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krosero
05-27-2009, 07:45 PM
Kafelnikov d. Sampras, 7-6 (4), 6-0, 6-2

By my count:

Kafelnikov won 105 points overall, Sampras 71.

(The ATP has different numbers because they counted aces and df's twice).


SERVICE

Kafelnikov won 58 of 76 points on serve: 35 of 41 on first serve (85%) and 23 of 35 on second (66%).

Sampras won 53 of 100 points on serve: 33 of 58 on first serve (57%) and 20 of 42 on second (48%).


Kafelnikov served at 54%, making 41 of 76 first serves. Percentages by set: 52, 67, 47.

Sampras served at 58%, making 58 of 100 first serves. Percentages by set: 56, 65, 56.


Kafelnikov converted 5 of 13 break points.

Sampras didn’t earn any break points. He got his first serve into play on 8 of 13 break points.


Kafelnikov had 12 aces and 12 other unreturned serves, of which I judged 1 a service winner.

Sampras had 9 aces and 20 other unreturned serves, of which I judged 2 as service winners.


Kafelnikov had 2 double-faults, Sampras 9.


WINNERS

Kafelnikov made 27 clean winners apart from service: 16 FH, 8 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV.

Sampras made 10 clean winners apart from service: 2 FH, 3 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV.

Kafelnikov's winners by set: 11, 4, 12
Sampras' winners by set: 6, 2, 2

(In addition to the clean winners, I gave judgment calls on a FH and a BH by Kafelnikov.)

Kafelnikov made three clean return winners (2 FH), all passes. He made 6 other passing shots (4 FH).

Sampras made one clean return winner, a BH. It was not a pass but he made two BH passing shots.


Stats from Australia's Channel Nine:

In the first set, Kafelnikov made 12 unforced errors, Sampras 17. After almost two sets, Kafelnikov had made 14, Sampras 26.

They had Kafelnikov at 12 aces, Sampras at 9. I have the same, though the ATP put Kafelnikov at only 10.

And they had Kafelnikov at 2 df’s, Sampras at 9. I have the same, though the ATP put Sampras at only 7.


Per the New York Times it was the fifth bagel of Sampras’ career. They report that the temperature of 92 degrees equaled an 1873 record for this date in Paris, and that Sampras had spent five hours more oncourt than Kafelnikov:

"I beat some players who have won here, so I know it can be done, it's in my sights," sighed Sampras, who had hoped to pay a final homage to Gullikson by capturing the only Slam they hadn't been able to win together. "Mentally and physically and emotionally, I think this is probably the worst I've felt."

Sports Illustrated:

Paris was struck by two almost unbroken weeks of scorching sun, with temperatures routinely 80° and above. The terre battu, usually the consistency of wet sawdust, dried to hard-court solidity, which favored serve-and-volley players like Sampras. Clay-court purists such as Michael Chang and even defending champion Thomas Muster fell by the wayside.

GameSampras
05-27-2009, 07:47 PM
Thalassemia Minor

julesb
05-27-2009, 07:49 PM
Poor Kafelnikov. He would have won more Frenchs if he didnt lose 3 times in the next years to Kuerten, and always in a really close match.

Borgforever
05-27-2009, 07:58 PM
How great is the possibility -- according to peoples opinion here -- that Pete's "medical condition" had anything to do with his somewhat tired performance in this match?

I also wonder how his Wimby performance might've been affected by fact that he went deep at RG this year, minimizing his transition-time to the extremely fast old grass at Wimby two weeks later?

I've always thought Krajicek made a stunning perf against Pete there -- but I also thought Sampras had played much better, he usually did always at Wimby. If Pete had been in, say 1994-95-99-Wimby-form during the Richard-battle I just wonder if the end result would've been the same.

Maybe the always draining RG took some steam out of the Sampras-locomotive at Wimby 1996...

CyBorg
05-27-2009, 08:15 PM
Maybe the always draining RG took some steam out of the Sampras-locomotive at Wimby 1996...

This is probably true. I believe this was the only year out of that 93-00 stretch that Pete missed Queen's.

krosero
05-28-2009, 11:41 PM
How great is the possibility -- according to peoples opinion here -- that Pete's "medical condition" had anything to do with his somewhat tired performance in this match?I think it's likely. We're so accustomed to seeing Pete pull out great wins even when he's dead tired (eg, Corretja), sometimes on little more than his mental strength, that his collapse after one set against Kafelnikov suggests that something physical happened to him there.

In his book he mentions having unbelievably strong cravings the night before the semifinal, for something like a burger or a greasy pizza. He kept to his discipline and didn't have one, but he thinks that maybe at that point his system was missing something, probably fat.

So yes I think his blood condition was a factor, but if it was a deal-breaking factor here, and not elsewhere (at least not in the 90s), then I think it's worth emphasizing, as you always do, how draining the French Open is.

And that's in any year, not to speak of the great heat in '96.

In a way, by baking the courts hard and making them friendly to attacking players, the heat helped Pete advance that far, and brought him down all the harder at the end.

Borgforever
05-29-2009, 12:21 AM
I thought this as well...

I didn't think Pete was his usual self here -- he could lose of course, but not really in this style. Out of character IMO. Pity.

What about this RG and it's effect on the Krajicek-match in Wimby right after this?

Could this RG possibly taken some edge off his game there? I just get the feeling that Pete wasn't really he's typical self in that match either...

Borg always said "You don't want to see a tennis-ball after RG. All that concentration against all the specialists, all those draining rallies. I'm finished in body and head. That's why I practice so much -- to be able to handle such slumps, clay-season's like getting cancer for the rest of the year and the really fast Wimbledon is two weeks away."

thalivest
05-29-2009, 12:22 AM
It would ironic if Pete's system was missing fat going into that match if he would have better off succumbing to his temptation and having a greasy pizza or burger.

!Tym
05-29-2009, 04:21 AM
Bruguera said he allegedly trained up to eight hours a day with his physio during the 96 off season to get back his condition and form...he pooped out like a locomotive without oil at the VERY end of the first set with the set on his racket in a scintilating tie-breaker. The last point of that set he barely even moved. Think about that, all that alleged conditioning work in the offseason, and he couldn't even hold out for ONE more point with the light at the end of the tunnel just STARING him in the nose. His body couldn't be bothered to move a lick the next two sets, and the commentators were almost certain that he'd probably just retire and call it a day Justine Henin style at any moment.

...yes, yes, I know he wasn't exactly some kind of diseased specimen like Sampras, but the point is yes, yes, I know, Sampras was handicapped. But imo, it should not be used as an excuse as for why he lost so badly to Kafelnikov. Imo, that's a horrible excuse, because it gives Kafelnikov NO CREDIT whatsoever!

Believe it or not, A LOT of player poop out at various times throughout their career. Hell, even the endurance maniac Courier said he was pooped out after battling Kuerten on clay in Davis Cup the same year Kuerten would go on to win his first French. He said that if he hadn't closed out that fourth set, that was it, he had absolutely NOTHING in the tank, he was DYING in the heat and had to immediately get IV's.

