Match Stats/Report - Agassi vs Sampras, Canadian Open final, 1995

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Andre Agassi beat Pete Sampras 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the Canadian Open final, 1995 on hard court in Montreal

Sampras would go on to reverse the result in the final of the US Open soon afterwards

Sampras serve-volleyed on all but 2 of his first serve points

Agassi won 86 points, Sampras 81

Serve Stats
Agassi....
- 1st serve percentage (63/84) 75%
- 1st serve points won (41/63) 65%
- 2nd serve points won (14/21) 67%
- Aces 6 - including 1 second serve
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/84) 17%

Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (39/83) 47%
- 1st serve points won (30/39) 77%
- 2nd serve points won (22/44) 50%
- Aces 12, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (30/83) 36%

Serve Pattern
Agassi served...
- to FH 27%
- to BH 70%
- to Body 2%

Sampras served...
- to FH 45%
- to BH 53%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 48 (22 FH, 26 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 4 Winners (3 FH, 1 BH)
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- 13 Forced (8 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (48/80) 61%

Sampras made...
- 70 (19 FH, 51 BH), including 3 runaround FHs and 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 8 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH), including 2 runaround FH attempts
- 5 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (70/84) 83%

Break Points
Agassi 3/12 (6 games)
Sampras 1/7 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Agassi 22 (16 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
Sampras 26 (13 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 2 OH)

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Agassi 25
- 20 Unforced (12 FH, 6 BH, 2 BHV)
- 4 Forced (3 FH, 1 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49

Sampras 47
- 26 Unforced (8 FH, 15 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 21 Forced (6 FH, 8 BH, 1 FHV, 6 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.8

(Note 1: all half-volleys refer to such shots played at net. Half -volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke counts)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Agassi was 9/16 (56%) at net, including 0/1 serve-volleying - a first serve point - and 1/1 return approaching

Sampras was 26/40 (65%) at net, including 18/28 (64%) serve-volleying - off first serves 16/25 (64%), off second 2/3 (67%) - and 1/1 return-approaching.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Match Report
This is essentially a baseline match. Sampras stays back on his second serves (just 3 serve-volleys), has a low serve percentage (47%), sends down a healthy number of aces/service winners on his first serves (36%) and mostly draws return errors when he is serve-volleying. So most of the match is played from the baseline - and its clear that Agassi is the better player in this regard

Sampras scores the first break with some excellent shots - especially a BH1/2V winner and his sole return winner - but also has a bit of luck when his FH dribbles over the net chord for a winner. Its the second time this happens in the space of a couple of games and Pete, with uncharacteristic playfulness, goes over and kisses the top of the tape. Having saved two break points in the next game - and cleaned it up with 2 aces and a service winner, Sampras reduces Agassi to 0-40 in the game after. But Andre clutches through to hold, striking back to back FH winners and a big first serve to get himself out of the hole. Still Sampras serves out the set comfortably.

In the second set, Agassi steps up the aggression. Previously, he had largely been trying to browbeat Pete's BH down with BH cc's. Sampras had held firm. Now Agassi ups the ante a notch and starts hitting FH inside-outs to Pete's weaker wing. Over the course of such rallies, Sampras tends to yield short balls - and Agassi is on them in a flash. He strikes many a lusty FH winner this way

A break down and serving to stay in the set, Sampras is met with a redoubled attack. The first two points are Agassi return winners (a FH dtl to a second serve and a BH cc pass to a first), and then Agassi return approaches on the next point to force a passing error. Agassi breaks to send the match into the decider, the momentum firmly with him

The final set is high quality stuff. Sampras saves 2 break points in the opening game with winners but double faults twice in his next service game to fall behind. He gets to 0-40 on the next game and goes for kill shots on them (not in keeping with his general play in the match) - a worthwhile play - but it doesn't come off

First, he tries to hit a BH winner almost around the net post, but misses, Next he goes for an aggressive runaround FH return, but misses. Finally, he pops a string in the middle of the point and is forced to immediately manufacture an approach - but can't control the volley. And Agassi goes on to hold

Not much drama for the rest of the match. Agassi nurses his break to the finish - and slips into net to deliver a FHV winner on match point

Playing Dynamics & Statistics
From the baseline, Agassi looks to hit powerful BH cc's to breakdown Sampras weaker wing. Initially at least, Sampras holds firm, but he's left almost completely on the defensive in such situations. As the match wears on, the Sampras BH starts to crack

He finishes with an unfortunate 13 BH UEs, which is just one more than the 12 Agassi has on his FH. But Agassi's FH also wins him plenty of points, which can't be said about Pete's BH. Offensively, the shot lets him down as well. 4-5 times, he misses BH cc's into the open court of short balls. With Agassi out of position, it wasn't even necessary to belt these balls too hard - just slicing it into the open court and taking the net (most of these shots were played from well inside the court) would have been high percentage play.

