CHAMPIONS CHAT | Pete Sampras & Novak Djokovic

encylopedia

Professional
Pete underselling himself by saying he'd like "...a bit of Novak's speed..."
Yes funny....when Pete was in his early 20's there wasn't anyone faster. Lightning quick and graceful. Really underrated. There was a clip sometimes shown of Pete in isolation..... on the baseline, the opponent hit the net and the ball dribbles over, in isolation you just see Pete explode forward, like a cat, all the way to the net, to blip the ball over for his own drop shot, and stopping dead RIGHT in front of the net - he plays it up a bit as in: might fall over the net! He didn't have Djokovic's flexibility, but he certainly covered the court near as well in his prime. Both all-time great movers.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Yes funny....when Pete was in his early 20's there wasn't anyone faster. Lightning quick and graceful. Really underrated. There was a clip sometimes shown of Pete in isolation..... on the baseline, the opponent hit the net and the ball dribbles over, in isolation you just see Pete explode forward, like a cat, all the way to the net, to blip the ball over for his own drop shot, and stopping dead RIGHT in front of the net - he plays it up a bit as in: might fall over the net! He didn't have Djokovic's flexibility, but he certainly covered the court near as well in his prime. Both all-time great movers.
Yeah, Pete had great offensive footwork and was a superb athlete. His running forehand wouldn't be such a legendary shot if he didn't have the speed to make the ground from his backhand corner into that side. The Big 3 have better lateral movement in defence than he did, but he the most explosive and probably the quickest closing down the net. In the end Djokovic has movement that suits his game and Sampras has his.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Yh, Pete was maybe the most aggressive Tennis player I've seen. Maybe Jmac or Edberg can be ahead?
Pete wasn't an all-out serve and volley player until 1998/1999. So it depends what you consider aggressive - if it's pure S&V than probably Jmac gets my vote, think of all the greats he was the most liable to attack and come in right off the return.
 

encylopedia

Professional
Pete wasn't an all-out serve and volley player until 1998/1999. So it depends what you consider aggressive - if it's pure S&V than probably Jmac gets my vote, think of all the greats he was the most liable to attack and come in right off the return.
It's not even close. A lot of people only remember Pete in his last years where he did SV more - actually Paul Annacone pushed very hard for Pete to do that. He wanted Pete to take advantage of his athleticism and intimidation, and when you can SV as well as Pete why not? Also it helps compensate for his disorder/stamina and a drop in speed. Having said that, even in his early years Gullickson was said to have been pushing him to do it more. In those prime years, he really SV'd a lot at Wimbledon and indoors, but on hard courts he stayed back A LOT. I think it was a bit of Becker-syndrome - I want to show everyone I can play from the back, and beat baseliners at their own game. In Becker's case, it didn't work against the very best baseliners, but in Pete's case, he showed he could absolutely hold his own with Agassi, Courier, Kafelnikov, and everyone else - which made him even more intimidating. There were hard court matches where Pete used SV as the mix-up play.

Edberg SV'd the most - it was always plan #1 for him, and often plan #2....you needed to be really killing him to make him consider staying back consistently. Mcenroe was also more of an all-courter, and somewhere in between the two - though more like Edberg, it was plan #1 for him too.
 

encylopedia

Professional
Chang was by far faster, as Pete himself has admitted. Chang's speed was nuclear level compared to Pete.
LOL. No. It's a pat answer - Chang was the fastest....and indeed he was extremely fast - maybe the fastest. Lots of players were right up there with him at the top level, including Pete. Chang may have had faster feet, but Pete's were very, very quick also, and he had longer strides. Your hyperbole is bit ridiculous. The reality is, there is no that much difference between the elite movers in tennis from any era. They're all very gifted, and near the limits of human ability.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Yup. Sampras was agile as balls, with superb balance and well-centred mass. Dude was planted wherever he reached. Unless he was diving for an Agassi pass to troll him into submission, of course.
Memories of being left flat-footed by Marat and Lleyton in his 30's looming large.
 

Thetouch

Professional
Man Sampras looks terrible here, I don't know what happened to him. ^^

I think Chang was quicker in the first meters but overall I can't see him being faster than Sampras if that makes sense.

I think it was a bit of Becker-syndrome - I want to show everyone I can play from the back, and beat baseliners at their own game. In Becker's case, it didn't work against the very best baseliners..
Actually it only didn't work for him against Agassi and even then it could have worked if he played smarter, like he did in Wimbledon. I saw the AO final 1991 against Lendl again and I couldn't believe it but Becker played like 90% from the baseline. Only ocassionally he went in for the big points.

Btw, can you guys recommend some good tennis podcasts? I wish they did more of these tables with Lendl, Mats, John etc.
 

Shaj

Rookie
When Pete retired @ 32,it was like a Grand pa age..Well past your peak..

And today @ that age,you are just coming to your peak..How times change
 
Sampras isn't from the selfie generation. Dude's like 50 I think.

He opted for horrendous lighting is all.

The caterpillar brows should probably go though.
 

USO

Hall of Fame

Djokovic & PETE having a conversation mediated by the GOAT himself!
Sampras made sure to remind everyone that he finished #1 for 6 "consecutive" years as if it's the biggest thing ever. :-D Of course it's a great achievement but it's obvious that he put so much emphasis on it because it's one of the rare records he still has. :sneaky: Still, Sampras is a cool dude with great manners and I prefer him much more than Djokovic. :cool:
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Note that this is the first in a series of interviews that Henman is hosting with past and present players.

Sampras made sure to remind everyone that he finished #1 for 6 "consecutive" years as if it's the biggest thing ever. :-D
With good reason.
 
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