Best Sampras performance please?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by falstaff78, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    that's awesome. I'll start working my way through these. From the little bit of him that i saw this weekend, the man looked like a force of nature. watching pete there are times when you just wonder how the hell did this guy EVER get his serve broken?!?

    thanks again.
     
    #51
  2. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    thanks a lot abmk.
     
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  3. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    thanks a lot
     
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  4. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    #54
  5. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    these are awesome. this is exactly what I was looking for. ie Sampras just crushing the hell out of people. Thanks so much!
     
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  6. falstaff78

    falstaff78 Professional

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    thanks for the suggestion
     
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  7. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    I think it it easy to get carried away when looking in hindsight 14 years after the event but I don't think that performance was overated by any stretch of the imagination, it is easy to get caught up in overexcitement and make pronouncements.

    But in context, Agassi had just won the French Open so became the first player in decades to hold all four majors in his career. Plus the day before he played one of the best matches I have seen Andre play against Rafter in straight sets (semis were on Saturday due to weather problems backing up the schedule). And he was set to take over as world number 1 and was seen as slight favourite with the pundits / media.

    And after being 3:3 love 40 in the 1st set, the pundits thought their prediction would be realised, so the way Sampras responded from that position is not overated, it was his best performance in a big match, its a shame it wasn't an epic because that's what people want to remember (five set thrillers) but Agassi was playing really well and Sampras just raised his level to where Agassi couldn't match.

    Sampras' performance against Stich was excellent, his return of serve and passing shots were superb on a slightly muddy surface (again bad weather to blame there).

    I also like Sampras' performance against Bjorkman in 2000, that's not talked about much but Sampras made Bjorkman look almost like an amateur for a set and a half.
     
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  8. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    yeah, problem is in the wimbledon 99 final while pete's serving, volleying, ground game were all brilliant , his returning wasn't. it wasn't anywhere near stellar.

    agassi's returning, ground game and passing were all very good, but serving ? only 44% first serves in... that simply does not cut it for him against any good grass court player ..

    and inspite of that sampras had 'only' 61% of the serves returned

    put any excellent server on the other side of the net ... pete would've struggled a lot more ....

    contrast to 63% of the serves returned vs a far superior serve & serving performance by stich in wimbledon 92 QF

    also I've heard people saying loads of things like he thumped agassi from the baseline & all that .....really ? they were about equal from the baseline ...

    and then this one takes the cake :

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7189644&postcount=38


    "Maybe not in terms of the scoreline, but Sampras totally outplayed Agassi in that match, even in rallying and returning."

    I was like WTF !?

    which is why I said the match was over-rated ....


    haven't seen that match ..
     
    #58
  9. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Sampras got the crucial breaks, and left Agassi floundering. As Agassi said afterwards "He played very big at the right times, and he's won for a very good reason".

    Oh, come on. Agassi was outplayed in the 1999 Wimbledon final. Sampras delivered where it mattered most in the match, and in a big way. Sampras wasn't like a peak Federer, dominating statistics in virtually all departments. Sampras had periods where he just cruised without doing anything brilliant, but at his best, he struck at the crucial times to get the crucial break, win the crucial point etc. Sampras lived on the edge a lot more, a fine line between brilliant, very good, good, ordinary and poor. Against Agassi in the 1999 Wimbledon final, Sampras was brilliant at nearly all the crucial moments of the match. That's why it's one of Sampras' best ever performances, as was his 1992 Wimbledon quarter final win over defending champion, Stich.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
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  10. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    Gosh ABMK, you sound like you are having a moan just to be contrary.
     
    #60
  11. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Ok, I am going to show you why you're wrong with points I compiled in another thread last year:

    Remember, Sampras served and volleyed on both serves, so Every Single baseline rally started with an Agassi serve to the Sampras backhand (on 90's grass!) and Sampras still broke him for fun and blew him off the court.

    Winning 50% of baseline rallies in that scenario (Agassi at his very best, every baseline rally starting with Agassi serving to Sampras's backhand on fast grass etc) is unheard of.

