Sampras Slams Current Players…Again
by Sean Randall | February 17th, 2007, 1:36 pm

In case you missed the latest Sports Illustrated – no, not the swimsuit issue – or you simply don’t get it, Pete Sampras took yet another swipe at the current crop of men’s players. Here’s a snippet from Richard Deitsch’s short Q&A with Pistol Pete:

SI: After he practiced with you, Justin Gimelstob wrote a column for saying he thought you were playing as well as anyone except Roger Federer.

Sampras: We were talking about the sport: James Blake is No. 6 in the world, and I wonder what if would be like to play him at this stage of my life if he gives me a few months to prepare. The serve is something that I still possess, and I feel it was pretty hard to break.

What Pete’s basically saying: “Give me two months and I’d kick everyone’s asses and give Fed some real competition.”

Reality: No, Pete, you wouldn’t. Sorry.

This morning I caught the tail end of an ESPN Sportscenter segment on former NBA great Scottie Pippen who’s been retired from the league for three years or so but apparently is contemplating a comeback at age 41. ADHEREL

Charles Barkley offered his thoughts afterward simply saying, “Players retire because they can’t play anymore.” And for the most part, Charles is correct.

Charles added that even though retired players may feel physically better then ever, sitting on the couch is not the same as playing day-in and day-out. I think the same applies to Pete.

Pete’s been living the good life the last few years, and I’m sure his body feels great and he’s got the drive back to play high level tennis. Unfortunately, two months or two years of training isn’t going to get him back to the top if that’s what he meant. Fortunately for Pete’s sake it’s just talk, because I don’t think he’d be winning many matches on the ATP right now. His time has simply passed.

As for Pete cracking on the level of the current players, I understand where he’s coming from and I agree – I have ripped into them, too. But I don’t think Pete should be doing that. It just comes across as sour grapes in his case especially with Roger being about 18 months away from his record. If he wants to say that he can give Federer some problems on a tennis court, that’s cool, I’ll listen. But he needs to stop taking shots at Roger’s competition. That doesn’t do anyone any good.

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89 Comments for Sampras Slams Current Players…Again

Fan of Tennis Says:

I agree with you (for a change) lol!

But I loved Pete when he played. Now his time is over and he should just bow out gracefully. Roger is the man now and the way Pete is talking, it almost does seem like he’s acting like “sour grapes’. Not good Pete! Go out like we remember you – a graceful champion.

Pete still remember the courts like it was when he played. Faster surfaces, by far. Great for Serve and Volleying. The courts (from what the players say today) are entirely different and if Pete thinks he can come back and win with the style of game he played when he was playing…he’s just going to constantly get embarrassed. Sure he might win a few, but I guarantee you he’ll lose more than his share. The players today are playing faster, hitting the ball harder, returning serve better… It’s a different game.

Look at all the sports where you can measure time, distance, endurance..and the athletes are just getting better, faster, etc. Lendl said it best. He said the tennis athletes are far better than when he was playing and in spite of what everyone else thinks – the players today are better. That’s from Lendl. Pete, I loved you when you were playing, but try to retire with grace and and give the players today their due. I don’t want to remember Pete as a player with a sour grape attitude.

Agassi said it best. Says:

Agassi said it many times and reaffirmed his opinion of Federer being the best opponent he ever faced, in the New York Times yesterday.

I thought that Sampras used to hang out his tongue as a method of relaxation between playing points in tennis matches, but now listening to his bullshit talk now, I am beginning to suspect that the tongue hanging was part of his disrespect for his opponents and fans of tennis in general.

Raj Says:

Before Pete won the 2002 US open, he lost in 28 consecutive tournaments without any titles. He was being routinely beaten by players outside of top 20. Had it not been a washed up Agassi that he faced (agassi had a tough match less than 18 hours before against hewitt, while smapras had schalken!), sampras wouldn’t have won that either.

He was not good enough to win anything else, he knew that, that’s why he retired. He knew he got very lucky at the 2002 US open. Even his compliments to federer have been backhanded.

Try and be more of a sport, Pete.

Roger Federer is out of this world Says:

Pete should be helping tennis, now he only bashes it.

JCF Says:

I agree with your article, but you only quoted a very small portion of it, and slanted it a bit. Pete didn’t exactly ‘slam’ the current players. All he said was he thought he might hold up well against them if he had a few months. You exaggerrated it a bit.

Not that I don’t agree with you. I thought his comments on possibly returning to Wimbledon after seeing Nadal play from the back of the court on it and ‘licking his chops’ was bashworthy. He wouldn’t beat anyone today, not even Nadal. It takes more than a serve to beat Federer — just ask Roddick.

Ted Says:

Why can’t these guys just be retired and be remembered for the greatness they once achieved? Sampras has nothing to prove. All of these comings out of retirement and/or playing on the senior tour is for ego and a money grab. I guess it’s just for entertainment purposes rather than an athletic competition. It’s only a matter of time before MacEnroe turns 75 and challenges the top WTA woman to a match like an elderly Bobby Riggs playing BJK.

As for Sampras beating Federer – no chance. It’s like the guy at your club thinking he could take on an ATP pro.

luke Says:

this is coming from a guy that has a losing record against hewitt when hewitt didnt even have a serve. seen how hewitts going lately? seen how federer has embarassed him the last few years, a double bagel in a slam final no less? get a grip ego boy.

its interesting how for someone who is supposed to be one of the greatest ever, he has a terrible record at the french. being no 1 gives u the easiest draws in the universe as well…the thing about clay is, because it nullifies serves it tends to really show who the good tennis players are, because they dont rely on free points.


Look although Pete said he might be a good match against Federer, he might very well be able to hold his own against him. You just never know. I mean come on did u see Maria Sharapova play in Melbourn? she did amazing and WON the 2006 US Open and then almost lost in the quarters in Melbourn. Even though shes Ranked No.1 in the world she still almost lost. The Point is Pete could very well in fact beat or atleast come close to beating Federer

tom Says:

Read the whole article – he praises Federer immensely. The Pete of 1997 is the only player who could hold a candle to Federer – and all he really did was serve then, so why would it change now?

come on, pete Says:

I cannot blame Pete. He was a great player in his time, and once ou retire and hear people compare you to the current great players, you feel like you van get back i n the game, stand you own. The reality is, it’s almost impossible.

