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View Full Version : Did Sampras retire a bit soon?


federerfanatic
02-24-2008, 08:11 PM
No this is another thread about Sampras returning to tour, so please dont start a discussion about that in this thread. What I am wondering is how many of you think in hindsight, and perhaps if even Pete feels this way, he retired too early?

RoddickistheMan
02-24-2008, 08:16 PM
judging by the quality of play that he displayed at the very end of his career and by his current play I would say yes. However sampras's personality was one that required him to be the best the whole time. Unfortunately his age caused him to slow down a bit so he wouldn't be as dominating if he continued. He would have won a couple of more slams just not at the same rate that he had before,I believe sampras couldn't accept this so he retired. Whats crazy about federer is that he stated that he would continue to play even when his dominance begins to fade. I think sampras did retire too early and believe he could have one at least 2 more slams if he wanted to.

BeHappy
02-24-2008, 08:17 PM
probably could have won a wimby

quest01
02-24-2008, 08:27 PM
I thought Sampras still had a few good years left on tour. It showed after winning the 2002 US Open that he still had the game to compete against the best. It would have been nice to see more matches between Sampras and Federer.

federerfanatic
02-24-2008, 08:29 PM
I remember being a bit surprised he did not return to tennis after he took that break after winning the U.S Open. I kept thinking he would return in 2003 but it became increasingly clear he wouldnt when the rumours of his retirement announcement began to surface. I thought at the time when he did finally retire, while it wasnt what I expected about half a year before that, that he felt fulfilled in winning that last slam and was ready to move onto to the next phase of his life full circle. However scheduling all these exhibitions and finding various ways to play now seems to suggest he perhaps regrets missing out on a bit more competitive tennis back then.

racquet_jedi
02-24-2008, 09:00 PM
I think that Sampras maybe did retire a bit too soon...

In comparison to Agassi, who started before him and stayed longer, I think that he could have stayed a year or two more...

But then, I can't think of a better way to announce retirement after winning the Grand Slam tournament that was his first Slam victory for the fifth time...

pines2222
02-24-2008, 09:46 PM
While I admire what he's done in his recent exhibitions, I think people forget how much Sampras was wearing down at the end of his career - his record during 2002 was terrible. He might have won another wimbledon (although remember that he lost in the 2nd round in 2002), but there probably would have been long bouts of being off the tour due to injuries. Also, the game was becoming much more athletic at that time, and Sampras was becoming increasingly one dimensional with his serve.

It's one thing to win exhibitions...it's another to compete and win on the tour and in grand slams.

elee3
02-24-2008, 09:59 PM
No, I don't think he retired too soon at all. Physically he could have gone on but he was already done mentally. There is no way you can win a grand slam when you are already done mentally.

Just look at those workaholics that end up burned out. You probably have some at your job. Putting out 60-80 hrs a week for 2 years without vacation and somehow for the next few months don't do much and barely even show up for work.

Nickognito
02-24-2008, 10:15 PM
When you retire after winning a grand slam,it's obvious that he retired a little early. A grand slam champion obviously can compete to win other slam tournaments the next year.

But it happens in every sport, I don't think that a Zinedine Zidane now can not compete in a competitive soccer league. He was in a World Final two years ago..

c.

crazyups
02-24-2008, 10:57 PM
Sampras should have taken an extra year off and come back with a bigger raquet like his current one. He was breaking down physically(his favorite food was at IHOP).

scotus
02-24-2008, 11:15 PM
Sampras did not retire due to injuries, but much like Mats Wilander, he was burned out, emotionally spent.

Do I think Mats and Pete could have won a slam or two more? Yes, if they could have focused their minds on it. But no, their desire to keep putting in what it takes to be successful on the tour was no longer there. No more will, therefore no more way.

So Pete did retire when he had to.

montx
02-25-2008, 12:18 AM
Its hard to say, i think he is a perfectionist and that kind of thing can wear you out mentally and emotionally not to mention the added stress physically cause of all the other stress.

Also when you are top in the world, everyone is gunning for you studying your moves your windows of opportunity they are trying to break you at.

stormholloway
02-25-2008, 12:30 AM
Let's face it, Agassi was in better form than Sampras yet still never won a major in this period. You can always make an argument for Sampras at Wimbledon (perhaps a classic Sampras v. Federer match that we missed), but it's clear he was not as interested in tennis as he had been in the past.

