sampras had suffered a string of disappointments in the last year while Agassi was regaining his status as a top-ranked player after winning the French Open. Sampras forfeited the world number 1 ranking to Agassi when injury forced Sampras to withdraw from that year's US Open, which Agassi went on to win. They faced each other twice in the season-ending ATP Tour World Championships, with Sampras losing the round-robin match, but winning the final.

They played each other only once in 2000. The top-ranked Agassi defeated world number 3 Sampras in the semifinals of the Australian Open in five sets.

In arguably their most memorable match, Sampras defeated Agassi in the 2001 US Open quarterfinals 6–7, 7–6, 7–6, 7–6. There were no breaks of serve during the entire match. Reruns of the match are frequently featured on television, especially during US Open rain delays.

The final of the 2002 US Open was their first meeting in a US Open final since 1995. The match also was notable because they had defeated several up-and-coming players en route to the final. Sampras had defeated world number 3 Tommy Haas in the fourth round and future world number 1 Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals, while Agassi had defeated world number 1 and defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the semifinals. Sampras defeated Agassi in four sets. This was the final ATP tour singles match of Sampras's career.[48]

On August 2010 Sampras played an exhibition game with Andre Agassi at the indoor arena Coliseo Cubierto El Campin in Bogotá, Colombia.

Sampras vs. Rafter

Sampras won 12 of the 16 matches he played against Rafter, including eight of their first nine.[49] Their rivalry began to truly develop after Rafter shocked the tennis world by winning the 1997 US Open, a tournament that many expected Sampras to win, having won in 1995 and 1996. The win catapulted Rafter to the year-end no. 2 rankings behind Sampras. Many, including seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe believed Rafter to be a "one-slam wonder", since it was only his second career ATP title.[50]

In 1998, after Rafter defeated Sampras in the Cincinnati Masters final, Sampras, at the time winner of 11 Grand Slams, when asked about the difference between himself and Rafter, famously stated "Ten grand slams", that a controversial line-call cost him the match, and that a player had to come back and win another Grand Slam title in order to be considered great.[51] During that match Rafter's serve was called out, but the umpire overruled the call to give Rafter the ace and the Cincinnati title. In displeasure, Sampras stood at the baseline for several seconds, making the victorious Rafter wait at the net, and then refused to shake the umpire's hand.[52] Rafter went on to win the Canadian Masters as well, earning the third seed at the 1998 US Open.

The two met in the semifinals of the 1998 US Open, with Rafter winning in five sets. Sampras's loss denied him the chance to match two records—Jimmy Connors' mark of five U.S. Open titles and Roy Emerson's record of 12 Grand Slam singles titles. Sampras cited a leg injury as the reason Rafter won, an attitude that upset the generally mild-mannered Aussie: "He really does say some funny things at the wrong time", said Rafter, "We are out there busting our guts and he doesn't show a lot of respect at the end of the day. He tries to play down the reason why he lost, giving no respect to the other player, and that is what really upsets me about him and the reason I try to piss him off as much as I can."[53]

Following Rafter's successful defense of his 1997 U.S. Open title by defeating Mark Philippoussis in the 1998 final, when asked about Sampras' earlier comments about having to win another Grand Slam in order to be considered great, Rafter replied: "Maybe you can ask him that question, if he thinks that now. For me, I won another Slam, and it hasn't sunk in yet. It's very, very exciting for me, especially to repeat it".[51] For his part, Sampras said about Rafter, "When I see him holding the US Open trophy, it pisses me off."[54]

After losing for a third consecutive time against Rafter in the early part of the 1999 season, Sampras won their final four meetings,[55] including a victory in the 2000 Wimbledon final (after Rafter overcame Agassi in the semi-finals), with Sampras losing the first set tiebreaker and trailing in the second-set tiebreaker but eventually winning that set and then the next two sets for the Championship. That victory gave Sampras his 13th Grand Slam title, breaking the record of 12 by Roy Emerson for the most Grand Slam titles in history,[56] until Roger Federer broke the record by winning Wimbledon in 2009.

