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View Full Version : Who had the better career: Sampras or Agassi?


GotGame?
07-25-2005, 12:11 PM
Who in your opinion had the better career? Sampras holds the record for most slam titles and was #1 for a record six straight years. Agassi is one of the elite few to have a career grand slam and holds the record for most masters events won.

This two players could not be more different, one with the serve and volley, and the other taking the ball and punishing from the baseline, one with a classy style, and Agassi to this day still can't rub away his badboy style.

As Sampras aged, he did not get the same results, but his results came quickly from the start of his career where he was mostly still a baseliner. Agassi was only a haircut and a forehand, in the words of Lendl, in the beginning of his career, but is far more durable than Sampras, still in the top ten at 35 years of age. Agassi also did not get results as quickly.

Sampras' failure to win at RG is a blight on his career, but people seem to forget he reached the semis there, and the tremendous work he did for the US Davis Cup team on clay. Agassi is overlooked by the number of slams he holds.

Too tough for me to decide right now, but all I know is that there matches of highly contrasting styles were always highly anticipated and attracted many...

Sampras is on top on their head-to-head record, 20-14

Champion
07-25-2005, 12:13 PM
Im going to have to go with sampras.

BaseLineBash
07-25-2005, 12:18 PM
First of all Agassi's career is not over...let me repeat myself, first of all Agassi's career is not over. Second, these two giants are like salt and pepper and a poll just won't fo them justice.

xanctus
07-25-2005, 12:19 PM
I think they have an equall great careers...I dunno that's just IMO

GotGame?
07-25-2005, 12:20 PM
First of all Agassi's career is not over...let me repeat myself, first of all Agassi's career is not over. Second, these two giants are like salt and pepper and a poll just won't fo them justice.

Of course, I took into account that Agassi's career is not over, but I don't think he will beat Sampras' achievements of 14 slams, and 6 years straight at number one. This same question was posed to the pros of today and if I remember correctly one pro in particular named JCF said that Agassi had the better career.

Craig Sheppard
07-25-2005, 12:23 PM
Are you kidding me? Is this even close? Pete.

zorroman
07-25-2005, 12:26 PM
Is this some type of joke???? It is obvious the answer is Sampras

matchpoint
07-25-2005, 01:06 PM
First of all Agassi's career is not over...let me repeat myself, first of all Agassi's career is not over

You mean you're still hoping... I am still hoping for Navratilova too ;)

ch4ng
07-25-2005, 01:10 PM
hands down or up whichever its sampras

Kevin Patrick
07-25-2005, 01:11 PM
It's pretty bizzare how often this topic appears on these boards. I really don't know how even the hardcore Agassi fans could disagree that Sampras had the better career.

The only stats that matter:
Both players played at roughly the same time, so no "era" debates can be used.
14 vs 8(Yes, it's remarkable that Agassi was able to win all 4, but numbers are numbers)
6 vs 1 (# of year end #1's)
4-1(Sampras' record vs Agassi in slam finals. Yeah, Agassi beat Pete many times, but these were the most important matches they played)

GotGame, I seriously doubt that JCF said that Agassi had a better career. He's on record as saying that Sampras is a better player than Federer, even though he never played Pete!

GotGame?
07-25-2005, 01:18 PM
GotGame, I seriously doubt that JCF said that Agassi had a better record. He's on record as saying that Sampras is a better player than Federer, even though he never played Pete!

Sorry, I should have said don't quote me on that. It must have been the other way around... I do remember that a pro said that Agassi had the better career, though I can not recall who...

VashTheStampede
07-25-2005, 01:33 PM
It's pretty bizzare how often this topic appears on these boards. I really don't know how even the hardcore Agassi fans could disagree that Sampras had the better career.

