Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pete Sampras

Peter "Pete" Sampras born on August 12, 1971 is a retired Greek American tennis player and former world number 1. During his 14-year tour career, he won 14 Grand Slam singles titles and became recognized as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Sampras debuted on the professional tour in 1988 and played his last top-level tournament in 2002 when he won the US Open, defeating rival Andre Agassi in the final. He was the year-end world no. 1 for six consecutive years (1993–1998), a record for the Open Era.

His seven Wimbledon singles championships is an Open Era record shared with Roger Federer, while Sampras' five US Open singles titles is an Open Era record shared with both Federer and former World No. 1 player Jimmy Connors. Sampras is the last American male to win Wimbledon (2000) and the ATP World Tour Finals (1999).
Pete Sampras was born in Potomac, Maryland, and is the third child of Sammy and Georgia Sampras, both of Greek origin. Pete attended regular services of the Greek Orthodox Church on Sundays. From an early age, Sampras showed signs of outstanding athletic ability. 

At the age of 3, Sampras discovered a tennis racket in the basement of his home and spent hours hitting balls against the wall. In 1978, the Sampras family moved to Palos Verdes, California, and the warmer climate there allowed seven-year-old Pete to play more tennis. From early on, his great idol was Rod Laver, and at 11, Sampras met and played with him. The Sampras family joined the Jack Kramer Club, and it was here that Sampras's talent became apparent. He was spotted by Peter Fischer, a pediatrician and tennis enthusiast, who coached Sampras until 1989. Fischer was responsible for converting Sampras's double-handed backhand to single-handed with the goal of being better prepared to win Wimbledon.

Pete Sampras Achievements 

ATP Player of the Year:  1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998.
ITF World Champion:  1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998.

 Agassi-Sampras rivalry

Sampras won 20 of the 34 matches he played against Agassi. The 1990 US Open was their first meeting in a Grand Slam tournament final. Agassi was favored because he was ranked world number 4, compared to the world number 12 ranking of Sampras and because Agassi had defeated Sampras in their only previously completed match. However, Agassi lost the final to Sampras in straight sets. Their next meeting in a Grand Slam was at the 1992 French Open, where they met in the quarterfinals. Although Sampras was higher ranked, Agassi prevailed in straight sets. Their next Grand Slam meeting was at the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 1993, where Agassi was the defending champion and Sampras was the newly minted world number 1. Sampras prevailed in five sets, and went on to win his first Wimbledon championship. 

With both Sampras and Agassi participating, the U.S. won the Davis Cup in 1995. Notable Sampras-Agassi matches of 1995 included the finals of the Australian Open, the Newsweek Champions Cup, the Lipton International Players Championships, the Canadian Open, and the US Open, with Sampras winning the Newsweek Champions Cup and the US Open. The next time Sampras and Agassi met in a Grand Slam final was at Wimbledon in 1999, where Sampras won in straight sets. For both, it was considered a career rejuvenation, as Sampras had suffered a string of disappointments in the last year while Agassi was regaining his status as a top-ranked player after winning the French Open. Sampras forfeited the world number 1 ranking to Agassi when injury forced Sampras to withdraw from that year's US Open. They faced each other twice in the season-ending ATP Tour World Championships, with Sampras losing the round-robin match, but winning the final. 

They played each other only once in 2000. The top-ranked Agassi defeated world number 3 Sampras in the semifinals of the Australian Open, 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(0), 7–6(5), 6–1. In arguably their most memorable match, Sampras defeated Agassi in the 2001 US Open quarterfinals 6–7(7), 7–6(2), 7–6(2), 7–6(5). There were no breaks of serve during the entire match. Reruns of the match are frequently featured on television, especially during US Open rain delays. 

The final of the 2002 US Open was their first meeting in a US Open final since 1995. The match also was notable because they had defeated several up-and-coming players en route to the final. Sampras had defeated world number 3 Tommy Haas in the fourth round and future world number 1 Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals, while Agassi had defeated world number 1 and defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the semifinals. Sampras defeated Agassi, 6–3, 6–4, 5–7, 6–4. This was the final ATP tour singles match of Sampras's career. On August 2010 Sampras played an exhibition game with Andre Agassi at the indoor arena Coliseo Cubierto El Campin in Bogotá, Colombia. 

 Playing style

Sampras's older sister, Stella, is the women's tennis head coach at UCLA, and his younger sister, Marion, is a teacher in Los Angeles. His older brother, Gus, has been tournament director at the Scottsdale ATP event, but from 2007 he became president of the firm managing Pete's business activities. In the late 1990s, he dated tennis star Kimberly Williams-Paisley. On September 30, 2000, Sampras married American actress and former Miss Teen USA, Bridgette Wilson. On November 21, 2002, their son, Christian Charles, was born. On July 29, 2005, the couple welcomed their second son, Ryan Nikolaos. Sampras has β-thalassemia minor, a genetic trait that sometimes causes mild anemia.


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