Playing style

Sampras was an all-court player who would often serve and volley. Possessing an all-around skill, in the early years of his career, when not serving, his strategy was to be offensive from the baseline, put opponents in a defensive position, and finish points at the net. In his later years, he became even more offensive and would either employ a chip-and-charge strategy or try to hit an offensive shot on the return and follow his return to the net.

He was known for producing aces on critical points, even with his second serves.[57][58] He had an accurate and powerful first serve, one of the best of all time.[59] His second serve was nearly as powerful as his first. He had great disguise on both his first and second serves.

Sampras was able to hit winners from both his forehand and backhand from all over the court. He was able to catch attacks wide to his forehand using his speed and hitting a forehand shot on the run. When successfully executed, he won many points outright or put opponents immediately on the defensive, because of the extreme pace and flat nature of the shot.


Sampras used one racket type, the Wilson Pro Staff Original,[60] for his entire professional career—a racket first introduced in 1983. He played with Babolat natural gut, with all his rackets re-strung before each match (used or not) at 75 lbs tension (more or less, depending on conditions). His rackets had weight added to bring them close to 400 g, but the frame proper was a production model manufactured at a Wilson factory on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. The handles were custom-built.[61]

Post-retirement, Sampras has used a slightly modified Pro Staff Tour 90 and, from 2008, a new version of the original Pro Staff, produced with in-between head size of 88 square inches and heavier weight at 349 grams unstrung.[62]

Since mid-2010,[63] Sampras has been spotted at multiple exhibitions playing with a Babolat Pure Storm Tour, along with Babolat's popular RPM Blast strings.[64]

"I need a little more pop...I need it if I'm going to play some tennis," he said after playing Gael Monfils in an exhibition at the SAP Open.[65]

During a good part of 2011, Sampras used a racquet that was painted all black, with Tourna Grip and Tourna Damper.

In the late 1980s, Sampras signed a three-year endorsement contract with Sergio Tacchini. It was extended to five years before Sampras signed with Nike in 1994.[66] He wore Nike apparel and Nike Air Oscillate footwear on court.[67]

Personal and family life

Sampras's older sister, Stella Sampras Webster, is the women's tennis head coach at UCLA,[68] and his younger sister, Marion, is a teacher in Los Angeles. His older brother, Gus, has been tournament director at the Scottsdale ATP event, but from 2007 he became president of the firm managing Pete's business activities.[69]

On September 30, 2000, Sampras married American actress and former Miss Teen USA, Bridgette Wilson.[70] On November 21, 2002, their son, Christian Charles, was born.[71] On July 29, 2005, the couple welcomed their second son, Ryan Nikolaos.[72] They reside in Lake Sherwood, California.[73]

Sampras has β-thalassemia minor, a genetic trait that sometimes causes mild anemia.[74]

Career statistics

Grand Slam Performance Timeline

Tournament 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 SR W–L Win
Grand Slams
Australian Open 1R 4R SF W F 3R W QF SF 4R 4R 2 / 11 45–9 83.33%
French Open 2R 2R QF QF QF 1R SF 3R 2R 2R 1R 2R 1R 0 / 13 24–13 64.86%
Wimbledon 1R 1R 2R SF W W W QF W W W W 4R 2R 7 / 14 63–7 90%
US Open 1R 4R W QF F W 4R W W 4R SF F F W 5 / 14 71–9 88.75%
Win–Loss 0–1 4–4 10–2 6–3 15–3 23–2 21–2 20–2 18–3 19–2 17–3 8–1 18–3 13–4 11–3 14 / 52 203–38 84.23%

Records and achievements


  • These records were attained in Open Era of tennis.
  • Records in bold indicate peer-less achievements.
  • ^ Denotes consecutive streak.
Championship Years Record accomplished Player tied
Grand Slam 1995–2000 8 consecutive finals appearances won[1] Stands alone
Grand Slam 1992–2002 11 consecutive years reaching 1+ final Ivan Lendl
Grand Slam 1990–2002 5 or more titles at 2 different Majors Björn Borg
Roger Federer
Wimbledon 1993–2000 7 titles overall[75][76][77] Roger Federer
US Open 1990–2002 5 titles overall[78] Jimmy Connors
Roger Federer^
US Open 1990–2002 8 finals overall[79] Ivan Lendl^
US Open 1990 Youngest US Open champion[80] Stands alone
Year–End No. 1 1993–1998 6 years^[80][81][82] Stands alone

