What is Pete Sampras' legacy today?

How do you assess Pete Sampras?

  • The Greatest Ever

    Votes: 7 5.8%
  • Arguably The Greatest Ever

    Votes: 24 20.0%
  • 2nd Tier ATG right behind the Big 3

    Votes: 46 38.3%
  • Greatest Of His Generation But Not Necessarily Better Than Other Generational Goats like Bjorg/Laver

    Votes: 56 46.7%
  • Weak Era Goat

    Votes: 4 3.3%
  • An Underachiever

    Votes: 1 0.8%

  • Total voters
    120

Localfoc

Rookie
You might call this historical revisionism but I think it's worth revisiting Pete's career and looking at it in context with what has happened to tennis since he retired. I want you to pin down his legacy and what he meant to tennis, once and for all. Is he still in the conversation as the greatest? Arguably the greatest? Or is he second tier ATG now because of the Big 3? Or is he bit of a Weak Era goat....?

Was his biggest problem that he played his last match at 31 years old and seemed to lose the hunger and drive, and therefore can actually be classed as bit of an underachiever?!
 

vive le beau jeu !

Talk Tennis Guru
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#cogoat
 

Localfoc

Rookie
I think if he had stuck around and battled till age 35( 2006), it wouldn't have been plain sailing but I could see him winning another 2-3 slams. Yes, Federer was Number 1 by then but he hadn't started dominating yet, There were opportunities. Agassi and Safin won AO in '03 and '05, respectively so there were titles to go around. I think Sampras might obviously have had a losing H2H with Fed in these years( maybe a very uneven losing record), but he probably would have been a match for most other top players, and probably would have been better than baby Nadal on all surfaces apart from clay.
 

jl809

Hall of Fame
Was born in the wrong era in terms of sports science and not retiring so you get to enjoy weak competition in your 30s. Would still never have won RG, but to be the greatest HC player of all and greatest fast grasscourter ever (2nd best overall) is still pretty good, especially without any inflated slams
 

DIMI_D

Hall of Fame
I think if he had stuck around and battled till age 35( 2006), it wouldn't have been plain sailing but I could see him winning another 2-3 slams. Yes, Federer was Number 1 by then but he hadn't started dominating yet, There were opportunities. Agassi and Safin won AO in '03 and '05, respectively so there were titles to go around. I think Sampras might obviously have had a losing H2H with Fed in these years( maybe a very uneven losing record), but he probably would have been a match for most other top players, and probably would have been better than baby Nadal on all surfaces apart from clay.
The Guy that got me into tennis in that emotional AO match with courier 1995 QF comeback! Man he inspired me and gave me a childhood affection to a sport that he basically got me into playing against the wall in my backyard that led to my younger brothers playing until this day.. My first favourite player I adored as a little kid he was def the best of his generation went out a winner. I think he did loose motivation when he had the slam record and weeks and couldn’t be caught. Back then it was not expected to be career slam champ. I believe he got a bit unlucky on clay when he had chances up to 97 but he sort of didn’t take it as seriously. Surfaces played so differently back then and also we had proper specialists and not homogenisation which really distorts that players are all round… Prob laver goes above him due to the fact he didn’t get to play so many slams in his prime and dominated his generation more so I believe..
 

Razer

Legend
Most Year End 1 Titles.

01, Novak Djokovic - 7
02. Peter Sampras - 6
03. Roger Federer - 5
04. Rafael Nadal - 5

So I would say, 20 years after his retirement he is still at the second spot.
 

Razer

Legend
Pete still has 12 slams at W+USO, it is 2 more than Novak's slam tally and 1 less than Roger's tally which is very impressive since he made all this by early 31.

Had he got homogenized era with AO and French also to suit his game + some longveity into late 30s without thallasemia then he would also be on 20-22 slams.
 
Pete gets severely underrated. He was not as consistent as the big three but his peak level on grass, HC and carpet was scary. Wimbledon final 95, USO F 95, Davis Cup against Rafter 97, YEC finals 96,99, there are multiple matches where he looked close to unbeatable. If he had had the benefits of today’s sport science and be able to play until 36, as well as having a higher slam target to beat than Emerson’s 12, he could well have ended in the same slam region like the big three.
 

thrust

Legend
You might call this historical revisionism but I think it's worth revisiting Pete's career and looking at it in context with what has happened to tennis since he retired. I want you to pin down his legacy and what he meant to tennis, once and for all. Is he still in the conversation as the greatest? Arguably the greatest? Or is he second tier ATG now because of the Big 3? Or is he bit of a Weak Era goat....?

Was his biggest problem that he played his last match at 31 years old and seemed to lose the hunger and drive, and t a guy who wins 14 slams, had 6 consecutive YE at #1, and 286 weeks at #1 could possibly be considered an underachiever?
I think if he had stuck around and battled till age 35( 2006), it wouldn't have been plain sailing but I could see him winning another 2-3 slams. Yes, Federer was Number 1 by then but he hadn't started dominating yet, There were opportunities. Agassi and Safin won AO in '03 and '05, respectively so there were titles to go around. I think Sampras might obviously have had a losing H2H with Fed in these years( maybe a very uneven losing record), but he probably would have been a match for most other top players, and probably would have been better than baby Nadal on all surfaces apart from clay.
Some players know when it is time to go, Pete was one of them. He had the slam, YE and weeks at #! records as well as lots of money. His body and mind were not into the game anymore. He did what was best for him.
 

