Sampras would beat Nadal at the French Open

Blocker

Professional
#1
You read that right. I said Sampras beats Nadal at the French Open.

Now before any moderator goes and deletes this, please do not. I have put a bit of time into researching stats etc, which I discuss below. This is not a troll thread, I stand by the title of this thread and I have reasons to back it up.

To set the scene: Roland Garros, the final, both players at their peak.

Disclaimer

Now there is an argument to suggest that Nadal has the better record over Sampras at the French Open so some here will be quick to dismiss my post, but this on its own does not mean that Sampras could not and would not beat Nadal at the FO. Whatismore, not only does Sampras beat Nadal at the FO, he beats Nadal using his regular 90s racquet.

There are 10 combined reasons why Sampras would beat Nadal at the French Open.

Reason 1

If I didn’t know any better, and I came to this site to get all the tennis information I needed, I’d instantly assume that Sampras never won a match at the French Open, or on clay for that matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sampras’ match winning percentage at the FO is 65%. So let’s be clear from the outset, Sampras can and did win matches at the French Open. He’s not going to stand at the other end and be paper mache against Nadal.

Reason 2

Putting aside his 65% winning record at the FO for just one moment, focus now on exactly who he beat at the FO, that is, the quality of his wins.

Sampras defeated Muster in the first round of the 1991 FO. Muster won 44 titles in his career, 39 on clay, including the 1995 FO. In their only meeting on clay, at the FO, Sampras beat him. Sampras beat a guy at the French Open who was arguably the greatest clay courter in the 90s. Yet some of you think he can’t play on clay.

Sampras defeated Bruguera in the second round of the 1996 FO. Bruguera won 14 titles in his career, including the 1993 and 1994 FOs. Yet Sampras beats him at the FO. Fact.

Sampras defeated Courier in the QFs of the 1996 FO. Courier won 23 titles in his career, 5 on clay, including the 1991 and 1992 FOs. Yet Sampras beats him at the FO. Fact.

Muster, Bruguera and Courier form the whose who of the FO in Sampras’ era, and yet Sampras beat them all…AT THE FRENCH OPEN. Fact.

So it can be seen, Sampras beat 5 FO champions at the FO, 4 of them in the 1 year.

But it does not end there.

Sampras also beat Kafelnikov and Agassi on clay. Sampras beat Kafelnikov on clay in a critical DC Final rubber in front of a hostile Russian crowd (think Rocky in Rocky 4) and he beat Agassi in Houston on clay in 1992 and in Monte Carlo on clay in 1998. Both Kafelnikov and Agassi are both FO champions.

In effect, Sampras beat 7 FO champions on clay in his time. The same could not be said of Nadal. I have Nadal only beating 2 FO winners on clay, but I stand corrected on that stat. Nadal never had to face a whose who at the FO like Sampras did. But it doesn’t matter what Nadal did or did not do, the above stats prove that Sampras is not the clay court mug you all make him out to be and can actually play on clay. Yes clay was not his best surface but he could actually play on that crap. He beat clay’s best of the best on clay during his era and I’m telling you he’d beat clay’s best of the best on clay in the eras since his retirement.

And do not lose sight of, nor underestimate, what Sampras accomplished against Kafelnikov in Russia. Federer fans know all too well what a fanatical Davis Cup crowd can do in getting behind its player in a DC tie. I refer you to the Hewitt versus Federer DC rubber in my home town in 2003. I was not at the match, but I watched it on tv. As much as Melbourne loves Federer, the crowd that day got right behind Hewitt because it was Davis Cup, and Hewitt rallied, and eventually won the match after being 2 sets down. 6-1 in the final set. Sampras had to contend with a similar fanatical crowd cheering against him, on clay, and low and behold, won. Fact. So even if the RG crowd got behind Nadal and cheered him on, we know Sampras is not going to let the crowd get to him. He’s just a willing mental beast who powers through most tough circumstances.

Reason 3

Sampras won the 1994 Italian Open, which, as you all know, is a 1000 Masters event these days. Again, if you are a clay mug, you won’t be winning Rome.

Reason 4

To win in Rome in 1994, Sampras beat Becker in the final. What’s the significance of this, you may ask? Well as you all know, Becker was the mastermind behind Djokovic firstly beating Nadal at the FO, and secondly, finally winning the FO. Sampras beat on clay the coach responsible for Nadal’s downfall at the FO, in a big clay event. Fact. That alone tells you something.