The great Kobe Bryant who is FAMOUS for playing through injuries like no other NBA player alive today, who is FAMOUS for NEVER taking time off.

Guess what? He is POOPED out now. He said he'd never been so exhausted after a game two games ago. The commentators were like what the heck? Kobe looks EXHAUSTED for once.

Guess what...it happens, to EVERY athlete, no matter how well conditioned.

It is NOT an excuse though. It's a footnote worth mentioning, but not an excuse imo.

Sampras had unusually favorable conditions that year, Bruguera would have a career worst year up to that point so in obviously poor form, Courier obviously not in the form or confidence that won him back to back RG crowns in a row, etc. The court conditions that year could not have played more like a hard court than if Sampras had dreamed of it. I mean seriously, WHAT does he have to complain about?

If he pooped out when the court conditions were so favorable that year, that was HIS fault. He shouldn't have messed around in the earlier rounds then. He should have put his opponents away easier then. To me, if a player poops out later in a tournament, that's his own fault. If Bruguera had a grueling three setter with Sampras the day before in near one hundred degree heat in the semis, and then faces maybe the most cardio-maniacal player of all time in the finals in equally scorching hot weather, that is his OWN fault. Period. I don't care if it's Sampras. If he didn't want to be tired, then he should have put him away 6-0, 6-0. What about Chang cramping like a banshee against Lendl at the French? He was going to quit you know, he said there's no point, who am I even kidding, what's the point, ESPECIALLY when the guy on the other side of the net was the then most cardio-maniacal player of all time.

The French media called him a trickster after that and little slant eyes. I call it, say what you want, but he managed to get in Lendl's head. He managed to find more inspiration and reserve when there was no reserve than he ever had in his life before or since. And for a guy who is known for trying as hard or harder than anyone in history out there, EVERY match out, that is REALLY saying something.

You didn't hear Bruguera saying, oh man, it's not fair, I had a tough match during the day the day before and Muster got to play at night and won easily, it's soooo not fair, not to mention I had to play a better player too!

No, he just gave all the credit to Muster after the match. Said that knowing how good his fitness is...all the credit. Do you realize how foolish he would've sounded if he said I got gyped knowing the Muster wasn't even supposed to walk again? That his knee was freaking obliterated by a drunk driver, that one leg was now shorter than the other, and that he still walks with a slight limp as a result to this day? I mean, REALLY, now.

Sampras was blessed with MORE than enough "gifts" that imo him having a disease or whatever shouldn't be used an excuse. That's his OWN genetic "fault." Jim Abbot was born without a hand.... Matt Hammil was born deaf. I mean really...poor, poor Sampras. If ONLY for not being given such a raw deal by God, he would've won the French and then been the undisputed GOAT. The injustice of it all...poor, poor, Chang believing in God all those years, trying to serve big like Sampras all those years, poor, poor Sampras to bad he wasn't 6'1" but genetically GIFTED with the wingspan of a condoor, of a wingspan equal to a player 6'5" which allowed him to serve that much bigger, which gave him that much more margin. Poor, poor Sampras with the rubber shoulders that allowed him to serve like a God without his shoulder falling off.

Imo, Sampras' condition was a PART of him. That's not an excuse, that's a PART of him. Chang was short, that's a PART of him, you have to accept that.

Sampras' condition is much more common to persons of Greek lineage from what I remember...ok, fine, then he shouldn't have been born Greek.

Do you see the problem here when you start making excuses for a GOAT caliber player who DOESN'T need it? Imo, it just makes him look worse, and gives more credence to Rafter's reason for not appreciating Sampras very much.

You know, EVEN IF your opponent is pooped out, you STILL have to PUT HIM AWAY. Even IF your opponent is playing God awful that day and choking like a dog and all but BEGGING to give you the match on a silver platter like Gaudio was in that French Open final, like Agassi was in that French Open final, you know, you STILL have to PUT HIM AWAY.

It's not as easy as it sounds to continue keep your focus and not letting yourself get sucked into your oppoent's apparent malodies...ahem, just ask Courier what he thinks about that and Sampras' tendency (in his opinion, NOT mine) to lull guys into his malodies on the court, before turning around and zapping you. Kafelnikov didn't get sucked into nothing, he didn't get self-conscious in his own play, he PUT HIM AWAY. He did not stutter and think oh my gosh, my opponent is all but GIVING me the match gift wrapped...WHAT SHOULD I DO? ...a la, Coria.

Give credit where credit is due. Not saying you should applaud Kafelnikov for an awesome match, just that his victory shouldn't be made to look like an asterik victory, like it shouldn't really count, that he got lucky, that really the victory was a foregone conclusion for Sampras and all his glory except that he didn't actually win it....

krosero
05-29-2009, 08:02 AM
All good points, Tym.

To Kafelnikov's credit, he started off the match in more confident form than he had their Davis Cup several months earlier, maybe because since then he'd recently beaten Pete for the first time, in World Team Cup. Fred Stolle was saying how such a match might not seem like an important loss for someone like Sampras, but for Kafelnikov it could be big; and he wondered whether he'd learned something there because now (at RG) he was standing in close to take Pete's serve aggressively. Even in the first set Sampras had to serve more points than Kafelnikov (50 to 42), and he had to fend off two break points. Meanwhile Yevgeny faced no break points, in that set or the match as a whole.

The examples you gave of other athletes pooping out give some perspective.

How do you like Pete's chances against Stich in the final? I know that speculating like that goes against the grain of your post, which basically looks at things as they were, not as they might have been; and if we put Pete in the final, it presupposes an energy that he didn't have even after five rounds, much less six. But it's more that I'd like to hear your thoughts about the matchup, particularly on clay.

Borgforever
05-29-2009, 08:45 AM
Yeah -- great post !Tym. Well written and jam-packed with very valid points. I just never really thought about if his "condition" did have an effect on his RG-behaviour/results. I've always resented Pete a bit before -- since I felt he kind of just dismissed RG, IMO arrogant and a waste since a player with his great skill, highly competitive-clutch-ability and innate tennis talent could penetrate RG if he worked on it with a purpose. But then I started thinking that this context might've had something to do with it.

Yeah we all have Akilles-heels too. Or "bad luck" as some also call it. We're only human...

380pistol
05-29-2009, 11:00 AM
Bruguera said he allegedly trained up to eight hours a day with his physio during the 96 off season to get back his condition and form...he pooped out like a locomotive without oil at the VERY end of the first set with the set on his racket in a scintilating tie-breaker. The last point of that set he barely even moved. Think about that, all that alleged conditioning work in the offseason, and he couldn't even hold out for ONE more point with the light at the end of the tunnel just STARING him in the nose. His body couldn't be bothered to move a lick the next two sets, and the commentators were almost certain that he'd probably just retire and call it a day Justine Henin style at any moment.

...yes, yes, I know he wasn't exactly some kind of diseased specimen like Sampras, but the point is yes, yes, I know, Sampras was handicapped. But imo, it should not be used as an excuse as for why he lost so badly to Kafelnikov. Imo, that's a horrible excuse, because it gives Kafelnikov NO CREDIT whatsoever!