LaVie en Rose

Hall of Fame
One of the greatest tennis players to ever live.Great master of his craft ,inspiration to many including future greats!When he was done, silently rode in to legend.
 

kayapit

Semi-Pro
Sampras was a part of an era of making tennis cool. He was Pistol Pete to Andre's Rebel. They had mainstream commercials and buzz and glamor, in a pre social media world. Sure Pete was the goat for a while slam record wise but that's not what I think of re his legacy.
 

Rosstour

G.O.A.T.
Tier below big-3, but above Borg...not sure about Laver though, he still may be greater than Sampras if we don't limit his achievements to just open era tennis...

I want to agree bc he was my idol growing up, but never even sniffing a French trophy is a big demerit

Pete gets severely underrated.

lol, on TTW?

Ppl legit think he is far superior to Fed despite never having the all-surface ability.

He's probably Top-4/5, and was one of the scariest, most athletically imposing players ever.

But...ppl bash Fed for being an untested front-runner, and this applies to PETE as well. He never had a player on the level of Rafa or Djok to test him. Agassi was his greatest rival and really wasn't much of a challenge.
 
lol, on TTW?

Ppl legit think he is far superior to Fed despite never having the all-surface ability.

He's probably Top-4/5, and was one of the scariest, most athletically imposing players ever.

But...ppl bash Fed for being an untested front-runner, and this applies to PETE as well. He never had a player on the level of Rafa or Djok to test him. Agassi was his greatest rival and really wasn't much of a challenge.
Yep. People pretend as if he was a mug of epic proportions in clay. In this “RS-Style” ten matches threads most posters give him 0-10 on clay per defekt no matter against whom. Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and even against Murray or Agassi I have seen ridiculous takes like 2-8 or so. As for other surfaces, he gets his rightful credit but most have him way below big three, which is true in terms of overall achievements but one need to factor in the different eras.
 

Rosstour

G.O.A.T.
Yep. People pretend as if he was a mug of epic proportions in clay. In this “RS-Style” ten matches threads most posters give him 0-10 on clay per defekt no matter against whom. Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and even against Murray or Agassi I have seen ridiculous takes like 2-8 or so. As for other surfaces, he gets his rightful credit but most have him way below big three, which is true in terms of overall achievements but one need to factor in the different eras.

I don't think he's WAY below, but on clay they all would have had his number. Fed pretty much only lost to Nadal consistently at the French, but for PETE, RG was everyone's chance to take a piece.

He has 5 Finals appearances on clay, winning titles in 3 of them...against strong-era titans like Alberto Mancini and Jason Stoltenberg. (He also beat strong-era clay giant Becker)
 

Mustard

Bionic Poster
I don't think he's WAY below, but on clay they all would have had his number. Fed pretty much only lost to Nadal consistently at the French, but for PETE, RG was everyone's chance to take a piece.

He has 5 Finals appearances on clay, winning titles in 3 of them...against strong-era titans like Alberto Mancini and Jason Stoltenberg. (He also beat strong-era clay giant Becker)
Mancini won Monte Carlo and Rome in the same year, 1989, beating Becker and Agassi in the finals. Not bad ;)
 

Rosstour

G.O.A.T.
Mancini won Monte Carlo and Rome in the same year, 1989, beating Becker and Agassi in the finals. Not bad ;)

I understand.

Let's remember BB never won a top-level clay title.

However you want to view it, it's nothing compared to the clay resume of even Federer or Djokovic
 
I don't think he's WAY below, but on clay they all would have had his number. Fed pretty much only lost to Nadal consistently at the French, but for PETE, RG was everyone's chance to take a piece.

He has 5 Finals appearances on clay, winning titles in 3 of them...against strong-era titans like Alberto Mancini and Jason Stoltenberg. (He also beat strong-era clay giant Becker)
And yet he has very solid clay H2Hs against all good clay courters of his generation. I don’t deny that both Novak and Fed are better clay courters than Pete, but to say they would go 10-0 is ridiculous, especially given that today’s clay courts play differently than in the 90s.
 

Rosstour

G.O.A.T.
And yet he has very solid clay H2Hs against all good clay courters of his generation. I don’t deny that both Novak and Fed are better clay courters than Pete, but to say they would go 10-0 is ridiculous, especially given that today’s clay courts play differently than in the 90s.

Rafa would go 10-0 against PETE, if we think Roger's BH is 'weak' then I don't know if a word exists for PETE's

Fed and Djok, maybe 8 out of 10 matches.

And, my impression is that clay courts today have been the least affected by the surface homogenization...in fact it's the other courts that have been slowed and made more clay-like.

Rafa in the 90s wouldn't be Rafa, for example. And he has PETE, Scud, and Greg Rusedski to thank
 

Mustard

Bionic Poster
Today's conditions on clay, compared to the 1990s, are much more favourable for rhythm based baseline rallies that Nadal loves compared to rhythm disrupting short rallies that Sampras favours. It's easier today not to make unforced errors too.
 