Reason 5

Sampras’ serve. A lot of people on here think that Nadal could easily retrieve Sampras’ serve. But there is evidence to show that Nadal cannot handle Sampras’ serve. The evidence is shown at 1.00 in the video clip below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QSK9t6OrgU

As Sampras once said, when Nadal’s game fell away he had nothing, but Sampras always had his serve to fall back on if his game fell away.

Reason 6

Nadal would not have the benefit of the easy pickings Federer always provided him at the FO. Sampras was a mental beast and was never mentally scarred by anyone during his time. When he got beat, he would get his revenge later down the track. When Safin beat Sampras to win the USO, Sampras beat him in the USO SF the following year. When Krajicek beat Sampras at Wimbledon, Sampras got his revenge and beat him at the USO. When Hewitt beat old man Sampras in the USO final, guess what Sampras did? He came back the following year to win the whole damn Open. When Agassi beat a messed up Sampras in the 1995 AO final, messed up because of his coach falling to illness, Sampras got the last laugh later in the year at the USO final. Sampras simply never got mentally beat by anyone, unlike Nadal who lost 3 straight slam finals to Djokovic. Bottom line is, Sampras would not take any mental scars into the RG match so Nadal won’t be beating him before a ball has even been bounced the way he did with Federer time after time again at the FO.

Reason 7

Sampras had no trouble beating lefties (Muster) and double handed backhands (Courier, Agassi, Kafelnikov) on clay. No mismatch issues with Sampras.

Reason 8

Sampras’game. He had the serve, the second serve, the forehand, the volley, the overhead smash, the speed, the aggression. Sampras would not allow Nadal to grind, even at the FO.

Reason 9

When you outright win your era, there’s an aura about you. Sampras has that aura. Nadal has sort of been in two eras now, one up to 2012 and one post 2012 and he’s dominated neither. He’s had two goes at it and still can’t win an era. So there is no aura about him. We see him lose to Djokovic in 3 slam finals in a row and he owns Wawrinka in 8 or 9 matches and then gets done by him in their only slam final to date. Sampras' aura on the other hand, 7 times the Wimbledon champion, 5 times the USO champion, 6 times the world number 1/world champion and rarely lost to his main rivals. And when he did, as noted above, he always got his revenge. Throw in 2 AO titles and 5 WTF titles, when the final was BO5 sets, to boot, and you have aura. Borg has aura, Laver has aura, Federer has aura but with an asterix (*) next to his name because of his H2H deficiency to Nadal. Nadal simply does not have aura. So Sampras’ aura, even at the FO, may prove too much for Nadal.

Reason 10

Nadal would probably be the favourite simply because it is the FO, but my 10th and final reason for why Sampras would beat Nadal at the FO is that upsets can and do happen to favourites. Rocky Balboa upset the favourite Apollo Creed to win the world heavyweight boxing championship, France upset Brazil in the 1998 World Cup final, Leicester City upset the entire English Premier League to win the league last season and Nadal himself has suffered many shock upset losses in his career when he was the favourite. Upsets happen and Nadal more than anyone is prone to upset losses so I see no reason why Sampras would not upset him at RG.

Conclusion

I’m not suggesting for a minute that it would be easy for Sampras. It would be tough. Because of his thalassemia, Sampras would want the match won as soon as possible. I would give it to Sampras in 4 sets. Nadal would win the first set because Sampras would spend the first set finding his feet and movement, but after that, his sheer class would come to the fore. If it went to a fifth set, it would be all the much tougher, but with both players tiring, the one shot that does not tire is the serve, so Sampras takes it in 5 as well. Remember, when Sampras beat Courier at the FO, he was 2 sets down.

If anyone feels all the more enlightened after reading this, and would like to know what Sampras would do to Nadal in the Wimbledon and/or USO finals, you just say the word.

Thank you.

That is all.
 
Z

Zara

Guest
#5
It's a well argued OP but even people from other planets will be able to tell which way this will go. In fact, it has already started with abcd.
 
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#9
Yes it's definitely possible in a one off match. He did beat quite a few FO champs afterall. I think Pete would definitely stand a better chance against Djokovic and Federer though. One had to wait until he was out of the way to win it and the other had to wait until Nadal declined to such low levels that even he had the dignity and class not to celebrate when it was all said and done.
 
#11
Sampras couldn't even defeat Delgado at the French Open.
I remember the Delgado match well. My college roommate (a top player from Paraguay) was in France for the world cup and friends with Delgado so hung out with him at RG. My friend and Delgado called me drunk in a bar that night after he beat Sampras, laughing about it.