Believe it or not, A LOT of player poop out at various times throughout their career. Hell, even the endurance maniac Courier said he was pooped out after battling Kuerten on clay in Davis Cup the same year Kuerten would go on to win his first French. He said that if he hadn't closed out that fourth set, that was it, he had absolutely NOTHING in the tank, he was DYING in the heat and had to immediately get IV's.

The great Kobe Bryant who is FAMOUS for playing through injuries like no other NBA player alive today, who is FAMOUS for NEVER taking time off.

Guess what? He is POOPED out now. He said he'd never been so exhausted after a game two games ago. The commentators were like what the heck? Kobe looks EXHAUSTED for once.

Guess what...it happens, to EVERY athlete, no matter how well conditioned.

It is NOT an excuse though. It's a footnote worth mentioning, but not an excuse imo.

Sampras had unusually favorable conditions that year, Bruguera would have a career worst year up to that point so in obviously poor form, Courier obviously not in the form or confidence that won him back to back RG crowns in a row, etc. The court conditions that year could not have played more like a hard court than if Sampras had dreamed of it. I mean seriously, WHAT does he have to complain about?

If he pooped out when the court conditions were so favorable that year, that was HIS fault. He shouldn't have messed around in the earlier rounds then. He should have put his opponents away easier then. To me, if a player poops out later in a tournament, that's his own fault. If Bruguera had a grueling three setter with Sampras the day before in near one hundred degree heat in the semis, and then faces maybe the most cardio-maniacal player of all time in the finals in equally scorching hot weather, that is his OWN fault. Period. I don't care if it's Sampras. If he didn't want to be tired, then he should have put him away 6-0, 6-0. What about Chang cramping like a banshee against Lendl at the French? He was going to quit you know, he said there's no point, who am I even kidding, what's the point, ESPECIALLY when the guy on the other side of the net was the then most cardio-maniacal player of all time.

The French media called him a trickster after that and little slant eyes. I call it, say what you want, but he managed to get in Lendl's head. He managed to find more inspiration and reserve when there was no reserve than he ever had in his life before or since. And for a guy who is known for trying as hard or harder than anyone in history out there, EVERY match out, that is REALLY saying something.

You didn't hear Bruguera saying, oh man, it's not fair, I had a tough match during the day the day before and Muster got to play at night and won easily, it's soooo not fair, not to mention I had to play a better player too!

No, he just gave all the credit to Muster after the match. Said that knowing how good his fitness is...all the credit. Do you realize how foolish he would've sounded if he said I got gyped knowing the Muster wasn't even supposed to walk again? That his knee was freaking obliterated by a drunk driver, that one leg was now shorter than the other, and that he still walks with a slight limp as a result to this day? I mean, REALLY, now.

Sampras was blessed with MORE than enough "gifts" that imo him having a disease or whatever shouldn't be used an excuse. That's his OWN genetic "fault." Jim Abbot was born without a hand.... Matt Hammil was born deaf. I mean really...poor, poor Sampras. If ONLY for not being given such a raw deal by God, he would've won the French and then been the undisputed GOAT. The injustice of it all...poor, poor, Chang believing in God all those years, trying to serve big like Sampras all those years, poor, poor Sampras to bad he wasn't 6'1" but genetically GIFTED with the wingspan of a condoor, of a wingspan equal to a player 6'5" which allowed him to serve that much bigger, which gave him that much more margin. Poor, poor Sampras with the rubber shoulders that allowed him to serve like a God without his shoulder falling off.

Imo, Sampras' condition was a PART of him. That's not an excuse, that's a PART of him. Chang was short, that's a PART of him, you have to accept that.

Sampras' condition is much more common to persons of Greek lineage from what I remember...ok, fine, then he shouldn't have been born Greek.

Do you see the problem here when you start making excuses for a GOAT caliber player who DOESN'T need it? Imo, it just makes him look worse, and gives more credence to Rafter's reason for not appreciating Sampras very much.

You know, EVEN IF your opponent is pooped out, you STILL have to PUT HIM AWAY. Even IF your opponent is playing God awful that day and choking like a dog and all but BEGGING to give you the match on a silver platter like Gaudio was in that French Open final, like Agassi was in that French Open final, you know, you STILL have to PUT HIM AWAY.

It's not as easy as it sounds to continue keep your focus and not letting yourself get sucked into your oppoent's apparent malodies...ahem, just ask Courier what he thinks about that and Sampras' tendency (in his opinion, NOT mine) to lull guys into his malodies on the court, before turning around and zapping you. Kafelnikov didn't get sucked into nothing, he didn't get self-conscious in his own play, he PUT HIM AWAY. He did not stutter and think oh my gosh, my opponent is all but GIVING me the match gift wrapped...WHAT SHOULD I DO? ...a la, Coria.

Give credit where credit is due. Not saying you should applaud Kafelnikov for an awesome match, just that his victory shouldn't be made to look like an asterik victory, like it shouldn't really count, that he got lucky, that really the victory was a foregone conclusion for Sampras and all his glory except that he didn't actually win it....


Usually I agree but this time I don't. I mean are you reaaly trying to argue science and medicine?? Yeah the conditions favoured Pete, I'm she he was loving those 5 setters in 90 degree heat?!?

Now with that said it's not a slight on Kafelnikov, as he played very and should be given credit. Who knows if Sampras would have won at full stregth anyway. If I'm not mistaken Sampras gave credit to Kafelnikov as he always gave to the opposing player when he lost. In 2000 Aus Open SF Pete tore his hip flexor in the 1st set, and was out for a month after the match, and si mply siad "Agassi played better".

So yes is disorder may have been a facor, but still gotta give full marks to Kafelnikov.

krosero
05-29-2009, 11:13 AM
In 2000 Aus Open SF Pete tore his hip flexor in the 1st set, and was out for a month after the match, and si mply siad "Agassi played better".In his book he mentions neither this nor the much worse injury at the '98 USO, when he lost to Rafter; simply says Rafter got him there. Don't know what he said in '98 (though I don't know that he needed to mention his injury at all, it was so plain to see).

380pistol
05-29-2009, 11:32 AM
In his book he mentions neither this nor the much worse injury at the '98 USO, when he lost to Rafter; simply says Rafter got him there. Don't know what he said in '98 (though I don't know that he needed to mention his injury at all, it was so plain to see).

The 2000 injury actually became more of Sampras vs. McEnroe than Sampras vs. Agassi. After the match Mac accused him of faking and said he just didn't want to got Zimbabwe and play DC. Sampras was offended cuz he said he gave Mac his word, and he designed his schedule that year so he could play DC. After x-rays showed it wasn't a pull or a strain, but something like 30% of the muscle was torn from the bone, and Pete missed a month after, that pretty much ended the issue.

http://www.geocities.com/hovav13/art-ao00agassi.html
3 Articles, the last says the most on the subject.

