Sampras 1998 vs Federer 2008

8PAQ

Banned
Sampras is almost exactly 10 years older than Federer so it is interesting how Federer's GOATness rival was doing at the exact same point in his career.

Federer 2008 (12 slams at the start of they year, ? by the end):
http://www.atptennis.com/3/en/players/playerprofiles/playeractivity.asp?player=F324

Sampras 1998 (10 slams at the start of the year, 11 by the end):
http://www.atptennis.com/5/en/players/playerprofiles/playeractivity.asp?query=Singles&year=1998&player=S402&selTournament=0&prevtrnnum=0

Lost in quarterfinal of the AO. Won only one match in IW. Won only one match in Miami. The rest of the year Sampras didn't look that hot either. Lost in the 2nd round at the FO, won Wimbledon, lost in semis at USO, lost in semi of YEC. Sampras didn't win a single master series title in 1998.

So far Federer did better at AO and at IW. In Miami Fed has two win only two matches to do better. At FO Fed has to win only two matches to do better. Fed then has to win Wimbledon, get to the USO final and the YEC final to do better or equal to Sampras in those events.

Something tells me that Fed will easily surpass Sampras 1998 accomplishments this year.
 

vkartikv

Hall of Fame
As long as Federer wins Wimbledon, I'll be happy. Anyone else winning is tantamount to sacrilege!!
 

fastdunn

Legend
sampras basically held onto wimbledon and some good performances on fast courts for last a few years of his reign as #1.

if he had poor performances on hard court, he would do more efforts for indoor carpet seasons. it was pretty easy for him to maintain #1 as long as he wins at least 1 slam (Wimbledon, mostly).

90's tennis was very polarized on surfaces. grass court tennis was so different from the rest of seasons, for example and the indoor seaspns were bigger.

but today's tennis much less polarized on surfaces. if roger indeed did lost some edges on hard court(which is not clear yet), grass court is not necessarily as safe heaven as it was in 90's. it's sorta all or nothing kind of deal. next top dog will win 2 or 3 out of 3 slams on faster courts just like roger did, imho....

if federer does decline (although there is no clear evidence for it yet), it could be a quick one unlike sampras', imho.

if federer does not decline yet, this could be like 1996 of sampras career when he failed to win any slam until us open he had to win (with monumental effort, infamous throwing up incident with alex corretja). federer might be mounting pressure to win wimbledon or us open just like sampras of 1996. it was the middle point of his prime...
 
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flyer

Hall of Fame
^^^a little but not really, it suited his game and the surfaces of the time perfectly, a 85 in racket would never work in todays game
 

SgtJohn

Rookie
The difference is that Nadal and Djokovic will probably do much, much better thant Rios, Moya or Rafter ever did...At least that's what we can conclude from their performance last year. So Federer has to be held to higher standards than Pete in '98 if he wants to hold on to his top ranking...
 

aceroberts13

Professional
Sampras of '98 would defeat Fed of '08. Straight sets. Whether it 2 of 3 or 3 of 5. Now Pete of '98 against Fed of '05-'06? That gets a little more tricky.
 
Yeah, I remember reading an article somewhere on the net about JUST HOW similar the two careers have been. The guy starts off by saying they were born nearly exactly 10 years apart, and then goes on to list the various Grand Slams that the two have won and how their careers have been very parallel to each other.
 

ericsson

Hall of Fame
it's amazing that Sampras won all those slams with an 85 inch racquet.
It surely is, how good the racket is, we can all agree it's not the easiest one to play, sometimes i wonder what if Pete played a 90 inch during his prime, wouldnt it gave him that little more extra (he sometimes needed)

i think he could've won even more... but will never know that...
 

