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tHotGates
05-26-2007, 10:03 AM
Is Pistol Pete aiming at Federer?

May 25, 2007

By Mike Cormack, Sportsnet.ca

Wimbledon, July 2008.

Roger Federer has just been presented with the runner-up plate. His bid for a record-breaking sixth straight men's title and 15th career Grand Slam title to move out of a tie with Pete Sampras for the most all-time has come up short.

Standing next to him is the 2008 champion and winner of his record-breaking 15th Grand Slam, Pete Sampras.

A first glance the idea might seem ridiculous. After all, Sampras has been all but invisible since authoring a fairytale ending to his career with a victory over arch-rival Andre Agassi in the final of the 2002 U.S. Open.

But a series of recent events suggest Pistol Pete is re-loading his weapon to take aim at the current world No. 1.

To little fanfare earlier this week it was announced that Sampras-who until recently had gone five years without playing a competitive match-had agreed to play Federer in three exhibition matches throughout Asia in November.

Intriguingly, the genesis for the event came back in February when Sampras invited Federer to practice with him at his home in Los Angeles before the nearby Indian Wells tournament in March.

Following the 'practice,' Sampras said: "Obviously he's a great player, but I felt like I didn't embarrass myself out there. I feel like I can hold my own."

Do these sound like the words of a man who had just invited a friend over to hit a few balls in his backyard?

When he retired in 2002, Sampras was just 31-years-old; and his place in history as the greatest to have ever played the game seemed secure.

There was nothing left for him to accomplish.

But at Wimbledon the following year-the first of the post-Sampras era-Roger Federer claimed his first Grand Slam title and over the following four years with Sampras watching at home has gone on to win 9 of the next 14 Grand Slams.

Most observers, including Sampras, agree it's just a matter of when, and not if, Federer surpasses Sampras' record 14 Grand Slam titles.

This begs the following questions: Would a man as fiercely proud as Sampras have walked away so easily back in '02 had he known Federer was about to go on such a run?

Does he regret not sticking around for a couple more years to set a higher target for Federer to reach?

Does the competitor in him secretly wonder whether he is still capable, at age 35, of world-class tennis on the sport's greatest stages against the man who has stolen his mantle the greatest ever to have played the game?

Sampras may have given us the answer earlier in May on the eve of his debut in the Outback Champions Series, tennis' equivalent of the senior tour.

"I kind of regret stopping," Sampras told the Associated Press, without revealing much more.

In two Champions Series events, Sampras has recorded back-to-back titles, despite having not played a competitive match in five years prior to this month.

Sampras appears to have even impressed himself.

"I feel really good," he said. "I played quite well. I have a few things still left in the game."

When he said 'left in the game,' was Sampras referring to his ability to still hit one of his patented running forehand winners, or was he referring to some unfinished business?

"Roger's game doesn't have many cracks," Sampras said following the announcement of the exhibitions. "It's one of those sorts of matchups where I just need to overwhelm him with some power and try to come in and hopefully serve well."

Just a hunch, but it says here should Sampras give Federer a reasonable run for his money this November, we'll see him lace them up at Wimbledon in 2008, especially if Federer is sitting on Slam No. 13 or 14.

Following his most recent Champions Series win, Sampras said, "It is flattering knowing that I can still be competitive."

He immediately followed up by ruling out a return to Wimbledon in 2007 for a chance to win an eighth title.

"I don't want to tempt it."

Maybe not this year, but 2008 might every well be a fairytale year for Pete Sampras and tennis fans.


http://www.sportsnet.ca/tennis/article.jsp?content=20070525_125203_2448

aramis
05-26-2007, 10:13 AM
So what, even if it is true, Sampras will only show up at Wimbly? Ok, so maybe Fed loses there and doesn't get grand slam #15. But then he just has to wait a couple of months and he can win the USO. Is Sampras going to show up there too? What about the AO?

NadalForever
05-26-2007, 10:15 AM
Sampras made a big mistake in retiring after his 2002 US Open victory. He should have kept on playing for as long as Agassi did. That way in 2004 or 2005 we would have seen Sampras vs Federer in US Open and Sampras would have probably won either of those two meetings especially considering he would have had the whole crowd behind him and clearly Sampras is a much better player at US Open than Agassi who gave Federer a lot of trouble. I would imagine that Sampras would have won at least two more slams if he kept on playing until 2006. Let's hope that Djokovic and Nadal will stop this damn Federer domination.

psamp14
05-26-2007, 10:16 AM
wow...at first i thought you made up this article and i was laughing and having such a good time with it..but someone really wrote it....:)

however my opinion is that sampras is done with professional tennis, and now he'll just play the senior events/charity events/exhibition matches....

tHotGates
05-26-2007, 10:17 AM
I'm just sharing the article with the forum. Just another article from just another writer.

jelle v
05-26-2007, 10:17 AM
I think Sampras secretly thinks of it.. but that he is realistic enough to know that he shouldn't do this. There is no way in h*ll that Sampras would defeat Federer at Wimbledon in 2008. Sampras would have trouble even getting to the fourth round or so, which in itself, would be a very good achievement.

