Passion for Pete Sampras
I can actually define my becoming a fan of Pete's to a single moment. It was during the 1996 French Open, and I was on holiday in France watching it on TV in my hotel room. This was quite a novelty for me, as the only tennis I'd ever seen on TV at that stage was Wimbledon. I knew who Pete was of course, as he'd already won Wimbledon three times by then. I remember watching all those finals, and even rooting for him to win, but for some reason I had never taken much notice of him other than that. So I was just idly watching one of his matches (against Brugera, apparently, although I don't remember that and suddenly the players became engaged in this amazing rally at breakpoint - maybe 18, 20 shots long of beautiful, enthralling tennis, with Pete eventually coming forward to swipe the ball away and take the point. The crowd and the commentators and little me in my hotel room were all gasping at this wonderful display, and Pete as he was walking back to the service line smiled a beautiful, wide smile, and kissed his racquet. He looked incredibly cute, and I remember sitting there thinking that it wouldn't be at all bad if I was reincarnated as a tennis racquet. I was hooked from that moment and have been crazy about him ever since! The downside was that I didn't get to see much of France that vacation, as I spent most of my time glued to the TV screen in the hope of catching more of my new-found favourite player! But although I've followed him for four years since then, I've seen him kiss many trophies, but never another racquet.