Federer: Equaling Sampras' 7th Wimbledon would be 'very special'

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by BrooklynNY, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. BrooklynNY

    BrooklynNY Hall of Fame

    Sep 9, 2010
    Another nice read, not sure if anyone has seen this yet. Figured I'd post.

    I think Fed will make the final, but it will be tough for him to win if Nadal makes it through his half. If anyone can it will be Fed. Sampras, Borg, and Henman have all picked Roger to win.


    For all the success and wealth that have flowed from Federer’s racket – he has won 16 slams, has been named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and has had Swiss chocolate bars made in his honour – part of him still seems to be the teenage punk from Basle. The one with peroxide hair, the ambition to become an elite tennis player, and the adoration for an American of Greek heritage who created his own Wimbledon fiefdom among the ivy and the petunias.

    “When I practise with Pete, I still can’t get over who he is, what he has achieved and what he means to me – I suppose I’m mesmerised by his game, and a little star-struck, too,” said Federer, who has trained in Sampras’s back garden at his LA home, and who this summer has the opportunity at the All England Club of putting himself level with Sampras on seven Wimbledon titles.

    “Just being on the practice court with him is so special, and sometimes maybe it’s difficult to just concentrate on my shots. It always feel slightly unreal that I’m hitting balls with Pete.

    “There’s something about Pete’s game, about his ball, that is so different to practising with other players. We have practised a few times, I’ve dropped by in Los Angeles, and it’s always incredible.”

    When he won his first Wimbledon title in 2003, and Sue Barker made him cry during an on-court interview, he did not consider the possibility that he

    “Winning any Wimbledon title is great, and I’ve already got six, which is amazing, especially as I won my sixth in such dramatic fashion against Andy Roddick a couple of years ago,” he said. “But winning seven and going level with Pete would be so special. Pete was always my hero when I was growing up.

    “I loved Pete’s game, his perfect serve and how he came to net. I always followed him, and never ever imagined I would have a chance of getting close to him. Even before I won my first Wimbledon, people started to compare me to him, which was unfair to me and unfair to him. When I won my first Wimbledon, his record was not on my mind. Maybe when I won three in a row, I started to think about getting to five, but seven was not on my mind then.”

    There was hardly any crossover between the Sampras Years and the Federer Years – the only time they played was ten years ago this summer, in the fourth round of the 2001 tournament. Federer recalled that he was “young, crazy and wild” with long hair and facial hair, and he beat Sampras in five sets, so preventing him from winning a fifth successive Wimbledon title.

    “One of my special memories of Wimbledon is when I had the chance to play Pete on Centre Court. I remember when the draw came out, I thought to myself: ‘Oh God, I could play Pete in the fourth round’.

    “That was a little stressful for me – it was a nice stress, though. I was so nervous beforehand. It was my first appearance on Centre Court, and I was going to play one of my heroes,” Federer recalled.

    That sense of awe has hardly faded, even after they formed a friendship during an exhibition tour of Asia in 2007.

    “After he retired, he disappeared from the scene a bit, and then a few years later I heard that he had said that if anyone was going to do anything, he wanted it to be me, and I thought that was great of him,”

    Federer said. “It was when we were in Asia that I made a connection with Pete. When we went on that tour, I said to him: ‘Let’s go out for dinner, let’s go for a drink, let’s hang out’.

    “That was great. I enjoyed exchanging stories and opinions, and getting to know him, and we became close on that tour. We talk and text each other. In fact, he rang me the other day, and I missed him, so I need to call him back.”

    Though Federer has not won a grand-slam title since beating Andy Murray in the final of last season’s Australian Open, many observers – Sampras, Bjorn Borg and Tim Henman among them – would consider that the third seed is the most likely winner of this summer’s championships.

    That has much to do with how well he played at Roland Garros, where he broke Novak Djokovic’s 43-match undefeated streak in the semis, and finished as the runner-up to Rafael Nadal. Fatigued from the French Open, Federer skipped last week’s tournament in Halle, and said that he felt more sure of himself before this year’s Wimbledon than he did before last year’s. Last season, Federer ran into problems from the first very Monday.

    Federer revealed that his opening round at last year’s championships, when Colombia’s Alejandro Falla won the opening two sets and also served for the match in the fourth set, left him doubting himself for the rest of the tournament. He lost in the quarters to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.

    “I had that scare in the first round against Falla. Though I managed to get through that, I was left with doubts in my head, thinking: ‘What’s going on?’ How did that happen? Is there something wrong with my game?’

    “Berdych played a great match against me. He just had too much game for me that day. I feel more confident about my game coming into this Wimbledon,

    “It would have been a risk to have played at Halle as my body just wouldn’t allow it. I had to have some rest. I only started some light training again at the end of last week. I think in many ways, it is the usual suspects that you would pick out as possible winners, but there are always players you have to watch out for. I saw that last year when I almost went crashing out in the first round against Falla.”

    This will be the first Wimbledon for Federer and Paul Annacone, the American who used to coach Sampras and Henman.

    A seventh Wimbledon title would represent a crowning moment in Federer’s sparkling career, and he is adamant Sampras would not be raging if his record was equalled.

    “I don’t think anyone is ever happy when someone equals or breaks your records, but Pete is at peace with what he achieved in the game, and if
    anyone is going to equal or break your record, you will prefer it to be someone you get along with."

    “As we get on, I’m sure he would be happy for me if I were to win a seventh Wimbledon. Pete is at peace because he had 10 to 15 years of squeezing the lemon on tour and he is rightly happy with what he did,” said Federer.
  2. Hitman

    Hitman Talk Tennis Guru

    May 2, 2010
    Great interview! Wonderful to see the incredible respect and admiration that Sampras and Federer have for each other. Two of my all time favorites, and two class acts in the world of tennis.

    It would be special for Federer to equal Sampras. Two of the greatest to ever play the game. And hopefully after two weeks, fourteen Wimbledon titles split evenly between them. :)
  3. TheNatural

    TheNatural Legend

    Jan 27, 2005
    great article. It was also posted in the "Federer news' thread.

    Sampras is the man, he's the grass and WImbledon goat not just for his 7 Wimbledons in 8 years but also for his dazzling classic grasscourt SV style of tennis which we all loved to see.

  4. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

    Apr 19, 2005
    Keep it in the Federer news instead of making a whole new post.
  5. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

    Dec 21, 2010
    In The City
    Thanks for posting, BrooklynNY. Federer and Sampras are really singing praises at each other these days. Rekindling the "bromance"
  6. TennisFan3

    TennisFan3 Legend

    Dec 4, 2009
    Exactly. Very well said. Pistol Pete was something else on grass!
  7. mandy01

    mandy01 G.O.A.T.

    Nov 25, 2008
    I love this article.Roger's admiration for Pete is almost funny in that it's so child-like.Some really nice quotes here.Wish we could get the full interview.
    But good article.It's nice to see the writer not putting his own spin on what was said.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  8. mandy01

    mandy01 G.O.A.T.

    Nov 25, 2008
    Not all of us post in the Federer News thread and posting it in a separate thread encourages all people on the forum to participate.There's nothing wrong with starting such a thread.I personally think it's a better idea.

Share This Page