A.Davidson
05-26-2007, 10:28 AM
It'd certainly be interesting, though, wouldn't it? EVERYONE'S seen that epic match they had at Wimby...It's tough to even imagine another match on that level.

zapvor
05-29-2007, 08:21 PM
i just read the OP. first, i was totally confused as i thought the thread was about the basketball player. 2nd, even if he decided to return and show up, doesnt he need to play qualifers just to enter the main draw? he cant still have his ATP points from so many years ago.

CEvertFan
05-29-2007, 09:35 PM
They would surely give him a wild card if he decided to enter, but I doubt he will.

chiru
05-29-2007, 10:11 PM
i just read the OP. first, i was totally confused as i thought the thread was about the basketball player. 2nd, even if he decided to return and show up, doesnt he need to play qualifers just to enter the main draw? he cant still have his ATP points from so many years ago.

Yah seriously, the organizers at the All England Club would have to be on crack to not give pete a wildcard after what he's meant to wimbledon and to the game. not to mention...ticket sales.

tennis_hand
05-29-2007, 11:16 PM
Pete can play Wimbledon 08. but i won't bet him go too far.

all this live in the dreams of his fans.

War, Safin!
05-30-2007, 01:33 AM
I was watching the FO last night and the match-analyzers were Greg Rusedski and Peter Fleming - they were discussing older players on the tour (and I mean those in their late 20s) - both were in 100% agreement that as soon as you lose a step or even half-a-step with your footwork, you're gone. No matter how well your timing is or how clean you hit the ball - as soon as your footwork starts to go, it's over.

tHotGates
05-30-2007, 08:29 AM
Pete was already slowing down by the late 90's & Sampras has basically said that even though his ground strokes are better he has lost a step or two. Excluding the drop in footwork which is undeniable, a comeback & all the grind that it entails seems highly improbable for Pete. On the flip side, maybe the lay off has been a positive for Pete (he seemed near exhausted in 02) in that the body had time to rest & heal. Purportedly,during this period, reports claim (I forget where I read this) Pete had gained weight nearing at one point 230 lbs? Fast forward to the present, a rejuvenated Pete at close to or approaching playing weight (not ATP conditioning levels) has enough game (per Pete) to still give us an exciting 2 of 3 set match in an exo vs current ATP player or mini Sr. tournament win.


PS: I wish there was something Pete could do about his thinning hair. Nuts, do I feel older just watching him.

Fries-N-Gravy
05-31-2007, 11:39 AM
a sampras wimbledon dream is still more realistic than henman's dream

tricky
05-31-2007, 11:54 AM
Sampras has already spoken to this repeatedly. Even if there was a remote possibility of getting back that foot speed to play an aggressive net game, he would have to train at an insane level -- like Agassi did -- just to get close to it. He himself said he's just not willing to do that anymore.

Let him enjoy his retirement and his occasional pickup matches with the current best. Frankly it's really tennis fans and media who've projected their agenda/wishes and "could have beens" onto Sampras's words, and it does him little favor.

Frenchie
05-31-2007, 12:09 PM
Can Pete win a match on the current tour? Yes.
Can Pete string together 7 matches to win a tournament? No.

Azzurri
05-31-2007, 12:11 PM
Pete was already slowing down by the late 90's & Sampras has basically said that even though his ground strokes are better he has lost a step or two. Excluding the drop in footwork which is undeniable, a comeback & all the grind that it entails seems highly improbable for Pete. On the flip side, maybe the lay off has been a positive for Pete (he seemed near exhausted in 02) in that the body had time to rest & heal. Purportedly,during this period, reports claim (I forget where I read this) Pete had gained weight nearing at one point 230 lbs? Fast forward to the present, a rejuvenated Pete at close to or approaching playing weight (not ATP conditioning levels) has enough game (per Pete) to still give us an exciting 2 of 3 set match in an exo vs current ATP player or mini Sr. tournament win.


PS: I wish there was something Pete could do about his thinning hair. Nuts, do I feel older just watching him.

c'mon.....230 lbs seems a bit high (really high). Where do you get this garbage? His playing weight was always in the 170 lbs range. Pete never, ever weighed that much. I read an article and he said he weighed 185 and that was his highest weight ever....it may have been an interview. He has since lost some of it.

tHotGates
05-31-2007, 12:17 PM
I agree ... 230 lbs is high & I was shocked as anybody to read that ... I will try to find that article (maybe someone else read or heard something similar). It was recent though (as in Pete v Fed exo recent) & more & less in line with staying at home & changing diapers but 230 lbs is high.

Azzurri
05-31-2007, 07:50 PM
^^^ 230 lbs on a 6' 1" frame like Pete's would be grossly overweight. Maybe you mis read it? I have seen pics of Pete throughout the last 4 years (golf tourney's, web sites, etc.) and he looks almost the same. As I mentioned, either I read or saw in an interview he said he gained 10 lbs and got worried, so began to play tennis again (obviously he missed playing, but he was concerned about gaining weight).

