Sampras-Rafter venom?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by RealityPolice, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. RealityPolice

    RealityPolice Rookie

    Jan 26, 2005
    In reading Sampras' bio on Wikipedia, I realized I'd forgotten the unpleasantries he directed at Patrick Rafter for a fair chunk of the latter's career. The Wiki bio jogged my memory of some of Sampras' comments, but doesn't indicate what started it; my own recall doesn't help either. So why was it that two of the more gentlemanly players of the last 20 years took to sniping at each other for several years?
  2. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

    Dec 30, 2008
    My memory of it is that Sampras was somewhat disparaging about Rafter and his game and Pat took offence
    It's covered in Rafter's book.
    I've never known a finer sportsman than Rafter, it was all pretty unnecessary and unfortunate.
  3. TeflonTom

    TeflonTom Banned

    Jun 27, 2012
    think it just basically boiled down to rafter bein pretty matey n friendly with everyone, n sampras bein pretty aloof

    think when rafter was younger, he took it a bit personal that Sampras held himself apart from everyone. Knowin rafter he prolly made a few friendly approaches in the locker room n Sampras gave him the cold shoulder. Aussies r pretty egalitarian n maybe it came across as pete thinkin he was too good for a lower ranked kid.

    In an interview after a davis cup tie in 1997, Rafter made a comment that Pete was a bit of a cold fish in the locker room. Dunno how pete took it

    after the 1998 USO match tho, Pete was a bit pissed off about an overrule and annoyed he'd lost. Someone asked him the difference between Rafter n him was, and he said '10 slams'

    Rafter got majorly pissed at that, found it real disrespectful. Returned fire both barrels, sayin Pete had no class. Mebbe if they'd been friendlier he woulda taken it as a joke, not seen it as an insult, but who knows. From then on they were always takin shots at each other

    Basically think it boils down to two v different characters bein powder kegs, n a few ill-timed words bein the match.

    Pete always came across as a gentleman to the public, but reality was lotsa players didnt get on with sampras real well. Pistol werent really a people person. Kinda surprised rafter was the only one he had a public spat with
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
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  4. Jack Romeo

    Jack Romeo Professional

    Mar 11, 2004
    first of all, this should be in the former pro players section, but since we're at it already, here goes...

    in 1998, rafter was the reigning us open champion and was having a great run through the north american hardcourt tournaments, beating sampras in one event along the way. i remember it being a very close match that was decided by a dubious line call. sampras, in his disappointment snapped at a reporter during the postmatch interview where he was asked what the difference was between him and rafter. sampras snapped: 10 slams (he had 11 at that point and pat had one). the media whipped this up as pete being bitter at rafter's success. of course, this whole thing was brought up to rafter in an interview. pat said something that effectively branded sampras as a sore loser. i believe he used the term "crybaby" at that time. when they met at the us open semis later that year, rafter beat him again - in 5 sets this time, but pete was hobbled by a thigh injury he sustained late in the match. rafter went on to win the tournament, defending his title for his second - and last - grand slam title. the two were clearly not friends and didn't really say anything to the media to dispel the belief that they had grown to hate each other... until the following year. in 1999, rafter replaced sampras as the no.1 player for a grand total of 1 week (the shortest ever stay at no.1 by any player). then, he had to play sampras again in cincy (i think). they were gonna play each other in the finals when the media played up the whole thing about the two continuing to bitter with each other. rafter revealed that he had, in fact, talked already to sampras and the two cleared any bad feelings between them. then they played and sampras won this time. after that, the whole issue of hating each other was put to rest. they played the wimbledon final a year later, where sampras won again and they were pretty gracious to each other. they were never gonna be chummy buddies but they became civil and cordial to each other, even in interviews where one had to talk about the other.

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