However, he was playing bad enough to have lost to Todd Martin earlier that year in the Australian open. Up until that point, Sampras had been 17-2 against Todd Martin.drexeler said:Saying Fed would win only 1 out 5 matches is wishful thinking. Especially, because we have evidence at hand, which the Sampras fans like to ignore.
In that 2001 match, Sampras was a 4 time defending champ who had a realistic shot of winning the title had he got past Fed, and a guy good enough to beat Rafter, Agassi, Safin handily in the same summer at the USO. On the other hand, Fed was green, raw, basically a rookie at playing big matches, and was playing his first match on center court. Furthermore, he was playing a total S&V game, which is not his most natural style, but ultimately ended up being the winner, showing he has what it takes to handle Pete's serve in the process.
Still think Sampras was playing well that year?
He hadn't won a tournament for a year (since the last Wimbledon), and would not win a tournament for another year and a half - he was literally right in the MIDDLE of one of the worst periods of his career, results-wise.
I see that result as being about as indicative as, say, Marat Safin beating Andre Agassi at the French open at 18-19 years (or somewhere around there). Certainly an indicator that they're close in caliber and that Fed had loads of potential, but nowhere near a reflection of how they'd do in their primes.
Certainly that one match does not give anywhere near enough information to predict who would win in their primes if they played many times. Or do you really think that you can back up a "Federer was playing further from his prime than Sampras was" claim well enough to draw such a sweeping from a match that was decided by a point or two here or there?