It's always possible he could have won another, but it's best to go out with a bang.

andreh
02-25-2008, 01:02 AM
I think he might have squeezed out another slam or 2 if he had stayed. He certainly had the game, if not the motivation.

Leublu tennis
02-25-2008, 02:54 AM
I voted no because retirement is very much of an individual thing. Actually, I admire him for doing it. Many athletes, although not so much in tennis, stay on well beyond their best years, not wanting to give up the glory. Sampras is back and is still basking in that glory. Good for you, Pete.

The_Spartan
02-26-2008, 12:04 PM
Definately.

After taking Fed the distance in Exi 2 and beating him in number 3 and then taking out Hass recently ?

I think it's obvious. But the man was done.

aceroberts13
02-26-2008, 01:01 PM
I voted no, but I think there is a strong possibility of him winning 1-2 more majors if he had stayed. Especially the '03 US Open which Roddick took; that had somewhat of a weakened field. Combine that with the fact that you never count out Pete at Wimbledon and who knows what could have been.

edmondsm
02-26-2008, 01:04 PM
I think Pete liked the idea of having the last thing he did in pro tennis be lifting a GS trophy. He probably didn't think that in 5 years his record would be threatened. I don't think he retired early. It was an exit for the ages.

goober
02-26-2008, 01:41 PM
He retired on his terms and went out on top. Not many people can say that- so no he retired at the right time.

BeHappy
02-26-2008, 02:19 PM
Federer's head to head with Sampras would be very different...

ledor
02-26-2008, 08:47 PM
retiring after winning a major (beating agassi), being married, having kids. It was the right time.

Matt H.
02-26-2008, 08:56 PM
for those that say he "could have won another slam or TWO" what slams would he have won?

03 Australian Open or perhaps 03 Wimbledon?

No way he would have touched any of the '04 Slams.


I've become a big Sampras fan as the years have passed just by missing the talent and serve he had.

The guy was absolute toast. He was strongly motivated to win that '02 Open and told the press he was going to win it beforehand, which basically came about because he got ****ed off at the media for blaming his wife for his tennis decline. Other then that, he had no motivation post '00 Wimbledon. Granted he made those US Open finals in '00 and '01, but watching his play in those you got the feeling he didn't care anymore since he had the record.

JW10S
02-26-2008, 08:59 PM
What people forget is that playing high level tennis takes more than just showing up to play the matches. The pros spend a lot of time on and off court preparing themselves to play at that level (yes, despite what you'll read in the 'Racquets' forum it takes more than just buying a new racquet). He came to a point where it became increasingly harder to put in that work, time and effort. He was married, he was rich, he had the GS record, so it's no mystery that the idea of going out on court for endless drop-shot/lob or crosscourt/down the line drills and spending time in the gym became less appealing. He finished on a high note and realized he did not have the desire to put in all the extra effort needed to maintain that high level. He retired at the right time.

!Tym
02-26-2008, 11:01 PM
What people forget is that playing high level tennis takes more than just showing up to play the matches. The pros spend a lot of time on and off court preparing themselves to play at that level (yes, despite what you'll read in the 'Racquets' forum it takes more than just buying a new racquet). He came to a point where it became increasingly harder to put in that work, time and effort. He was married, he was rich, he had the GS record, so it's no mystery that the idea of going out on court for endless drop-shot/lob or crosscourt/down the line drills and spending time in the gym became less appealing. He finished on a high note and realized he did not have the desire to put in all the extra effort needed to maintain that high level. He retired at the right time.

Would agree with you IF NOT...for the Federer factor. Sampras retired, because he was starting to get burned out like you said, but he was still not sooo burned out that he could not continue playing. He still wasn't sure whether to hang it up or not. The reason he did is because as he's said before, the way he went out, he couldn't have SCRIPTED it better; it was like a movie. The aging champ everyone was starting to count out goes out with a bang against his most celebrated rival. To understand Sampras is really simple really when it comes to tennis. Sampras sees/saw himself as a kind of tennis God. He wanted to go down as the greatest ever no ifs ands or buts about it. ALL he cared about was winning slams and more slams...and hence, ADDING to his *legacy*. That was ALL the man seemed to care about during his playing days. He was very aware of how he wanted his place in tennis history to be portrayed and viewed when it was all said and done.