    He hit his backhand like Keurten or Gasquet that day.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8DH-2CrWj8#t=20m08s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8DH-2CrWj8#t=36m37s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8DH-2CrWj8#t=49m40s

    Sampras returned Agassi's serve so easily (He was used to playing Becker, Ivanisevic etc in Wimbledon finals!) that Agassi had to redline and go for crazy first serves (hence 44% first serve %) just to try and stop Sampras hitting returns like these:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8DH-2CrWj8#t=27m57s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8DH-2CrWj8#t=49m05s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8DH-2CrWj8#t=108m35s


    Now watch those clips and tell me that wasn't one of the highest levels of tennis achieved by any human in history. It's about the actual level of tennis (Federer - Safin AO 2005) , not one sided scorelines where one player is playing terrible (like Federer-Gaudio for example).

    EG:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8DH-2CrWj8#t=53m50s AGASSI rips a one handed pass here, but Sampras dives for it and wins the point anyway. Look at Agassi when the point is done. He looks frightened at the level Sampras is playing at. He can't believe his eyes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
    #61
  12. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Moved to the former pro section. What a waste.
     
    #62
  13. ASH1485

    ASH1485 Semi-Pro

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    yes i agree, even pete himself said that was his best tennis and that he loved watching that match on video.
     
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  14. Al Czervik

    Al Czervik Professional

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    It's 1999 Wimbledon and there shouldn't be any discussion.
     
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  15. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Here's Sampras in exo cruise-mode versus some journeyman in "epic god mode beast mode best."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K29_Hi3kPWM&list=PL89A6C229A7BE5740

     
    #65
  16. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    We all know it was an exo but it was funny to me when Federer complained the surface was too fast and it favored the Sampras serve too much. Was he being serious??
     
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  17. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    When exactly did they change the grass at Wimbledon?:wink:
     
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  18. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    yeah, no ... sampras actually missed plenty of returns, even with agassi not serving well .... if people actually paid a bit more attention instead of going by the hype around the match, they'd notice ...


    I don't really take in the sampras was putting pressure, hence agassi's serving went down dramatically 'excuse' ... if he was feeling that much pressure ( that isn't to say he wasn't feeling pressure at all ) , his ground game/returning would've been affected too ... they weren't ..

    as far as the baseline rallies go, well pete missed returning many of the first serves from agassi & agassi's first serve % was low, the majority of the rallies were on agassi's 2nd serve ....to go 50-50 vs agassi on them was excellent in general, outstanding by sampras' baseline standards, but would bet on fed/nadal/borg to do better than that ....

    was it a very very high level of tennis from sampras ? absolutely ....but put in a very good server across the net , he'd be under pressure .... like I said before, his performance vs stich was better ... he actually returned very well in that match ....

    oh and for the record, I never rated fed's win over gaudio 'that' highly ...
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
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  19. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    what you say about pete cruising through without being brilliant in all departments would be fine for an 'average' match or rather many of his matches in general ... but when you are saying it was one of the highest levels ever, it has to stand up to much more scrutiny ...and sampras so did not better agassi at returning in that match ... agassi was quite clearly better @ that ....

    there are quite a few matches where sampras played well almost throughout , not just the crucial moments ....
     
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  20. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    IMO, he was only joking .. he handled sampras' serve darn well in their wimby 2001 encounter ...

    even sampras complained about some of the surfaces being too fast at his time ( especially when facing the likes of krajicek, goran, becker,stich etc ) , including when he won vs becker @ the YEC in 96 ... he actually preferred it when he could have a bit more of a breather on the return ....

    I don't think anyone is truly fully 'comfortable' on a ultra-fast surface when facing a very good server ...
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
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  21. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    hey, I'm only stating what I observed, backed up by stats ....... If that bothers you, that's not my problem ... :)
     
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  22. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Agassi was at his very very best. To beat Agassi in straight sets with no tie breaks in those circumstances was absolutely phenomenal. Imagine if Safin had played even better and beaten Federer in straight sets in 2005 AO. That's what it was like.

