Sampras a Current Day Top 5 Player? Federer Thinks So
by Sean Randall | November 22nd, 2007, 1:29 pm
  • 56 Comments

About the only thing interesting to come out of the much-ballyhooed Roger Federer-Pete Sampras three-leg exo series thus far are some comments from Federer on Pete’s ability.

Said Federer today after a 7-6, 7-6 win over Sampras in Kuala Lumpur: “It was very difficult to read his serve … I think if he was still playing he would be a top five player.”

Pete a Top 5 player according to Fed? Wow. That’s a pretty strong statement. Whether he’s just saying that to massage Pete’s ego or he truly means it, is up for some debate.

But if he means it, what Fed is saying is that if Pete got into shape, played a full season on the circuit his results would be on par with an Andy Roddick, Nikolay Davydenko. That means going deep into Slams, and winning titles, and putting up wins over Top 20/Top 10 players.

That’s asking a lot of a 36-year-old. However, I guess if Ivo Karlovic can be on the verge of the Top 20, and John Isner can reach Tour finals, I can see why Roger thinks Pete would have success. But Top 5?

Frankly, I would disagree. I could see Pete in the Top 30, but not Top 5. Then again, who am I to fight the Fed?

I should also congratulate Roger for crushing everyone in the Tennis Masters Cup after that opening group loss to Gonzo. I missed the semifinals and finals (was on vacation, which I’m still on!), but from what I’ve read he was virtually untouchable. I guess he’s really starting to follow Pete’s lead by saving his best tennis for the bigger events.

Back to the Turkey day functions!


Also Check Out:
Pete Sampras: Djokovic’s Season Best I’ve Seen in My Lifetime
Roger Federer Returning To No. 1? Tim Henman Thinks So
Roger Federer, Pete Sampras End “Date” by Meeting Kobe Bryant at Lakers Game [Photos]
Sampras Goes Greek for New Senior Tour Event
Pete Sampras: Murray Just Can’t Hang Back And Hope Roger Misses

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56 Comments for Sampras a Current Day Top 5 Player? Federer Thinks So

grendel Says:

Did anyone see the second match? Sounds like it was tight. Given how great Sampras’ serve still is, and that Fed admits to being unable to read it, I’m pretty sceptical of this idea that Federer is “holding off”. Sampras’ serve is Sampras’ serve, and if it’s going well, is going to be as difficult to break as Karlovic’s – perhaps more so. This is precisely the sort of match – I should have thought – where Sampras would be quite a handful. Like it or not, he’s coming out of this series well. Still, it would be nice to hear from someone who saw the match!


naresh Says:

i saw the highlights of the 1st match..Roger definitely was very relaxed and he only stepped it up when he had to, other wise he was putting up a ‘Show’ for the world. i’m not taking away anything from Pete though, cause at 36, being retired from the sport for 6 years, i thought he was in great shape. i’m sure it was the same deal in the 2nd match, though i have’nt seen it, with Pete holding serve throughout the match, with his awesome serve{ it still looks awesome!} and Fed only stepping it up when he needed to put the nail in the coffin. result ? 7-6 7-6 !


exatp Says:

I saw the match this morning. The court looked really quick and Pete was serving really well. Didn’t seem to have as many DF’s as in the previous match and hit some amazing touch volleys early on. Serving well and on a fast surface, Pete would be tough for anyone. But staying healthy for 15-20 events/year and putting up consistent results is another matter. I also thought Roger played harder in this match. In the first match he was spinning a lot of first serves in, but went for more in the 2nd match. Roger is clearly superior from the baseline and Sampras made quite a few simple errors like missing routine backhand slices, etc. It was quite a competitive match, though, and Roger seemed in full flight.


naresh Says:

about Sampras being “good enough to be in the top 5″, what Fed said was probably based on Sampras’ present ‘game’ & ‘form’ itself, and not fitness, age etc.


rafafan Says:

i think he cud do it….maybe to give himself some confidence he shud play roddick..wat a match that wud be all american allstars in madison square gardens it wud be a real crowd pleaser.


