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Samprasfanz » Archives 2003 to 2011 » We are world’s best athletes – Pete Sampras

We are world’s best athletes – Pete Sampras

Oct 17, 2009

SURE to spark intense debate, Pete Sampras claims tennis players are the finest athletes in the whole wide world.

Gearing up for an exhibition match with old sparring partner Andre Agassi next week in Macau, Sampras’s contentious assertion will no doubt stir the emotions of rival sports enthusiasts across the globe.

Among others, elite boxers, gymnasts, cross-country skiers, surf lifesavers, triathletes, basketballers, handballers, cyclists, squash and soccer players and AFL footballers – in no particular order – could all argue they’d be the most supreme athletes on the planet. Sampras, though, says tennis stars ace the lot.

“People don’t talk about it. I mean, in tennis, these athletes are incredible,” the legendary American told ATP World Tour Uncovered.

“What these guys do on the run … the guys that aren’t maybe playing well and they come back – they’re down two sets to love and they have the resolve to come back and can go on and on.

“You look at the NBA and you look at some of these guys and they’re doing all these things and I think ‘that’s the best athlete’.

“But (then) I think tennis players are the best athletes, in my opinion.

“I’m not being biased. I know what it takes, I know hand-eye coordination. In an individual sport, you can’t hide.”

The vexing question of which sport boasts the greatest athletes is, of course, one which will never be truly answered, and probably best saved for backyard barbecues.

But Sampras’s qualified opinion is certainly worthy of consideration.

This is the very man whose clutch serve, breathtaking backhand and unrivalled work ethic delivered him 14 grand slam titles, a record six successive year-end No.1 rankings and $US43 million in prize money during a career statistically inferior only to the mighty Roger Federer.

There was little luck involved, even if Sampras says so himself.

“It was huge,” Sampras said of his crowning achievement, the half-dozen straight years at the pinnacle of his sport.

“I did it for five years and it was a close race at the end of the sixth year

Filed under: Archives 2003 to 2011

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