I respected Smapras when he was playing, and i RESPECRT HIM NOW. However, no way can he beat anyone in the top ten now, forget the perfect Federer.

Retire, Pete, and forget about playing professional tennis.

tom Says:

He has retired – in the interview he says there is no way he’s coming back!!!! Whoever wrote this article is just trying to stir up controversy. Do yourself some favours and look at Pete in his prime on youtube – there’s basically no difference between him and Federer, except Pete has worse defence and was more attacking. It’s your pick what you think is more exciting.

Michael Says:

It’s time for Pete to either put up, or shut up !

My take :

Blake-Pete : too close to call, but if Blake doesn’t have any brain cramps, he would win it.

Roddick-Pete : Pete !

Fed-Pete : Repeat of their Wimbledon encounter, but more emphatic !

Seth Says:


If Pete played Fed today, you wouldn’t have a repeat of their Wimbledon encounter. You’d have a drubbing so emphatic that it would be painful to watch. Fed would kick Pete’s tail six ways from Sunday. Now Pete in his prime vs. Fed right now, yeah, you’d have a match on your hands.

topspin me Says:

Old Pete vs Roger…Pete might win if it is just a phony exhibition game.

All these trash talking…looks like Pete is now starting to get really anxious that his 14-Slam record is nearing the end of its reign in the books.

max Says:

Pete is the great competitor, he is like Tiger Woods more so then Roger. Pete and Tiger intimidate opponents with their aggression to the point that opponents fear them and play worse. With Roger its different, opponents dont actually fear him they respect his game and they know that he is really good. Take away the fear/aggression factor and Tiger and Pete would have won half the titles they have won. Roger is the ultimate champion in my books.

tom Says:

like i’s a matter of style

Senna or Schumacher?

koen Says:

Concerning one comment:

A note about clay: clay doesn’t require higher playing standards. Not only does it nullify the serve but the higher bouncing surface makes it difficult for a normal body to react properly – and that’s out of the range of technique. No, it suffices to hit high-bouncing balls at the backhand to win the match.

Dan Says:

gawd, he is such a whiney biatch!

ioforehnd Says:

I will always remember Pete as a gracious tennis player in triumph or defeat so please, Pete, that is the way I want to remember and think about you.
It’s Roger’s time.

Roger Federer is out of this world Says:

When I have finished my career the same thing might happen with me. I get my menopause too.

alexandros Says:

NAdal is the new Agassi of our time, when are people going to realize that he is 10 times more exciting to watch than Roger or Pete? He is 20 and will win a lot more of slams, even if Roger wins 20 Slams, Ndal is the symbol of this game.

cj Says:

oh pete never in your wildest dreams could you manage Roger even if you both were there at the same time and age you never possesed the game roger has he can do more than a serve.

I admit, I like Pete Says:

Please read the whole SI article before leaving a comment. The author of this article is the one who is disrespectful.

Raj Says:

Pete of 2001 > (i.e. better than) Pete of 2007 (no doubt about that, right?).

Federer of 2007 >> (much better than) Fed of 2001, right?

Fed of 2001 BEAT Pete of 2001, on grass, at wimbledon (pete won 7 of the 8 previous wimbledons).

So Pete of 2007 vs Fed of 2007 – is there even a competition there, or just a triple bagel in favor of Feb?

What a dope, Pete.

Skorocel Says:

Can someone post the link to that SI interview? The one mentioned in this article doesn’t seem to work…

JCF Says:


You are a legend. But you’re 35. Most players retire long before that age. Don’t dream about beating anyone on the tour, let alone the guy who won 10 of the last 14 slams and has double the ranking points of the #2 player in the world, and 4 times the ranking points of #3.

You’re 10 years older, and your serve isn’t as ferocious on the modern day slower courts. The rest of your game doesn’t hold up against Roger’s.

The best you can do now is wait for Roger to surpass your 14 slam tally, and then write off the feat to lack of competition.


baselinehack Says:

YAAAAWWWWWNNNNNN. For lack of any news now the Fedfreaks are bashing Sampras. Sacrilege.
Get a life.
And shouldn’t Sean have been fired already for that uncious blog entry he wrote about the Croats a week ago? Tennis-x can’t find better bloggers older than 12?

Shane Says:

Guys, is this argument really happening…..I mean the fact that every time Pete Sampras speaks he speaks in defense of his record…….the fact that he says the competition is not as tough as it used to be is just not true…….keep in mind i am a sampras fan as well, but tennis is like every other sport except for boxing and that is every era of players are faster, stronger, and better than the era before……..when pete and andre played the reason you saw so many different grandslam champions is because they were not half as consistent as roger and therefore they would lose early in events and other players would have an oppurtunity to win the tournaments…….roger federer is in every final of every tournament he plays, and that is why you do not see other guys winning…….if you look at the top ten from 1997 versus now or especially the top 50, the players are better than they used to be……and as far as pete giving roger a run for his money he needs to quit saying that because he is going to start embarrassing himself and we do not want that for him……….andre agassi would no who the best is because he played them both and he says federer is without a doubt the greatest he ever played so lets can it pete or you are going to start losing respect from your fans…!

Bonitto Says:

Why dont you guys go read that interview before you all start to make comments about what Pete said or not said, I read it and there is nowhere that he is bashing anyone, go read it all for yourselves and stop passing judgement, the author of this post is a liar.

Bonitto Says:

Here is the link of that interview, read it for yourselves ans atop take the author words for it.

Raj Says:

YEs, read Pete’s comments over the years in their entirety. He is always giving backhanded accolades to Federer. Agassi, who is more qualified to comment on federer (having played him 11 times), never does that, he is fair.