noeledmonds

Professional
1998 waas a really crap year for sampras too, he came STORMING back in 1999,as I expect Fed to.
This is not really true. Sampras ended year number 1 for the 6th consecutive year in 1998 but lost the year number 1 end ranking to Agassi in 1999. In fact Sampras finished as ranked number 3 in 1999. Sampras had some sublime performances at Wimbledon and the Masters Cup in 1999 but he was not the best player that year.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
This is not really true. Sampras ended year number 1 for the 6th consecutive year in 1998 but lost the year number 1 end ranking to Agassi in 1999. In fact Sampras finished as ranked number 3 in 1999. Sampras had some sublime performances at Wimbledon and the Masters Cup in 1999 but he was not the best player that year.
Yes,Sampras wasn't the best player that year but I would have bet my money on him winning the USO if he didn't hurt his back in practice with Kuerten.He was on a 24 winning streak before injury,winning Queens,Wimbledon,Los Angeles,Cincinnati so I think most people expected Sampras to win the USO and in my opinion he would if didn't have that bad luck with injury.
 
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laurie

Guest
I got a tape recently from the 1999 US Open which I wanted to put a few matches on disc. It was a Sky sports presentation with Andrew Castle commentating. They reported Sampras pulling out as big news - they said Sampras was - well not only favourite to win, but red hot favourite to win the Open.

That's not surprising after what Sampras did to Agassi at Wimbledon, Los Angeles and in particular the 2nd set in Cincinnati where for 30 minutes he matched his Wimbledon level. Agassi would have been up against it had they met at the US Open that year - sadly it wasn't to be.

Federer should have a better year this year than Sampras had in 1998 because he's further in front points wise and it will be harder for the others to catch him. Unless he continues to slump for the next 3 months.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
I got a tape recently from the 1999 US Open which I wanted to put a few matches on disc. It was a Sky sports presentation with Andrew Castle commentating. They reported Sampras pulling out as big news - they said Sampras was - well not only favourite to win, but red hot favourite to win the Open.

That's not surprising after what Sampras did to Agassi at Wimbledon, Los Angeles and in particular the 2nd set in Cincinnati where for 30 minutes he matched his Wimbledon level. Agassi would have been up against it had they met at the US Open that year - sadly it wasn't to be.

Federer should have a better year this year than Sampras had in 1998 because he's further in front points wise and it will be harder for the others to catch him. Unless he continues to slump for the next 3 months.
Sampras definitely had Agassi number in 1999,he only lost to him in RR match at the Masters Cup(of course in the final when it mattered he blew him off the court) so yes it was very unfortunate that he couldn't play USO that year.As for whether Federer will have a better year than Sampras at 1998,I really don't like to compare them that much.In my opinion they are very different players and I feel privileged to have watched them both.
 

noeledmonds

Professional
Yes,Sampras wasn't the best player that year but I would have bet my money on him winning the USO if he didn't hurt his back in practice with Kuerten.He was on a 24 winning streak before injury,winning Queens,Wimbledon,Los Angeles,Cincinnati so I think most people expected Sampras to win the USO and in my opinion he would if didn't have that bad luck with injury.
He would have been favourite had he competed but that does not mean he would have won. Agassi won their Australian Open encounter in 2000, showing that he could beat Sampras on hard courts over best of 5 sets. Who knows what would have hapenned if Sampras had played. With a different draw we can never predict the outcome even remotely accurately. Perhaps Rafter would have won without Piolone as a 1st round draw. You can't give Sampras the benefit of the doubt.

In reality I would say that Sampras was of similar strength in 1998 and 1999 but that Agassi was stronger in 1999. In terms of indivudal performances Sampras probabely actually had some of his best in 1999. His 1999 Wimbledon victory over Agassi is one of the greatest grass court performances of the open-era. However he was not consitantly the force he previously had been.
 
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laurie

Guest
He would have been favourite had he competed but that does not mean he would have won. Agassi won their Australian Open encounter in 2000, showing that he could beat Sampras on hard courts over best of 5 sets. Who knows what would have hapenned if Sampras had played. With a different draw we can never predict the outcome even remotely accurately. Perhaps Rafter would have won without Piolone as a 1st round draw. You can't give Sampras the benefit of the doubt.