    Anyone who understands tennis knows how incredibly Sampras played. He hit his backhand like Kuerten or Gasquet. He returned like Blake. He covered the net like McEnroe and hit power volleys like Edberg. His forehand was as good as always. His second serve averaged 115mph. He won the match with a 121mph second serve ace.

    Sampras hit two returns off Agassi's serve that were almost parallel to the net. I posted one in the previous post. He was dominating Agassio's serve off the return and Agassi realised that to Sampras, who was used to playing servers like Becker and Ivanisevic in the Wimbledon final, 115mph wasn't going to cut it. That's why his first serve % dropped.

    That summer of 1999 was Sampras's absolute peak. He proved that when he and Agassi were both at their best (off clay), he was a level above.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
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  23. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    You do? Given how often historians bring this match up (while largely ignoring/making a crapton of excuses for their 2001 Wimbledon encounter of course) it's not the impression I always get I have to say.

    If I'm not mistaken, you also often bring up some exos McEnroe played against modern pros to prove a point, it seems historians just cannot grasp the concept of modern time exos when it comes to tennis.

    Yes, the grass was quite slow in 2001 as evidenced by Goran bombing people off court and Rafter serve and volleying his way to the final, we've also had players only start complaining about slow grass in 2002 for some reason but don't let those things get into the way.
     
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  24. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    no, it wasn't ... agassi's serving was well below par ... if you think that's agassi at his very best, that's just being plain clueless ... he played better in their AO 2000 & USO 2001 encounters for instance. sampras couldn't get a single break because agassi served & defended his serve very well in USO 2001. sampras himself was playing at a very high level there as well ...

    lol, wut ? that would've never happened ....a more realistic scenario would be federer beating safin in 4 ... that very nearly happened ...

    eh, no ...anyone scrutinizing carefully would notice sampras' missed many of the returns inspite of agassi serving at only 44% ..

    some flashy returning with a few brilliant returns but more missed ones shouldn't be able to throw off a player's serve if the player is at his very best ...(agassi certainly wasn't)

    all parts of sampras' game were flawless, brilliant except for his returning ...
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
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  25. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    do you have any idea how limited tennis coverage was in 1992? nothing like today with the internet & improved tv coverage, where you can see virtually every match played at every tournament in the world.

    I was a 'die-hard pete fan' from 1990 on & I probably haven't seen 1/10 of the amount of matches he played in his career compared to Fed/Nadal etc simply because there was no way to see most of his matches back in the 90s. You were at the mercy of tv networks. no Tennis Channel, no streaming. ESPN 2 was limited(now they have 24/7 coverage of slams)

    and 1992 was a rain affected Wimbledon, I believe there were a lot of other matches(men & women) being played that day, I think all NBC showed of the Sampras match was match point. and they only had a 3 hour window of coverage(after the Today show) those days. no espn covering it.
    So sue me for not having seen that match(you're a pretty young guy, right? like 25 or so? not really old enough to have seen any live tennis in 1992. its cool that many of these 'old' matches are now available today via youtube etc. I just watched Pete's 1995 AO match with Larsson for the first time, great stuff)

    and one other reason why this match probably isn't remembered as one of Sampras' best performances- a) it was a QF b) he lost in the next round c) he wasn't even the #1 player in the world at the time d) did sampras even mention it in his book? with his memory I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't even consider it one of his top 10 matches.

    who knows maybe Mac played many matches like the '84 W Final, but the way the world was back then, not many could see it. this is another area in which todays players have advantages - so much more exposure, so we can easily see all these great matches, points, etc. and so many more commentators. it has to be a factor in how they are ranked in all these 'alltime debates.' its hard for even me not to get carried away when judging Djokovic's level after some amazing early round match at the AO. Then I remember, not too long ago I wouldn't be able to see one second of an early round match of Agassi or Sampras at the AO(on paper it sounds like Agassi was pretty amazing from beginning to end at the '95 AO. too bad all I saw was his last 3 matches(2 of them edited I believe)
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
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  26. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    If missing lots of returns on fast 90's grass makes you a bad returner then Agassi was a terrible returner too. Grass was first strike tennis, you had to go for the big risky shots and they didn't always go in, even for the very greatest players.