He THOUGHT that he couldn't top the Agassi-Sampras, last match, at the Open angle; so in my opinion, that more than pure burn out was the reason he quit. With Sampras, "burn-out" was directly tied to how secure he felt about his place in tennis history at the time. When he retired, he thought he had CEMENTED his legacy, and he couldn't top that, so quitting became the obvious choice once he really started to think about it. Why risk tarnshing the PERFECT legacy and story book ending right? ESPECIALLY when he was definitely getting older.

Then, of course, club Fed exploded like no one could have imagined. Everyone knew he had the talent, but no one really thought that a guy like him who didn't necessarily have the single one big weapon, would be able to dominate day in, day out, like he did and has. The guy went on an absolute GLORY SPREE that no one could have imagined or thunk even POSSIBLE had he not done it.

Not even Sampras, dominated quite like that.

By the time, Sampras' figured out, OH MA GAWD, this guy is the REAL DEAL and poses a SERIOUS threat to my claim as the greatest of all time? ...eh, by that time it was already too late for him to realistaclly do anything about it. Too old, too out of shape, family responsibilities, and so on and so forth. He missed his chance. I truly believe, even if he might not admit it, that had he ANY clue that Federer would take off THAT much and THAT quickly; Sampras would have magically not "burned out" so soon. He would have found a way to motivate himself for two more years, the same way he always did...with the thought of adding MORE to his legacy. In a nuclear arms race between two titans like this, EVERY little extra grand slam and career milestone, achievement, and whatever else have you can make the difference when all is said and done and the volleying left to do is between the historical pundits, such as ourselves.

Sampars in his mind probably thinks if I hadn't hung it up, I would have had a fighting chance to add one or two more slams, perhaps, even three if he got lucky...but it's too late for that, and that's that, so now he's Roger's "best friend," lol. What other option does he have at this point? Believe me, Sampras is a competitor to the core, a master of one upmanship as is Federer, no matter what they're smiles say, you know they want THE mantle for themselves at the end of the day. As they say, if you can't beat them, join them; and that, to me, is what Sampras has done in the past year. He's joined Federer's campaign...but believe me, that wasn't the first choice.

Leublu tennis
02-27-2008, 12:45 AM
I love the poll on this one. Dead tie at 24-24 for yes/no.

Nickognito
02-27-2008, 05:12 PM
Nice post , Tym.

Maybe Borg does not think the same things about it :D

califsurferboy33
02-27-2008, 05:18 PM
i think he retired at the right time, he was done mentally, which is a very underrated part of tennis

World Beater
02-27-2008, 05:43 PM
Would agree with you IF NOT...for the Federer factor. Sampras retired, because he was starting to get burned out like you said, but he was still not sooo burned out that he could not continue playing. He still wasn't sure whether to hang it up or not. The reason he did is because as he's said before, the way he went out, he couldn't have SCRIPTED it better; it was like a movie. The aging champ everyone was starting to count out goes out with a bang against his most celebrated rival. To understand Sampras is really simple really when it comes to tennis. Sampras sees/saw himself as a kind of tennis God. He wanted to go down as the greatest ever no ifs ands or buts about it. ALL he cared about was winning slams and more slams...and hence, ADDING to his *legacy*. That was ALL the man seemed to care about during his playing days. He was very aware of how he wanted his place in tennis history to be portrayed and viewed when it was all said and done.

He THOUGHT that he couldn't top the Agassi-Sampras, last match, at the Open angle; so in my opinion, that more than pure burn out was the reason he quit. With Sampras, "burn-out" was directly tied to how secure he felt about his place in tennis history at the time. When he retired, he thought he had CEMENTED his legacy, and he couldn't top that, so quitting became the obvious choice once he really started to think about it. Why risk tarnshing the PERFECT legacy and story book ending right? ESPECIALLY when he was definitely getting older.

Then, of course, club Fed exploded like no one could have imagined. Everyone knew he had the talent, but no one really thought that a guy like him who didn't necessarily have the single one big weapon, would be able to dominate day in, day out, like he did and has. The guy went on an absolute GLORY SPREE that no one could have imagined or thunk even POSSIBLE had he not done it.

Not even Sampras, dominated quite like that.