NILAM Says:

HAPPY TO SEE A REALLY APT DESCRIPTION BY SEAN OF PETE’S ABILITIES AT THE MOMENT AND VERY GOOD COMMENTS FROM THE READERS.PETE’S SERVE WAS,AND STILL IS,A FORMIDABLE WEAPON.THE POWER HAS ONLY GONE UP ESP. WITH THE MODERN RACQUET.EVERYTHING IN HIS GAME IS A FUNCTION OF THE SERVE AND THAT SURELY IS A HELL OF A SERVE.HOWEVER,THE MOMENT IT IS RETURNED,PETE BECOMES A RELATIVELY ‘NORMAL’ PLAYER.THE ANALOGY TO KARLOVIC AND ISNER IS SPOT ON.FED HAS ALWAYS STRUGGLED AGAINST THE REALLY BIG SERVERS.THE TOP FIVE COMMENT IS AMUSING IF FED MEANS IT.I M SURE HE IS JUST BEING NICE.I ALSO DON’T THINK FED IS TAKING THESE MATCHES ABSOLUTELY SERIOUSLY AND DOING JUST ENOUGH TO PREVAIL.


st4r5 Says:

Ahh…. I saw the match, I know who Roger is, what a polite person he is…… he doesn’t want to put Pete to shame. The key is, Roger didn’t step it up all the time, he could though, he just didn’t want to make the match look so unexciting, it was an exhibition anyway. Once again, it shows what a champ Roger is, he has abilities beyond understanding, that he can give a measurable kind of effort just to win the match with a tight margin.


kamret Says:

You may believe that Roger’s statement about Pete (top 5 potential even at 36 years old) is an overstatement. But I actually think it’s an understatement. If I was Pete, I would be almost offended. Let me explain. The guy has been retired for 5 years and he is still able to lose by such a small margin (7-6, 7-6) to the # 1 player in the world who has been dominating tennis for the past 4 years. So, just top 5 potential for Pete? I would think more like top 2! Think about it, again. Maybe you are missing something here. Sampras has been retired for 5 years, and yet he is only losing 7-6, 7-6 to Federer? How good is that balding guy??? Now, just imagine how good Pete would be if he was still playing full-time on the tour. I will guarantee you one thing. If that was the case, Federer would not have 12 Grand Slam titles right now. He would have less than 10 for sure!


st4r5 Says:

I saw the match, please don’t think that it was all Pete that made the match so tight, it was Federer who wanted it to be tight, otherwise, it would have been 62 61. He just defended himself and put a slighty more effort to fight when serving while he was not attacking hard when Pete serving. Even there was a case when Fed accidentaly put a fight and the ball fell very far from where Pete was standing, Fed apologized himself to Pete and the crowd for doing it. If it wasn’t an exhibition Federer would attack all the time the result would have been a lot different.


JCF Says:

I doubt he’s sincere about it. He’s just paying respect to Pete. Davydenko would destroy him. As would Roddick. Anyone in the top 10 would. He played a series of exhibitions against Ginepri a while back and couldn’t take a set off him. He was winded during the match, and just wasn’t able to endure.

The fact that it was 7-6 7-6 is Roger really doing as much as he could to not make it look like a blowout. He wanted to win, but make it look close.

There’s no way Pete has the speed or stamina to compete with the top 20 let alone top 5.


JCF Says:

“You may believe that Roger’s statement about Pete (top 5 potential even at 36 years old) is an overstatement. But I actually think it’s an understatement. If I was Pete, I would be almost offended. Let me explain. The guy has been retired for 5 years and he is still able to lose by such a small margin (7-6, 7-6) to the # 1 player in the world who has been dominating tennis for the past 4 years. So, just top 5 potential for Pete? I would think more like top 2! Think about it, again. Maybe you are missing something here. Sampras has been retired for 5 years, and yet he is only losing 7-6, 7-6 to Federer? How good is that balding guy??? Now, just imagine how good Pete would be if he was still playing full-time on the tour. I will guarantee you one thing. If that was the case, Federer would not have 12 Grand Slam titles right now. He would have less than 10 for sure!”