Professional Awards

Other achievements

  • Sampras (1997–2000) won four consecutive Wimbledon singles titles, second only to Borg and Federer (who have five consecutive titles each).
  • During the Open Era, only Borg (1978–81 French Open and 1976–80 Wimbledon), Sampras (1997–2000 Wimbledon), Federer (2003–07 Wimbledon and 2004–08 US Open), and Rafael Nadal (2005–08 French Open and 2010–2014 French Open) have won at least one Grand Slam tournament four consecutive times.
  • Ken Rosewall and Sampras are the only men to have won Grand Slam singles titles as a teenager, in their 20s, and in their 30s.
  • Sampras won 40 of the 42 singles matches he played on Wimbledon's Centre Court and 63 of the 70 singles matches he played at the All England Club.
  • Sampras is the only male player during the Open Era who played in at least seven singles finals at two different Grand Slam tournaments (8 US Open and 7 Wimbledon).

Other awards

Summary of professional awards.[85]

  • U.S. Olympic Committee "Sportsman of the Year" in 1997. He was the first tennis player to receive this award.[86]
  • GQ Magazine's Individual Athlete Award for Man of the Year in 2000.
  • Selected the No. 1 player (of 25 players) in the past 25 years by a panel of 100 current and past players, journalists, and tournament directors to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the ATP in 1997.
  • Voted 48th athlete of Top 50 Greatest North American Athletes of ESPN's SportsCentury (also youngest on list).
  • In 2005, TENNIS Magazine named Sampras the greatest tennis player for the period 1965 through 2005, from its list, "The 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS Era".

See also


  1. ^ This record was achieved in non-consecutive Majors. The record for most consecutive Grand Slam finals won is 4, achieved by Rod Laver in 1969 (the same year he achieved the Grand Slam). Also, this is an Open Era record only as both Bill Tilden and Roy Emerson won more finals in a row.


