Hip injury forces Pete Sampras to pull out of Davis Cup
January 28, 2000
Melbourne, Australia - Pete Sampras announced on Friday at the Australian Open that he would not be able to take part in the United States match against Zimbabwe the following week.
The reason for pulling out of Davis Cup duties was that during his earlier 5-set semi-final loss to his biggest rival, Andre Agassi he had torn the muscle in his hip while scrambling for some shots early on in the match, on Thursday night. Sampras commented: "It certainly didn't help my movement, but he played great. I didn't come here to talk about the match."
Pete Sampras had pulled out of last years Davis Cup and refused to comment on what the new US Davis Cup Captain, John McEnroe's reaction was to this news of one of his top players pulling out. Sampras would only say: "He was at dinner, it probably wasn't the best news he's had."
The tournament Doctor, Dr. David Bolzonello had told Pete Sampras that if he tried to play again too quickly he would be risking causing further damage and ultimately a lengthier time out of action. He said that an MRI scan had shown that the hip muscle had approximately 30% of its fibre damaged. There was also a lot of bleeding in that area.
Pete Sampras had looked to be on the brink of claiming victory against his oldest rival, Andre Agassi in the 4th set tiebreaker after going ahead 4-3 with a mini-break. But Agassi countered attacked winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (5), 6-1 and reached his 4th straight Grand Slam final, even though Sampras had served 37 aces in the match. It was also Sampras's 2nd match that had gone to a fifth set during the tournament.
Wayne Black had, in what was billed as a preview of the Davis Cup 1st round meeting had forced Sampras to fight hard for his win as Black won the 1st two sets of that match. Sampras eventually won, 6-7(9), 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.
This new injury was not related to the back injury that had forced him to miss the US Open the previous year.
"I don't know if it's a result of too much tennis," Sampras said "I had a break last year."
Sampras had missed the Australian Open the previous year due to fatigue. Also due to missing the US Open with a back injury, he had dropped to No.3 in the rankings after being ranked No.1 for a record breaking 6 years running.
Sampras's last Grand Slam success came when he beat Andre Agassi in the 1999 Wimbledon final. Agassi who had won the French Open & US Open had resurrected his career after falling to as low as 141st in the ATP rankings in November 1997.
The injury sustained Thursday came "at a point where I did a lot of running," stated Sampras, "I kind of played through it the rest of the match. I did a lot of scrambling, and felt it happen."
The Davis Cup team for the tie against Zimbabwe had been announced by McEnroe. The team named was: Sampras, Agassi, Todd Martin and Alex O'Brien, to be played February 4th - 6th in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Sampras was uncertain of who would be the player chosen to play in his place.
Eighth seeded, Todd Martin who had lost in the 2nd round of the Australian Open to Fernando Vicente of Spain, had cited health difficulties, but not given any specific ailment as the cause of the health problems.
Following McEnroe's announcement of his selected team to play against Zimbabwe he had said that the altitude may cause a slight problem, "but… they will be lucky if they can see Pete's serve if he's serving well. And Andre actually grew up in some altitude in Las Vegas."
Brothers Byron and Wayne Black are the top two players for Zimbabwe. Both of the brothers are well known, and were even all-Americans when they were at the University of Southern California.
Based on "Sampras Skipping Davis Cup with Injured Hip by Phil Brown (AP)