The only stats that matter:
Both players played at roughly the same time, so no "era" debates can be used.
14 vs 8(Yes, it's remarkable that Agassi was able to win all 4, but numbers are numbers)
6 vs 1 (# of year end #1's)
4-1(Sampras' record vs Agassi in slam finals. Yeah, Agassi beat Pete many times, but these were the most important matches they played)

GotGame, I seriously doubt that JCF said that Agassi had a better career. He's on record as saying that Sampras is a better player than Federer, even though he never played Pete!



JCF did say that Andre had the better career. I remember pretty clearly reading that in TENNIS magazine. They asked the same question to Safin and Ferrero. Safin went with Pete, but JCF went with Andre. He said that Pete was great but most of his slams came from Wimbledon, then he said that Agassi's career was better. I probably even have that issue lying around somewhere.

GotGame?
07-25-2005, 01:36 PM
JCF did say that Andre had the better career. I remember pretty clearly reading that in TENNIS magazine. They asked the same question to Safin and Ferrero. Safin went with Pete, but JCF went with Andre. He said that Pete was great but most of his slams came from Wimbledon, then he said that Agassi's career was better. I probably even have that issue lying around somewhere.

So, I was right! Vash saves the day LOL. Thanks for backing me up with the facts. That is the exact issue that inspired me to create this thread, but I think that issue is pretty old and no where to be found here...

splink779
07-25-2005, 01:47 PM
They were great in different ways. Agassi was able to win all salms which means he was a bit more complete. Sampras couldn't in all his years even get to the french final. This question has no answer.

Aykhan Mammadov
07-25-2005, 01:53 PM
To post1.

GotGame?, you wrote so long as if u are trying to support Agassi yourself. Agassi is the great player but he is mostly well-known because of the attractive and welcome look. There is no way to compare them. Pete is incommensurably HIGHER, much, much !!!You noticed the record of Sampras in slams between words as if it is something not so important. Dear friend, nobody in the history reached 14 slams,even before open era.

VamosRafa
07-25-2005, 01:58 PM
Agassi for sure.

Pete's game was too one dimensional.

I'll take a guy who can win the majors on all surfaces before someone who can't win a measley Roland Garros.

kv581
07-25-2005, 02:07 PM
4-1(Sampras' record vs Agassi in slam finals. Yeah, Agassi beat Pete many times, but these were the most important matches they played)

This is a poor stat line for arguing Pete's greatness. If anything, it proves only that Agassi had a more all-around career. The 5 slam finals in question are the following:

1990 US Open - Sampras
1995 Aus Open - Agassi
1995 US Open - Sampras
1999 Wimbledon - Sampras
2002 US Open - Sampras

Over their careers, we know that, compared to each other, Sampras had more success at Wimbledon and US Open, while Agassi did better at Aussie Open and RG. Now look at their finals record. Note that only 1995 Aus Open was played on Agassi's "strong" court. I think this 4-1 Slam Final H2H proves that Agassi was more consistent on all surfaces. Had Sampras reached more RG or Aussie finals (and met Agassi there), who knows if the H2H would still be so much in Sampras' favor.

Aykhan Mammadov
07-25-2005, 02:07 PM
Agassi for sure.

Pete's game was too one dimensional.

I'll take a guy who can win the majors on all surfaces before someone who can't win a measley Roland Garros.

In such a case, VamosRafa u'd change yr name,avatar and close Rafa site. He has no chances to win all 4 slams.

Aykhan Mammadov
07-25-2005, 02:10 PM
Boys, stop arguing who is better Pete or Agassi. I'm better than they both. Can't finish counting how many times I won both in friendy matches.

hoosierbr
07-25-2005, 02:13 PM
I don't really think it does justice to either Agassi or Sampras to compare them. They both had and, in Andre's case still has, an extraordinary career.