  1. ^ Dillman, Lisa (July 16, 2002). "Sampras Lets Higueras Go". Los Angeles Times. 
  2. ^ "Petros Sampras" in the Paperback Oxford English Dictionary
  3. ^ Tennis Magazine ranked Sampras the best player of the period 1965–2005.
  4. ^ "Top 10 Men's Tennis Players of All Time". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Sampras visits ancestral home for first time". MSNBC. Associated Press. May 15, 2008. Retrieved February 20, 2008. 
  6. ^ Higdon, David (October 2, 1996). "Questions from the Net: Your Top Ten Questions to Pete Sampras". Retrieved February 20, 2008. 
  7. ^ Srinivasan, Archana (2007). Biographies of Bio-Sporting Legends. Sura Books. p. 80.  
  8. ^ a b "The King of Swing. Pete Sampras". Retrieved February 22, 2008. 
  9. ^ Spadea, Vince; Dan Markowitz (2006). Break Point: The Secret Diary of a Pro Tennis Player. ECW Press. pp. 36, 125.  
  10. ^ Shifrin, Joshua (2005). 101 Incredible Moments in Tennis: The Good, the Bad and the Infamous. Publishers. p. 229.  
  11. ^ Robson, Douglas (June 24, 2008). "One-handed backhand now a rarity in post-Henin era". USA Today. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Ranking History of Pete Sampras for 1988". ATP Official website. Archived from the original on January 12, 2009. Retrieved November 28, 2008. 
  13. ^ "1988 Player Activity for Pete Sampras". ATP Official website. Retrieved November 28, 2008. 
  14. ^ "Ranking History of Pete Sampras for 1989". ATP Official website. Archived from the original on January 12, 2009. Retrieved November 28, 2008. 
  15. ^ "1989 Player Activity for Pete Sampras". ATP Official website. Retrieved November 28, 2008. 
  16. ^ "Ranking History of Pete Sampras for 1990". ATP Official website. Retrieved November 28, 2008. 
  17. ^ Srinivasan, 2007, Bio-Sporting Legends, p. 83.
  18. ^ "1990 Player Activity for Pete Sampras". ATP Official website. Retrieved November 28, 2008. 
  19. ^ Schwartz, Larry. "Sampras competes against best – ever". ESPN. Retrieved February 20, 2008. 
  20. ^ "Upon Hall of Fame Induction, Sampras Says a Loss Spurred Wins". The New York Times. Associated Press. July 15, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2008. 
  21. ^ Sampras, Pete; Peter Bodo (2008). A Champion's Mind: Lessons from a Life in Tennis. Crown Publishing Group. p. 306.  
  22. ^ Most current Wimbledon Titles.
  23. ^  
  24. ^ based on total wins per surface.
  25. ^ White, Derrick (January 27, 1997). "Tennis: Sampras barely breaks sweat". The Independent (London: Independent Print Limited). Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  26. ^ Roberts, John (July 7, 1997). "Tennis: Wimbledon '97 – Sparkling Sampras reigns supreme". The Independent (London: Independent Print Limited). Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Sport: Tennis – Pistol Pete fired from Open". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). January 27, 1998. Retrieved May 8, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Aussie disarms Sampras serve, rolls to U.S. Open". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  29. ^ "U.S. Open – The day Pete Sampras' fire returned – ESPN". September 6, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Sampras wins first title in more than two years". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  31. ^ a b Jim Litke (2003). "'"Sampras: '100 Percent Retired.  
  32. ^ Raymond Lee (September 14, 2007). "Greatest Player Of All Time: A Statistical Analysis".  
  33. ^ "40 Greatest Players of the Tennis Era".  
  34. ^ Ulmann, Howard (February 7, 2007). "Sampras 'to see how it goes' in Champions Series return". USA Today. Retrieved February 20, 2008. 
  35. ^ "Pete Sampras beats Todd Martin to win Athens seniors event". Associated Press. May 20, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2008. 
  36. ^ "Senior tour a crowd-pleasing idea". The Gazette. May 15, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2008. 
  37. ^ "Federer beats Sampras in first of three exhibitions". Associated Press. November 20, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2008. 
  38. ^ "Third time the charm as Sampras wins in straight sets".  
  39. ^ "Sampras shows no mercy in beating Haas in exhibition". Associated Press. February 19, 2008. Retrieved February 20, 2008. 
  40. ^ "Clash of the Tennis Titans". The Tennis Channel. 2008. Retrieved February 22, 2008. 
  41. ^ "2009 EVENTS". 
  42. ^ "Pete Sampras' tennis trophies stolen". ESPN. December 8, 2010. Retrieved December 9, 2010. 
  43. ^ "Pete Sampras tennis trophies stolen from storage depot". BBC News. December 8, 2010. Retrieved December 9, 2010. 
  44. ^ Dwyre, Bill (December 7, 2010). "One of tennis' ultimate winners, Pete Sampras, suffers a major loss". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 9, 2010. 
  45. ^ "Sampras' stolen trophies turn up at hospital – News | FOX Sports on MSN". March 22, 2011. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  46. ^ faceofftennis (November 22, 2011). "Big-serving Canuck Raonic downs the great Sampras « The Face-Off presented by SAP". Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  47. ^ "Sampras-Agassi Head-to-Head Matches". ATP Official website. Retrieved November 28, 2008. 