    At Wimbledon, all the clay courters just floated everything back like modern players do today - and lost virtually every point.


    Moose Molloy or Krosero or one of those stat guys had a stat that Agassi served 10mph faster on average in the 1999 final than he did in any of his other finals against Sampras. That proves he felt he had to go for bigger serves because of how well Sampras was returning.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
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  27. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    Moose,

    I am quite aware that tennis coverage was a lot more limited those days.

    That's why I never mentioned the word live.

    My choice of words "even saw that performance" was probably a bit misleading, it should've been "have even seen that performance".

    Very very few, if any, would've expected sampras to beat stich in such a convincing manner before the match, so *regardless* of TV coverage, I wouldn't expect that anyone should've watched that match live *somehow*

    The first 3 reasons are valid, but an upset of the defending champion stich (who had gone through edberg & becker previous year to win ) with such a scoreline surely should've raised some eyebrows ?

    as far as pete's book goes, I haven't read it, but my impression was that he got some facts in the book wrong, not sure how good is memory was/is regarding matches ...

    You should definitely watch the stich match if you still haven't. Its there on youtube. :)

    As far as the exposure to earlier round matches & more tourneys goes, it cuts both ways (I'm not saying necessarily equally ) .We also see when the players are struggling in the earlier rounds or in the smaller tournaments.

    as far as mac in 1984 goes, I do think he did play matches at a comparable level to the wimbledon final, though I doubt he surpassed the level in the final .
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
    #77
  28. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    grass court tennis wasn't "only" about aggressive returning ... a well placed softer return many times is tougher to deal with than a hard hit return straight at the player .....

    agassi had to go for more on his serves because of how well sampras was playing off the ground , not necessarily because of his return. I am aware that his speed was higher than usual, not sure of the exact amount though ... but the trade-off in first serve % was a massive loss ...which is why I say that while agassi was playing well, that was surely not his best tennis ....

    take the AO 2000 SF & USO 2001 QF in contrast; agassi lost his serve once combined in those 2 matches ....pete was playing very well in both, the USO even more so ....

    Also like I said, sampras got back 63% of stich's serves back into play in the 92 QF , stich was serving far better than agassi was in the 99 F ...oh & he broke stich 4 times in 13 return games

    as far as agassi's returning goes, he didn't miss returning a lot of serves ... while he did miss more than the likes of say hewitt, federer, murray, djokovic ....he usually got back a fair % of serves into play ... I assure you , he'd have munched upon a version of himself serving only at 43% first serves in
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
    #78
  29. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Dallas and Flushing were as good and so were Masters, Brussels, Madrid and Luxemburg wjich John said he played his best match
    I do not see anything special at all at the Wimbledon final in comparison with his overall year
     
    #79
  30. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    actually, there was :

    (1) very high % of first serves in ( it was 81% for the first 2 sets combined ) , dropped to 58% in the 3rd ...overall ~75% for the match .... This is by memory btw ..that was a very high % by mac's standards ...

    (2) only 3 UEs in the whole match

    there surely were matches were he'd have played at a comparable level, but surpassing the level in the wimbledon final ? I doubt it .....
     
    #80
  31. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    my personnal favorite is his match vs agassi at the 1999 (year-end) masters... with a special mention for the "overhead showtime". ;)
     
    #81
  32. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Very hard to match those numbers. McEnroe was zoning in quite a few big matches in '84 but his numbers at Wimbledon seem to be the best.

    W final - served at 73%, made 3 ue (no df's)
    USO final - served at 62%, made 14 ue (including 6 df's)

    January 1984 Masters final - already at 22 ue after two sets (and this was a brilliant straight-set drubbing of Lendl)
     
    #82
  33. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    indeed .... and thanks for the other stats ..:)
     
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  34. 14line

    14line New User

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    If you want to see Pete's volley, I recommend Masters Cup 2000 round-robin match against Safin. USO 2002 QF vs Roddick may be a candidate as well.
     
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