Rafa would go 10-0 against PETE, if we think Roger's BH is 'weak' then I don't know if a word exists for PETE's

Fed and Djok, maybe 8 out of 10 matches.

And, my impression is that clay courts today have been the least affected by the surface homogenization...in fact it's the other courts that have been slowed and made more clay-like.

Rafa in the 90s wouldn't be Rafa, for example. And he has PETE, Scud, and Greg Rusedski to thank
Rafa could even go 10-0 against Fed on clay he is one in a billion on clay. As for Fed or Djoko, 8-2 would be the absolute maximum way more likely 7-3. Prime Claypras could hold his own against guys like Bruguera, Courier, Kafelnikow or Agassi.
 

MeatTornado

Talk Tennis Guru
Somehow I actually think his legacy is in a better place today than it was 10 years ago when only Federer had blown past him in achievements. With 3 people surpassing and essentially taking him out of the GOAT debate entirely, we're able to stop tearing him apart in comparison to them and solely focus instead on how he dominated his own era.

There's even an argument to be made that he's in a better position now than Roger is. Would you rather be 4th-5th all time but undeniably the best of your era, or 3rd all time but behind your main rivals? I'm not saying I personally agree with that by any stretch, Federer undeniably had the better career. But in terms of legacy and how people think about you, Pete's in a very enviable position these days.
 

Rosstour

G.O.A.T.
Somehow I actually think his legacy is in a better place today than it was 10 years ago when only Federer had blown past him in achievements. With 3 people surpassing and essentially taking him out of the GOAT debate entirely, we're able to stop tearing him apart in comparison to them and solely focus instead on how he dominated his own era.

There's even an argument to be made that he's in a better position now than Roger is. Would you rather be 4th-5th all time but undeniably the best of your era, or 3rd all time but behind your main rivals? I'm not saying I personally agree with that by any stretch, Federer undeniably had the better career. But in terms of legacy and how people think about you, Pete's in a very enviable position these days.

Definitely noticed most/all the recent Sampras-worship is being done by ppl using it to tear down Federer
 

MeatTornado

Talk Tennis Guru
Definitely noticed most/all the recent Sampras-worship is being done by ppl using it to tear down Federer
Well duh, that's the nature of things. Same way a lot of Sampras fans became Nadal fans once Federer had become a clear threat to Pete's legacy all the way back in like 2005-2006.
 

Razer

Legend
Definitely noticed most/all the recent Sampras-worship is being done by ppl using it to tear down Federer

The fact that someone could use Sampras as a weapon to tear down Federer shows that Pete is quite relevant even today, he is not completely out of the GOAT conversation.

When you still are GOAT/co-GOAT at 2 out of 4 slams even 20 years after your retirement then it means you are automatically relevant.
 

Razer

Legend
He straight up looks like someones grandpa in 2002 and he was 32 lol

Pete and Nadal both looked very old by 31-32. In Nadal's case I think 2018 onwards he started to look much older than he did 1-2 years earlier. Nadal looked young at 31 but there seems to be notable difference in 1 year.

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At 32 Nadal now suddenly looks very old, Pete like old. At 33 when Nadal won vs Medvedev at USO he was looking older than Pete, horrible.

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Compared to this Federer and Novak look very young at 31.

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ChrisRF

Legend
He was my main reason to watch tennis as a child.

However, in an objective way IMO his main legacy is creating a new narrative with enforcing the Slam count. I have to admit he started it in a very convenient way for himself. With pretending in front of anyone that the weak and bogus Emerson "Slam record" of 12 titles is somewhat the "Holy Grail" of tennis, he presented a goal that was reachable despite his own multiple flaws (having only 3 options without RG, not even winning a hardcourt Slam after age 25 apart from his last US Open etc.).

That enabled him to become somewhat a "niche GOAT" for a while if we may say so, despite everyone of Laver, Rosewall and Gonzales would certainly already have won more than 14 Slams if there always would have been open play (not more than 20 though). Also we already saw from the WTA that a handful of players being near 20 Slams is the expected outcome after a few decades of open play, so for all those reasons obviously 14 could never last long.

And yet, he set the narrative. He was the one to start the race and therefore took part in "making" the Big 3 to some degree. Not because he set a high bar, but because he was the first one to set a bar at all.
 

Localfoc

Rookie
Pete and Nadal both looked very old by 31-32. In Nadal's case I think 2018 onwards he started to look much older than he did 1-2 years earlier. Nadal looked young at 31 but there seems to be notable difference in 1 year.

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At 32 Nadal now suddenly looks very old, Pete like old. At 33 when Nadal won vs Medvedev at USO he was looking older than Pete, horrible.

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Rafael-Nadal-in-tears-after-winning-US-Open-by-beating-Daniil-Medvedev-2047630.jpg
Yeah, Nadal's sudden physical change has been something remarkable to witness. He used to look positively boyish up until 30. It's like his face went through a real life Face ageing App.
Incomplete poll.
What is missing?:unsure:
 
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