And yeah this thread is nonsense. Im a huge Sampras fan but here is no universe in which Pete could beat Rafa on clay.
 
#13
It's a well argued OP but even people from other planets will be able to tell which way this will go. In fact, it has already started with abcd.
Yes indeed. I think reason 6 is the ultimate reason why Sampras would be able to do it though and I have a feeling that reason is what would offend the Sampras critics the most.
 
Z

Zara

Guest
#15
Yes indeed. I think reason 6 is the ultimate reason why Sampras would be able to do it though and I have a feeling that reason the most is what would offend the Sampras critics the most.
I agree. Sampras was a very unique player. There are lot of hidden elements there when it comes to Sampras and his mindset, strategies, priorities etc. Sampras critics simply go by the results - they don't want to consider anything else.

Anyway, IMO if they met 5 times (that's the ball park I am going with) then it's possible Sampras might get a win over Nadal at the FO final. Sampras really didn't like to lose in the final and loved a real challenge, and had the game. I'd say the most challenging part, even more so facing Nadal, would be to keep the energy alive. But since we are taking about Nadal and this era, the chances are high because Pete wouldn't have to go through a bunch of clay courters just to make the final.
 
#16
I don't understand this either.

To set the scene: Roland Garros, the final
Sampras has said that fatigue was the biggest factor in why he didn't do well at the FO. Good luck reaching the Final fresh, and then defeating peak Rafa.


I might go on a binge watch with Sampras and clay matches. Wins and losses. I've never seen that Muster FO 1991 match, so I'll be interested to know how that match played out. I see it's not on YouTube though, so I'll might have to buy it.
 
F

Fedfan34

Guest
#17
It's a well argued OP but even people from other planets will be able to tell which way this will go. In fact, it has already started with abcd.
Zara, Zara, you are not a troll. I know you're better than that.
 
Z

Zara

Guest
#18
I don't understand this either.

I might go on a binge watch with Sampras and clay matches. Wins and losses. I've never seen that Muster FO 1991 match, so I'll be interested to know how that match played out. I see it's not on YouTube though, so I'll might have to buy it.
No, it's not on YouTube. Have you seen all other matches on clay vs Sampras - Courier, Agassi, Bruguera etc? Unfortunately Guga and Pete never played on clay. Pete though played better on clay until 1996 but after that loss in the semi at FO, he didn't want to waste his time at RG anymore. Wimbledon was too close and losing Wimbledon in 1996, the same year he made the FO SF, was heartbreaking for him.
 
#19
No, it's not on YouTube. Have you seen all other matches on clay vs Sampras - Courier, Agassi, Bruguera etc? Unfortunately Guga and Pete never played on clay. Pete though played better on clay until 1996 but after that loss in the semi at FO, he didn't want to waste his time at RG anymore. Wimbledon was too close and losing Wimbledon in 1996, the same year he made the FO SF, was heartbreaking for him.
Yes, I've seen most of his matches with his big rivals. I was always an Agassi fan, but it must be damn annoying to be a fan of Pete on this site, the amount of unwarranted disrespect he gets.
 
#20
Reason 4

To win in Rome in 1994, Sampras beat Becker in the final. What’s the significance of this, you may ask? Well as you all know, Becker was the mastermind behind Djokovic firstly beating Nadal at the FO, and secondly, finally winning the FO. Sampras beat on clay the coach responsible for Nadal’s downfall at the FO, in a big clay event. Fact. That alone tells you something.
And let us not forget that Becker once pummeled Edberg on clay in the 1988 Davis Cup final — IN SWEDEN. Edberg, of course, was Federer's coach when Djokovic was brutalizing him in major final after major final. So, Sampras beat up Djokovic's coach who beat up Federer's coach, ergo Sampras > Federer on dirt.
 
#21
Sampras has said that fatigue was the biggest factor in why he didn't do well at the FO. Good luck reaching the Final fresh, and then defeating peak Rafa.
in 1996, fatigue was the issue... if he got a more favorable draw in the earlier rounds and didn't spend so much energy against quality opponents, he'd easily have a legit shot at the title (conditions were way more favorable that year at RG than in the previous DC final in moscow... where he straight-setted kafelnikov on soviet mud).
still, pete defeated a certain number of RG winners on clay...
 