  48. ^ Muir, Allan. "Breaking news, real-time scores and daily analysis from Sports Illustrated -". Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  49. ^ "Sampras-Rafter Career Head-To-Head". Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  50. ^ Holden, Kit (August 28, 1998). "Tennis: Rafter learns the mind game". The Independent (London). Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  51. ^ a b Dillman, Lisa (September 14, 1998). "Rafter Grandly Slams U.S. Open Criticism". Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  52. ^ Muir, Allan. "Breaking news, real-time scores and daily analysis from Sports Illustrated -". Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  53. ^ Dillman, Lisa (July 9, 2000). "There's a Little Tension in Sampras, Rafter Rackets". Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  54. ^ Holden, Kit (August 28, 1999). "'"Sampras slight raises stakes for 'Pat-trick. The Independent (London). Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  55. ^ "Fired-up Sampras takes it to Rafter, faces Agassi next". CNN. 
  56. ^ "Sampras sets record with win against Rafter". CNN. 
  57. ^ "Pete Sampras's serving style". Retrieved July 7, 2008. 
  58. ^ "Second Serve Style and Speed". Retrieved July 7, 2008. 
  59. ^ "Had you written off Pistol Pete?". BBC Sport. August 19, 2002. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  60. ^ "WHAT THEY'RE WEARING (AND HITTING WITH) AT THE U.S. OPEN". SportsBusiness Journal. August 28, 2000. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  61. ^ "Q & A with Nate Ferguson, Sampras' personal stringer".  
  62. ^ "Wilson K Factor KPro Staff 88 Racquet Review". Tennis Warehouse. Retrieved June 26, 2009. 
  63. ^ "Eyewitness report". Tennis Warehouse. May 2010. Retrieved February 8, 2011. 
  64. ^ "Pro Shop Q&A Tennis Magazine".  
  65. ^ "Associated Press article".  
  66. ^ Thomas, Louisa (October 20, 2011). "The Strange Career of Sergio Tacchini". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  67. ^ Schonberger, Nick (August 12, 2011). "How Tinker Hatfield Got Pete Sampras In The Nike Air Oscillate". Complex. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  68. ^ Behniwal, Ajaybir (May 2, 2007). "Women's tennis nets good draw through recent wins". The Daily Bruin (ASUCLA Student Media). Retrieved May 20, 2007. 
  69. ^ "Tennis Legend Pete Sampras Forms New Company – Pure Sports Management" (PDF). Press Release. March 29, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2007. 
  70. ^ "Actress Brigette is Sampras love match". CNN. Associated Press. October 2, 2000. Archived from the original on May 26, 2006. Retrieved May 20, 2007. 
  71. ^ "Sampras Adds New Title: Father". The New York Times. November 26, 2002. Retrieved May 20, 2007. 
  72. ^ "Review 2005: Celebrity births, marriages and deaths".  
  73. ^ "Pete Sampras’ House in Lake Sherwood". March 21, 2010. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  74. ^ "Clay soils Pete's record". BBC Sport. May 23, 2002. Retrieved February 22, 2008. 
  75. ^ "Wimbledon – Records & Statistics". Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  76. ^ "Federer Wins Seventh Wimbledon Crown". ATP World Tour. July 8, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  77. ^ Clarey, Christopher (July 8, 2012). "Federer Beats Murray, and Britain, for Seventh Wimbledon Title". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  78. ^ "US Open Most Championship Titles Record Book" (PDF). US Open. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  79. ^ "US Open Singles Record Book" (PDF). US Open. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  80. ^ a b Buddell, James (August 26, 2011). "DEUCE – Pete Sampras – The Making Of A Champion". ATP World Tour. Retrieved February 4, 2012. 
  81. ^ Macpherson, Paul (January 12, 2010). "Roger's Records To Stand Test Of Time". ATP World Tour. Retrieved June 20, 2012. 
  82. ^ "Pete Sampras touts Roger Federer". (ESPN Internet Ventures). Associated Press. February 5, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2008. 
  83. ^ "ATP Bio:Pete Sampras". Retrieved June 26, 2009. 
  84. ^ Pete Sampras at the International Tennis Federation
  85. ^ "Bio:Pete Sampras". Gabby Awards. Archived from the original on April 12, 2009. Retrieved June 26, 2009. 
  86. ^ "Pete Sampras Left Behind A Legacy Few Players Can Ever Match". Retrieved June 27, 2009. 

Further reading

  • Collins, Bud; H. A. Branham (1996). Sampras: A Legend in the Works. Chicago: Bonus Books.  
  • Pete Sampras and  


  • Wimbledon Classic Match: Federer vs Sampras (2001) Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: October 31, 2006, Run Time: 233 minutes, ASIN: B000ICLR98.
  • Legends of Wimbledon – Pete Sampras (2006) Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: October 31, 2006, Run Time: 60 minutes, ASIN: B000ICLR84.
  • The Netjets Showdown: Pete Sampras vs. Roger Federer (2008) Arts Alliance Amer, DVD Release Date: April 22, 2008, Run Time: 180 minutes, ASIN: B0013PVGN6.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.