Pete Sampras Tennis Retirement Ceremony
On August 25, 2002, Pete Sampras was honored with a tribute at the US Open for his official retirement from professional tennis. Prior to the ceremony, he held a press conference and explained that he has accomplished all that he wanted to. Sampras said, "I'm not retiring because I'm married or I have a son. I'm retiring because I have nothing to prove to myself."
Pete explained that he knew it was time to stop when he started practicing for Wimbledon but his heart was not into it. He said, "I knew once Wimbledon came and went that it was time for me to stop... It was time to call it a career.
"To say goodbye to it, to say I'm not going to play again, not going to be out here on this court, it's emotional," he said. "A part of me is still out there. But I'm also realistic in knowing that my time is done. I've done everything I can do. I'm at peace with stopping, and now it's time to move on."
At the ceremony, as soon as Pete Sampras was introduced and stepped on court, the thousands of fans in the stadium greeted him with a long standing ovation that brought tears to his eyes.
Tennis legends Jim Courier, Boris Becker, John McEnroe, together with his coach Paul Annacone were on hand to pay tribute to Pete Sampras. Andre Agassi, through taped video called Pete as "the best I've ever played with".
Pete said that he was both overwhelmed and touched by the tribute accorded him. He thanked his family, his parents and siblings and his coaches, Paul Annacone and the late Tim Gullikson. He especially thanked his wife Bridgette of her unwavering support during the most difficult period of his career. He also thanked his fans for their support.
To culminate the ceremony, Pete took one last "victory lap" around the court of Flushing Meadoww and instead of a trophy, Pete carried his son Christian.
Good-bye, Pete! Thank you for the memories.
Pete Sampras Commemorative Plaque
"In a career that spanned three decades, Pete Sampras rewrote the record books in the men's game and redefined the word 'Champion'. His quiet confidence, unfailing courage and unparalleled commitment to excellence defined him as a player and a person.
Sampras' 14 Grand Slam titles are a mark which is likely to stand for all-time, as will the legacy of a man who graced the great sport of tennis with his singular brillance and class."
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