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Sampras: It was Roger’s time to win

PARIS — It was an early morning for Pete Sampras in California.

When the French Open final between Roger Federer and Robin Soderling began half a world away, it was about 6 a.m. at Sampras’ home in Los Angeles.

Less than two hours later, he was no longer the exclusive holder of the most Grand Slam singles titles by a man. After Federer beat Soderling in straight sets, Federer and Sampras each have 14 major championships.

According to Sampras’ agent, Grant Chen, Sampras watched the match at home Sunday.

“I followed [Federer’s] results and saw some highlights,” Sampras said in quotes provided by the ATP World Tour. “People were saying that he was struggling, but as great players normally do, they find a way to win.

“I believe in destiny, and it was Roger’s time to win in Paris.”

Sampras is 37 years old now, and it’s been nearly seven years since he won his final major at the 2002 U.S. Open. He lives a quiet life now with his wife, actress Bridgette Wilson, and spends a lot of time playing golf and chasing his two sons, Christian, 6, and Ryan, 3.

When he retired, Sampras thought his record was safe for longer than seven years.

“I didn’t think it would only take seven years to tie it,” Sampras admitted. “It feels like I’m in good company with Roger. If there was someone I would want to be tied with and maybe one day my record to be broken, I hoped it would be someone like Roger.”

How many majors will Federer wind up with?

“It’s hard to put a number on it,” Sampras said. “But now — I know it’s a different sport — he might have his eyes on [Jack] Nicklaus’ 18 Grand Slams record.”

Federer has now reached 15 of the last 16 Grand Slam finals

Filed under: Archives 2003 to 2011

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