Pete should thank his stars that he didn’t start playing 10 years earlier – otherwise Mcenroe, becker, and edberg on grass and lendl at the US Open – heck, Pete would have won 4, not 14 slams, had he played in the 80s. Or the current decade – max he would have sneaked is a couple of wimbledons against Roger. All other surfaces, Pete at his peak would have always lost to Fed.

Pete got very very lucky to get to where he did.

Bonitto Says:

Now I know for sure that you are a damm fool Raj and a lunatic too and your stupid comments, any era Pete plays in he would have been just as great, so please dont go fooling yourself it only make your argument sound like sour gripes, if you dont know it, Pete play all of these guys you name and kick their asses, so get real, you dont know a damm thing about tennis.

Sas Says:

^ Calm down dear. ;)

I read the rest of Pete’s comments and he was actually pretty complimentary about Rog so I have no real gripe.

Retired Pete vs. 2007 Rog wouldn’t stand a chance and anyone that thinks otherwise needs to have a rethink.

Arguments Says:

Pete was great, Roger is great as well. The only difference is that Roger when he retires will be called the greatest player of all time, Pete will be one of the greats. I am a sampras fan, and I grew up watching Sampras play. When sampras says the competition was tough back in his time, he is absolutely correct, and if you disagree I am not sure why anyone would think that. Back in pete era, there used to serve and volley, and baseline players as well. Tennis had more variety, now it is just power tennis and who can hit the bigger forehand. One of the reasons I love Rog play because we can actually see some shot making, other matches are just bang bang tennis.

What makes a great athlete truly great is their hunger to compete and win. Their unwillingness to want to share their glory, that is what makes them special. Whether it is Tiger or Schumacher they played to be the best, Schumacher was not subtle he was more arrogant and did whatever it takes to win. Tiger is more gracious, but any great athlete from any sport if you look at their history has that fire in them to be the best.

Sampras was the best in his era. If Fed is going to beat him and be the best. Do you honestly believe Pete shouldnt feel an ounce of sadness. He is after all human, 14 was good enough, I thought that record would hold for a long time, but a new guy comes in makes his achievements look so petty and everyone has forgotten what pete did.

Despite all that Pete is as gracious can be. What is wrong with Pete thinking that he could give Fed a run for his money. Whether this is true or realistic or not it is not important, but the point is Pete knows his abilities better than anyone else. He has every right to believe in himself. Who are we judge and say that he cant dream about the fact he and Fed would have had great rivalry.

What would he have liked him to say. Pete: I know I suck, Fed is just so much better than me, he would kick my butt, he is the best. Even if this is the truth, why should he say this, belief is what makes a champion a true champion.

I think people are just trying to dig up controversy with what Pete is saying. Pete is reflecting on his era and his thoughts as a tennis player. He has earned that much right after achieving so much, we should let him speak his mind.

Bonitto Says:

Thank you Arguments, I am glad to hear from somebody with sense here, because most of who is replying here are totally lunatics.

Agassi fan Says:

There’s so much hype about sampras only because he is American. Switch the nationalities – if Sampras was Swiss, and Fed American, nobody on this forum would have hesitated in pronouncing fed the greatest human being to have ever lived.

American bias. Its so clear. Get real.

Now that sampras’s 14 slams record is under threat, sampras’s fans (and unfortunately sampras himself) are desperately trying to undermine fed. How cheap. Be an adult and accept the facts.

John Says:


Under the photo on the first page it says:

“In May, Pete Sampras will return to tour action for the first time in three years.
Damian Strohmeyer/SI”

If Pete really believes that he’s the best, all he needs to do is win a few more slams. Take them away from Roger. Easy. And then we’ll know for sure that Pete’s the best. Come on Pete, you can do it. Enough talk, just do it.

penise Says:




Bill Walsh Says:

I’m a bit of a hater when it comes to Sampras, but I have to say that he impressed me in that exhibition win over Roddick last fall more than he did when he was No. 1. It was just one match, and an exo at that, so your point is no doubt correct, but I’m just sayin’ — he was hitting the ball like nobody’s business.

John Says:

re: “It was just one match, and an exo at that, … ”

A WTT match is not a real match. And any game with no-ad scoring is not a real game.

kamret Says:

It’s funny how we always tend to forget how great past champions were as soon as we see a new one dominating. I never really liked Sampras (I found him too cocky) but I have no doubt that he could still challenge Federer and beat a lot of guys on the tour. He is still beating Roddick (as he did just a few months ago in an exibition) and I don’t see why he couldn’t beat the other top guys, as well.

sensationalsafin Says:

what does amerian bias have to do with this? you can’t take anything away from federer, he’s freaking unbelievable. and in terms of his actual playing he’s without a doubt the best ever. but cmon, 14 slams, 6 years in a row at number 1, 64 or so singles titles, one of the greatest serves in history. y would u try to undermine sampras? imo, until federer completes the Grand Slam, which he will this year and then the Golden Slam next year, sampras is the greatest ever. even if it was an exo, roddick said it himself after beating roger at kooyong, “if u have a choice between winning and losing i guess ur gonna try to win”. so sampras was able to not just keep up with but actually beat the current number 4. so maybe his claims are legit, maybe if he practiced hard for a few months, he would be able to beat a number of the top players.

Jes Says:

People should read the whole article before judging Pete. He really did complement federer several times in the article. But I do think pete in his prime would give federer a challenge atleast at wimbledon because most players these days just play from the back of the base line and pete can take advantage of that. But I still believe federer is the greatest tennis player ever. Federer’s tennis can only be described as perfection.

Bonitto Says:

It is American baised SensationalSafin, pure and simple and if you cant see that, well…

And Jes,,Roger is not the Greatest player, Pete Sampras is and until Roger surpass him then you can call Roger the greatest.

Agassi fan Says:

This is what Lendl just said, so all this nonsense about there not being enough competition today, is just, NONSENSE, Unless, of course, you can prove that you know more about tennis than Lendl!


Don’t, however, try to tell Lendl it was tougher in his time than it is for Federer now.