However, I'll jump into the fray and go with Agassi. Here are my reasons:

1. Andre is one of only 5 players EVER to complete the career Grand Slam. Sampras never got to the final at Roland Garros.
2. Andre won the Olympic Gold Medal. Did Sampras even play?
3. When Pete hit 29 his career fell off the tracks, save for his great run at the Open in '02. When Andre hit 29 he went on to win 5 more Grand Slams. And, despite what some have said, he still has a shot at another.
4. He hit the 800 career victories mark last year, one of only 6 players in the Open Era to achieve that and Sampras isn't one of them.
5. Andre has won 17 Masters Series events. Pete's a distant second.
6. Perhaps the most important of all, Andre did all of this without Pete's gigantic serve. Without that one shot Pete wouldn't have had the success he did, though he still would have been a great player.

Look, I'm not dogging Sampras. As a serve-and-volleyer myself, though not of Pete's quality!, I'm a huge Sampras fan. But I think in terms of achievement Andre has done so much more without the most important weapon in the game that Pete possessed, which was the biggest factor in his success. Still, serve aside, I still think all things being equal Andre has the better career.

One more thing: you'll find many people who think that Rod Laver or Bjorn Borg was the greatest of all time and they didn't win as many Slams as Sampras. I think going by the number of Slams is deceptive. Michael Chang only won one Slam and many players and fans consider him as one of the greatest in the Open Era.

GotGame?
07-25-2005, 02:18 PM
To post1.

GotGame?, you wrote so long as if u are trying to support Agassi yourself.

hoosierbr's post seals my vote to Agassi having a better career. Well said, good extensive breakdown and covering points that I missed.

I agree that Sampras was great, but I don't think you should measure someone's greatness solely on how many slams won.

GRANITECHIEF
07-25-2005, 02:37 PM
Fine, leave out the total # of grand slams.

How bout this measure: Finishing 6 years at #1. Each of those years included a full clay court season, as well as all other surfaces. Could Sampras have ended the year #1 if he simply didn't play on clay or consistently lost early in every clay tourney? No way. He was good on all surfaces and dominated the game unlike anyone else ever has or ever will.

I will be hard pressed to consider career comparisons to Sampras until a player makes 4 consecutive years at #1.

By the way, i'm a huge Agassi fan and would like nothing better than to see him enjoy more big wins in the near future.

matchpoint
07-25-2005, 02:39 PM
Sampras owned Agassi 'nuff said.

VamosRafa
07-25-2005, 02:39 PM
In such a case, VamosRafa u'd change yr name,avatar and close Rafa site. He has no chances to win all 4 slams.

I still have hopes. ;-)

But I do think talk here gets a bit too serious at times. I was joking above, BTW. I think Pete's career is better, but that's not to say Agassi hasn't had a great career. And it's nice they both have accomplished things the other hasn't. Kudos to them both -- great champions!!!

kv581
07-25-2005, 03:12 PM
Fine, leave out the total # of grand slams.

How bout this measure: Finishing 6 years at #1. Each of those years included a full clay court season, as well as all other surfaces. Could Sampras have ended the year #1 if he simply didn't play on clay or consistently lost early in every clay tourney? No way. He was good on all surfaces and dominated the game unlike anyone else ever has or ever will.
I think it's doable. Remember Roddick in 2003 when he finished #1. That year he won 1 minor clay event (Raiffeisen International Clay Grand Prix), lost in round 2 at both Rome and Hamburg, and lost in first round at RG. Now just duplicate the formula for 6 years.

GRANITECHIEF
07-25-2005, 03:15 PM
I won't hold my breath.

Kevin Patrick
07-25-2005, 03:22 PM
Agassi after the '95 US Open Final:

Q. You said that he would trade that winning streak for a win today. Is that because the others were building to this moment, can you elaborate on what you said earlier?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I just think when your career is all and said and done, you want the Slams. You know, I know what it is like to be No. 1 and I know what it is like to win tournaments being No. 1. You want to win the Slams. Like I said a long time ago, being No. 1 is great, after the first hour, it doesn't make a bit of difference because you still got every guy on the tournament trying to beat you. You want to peak for these events. You want to win the U.S. Open. You want to win the French and Wimbledon and I have lost here in the finals a couple of times and I will never forget it. I have won here once. I will never forget it. So these are memorable days, you know, you just -- these are the ones you remember. Those are the ones you want.

