View Full Version : "I could do that," Sampras said of making cameo appearances at the majors

12-02-2007, 09:50 AM

Sampras shelves grand plan

Will Swanton

December 2, 2007

RETIRED tennis great Pete Sampras has flirted briefly with the idea of
popping in to play at grand slam tournaments, but has dismissed it,
seeing no need to add to his achievements despite Roger Federer
closing in on his record.

In an article in the Chicago Tribune yesterday, Sampras, 36, the
winner of 14 grand slam titles who beat world No. 1 Federer in
straight sets in an exhibition match in Macau last Saturday, said the
competitive fires still burned.

"I could do that," Sampras said of making cameo appearances at the
majors. "But people who really know the sport and know Wimbledon also
know it's a lot of work. Sure, if you told me I would train for two
weeks and play Federer in the final of Wimbledon, I'd probably do the
work. But there are a lot of great players I haven't seen play before
and there's not a whole lot to gain, probably a little more to lose."

Federer, 26, has 12 majors and will overtake Sampras unless a genuine
rival emerges. When someone raises the possibility of it being
Sampras, he shoots it down again.

"In a romantic sense, it might be a big shot in the arm for the sport
but it's not worth it. I'm at peace with what I did in the '90s," he

Federer, whose claim to the "greatest ever" tag was tarnished a little
by losing to Sampras five years after the American's retirement,
claimed the former world No. 1 would return to the top five in the
world with ease. But Sampras seems happy enough just to have stopped
feeling like an old fat-face.

"I saw a picture of myself and that was the pivotal moment," he said.
"I was like, 'What happened to me? I don't want to be one of these
athletes who puts on 30 pounds.' If I have a day when I don't play
tennis, I have no focus. I had a moment walking off the court when I
thought, 'I can still play'. I'll always have that moment . .. but
I've had my time."

Australian Open director Craig Tiley would be tempted to offer Sampras
a wildcard if he thought he would accept. "There's no doubt Pete is
still playing at the kind of level which could make him competitive at
an Australian Open or a Wimbledon," Tiley said.