True, Lendl’s losses in Grand Slam finals came against the likes of Connors, McEnroe, Borg, Wilander, Becker and Cash. But Federer’s dominance, he said, has nothing to do with an absence of fitting foes.

“He’s just so much better than those other guys,” Lendl said. “If he wasn’t there, you’d have four or five guys with four or five majors. But he gobbles them all up.”


zola Says:

Maybe his attitude has lot to do with constant comparison of Sampras and Fed for the G.O.A.T title.

I suggest an exhibition match between Pete and Fed or Pete and Nadal, or Pete and the #10, whoever he might be at the time, in US Open, or just come back, as Hingis did.

So far Agassi, has a better manner, selling furniture and developing Real Estate. As much as I know, Pete is not doing anything and he is bored.

Sampras was one of my all-time favorites, but this new bored,sarcastic charachter started getting on my nerves!

Agassi fan Says:

Oh man, look at this graph at

coupled with Lendl’s comments, this graph is pretty damning for Sampras when compared to Federer!

Bonitto Says:

Zola, you seem to know more about what Pete Sampras is doing than he is, do you live at his house to know what he is doing or not doing?/ I dont think so, so stop passing judgement.

Let the man speak his mind will you, he has that right to do so,, and good for Andre for selling beds and tables, every man to his own.

sensationalsafin Says:

how is it american biased?

Agassi Fan Says:

This is what Lendl just said about Federer, and his competition. So unless you are more knowledgeable about tennis than Lendl, don’t ever say that Fed is winning due to less competition (something that Sampras has often said – sour grapes…):

Don’t, however, try to tell Lendl it was tougher in his time than it is for Federer now.

True, Lendl’s losses in Grand Slam finals came against the likes of Connors, McEnroe, Borg, Wilander, Becker and Cash. But Federer’s dominance, he said, has nothing to do with an absence of fitting foes.

“He’s just so much better than those other guys,” Lendl said. “If he wasn’t there, you’d have four or five guys with four or five majors. But he gobbles them all up.”


look at Fed’s ranking points – its not that others have less, HE HAS MORE.

Agassi Fan Says:

And Agassi has repeatedly said Fed is better than Sampras. So unless you are more knowledgeable about tennis than Agassi, hold your peace.

Jason Says:

You all have no idea what you’re talking about. For a minute, forget Roger. Enter Agassi in his prime, you think he would be second to Nadal? I don’t bloody think so. Without a doubt, if Federer played in the 90’s, there’s no way he’d be this successful. Why? Because unlike today, in the 90’s there were champions, great players, not like the two-bit baseliners of today.

As for the person who said Sampras had a losing streak against Hewitt, may I remind you so did Federer until Hewitt lost his will to win (now he can’t beat anyone, not just Roger).

Jason Says:

You people have no idea. Without a doubt, if Agassi was playing in his prime today (Federer aside)he’d be just as dominant. So bring Sampras into the equation and he’d definitely be as dominant as Federer. Aside from Federer, today there are no great players, unlike the 90’s, 80’s, 70’s, etc, when multiple champions co-existed in the same generation. No depth today, that’s why Federer is winning so often!

As for the twit who said Hewitt was all over Pete, well so to Federer did not have an answer for his game either. Only when Hewitt lost his will to win did Federer start to beat him.

Bonitto Says:

Agassi Fan,

You know is people like you who give tennis a bad name, and with all the rubbish you spurt from your mouth, it is a wonder you chat so much nonsense, Andre or Lendl are only stating their opinions, not everybody else, so quoting them about Roger Federer is the best is not fact, only their opinions, and if you cant see that Tennis is weakest in this era, you are just fooling yourself my friend, but guess what, Pete Sampras is the greatest and until Federer surpass him you and Agassi or Lendl can say all you want, it make no difference, so stop spurting rubbish.

lauren Says:

He didn’t criticize anyone. He gave them alot of credit and compliments about their game. stop being such haters!!!

Bonitto Says:

hey will hate Pete no matter what he does Lauren, these are people who dont like to see others who has achieve so much, they are green with envy of then.

GarySan Says:

Both are great players. Though i like Roger more because he does all sorts of stuff on the court. Whereas Sampras just keeps serving a volleying, gets a bit boring. Sampras was pretty dominant with his play though, he was absolutely destroying and left you hopeless. Federer makes you frustrated because he always comes up with answers and discouraged.

You can’t really compare but I’d say Pete should stop making biased judgemental comments on today’s tennis. There is NO WAY he can beat players on circuit no more being retired for so long and at this age. I play tennis myself and I am a professional junior and i know the difference myself. I took a break for a year from training due to highschool studies. After a year i felt like a 10x better player, at the start that was the case, but as time goes by you feel the year you’ve wasted and how important it was. The thing about Charles Barkley the topic starter mentioned about was indeed very true and I second that.

In beating Roddick – Seriously it’s an exhibition match. It is ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE for Roddick to nowadays Sampras in a real ATP match. I’ve seen millions of those and the real players usually play like crap. Plus 90% the game was rigged because the Americans wants to prove what Pete can still do. Might have paid Roddick like an extra million just to lose purposely. I mean, US Open they pay the US finalist exra 500000 to make them sound like the best tournament there is on earth, what else is more important than this “AMERICAN PRIDE” thing? Americans always want to be on top of the world in everything. Well the extra cash paid for the acting certainly worked, made most of the Americans think “He beat today’s top 10 player!! if he was at prime he would trash federer EASILY”. What my point is this, people calm down use your brains and think.

But in conclusion, Federer and Sampras are both great players and can’t really be compared.

Ed C. Says:


I agree wholeheartedly with you. As Roger gets closer to the inevitable smashing of Pete’s “14,” and as his claim to being the Greatest of All Time (“G.O.A.T.”) becomes stronger with each slam and with each endorsement to this effect from competitors (both past and present), Pete is being asked more frequently about whether Roger is the G.O.A.T.