You don’t get it. Roger went easy on him to because the guy is the all time greatest, and he didn’t want to embarass the guy. Nadal would own him. Karlovic would own him. Agassi would own him. Rios would own him. Losing in tie breaks to Roger does not make you #2 in the world. Plenty have done that. If you think he should be ranked #2 in the world just because he lost in two tiebreaks, what should a player be ranked if they actually BEAT Roger? 1.5? 0? -1? What should David Nalbandian be ranked? He beat Fed twice. As has Canas.


Giner Says:

Nadal, Ferrer or someone fast would just run Pete around all day until he capitulates. Move him from side to side. He wouldn’t be able to last long.

Maybe Fed is being nice to Pete because he’s trying to remove that jinx that seems to follow him every time he sees Pete.


st4r5 Says:

Let’s put it this way, Fed is a gentle person, and he just wanted to give credit to Sampras, please don’t draw any conclusion that Sampras could actually be number five or even more ridicilously be number two with current conditions. The champion of champions is a gentle person indeed.


Tejuz Says:

Well.. i did see the match and this match was much better than the 1st one. Sampras served really well, over 80% of his 1st serves and most of them were hitting the lines. Pete’s volleys were pretty sensational. But he dint threaten Fed’s service games. Fed looked relaxed and did come up with some great shots when it needed most during the tie-breaks. Well. it didnt look this time as though Fed was holding up, cuz he knew that Pete was serving well and he had his hand’s full. It looked pretty similar to Fed vs Ivo Karlovic matches where Fed bides his time til tie-breaks and steps up a gear to win the sets.


Tejuz Says:

well.. probabaly what Fed tried to say was that if it were just a match or a tournament, then Sampras could atleast be in the top-5, and when in full flight might even clip No 2 or No 3.

Sampras was great at the net, he took the vaolleys early and took time away from Fed to come up with passing shots. He could easily trouble the top-5 players if he plays one tournament.

In fact, he could easily reach the QF of the wimbledon if his body holds up.


Tejuz Says:

There were some beautiful volley exchanges between Fed and Sampras .. on the penultimate point of the match (guess it was the 2nd match point for Fed). Sampras won it.. But it was great to watch and fed applauded.

This match had moments of brilliance from both players.. loved it… much much better than the 1st one.

Towards the end of 2nd set, Fed was reading Pete’s serves pretty well… earning quite a few breakpoints.. but since Pete is after all Pete, served himself out of the trouble.


Hardsoulpoet Says:

I saw both matches and thought Fed was really laid back in the first and could have blow Pete out in the second set if he had wanted. The second match this morning was closer as Sampras served much better. That being said, Fed was going for a lot of winners off of Pete’s serve (i.e. up the line or extreme angle). When crunch time came in the tiebreakers it was all Fed except for the occasionally service winner from Sampras. I still believe that if Fed applied himself fully he would beat Sampras handedly. Today he just let it be a little closer. Heck, maybe Saturday Fed will give him a set as a going away gift.


张奔斗 Says:

Once again, anyone who believes the scoreline is any indication of the difference between these two players is just delusional. The thing is, Roger has complete control over these matches that he could dictate the scoreline. He could make it look tight if he wants to, or he could finish it 6:1, 6:1 in 35 minutes if he wants to. For Kamret to say that Pete could be No.2 in the world because he lost to the No.1 by such a small margin is just laughable. No one wants to see a lopsided exhibition match. The audience demands a tight match and a good show, and that was what Roger gave them in KL.


Bill Walsh Says:

Sampras wasn’t in the top five after he played a full season and WON THE U.S. OPEN five years ago.


zaid Says:

hi guys i saw the match and actually Federer was not able to do anything on sampras service game ,,,sampras was serving at least 2 service winner each game and playing very good at the net his serve yesterday reached 217 km/h and was in that range so federer was’nt able to return ..federer wasnt able to do somthing more than he did ,,and also federer was sweatimg clearly yesterday..sampras had break chances b4 federer had and were twice 0-30 on federer serve….it was enjoyable match and hopefully sampras will push federer more next time.


Brad Says:

I’m going to stay out of the whole “Top 5″ debate, but I just have to say…

JCF said about Pete- “Agassi would own him.”