Agassi after the '01 US Open QF:

Q. What do you envision as the future of your rivalry with Pete?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, hopefully -- hopefully we'll get a few more opportunities, you know. It's always a challenge stepping on the court against him. And, you know, a night like this makes me realize why it's so special when you beat him. Because it's not easy to do.

http://www.asapsports.com/tennis/000AB/AgassiAndre.html

Kevin Patrick
07-25-2005, 03:28 PM
Before the '02 US Open Final:

Q. Is it the greatest rush that you get, whenever you're on a tennis court, when you are facing Sampras?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I can definitely say that there's been nothing like it in my career that compares to playing against Pete. Pete, in my opinion, is the best that I have ever played against. That forces you to get that rush of blood that makes you do a little something special.

Mr Topspin
07-26-2005, 06:10 AM
Here's my two pence (I am british after all).

Both have had excellent carreers and achieved success that can be measured in different ways. Take Sampras for example, he has 14 slam an open era record and 6 years year end no 1, again an open era record.
Agassi in contrast has won the famous grand slam or career slam and has a record in masters series titles. Furthermore, Agassi has argubly done more to attract and promote the game of tennis to the masses of young kids and fans alike and has also more importantly connected with his audience in a way in which Sampras was at times failed to do. Pete was consistley accused of being too 'boring', too robotic and too predictable throughout his career. Personally i think there is a lot be said for being so efficient and efffective week in week out, but if i'm honest i will admit i was first attracted to the game of tennis because i connected with a long haired, brash and flamboyant looking pirate from Las Vegas.

Who was better? I have no idea i think we should celebrate both their achievements instead of looking for holes in each of their respective careers.

slice bh compliment
07-26-2005, 06:23 AM
Well said and well spoken. And well written. Loved your last line.

Bu-uu-ut, if you had to pick one.....(kidding)
Well, different games. Radically different people. Different priorities.

It's hard to be truly objective.
Without question, the two are inexorably linked. And Shoo-ins for the Hall of Fame, just like Borg and Mac...Laver / Rosewall, Gonzales / Kramer...et al.

joe sch
07-26-2005, 06:51 AM
Its amazing how fast much of the tennis public forgets retired players !
This should not even be a poll but look at the results ?
I think sampras should have a bagel here !

hyperwarrior
07-26-2005, 07:33 AM
Sampras, of course! It's not comparable. 6 times #1 and 14 Slams. That's great!

Rabbit
07-26-2005, 08:14 AM
To me, it depends on how you define a career. I voted for Agassi simply because he's done the rags to riches to rags thing more than once in his career. He's come back from playing a Challenger in Las Vegas to winning Grand Slams. He's done this more than once. From a strictly objective standpoint, Sampras is hands down the winner. But IMO, a career is more subjective than that.

Who's the better player? Sampras pretty much proved that between the two of them, he had Agassi's number. Who's had the better career? I think that's best answered by what would you rather have? 2 Ozs, 0 French, 7 Wimbledons and 5 US's or 4 Oz's, 1 French, 1 Wimbledon, and 2 US's? Would Sampras trade 6 Wimbledons for 1 French? Would Agassi trade his 1 French for 6 more Wimbledons? Somehow I think both are satisfied with what they have. I like the idea of winning a career Grand Slam myself.

federerhoogenbandfan
07-26-2005, 08:16 AM
Is this thread some sort of a joke? It is all Sampras easy.

Aykhan Mammadov
07-26-2005, 07:23 PM
VamosRafa,

I understand you joke sometimes but please don't tell that "Pete's game was so 1- dimensional" ( post 16). After all there are so many new and unexperienced users here, you may mislead them.

Pete's game can't be called so in traditional meaning when we mean poor and boring game under 1-dimensional. His game was 1-dimensional in the meaning of his GREATNESS, because it was very LACONIC and aimed to the main target - to win by the shortest way. He didn't do anything extra, nothing unnecessary, even in his psychology and behavior on the court there was nothing superfluous. He was genius of tennis.

