Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Courier, Wimbledon final, 1993


Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Jim Courier 7-6(3), 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-3 in the Wimbledon final, 1993 on grass

This was Sampras first Wimbledon title, while with the result, Courier completed reaching finals of all 4 Slams. Sampras was ranked 1, Courier 2 and Courier had won Australian Open and been French Open finalist earlier in the year. Sampras would go onto win 6 of the next 7 Wimbledon's

Sampras won 135 points, Courier 120

Sampras players serve-volleyed off all serves, Courier serve-volleyed occasionally off both serves

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (73/120) 61%
- 1st serve points won (60/73) 82%
- 2nd serve points won (32/47) 68%
- Aces 22 (3 second serves, 1 possibly not clean), Service Winners 6
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (61/120) 51%

- 1st serve percentage (74/135) 55%
- 1st serve points won (57/74) 77%
- 2nd serve points won (35/61) 57%
- Aces 9 (1 hits Sampras), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (41/135) 30%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 47%
- to BH 53%

Courier served...
- to FH 28%
- to BH 64%
- to Body 9%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 88 (22 FH, 66 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 3 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (2 BH)
- 31 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (5 FH, 4 BH), including 2 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach attempt
- 22 Forced (10 FH, 12 BH)
- Return Rate (88/129) 68%

Courier made...
- 53 (23 FH, 30 BH), including 2 return-approaches
- 3 Winners (3 BH)
- 33 Errors, all forcing...
- 33 Forced (18 FH, 15 BH)
- Return Rate (53/114) 46%

Break Points
Sampras 2/5 (4 games)
Courier 2/2

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 31 (7 FH, 6 BH, 9 FHV, 6 BHV, 3 OH)
Courier 29 (14 FH, 9 BH, 4 FHV, 2 BHV)

Sampras had 19 from serve-volley points
- 14 first 'volleys' (5 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH, 4 FH at net, 1 BH at net)
- 5 second volleys (3 FHV, 2 OH)

- 3 from return-approach points (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 BH at net)
- 1 other BHV was a diving shot

- FHs - 1 cc and 2 dtl passes
- BHs (all passes) - 1 cc and 3 dtl (2 returns)

Courier's FH passes - 3 cc, 1 dtl and 1 lob
- BH passes - 1 cc return, 3 dtl, 1 inside-out return, 1 inside-in return and 1 lob
- regular FHs - 1 cc, 2 dtl, 4 inside-out, 1 inside-in and 1 longline/inside-out
- regular BHs - 1 cc and 1 dtl

- 4 from serve-volley points (3 FHV, 1 BHV), all first volleys

- 1 other FHV was played net-to-net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 44
- 18 Unforced (2 FH, 9 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 BHOH)
- 26 Forced (8 FH, 10 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV, 5 BH1/2V)... with 1 BH at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

Courier 37
- 13 Unforced (4 FH, 3 BH, 2 FHV, 4 BHV)
- 24 Forced (11 FH, 10 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)... with 2 FH running-down-drop-volley at net & 2 BH running-down-drop-volley/net chord dribbler at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 53.1

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(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
Sampras was...
- 75/105 (71%) at net, including...
- 64/86 (74%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 35/48 (73%) off 1st serve and...
- 29/38 (76%) off 2nd serve
- 3/3 (100%) return-approaching
- 0/2 forced back/retreated

Courier was...
- 23/43 (56%) at net, including...
- 12/21 (57%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 6/10 (60%) off 1st serve and...
- 6/11 (55%) off 2nd serve
- 0/2 return-approaching

Match Report
Very strong serving from Pete Sampras defines the match, relegating or/and shaping everything else to a secondary role. Courier serves well, hits hard and plays with gusto on his service games, but at no time looks like threatening the Sampras serve. Sampras fares a bit better - it would be hard not to - returning

Match can be divided into two. First two sets - when both players seem fit - and second two, when something seems to be a bit off with Sampras. The one constant... Sampras serves huge

Sampras' Serve Games
Sampras serves huge - first and second serves - and serve-volleys behind all of it

He's at his mightiest in first set when first and second serves are virtually indistinguishable. Second set, he eases back a bit on second serves and continues doing so for rest of match

Even easing back on second serves, they're still powerful enough to be forceful (and would be even sans serve-volleying). And he continues to throw down the odd 'first' second serve too

61% first serves in, 22 aces & 6 service winners, 51% unreturned rate. Where does that leave Courier with?