By the time, Sampras' figured out, OH MA GAWD, this guy is the REAL DEAL and poses a SERIOUS threat to my claim as the greatest of all time? ...eh, by that time it was already too late for him to realistaclly do anything about it. Too old, too out of shape, family responsibilities, and so on and so forth. He missed his chance. I truly believe, even if he might not admit it, that had he ANY clue that Federer would take off THAT much and THAT quickly; Sampras would have magically not "burned out" so soon. He would have found a way to motivate himself for two more years, the same way he always did...with the thought of adding MORE to his legacy. In a nuclear arms race between two titans like this, EVERY little extra grand slam and career milestone, achievement, and whatever else have you can make the difference when all is said and done and the volleying left to do is between the historical pundits, such as ourselves.

Sampars in his mind probably thinks if I hadn't hung it up, I would have had a fighting chance to add one or two more slams, perhaps, even three if he got lucky...but it's too late for that, and that's that, so now he's Roger's "best friend," lol. What other option does he have at this point? Believe me, Sampras is a competitor to the core, a master of one upmanship as is Federer, no matter what they're smiles say, you know they want THE mantle for themselves at the end of the day. As they say, if you can't beat them, join them; and that, to me, is what Sampras has done in the past year. He's joined Federer's campaign...but believe me, that wasn't the first choice.

perfect post.

scotus
02-28-2008, 02:00 AM
for those that say he "could have won another slam or TWO" what slams would he have won?

03 Australian Open or perhaps 03 Wimbledon?

No way he would have touched any of the '04 Slams.



Sampras could have won a slam or two provided that he had plenty of motivation to put in the work necessary to win titles.

And yes, 03 AO, 03 Wimbledon, and 03 US Open were all possibilities. (Agassi, Federer, and Roddick were all fair games for an in-form Sampras).

You think Sampras could not have touched any of the 04 Slams? Well, didn't Safin come along and abruptly stop the Fed Express in 05 AO?

I grant you that Federer played splendidly in 04 (as well as 05, 06, and 07), but anything can happen in tennis especially when you have a guy with the talent of Sampras.

auzzieizm
02-28-2008, 04:21 AM
Talent wise- there is no question he could have stuck around. But as far as dealing with week in/week out rigors of the tour... it is far tougher than having months to prepare for an exhibition/ hit and giggle match.

noeledmonds
02-28-2008, 05:07 AM
At the time it seemed like an almost perfect time for Sampras to retire. To beat his long time rival in a grand slam final, in front of a home crowd and as the season neared an end.

However, in hindsight Sampras's way of retireing is rarely mentioned in a discussions about his greatness. All I hear is that Sampras won 14 majors and not that Sampras won 14 majors and went out at the top. If Sampras had added another major and retired with 15 majors he would probabely have a greater legacy.

After all Borg retireing at the top of his game rarely gives him much credit. Borg would have been almost guaranteed to win at least one more major had he continued (the French Open in 1982 would have been an almost certain victory). With McEnroe losing to Connors at Wimbledon in 1982, he would have had a strong chance there also. Perhaps he could have been won a US Open, we can only speculate.

Certainly Rosewall, Connors and Agassi only built their reputations by continueing into their later years.

superman1
02-28-2008, 10:47 AM
He retired at the top, but the new tradition in sports is to NOT go out at the top, but to go out when you've given it all you've got and you have nothing left to give. Sampras was physically healthy and had a more efficient game for most, so he had no excuses except for not really caring anymore.

grafrules
02-28-2008, 02:41 PM
At the time it seemed like an almost perfect time for Sampras to retire. To beat his long time rival in a grand slam final, in front of a home crowd and as the season neared an end.

However, in hindsight Sampras's way of retireing is rarely mentioned in a discussions about his greatness. All I hear is that Sampras won 14 majors and not that Sampras won 14 majors and went out at the top. If Sampras had added another major and retired with 15 majors he would probabely have a greater legacy.

After all Borg retireing at the top of his game rarely gives him much credit. Borg would have been almost guaranteed to win at least one more major had he continued (the French Open in 1982 would have been an almost certain victory). With McEnroe losing to Connors at Wimbledon in 1982, he would have had a strong chance there also. Perhaps he could have been won a US Open, we can only speculate.

Certainly Rosewall, Connors and Agassi only built their reputations by continueing into their later years.

I dont see why people should get credit for retiring at the top when they perhaps could have won more. It was there choice to retire, thus they did not deserve to win anymore titles as they were not willing to continue to put in the work and go through the process, even if quite able, for whatever reason. They deserve what they get, that is speculation to what they might have done, and nothing more then that. I am a Steffi Graf fan but I would not credit her for what more she might have won had she not chosen to retire in 1999 when she was getting back to being a major contender for slam titles again, finals in her last 2 (winning one, losing the other) and when it was atleast 3 years away from the year-round Williams dominance (which she would be getting a bit too old around then anyway).

The players you mentioned who did continue onwards to an advanced age like Rosewall, Connors, and Agassi, are the ones who deserve credit for what they managed to add to their achievements in those years, not the what if guys who chose to retire on top.

!Tym
02-28-2008, 03:14 PM
I dont see why people should get credit for retiring at the top when they perhaps could have won more. It was there choice to retire, thus they did not deserve to win anymore titles as they were not willing to continue to put in the work and go through the process, even if quite able, for whatever reason. They deserve what they get, that is speculation to what they might have done, and nothing more then that. I am a Steffi Graf fan but I would not credit her for what more she might have won had she not chosen to retire in 1999 when she was getting back to being a major contender for slam titles again, finals in her last 2 (winning one, losing the other) and when it was atleast 3 years away from the year-round Williams dominance (which she would be getting a bit too old around then anyway).

The players you mentioned who did continue onwards to an advanced age like Rosewall, Connors, and Agassi, are the ones who deserve credit for what they managed to add to their achievements in those years, not the what if guys who chose to retire on top.

Well, to add to this it's kind of like Malivai Washington always said. "I've always said being a professional athlete is the greatest job in the world, you get to do what you love for a living and make good money too. How many people in the world can say that? ...I've always said that as a professional athlete you're time is very limited. You can only do it for so long, because of age or injuries; so when you're out there you have to make sure you give it everything you've got for as long as you possibly can, because once it's done, it's done. You only get so many years, and after that it's over. You can't do it anymore."

Paraphrasing, but that's pretty much what he said dead-on, and I tend to concur.

This said, I wouldn't go so far as to say Sampras blew his own chance at tennis immortality by retiring on top when he did. From his perspective, it was probably actually pretty logical and at the time it seemed logical to most others as well.

But see, the problem Sampras ran into, was a flaw in human thinking. Meaning, "records (no matter how SEEMINGLY insurmountable) are MADE to be broken."

To me, it's from what perspective you look at it. Is it more impressive to SET a record, or is it more impressive BREAK a record. To me, it's definitely more impressive to SET the record.

I say this, because achieving "great" results in anything in life, requires one to push themselves the little extra mile. And I don't care how much you love a sport or anything else, pushing yourself that little extra mile IS excruciating...FOR ANYONE.

Really, achieving greatness (assuming the prerequisite "talent" and "gifts" are there to even make that possible) rests on the shoulders of human endurance, and the will of man to continue to push through *even when* you're starting to get tired of it all.

In a video game, every time you reach a milestone you had through previously impossible, you'll find that quite often you'll end up besting that milestone not soon thereafter, even though the previous milestone seemed impossible to obtain in the first place. It's just the nature of the beast. The harrier it gets, the more one is likely to continue to push himself to hang in there so long as the BAR has been set.

With Federer, he adds a DECIDED advantage over Sampras, because he has the nature of hindsight firmly in his grasp. In fact, he OWNED hindsight, the second Sampras retired, and owning hindsight is a decided advantage in life, imo. With the advantage of this hindsight, Federer has a precise number that he needs to match and surpass by...JUST ONE, to effectively defeat "the great one" (whose no longer able to fight back because of age). It's not even a competition. It's a race of a motivate thoroughbred vs. a rock (Sampras).

That's all the steam Federer needs to stay motivated and *keep* pushing himself to the limit WITHOUT burning out. Whether he loses his mojo, others start figuring him out, he loses his confidence, starts losing, etc. is besides the point. The point is that as long as he's *physically able*, he will be able to MENTALLY stay able. The other variables are out of his control (such as a maturing Djokovic, etc.).

To me, if Federer finishes with 15 slams? Sure, he won the "race", but in reality it wasn't a FAIR race at all since he had the advantage of hindsight. To me, for Federer to truly be crowned the greatest of all time...ON ANOTHER LEVEL ENTIRELY from anyone else...he'll need to win 16, 17 slams.