Moose Malloy
05-29-2009, 12:02 PM
tym, you have to admit Kafelnikov was rather lucky that year, not because of Sampras' condition, but because of the fact that Muster got upset early. Until Nadal came around, Muster in '96 had the most dominant claycourt season leading into the French over the last 10 years. And he destroyed Kafelnikov later that summer in Kitbuhel. I'm not saying he deserves an *, just putting it into perspective. This is not unlike Vilas winning RG without having to face Borg(except Vilas was one of the best ever on clay, while Kafelnikov was thought of as rather an average clay player - he seemed as shocked as anyone that he won the French that year. that was when the french was thought of as a specialist's event - something that Yevgeny certainly wasn't)

And going back to Sampras & his condition at the '96, we shouldn't ignore the fact that he had almost no preparation going into the French(partly due to Gullikson's death, it happened only a month before the French I think)

So he wasn't just worn down by those long matches, he was also not match fit. there have been many players, who after a long layoff hit the wall after 4 or 5 matches in a row. Match play is a lot different than practice.

So I don't think Sampras was unlucky to hit the wall there, more like lucky that he even got that far with so little preparation(it reminded me of the '94 USO, he couldn't play any events that summer & just hit the wall vs Yzaga)

And going back to his condition, I can see why you get riled up by his fans mentioning it so much, but you have to admit it was rather odd to see when it happened. I've followed Sampras from the beginning of his career, & he got incredibly fit around '92(with Pat Etcheberry as his trainer, how could he not be?) but yet time & time again, he looked like he was about to keel over, even in some best of 3 set matches on hardcourts. I've never seen any other great player(even the notoriously 'unfit' Mac) look as exhausted on court as often sampras did. It was so unusual, how can we not mention it?

One a side note, I have his 5 setter with Courier on tape. Late in the 5th you can hear Courier say, 'guy looks like he going to fall over, yet he's still hitting f****** aces' And he gave Sampras a rather curt handshake afterwards(but stopped by his chair as he was leaving the court to pat him on the back)
I get the sense that a lot of players were rather annoyed at losing so often to a player who looked ill. Sampras always gave credit to those who beat him, but the media necessarily didn't(& when a guy stumbles around the court punch drunk throughout a match, & you win, you have to figure on getting a lot more questions about his play than yours)

I recall more than a little criticism of sampras after the corretja match. there were negative letters to tennis magazine('you shouldn't play if you aren't fit, it was gamesmanship', etc) & on message boards(yes there were places for tennis fans to vent on the internet in 1996)

So yes I think his blood condition was a factor, but if it was a deal-breaking factor here, and not elsewhere

I've seen him lose a few matches at Miami & Cincinnati where it looked to be a factor. And then there was the Yzaga match.

Going back to the stats, those aren't that bad serve numbers for Sampras(57% on 1st, 48% on 2nd? I've seen lots of players win matches during this claycourt season with similar stats)

urban
05-29-2009, 12:44 PM
I agree that Sampras' behavior annoyed some players especially Courier, who was the victim quite often. To me it looked quite often that Sampras played a bit possum. In the 1992 USO sf Sampras had the flu and obviously was feeling ill, but still beat the then favorite Courier. In the 1993 Wim final with Courier Sampras almost doubled over at some points late in the third and in the fourth set, and yet he hit ace after ace. In the 1995 AO he did quite the same. Sometimes it looked that he couldn't continue being in tears; even Courier said: Lets finish it tomorrow. And still he hit ace after ace. The irony of the French open 1996 match is, that the real injured player was Courier, who pulled a hamstring injury midway through the match, which put him out for a few weeks later on.

DBH
05-29-2009, 12:57 PM
tym, you have to admit Kafelnikov was rather lucky that year, not because of Sampras' condition, but because of the fact that Muster got upset early. Until Nadal came around, Muster in '96 had the most dominant claycourt season leading into the French over the last 10 years. And he destroyed Kafelnikov later that summer in Kitbuhel. I'm not saying he deserves an *, just putting it into perspective. This is not unlike Vilas winning RG without having to face Borg(except Vilas was one of the best ever on clay, while Kafelnikov was thought of as rather an average clay player - he seemed as shocked as anyone that he won the French that year. that was when the french was thought of as a specialist's event - something that Yevgeny certainly wasn't)


In Grand Slam events, Kafelnikov was 16-10 (61.5%) on grass, 52-16 (76.5%) on hardcourts, and 31-10 (75.6%) on clay. As Moose says, he was not a clay specialist, but a fine all-around player who was quite good on clay. Running into Kuerten multiple times was his big bugaboo at the French post-1996.

DBH

380pistol
05-29-2009, 12:58 PM
I agree that Sampras' behavior annoyed some players especially Courier, who was the victim quite often. To me it looked quite often that Sampras played a bit possum. In the 1992 USO sf Sampras had the flu and obviously was feeling ill, but still beat the then favorite Courier. In the 1993 Wim final with Courier Sampras almost doubled over at some points late in the third and in the fourth set, and yet he hit ace after ace. In the 1995 AO he did quite the same. Sometimes it looked that he couldn't continue being in tears; even Courier said: Lets finish it tomorrow. And still he hit ace after ace. The irony of the French open 1996 match is, that the real injured player was Courier, who pulled a hamstring injury midway through the match, which put him out for a few weeks later on.

Sampras as always had that disinterested, hang dog look about him. Sometimes he's really hurt or suffering, and others he can be fine but just looks that way. Even as child Pete Fischer always used to get on Sampras for what seemed his lack of interest. Once during a junior match Ficsher asked Sampras' brother Gus (I think) "What's the score of the match on the other court?", to which Gus looked at like I don't know, he's there to watch Pete. Fischer looked at him and said "I bet your brother knows".

Look at the 1999 Wimbledon final, there are stretches where he was just walking around aimlessly, not seeming to care, yet he was playing out of his mind. Win the point, walk over to the ball boy get 3 balls... analyze.... give 2 back.... one bounce..... and serve. Wash, rinse and repeat. It became monotonous.

flying24
05-29-2009, 03:37 PM
Kafelnikov is easily one of the luckiest players to win 2 majors. There are some players with 0 majors arguably better than him, and most players with only 1 major are. Many of those from his own era of players. He couldnt beat any of the big guns in a slam on their preferred surfaces. You could never imagine him, nor did he ever, beat any of Sampras, Agassi, prime Rafter, Becker, or Chang in a hard court slam. Likewise at the French he would never beat a Kuerten, Muster, Ferrero, Bruguera, or even Moya or Agassi. His biggest win ever in a grand slam is Todd Martin on hard courts and Sampras/Stich/Krajicek on clay and yet he has 2 slams. Hope he kept that horseshoe around for the rest of his life.

Thomas Tung
05-29-2009, 06:55 PM
Kafelnikov is easily one of the luckiest players to win 2 majors. There are some players with 0 majors arguably better than him, and most players with only 1 major are. Many of those from his own era of players. He couldnt beat any of the big guns in a slam on their preferred surfaces. You could never imagine him, nor did he ever, beat any of Sampras, Agassi, prime Rafter, Becker, or Chang in a hard court slam. Likewise at the French he would never beat a Kuerten, Muster, Ferrero, Bruguera, or even Moya or Agassi. His biggest win ever in a grand slam is Todd Martin on hard courts and Sampras/Stich/Krajicek on clay and yet he has 2 slams. Hope he kept that horseshoe around for the rest of his life.