Basically, almost nothing. Not only can he barely get a ball back, but the ones he does are mostly putaway volleys (or even easier, groundstrokes at net) for Sampras. Of Sampras 14 first 'volley' winners, 1 is an OH and 5 are groundstrokes. The volleys are mostly high and easy. What he doesn't putaway are easy to put into corners, leaving Courier hopeless running passes

Not particularly good volleying from Sampras. There's 7 UEs and 9 FEs... he rarely faces a tough volley and when he does, usually misses. 7 UEs isn't high and he finishes points with winners and forcing passing errors far, far more often than that... but there is scope for doing better

To be clear, quality of Sampras' volleying rests within context of his -

a) not having to volley most of the time
b) having easy volleys mostly when he does
c) not doing well when he gets a tough volley

Courier mostly returns by trying to get balls in play anyway he can. He's not missing returns by hitting big, he's missing because the serves are too good for him. Nothing wrong with the returns... just too good serving from Pete. To the point of shutting Courier out almost completely


Hall of Fame
Courier's Serve Games
Good serving from Courier too, whose first serves prove a handful. Initally, second serves are biffed down fairly hard too. As match wears on, force of serve goes down some, particularly the second serves which by the end, can be comfortably returned and are even attackable (though Sampras usually doesn't)

Almost all of Courier's serve-volleying occurs in first two sets. He doesn't do it often (16% off first serves, 20% off seconds) and isn't too successful at it (total 57% points won - not small part of which are unreturned serves that would likely have been unreturned without serve-volleying anyway)

6 winners, 6 UEs on the volley. Most are easy - Sampras does not pass or return particularly strongly. His rare good returns gives Courier low volleys which he's not too good at handling either. 3 FEs to 6 UEs on the volley speak to it not needing too much to get the error out of Courier in forecourt

Most action is baseline. Courier has healthy 30% unreturned serve cushion himself and draws soft returns he can wade into with FHs. He tends to finish points quickly with big FHs or/and beating down Pete's BH, usually with BH cc's and occasionally with FH inside-outs

Note Pete with match high 9 BH UEs (next highest groundie is Courier's FH with 4). Its the weakest groundstroke on show, tending towards being broken down or beaten down. Most of his 10 BH FEs would be from baseline points also. Courier has the same number, but most would be passing shots

Pete's able to gain some counterplay with BH slices that cling low and make effective approach shots. Should probably have used it more as an approach shot. Off FH, he's usually reacting to Courier's lead that was gained from the serve and is apt to get overpowered, but Pete's shot is also capable of turning play his way. Running FH has a big role to play in match

All this is in context of Courier holding very comfortably on the whole too. 77% first serve points won, 57% second serves and 30% unreturned rate... these could be winning numbers. As is, they're dwarfed by Pete's

Match Progression
No deuces, no breaks in first set. Sampras serving huge off both serves and volleying nicely when needed. Courier not exactly serving slowly either and backing it up with heavy groundies and odd serve-volleys - initally off first serves and after he gets comfy, both serves

In tiebreak, Sampras sends down his first passing winner (BH dtl) and Courier makes just his second groundstroke UE (neutral FH) to push it Sampras' way

In second set, a freer Sampras starts being more adventurous from the back, approaching off good slices and moderately strong FH inside-outs. He eases back a bit in blasting down second serves, and there's a bit more scope for Courier to get something done on the return against it. He can't though and if anything, Sampras holds even more easily than first set

Courier also drops half a notch on serve, sending down odd unforceful firsts and serve-volleying less. Sampras is able to do a bit to capitilize. Courier's last 2 service games are tough holds lasting 10 points each and he has to save a break point in each. In the second of these break/set points, Sampras takes charge of the point to come to net and Courier has to hit an improbable BH lob winner to deny him

In tiebreak, Courier has the first set point on which he makes a high return (just making the return was a feat for him at this stage), Sampras FHVs into a corner for a winner, going dangerously close to the line
Sampras seals the set on his first set point, where he withstands heavy shots to his BH, hangs in the baseline rally before finding a running FH cc to force the error

Somethings not right with Sampras physically in the third (and fourth sets). Speed of movement drops, serves less constantly full-on hard ('less than constantly hard' being a drop from how he'd been serving up to the point). He's squatting between points, leaning over and at times, looking drained

Players trade early breaks. Courier breaks first - Sampras missing easy FHV and double faulting, while Courier forces a BH1/2V error and finishes with a BH dtl pass
Sampras breaks right back with a BH at net winner from a return-approach followed by two excellent error forcing groudstrokes (a well placed BH dtl slice and a powerfully struck FH dtl)

Courier serves an ace when his body serves hits Sampras' body

Courier breaks at the end in a bad net game from Pete. He misses 2 easy volleys and plonks another easy one in middle of court for Courier to smack away FH cc

Sampras condition doesn't seem to improve in fourth set but he 'bots his way to holding serve. At times, he's barely half-way to service line following the serve in, but the serve alone proves to be enough for him to hold quite comfortably. He has 3 groundstroke winners at net - a good indicator of how weakly the returns that do come back are

A bad pair of errors from Courier - missing winner attempt BHV and FH - opens the door for Pete, whose able to get the break by manufacturing approaches in 2 of the next 3 points to move ahead 4-2

You'd think struggling physically and a break up, Pete would take it easy (as he has not infrequently on return games all set) with Courier serving down 2-5. Instead, he plays shot of the match with a diving BHV winner. Courier holds though and forces Pete to serve it out

Summing up, all out power serving from Pete Sampras sees him holding serve easily and he's able to win odd points in return games against Courier's own big serves, groundsrokes and occasional serve-volleying to come out on top in a heavily serve dominated match

Stats for pair's '91 Year End Championship final -
Stats for '94 final between Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic -