Articles Comments

Samprasfanz » Archives 2003 to 2011 » [Nov 22, 2007] Sampras is still a top five player: Federer

[Nov 22, 2007] Sampras is still a top five player: Federer

World No.1 Roger Federer has held out Pete Sampras for the second consecutive time on their Asian exhibition tour, but Federer insists the tennis legend would still be ranked in the world’s top five had he not retired.

Sampras, 10 years Federer’s senior, pushed the Swiss master to tiebreaks in both sets before finally falling 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5).

“It was very difficult to read his serve,” said Federer, who is two grand slam titles from equaling Sampras’ record of 14.

“I think if he was still playing he would be a top-five player.”

The 36-year-old American had a different take.

“No. It’s a tough lifestyle and I’m happy with a great wife and great two kids relaxing in Los Angeles,” he told reporters.

Sampras’ signature serve still carried plenty of heat, and at a blistering 210kph, Federer was unable to break it.

Both men held serve to take the first set to a tiebreak with the Swiss maestro inching ahead when Sampras hit a forehand into the net.

The American hit back to bring the tiebreak back on serve but Federer showed why he is currently number one when he hit a scorching forehand winner down the line for his second break to establish set point.

Serving for the set, Federer hit a winning backhand volley to wrap up the first in 41 minutes.

It was a similar affair in the second set which also went to a tiebreak before Federer dug deep to run out eventual winner 7-5.

Sampras, retired for five years, brought back memories of his no-nonsense style of play during the match and later lamented the demise of serve-and-volley tennis that he put to such good use over the years.

“Serve and volley is extinct,” he said.

“In my day we had some great serve-and-volley players. There was myself, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic and others.

“But with the size of racquets getting bigger, junior players these days are only taught to hit the ball as hard as they can. There are some players who come in but they are not natural serve-and-volleyers.”

Federer and Sampras only met once on the ATP Tour, in the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2001 when Federer defeated the American in five sets.

The defeat ended Sampras’ remarkable reign at the All England Club.

The pair will meet for the third and final time in Macau on Saturday.

Filed under: Archives 2003 to 2011

Leave a Reply