Well, the Y-Man did do 2 things better than many "should-have beens" who didn't win the finals or semi-finals they were in -- he won the match, "inferior" opposition or otherwise. Sometimes, if indeed you are given a "dream draw", you toss that advantage away. That happens more often than most would admit, even with players like Alex Corretja, Cedric Pioline, Todd Martin, Thomas Enqvist, Mark Philippoussis, et al. Remember Martin's massive choke against MaliVai Washington in the Wimbledon semis of '96? 'Nuff said.

flying24
05-29-2009, 07:36 PM
Well, the Y-Man did do 2 things better than many "should-have beens" who didn't win the finals or semi-finals they were in -- he won the match, "inferior" opposition or otherwise. Sometimes, if indeed you are given a "dream draw", you toss that advantage away. That happens more often than most would admit, even with players like Alex Corretja, Cedric Pioline, Todd Martin, Thomas Enqvist, Mark Philippoussis, et al. Remember Martin's massive choke against MaliVai Washington in the Wimbledon semis of '96? 'Nuff said.

This is true. Kafelnikov really only had 2 shots ever to win majors. They were when he was presented with dream situations by the draw and the way the event panned out. He took full advantage of both. Kudos to him for that.

380pistol
05-29-2009, 11:12 PM
Kafelnikov is easily one of the luckiest players to win 2 majors. There are some players with 0 majors arguably better than him, and most players with only 1 major are. Many of those from his own era of players. He couldnt beat any of the big guns in a slam on their preferred surfaces. You could never imagine him, nor did he ever, beat any of Sampras, Agassi, prime Rafter, Becker, or Chang in a hard court slam. Likewise at the French he would never beat a Kuerten, Muster, Ferrero, Bruguera, or even Moya or Agassi. His biggest win ever in a grand slam is Todd Martin on hard courts and Sampras/Stich/Krajicek on clay and yet he has 2 slams. Hope he kept that horseshoe around for the rest of his life.


Uh he beat a #1 Agassi in the French Open QF. He didn't win in that year as he lost to Muster in SF, but he did get Dre.

flying24
05-30-2009, 05:16 AM
Uh he beat a #1 Agassi in the French Open QF. He didn't win in that year as he lost to Muster in SF, but he did get Dre.

Sorry I forgot about that one. Now that you remind me and I remember that match now though Agassi had a serious hip injury for that match. Still that is Kafelnikov's biggest win at a major I guess, an injured Agassi on clay. His biggest wins in the 2 majors he won are still Todd Martin on hard courts and Sampras on clay.

krosero
06-04-2009, 01:16 PM
I missed a lot of the second half of Pete's career when it was happening, and one thing I've never understood is what happened to him at the French Open after '96. That's particularly true because his losses after '96 are more obscure, all of them before the fourth round. Through '96 he made three QF's and one SF, but strangely, after the balls and the courts were sped up in '96, his performances got worse.

A couple of key things happened for Pete around '96.

1) Annacone replaced Gullikson as his coach.

2) He had his only defeat in eight years at Wimbledon, and it's often suggested that his deep run at the French had taken something out of him.

3) He learned of his blood condition, after the Corretja match at the USO.

However Pete doesn't link his blood condition to his French Open troubles, and in his book he seems positive about it after getting tested:

It wasn't life-threatening, but it could certainly affect my on-court performance. However, it was easily addressed. I had to start taking iron supplements and ramp up my intake of meat, eggs, and other protein.

When it comes to his French Open defeats after '96, he mentions them, and he notes somewhat ruefully that his days of mixing it up with the likes of Courier and Bruguera on clay seemed to be over, but he doesn't really explore why his performances went downhill.

Anyone know more about this?

Moose Malloy
06-04-2009, 02:00 PM
but strangely, after the balls and the courts were sped up in '96

what proof do you have that the balls & courts were sped up in '96? and are you implying that it was the same 'fast' conditions from '97 on? It certainly seemed pretty slow in '97, '98, etc. '96 was just about the unusual weather I thought.

Annacone replaced Gullikson as his coach

His game changed dramatically under Annacone(started S&Ving on 1st & 2nd serve on all surfaces - before he just did that on grass. even started chipping & charging, which was rare for him pre '97)
I'm sure that didn't help matters in Paris.

He had his only defeat in eight years at Wimbledon, and it's often suggested that his deep run at the French had taken something out of him.


I think was also a factor(though perhaps not a conscious one)
Wimbledon was THE tournament for Sampras, not winning it in '96 was a huge blow to him. I've read interviews with him saying how boring he thought the French was when he was a kid(watching Lendl & Wilander) & how he never really dreamed of winning it. Think his exact words were "I thought why would anyone want to win it?"
I don't think Sampras loses sleep over not winning the French.

However Pete doesn't link his blood condition to his French Open troubles

He looked pretty bad physically during his loss to Norman in '97.

krosero
06-04-2009, 02:48 PM
what proof do you have that the balls & courts were sped up in '96? and are you implying that it was the same 'fast' conditions from '97 on? It certainly seemed pretty slow in '97, '98, etc. '96 was just about the unusual weather I thought.During the '96 sf, Trabert said that the balls were faster (lighter) and that there was less top dressing on the courts. During the final Dyrsdale also talked about how the courts had been made faster and how pleased he was about it, because it allowed for more attackers, and more interesting tennis.

The Sky Sports announcers for the 1997 Grand Slam Cup, Bill Threlfall and Gerry Williams, said that most European claycourt tournaments, “in coercion, and very sensibly,” had sped up their courts.

Don't recall offhand if more such comments were made during later editions of the French.

krosero
06-04-2009, 03:23 PM
His game changed dramatically under Annacone(started S&Ving on 1st & 2nd serve on all surfaces - before he just did that on grass. even started chipping & charging, which was rare for him pre '97)
I'm sure that didn't help matters in Paris.No question that Annacone pushed him to attack. But Pete says he was always somewhat resistant to Annacone's advice, and what I was wondering was to what extent Pete took the advice at the French. And if he did more attacking, I wonder, how much of it was actually bad (for his chances)?

krosero
06-04-2009, 08:23 PM
I went to the New York Times archives to see what I could find, and found reports on all of Pete's losses after '96. Most interesting for me, as I know very little about them.

What surprised me was how much effort he made in 2002, and his level of frustration that year.

I think, at least, that disproves the charge that he gave up on the French.

These are just excerpts -- maybe these will jog some memories.

1997

''I put a lot of pressure and emphasis on this one event that I haven't won, so it's disappointing,'' Sampras said after he followed a horrendous start today with an equally disturbing conclusion. ''I just have to wait another year to have another chance.''

Sampras never recovered from a sluggish and ''disoriented'' start against the just-turned-21-year-old Norman, a Swedish prospect whose career was stalled three years ago by a heart ailment. For a time, Norman thought he would have to quit the sport. But his condition improved with medication, he resurfaced in the ranking this year at a career-best 65th and today it was Sampras who was sick, to his stomach, on the red clay courts that continue to thwart him.

