A current player says Pete still has it...

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Fee, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. Fee

    Fee Legend

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    Had to mention a current player so that it stays in this forum ;)

    Justin wrote about working out with Pete in his SI.com column...

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/justin_gimelstob/12/21/sampras.federer/index.html

    and an excerpt...

    But this column isn't about me -- it's about one of, if not the greatest, tennis players of all time. Everyone, me included, has been quick to anoint Roger Federer the new alpha male of tennis history. But after spending some time practicing with retired Pete Sampras, I think we've shortchanged Pistol Pete.

    Sampras has participated in a few of the aforementioned charity/exhibition events this month, so obviously he has been practicing plenty. Since we live in such close proximity to each other in Los Angeles, working out together was a convenient fit. Our practices vary in intensity -- the main factors being how my back is feeling on that particular day and how motivated Pete is -- but the tennis Sampras is still capable of playing at 35 is astonishing.

    ...
    I was laughed at and ridiculed in ATP Tour locker rooms a few years back when I defended John McEnroe when he was boasting about his ability to still compete at the highest levels of tennis in ideal conditions. (We were both proven right by the way, with his doubles win in San Jose earlier this year.) I will probably be mocked again when I make this statement:

    Pete Sampras is currently playing at a level as high as anyone in the world except for Federer.

    You'll have to read the rest to see how he backs that up. :)
     
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  2. ShooterMcMarco

    ShooterMcMarco Hall of Fame

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    That would be cool if they would do a 3 setter. Pete Sampras, 2007 Wimbledon champion, hehe.
     
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  3. Sagittar

    Sagittar Hall of Fame

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    sure he still got it , and sure is a great player if not the very best , and to cut things short federer ( i like him a looooot ) hasn't done what pete has done so i think we'll just wait and see ..
     
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  4. Sagittar

    Sagittar Hall of Fame

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    Fee , do you really practise with sampras?!!
    i am nor questioning your credibility but somehow (being living in a place way far from any pro player) i can't see myself playing with someone like him ?:)
     
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  5. Fee

    Fee Legend

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    Sagittar, you need to read my post again. You know what the word 'excerpt' means, right?
     
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  6. Sagittar

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    yeah i know , sorry :oops:
     
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  7. 8PAQ

    8PAQ Banned

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    So what's the big deal? Agassi got the 2005 US Open final at the same age that Sampras is now. He even took Federer to 4 sets in that final. Not to mention he won 3 consecutive 5 setters before that final.
     
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  8. Fee

    Fee Legend

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    It's okay. Sometimes when you read things really fast you miss a key point here or there.

    I asked Justin to try to sneak a Wimbledon trophy out of the house next time he's there, perhaps Pete won't notice since he has so many ;) {I didn't really ask him}.
     
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  9. Duzza

    Duzza Legend

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    Wow what a coincidence. Fee starts a thread about an article by J Gimelstob :p.
    BTW Fee, I personally saw Baggy destroy him at the AO!
     
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  10. Fee

    Fee Legend

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    Hooray for you. Justin takes full credit for getting Marcos on the road to international fame. He accepts his place in tennis history.


    (was that comment supposed to hurt me somehow?)
     
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  11. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    sampras looks good with that goatie :)
     
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  12. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    I'd love to see Sampras ask for a wildcard at Wimbledon. It would cause quite a stir!
     
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  13. Duzza

    Duzza Legend

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    PS> I thought you said a Current player?
     
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  14. BigServer1

    BigServer1 Legend

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    That would be quite the scene, indeed.
     
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  15. BaseLineBash

    BaseLineBash Hall of Fame

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    Wimby '07 or a Charity match... Wouldn't that be great!
     
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  16. Polaris

    Polaris Hall of Fame

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    For a second, I thought that Justin was getting carried away, but he had the restraint to mention that Sampras can no longer handle the rigors of a full-blown pro schedule. I could buy the idea that Sampras could give most people on the tour a run for their money in a one-off three-set match not played on clay.
     
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  17. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    I like how JG mentions that Sampras uses a gut/synth hybrid (I'm assuming a natural gut/polyester hybrid) to go with his modded Tour 90 or nCode Tour 90 or whatever "bigger than 85" racket he's using now.

    Even on the little camera phone videos that another TTW member posted on Sampras vs. Ginepri, you can still hear that great pop on the Sampras serve.

    Sampras still has game. I would love to see an exo against Fed in 2007.
     
