Originally Posted by DeShaun
Andre admitted once that his ground game was built solely on strangling opponents slowly and that he does not really have any particular kill shot. Pete OTOH has one-punch KO power in his forehand. It seems to me that, whenever Pete decided to hustle and defend against Andre's ground game, as opposed to simply waiting around for just one opportunity to break per set, Pete could trade blows with Andre off the ground any time he wanted to. Pete could force Andre to go for sharper angles than Andre would have to go for against other opponents with less lethal weapons than Pete's forehand which Pete used often to put Andre on the defensive very quickly in rallies. Andre just never could seriously trouble Pete, not on serve, and not off the ground either. The trouble with looking at highlights such as these would seem to be that, they show Pete in one of his rare moods in which he was defending off the ground for longer than five or six strokes, which was not his normal way of doing things. If he were playing today, guys like Simon of Ferrer to say nothing of Novak, Rafa, or Roger, would be forcing Pete to play an ultra-aggressive ground game unless Pete could somehow manage to defend, say, fifteen or so strokes per rally which I don't imagine would appeal to him very much. Because Pete liked to act like he was all quiet and taciturn and that his racket would do all the talking that was necessary and there was no need to beat his chest or act showy, but deep down, it's always occurred to me about him that Pete just loved stomping on his opponents in a kind of repressed bully way or like he were exorcising some demons from his past in which others had picked on him and now it was his turn to do the pushing others around. And so he really loved dealing out beat downs in my opinion, and how, i.e., by doing so in a kind of swashbuckling manner, with his trademark slam dunks and his Ooooh Ahhhh power serving and his sizzling running forehands. If Pete had to rally more often in the way that he was doing in this clip against Andre, I really wonder what his game would look like if his opponents were systematically preventing him from pulling the trigger like Zorro, and he had to hit twice as many shots per rally before getting a look at something that he could put away, which is exactly how the modern players would be playing Pete and, bear in mind that he would not be playing 5'10" 30y/o Andre's but six foot tall retrievers/counterpunchers.
Good points about Sampras' approach to long rallies, esp. against Agassi. However, Sampras had some great points against other baseliners also - against Courier in 1993/1994, for example, who did have a killer weapon.
Also, I am not convinced that Djok/Fed/Nadal would force Sampras to play any more number of longer/draining rallies than Agassi did during his peak, certainly not at Wim/USO. They would probably force Sampras to play more points by getting back more returns into play, but I don't think that would mean much in the big scheme of things - as far as long/draining rallies go. Simply because none of them can take the ball as early as Agassi did; none of them are as clean a ball-striker as Agassi was.
Actually, let me clarify that. None of them can hit the ball consistently early AND hard like Agassi did. Fed can, fairly often, take the ball early, but when he does that, it's usually a flick and not a hard shot like Agassi used to hit.
In fact, that was the ONLY reason why Agassi was so good till so late (making USO F at 35+ yrs of age in 2005, winning AO at almost 33 in 2003, consistently making the second week at the AO/USO between 2003-2005) even though his movement and flexibility were shot.
Regarding Sampras enjoying putting a beat-down. I don't think he really cared that much. That would probably explain why he dished out so few bagels/breadsticks to opponents. He was satisfied with a one-break-per-set gameplan. His OH was a show-off, I agree.