And that is ridiculous.


grendel Says:

Given the interest expressed in the question of Fed getting, or not getting, a coach, here is John McEnroe on coaching Becker and Philippoussis (and also Brughera):“But I could safely say with all three of them that they did not listen to a single word I said. If I said ‘Run’ they would walk. It was unbelievable. With Boris it was like, ‘Boris, you need to play some matches’. And he’d say, ‘Yeah, yeah, arrange that’, and I’d arrange it and then he’d say, ‘No, no, I’m going to Germany’, and I’d say, ‘Wait a minute!’, but he is ultimately making the decision. To Philippoussis, I’d say, ‘You got to work harder than this, Mark, you’re a good guy’. ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah’. ‘Mark, you’ve got to serve hard’. ‘Yeah, but my shoulder hurts’. What do you say? So it’s not an easy thing to go into and it requires even more travelling than it would by playing this, so that seems like a crazy idea.”

And now McEnroe on the contrasting lockeroom demeanours of Federer and Sampras (earlier, the interviewer had been looking at the idea of genius being close to madness: “So is genius a blessing or a curse?” “It’s both, probably. There’s no doubt Roger Federer is a genius and he actually seems to enjoy it. I’m amazed at that. How the hell is this guy enjoying this so much? I really respect that. Unlike Pete [Sampras] for example, who didn’t want to be around anybody or talk to anybody and who walked around between points like this [he stands and walks across the floor staring at his shoes], Federer is around the locker rooms for hours talking to everybody. He’s in the NBC production truck and there’s a special on. ‘Oh, can I see it?’ I don’t know how you do that, but it’s very impressive.”

Wonder how tomorrow’s match will go? The impression I am getting – from other people’s comments only – is that these matches are a lot more real than the throwaway term “exhibition” suggests. Yes, they are not at the back end of an exhausting tournament, so there is a limit to what you can deduce. But it doesn’t seem to be nothing, not by a long way.


kamret Says:

You guys don’t understand how much pride Federer has. He is not such a “gentle” person as some of you think. He actually has so much pride that he really wants to prove to the world that if he was playing in Sampras’ era, or vice-versa, he would still dominate. So, believe me – he gave 100% of himself in that last match. He would have loved to beat Sampras 6-1, 6-1 to make a point, but he was unable to. You, guys, need to stop believing that Federer is so “gentle”! So, I maintain what I said before: 1) There is NO way Federer would have won 12 Grand Slam titles if Sampras was still playing and 2) Sampras would be a top 2-3 player right now if he was still playing. No one in tennis history has ever “owned” Sampras and that would still not happen if he was still playing.


rafafan Says:

wat bout safin in that us open final he owned him didnt he?


joanne Says:

I found it amazing to watch how much control Roger had;to play well enough but not too well to embarass Pete.
That was Roger in exo mode like he was at Kooyong;enjoying himself and playing well but relaxed rather than competative.Smiling and laughing a lot.If he were focused and in competative mode the scores would have been very different.However all Pete has to do is serve well which he does ,to take Roger to a tiebreak.
I enjoyed the serve volleying by both of them and in many ways it seemed similar to how Santoro plays and a few others who serve and volley (see game at Aussie open where Fed and Santoro play each other and Tony Roche is practically rolling on the floor laughing at the shots they come up with)Too much fuss is made by Pete about how ‘his’style is lost forever.Its not.The only thing that he brings that is noticably his is his serve.Many players volley actually .If you watch Santoro it would be difficult to say Pete volleys better.But Santoro is a little guy who doent have as big a serve.
Pete is definitely not at the level of Roger from my perception.He doesnt have the same anticipation or shot variety,and his baseline game is nowhere near up to the level of the top 5.
Roger is always very generous and gives more credit than is due to all his competitors on a regular basis;his style is to be respectful.


Voicemale Says:

Sampras would have his lunch handed to him if he returned to the tour. Exhibitions’s are Publicity Stunts and nothing more. ATP Matches are a whole different animal. Moreover, Sampras played with 100% Gut Strings during his whole career, and looked OK in these Exo’s because Federer uses mostly gut too, with some Luxilon woven in. The Sampras Serve & Volley game would be rendered essentially ineffective with today’s String Generation. The Luxilon or Polyester Strings can create so much power & topspin from the back of the court that the Sampras volleys would either land closer to the base line than service line; or bounce so high that they’d look like awful drop shots waiting to be crushed; or he’d net them more often because the severe dip on the ball would force him to volley up. Not to mention that more than a few of his serves would come back as winning passes with the same heat he put on them. Serve & Volley tennis largely counts on a weak Return of Serve for an easy put away volley. The Strings of today make that much more difficult to do than in the Sampras heyday. All of these conditions combined would force Sampras to have to play much more from the base line – NOT his strength. He’d start showing his age in short order, and tragically so.