Z

Zara

Guest
#22
Zara, Zara, you are not a troll. I know you're better than that.
I am serious here though? I have always thought about it but because I have no way proving it, I don't want to bother with it. Sampras was just too strong a player and that's what struck me the most when I first watched him at AO in 1994 against Courier. I was of course too young to understand the dynamic of the game back then, but I could tell he was quite unique. I never want to underestimate his abilities. He's a beast.
 
#24
Allow me to add reason number 11,

Back in the 90s you basically had to choose between Wimbledon and FO. No one ever won both in the same year, yet 2 players have in this era and and another has won it and made serial finals at both Wimbledon and French Open. Agassi is the only person that managed to win both and he is one of the most adaptable players ever. Sampras was always going to make Wimbledon his priority. If he was in this era he wouldn't really have the problem of having to prioritise one over the other because of homogenization.
 
Z

Zara

Guest
#27
Yes, I've seen most of his matches with his big rivals. I was always an Agassi fan, but it must be damn annoying to be a fan of Pete on this site, the amount of unwarranted disrespect he gets.
I liked Agassi much better after 1999 (couldn't have been a fan of both unfortunately because of the rivalry thing) but he was a great, great player. He is really underrated. As to being a Pete fan, it's just a nature of things I guess. Maybe 10 years from now, Federer fans if they still post, will have to go through the same. Current fans have very little respect for the past legends and I don't think it will change in the future.
 
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#28
Allow me to add reason number 11,

Back in the 90s you basically had to choose between Wimbledon and FO. No one ever won both in the same year, yet 2 players have in this era and and another has won it and made serial finals at both Wimbledon and French Open. Agassi is the only person that managed to win both and he is one of the most adaptable players ever. Sampras was always going to make Wimbledon his priority. If he was in this era he wouldn't really have the problem of having to prioritise one over the other because of homogenization.
An all court genius like Fed wouldn't have a problem winning RG then W back to back as he's proven he can win on any court or speed.

Nadal would destroy Sampras even worse than he did Fed on clay. Fed is a far superior baseliner than Pete and could actually hang with and outplay Nadal on the surface at times.
 
#29
in 1996, fatigue was the issue... if he got a more favorable draw in the earlier rounds and didn't spend so much energy against quality opponents, he'd easily have a legit shot at the title (conditions were way more favorable that year at RG than in the previous DC final in moscow... where he straight-setted kafelnikov on soviet mud).
still, pete defeated a certain number of RG winners on clay...
I am glad you brought this up. A very good point. The fact is, no one in the past 15 years has had to get through 2 former champions at the FO to win the FO, let alone just make the semi finals. Sampras' 1996 FO draw was brutal. He's had to beat 2 x 2 former champions just to make the semi final. I have no doubt in my mind that if not for fatigue, Sampras would have beat Kafelnikov semi final just like he did in Russia. And some idiots think the 90s was an easy era.
 
Z

Zara

Guest
#30
in 1996, fatigue was the issue... if he got a more favorable draw in the earlier rounds and didn't spend so much energy against quality opponents, he'd easily have a legit shot at the title (conditions were way more favorable that year at RG than in the previous DC final in moscow... where he straight-setted kafelnikov on soviet mud).
still, pete defeated a certain number of RG winners on clay...
Very tough draw, unfortunately. Sad just when he decided to give it a shot, he was handed a brutal draw. Anyway, I guess it was never meant to be.

Kafa though still would have been tough. He was quite in form that year.
 
#32
I stopped reading after "Sampras would beat Nadal at the FO"

Worthless boring 0/10 troll topic from **** poster. Moving on.
Meh, like I care what you do. Your loss anyway. I'm tipping if the thread was titled 'Federer would beat Nadal at the FO', not only would you bookmark it and memerise every word, you'd make it your wall paper and your screen saver.
 
#33
Meh, like I care what you do. Your loss anyway. I'm tipping if the thread was titled 'Federer would beat Nadal at the FO', not only would you bookmark it and memerise every word, you'd make it your wall paper and your screen saver.
I wouldn't do any of that so you're wrong there you POS pathetic troll.

Fed had his openings in 06,07 and 11 but either messed up his BP opportunities at key moments (3rd set 06, all match 07) or was unlucky like 1st set 2011.

Doesn't matter anyway he won his 1 RG and that's all he needed. GOAT.

EDIT: blocked troll. No need to reply to me again pathetic loser
 
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#34
Very tough draw, unfortunately. Sad just when he decided to give it a shot, he was handed a brutal draw. Anyway, I guess it was never meant to be.

Kafa though still would have been tough. He was quite in form that year.
Utter drivel. Sampras was mediocre at best on clay that's why he sucked at RG and never made a final.
 