AJK1
05-31-2007, 09:02 PM
Sampras couldn't beat Bastl 6 years ago, what makes you think he would beat Feds now?

zapvor
05-31-2007, 10:40 PM
Yah seriously, the organizers at the All England Club would have to be on crack to not give pete a wildcard after what he's meant to wimbledon and to the game. not to mention...ticket sales.

i suppose they will. but i think aside from ticket sales, it will be a gross embarassment to the establishment and Sampras himself....to do it for ticket sales i find digusting giving the class of an event like Wimbledon. but you are right.

EliteNinja
05-31-2007, 10:59 PM
Check out my new avatar!

Sampras has no chance.
Though it would be awesome if he drew Fed, Nadal, or Agassi ;) in the 1st round.

CEvertFan
05-31-2007, 11:03 PM
i suppose they will. but i think aside from ticket sales, it will be a gross embarassment to the establishment and Sampras himself....to do it for ticket sales i find digusting giving the class of an event like Wimbledon. but you are right.


I would think the All England Club would do it more for the fact that a 7 time Wimbledon champion and a member of the club is asking for a wild card, but as I stated earlier in this thread I doubt Pete will ever ask. He's finished with playing on the pro tour and I seriously doubt he wants to come back and possible lose early and embarrass himself, and in a best of 5 scenario it could very well happen.

TheNatural
06-01-2007, 08:11 AM
They sohuld just put Sampras into the final and make the rest play for the right to play Sampras.

federerfanatic
06-01-2007, 08:32 AM
Sampras is the same age now Agassi was last year. Agassi is the ageless wonder, yet even he finally reached the wall last year where he was just a journeyman level player losing in the 3rd round of his 2 slams played last year. Agassi though had been training and competiting regularly on the tour year after year at that time as well. Sampras has already been off the pro tour 4 and a half years at this point.

Azzurri
06-01-2007, 11:44 AM
Sampras couldn't beat Bastl 6 years ago, what makes you think he would beat Feds now?

Not saying he would beat Fed, but Bastl is a poor example....Pete did win US Open in his last match. You are only as good as your last match goes the old saying.

AJK1
06-03-2007, 03:31 PM
We're talking grass, and his last performance was embarrassing........

zapvor
06-04-2007, 12:43 AM
I would think the All England Club would do it more for the fact that a 7 time Wimbledon champion and a member of the club is asking for a wild card, but as I stated earlier in this thread I doubt Pete will ever ask. He's finished with playing on the pro tour and I seriously doubt he wants to come back and possible lose early and embarrass himself, and in a best of 5 scenario it could very well happen.

yea and i am saying it would be sad if they gave him a wildcard if he did ask. of course he wont....i hope.

Azzurri
06-04-2007, 06:49 AM
We're talking grass, and his last performance was embarrassing........

good point.:)

caesar66
06-04-2007, 07:18 AM
pete would be destroyed at wimbledon by almost anyone he drew. If he wins even a set in the exo's against federer, much less a match, then its fixed, but everyone will still talk about how he should come back and challenge fed.

caesar66
06-04-2007, 07:21 AM
I think agassi, as he is right now, should play pete. I'd say overwhelming victory for agassi. He is still in shape, still has his wits (its been less than a year since he's been off the court). I bet if AA wasnt in an exo w/ marcelo rios when they played a couple of months ago, he'd have beaten him too. If nothing else, this match needs to happen solely since it would be pete and andre playing one another, but also because I think andre would win, and that would silence the folks who think pete still has a legitimate shot at wimbledon, or even seriously competing w/ fed right now.

TheNatural
06-04-2007, 01:46 PM
Sampras already crushed Agassi last time they played, I don't think that match would motivate Sampras. Playing Fed in Fed's prime is more interesting.

I think agassi, as he is right now, should play pete. I'd say overwhelming victory for agassi. He is still in shape, still has his wits (its been less than a year since he's been off the court). I bet if AA wasnt in an exo w/ marcelo rios when they played a couple of months ago, he'd have beaten him too. If nothing else, this match needs to happen solely since it would be pete and andre playing one another, but also because I think andre would win, and that would silence the folks who think pete still has a legitimate shot at wimbledon, or even seriously competing w/ fed right now.

fastdunn
06-04-2007, 02:22 PM
He could play doubles at Wimbledon.

50 year old McEnroe could play doubles at small tourney.
Why not Sampras ?

Then if he feels good. He can try singles.

Even if he loses at 1st round or two, it would be all good for the sport.

federerfanatic
06-04-2007, 03:55 PM
He could play doubles at Wimbledon.

50 year old McEnroe could play doubles at small tourney.
Why not Sampras ?

Then if he feels good. He can try singles.

Even if he loses at 1st round or two, it would be all good for the sport.

What is the motivation for a past dominant singles champion to play doubles or embarass himself in singles? McEnroe and Navratilova were doubles and singles specialist their whole careers, and were dominant champions in doubles. If you are a dominant champion in doubles, you can still succeed in doubles at an old age since doubles competition is so much weaker then singles. However Sampras was not a regular doubles player like McEnroe or Navratilova, so there is no point for him like there is for people like them, and there is definitely no point embarassing himself in singles.