This is the reason Federer himself no longer palys Serve & Volley, as he did in his earliest days on the tour. He learned the hard way what the String Technology does to a Serve & Volley game. Fed gets criticized for not playing more Serve & Volley even today, and especially against Nadal. But Roger knows what Arm Chair coaches don’t. he the BEST at knowing when to come in – he waits for the weak reply. If Federer had continued playing the Serve & Volley tennis of his early days, he’d never have made it to where he is today.

Sampras back to the tour? Laughable. The conditions now are so radically different than when he dominated – he’d never be able to play the game that made him a legend often enough to carry him very far. He’d never make to any Grand Slam’s 2nd Week, and that includes Wimbledon.


Giner Says:

“I’m going to stay out of the whole “Top 5″ debate, but I just have to say…

JCF said about Pete- “Agassi would own him.”

And that is ridiculous. ”

If that’s all you’re going to add then, I just have to say…

No it isn’t.


Giner Says:

“You guys don’t understand how much pride Federer has. He is not such a “gentle” person as some of you think. He actually has so much pride that he really wants to prove to the world that if he was playing in Sampras’ era, or vice-versa, he would still dominate. So, believe me – he gave 100% of himself in that last match. He would have loved to beat Sampras 6-1, 6-1 to make a point, but he was unable to. You, guys, need to stop believing that Federer is so “gentle”! So, I maintain what I said before: 1) There is NO way Federer would have won 12 Grand Slam titles if Sampras was still playing and 2) Sampras would be a top 2-3 player right now if he was still playing. No one in tennis history has ever “owned” Sampras and that would still not happen if he was still playing.”

Nope. Sampras showed that he could play one competitive match against Fed. At an exhibition, no less. He didn’t show that he could keep this up over an entire tournament, let alone an entire season. The only one who can come close to doing that at age 36 is Agassi.


grendel Says:

Another interesting – and topical – John McEnroe quote (this time, from two and a half years ago):

“This may not be the right time to say it, with Roger Federer on the verge of claiming his third Wimbledon title, but I think as time goes by we will see what a remarkable achievement it was by Pete Sampras to win here seven times. I don’t think the Swiss, maybe even a better player than Sampras when compared on all surfaces, will surpass his record.

I’m not saying it’s impossible and I do believe that he will win, maybe, as many as five Wimbledon titles, I just think that there is more depth in the game today than there was in Sampras’s era”.

What is notable about this quote is that in the midst of praising Sampras, McEnroe is claiming that Fed’s competition at Wimbledon is actually stronger than Sampras’.

That’s not what Sampras says, is it? Interesting to hear another view – from an authoritative source.


speechless Says:

I never was a Sampras “Fan” but respected and despised his dominance at the same time hahaha. I truley think if Fed and Sampras were playing in this time both in their prime that it would be a duel for the number one spot. Sampras is a superathlete like fed and had he been a contemporary of Feds would have adapted to beat guys the way they play now. I was skeptical of whether these exhibitions would be any fun but it shows me that in his prime……the sampras game would match up nicely with Feds. They’re both so great.


JCF Says:

kamret, 5 years ago when Sampras was 30, 31, he went for over a year without winning a title. Winning his final title at Flushing broke a pretty long draught.

This was back when Fed hadn’t even matured yet, and Lleyton Hewitt and Guga were at the top. Can you imagine how he would fare today at 36, when he couldn’t even win a title at 30?

He was extremely lucky to run into Agassi at the USO 02. Agassi upset Hewitt in the semis. If he had run into Hewitt, he would have been in sad straights, because after Hewitt lost his first few matches to Sampras (he was 16 or 17 back then), Hewitt destroyed him five matches in a row in every match thereafter. There’s no way he would have beaten Hewitt, who was #1 and defending champion at the time. Instead he ran into a guy he had a very good record against, in the final.


