Justify the Lack of French Open Slam in Peter Sampras resume

Pete Sampras never won at Roland Garros,and failed to even reach the finals on each attempt.

How can he be called ATG without clay court prowess?
 
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Easily justified

Clay is considered a third tier European surface by the ITF

It is harder to justify the French Open as a slam in the first place
 

lud

Hall of Fame
In all time clay courters , I rank Federer and Djokovic before Kuerten. So, what now?
 

AceSalvo

Legend
Tell me who was the Clay Specialist Nadal had to face in this decade! There is your answer.

Sampras dealt with Agassi, Courier, Bruguera, Kafelnikov in all the QF and SF he reached at the FO.
 

EdSWright

Professional
90's clay players were just REALLY strong. The deepest clay field EVER, not like the JOKE opponents today who are like 2-5000 against Federer and Nadal.

You had to EARN it in the 90's.
With modern strings, you don't need a specialist style to get exaggerated topspin for clay. Back then, come clay season you ran into a field of specialists. It's different now.
 

BHServe

Semi-Pro
Considering this CRAPOLA era give Pete 2 months training and he could probably reach the FO final.
While we are at it: just give Pete a wooden Slazenger and he would straight set these weak clay era MUGS with ease, straight out of golf course and chino pants on.
 

SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
A question that could only be asked by a person who never saw tennis before homogenization and polys.

Pete could have adopted a style that would have made home more of a generalist, instead of a fast court specialist. But his overall results would have suffered, since two of the slams were fast, one medium, and one slow, with each speed rewarding different strategies and skills.

Optimizing for fast courts allowed him to win about twice as many slams as anyone else in his era. A far better rate of success relative to his contemporaries than any current player has been able to achieve.
 

SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
Put another way: justify an argument for any modern player being greater than Pete, when they have a combined total of zero fast court slams among them.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
1. Strong clay field, lots of specialists unlike today.
2. Sampras cared mostly about winning Wimbledon, thats what his game was designed for.
 

AceSalvo

Legend
Tell me who was the Clay Specialist Nadal had to face in this decade! There is your answer.

Sampras dealt with Agassi, Courier, Bruguera, Kafelnikov in all the QF and SF he reached at the FO.
Now lets add Kuerten, Moya, Corretja, Chang

It was one nightmare after another as far as Clay in the 90's is concerned.
 

kabob

Hall of Fame
If your intent was to have this be a genuine discussion, post this topic in the Former Pro Player forum.
 

Prabhanjan

Professional
Because so many damn greats called him so! He did what needed to be done back then to be ATG! Simple! Period!
 

BeatlesFan

Talk Tennis Guru
How can he be called ATG without clay court prowess?
14 majors and 7 Wimbledon's, as well as 5 USO's and 6 years as YE #1 eloquently brushes aside this joke of a question. The lack of respect and sheer level of ignorance about Pete continues on this Forum.
 
14 majors and 7 Wimbledon's, as well as 5 USO's and 6 years as YE #1 eloquently brushes aside this joke of a question. The lack of respect and sheer level of ignorance about Pete continues on this Forum.
I personally think Pete is better than The current bunch other than Roger but people often brush aside his greatness due to lack of CYGS.
So just posted this question to generate some debate.

I mean no disrespect to Pete.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
No need to disrespect Pete Sampras by calling him Peter :rolleyes:. There's no real justification for lack of a French title, but I will say that he was the best player of his generation playing a style that didn't reap any rewards on clay which is a fine trade off. In other words, he has 14 slams which is to be commended, and would very likely have less had he slaved away to try and win on clay or adopted a better style for clay.

And if you look at the era Sampras played in, none of the players of Sampras's style (Edberg, Becker, Krajicek Ivanisevic for example) ever won the French Open so he wasn't alone in that regard.

In that way, homogenization has helped Federer (yes Federer too), Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray, and it's helped Wawrinka win 3 slams as well. And the truth is, that even if Federer hadn't won the French and you said the justification was because of Nadal it wouldn't really hold. At the end of the day he'd still have no RG title no matter how much anyone b.itched and moaned about it. Fortunately he has one anyway, but the point is an easy one to comprehend.
 

