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Posted on: July 29th, 2009

I thought I was untouchable, says Sampras

- petepage

LOS ANGELES, California American tennis legend Pete Sampras has admitted he was surprised when what he thought would be his untouchable mark of 14 Grand Slam singles titles was smashed three weeks ago by Roger Federer.

And the envious American, retired and living the good life in California with lots of golf and a touch of tennis, says he expects the Swiss master to continue the run to glory for years to come.

"When I was done (with my career), I felt I'd put up some numbers no one would touch," said the 37-year-old Sampras, who was beaten by Marat Safin on Monday night in a Los Angeles exhibition, a replay of the 2000 US Open final won by the then up and coming Russian.

Sampras, who watched from Wimbledon's Royal box on July 5 as Federer lifted his historic 15th Grand Slam title with a win over Andy Roddick, said he was somewhat shocked - in a good way.

"Little did I know Roger would surpass me in seven years," said Sampras, who set the mark of 14 with a defeat of Andre Agassi in the 2002 US Open final just before retiring from the sport.

"He saw 14 as his goal. Records are made to be broken. I believe in that. I also can't do anything about it. My days are over but I'm content with my 14.

"I'm still amazed at what Roger has been able to do, it's incredible."

Sampras also spared a thought for the devasted Roddick, who has now lost three Wimbledon finals to Federer.

"We all felt bad for Andy, he was distraught. He played so well and had his chances. But Roger was so stable and had more at the end. It was pretty cool for me - the future of sport is bright.

"Roger will win some more after 15. But Andy's performance was worthy of having his name (engraved) on that trophy.

Sampras also said that even though he has become a father for the first time that Federer should not find his twin daughters, born last week in Zurich, any distraction to his tennis.

"He'll hit the road as soon as he can," joked the American. "I'm sure he will start playing 40 weeks a year."

"I can't see Roger changing diapers at 4 a.m. at the US Open. I'm sure they will have help. I don't think fatherhood will affect his game.

"It's a life-changer, but he's focused on his tennis. He'll keep doing what's he's done the past few years."

Copyright 2009 AFP.

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