JCF Says:

“What is notable about this quote is that in the midst of praising Sampras, McEnroe is claiming that Fed’s competition at Wimbledon is actually stronger than Sampras’.

That’s not what Sampras says, is it? Interesting to hear another view – from an authoritative source. ”

Grendel, I’m not sure McEnroe is still confident that Roger won’t win more than 5 Wimbledon titles, or surpass Pete. Not even Pete managed to go 5 years undefeated on grass. Fed is a guy who will make many people eat their own words by the end of his career. And I don’t even like Fed.


grendel Says:

Incidentally, in the same article, McEnroe says:
” I know Boris [Becker]shares the view with me that Sampras would still have had the edge over Federer on grass”. i.e., in giving it as his opinion that Fed’s competition at Wimbledon is tougher than that of Sampras, McEnroe is not speaking as a partisan of Federer’s – far from it.


LOL Says:

kamret, your “guarantee” that Sampras playing today would reduce Fed’s tally of 12 slams is completely baseless. All you have to go by is ONE match. An exhibition match at that, where the fans have waited a long time to see it happen and they want it to last and be a good one, not a rout.

Seriously, if you saw an exhibition in which Fed actually lost, what would you then conclude? (Roddick beat him this year at Kooyong btw — and look what he did back to Roddick at the AO). That this person would own half of Fed’s slams?

To say that Pete would have stopped Fed from winning 12 slams would imply that he would have beaten Fed in the slams. All you have is a 7-6 7-6 defeat. Pete has only shown that he can keep it close (if we assume Fed wasn’t being generous), not that he can actually beat Fed. He hasn’t even shown that he can win a set off Fed. When it counted (tie break), it was all Fed.

A defeat in straight sets, no matter how close, is not evidence that a 36 year old can beat the dominant #1 in the world in a best of five sets match. It’s not even evidence that the 36 year old could endure a 3-5 set match. Seven of them in a row? LOL.


grendel Says:

“Hopefully I can pull off a set, but it’s tough,” said Samparas of the rival a decade his junior.

“It’s a tough challenge for me, but I know it’s a bit tough for Roger as he’s expected to beat me. This may be an exhibition he’s still trying and still playing hard.”

Sampras on the eve of final match. It reads like a fair and honest assessment. It strikes me these exhibitions are VERY unusual, or atypical – and are likely to be remembered in time to come. So there is pressure there – on both players.


sensationalsafin Says:

As long as Federer wears his watch, these matches aren’t as serious as you all think. Maybe for Sampras, but not so much for Federer.


Dan Martin Says:

Karmet,

I think it would cut both ways. Had Federer been born 10 years earlier and played in Sampras’ era would Pete have 14 major titles, 6 year end #1 finishes or 5 ATP World Championships (Masters Cup now)? Probably not. Having said that these two guys are two of the greatest ever and they have done right by the sport to create some publicity for tennis during the all too short off season.


Robin Pratt Says:

Yes, Sampras has been pretty impressive especially in the second match. His serve is still as good as anyone’s when you combine it with his volley and movement. But he did have trouble with Hewitt the last couple of years because Lleyton could dip his return of serve and move to cover anything hit up.

But I would bet that Federer and Sampras could beat any current doubles team if they put their minds to it. Pete is younger than many doubles specialists at Shanghai and better in the serve and volley. Federer has not had a good partner in years but he can play amazing doubles. Hard to believe they would lose serve and they would threaten at least two return games per set.

I would pay to see them play Bryan Brothers for real any time.

I know that doubles does not matter much these days, but if it did, this would be a pairing for the ages the next couple of years. Perhaps Pete could play with Roger at Indian Wells. RF played with Allegro earlier this year and won one match before losing.


sticksman79 Says:

PISTOL PETE SLAYS FEDERER!!!!!!

6-4 7-5

YIKES!


sticksman79 Says:

SORRY WRONG SCORE

7-6 6-4

YIKES!


Christopher Says:

I saw both matches. Federer did not play aggresive on Pete’s serve. He wanted to make the matches interesting. Any time Federer wanted to step it up, he could have and did.

