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Posted on: September 08th, 2004

Retired Sampras misses tourney but not the pressure

- petepage

[Sep 8, 2004] A year after his retirement, tennis great Pete Sampras is going to great lengths to be seen and heard.

Thirty minutes longer, in one specific case.

He will be featured in a one-hour Center Court with Chris Myers on the Tennis Channel on Sunday at 6 p.m.

Sampras -- winner of seven Wimbledon, five U.S. Open and two Australian Open titles -- also took time Tuesday to chat via the phone with Quick Hits:

With the Open going on, what do you miss most?

"I do miss the Open, I miss Wimbledon. The Open is kind of where I made my first mark. I miss the night matches and the fact that it's a major and it's New York City. The buzz and atmosphere are tough to replace with everyday life. I miss it quite a bit, but on the other hand, it's a lot of work, a lot of pressure, a lot of stress. I know those days are over.''

What do you miss the least?

"The expectations I put on myself. The pressure, the stress, the physical and mental grind over a two-week major. The U.S. Open, I don't know if it was the city or whatever, but it always kind of stressed me out more than the others because it was the traffic or just the city itself. I'm not much of a New York City guy.''

When can we expect your comeback on the courts, or will you end up a golfer like Ivan Lendl?

"I haven't picked up a racquet for quite some time. There might be a day I might come out and play a few matches here and there, exhibitions or whatever. I'm done with the competitive tennis. Those days are over. I don't see myself pulling a Deion Sanders or coming-out-of-retirement sort of thing. I still miss the majors, and I miss playing tennis. But you don't do it halfway. Either you make it your life and your priority or you don't. I think I ended it the way I wanted to, on my terms. I'm looking forward to some other things in life.''

Your biggest adjustment to being retired?

"Now it's a different focus, being a husband, a father. Men go out and work. Now that I'm not working, retired at 33, it's definitely an adjustment. Playing golf is great, but ...

If somebody offered you a TV show, how much better would yours be than John McEnroe's?

"Not much. To host a talk show takes talent. John does a good job. I think he does it better than I would.''

Any acting aspirations, or will you leave that to your wife (Bridgette Wilson)?

"One actor is plenty. No desire or interest.''

Couldn't even get a cameo in the upcoming movie "Wimbledon'' with Kirsten Dunst?

"They didn't ask me. I guess I hadn't won it enough.''

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