Close Encounter with Pete Sampras
Date: Summer, 1999
I hope many of you will be interested to hear how lucky I have been in receiving two personal messages from Pete. This was before the advent of the internet - now that top players receive hundreds of emails, I don't expect to be so fortunate again, which makes these souvenirs all the more precious.
Before the new building which opened at Wimbledon last year, security was less tight and there was a place where one could leave messages/letters/cards for players, and I was told that Paul Annacone picked them up for Pete. I was pleased to hear this, but would Pete have time or be relaxed enough to read letters, when he had to concentrate on defending his Championship again? Well, I actually had proof of this one year, because I put a stamped, self-addressed envelope and a blank sheet of paper in with my letter. Imagine the excitement when my envelope arrived in the post - containing the single but priceless word 'Thanks' [for the things I had said in my letter] and Pete's signature!! I cut this out and stuck it on the framed picture of him holding up the 1998 Wimbledon trophy, which is on the wall in front of me now. It means so much that he found time to read my letter and took the trouble to send me his autograph AND his personal thanks.