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 SI.com 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.
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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