Pete's passivity (forced or otherwise) can be seen in the frugal 4 errors he's able to force out of Agassi (Agassi forces 20 from Pete by comparison). Some credit to Agassi for defending decently, but mostly a blackmark against Pete for not being able to take the initiative in play.

Sampras' speedier footwork is on show and he's certainly quicker around the court. In one point, Sampras gives Agassi a dose of his own medicine and repeatedly hits FH inside-out's to Agassi's BH. That point ends when one such FH slips through for a winner, though its fairly close to Andre. Probably wouldn't happen when the roles were reversed - though Pete is more likely to cough up an error in that situation

Pete's returning is mostly orthodox. He doesn't go for too much on them, as he became apt after fully embracing Paul Annacone's coaching. Just 3 return UEs

As well as Agassi played and as clearly as he was the superior player from the baseline and overall... the most telling stat is Sampras' sub-par 47% serve percentage. One senses that if Sampras has a decent serving day, all the court superiority in the world wouldn't do Agassi any good

Summing up, commanding and solid from Andre Agassi. A below average serving day for Sampras and outmatched from the back of the court

-----

A note on some interesting commentary that indicates how values pertaining to greatness in tennis have changed over time. In 1997 Wimbledon final, the commentators are very aware of Sampras trying to break the Slam record - they talk about and show tables of the then current standings

Contrast that with the comments by Cliff Drysdale during this match. He says Sampras has 6 titles and has matched Becker (no mention of Edberg), and has McEnroe and Connors in his sight (no mention of Wilander or Lendl)…. but his ultimate goal is Laver's 11 (no mention of Emerson - I don't think Drysdale even knew what the record was or who held it). @hoodjem might find this interesting

He adds on helpfully that he was referring to Grand Slam singles titles. Imagine a commentator today having to specify that
 
Last edited:

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Contrast that with the comments by Cliff Drysdale during this match. He says Sampras has 6 titles and has matched Becker (no mention of Edberg), and has McEnroe and Connors in his sight (no mention of Wilander or Lendl)…. but his ultimate goal is Laver's 11 (no mention of Emerson - I don't think Drysdale even knew what the record was or who held it). @hoodjem might find this interesting

He adds on helpfully that he was referring to Grand Slam singles titles. Imagine a commentator today having to specify that
I do!
Drysdale knew his tennis, and had competed against Laver. (The ATP lists their H2H as 13-4 in favor of Laver, 1968-76.)

I wonder if his comment suggests that he (and everyone worth considering) knew that Laver's career and record was the one that mattered, (and that Emerson's did not).
 
Last edited:

Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.
Sorry, your're reading too much into an off hand comment by Drysdale. We've talked about this ad nausem since I've been on this board since 2005. I and krosero have posted many articles. Everyone(certainly Sampras and Drysdale) knew Emerson won 12 majors in 1995. And they knew in 1985 as well(have seen that graphic with majors list on broadcasts back then)

Check out the 1981 French Open SI article/NY Times article(been posted here many times over the years, don't feel like doing this again, google it)

Both articles clearly say Borg is one major away from tying Emerson's record of 12 majors. If I was aware of this as a kid(pre internet) I have trouble imagining everyone on tour and the media wasn't as well. Of course that doesn't mean that they considered it an important record.
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Sorry, your're reading too much into an off hand comment by Drysdale. We've talked about this ad nausem since I've been on this board since 2005.

Both articles clearly say Borg is one major away from tying Emerson's record of 12 majors. If I was aware of this as a kid(pre internet) I have trouble imagining everyone on tour and the media wasn't as well. Of course that doesn't mean that they considered it an important record.
Probably, I am. :)

My point was to wonder--not if Drysdale did not know about Emerson's record of 12 majors--but did Drysdale know of Emerson's 12 and somehow considered it inferior to Laver's 11.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
Probably, I am. :)