It’s funny, but I notice that Pete’s comments regarding Roger have evolved over the years. When Roger was first winning slams a few years ago, there was only a murmur of the breadth of his talents. He was simply the latest ‘new kid on the block,’ just like Hewitt, Roddick, etc., before him. He would get his No. 1 ranking, hold it for 2-3 years intermittently, win 3-6 slams, and then be replaced by a new rising star. He would end up with a similar career legacy as a Becker, Wilander, Edberg, perhaps even a McEnroe or an Agassi. During this early part of Roger’s ascendancy, Pete was quite willing to lavish unqualified praise upon Roger — the way anyone who is “the best” in his/her field would feel secure in lavishing praise upon a newcomer who is admittedly talented, but is not really a threat to one’s own legacy. Pete’s praise of Roger during this early period was that of a (justifiably) satisfied man who felt secure that his legacy would remain intact, if not forever, then at least for the next few decades. The past 2 years, however, have seen Roger win slams at an almost exponential pace, making his eclipse of Pete’s record a virtual certainty. In this same period, there has been a growing sense of unanimity among tennis greats, both past and present, that Rogers is the G.O.A.T.

It is easy to give praise when you do not feel threatened by the object of that praise. Such praise, however, is more patronizing than sincere, and the giver of such praise (particularly if it is warranted) ought simply to be called honest and nothing more. On the other hand, it is much more difficult (and thus more sincere and genuine), to give praise when doing so means undermining one’s own glory.

I have always felt that Pete’s (often self-perpetuated) reputation as a ‘gentleman’ was somewhat misguided and simplistic. True, Pete was always polite in front of the camera and said the right things. Nonetheless, if one’s true character is revealed in part by how one treats those beneath oneself, then Pete ought, in my opinion, more rightly be seen as a contemptuous, egotistical, dismissive and arrogant individual – certainly not a rarity in sports, but something quite different from ‘gentleman Pete.’ I have seen him speak (not yell or scream – the camera mikes would pick that up) to linesmen with such derision and contempt that one would think he was speaking to a rabid dog. His comments concerning some of his opponents have also reflected this well-hidden sense of arrogance and contempt (e.g. he once stated that the difference between himself and Pat Rafter [during Raftermania] was “Ten Grand Slams”).

In essence, Roger’s brilliance has forced Pete to reveal his true colors to the world. For so long, he has enjoyed a virtually-unchallenged reputation as a gentleman sportsman, tennis’ ambassador. This uncritical handling of Pete has continued to the present day. In its latest incarnation, tennis commentators have made a big deal out of Pete’s supposed “graciousness, generosity and humility” in describing Roger. However, if you look carefully at Pete’s comments (and believe me, Pete is a smart man who chooses his words carefully), the only thing Pete has really conceded is that Roger will break his all-time slam record. Wow. How “gracious.” Isn’t that a bit like a losing political candidate ‘graciously’ conceding defeat when it’s patently obvious, even before the final votes have been counted, that he will lose by a landslide? It’s hardly being “gracious” when one simply states a virtual certainty.

On the other hand, it is very telling that in his recent comments concerning Roger, Pete is careful to take away with one hand what he gives with the other. Pete’s recent “praise” of Roger includes the various subtle disclaimers:

– Roger will break Pete’s all-time slam record…but Roger did not have to face any serious competition, certainly none of the competition that Pete had to face…

– Roger will win the French Open (which Pete never won)…but that’s because Roger grew up on clay, whereas Pete’s only prior experience with clay was playing with “Play-Do” (his actual words)…

– Roger is a brilliant player…but it’s amazing what modern technology can do for one’s game; indeed, Pete’s own recent experimentation with modern technology has led him to believe that he could be a serious contender today (read: if only I had the technology that Roger has today, then…)…

– Roger came along at ‘just the right time’ (i.e. the intersection of vastly-improved technology and a dearth in tennis talent) to be able to dominate his opponents…

– etc.

The point of this comment is not to detract from Pete’s greatness as a player. Nor is it to suggest that Pete is an unduly bad person (it is, after all, human nature to feel threatened by, and want to undermine, the success of someone who threatens what we hold dearest: in Pete’s case, it’s his legacy as the G.O.A.T.). What I am saying is that it’s time for fans and the media to see Pete for who he always was: a well-polished, albeit an often egotistical, arrogant and contemptuous athlete who was, for a time, considered the G.O.A.T.

It’s interesting to compare Pete in this regard to one of Pete’s and Roger’s idols, Rod Laver. Whereas Pete has repeatedly speckled his (reluctant) praise of Roger with subtle, calculated comments which undermine that very praise, Laver’s praise of Roger has always come across as being sincere, unqualified and heartfelt. Ironically, if any of “the Greats” had a right to undermine Roger’s achievements, it would be Laver. Forget about Pete’s technology being inferior to Roger’s; Laver played with a wooden racquet and did not play professional tournaments for many years. And yet Laver, who, along with Sampras and Roger, is another candidate for the G.O.A.T., seems secure enough to feel unthreatened by Roger’s achievements and to be unqualified in his praise.

Perhaps the truest measure of one’s character is how one is viewed by one’s contemporaries. Whereas Pete was clearly respected, and often held in awe, by his opponents in the locker room, Roger’s opponents are uniform in their praise of Roger’s down-to-earth nature and his kindness, humility and decency. Moreover, unlike Pete’s, Roger’s contemporaries always make a point of noting that the Roger in front of the camera is the same Roger as the one off of it.

johnnhoj Says:

Ed C., interesting observation.

Not that there is a greatest-ever, but for the sake of a fun debate I lean toward Federer in the “G.O.A.T.” matter, and here’s why:
The reason Federer has been dominating the sport these past 3+ years (and counting) is due not only to the gradual honing of his unprecedented technical brilliance (shot-making, all-court versatility, etc.), but also the development in his movement/footwork against an onslaught of heavy-hitting and fast-moving (except tippy-toe Roddick!) opponents in the field. Federer does all these things probably better than anyone who came before him. He’s far more consistent and far more impressive to watch in the process.