Stop comparing them - Agassi and Pete. Please go compare Agassi with Lendl, Wilander, others. He was, he is nice man, but his style of play never was genius. Pete could crash him every time they meet.

VamosRafa
07-26-2005, 07:31 PM
VamosRafa,

I understand you joke sometimes but please don't tell that "Pete's game was so 1- dimensional" ( post 16). After all there are so many new and unexperienced users here, you may mislead them.

Anyone who knows tennis knows I was joking. As for the rest, well, if they come to learn tennis and the history of it, they will come to find out I was joking. As for misleading posts, you are the last person to criticize,

Stuck
07-26-2005, 07:36 PM
Pete has had the best career of all time.

slice bh compliment
07-26-2005, 08:04 PM
If you re-read post no. 33, and you get it....

I think we can all agree that Pete did have the best results (objective).
And maybe, just maybe Andre had the 'best' career (subjective). Semantics, I suppose. The subjective nature of 'best career' is what gives this thread life.

sinatra161
07-26-2005, 09:42 PM
I think Sampras had a more rounded/polished career.Agassi has had his share of ups and downs...

GotGame?
07-27-2005, 04:17 AM
To me, it depends on how you define a career. I voted for Agassi simply because he's done the rags to riches to rags thing more than once in his career. He's come back from playing a Challenger in Las Vegas to winning Grand Slams. He's done this more than once. From a strictly objective standpoint, Sampras is hands down the winner. But IMO, a career is more subjective than that.

Who's the better player? Sampras pretty much proved that between the two of them, he had Agassi's number. Who's had the better career? I think that's best answered by what would you rather have? 2 Ozs, 0 French, 7 Wimbledons and 5 US's or 4 Oz's, 1 French, 1 Wimbledon, and 2 US's? Would Sampras trade 6 Wimbledons for 1 French? Would Agassi trade his 1 French for 6 more Wimbledons? Somehow I think both are satisfied with what they have. I like the idea of winning a career Grand Slam myself.

Point well made, Rabbit. I guess Agassi's career is more inspiring because he has done the rags to riches story many times and I think Agassi has evolved as a person since his earlier days.

Of course I would take either of their accomplishments at the moment in a flash, but if I had the choice between the two I would choose Agassi. I would like to show everyone that I won every slam in my career, but like Donald Young said, I would want to win the French and Wimbledon once more to prove to everyone that it was not a fluke. Despite others' opinions, I think it would also be a dream to win an Olympic Gold Medal. I think it is also tougher to win the many Master Series events that Agassi holds because compared to slams, it's more of a select few playing the masters. It's actually narrowed down to more of the best.

galain
07-27-2005, 04:31 AM
My head says Sampras, my heart says Agassi. Like Rabbit says - Andre has had a bit of a roller coaster. It's incredible to think he's come back to being a GS champion after languishing in the nether regions of the Challenger circuit. Just playing in these events must have been character building. I'm not an Agassi fan but I take my hat off to him for this.

Sampras? Well - he was the proverbial immoveable object. He never plummeted in the rankings, he was always one of the favourites, if not the favourite - and he maintained that all the way through his career pretty much. That's pretty hard to argue against. I don't think anyone will surpass his Wimbledon record - not even Fed.

So - you hold a gun to my head, I say Sampras, you aim it at my chest - I have to go with Agassi.

