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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. Open final and pulled out of every tournament since — although Sampras never actually said he was quitting.

“He’s been thinking about it all year. He decided sometime after Wimbledon that he had had enough,” Annacone said. “Part of the key was wondering how he was going to feel not being at Wimbledon, and how he would inevitably feel not being here at the U.S. Open. He had to come to terms with it being the end of his career.”

Sampras practiced every day with Annacone early in the year, and he came close to returning to the pro tour in February or March.

“But he felt there wasn’t any passion there,” Annacone said.

“He feels likes he’s climbed all the mountains that he’s challenged himself with, and he’s ready to move on now.”

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