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Of Tennis and the Media
Sampras has come to view the media with a cynical eye

February, 1998 (Excerpts)

Pete Sampras is not a bitter guy. Pete Sampras is not a broken guy. Pete Sampras is not a controversial guy, nor an unsuccessful one, nor one who has issues about which to feel either repentant or aggrieved. He's 26, at the zenith of his craft, and in harmony with himself and the world at large. So when he talks about the media, there's no reason to assume that he has a hidden agenda or a grudge to unload.

And this is what Pete told me not too long ago about my kind: "Here's how I see the media. The first year I won Wimbledon, I beat Jim Courier. I thought it was pretty good tennis. But to the British media, it was boring tennis and I was a boring guy with no personality. O.K. Second year, I play Goran [Ivanisevic], and it was boring tennis because it was big serves. O.K. The third time, I had a great match with Boris [Becker] and they thought that was all right. This year [1997] I won again at Wimbledon and they decided that I was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

"You know what? I didn't really change very much over those years, and my game didn't, either. I didn't become a less boring guy, or borrow someone else's personality along the way. It took journalists a surprisingly long time to focus on what I'm trying to accomplish, and now that they have, everybody is jumping on the bandwagon. Of course, I don't really care anymore, because I'd been slapped in the face enough times not to want to care. But I have to insist that all along it wasn't me who changed. It was they who changed. And that has made me a little cynical."






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