In reality I would say that Sampras was of similar strength in 1998 and 1999 but that Agassi was stronger in 1999. In terms of indivudal performances Sampras probabely actually had some of his best in 1999. His 1999 Wimbledon victory over Agassi is one of the greatest grass court performances of the open-era. However he was not consitantly the force he previously had been.
Big difference I think is that in 1999 Sampras was in much better form than he was in their meeting in 2000 in Australia when his back was playing up and Agassi was able to take advantage.

Just look at Sampras' tactics in that Australia match. I have the Los Angeles and Cincinatti matches in 1999, Sampras was staying back a lot on second serve, in the Los Angeles final in particular, he stayed back on virtually every second serve bar a few.

Just a few months later in Australia, he comes in on both serves, serving extremeley big second serves on a high bouncing rebound ace court - he was asking for trouble. Amazingly with those tactics, he almost won the match in 4 sets.

But he was playing a different game than he was in the summer of 1999, his game in Australia was a lot more ragged and he made a lot more unforced errors. In the summer of 1999 (ie US Open final) I have no doubt Sampras would have beaten Agassi in a 5 set match, his game was running on auto pilot.
 
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laurie

Guest
If I could add as well, I think there is more than one reason why Sampras was playing out and out grass court tactics on rebound ace in 2000 against Agassi - one was his back, apparently earlier in the tournament he threw up in one match. The other reason I think, was he just was not feeling as confident from the baseline whereas in the summer of 1999 he was ultra confident in all aspects of his game and movement. Plus, that was the first year he played like that in Australia - when he won the Aussie Open in 1997, he looked a different player, even staying back on first serves ocassionally - something that was unheard of in Sampras' game from 2000 to 2002.
 

superman1

Legend
The Rebound Ace in 2000 was playing very fast - PMac described it as a fast court. Agassi played a perfect match against Sampras, especially in the last set when he just royally owned him with winners from every direction.
 

anointedone

Banned
Big difference I think is that in 1999 Sampras was in much better form than he was in their meeting in 2000 in Australia when his back was playing up and Agassi was able to take advantage.

Just look at Sampras' tactics in that Australia match. I have the Los Angeles and Cincinatti matches in 1999, Sampras was staying back a lot on second serve, in the Los Angeles final in particular, he stayed back on virtually every second serve bar a few.

Just a few months later in Australia, he comes in on both serves, serving extremeley big second serves on a high bouncing rebound ace court - he was asking for trouble. Amazingly with those tactics, he almost won the match in 4 sets.

But he was playing a different game than he was in the summer of 1999, his game in Australia was a lot more ragged and he made a lot more unforced errors. In the summer of 1999 (ie US Open final) I have no doubt Sampras would have beaten Agassi in a 5 set match, his game was running on auto pilot.
I would have to agree. Nothing against Agassi who was playing awesome tennis at the time himself, but Sampras in the summer of 1999 was unbeatable. I have no doubt he would have won the U.S Open had he been able to play.
 
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TennisandMusic

Guest
This is not really true. Sampras ended year number 1 for the 6th consecutive year in 1998 but lost the year number 1 end ranking to Agassi in 1999. In fact Sampras finished as ranked number 3 in 1999. Sampras had some sublime performances at Wimbledon and the Masters Cup in 1999 but he was not the best player that year.
He also didn't get to play the US Open, and he crushed Agassi when it mattered. I believe at the end of that year he said he's not even going to try for the number 1 ranking anymore because he's "done that." I suppose after six straight years it's understandable.
 

krosero

Legend
Just look at Sampras' tactics in that Australia match. I have the Los Angeles and Cincinatti matches in 1999, Sampras was staying back a lot on second serve, in the Los Angeles final in particular, he stayed back on virtually every second serve bar a few.

Just a few months later in Australia, he comes in on both serves, serving extremeley big second serves on a high bouncing rebound ace court - he was asking for trouble. Amazingly with those tactics, he almost won the match in 4 sets.
Per the ATP stats on the two Sampras-Agassi matches in Australia, Sampras actually won more points on second serve in 2000 compared to 1995: 49% compared to 43%.

The court was playing very fast in 2000. If Pete was hanging back more in 1995, and it won him only 43%, then coming in under faster conditions and winning 49% doesn't seem like a bad choice.
 
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