Why? Because by that point, he would have proven that he didn't just BREAK a record, he *established* a new one...that is to say people won't be talking about how Federer beat Sampras' record, they *won't even remember* that Sampras even ever had a record. Instead, the only thing people will talk about is how Federer set a new MILESTONE...one that EVERYONE...*including Federer*...thinks is *insurrmountable* for all eternity. Now THAT is a GOD-like achievement. Why? Because while we can definitely imagine Federer breaking Sampras' record, can we imagine him setting a new milestone in the history of mankind? I'm not so sure about that at this point. Time, as they say, will be the only baromet.

Ocean Drive
03-04-2008, 05:52 PM
He might have won another slam but would he have stopped at that, or carried on and went out on a loss.

Would he rather finish his career on a loss with 15 slams or finish winning his home slam at 14? It's a debatable question.

Ocean Drive
03-04-2008, 05:56 PM
Sampras could have won a slam or two provided that he had plenty of motivation to put in the work necessary to win titles.

And yes, 03 AO, 03 Wimbledon, and 03 US Open were all possibilities. (Agassi, Federer, and Roddick were all fair games for an in-form Sampras).

You think Sampras could not have touched any of the 04 Slams? Well, didn't Safin come along and abruptly stop the Fed Express in 05 AO?

I grant you that Federer played splendidly in 04 (as well as 05, 06, and 07), but anything can happen in tennis especially when you have a guy with the talent of Sampras.

Are you saying that Sampras could have beaten Safin at the 2005 Australian Open, and this would be an easier match for Sampras than Federer?

I don't think so. Safin had one hell of a tournament, nobody could have stopped him, he put Federer away after Federer rolled over Agassi with no problems, I think Sampras would have been about the same level as Agassi was in 2005. (Which was pretty good obviously)

kungfusmkim
03-04-2008, 08:03 PM
i think he retired at the right time, he was done mentally, which is a very underrated part of tennis

No i have to disagree, I think he was done physically, he was approaching the new era with countrer punchers and power players and him going back and forth back and forth serving and volleying i think really took a toll at his body. Thats just my opinion. The speed of a player goes soo far where it starts to drop even for the top atheletes.

DashaandSafin
03-04-2008, 08:09 PM
Some of you people really don't understand do you? Sampra's personality was a winning personality. He wanted to win ALL THE TIME. Meaning, he would rather retire a wee bit early than stick around tour and rack up another slam. While racking up that slam, his record would probably be dismal and people would be calling for him to retire and calling him a hasbeen. Since its not in Sampras's personality to do that, he retired when he was on top of the world. Fairtale ending.

So yea, he did retire early in the contect of Slams, but he retired at the perfect time for himself.

Wuornos
03-06-2008, 05:34 AM
I don't buy into the idea that the right time to retire hinges on whether or not it is possible to win another a major.

I think the use of the number of majors won as an indicator for greatness is crude at best. My hobby is the use of ELO Ratings to measure Tennis performance.

Sampras had already clocked a Peak ELO rating of 2749 in 1997 after winning his 10th major title. The adding of the four additional titles did not improve the quality of how Sampras will be remembered at his peak, and the statistical evidence was sufficient for him to have established his place in the list of greats using anything above the most basic of statistical summaries. By the time he retired his ELO had fallen to 2669. Still good but with an 80 point deficit on his peak the writing was on the wall, he was never going to return to the level he had previously enjoyed and the decline looked ongoing.

Personally allowing for the fact that he had won 4 majors in the past 5 years and the quality of his perfomance was declining as measured by ELO I doubt he would have won another major, but even if he had, so what!

I say he was right to retire when he did.

Just my opinion.

Tim

louis netman
03-09-2008, 10:44 PM
Some of you people really don't understand do you? Sampra's personality was a winning personality. He wanted to win ALL THE TIME. Meaning, he would rather retire a wee bit early than stick around tour and rack up another slam. While racking up that slam, his record would probably be dismal and people would be calling for him to retire and calling him a hasbeen. Since its not in Sampras's personality to do that, he retired when he was on top of the world. Fairtale ending.

So yea, he did retire early in the contect of Slams, but he retired at the perfect time for himself.

Agreed. Men do think about fairy-tale endings. I want to retire on top of the world. Anyone, please HELP! Just one more SLAM!

louis netman
03-09-2008, 10:49 PM
I don't buy into the idea that the right time to retire hinges on whether or not it is possible to win another a major.

I think the use of the number of majors won as an indicator for greatness is crude at best. My hobby is the use of ELO Ratings to measure Tennis performance.

Sampras had already clocked a Peak ELO rating of 2749 in 1997 after winning his 10th major title. The adding of the four additional titles did not improve the quality of how Sampras will be remembered at his peak, and the statistical evidence was sufficient for him to have established his place in the list of greats using anything above the most basic of statistical summaries. By the time he retired his ELO had fallen to 2669. Still good but with an 80 point deficit on his peak the writing was on the wall, he was never going to return to the level he had previously enjoyed and the decline looked ongoing.

Personally allowing for the fact that he had won 4 majors in the past 5 years and the quality of his perfomance was declining as measured by ELO I doubt he would have won another major, but even if he had, so what!

I say he was right to retire when he did.

Just my opinion.

Tim

I agree, but I don't think some 70's rock band decided what the deal was. Retiring just needs to feel right...:-)

Dark Victory
03-11-2008, 08:10 PM
Would agree with you IF NOT...for the Federer factor. Sampras retired, because he was starting to get burned out like you said, but he was still not sooo burned out that he could not continue playing. He still wasn't sure whether to hang it up or not. The reason he did is because as he's said before, the way he went out, he couldn't have SCRIPTED it better; it was like a movie. The aging champ everyone was starting to count out goes out with a bang against his most celebrated rival. To understand Sampras is really simple really when it comes to tennis. Sampras sees/saw himself as a kind of tennis God. He wanted to go down as the greatest ever no ifs ands or buts about it. ALL he cared about was winning slams and more slams...and hence, ADDING to his *legacy*. That was ALL the man seemed to care about during his playing days. He was very aware of how he wanted his place in tennis history to be portrayed and viewed when it was all said and done.

He THOUGHT that he couldn't top the Agassi-Sampras, last match, at the Open angle; so in my opinion, that more than pure burn out was the reason he quit. With Sampras, "burn-out" was directly tied to how secure he felt about his place in tennis history at the time. When he retired, he thought he had CEMENTED his legacy, and he couldn't top that, so quitting became the obvious choice once he really started to think about it. Why risk tarnshing the PERFECT legacy and story book ending right? ESPECIALLY when he was definitely getting older.

Then, of course, club Fed exploded like no one could have imagined. Everyone knew he had the talent, but no one really thought that a guy like him who didn't necessarily have the single one big weapon, would be able to dominate day in, day out, like he did and has. The guy went on an absolute GLORY SPREE that no one could have imagined or thunk even POSSIBLE had he not done it.

Not even Sampras, dominated quite like that.

By the time, Sampras' figured out, OH MA GAWD, this guy is the REAL DEAL and poses a SERIOUS threat to my claim as the greatest of all time? ...eh, by that time it was already too late for him to realistaclly do anything about it. Too old, too out of shape, family responsibilities, and so on and so forth. He missed his chance. I truly believe, even if he might not admit it, that had he ANY clue that Federer would take off THAT much and THAT quickly; Sampras would have magically not "burned out" so soon. He would have found a way to motivate himself for two more years, the same way he always did...with the thought of adding MORE to his legacy. In a nuclear arms race between two titans like this, EVERY little extra grand slam and career milestone, achievement, and whatever else have you can make the difference when all is said and done and the volleying left to do is between the historical pundits, such as ourselves.

Sampars in his mind probably thinks if I hadn't hung it up, I would have had a fighting chance to add one or two more slams, perhaps, even three if he got lucky...but it's too late for that, and that's that, so now he's Roger's "best friend," lol. What other option does he have at this point? Believe me, Sampras is a competitor to the core, a master of one upmanship as is Federer, no matter what they're smiles say, you know they want THE mantle for themselves at the end of the day. As they say, if you can't beat them, join them; and that, to me, is what Sampras has done in the past year. He's joined Federer's campaign...but believe me, that wasn't the first choice.
Excellent post. And it pretty much sums up what Pete's mind set was just before he made the decision to retire, when he retired, and, when Federer burst into the scene and became a serious threat to his records.

Tennisfan!
04-21-2008, 04:29 PM
No, he can't go on high performance

Lee James
04-21-2008, 07:46 PM
As has been said in other posts, Sampras was not the dominate player of old when he retired. I feel like he retired at just the right time. Everything had to have gone right for him to win the 02 US Open, and he would have needed favorable draws to win the other tournaments as well. However, I do believe he could have played Wimbledon and competed quite successfully.

mike danny
10-05-2013, 03:27 PM
Well, to add to this it's kind of like Malivai Washington always said. "I've always said being a professional athlete is the greatest job in the world, you get to do what you love for a living and make good money too. How many people in the world can say that? ...I've always said that as a professional athlete you're time is very limited. You can only do it for so long, because of age or injuries; so when you're out there you have to make sure you give it everything you've got for as long as you possibly can, because once it's done, it's done. You only get so many years, and after that it's over. You can't do it anymore."

Paraphrasing, but that's pretty much what he said dead-on, and I tend to concur.

This said, I wouldn't go so far as to say Sampras blew his own chance at tennis immortality by retiring on top when he did. From his perspective, it was probably actually pretty logical and at the time it seemed logical to most others as well.

But see, the problem Sampras ran into, was a flaw in human thinking. Meaning, "records (no matter how SEEMINGLY insurmountable) are MADE to be broken."

To me, it's from what perspective you look at it. Is it more impressive to SET a record, or is it more impressive BREAK a record. To me, it's definitely more impressive to SET the record.

I say this, because achieving "great" results in anything in life, requires one to push themselves the little extra mile. And I don't care how much you love a sport or anything else, pushing yourself that little extra mile IS excruciating...FOR ANYONE.

Really, achieving greatness (assuming the prerequisite "talent" and "gifts" are there to even make that possible) rests on the shoulders of human endurance, and the will of man to continue to push through *even when* you're starting to get tired of it all.

In a video game, every time you reach a milestone you had through previously impossible, you'll find that quite often you'll end up besting that milestone not soon thereafter, even though the previous milestone seemed impossible to obtain in the first place. It's just the nature of the beast. The harrier it gets, the more one is likely to continue to push himself to hang in there so long as the BAR has been set.

With Federer, he adds a DECIDED advantage over Sampras, because he has the nature of hindsight firmly in his grasp. In fact, he OWNED hindsight, the second Sampras retired, and owning hindsight is a decided advantage in life, imo. With the advantage of this hindsight, Federer has a precise number that he needs to match and surpass by...JUST ONE, to effectively defeat "the great one" (whose no longer able to fight back because of age). It's not even a competition. It's a race of a motivate thoroughbred vs. a rock (Sampras).

That's all the steam Federer needs to stay motivated and *keep* pushing himself to the limit WITHOUT burning out. Whether he loses his mojo, others start figuring him out, he loses his confidence, starts losing, etc. is besides the point. The point is that as long as he's *physically able*, he will be able to MENTALLY stay able. The other variables are out of his control (such as a maturing Djokovic, etc.).

To me, if Federer finishes with 15 slams? Sure, he won the "race", but in reality it wasn't a FAIR race at all since he had the advantage of hindsight. To me, for Federer to truly be crowned the greatest of all time...ON ANOTHER LEVEL ENTIRELY from anyone else...he'll need to win 16, 17 slams.

Why? Because by that point, he would have proven that he didn't just BREAK a record, he *established* a new one...that is to say people won't be talking about how Federer beat Sampras' record, they *won't even remember* that Sampras even ever had a record. Instead, the only thing people will talk about is how Federer set a new MILESTONE...one that EVERYONE...*including Federer*...thinks is *insurrmountable* for all eternity. Now THAT is a GOD-like achievement. Why? Because while we can definitely imagine Federer breaking Sampras' record, can we imagine him setting a new milestone in the history of mankind? I'm not so sure about that at this point. Time, as they say, will be the only baromet.
in a way he did set a lot of milestones.

-17 slams(like you said)
-302 weeks at no.1 (it will be a long time until this is surpassed)
-6 WTF (again another unsurpassable one)
-36 cons QF, 23 cons SF and 18/19 cons F is also a milestone achievement. it shows godlike consistency.

even if nadal surpasses the first one the others are IMO unbreakable. so nadal may surpass his slam record but federer did set a milestone at each of the others

Fedinkum
10-05-2013, 03:57 PM
He was smart to go while at the top, true sign of a champ.