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  18. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    That would be the sports story of the decade: Ex-world champion coming out of retirement to take on and try to take out the current dominating world champion in their greatest venue - hey, if Rocky Balboa could do it, why not Pete? ;) LOL
     
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  19. StunLock

    StunLock Semi-Pro

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    the 90 frame looks huge on him, compare to his 85
     
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  20. Sagittar

    Sagittar Hall of Fame

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    maybe it's a paintjob :D
     
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  21. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Semi-Pro

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    "What so-called "experts" often fail to mention (and I use that term very loosely, considering that most people who spout opinions aren't qualified to do so) is how much the evolution of rackets and string have impacted the quality of the sport. Sampras now uses a racket with a little more surface area (compared to the squash-like racket he used to employ) and his weapon of choice features the in-vogue hybrid synthetic/gut string that enables players to increase the torque of the tennis ball by staggering amounts.


    With the benefits of these equipment enhancements to a shoulder that I once described as "being touched by God," the tennis that is being produced in Pete's backyard (to clarify: on only one side of the court) is beyond impressive."

    Interesting.

    Jet
     
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  22. ChiefAce

    ChiefAce Semi-Pro

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    Well we all knew about the bigger head size, but I was wondering if he went poly/gut with the strings as well. I guess that story confirms it, Pete is open to all sorts of change now huh? I think Nadal would have a legit chance of beating Pete on any surface right now, he plays heavy spin like Bruguera but with more pace and has a much better serve. And we all know how well he passes.

    No offense to Ginepri, but the guy went 24-26 this year and finished 51 in the world. He didn't exactly have a stellar year. So Pete beat him in a few exo's indoors? All that means is Pete is playing at a world class level, it doesn't mean he could come back and win Wimbledon. Ginepri said he thinks Pete could be top 30 right now, certainly nothing to laugh at.

    I'd still like to see him take two wildcards so people can stop talking about it. One for Queen's and one for Wimbledon. You know inside as a competitor he would love to face two people. Federer, and of course Nadal. Federer for the obvious reasons, he wants to see exactly what kind of level Roger is really at. If Roger is really that darn good, and Nadal because he's of the new breed of youngsters coming up. I'm sure in his mind Pete has played both matches already.

    I still think Fed would thrash him, his return game is so good and his passes so tough. The only thing that would keep Pete in it scorewise is his serve. No version of Pete would want any part of Roger on anything besides grass.

    I hope he keeps playing these matches and continues his 4 days or so of practice a week, everyone wants to see him one more time on the big stage. The question is can he actually do anything? Or will some no name knock him out?
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2006
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  23. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    The guy had a 3 year break, that's got to be enough to heal oneself after 12 years of the tennis grind. If Stallone can be in the shape that he is in at age 60 (just seems relevant now with the release of that film!), surely a 35 year-old Pete can pump up and be ready for Wimbledon next year. Even if he only wins one match, that would be awesome. The only thing he needs is his movement and endurance back, and he'll be fine.

    I think we're only talking about this so much because Sampras retired early. The tennis got to his head and he hated it and that's why it quit. Had nothing to do with his body, like with Agassi. Andre would have been playing into his 40's if his back had held up. Sampras has no excuse!
     
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  24. VGP

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    Those are the big questions. Not to diss GJ or anything, but Sampras just wouldn't be match tough.

    His best surface was grass, but some of his worst defeats came on grass. Corretja in a five setter on grass in the 2002 Davis Cup (not based on rankings, but the situation), Mark Keil in 1991 at Queens, and George Bastl at Wimbledon 2002.

    It's not like a wild card automatically gets him up against Roddick, Nadal, or Federer....
     
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  25. VGP

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    ummmm......the operative word there is FILM!. Rocky's a MOVIE CHARACTER.

    What he's risking is like when Borg came back in 1991 and played Monte Carlo using a wood racket and lost (badly) to Jordi Arresse. Boris Becker was hitting with him at the time and he claimed that Bjorn "still could hit" just like Gimelstob is praising Sampras now....

    Granted, he won't be using wood....or even his PS 85 with all-gut string jobs.

    I don't think his layoff and return would have anywhere the results that Martina Hingis' comeback has. Even playing just Wimbledon (5-setters) and/or Queens is gonna happen....I'd love to be pleasantly disappointed.
     
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  26. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    Stallone himself is in f'ing crazy shape. All the training scenes were real, and most of the boxing was real. He actually took those punches. Now he's getting even bigger for Rambo. It's a film, but it's not like Stallone is some CGI artificial creation that doesn't exist.
     
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  27. CanadianChic

    CanadianChic Hall of Fame

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    Hey Duzza, what's with the hammerin'? JG is a current player, only recovering from surgery at the moment. Why the sarcasm? That's just not like you bud. :confused:
     
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  28. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Don't get me wrong, I commend Stalone for getting into shape, but I saw him on "The Contender" and don't give me this "real" crap.

    Now your gonna tell me that professional wrestling is real, right?
     
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  29. Duzza

    Duzza Legend

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    LOL Just love taking a stab at JG for some reason....
     
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  30. OK.