Based on watching both Fed’s and Pete’s matches, tennis looks tougher today than it was ten years ago during Sampras’s era. Yeah, Federer has modern racquet technology, but so do his opponents! All sports use the latest equipment technology as the years progress. Sampras did not have to play with a wooden racquet (in his time it would have been foolish), and you don’t hear Laver, Borg or Lendl complaining about it. It’s because certain dynamics of the sport (as with all sports) understandably change with the passing years. It seems that what a player achieves ultimately rests on his/her abilities and how well he/she applies them, not on how much competition you might have or not have. Federer has his good share of competition (for example, Fed didn’t edge out rival Nalbandian in their head-to-head tally until late 2006). His achievements are BY NO MEANS a walk in the park.

What we do know is this:
Federer is the best of his era.
Sampras is the best of his era.
…and so it goes on down the line.

How’s that for diplomacy?! haha

I often wonder if perhaps Federer has taken the sport of tennis about as far as it can go in terms of the way it is played. Does he represent the absolute pinnacle or can a player come along and apply what they’ve learned from Fed’s game to an even higher degree? Can the next generation build upon the achievements of Federer? Doesn’t seem possible, but who knows.

Federer still has a few more years to go as far as stats and numbers are concerned, but his legacy will NOT be based upon his Grand Slam record. That’s how good a player Federer has become.

Dhwani Says:

pete u r the great,u have the power to change tennis history
and i m shyore that you are no-1 in feture

rafael'sfan Says:

hey i m shocked that pete is retuned in tennis i m so happy because its enought that federer have 10 grandslam now pete’s turn

Bonitto Says:

This is the weakest era in tennis my friends, the weakest.

bogledance Says:

I can’t believe people are now saying that Sampras was nothing but serve. Are people’s memories really that short? He had one of the deadliest forehands the game had ever seen, volley skills well beyond anyone currently playing, and his backhand was actually a weapon during his prime. Watch this video for a reminder:

As to how Sampras would fare against today’s players at his current age I have my doubts. So much of the game today hinges on footspeed that I can’t imagine a 35 year old who hasn’t played on tour in 5 years getting it done. He would have to go on a total Agassi style fitness regimen for months to get himself in condition to be able to take a real stab at it.

Agassi fan Says:


Logic, and English, seem two of your biggest weaknesses.

Bonitto Says:

Pete know his self better than anyone here, and I believe him when he say he could give Roger a run for his money, Pete is one of these people who have faith in his abilities or any thing he sets his mind to, he could have been a great golfer, football player or any other sports in his time, he was not just a great tennis player, but a fablous athlete as well.

OliverT Says:

Fed has a more versatile game than Pete ever dreamed of having. However, the players in Fed’s era definitely don’t have the mental strength of years past. The women have been able to neutralize the William sisters. Sadly, the men have given up trying. Federer fell to Patrick Rafter 3 times. Pete didn’t win because he was the best tennis player that ever played. He won because he believed in his game against other greats. He believes so today – how can you hold that against a man that gave the game everything he had?

Agassi fan Says:

Borg just said this about Federer. I guess Bonitto knows something that Borg, Lendl, Agassi, Laver, Mcenroe, and dozens of other players don’t, that’s why he still backs Sampras over Federer! How stupid.

“He simply does not have any more weaknesses left in him. It is such a pleasure to see him play,” Borg told Gulf News.

“To me, Roger Federer is the right model for anyone aspiring to be a tennis player. It is such a pleasure to just watch him play. His shot-making has got better and I doubt there is any shot he cannot make in any part of the court,” Borg said.

“All records will tumble when it comes to Roger. He is such a complete player that I do not see anyone getting better than him for a long time from now. However, he will have to ensure he stays injury free,” Borg noted.

Borg says Federer’s uncanny habit of playing well on crucial points sets him aside.

“He does it all the while. He is such a mental player that any player who wants to play him has to be at his very best from the first point till the end, if he wants to win against Roger,” Borg remarked.


GarySan Says:

lol it’s funny how we’re all arguing non stop about the sampras-federer topic. I bet Federer’s just sitting in a park in switzerland enjoying his boxes of chocolate watching the beautiful scenery while we fools are frustrating ourselves over this argument.

Ed C wow that’s a VERY good post there, loved it O_o made perfect sense and absolutely to the point. Everything that Sampras says about Roger there’s always a needle in it that gives Federer the thumbs down. Another good example is “My plan against Roger would be coming into the net etc but UNFORTUNATELY YOU DON’T SEE ANY PLAYERS DOING THAT NOWADAYS” (in another words this is shit era of tennis). Seriously all the past great players should stop embarrassing themselves and stop making retarded comments when a player comes close or even breaks their great records. Vilas Guillermo is already another good example saying “Rafael’s 60+ clay streak isn’t as great as mine because i did it over one season and the conditions were tougher back then”(what a fucken jackass). Ever since 2005, with the way Roger was playing, the “Great” players with “Great” sportsmanships have started to make ridiculous comments about modern tennis.

And lol Bonnito should just settle down and give up watching or playing tennis.

Throughout my years of tennis playing thus far, my personal coach has actually been teaching me about the 40 yard sprint speeds of modern players compared to the past. Modern players not only serve craploads faster now, but also on average run about 1-1.5 seconds faster in a 100m sprint. It is due to the ever improvment of the tennis technology, quicker balls and stronger physique of modern players. Michael Chang, Kafelnikov, Agassi were amongst the top 10’s during the time of Pete Sampras. Like wtf? THese guys can rarely hit a 200km/hr serve. Kafelnikov loses to the likes of Sebastien Grosjean and Agassi; Sampras has lost to the SHORT, NO POWER Michael Chang(who admitted physically he cannot keep up to modern tennis) shitloads of times. Lets take Rafael Nadal vs Michael Chang, lol don’t give me shit Nadal will steamroll him easy. He’s a whole lot taller, can serve faster and have the best footwork ever on clay – in fact Nadal can lift him up with one hand. It doesn’t even matter what the highlights shows, my family have got all sampras games from 1990-2002. Highlights on youtube just can’t really show anything. If to find highlights you can find way more of Roger’s bullshit hot shots than Petes.

