LEGEND: PETE SAMPRAS

Pete Sampras is second in the list of most number of Grand Slam Titles along with Rafael Nadal with 14 titles. He was considered a supreme tennis player before Roger Federer and Nadal came onto the scene. Sampras’ game was similar to Federer’s as he too used to carry out the serve and volley play a lot and was almost unbeatable at fast grass courts. The American finished his career by defeating fellow countryman and rival Andre Agassi at the finals of US Open in 2012. We bring you some amazing stats by about the Legend Sampras is:

1. Sampras moved from ranked 893 to ranked 97 in his first year:

Pete Sampras had turned pro in 1988, when he was just 16 years old. Sampras was ranked 893 at the start of the year but ended it 97. He lost his first professional match to Sammy Giammalva, Jr. at the February Ebel U.S. Pro Indoor in Philadelphia.

2. Sampras won his first Grand Slam singles match at French Open in 1989:

Sampras won the first round match but he lost to 17 year old Micheal Chang 1-6, 1-6, 1-6 in the second round. Michael Chang went on to become the eventual winner of the tournament and both him and Sampras shared some sort of rivalry in the years to come.

3. Huge Jump in Ranking again in 1990

By the end of 1990, Sampras was World No.5 after starting the year as world no. 61 before the Australian Open. Later that year, Sampras won his first Grand Slam by winning the US Open at the edge of 19.

4. First Professional Singles Title, February 1990:

Sampras won his first professional singles title, in February 1990 when he won the Ebel U.S. Pro Indoor in Philadelphia. He defeated sixth-ranked Andre Agassi, eighth-ranked Tim Mayotte on the way to the final and eighteenth-ranked Andrés Gómez in the final. This title elevated his ranking into the top 20 for the first time.

Breaks Ivan Lendl’s streak of eight consecutive US Open Finals

On way to his maiden Grand Slam title in US Open, 1990, Sampras defeated Thomas Muster (sixth ranked) in the fourth round and third-ranked Ivan Lendl 6-4, 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 in a five-set quarterfinal, and thus breaking Lendl’s streak of eight consecutive US Open finals.

6. Becomes US Open’s youngest ever male champion:

When Sampras came past Agassi in straight sets in the US Open Finals of 1990, he became the youngest ever male champion at US Open aged 19 years and 28 days.

7. ‘Relieved about not defending title’

in 1991, Sampras entered the US Open as the defending champion, and he caused controversy when, after losing in the quarterfinals to Jim Courier, said that he was not disappointed and felt relieved that the pressure to defend his title was no longer on him. This led to widespread criticism, which included disparaging remarks from Courier and Jimmy Connors.

8. 1992: Only appearance in the Summer Olympics

The event was played on clay, a surface on which he struggled a lot. But, Sampras still advanced to the third round before giving up a two-set lead and losing to Andrei Cherkasov of Russia.

First Player to serve 1000 aces in a season.

In 1993, Sampras not only attained the World no. 1 ranking, but also won his first Wimbledon Championships along with the Second US Open title. He finished the year as the clear no. 1 and set a new ATP Tour record that year by becoming the first player to serve more than 1,000 aces in a season.

10. Record for most Wimbledon Titles

Sampras won all Wimbledon titles from 1993- 2000 except for the one in 1996 where he lost to in the quarter finals. He lost to Richard Krajicek, who was the eventual winner that year. Roger Federer, too has 7 Wimbledon Championships to his name.

11. Sampras never progressed beyond Semi Finals at French Open.

Sampras always used to struggle at clay courts because the slow pace of surface didn’t really cater to his fast serve and volley play. But not even playing the finals of French Open would have certainly hurt him badly.

12. Sampras held the number one ranking for 5 consecutive years

When Sampras ended year 1997 as World number 1, he became the second player after Jimmy Connors (1974-1978) to hold the number ranking for five years in a row.

13. 24-match winning streak in 1999

The year 1999 didn’t start too well for Sampras as he had to withdraw from the Australian Open and couldn’t win any title in the early part of the season. But then he went on 24-match winning streak, including the Stella Artois Championships, Wimbledon (equaling Roy Emerson’s record of 12 Grand Slam singles titles), Los Angeles, and Cincinnati.

14. ATP Player for the year for 6 years consecutively:

Sampras was named the ATP player of the year from 1993-1998, out of which from 1993 to 1997, he held the number one ranking.

15. Sixth Oldest Player to win a Grand Slam

When Sampras beat Agassi at the US Open in 2002, his last Grand Slam title, he became the sixth oldest player in the history of men’s tennis to win a Grand Slam. Also, he was the oldest player to win the US Open after Ken Rosewall in 1970.

16. Held the record for winning a Grand Slam for 8 years consecutively:

When Sampras won the Wimbledon in 2000, it was his 8th consecutive year when we won a Grand Slam starting from Wimbledon in 1993. The record was surpassed by Rafael Nadal, when he won the French Open in 2013.

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