    OK. Guest

    Good Point! :D
     
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  31. lambielspins

    lambielspins Banned

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    Agassi is the exception rather then the rule. What he did as far as playing to that age at a high level was remarkable, it does not mean it should be expected of others, even the greatest players like Sampras. It is not common at all for guys to be playing into their mid 30s, especialy still close to their best. Ragging on Sampras for retiring at 31 is ridiculous, most players retire earlier then 31 these days, so he was still longer then most others, and he had already set every record and his game was already diminishing even though he won the U.S Open in his final year.

    If Agassi was somehow playing into his mid 40s it would be on the challenger circuit, either that or this is the weakest group of mens players ever. Actually that thought crossed my mind a bit about the women when Navratilova at 47 won a first round match at Wimbledon 6-0, 6-1 and beat top 30 player Panova at Eastbourne. Men typicaly dont have that pathetic competition level the women do though and I would hope the current men dont either.
     
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  32. laurie

    laurie Guest

    I know its easy to say that because Sampras won 7 Wimbledons but I've always said that Sampras' best surface was hardcourts.
     
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  33. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    I'm more of the Agassi school of thought which is, if you win a Grand Slam, you have no business retiring!

    There's no excuse in this day and age for a 35 year-old to not be able to get into peak shape. Most players should retire earlier, but guys like Sampras and Agassi are exceptions. They are so f'ing good. And Sampras had it even easier because his game was to just throw in a big serve and then follow it to net. He didn't have to stand at the baseline and break down opponents like Agassi had to. And Agassi still lasted much longer than him.

    Sampras obviously wants it. He's not fooling anyone by saying that he thinks about entering Wimbledon, but it's just a dream. It's obvious he wants it. If he works hard enough, there's no reason why it couldn't become a reality to come back and win a couple matches at Wimbledon again.
     
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  34. rob61

    rob61 Rookie

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    Didn't you watch the exhibition?

    earlier this year where Genepri easliy beat Sampras? Genepri had a look on his face as to say "sorry to do this to you dude" while Sampras was on the sidelines huffing and puffing and looking like he was going to collapse.

    While he had his glory moments, I think professional tennis for Sampras has passed. In an interview he mentioned how he'd like to play Fed. WTH??? Fed would take him out with one hand tied behind his back.

    Serious.... the ego. Oh well, he did well with his career and he needs to be happy with what he accomplished then. For now, retirement fits him well. Let him to do the exhibition matches for fun.
     
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  35. omniexist

    omniexist Semi-Pro

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    Well, I personally would love to see Sampras in Wimbledon again. I think we all agree the rigors of playing on the pro tour are way too much for him at this point. I'm thinking if he got back in great shape..you think he could cobble together a decent Wimbledon run?
     
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  36. VGP

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    I'd agree with that too, just like Michael Chang even though he won RG.

    I'm just factoring age (body jarring) and past accomplishments (and what he's been saying) that Sampras would choose a grass court event.

    Maybe if an opportunity came up on a faster indoor carpet surface.....
     
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  37. The Gorilla

    The Gorilla Banned

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    he could,without a shadow of a doubt,win queens.
     
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  38. Bjorn99

    Bjorn99 Professional

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    Certain elite have mastered the issue of ageing. 35 is a young pup. Except for the fact that we need population reduction not addition, everyone would be living to three or four hundred, the technology is there, and certain lucky elites are enjoying it. Google on teleperes. That is what controls the cell and its ageing.

    A guy I trained with for a while, Chris Chelios, is 44 and playing in the NHl, and is possibly one of the top twenty defencemen. Hockey, is a sport where you could get killed. Tennis is more rigorous in terms of stamina, but hockey can deal a cruel hand. So 35, again, is relatively young.

    But if you all look at that picture of the old Greek hitting his serve, he has put on a quick fifteen pounds, and THAT is the killer. And it all seems to be around the tube, which can severely limit his agility. I think Sampras can do things and beat a lot of people, but Federer would make him look like what he is, the FORMER number one. But since I never liked Pete personally, but liked his game. I would love to see him have the guts to come out to Wimbledon. But I don't think he is man enough to do it.

    BTW, Justin Gimelstob is a breath of fresh air in a culture of plastic void. Good on him. For having the guts to speak out on some issues.
     
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  39. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Gimelstob said almost exactly the same thing in his march SI blog, prior to Sampras not setting the world on fire in WTT and his exhibition with Ginepri. He was no less an 'expert' back then but it didn't seem to help greatly.