Don’t people see? Even if you watch Federer and you realise that he’s playing like absolute garbage, he always has an answer to win the match. He doesn’t always need to play at the standard in which he played Roddick (AO 07 Semis) or Agassi (US Open 05 Finals) to dominate players 6-0 6-0 6-0. He just needs to lift his game to a certain level enough for him to win the match. It makes alot of player go “wtf, he’s playing shit, i can beat him”. But when you get the chance to really play him, they lose and go “wtf happened? this guys’s fken good?”. The reason why he is always able to come up with such a win is he doesn’t need a game plan right at the start, he just needs to construct the points one by one and win it with his all around game. It is his all around game that made Agassi said “He’s the best i’ve ever played. I’ve never seen anyone play like him before, he has absolutely no weakness or safezone, he just comes up with an answer with whatever you try to do and force you to continually change your tactics”. What that basically means is Federer can do everything on court and is a fucking genius.

Sampras can trash Federer because of his serves? Don’t be ridiculous. Roddick, Safin, Tursunov, philipousis etc etc etc whatever big as servers you can name, all their weapons are NEUTRALIZED by Federer. It’s a common thing before Wimbledon finals between Roddick and Federer they all talk about “Roddick’s serve is going to be a big problem for Federer.” So what happens in the end? Roddick would end up with only about 50% wins on his first serves. Sampras mentioned about going up to the net etc etc to overcome Roger’s tennis… Wow… That’s um nice speculation, glad you gave everybody that tip and subtly just said “everybody’s shit”. But what does he know about the new Roger Federer after 2003? Nothing. Like agassi and most players said, you can only go out there and play the best you can with no game plan against Roger. It would certainly hold true for Sampras as well if he ever gets the chance to play Roger. You guys want to talk about big weapons like forehand or backhands? Federer will also Neutralize that (Gonzalez, Roddick big forehands etc etc). ANother thing you guys must notice is the statistics of Roger Federer after every single match. His winners are always and I mean ALWAYS(100%) outnumber his opponents, even against likes of Gonzalez (who as everybody knows was hitting winners like no tomomorrow in AO open TILL THE FINALS AGAINST ROGER, WHO HIT MORE THAN HIM). Running Forehand of Pete Sampras will overcome Roger Federer? Lol i can bet you a 1000 bucks Federer will neutralize that weapon of his and let him eat shit. Safin, Nalbandian or Rafael all have match wins against Federer after 2003. But one thing you’ll recall in the matches was that they were all playing like insane tennis (extreme high level). Safin, Nalbandian and Rafael did not come up with any game plans and just played the best they could against the Artistic Roger Federer.

Magically, any weapon that a player possess is neutralized by the genius all court game of Roger Federer. With Sampras talking about game plans of beating Roger he’s pretty much just making a fool out of himself trying to sound as if he’s still in the game. Roger Federer has covered all weaknesses of his game and have answers to any type of shot you try to hit against him. It’s so obvious that sampras cares about his records and shit being broken by Roger but yet he still acts top shit really get on people’s nerves. Why can’t he just shut the fuck up, watch the game and stop making these retarded comments, which embarrasses himself about today’s tennis? Why don’t he try to be likes of Rod Laver and Borg, make heartful comments about Roger on the tennis court? To me now, Pete is no where even close to being “great”. He’s just being a big sore loser and an arrogant cunt. Why don’t he just go suck the American President balls and beg him to create a time machine for himself instead of sitting there making retarded speculations. Friggin Old Rag.

Bonitto Says:

Agassi fan, I love your logic, if you dont like what others had to say you resort to nonsense, and name calling, I know english and logic just as you do, but guess what I dont agree with you about Roger been the greatest – and please stop reaping what everyone has to say about Roger, and Borg never say he was the best, he simply stated that he has no weakness, so whay are you quoting him.

Bonitto Says:

Garysan maybe you better read this my friend, and I will play and watch tennis all I want, please dont dictate to me.

There is a tendency to see all those who play extravagantly as morally right because they entertain us. But do we really want every athlete to be like Henri Leconte, a tennis player who cared little whether he won or lost so long as he went the pretty way? Ilie Nastase was adored at Wimbledon for his style and swagger; he was twice a finalist but doomed to lose. Pete Sampras, one of the all-time greats in all sports, was disliked because he was “boring”; this was seen by some as a moral failing

Agassi fan Says:


Sampras was 232-44 during 1993-95, his peak years. Federer went 247-15 during 2004-06 (and is now 259-15 since the start of 2004).

Why did Sampras lose 44 matches in 3 years, while he was at his peak, and Federer only 15? Don’t hide behind “less competition today”, because all the top players have already said that’s not true (read Borg’s comments again, and when you understand them, you will realize why I quoted him).

johnnhoj Says:

I’ll say it again:
Federer has become such a great tennis player that his legacy will NOT be based on his future Grand Slam record.

Sampras, excellent as he was at times, never quite mastered the sport the way Federer seems to have done. (Fed does have competition)
Sampras is remembered for a good serve, good running forehand, 14 Slams wins, 7 total Wimbledons.

I enjoyed Sampras’s game, but he was inconsistent. It’s not that Sampras had more competition, it’s that Federer is a much better tennis player.

johnnhoj Says:

This interview segment is from

“Federer Tunes Up With Sampras”

Here is what Federer had to say about their practice sessions this week:

Q. I’m not sure I heard you correctly. You say you practiced with Pete?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, we hit together for two days.