HolgerNova

New User
Tell me who was the Clay Specialist Nadal had to face in this decade! There is your answer.

Sampras dealt with Agassi, Courier, Bruguera, Kafelnikov in all the QF and SF he reached at the FO.
Only one of those listed is a clay specialist. I think people disregard clay specialists in this era just because Nadal is that much better than them. Ferrero? Ferrer? Djokovic, Fed, Wawrinka all pretty good on the surface as well.
 

Roddick85

Hall of Fame
Pete has nothing to justify here. ATP was different back then, surfaces weren't as homogenized as today and his game was optimized for offense/faster conditions which is where he collected most of his titles. FO or not, he's an ATG in my book.
 

mental midget

Hall of Fame
With modern strings, you don't need a specialist style to get exaggerated topspin for clay. Back then, come clay season you ran into a field of specialists. It's different now.
thank you. specialists primarily because of their limited success on other surfaces. was borg a clay court specialist? he could have been had he not won 5 wimbledon titles. the field is only deeper now.
 

thrust

Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras never won at Roland Garros,and failed to even reach the finals on each attempt.

How can he be called ATG without clay court prowess?
Slams- 14, winning three of the 4 slams
Weeks at #1- 286
YE at #1- 6
ATP YE Finals- 5
Rome Win - 1
True, Pete's lack of a FO and usually rather poor performance there is a blight on his record, but his overall accomplishments make him an all time great player. Borg never won a hard court slam, of course there are all kinds of excuses for that with many here. Gonzalez never won a clay slam, either as an amateur or on Pro Tour. Also, Pete hardly ever played on clay until he turned pro. Nadal, Borg and Federer grew up playing on clay as did many of the European and South American players.
 

Poisoned Slice

Bionic Poster
He was all out of ****s to give on all those French Open days. Even when he made the semi. Should have cared even less because it did come back to bite him at Wimbledon. Richard Krajicek was inspired so can't say it would have made a difference.

Remember being young and thinking Krajicek was going to go on and dominate the game. Real good stuff. His run has stayed with me.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
Also, Pete hardly ever played on clay until he turned pro. Nadal, Borg and Federer grew up playing on clay as did many of the European and South American players.
I was far from a Sampras fan, so I don't care about making excuses about his failure to reach a final at RG, but that is a very good point.

The likes of Federer, Becker, Edberg, Stich, Ivanisevic etc. all grew up playing on red clay in Europe, and McEnroe grew up playing mostly on har-tru at Port Washington, and a lot of notable Aussie players grew up playing on tout cas which was a clay-equivalent surface.

Connors grew up playing mainly on fast indoor wood courts before moving to the hard-court dominated SoCal at the age of 16, but he still played a lot on har-tru as a kid and junior player (the US junior scene had a lot of har-tru events back then). Plus while he was an all-courter rather than a strict baseliner, his baseline game was more suited to clay than Sampras.

Sampras however was one of the few high profile attacking players to grow up playing on the hard courts of California, and had significantly less exposure to any type of clay as a kid or junior player. As a result his movement on the surface wasn't particularly strong (especially compared to how well he moved on other surfaces). Plus while he could string out excellent victories on clay, he never had the ability nor stamina to string out a series of them in best of 5 matches on the surface to win the RG title.

Obviously 1996 was his best performance there, reaching the semis before running out of gas and having nothing left for his semi-final against Kafelnikov.

In 1994 he entered RG looking to hold all 4 majors at the same time. He was at the absolute peak of his powers and height of his dominance, and had just won the Rome title under the coaching of Gerulaitis. But even then I felt that Bruguera, Courier and Medvedev (who won the Monte-Carlo and Hamburg titles) were big title favourites ahead of Sampras that year. And Courier stopped him in the quarters before going down to Bruguera in the semis.
 
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