Sampras had battled a case of diarrhea, but he did not blame that for the loss to Norman, a baseliner with an unremarkable-yet-solid game that was steady enough to exploit Sampras's 68 unforced errors. The smooth backhand pass that took the Swede to triple match point would have rattled Sampras on any day on any surface. The trouble was, Sampras felt he never should have allowed the challenger any match points.

1998

He let his racquet become a shovel, digging him into trouble, and then he let his obscure opponent, 97th-ranked Ramon Delgado of Paraguay, bury him alive.

It was cold, it was wet, and it was starting to get dark today when Pete Sampras suffered his latest failure at the French Open and again endangered his position as the world's No. 1 player. Sampras has captured 10 titles in Grand Slam tournaments, two short of Roy Emerson's career singles record for men, but in nine visits to the French Open, he has come up empty every time.

With his shoulders slumped and his eyes glazed in disbelief, Sampras went quickly and quietly in the second round, a 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, 6-4 victim of his own misapprehensions about his ability against the dirtballers who ride this slippery, sludgy surface like a magic carpet.

''I dug myself a hole,'' he said. ''That's when I get into problems on clay.''

''This is the toughest major to win, by far,'' Sampras said. ''There are no easy matches on the clay.''

He is now 0 for 2 in 1998 Grand Slam events and more dependent than ever on repeating as the Wimbledon champion and correcting this blip on his championship radar.

''I'm not playing well at the moment, plain and simple,'' the 26-year-old Sampras said. ''It's not about bad vibrations or bad feelings. It's not about motivation. I'm just as motivated to win as I was at 20. It's just a bit of a lull, but I know I've got the game, and the heart, to come back.''

But he did not have it today on Court Suzanne Lenglen, and his ineptitude virtually guaranteed that third-seeded Marcelo Rios, the Chilean who snatched away his top spot during April, will own it again by reaching the semifinals here. Artistic and nimble on clay where Sampras remains awkward, Rios, with back-to-back clay titles as his preparation, is the front-runner to win his first Grand Slam here. He advanced today by trampling Emilio Alvarez of Spain, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, and seemed invigorated by the prospect of a third-round grudge match against Wayne Ferreira, the only player who has beaten him this spring.

''This is my surface,'' Rios said. ''When you go to the French Open, you have to be a complete player. I like to play here.''

For Sampras, the French has always been little more than a quicksand pit, sucking away at his crisp and classic strokes and undermining his confidence.

He has yet to figure out the secret of coexisting with the surface, the weather or the tennis balls, which he likens to lead weights. As his woeful body language in the match proved yet again, Sampras seems to think there is a conspiracy working against him in Paris.

''Well, I don't look at it like it's doomed,'' he said, ''and you can't be obsessed with one event, like Lendl was with Wimbledon, that's not my personality.''

''But I've got to figure out in these conditions how I should play, if I should stay back or come in.''

The clay-covered Sampras was outaced, 12-10, and mainly stayed back and floundered.


1999

After scratching and clawing his way through the opening round in a four-hour 18-minute marathon against the unrelenting if unremarkable Juan Antonio Marin of Costa Rica, the second-seeded Sampras imploded in the second round this afternoon, ground into submission, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, by Andrei Medvedev of Ukraine, the former top 10 player now ranked 100th.

Sampras was not only an out-and-out failure in his attempt to capture his first French Open, a milestone that would prove him a champion for all surfaces at long last, he also failed to land the Slam title that would tie him with Roy Emerson's record of 12 major championships.

For an athlete who measures his years in Grand Slam victories, Sampras's 1999 season is now half over, and he has come up empty after skipping the Australian Open and skidding to a premature stop here in Round Two, the same juncture at which he exited last year. Here at Roland Garros, the name Sampras is still synonymous with futility. And the Sampras, now 28 years old, is still fuming a decade after his initial visit.

''He returned quite well, made me hit a lot of low volleys,'' Sampras said of his opponent. ''I just couldn't get it going. I just need to go out and play my tennis, slip and slide a little bit, but just keep it simple.'' He waved off the suggestion that he could use a clay court guru like Jose Higueras, the coach who girded Michael Chang for this title in 1989. ''I know what I need to do,'' Sampras said.


2000

All three of Sampras's recent losses came on the Suzanne Lenglen court, one that he dislikes and contends is considerably slower than the other show courts here. But this time, he was beaten on the center court he prefers, and beaten at his own game by a big server who likes to push forward to the net and take risks from the baseline.

''I felt I had some chances, but Mark, I give him all the credit, he served huge,'' Sampras said after watching 23 aces go by.

krosero
06-04-2009, 08:24 PM
2001

Today Sampras pulled out his defense mechanisms after one of his most unsightly matches at the French Open, a quick 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-2 second-round loss to Galo Blanco, a journeyman from Spain. Sampras committed 60 unforced errors, but he all but deified Blanco for his brilliant play. Sampras explained how he still has time to decode the clay, but he is a 29-year-old player who has not won a major title outside of Wimbledon since the 1997 Australian Open.

''There's no reason to think this is it,'' Sampras said. ''I've got plenty of years left.''

Last year, Sampras seemed more contented with the looming end to the vitality of his career. Not long after his emotional victory last July at Wimbledon, where he set the record for most major men's titles, he talked about a two- or three-year tennis life span. But sometime between his off-season marriage to the actress Bridgette Wilson, his fourth-round loss in January's Australian Open during an 11-9 start to this season and Andre Agassi's reincarnation as a major favorite, Sampras has become more restless.

....

Sampras began the tournament with a five-set epic. In his first-round match, he needed more than three hours to escape Cédric Kauffmann, a player with a ranking equal to a linebacker's weight and with a recent loss to 44-year-old Gene Mayer on the challenger circuit.

The struggle Sampras had then was just an early indicator of how his second-round match would play out. With the steady but unspectacular Blanco across from him, Sampras botched simple volleys at eye level, and ripped ground strokes 5 feet long. He did not have confidence in any aspect of his game.

Even Sampras's potent first serve betrayed him, hitting the mark just 53 percent of the time. Still, the underwhelming play did not seem to resonate with him.

''It's frustrating,'' Sampras said. ''I did what I wanted to do throughout the match. I was putting pressure on him. I just have to give him credit.

''He played a great tie breaker, hit a couple of good shots. I got a little careless at the beginning of the second set. But he played better than I did, plain and simple.''

It sounded like a rationalization. Whatever the psychology behind Sampras's inability to cope with the French Open, he insists he will be back to try to change the outcome. In the past, his methods of preparation for the French Open have been picked apart. Most often, he has been criticized for not pouring every ounce of effort into finding a comfort zone on clay.

''I feel like over the course of my career, I did everything I could possibly do to do well here,'' said Sampras, whose best finish was as a semifinalist five years ago. ''I think we can read too much into it as far as preparation and how much I should play. People think I should be here for two months to get used to the clay. It really just depends on how you're playing on the day. That's what it comes down to.

''Guys don't fear me here quite as much as they do somewhere else,'' he added. ''A combination of a lot of things happened today, and it didn't click like it normally does everywhere else but here.''