    Regardless, Gimelstob is a professional tennis player BUT he's also a member of the press - writing in an American publication (albeit, on-line) for an American audience while also, one would imagine, trying to give the game's profile a boost. He's shown in the past that he's more than happy to indulge in a bit of sensationalism in order to bring in the readers (eg, his blog entry regarding the female players) so why would anyone imagine things are different this time? Also, Sampras is his good friend and practise partner so do we really think he's going to say that he wouldn't stand a chance against Federer? Same thing with Ginepri. Is he really going to say that Sampras would struggle to make the top 100 after he's just 'lost' a match to him? He's either going to sound like a poor loser, have people doubt the result more than they already do and, perhaps, be less inclined to buy a ticket for the next one. It's all well and good to be an 'expert' but it adds a bit more weight if you're an impartial one.

    One other thing to consider, when you are weighing up Gimelstob's opinion, is that he recently lost an exhibition match to Petr Korda who, at 38, is three years older than Sampras. If he couldn't handle Korda, is it any wonder that he thinks the younger and more talented Sampras "is currently playing at a level as high as anyone in the world except for Federer" (as opposed to Sampras being able to play 'some' tennis -points, games, a set- of that standard; which I think would be a perfectly fair statement).
     
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  40. 8PAQ

    8PAQ Banned

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    Here is his record there:

    http://www.atptennis.com/5/en/playe...ingles&selTournament=311&player=S402&x=19&y=6

    He won twice (1999 and 1995) in 12 attempts. What makes you think that he would do better now? Last two times (2000 and 2001) he got beaten by a 19 and 20 year old Hewitt. Now we still have Hewitt and we also have Nadal and Roddick playing there. Any of those guys would take him down in straights.
     
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  41. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I would like to see Pete come back as well, but in a real tournament he would get crushed, so what is the point?? In addition, if he loses badly to a no-name, it would not be good as it would take away from his mystique.

    The other thing is, there would probably be too much hype about him only coming out of retirement because he would want to take out Fed to "secure his own greatness".

    It's a no win for Pete.
     
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  42. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Bjorn99 - it's telomeres, the end of the linear chromosome. Moreover it's the breakdown of the funtion of telomerase that contributes to aging and chromosomal shortening. Telomeres are not the only thing "controlling" cellular aging. It's just one of the many measures of cellular aging.
     
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  43. The Gorilla

    The Gorilla Banned

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    he didn't really care about queens back then,he was just trying to peak at the right time for wimbledon,he didn't want to peak too early,it's bo3 sets and it's on grass,he's using a more powerful racquet which could mean much bigger servin,130-135mph,and a second serve as big as his old first serve,125-130,which would be genuinely frightening.Roddick is just a crap version of sampras anyway.Nadal's no good,he's only beaten crap players on grass,he'll never get a draw like that again,it's statistically impossible.
     
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  44. The Gorilla

    The Gorilla Banned

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    that's a good point,but if he plays queens,which fed never plays,he could bypass that completely.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2006
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  45. VGP

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    AndrewD - I'll take Justin Gimelstob's assesment with a grain of salt. There's a difference between players like Sampras and Korda and guys who never crack the top 50. One's an all-time great, and the other a former #2 and major title winner. Even though Justin Gimelstob's a current player out on the tour, he's never broken into the top 50 in singles.

    Guys with relatively recent top 5 credentials would still have game. As for Justin, I'm sure he can tell the difference if he's getting the beat-down from a former number one, or a current top 20, but he gets the beat-down nonetheless.
     
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  46. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It is telomere, not telepere. Each time they divide, your clock is ticking.
     
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  47. WhiteSox05CA

    WhiteSox05CA Hall of Fame

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    Pete would knock the socks off the ATP!
     
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  48. Fee

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    Andrew
    You are correct, Justin lost an exo in the Caymans (on clay) to Korda. That loss is not nearly as stunning as the fact that he should never have been there in the first place. He had major back surgery on September 13 to repair 3 herniated/ruptured disks in his back and his left leg was measured at 57% of full strength two days after that match against Korda. For a serve and volley player not to have his legs underneath him during a match, it's a wonder he got 3 games out of that match (in my opinion).

    I think Pete is 'up to something'. I'm not sure what it is, but I would not be surprised if we see more of him in 2007. He won't play Queens (that's a round robin tournament next year, by the way) and he sure as heck won't go back to Wimbledon, but he's being inducted into the Hall of Fame in July and I wouldn't be surprised if he does an exo or something there (especially since Samprasfanz are planning to be there in droves).
     
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  49. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Fee - I want you to get a photo with you and Justin and Pete in 2007.....
     
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  50. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I would take some of these reviews with a pinch of salt. I have noticed lesser players like Gimelstob or Spadea say glowing things about Pete, Agassi or McEnroe. It is as if one bad word, and they are out. I think part of it is just pure sucking up as these players are close to retirement and need recommendations for whatever they want to do in the future. A little extra flattery of the powerful guys may be what is needed, as their credentials are not too good on their own. Guess this happens all over the world in every profession.
     
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