6

6-3 6-0

Guest
#35
Meh, like I care what you do. Your loss anyway. I'm tipping if the thread was titled 'Federer would beat Nadal at the FO', not only would you bookmark it and memerise every word, you'd make it your wall paper and your screen saver.
No, he didn't and wouldn't and certainly not a "clay monster" like Sampras....
 
#40
I'm happy to discuss the tennis but that piece of **** troll decided to start with the personal attacks in another topic. Calling me a stalker, weirdo, **** etc so I'll give it straight back to that pathetic POS who starts embarrassing topics like this.

Hopefully the mods do their job soon and clean this place up.
Roger that!
 
#41
Very tough draw, unfortunately. Sad just when he decided to give it a shot, he was handed a brutal draw. Anyway, I guess it was never meant to be.

Kafa though still would have been tough. He was quite in form that year.
sampras is so underrated here... it's scary :confused:

he clearly didn't prioritize clay (unfortunately, as i think it costed him some opportunities) and, obviously, even less in the last part of his career... yet he's far from this 'abyssimal clay mug' reputation some people here are trying to create.

his record on clay against the RG winners of his time is relatively decent :
0-2 vs chang (W 1989)
1-0 vs gomez (W 1990)
1-2 vs courier (W 1991-1992)
1-2 vs bruguera (W 1993-1994)
1-0 vs muster (W 1995)
2-2 vs kafelnikov (W 1996)
2-3 vs agassi (W 1999)
1-0 vs costa (W 2002)

60's weed is needed in that thread :p
I am glad you brought this up. A very good point. The fact is, no one in the past 15 years has had to get through 2 former champions at the FO to win the FO, let alone just make the semi finals. Sampras' 1996 FO draw was brutal. He's had to beat 2 x 2 former champions just to make the semi final. I have no doubt in my mind that if not for fatigue, Sampras would have beat Kafelnikov semi final just like he did in Russia. And some idiots think the 90s was an easy era.
i wish there were "more champions" available to make this feat more likely !
if only hewitt, soderling and djokovic did it in 2007, 2010 and 2012... :oops:
 
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#45
Reason 1

If I didn’t know any better, and I came to this site to get all the tennis information I needed, I’d instantly assume that Sampras never won a match at the French Open, or on clay for that matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sampras’ match winning percentage at the FO is 65%. So let’s be clear from the outset, Sampras can and did win matches at the French Open. He’s not going to stand at the other end and be paper mache against Nadal.
65%? Nice. That's just about 8% worse than Gael Monfils
 
Z

Zara

Guest
#48
sampras is so underrated here... it's scary :confused:

he clearly didn't prioritize clay (unfortunately, as i think it costed him some opportunities) and, obviously, even less in the last part of his career... yet he's far from this 'abyssimal clay mug' reputation some people here are trying to create.

his record on clay against the RG winners of his time is relatively decent :
0-2 vs chang (W 1989)
1-0 vs gomez (W 1990)
1-2 vs courier (W 1991-1992)
1-2 vs bruguera (W 1993-1994)
1-0 vs muster (W 1995)
2-2 vs kafelnikov (W 1996)
2-3 vs agassi (W 1999)
1-0 vs costa (W 2002)

60's weed is needed in that thread :p

i wish there were "more champions" available to make this feat more likely !
if only soderling and djokovic did it in 2010 and 2012... :oops:
A lot of posters on this forum don't really know Sampras in the way some of us do. We at least grew up with him. You will never be able to convince them that clay or FO was really not a top priority for Sampras and back then, it was okay because there was no trend to do otherwise. His priority was always Wimbledon, USO, AO and then FO. He also wanted to break Emerson's record and set the record for No. 1. So he was really extremely focused on Wimbledon, USO, most Slams and No. 1 ranking. Oh and of course the year-end. If he had known what was to come I am sure his would have reset his priority. Let's face it, Sampras started the trend of breaking records and setting new ones. I don't even know if Federer would have existed in the way he does these days. What would have been his goals if Sampras' weren't there? Do you not suppose Nadal is in the way he is because of Federer and Djokovic and so on?
 
#50
I think most know that RG wasn't a priority for Sampras, but see it as an unsatisfactory excuse.

Emerson set the record for Sampras, who in turn gave Federer something to chase. If Sampras could've peered into the future, perhaps he wouldn't have retired so early. All these great champions pave the way.

PS, Zara, you're freaking me out.
 
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