2002

For months, Pete Sampras put aside his ego to embrace change, willing to put up a scaffold around a legendary style that had churned out a record 13 majors, ready to open himself up to new ideas from a different voice.

It wasn't easy for a player who has clung to the familiar with prongs, who has hit with the same racket, has worn the same white shorts and has put on the same shoes throughout an amazing career.

But this spring, Sampras let go of structure. He hired Jose Higueras as a clay-court guru and revamped his schedule in Europe. Anything to win the French Open. More than any year before, Sampras, at age 30, was desperate for at least a chance to complete a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros before his tennis life span expired.

The redesign failed him today, and Sampras couldn't take it. That's why he defied his placid persona by slamming his racket in the dirt during the third set, by smacking a ball into the last row of center court in the fourth and by kicking at the net after he missed an easy overhead that could have changed everything in a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (3) loss to Andrea Gaudenzi of Italy.

Once Sampras punched a volley long for his 93rd unforced error, he dropped his head as he met Gaudenzi at the net. Understanding the moment, Gaudenzi put his hand on his 12th-seeded opponent's shoulder as the 1,500 soggy fans who remained through two rain delays chanted ''Sam-pras! Sam-pras!'' in sympathetic tribute.

After sitting beside the court for several minutes, staring at the damp clay beneath his chair, Sampras walked off the court and into the tunnel. Will he be back to try again? No one was sure.

''It's a pretty empty feeling right now,'' said Sampras, who has not advanced past the second round of the French Open since 1997. ''You do whatever you can, and you work hard and prepare. I've done everything I needed to do, you know?

''I'm not thinking much of next year. I'd like to be back, hope to, but you know, it's pretty disappointing to even think about much of anything except what happened out there. I'm not thinking about Wimbledon. I'm not thinking about next year. I'm thinking about the time and effort I put into this tournament. Once again, I have nothing to show for it.''

..... After Sampras's entrance on center court, the leaden sky, the fading twilight and the rumbles of thunder would provide the perfect props for his darkening mood.

It wasn't that he lost to the 76th-ranked Gaudenzi -- a 28-year-old held together with duct tape after so many injuries -- but that all the recent tweaking couldn't renovate his confidence on clay when the big points unfolded.

''This match, having so many chances, I had anxiety,'' Sampras said. ''That's the word that kind of defines what has happened here.''

On other surfaces, his racket can conjure up winners with aces and stab volleys. Sampras needs his legs to win on clay. But he doesn't have faith in his movement or the self-assuredness to construct points during a long rally.

Today provided proof. In the fifth game of the third set, he sprayed two easy short balls with wild forehands on two consecutive break points to let Gaudenzi off the hook. A game later, Gaudenzi broke Sampras's serve with a wicked backhand return down the line. Once again, Sampras could have broken back, but let three break points escape him, including one on a running forehand that he slapped wide. Unusually flustered, Sampras threw his racket to the ground.

In the fourth set, Sampras found hope again -- if only briefly. On his seventh break point in the seventh game, Sampras ripped a forehand into the corner of the court that ricocheted off Gaudenzi's racket. Ahead by 5-4 and serving for the fourth set, Sampras mishandled the tension of a break point by shanking an overhead smash of a weak lob into the bottom of the net.

''I said: 'We are back. I can still fight for this set,' '' Gaudenzi said. ''When I played the high lob, my mind was a little bit already in the fifth set.''

Gaudenzi didn't have to play a fifth. As 9 p.m. arrived, with hardly enough daylight to keep the match going, Gaudenzi took the tie breaker and the match, thanks, in part, to two unforced errors by Sampras.

''When you win a lot of matches, it's easier to play those break points,'' Sampras said. ''When you're trying to find your games, you get more frustrated. The only place you can kind of go is down.''

He was down, but out for good? In the past, Sampras has sounded sure he could manufacture a French Open title. But time is running out. For one of the few times, he admitted today that his chase for a major on clay might be futile.

''It just hasn't happened,'' said Sampras, whose best finish at the French Open was a semifinal appearance in 1996. ''It might not ever happen. So that's kind of where I'm at, just kind of a blah feeling.''

Moose Malloy
06-05-2009, 03:44 PM
All three of Sampras's recent losses came on the Suzanne Lenglen court

Interesting. I thought the Medvedev match was on Center.

My memories of the Norman match were mainly of Sampras' poor condition/body language throughout(probably due to the diarrhea)
I'm pretty sure Sampras had one of his racquets(maybe all of them) in a fridge courtside(anyone know what the benefit would be for doing that?)
I remember the image of him getting a racquet from there & pressing it against his head as he walked back. Anything to cool down I guess.
He looked awesome in his 1st 2 matches there, & it was pretty hot & dry conditions. And there were a ton of upsets there, so it was sort of another blown opportunity.

I don't believe any of the Delgado match was televised(I remember it was late in the day & USA had to leave the air), but I remember how cold & rainy it was that day.

The Philippoussis match was how you would expect them to play on hardcourts, very few rallies. Sampras double faulted on match point.

Think only a few games of the Blanco match were shown. He had a nice one handed backhand if I remember correctly. I have images of Sampras getting passed by some great passing shots in that one.

Not sure if the Gaudenzi match was shown live or in its entirety, but I definitely remember watching some of it. And it was played with rain throughout I think.

Pete never seemed sure what to do in many of these matches. I'd be curious to see net stats, I don't think he ever committed fully to S&V on clay. And his movement always seemed awkward on clay, like he was stuck.

Just looking at the rather high unforced errors mentioned in some of the matches, it may indicate how much he stayed back.
maybe he should have tried that larger racquet.

thought this was interesting:

Once Sampras punched a volley long for his 93rd unforced error, he dropped his head as he met Gaudenzi at the net.

have you ever come across someone making this many ue's? I know Connors made a hundred vs Krickstein.

rwn
06-05-2009, 04:39 PM
The real problem for Sampras was lack of belief he could really win Roland Garros. Of course many people don´t accept this because this goes against the theory that Sampras was a mental giant under all circumstances. On clay he was often very ordinary in the mental department because his confidence totally rested on his amazing serve. And of course on clay his serve wasn´t as effective as on other surfaces.

krosero
06-05-2009, 07:44 PM
Turns out that Sampras, in his book, says that he did not even enter the French Open in 2002. And like you've pointed out, Moose, a lot of former champions have faulty memories about stuff like what year a certain match took place, or what time of day. But this is really odd, particularly because Sampras never skipped the French Open from the time that he started winning Slams.

And it's just so at odds with the description in the 2002 aticle.

That article has actually made me more of a fan of his, seeing that he did care about winning the French (to the point of visible frustration), and was trying to win it, right up to the end of his career.

I think in his book he's doing himself a bit of a disservice because by barely mentioning the clay season and saying that he skipped the French, it all fits in with the popular opinion that he did not care about it, or stopped caring about it, or gave up on it, etc.

krosero
06-05-2009, 08:20 PM
have you ever come across someone making this many ue's? I know Connors made a hundred vs Krickstein.He did, he made 106. Safin made 117 once at RG against Mantilla:

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/french04/news/story?id=1811261.