ctbmar
07-27-2005, 05:05 AM
Definitely Pete. Pete is a class higher than Agassi. Pete is 4-1 vs Agassi in Grandslam matches. Pete has more Grandslams than Agassi, although Agassi has more Master Shields which were not as important in their era as compared to now. So Sampras did not care as much about Masters Shields as compared to Grand Slams. The most clear fact is: Sampras has retired for 3 years and Agassi has not even reached his tennis earnings and the number of tournaments won.
If I remember correctly, when Sampras retired, his total tournaments won was 64 and Agassi was around 53. In these 3 years, Agassi is slowly getting to Sampras' 64 tournament wins. Currently Agassi's tournament stands at 59.
So this means that Sampras won more tennis earnings and tournaments in a shorter span of time and Agassi may need another year or two to catch up to Sampras' 64 tournament wins. It's something like Micheal Jordan and Karl Malone.
Jordan retired for 3 years in mid-career, retired again 2 years in his late 30s to reach number 2 in total points won and it took Karl Malone to keep playing until his early 40s to overtake Micheal as number 2 in total points won. How can you compare Sampras / Micheal with Agassi / Malone who has to play at least 5 years more to reach the same statistics??? To me, that says it all who is better. Of course, people can say that Agassi won that 1 French Open, but this is just a small plus for Agassi over Sampras.

AAAA
07-27-2005, 06:47 AM
On pure quantity Sampras has higher numbers but by all other measures I say Agassi. Players like Becker, Borg, McEnroe, Connors and Agassi generated far more global interest and sponsorship in tennis than Sampras ever did.

RiosTheGenius
07-27-2005, 06:52 AM
what a stupid thread..... of course Sampras.

35ft6
07-27-2005, 07:00 AM
Sampras had a better career but not by as much as some people might opine. I personally don't agree with how Wimbledon is given such a disproportionate amount of importance in determining greatness considering it's played on a surface that nobody really plays on any more.

Perhaps likewise this question is only credible based on Agassi having won ONE French Open. Go figure.

But it also depends on how you define "career." If money has anything to do with it, and come on, to most people "career" is synonymous with money, then Agassi did better. If better means winning over fans, increasing the sports visibility, spreading goodwill and using your fame to enrich humanity, then Agassi.

joesixtoe
07-27-2005, 09:21 AM
agassi also got to 3 french open finals i believe,, but the thing about agassi is, he always seems to loose it mentally,, i mean he went down in the rankings twice, one time for like a year and a half,,, so u can also say that agassi kinda had 2 or so more years off in a way....

UpTheT
07-27-2005, 09:49 AM
Who's would I rather have--- Agassi's. Pete wins in terms of titles but Agassi wins IMO in terms of fun. Agassi was able to enjoy his sport more and I think that's the key.

Camilio Pascual
07-27-2005, 10:50 AM
I really don't know how even the hardcore Agassi fans could disagree that Sampras had the better career.

Agreed, and I'm a big Agassi fan. While some may feel grass is irrelevant (I do), it's impossible to argue against the 14 Majors titles and the 6 years at #1. Andre has nothing to match that.
Still, I'd personally rather have had Agassi's career because of the 2 RU's and 1 Roland Garros title. I'd trade all of Pete's Wimby titles for that.

Dedans Penthouse
07-27-2005, 11:33 AM
Pete. Obviously Agassi had a great career, but there's more "holes" in his body of work than Sampras. For starters, amount of time spent at #1. Sampras never fell to #141. You could say that it made Agassi's rise from the ashes (and thus, his career) all the more rewarding, that is, greater, but I'd go the straight and narrow from an analysis standpoint and pick Sampras.

Camilio: what's Amanda Coetzer up to these days?

Chadwixx
07-27-2005, 11:36 AM
id have to give it to pete. agassi's years off at a time, combined with his choking in finals makes him lose this arguement.

agassi is the more complete player (basing it on his ability on all surfaces). sampras was terribile on clay while agassi did win wimbledon.

Tim Tennis
07-27-2005, 11:47 AM
You can't be serious. It is Pete, hands down, no contest. I think it is an insult to both of then.

You got to love the game.

Camilio Pascual
07-27-2005, 12:33 PM
Camilio: what's Amanda Coetzer up to these days?

You Pavlovian puppetmeister, you! I cannot resist the summons.
Now that I'm retired, you thinkin' mebbe I should give her (her agent) a call?
Well, I'm off to windmill tiltin' practice...