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Tom Gullikson is Pete's New Coach

December 6, 2001

Pete Sampras new coach is none other than Tom Gullikson, the twin brother of his former mentor Tim, who died of brain cancer in 1996.

Paul Annacone, Pete's coach of seven years has been appointed managing director of USA Tennis High Performance, in charge of developing American stars of the future.

Sampras commented on Annacone's new position, saying, "Paul and I had several great years together, and I know he's the right person for the job. He has plenty of playing and coaching experience that will be helpful to young players and also in training coaches. His new job is a signal that the USTA is really committed to finding our most promising prospects and giving them all the support, training, advice and competition that we can to make them champions. I wish him all the best."

BBC reported that Pete ended their partnership last month. "It was my decision to go another direction away from Paul. I have a lot of respect for him, we have a great relationship and he is still my friend, but I needed a change, a breath of fresh air.

"I performed inconsistently this year and want to be at the top of my game mentally and physically next year. I think that Tom can help me do that.

"I needed a change and Gully's someone I know, and he knows my game. We have a common bond in Tim, but it was more of a tennis decision.

"Tom is a really good man and I have confidence he'll do a good job", Sampras said.

Paul Annacone revealed that they have already been discussing this since last year. He said, "Pete and I have talked about his career and where he was, and about me and where I was... Pete and I have been friends for 13 years and we're going to be friends long after he's done playing tennis."

He also believes the split will help Sampras. "Where he is in his career, it's probably time he hears a new voice, even though there's not a greater voice in tennis than mine," joked Annacone.

"There is a time when you need a new tone, a new voice. Perhaps this will reinvigorate and motivate him. I'll be very surprised if he doesn't have a big year next year."

On his part, Gullikson said he is excited to be Pete's coach. "I feel it's very comfortable. I've seen him play all his Grand Slams, I've seen him play some incredible tennis, and it's my goal to get him back to that level."

Sampras also reiterated he has no plans to retire anytime soon. "I don't have a definite number in terms of years. As long as I'm healthy, as long as I'm in contention, I'll keep going," he said. "I'm going to give it one really hard push here. Since the Open, I've been doing a lot of training to get into shape. The year came off a little bit slow at the beginning but there's no question in my mind I can compete."


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