He finished with 101 winners but also had 117 errors, including 40 in the final set.

rod99
06-06-2009, 10:28 AM
i believe it was the '98 loss to delgado that told him that he'd never win at roland garros.

sampras' ground strokes from '93 - '96 were really solid, even his backhand. starting in '97, the consistency on his groundstrokes went down big time. i'm guessing it had something to do with annacone's aggressive strategy but it really hurt his results on clay. some of those french open losses are embarrassing for one of the greatest players of all time.

380pistol
06-06-2009, 10:51 AM
i believe it was the '98 loss to delgado that told him that he'd never win at roland garros.

sampras' ground strokes from '93 - '96 were really solid, even his backhand. starting in '97, the consistency on his groundstrokes went down big time. i'm guessing it had something to do with annacone's aggressive strategy but it really hurt his results on clay. some of those french open losses are embarrassing for one of the greatest players of all time.

Very true but off by a year. His groundstrokes up until 1997 were fine. Yes Annacon wanted to implement a more aggressive net attacking style than Pete already had (not that he wasn't attacking before), but it became more apparent with Annacone.

grafselesfan
06-07-2009, 12:02 AM
Very true but off by a year. His groundstrokes up until 1997 were fine. Yes Annacon wanted to implement a more aggressive net attacking style than Pete already had (not that he wasn't attacking before), but it became more apparent with Annacone.

I agree that is what Annacone wanted and while it was with good intentions perhaps I dont think it made Pete a better player. Other than the summer of 99 before being injured, which IMO might have been his greatest tennis ever, his greatest tennis for me was clearly 1993-1997 period. He was still a great player from 1998-2000 especialy of course, but I liked his tennis better and it produced more success from 1993-1997 when he was more of an "all courter". His groundstrokes gradually diminished after 1997 with his Annacone's insistence on attack-attack. Like I said I think it was with good intentions but unfortunately was probably too much based on the kind of player he had been, one of those who had to get to the net on everything since he coundnt rally for jack from the back, which obviously is very different from Pete.

Moose Malloy
06-21-2009, 03:05 PM
I did stats on the last 2 sets of Sampras-Courier(too many games were missing in the 1st 3 sets to make it worth while. It was USA's broadcast - Seles-Novotna was on Lenglen at the time & they frequently went over there during this match)

Sampras was 23 of 30 on 1st serve(77%), 18 of 27 on 2nd(67%)
Courier was 27 of 31(87%) on 1st serve, 6 of 17 on 2nd(35%)

Sampras had 16 winners(6 fh, 2 bh, 4 fhv, 2 bhv, 2, ov)
Courier had 10(6 fh, 3 bh, 1 fhv)

at 2-1 in the 4th, they had this stat:
Sampras 44 winners, 42 unforced errors
Courier 41 winners, 31 unforced errors

at 3-1 in the 5th:
Sampras 60 winners
Courier 56 winners
(the difference between the winner stat in the 4th & this number lined up very closely with the amount of clean winners I counted in that span)

Sampras had 8 aces in the last 2 sets(2 on 2nd serve)
Courier 11

at 3-1 in the 5th, they also flashed ace counts, having Sampras at 23 & Courier at 24. Counting the rest of the way I have them finishing with 27 & 29(atp has them at 28 & 27) USA's commentator agrees with my final count(he kept saying the ace total for each player after they hit an ace in the 5th set.

they also showed total points won by both players then, I might go back & count the rest of the way to see if they match atp's stats on that.

at 1-1 in the 5th, they flashed net stats,
Sampras was 42 of 73
Courier was 11 of 17

By my count, Sampras was 22 of 29 at net in the last 2 sets, so it looks like USA was counting them similar to my way throughout. If you add my count from the time they flashed that graphic, Sampras would finish at 49 of 83.

Mac said he was missing a lot of volleys in the 1st 2 sets, but he was great at net in the last 2. Lots of impressive half volleys, despite his fatigue. And some pretty long rallies as well. Despite his body language in between points he moved fine during them(only in the last few games did he start letting balls go by him)

This match has one of the most impressive shots of Sampras' career, imo.
At 3-4 in the 4th, he was down break point & broke a string on a 1st serve fault. He got a new racquet & then hit a 2nd serve ace. Courier seemed rattled by this & made some easy errors to get broken in his next service game.

His mood got worse in the 5th, lots of cursing(USA has some great on court microphones during this match, the ball striking sounds were very crisp in this match, it sounded like they were absolutely crushing the ball)

krosero
06-21-2009, 11:09 PM
they also showed total points won by both players then, I might go back & count the rest of the way to see if they match atp's stats on that.I'd be interested to see this because a few ATP matches from that year ('96) have correct stats. But in this one they've got an average number of points per game that is higher than what you got for the last two sets.

at 1-1 in the 5th, they flashed net stats,
Sampras was 42 of 73
Courier was 11 of 17

By my count, Sampras was 22 of 29 at net in the last 2 sets, so it looks like USA was counting them similar to my way throughout. If you add my count from the time they flashed that graphic, Sampras would finish at 49 of 83.You had asked about net stats for his losses, and I managed to pull up 2000 and 2002 at webarchive:

http://web.archive.org/web/20010418005018/www.rolandgarros.com/fr/scores/stats/day1/0063ms.html

Sampras 61 of 100 (Philippoussis 35 of 47), five-set match

http://web.archive.org/web/20020606094045/www.rolandgarros.com/en/scores/stats/day1/0008ms.html

Sampras 48 of 84 (Gaudenzi 24 of 29), four-set match

Those are somewhat higher numbers of approaches than what he had against Courier, though like you mentioned, net stats can differ depending on how they're counted.

Moose Malloy
06-22-2009, 09:48 AM
I'd be interested to see this because a few ATP matches from that year ('96) have correct stats. But in this one they've got an average number of points per game that is higher than what you got for the last two sets.


at 3-1 in the 5th:
Sampras 140 pts
Courier 135

looks like the atp site is way off on total points played for this match. I counted only 51 points in the 5th set - & they have 365 total for the match.

Those are somewhat higher numbers of approaches than what he had against Courier, though like you mentioned, net stats can differ depending on how they're counted.

Throughout this match, Mac was criticizing Sampras for not coming in more. I think he said that Sampras only chip & charged one Courier 2nd serve through the 1st 3 sets. He didn't do much of that in the last 2 either.

I think those net stats you posted are probably correct - Sampras had a very different mindset under Annacone(even on clay).

I hope to get to Stich-Muster eventually(I have a complete version of that) I like to find out net stats for attacking players on clay vs baseliners(net stats vs someone like Philippoussis are a different matter)

So far we have Mac at 87 of 144 in the '84 Final(nbc)
Edberg 156 approaches in '89.
And 83 for Sampras in this match.

abmk
06-23-2009, 02:13 AM
web.archive.org - that is a gem . Thanks for mentioning it krosero

thalivest
06-25-2009, 05:47 PM
This was probably Pete's best ever win on clay. Courier was well past his best, but still a top 10 player whereas Bruguera and Muster were kind of nowhere when Pete beat them.