As far as Pete being in the top 5 again. That is ridiculous. If it were just a serving contest, maybe top 10. Nadal, Daveydenko, ferrer, Nalbandian, Roddick, and many of the others in the top 20 would run Sampras silly. He would run out of gas on those 36 year old legs. Agassi stayed in tremendous shape at his age and Sampras is no where nearly as physically fit as Agassi or any of the others for that matter.


grendel Says:

Christopher, of course Sampras would not be able to withstand the rigours of the tour. I think, as Tejuz pointed out, Federer probably meant Sampras was top 5, or even better, for particular matches – especially if the court was fast.

Now the court of the third match, which Sampras won, was extremely fast, I am told. I just don’t believe that Fed gifted Sampras his last service game, and effectively the match. These guys are manic competitors, and they are not going to give a match away.

In the context of a tournament, of course Federer would be heavy favourite against Sampras, particularly since the surfaces are generally slow. But in a one off (in a sense!) 3 setter, very fast surface, Sampras has got to be in with a chance. Well, he took it. Good luck to him. I think Fed will learn from this. All along, I have said (sorry to sound pompous – just my ill-educated opinion)don’t underplay the significance of these exhibition matches – don’t overplay them either. They are not everything, but they are not nothing, either. We can’t prove it here, but consider: suppose Fed was asked if he minded being beaten and if, when defeat was looming, he did not do his utmost to avert it. Assumne further that Federer is bound, by some truth drug or something, to tell the truth.

What do you think he’d say?


Christopher Says:

grendel,

If Federer were to be put on a truth serum, I think he would admit he had to play an exhibition style performance for the betterment and greater good of tennis. Federer and Sampras are two of the greatest competitors in tennis history but they are not on equal playing fields right now. Federer knows that. He has to take his foot off the gas excelerator at least during his service return games to make the thing interesting. Sampras is a great server but ihis serve isn’t (at the moment) much better than any of the other top players that Fed beats on a regular basis. I saw Federer playing some quick shots off of Sampras’s serve that he would ordinarily work better.

In my opinion, they are setting this whole thing up for Sampras to play at Wimbledon next year. Sampras has been hinting to the media that he could beat some of the top players right now on grass. Grendel, Imagine the hype that would happen if some how these two were to play each other somewhere in the draw at Wimbledon next year. Many will point to the closeness of these exhibitons. I don’t buy it. I still think that Federer can clock Pete any time he chooses. Well, time will tell. Nice talking to you again.


kamret Says:

Sampras just beat Federer in straight sets. See guys? I was right all along (see my two previous comments above).:-) Now, imagine that both Pete and Roger were playing in the same era. Neither one would be considered the greatest of all time as they would probably both have about 6-7 Grand Slam titles each. Then, we would probably still be saying that the greatest of all time is Laver, Borg or even Connors (with his 5 straight years as # 1 and 109 ATP singles titles).


Christopher Says:

kamret, (I don’t wish to be rude)

I don’t know how to present this to you in any other way but this – You are a MORON!

This was not a REAL tournament. Those scores meant NOTHING. Roger Federer held back to make the whole 3 day EXHIBITION entertaining. The one true time these two played was in 2001 at Wimbledon and Federer won. Again, EXHIBITIONS mean nothing. You don’t want me to even get into the statistics of Borg/Connors/McEnroe. I’ve never seen anyone extrapolate so much from an EXHIBITION tennis match as you just did. Just nuts!


kamret Says:

CHRISTOPHER, I also don’t wish to be rude, but I’ll put it plain and simple for you – YOU ARE AN IDIOT. I have been watching and playing tennis for 30 years. I have had the chance to watch and observe all the great players of the open era. So, I’m not going to discuss with some immature idiots out there who thinks he knows or understands tennis better than me. Again, players like Federer and Sampras play for their pride all the time and would not lose a match (even an exhibition one) on purpose. These guys are not losers like you, Christopher. They are playing for their reputations, which will last forever. Federer would have to be an idiot to lose an exhibition match on purpose against Sampras (and let people think/contemplate that Sampras may be greater than him).


