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Sampras was the equal of my idol Laver

[August 24, 2003 John McEnroe] I have to admit to being a little surprised that Pete Sampras has taken the decision to retire, but then I’m not very big on retirements, having never taken the trouble to announce my own. Technically speaking, I still haven’t retired, but I never had the chance to go out on a high note as Sampras has, as the US Open champion – albeit one year late. At a special ceremony at Flushing Meadows tomorrow night the curtain will be officially brought down on the career of one of the all-time greats, thereby upstaging, not for the first time but probably the last, Michael Chang. Poor Chang, who is on something of a farewell tour this year, seems to have spent his entire career in the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Archives 2003 to 2011

Becker salutes “The Best of All Time”

[August 23, 2003 Daily Times] German tennis legend Boris Becker paid tribute to seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras Friday as the American ace prepared to hang up his racket. “I have great respect for his decision,” Becker told German news agency DPA. “But what can be nicer than ending your career with a Grand Slam victory?” said the three-time Wimbledon winner. Sampras had a number of duels with Becker, 35, during his tennis career and the German is in doubt that the man who has won a record 14 Grand Slam titles is the greatest player ever. “In Pete Sampras the best tennis player of all time is retiring,” lauded Becker. “For me the match against Pete in the 1996 Hannover Masters was unforgettable,” continued Becker. “Even though I lost … Read entire article »

Filed under: Archives 2003 to 2011

Sampras in exhibition

[August 23, 2003 / NEW YORK ] In what might be the most-watched exhibition since Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs, promoters in Las Vegas are planning to pit Sampras and Andre Agassi against Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe in a made-for-TV doubles match that is almost certainly going to draw a wide audience. The date is set at Dec. 27 but the site is not and there are money issues to iron out. But, said a source close to the negotiations, everything is on schedule. All four players have agreed to play and to the special concept in which the “young” guys (Sampras and Agassi) will get only one serve instead of two, unless they lose a set. The match would be best-of-three. How attractive would this exhibition be? It would put … Read entire article »

Filed under: Archives 2003 to 2011

Sampras coach: ‘He doesn’t want to unretire’

[August 23, 2003 HOWARD FENDRICH, AP] Don’t look for Pete Sampras to pull a Michael Jordan. Sampras’ coach, Paul Annacone, is pretty sure the 14-time Grand Slam champion is done for good with playing competitive tennis. Sampras, who’s 32, formally will announce his retirement Monday and be honored on opening night at the U.S. Open, the site of his last match one year ago. “He waited to give himself the best chance to be sure. Pete doesn’t want to unretire five times, like some athletes have done, whether it’s Jordan or a professional boxer. He’s pretty secure in that,” Annacone said in an interview. “Maybe in six months, he’ll say, ‘Gosh, I really miss it.’ But I don’t see him doing that.” Sampras beat Andre Agassi in the 2002 U.S. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Archives 2003 to 2011

Sampras calling it quits

[August 22, 2003, Howard Fendrich, AP] Pete Sampras won his first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open. He won his last one there, too. And he’ll return to Flushing Meadows to bid a formal farewell to the sport he dominated for so many years. Sampras hasn’t played a match since winning the 2002 U.S. Open, but he never officially announced he was retiring. That will change during a news conference Monday, when Sampras also will be feted at Arthur Ashe Stadium on the opening night of year’s last major. In keeping with Sampras’ muted public style, the news came via an e-mailed statement from his representatives Thursday. “We certainly look forward to having Pete back at the Open,” USTA chief executive Arlen Kantarian said. “The ceremony will be a special night for Pete, for … Read entire article »

Filed under: Archives 2003 to 2011

Sad and Futureless

[August 22, 2003 by Rahul, Samprasfanz] And the journey is finally coming to an end. 1 1/2 hours ago I opened my browser and it took me to the default page. A quick glance through the headlines had a little surprise. “Sampras to announce retirement”. Though we all had more or less expected this to happen it was still a surprise. I didn’t know how to react. It is the feeling that you get when someone really old passes away. We are all expecting it, but it is still very sad when it happens. I am not sure why I feel so sad right now. I never expected Pete to pick up his racquet again. I knew that coming back would be more painful than joyful. But the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Archives 2003 to 2011