Q. How did he play?
ROGER FEDERER: Very good, surprisingly. Very good, you know. Not good enough to beat me (laughing).

Q. If you could describe a little bit about playing with Pete. I mean, you get some flashes of his great shots, the winning forehand. What was it like?
ROGER FEDERER: That was great. Well, I knew I was coming to L.A., so I’m kind of thinking, who’s around in L.A.? So, I rang up Pete and said, “Any chance?”
He was like, “Yeah, sure.”
I’m totally excited. So right away I had the idea, anyway seeing how good he plays because he was one of my favorite players, when I was growing up and beating him in his backyard in Wimbledon was so special to me. I wanted to try to — I wanted to beat him in his house. So it was very enjoyable to actually hit with him. It would be kind of cool to maybe play an exhibition against him. We’ll see. But he was playing very well.

Q. Did you play some sets or?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, we did play some games and sets and tiebreaks and —

Q. What was the score?
ROGER FEDERER: Can’t tell you. But it was good fun.

GarySan Says:

lol of course Sampras can’t beat Federer haha. Federer is still a professional who trains 4-5 hours per day. No way in the world can Sampras win =P But it will be nice to see some exhibition matches between the two someday =)

Bonitto Says:

Garysan, you are really a dummy.

Bonitto Says:

Agaasifan, will you please open your eyes and look around the ATP tour today, who is really challenging Federer, let me know and you talk about this not been the waekest era in tennis.

Agassi fan Says:


Nobody is challenging federer because HE is SO good, not because they are no good. Proof of that? Look at his ranking points, 8000 plus. sampras barely crossed 5000 once. the 2nd ranked player (nadal) is close to 5000. so its not like other people have less points, HE HAS MORE. that’s proof that its not as if other players are weak, fed is much stronger.

BTW, don’t shy away from my question – why did sampras lose 44 matches in 3 years at his peak (1993-95)? becker, edberg, lendl, wilander, etc. were all washed out by then, agassi was goofing off, and pete was beating guys like pioline and ivanisevic in grand slam finals. so why did he lose so often???????????

Agassi Fan Says:


what, nothing? guess that seals the argument.
start watching Fed matches. trust me, you will love him.

Bonitto Says:

Why the hell would I watch is matches for, watching Roger plays do nothing for me Agassi fan, nothing.

Agassi fan Says:

well, then answer my question above about sampras. you are shying away from it Bonitto, why, because you got no answer?

Jean Says:

Pete was a great champion and the King of Swing. But he should stay retired.

I always felt that Pete was an underachiever. He should have beaten Agassi more often because he was better and can do it at will. He let Patrick Rafter beat him for one or more titles. Unbelievable. Plus, He could have been number one a little longer but he didn’t have the desire and he said this. At times, Pete look lethargic and tired. He needed better physical endurance.

One of Pete best weapons was his ground stroke forehand. But as he got older, he did more volleying, and that diminished his ground stroke ability and winner advantage. But Federer winners are like Pete’s in his early glory days with the ground stroke.

Federer is better because he is perfection. What Pete lacked Federer completes. Federer doesn’t play silly matches with his opponents the way Pete did. Federer plays to win and desires it more.

TheManFromVegas Says:

One thing that came to mind when Pete said he’d rush the net against Fed and “put pressure on him”: Remember that Wimbledon final – I think it was ’05 – when Roger passed a net rushing Roddick time and time again? The angles Federer can create off both sides are literally unbelievable. His passing shots were landing halfway down the service box. Andre had to try and pass Pete with flat shots and could only aim a little to either side, and he still did it pretty well. I think Roger would prove to be, if given the chance consistently, one of the best passing shot artists in history. So I think a Pete vs. Fed match nowadays would look a lot like Roddick vs. Fed nowadays.

With that said, I kind of agree with Pete when he says this era is a little weaker than his. I hear all of you on the enhanced physical abilities of today’s players (e.g. 100m and 40yd dash speeds, Nadal’s biceps), but I argue that today’s players are weaker mentally. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen guys have a chance against Fed (e.g. a break point late in a set) and blow it. Just off the top of my head, Gonzalez served for the first set in Melbourne, Roddick had, I believe, match points in Shanghai, Malisse, Tursunov, and Gasquet all had opportunities in Montreal. My point is, as small as the window is with Federer, it’s still there. Guys just don’t believe they can make it; whereas yesteryear’s players were, I believe, a little more confident.

Agassi Fan Says:


Still no answer to my question about Pete? I guess you agree with me, that seals the argument.

Pete got very lucky, he didn’t have to play Federer. Or the Becker of 1985. Or the Lendl of 1987. Or the Edberg of 1988. Otherwise he would have won 4 slams max, not 14 slams.

THAT (Pete’s era) was the weakest era in tennis. He won his slams beating pioline and ivanisevic, for pete’s sake!

Bonitto Says:

What is your question???Agassi fan, and you sound like a child, how old are you really, you say Pete era was the weakest in tennis, well guess what my friend Andre Agassi play in that era too, so what do you say about him? I have to ask.

Agassi fan Says:

I guess reading English is not your best suit. The question is posted 5-6 posts above (and before that also), about why sampras used to lose SO MUCH even when he was at his peak (44 matches during 1993-95).

As for Agassi, he really didn’t get serious till 1999, gimme a fricking break.

So do you have an answer now?

Pete Says:

Pete always wanted to be a perfectionist and said something just wasn’t right in the U.S. Open Final vs. Edberg and that he wanted to take it back, lol…what about taking back his lucky win against Rafter in a final of a major. Sampras always talks, talks and talks while Federer goes to Sampras’ backyard and beats him silly….was Bridgette around to watch? ROFL

Agassi Fan Says:

Sampras had a lot of lucky wins in the grand slams, especially in the finals (ivanisevic, pioline??). Some people ARE lucky, what are going to do?

Pete Sampras Says:

Top 10 of all time
Obvious Group 1:
1) Federer
2) Borg
3) Lendl (8 consecutive us open finals)
4) Laver
5) P. Gonzales

Obvious Group 2:
6) McEnroe
7) Rosewell
8) Agassi
9) Connors
10) Edberg
Honorable Mention: Pete Sampras

GarySan Says:


Did I say something that’s incorrect? Saying Federer is still a professional and would beat Sampras anyday NOW. As Agassi Fan said reading english is obviously not your best suit lol.

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