Christopher Says:

Kamret,

I’ve been watching tennis since the early 70s. I know a thing or two about the players that have come and gone. Your analogies are ridiculous. They have no basis in reality. What the HELL did Federer have to gain by playing Sampras in the first place? This was nothing more than a glorified reality show event. Federer previously beat Sampras at Wimbledon. That was legit. This 3 day EXHIBITION was nothing more than to promote tennis. I don’t think for, one moment, Federer threw the match. He didn’t go ALL OUT. We all suspected Federer would lose one of these 3 events. It looks better that way. It helps promote tennis in the U.S. to have an American front and center stage again. Men’s tennis needs a boost in the U.S and in general if you haven’t noticed. You just don’t get it!

And I’m not going to call you a loser because that’s chilish and petty. If that’s the best you can come up with in 30 years of viewing tennis than God help us all!


Bgame Bawler Says:

I watched all three matches. Sampras looked very rusty in the first match, and I think Federer did spin in some serves. Sampras definitely looked better in the second match: the rust was gone. And he looked very good in the third match. Could Sampras be in the top five now? Hmmm…doubtful.

But if he were in his prime he would be the best player in the world — better then Federer. His serve, on that fast surface, and punishing ground strokes gave Fed a lot of trouble.


Super Star Says:

Okay……….. old story again, assume today was 1990, when most of the greatest players were still playing in their prime time, Connors, Macnro, Lendl, Agasse, Becker, Rafter, Sampras, etc., could Federa beat all of them single handly easilly all the time ? I have watched tennis since early 70′, I just don’t think Federa could do it so as most of today’s Fed fans might imagine. Just quote Lendl, as a baseliner basically, he was already much better than today’s Gonzelas. Again, imagine Fed had to face serve-volleyer like Mac, Rafter and Sampras during semi/finals in all those slams again an again, could he be able to win 90% of those matches ? I don’t think so.


ooo Says:

Super star,

My hypothesis would be: assuming today were the 1990s, would you have been able to spell maybe half of the players’ names right?


ooo Says:

Have to agree with Christopher. Kamret, you are such a retard. You may be old, but wisdom did not come with age in your case. Enough said.


Super Star Says:

Okay, okay…….., then could Federer be able to handle those guys like McEnroe, Agassi, Becker, Lendl, Connors, Sampras etc. in 1990 like he does today by winning 90% of the time single handly ? How could you imagine if Fed had to play Becker, Connors, McEnroe, Edberg, Rafter and Lendl again and again during semi/finals in Wimbeldon, could he be able to win it all ? I doubt it !


Harlock Says:

It’s the court speed – give him a fast surface and Pete’s just not going to have his serve broken, and will not be worn down in long points either. Slow the surface and it’s a different situation. As Pete himself said, don’t get carried away – playing great in a match when conditions favor you is one thing – playing 7 matches over 2 weeks is a different story. Possibly Pete will seek a wildcard for Wimbledon but don’t look for him to come out of retirement, at least not permanently. BTW the ULTIMATE prize in tennis the the Grand Slam, winning all 4 majors in a single calendar year. Laver did it twice. Budge once. No other man did it. Greatest ever is Laver.


ooo Says:

Super Star,

Fed would make Becker, Connors, McEnroe, Edberg, Rafter and Lendl look like Roddick, Hewitt, Nadal, Djokovic, Safin et al. Remember, but for Fed, each of the above-mentioned contemporaries of the Fed would have won 1-5 more grand slams than they currently have, which would make them perfectly comparable to the greats you mentioned.


Samp Fan Says:

Sean, man you really have it out for Pete. I have been reading you posts for some time and every time you write about Pete you sound like a scorn lover. Get over it and give him the credit he deserves.


Jean Says:

Now after some time has passed since these exhibition matches, everyone must have realised Federer is beatable in straight sets as it happened in the semis of the AO.

If Sampras can play at his best for an hour or two, there’s no doubt even today, he can win against Federer. Some of you here like to cite one math as the ultimate reference for who’s best: The Wimbledon 5 setters. To base your opinion on a single “real” match is as absurd as taking Sampras out of context in the Wimbledon that followed, and say that the unknown player who beat him was a better player.

Who plays better is a function of who wins more, and unless there’s enough matches between two players, there is no way to decisively say who’s better.

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