My point was to wonder--not if Drysdale did not know about Emerson's record of 12 majors--but did Drysdale know of Emerson's 12 and somehow considered it inferior to Laver's 11.
Agassi states in his book that nobody with any clue about tennis puts Emerson above Laver because of his record. He does not mention things like amateur or Pro tour but rather focused on Laver having won the CYGS.
I also recently read an article about Sampras from November 1997 about his career and his youth being trained by Pete Fischer. I don’t know whether it was true but in this article it is said all the time that Fischer always told Pete from a very young age on that he has to break Lavers tally of 11 slams, no mention of Emerson whatsoever.
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Agassi states in his book that nobody with any clue about tennis puts Emerson above Laver because of his record. He does not mention things like amateur or Pro tour but rather focused on Laver having won the CYGS.
I also recently read an article about Sampras from November 1997 about his career and his youth being trained by Pete Fischer. I don’t know whether it was true but in this article it is said all the time that Fischer always told Pete from a very young age on that he has to break Lavers tally of 11 slams, no mention of Emerson whatsoever.
Yes, I do find this tendency of everyone to know and cite Laver's record of 11 slams (and to ignore Emmo's record of 12 slams) curious. After all, twelve is manifestly greater than eleven.
There must be something else at play here.

As a personal aside, I remember as a youth learning of Lever's eleven back in the 60s as if it was THE record to beat. And then hearing more about it when Borg got close and then matched it. It was long later (probably in the Sampras period) that I learned that Emmo had twelve (and that Pete was trying to match and break it).
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
Yes, I do find this tendency of everyone to know and cite Laver's record of 11 slams (and to ignore Emmo's record of 12 slams) curious. After all, twelve is manifestly greater than eleven.
There must be something else at play here.

As a personal aside, I remember as a youth learning of Lever's eleven back in the 60s as if it was THE record to beat. And then hearing more about it when Borg got close and then matched it. It was long later (probably in the Sampras period) that I learned that Emmo had twelve (and that Pete was trying to match and break it).
This is actually even more interesting as - like you mentioned- Borg had already equaled this “record”. So even if Emmo was ignored it surprises me that Laver alone and not Borg was set as the benchmark even though the latter reached it in more recent time back then.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
More fun stuff on commentary -

During the 2007 Australian Open final, Jim Courier on commentary talks about the prospect of Roger Federer breaking Sampras' record of 14 Slam titles

He mentions how Sampras broke Lew Hoad's record of 12... imagine Andy Roddick saying Federer broke Andre Agassi's record for most Slams

in the 1982 Connors-Borg exhibition in Richmond, much is said about Borg being a 5 time Wimbledon champion. Captions are presented as well as the commentators going on about it. It seems to be his standard intro (like Laver being a 2 time Grand Slam winner)

Later, one of the commentators, to illustrate how good Borg's groundstrokes are, states with awe that Borg won the French Open 7 times. Its clear he's well aware of how many Wimbledons Borg won, so it would be odd for him to mistake the number of Frenchs - seeing as the mistake would have made Borg joint Slam record holder, if Slam count was a big deal
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
updated original post, stats for which had previously been 2 games short

Strange numbers.... Sampras forcing just 5 errors from Agassi, while Agassi forces 21 and UEFI of Agassi 49 (extremely high for a baseliner)
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
….comments by Cliff Drysdale during this match. He says Sampras has 6 titles and has matched Becker (no mention of Edberg), and has McEnroe and Connors in his sight (no mention of Wilander or Lendl)…. but his ultimate goal is Laver's 11 (no mention of Emerson - I don't think Drysdale even knew what the record was or who held it)
in the 1982 Connors-Borg exhibition in Richmond, much is said about Borg being a 5 time Wimbledon champion. Captions are presented as well as the commentators going on about it. It seems to be his standard intro (like Laver being a 2 time Grand Slam winner)

Later, one of the commentators, to illustrate how good Borg's groundstrokes are, states with awe that Borg won the French Open 7 times. Its clear he's well aware of how many Wimbledons Borg won, so it would be odd for him to mistake the number of Frenchs - seeing as the mistake would have made Borg joint Slam record holder, if Slam count was a big deal
And a combination of the above 2, from Cliff Drysdale doing commentary in '94 Miami

The name of Bjorn Borg comes up and Cliff praises him, leading with the 5 time Wimbledon champion. Adding on, "(and he's won)… 6 or 7 Frenches"

He knows its 5 Wimbledons but doesn't know the number for Frenches

If Borg actually did have 7 Frenches, that would have made him joint Slam record holder

Fast forward 3-4 years when talk of Sampras approaching Emerson's record 12 is ubiquitous... would a professional tennis commentator have any doubt Borg had fewer than 7 Frenches, given he was certain that he had 5 Wimbys?
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
Contrast that with the comments by Cliff Drysdale during this match. He says Sampras has 6 titles and has matched Becker (no mention of Edberg), and has McEnroe and Connors in his sight (no mention of Wilander or Lendl)
This is particularly interesting as Becker had only won five slams at this point.
 
Top