Pete Sampras Says Roger Federer Can Win Another Slam (But What’s He Suppose To Say?)
by Tom Gainey | February 20th, 2014, 10:32 am

Pete Sampras was available to the media yesterday as a pre-tournament buildup to a match with Andre Agassi in London next month.

Sampras, who retired at age 31 after winning his 14th major at the US Open, remains in awe of what Federer, now 32, can still do.

“I’m amazed that he is up for more tennis,” Sampras said. “He has done everything in the game and he could walk away tomorrow feeling great about it. But he still wants to travel and compete and I’m in awe of it. He is a true lover of the sport.”

Sampras also said he that Federer can still win majors and even pass him at Wimbledon for an 8th title.

“Things need to fall into place,” he cautioned, “and he needs to play well but I do think he can do it (win a Grand Slam). I think it is what he’s playing for.”

Federer, who will play next week in Dubai, is still missing a singles Olympic gold and a Davis Cup title on his resume, but Sampras says he still has time.

“As long as Roger is enjoying it and he’s healthy, I can see him playing for another two, three, four more years,” Pete said.

The 8th-ranked Federer hasn’t won a title since Halle and hasn’t reached a Grand Slam final since his 2012 Wimbledon win.

After top 10 wins over Jo-Wilfied Tsonga and Andy Murray, Federer lost in the Australian Open to rival Rafael Nadal in the semifinals.

“When you’re playing against Rafa and if you’re not quite on your game then it can seem like you’re struggling. Rafa is a rock. But I do see Roger building from that, I think he’s going to do well this year,” added Sampras.

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36 Comments for Pete Sampras Says Roger Federer Can Win Another Slam (But What’s He Suppose To Say?)

Brando Says:

He likely got asked about Fed and he really was not going to say anything else was he? Fed has ONLY won Halle since August 2012. He’s 33 this year. And he has Rafa, Novak, Del Potro and now Wawa all at their peak, all Slam winners in front of him. Realistically: IF he wins another slam it shall only be this year at either Wimby or USO (a event he has not won since 2008). He won’t win Wimby in 2015 nigh on age 34 and the USO aged 34. NO PLAYER has won a Slam past that age in the last 40 years so to think he’ll do so in this physical era and with such competition is unrealistic IMO. IMHO: I don’t see it happening at all. IF it were to then it will Be Wimby this year since after that he’s age 33 and that’s very old in the game. I always felt Wimby 2012 was his final slam: the way he won it, the event it was, the history achieved with it, the way he had good luck on his side etc. To me then and there it seemed like his last Slam just before his 31st birthday.

Brando Says:

^Add Muzza to that list. 5 slam winners, career peak time.

skeezer Says:

I will also be pessimistic this year with Fed. Reality bites and blows being 33 this year instead of 27/28. However, he did get to the semi’s @ AO, so, yes, it’s possible. Fingers crossed. Nice of Sampras to back Fed up on his chances though! Way to go Pistol Pete.

Perfect fan Says:

I too believe that roger can add to his GS tally this year. allez fed.

lets-go-ROGER-lets-go….”clap-clap” :)

SG1 Says:

To my mind, Federer had his time. He’s played in 24 slam finals and won 17. There’s nothing left to prove. I think he wants to have that last taste of victory (like Sampras) before he hangs em’up. Not all endings are fairy tale endings though.

I’ll be truly shocked if he wins another slam. There are just too many really good guys in front of him, all of whom are slam winners. Winning a slam means beating Rafa, Novak and least one other really good player over 5 sets.

SG1 Says:

He has had a fairy tale career so that should be some solace.

Ben Pronin Says:

What’s he supposed to say? Plenty of other former players have said they don’t think Federer can win another slam. But considering how Sampras did it, why shouldn’t he believe Roger could pull off the same?

Tom Gainey Says:

@Ben, can you list a few of those players with links? I’d like to make that into a separate post.

A Tango Lad Says:

If Stan can win a major, why not Roger? He’s not the favourite but some write him off as if he is dead!

However, Roger made semis in Australia last year so not sure what this indicates for the rest of the year.

I look forward to seeing Roger and Djokovic in Dubai next week but if Djokovic wins should they meet, their head to head will be even!

Hopp Suisse!

A Tango Lad Says:

In this article, McEnroe says that he can’t see Roger getting past the Top 2 back to back and that winning another major would be difficult for Roger.

No where does he say that he can’t see Roger winning another major. Nor have I heard this from any other former players.

Good catch Tom.

metan Says:

In tennis, everything is possible. So try your best Roger.

Michael Says:

I think Sampras has just expressed his wish lacking conviction that Roger can win another major. However, from ground zero, it does appear that this high expectation from Roger cannot translate into crowning glory. Roger is a pale shadow of what he was in the prime of his career and right now he is struggling to win even 250 tournaments. In this scenario, expecting him to win a major is a trifle too much to expect. Harsh to say this, but truth is bitter. However, strange things have happened in Tennis and Roger may fancy his chances in the event of early departure of Rafa and Novak. But still he might have to counter the rest of competition. Nevertheless, if Sampras words indeed come true and Roger snatches that moment of glory, I would be the happiest person as his fan.

eric Says:

sure fed can win another. if nadal had gotten hurt one match earlier it would have been fed against stan and stan doesn’t play federer very well. its the same reason why most Spanish players don’t play nadal well. Roger needs lots of luck on his side with who he faces but its possible to win another.

Steve27 Says:

No, he wont but this was a very predictable words of Samras. After this year, his chances of reaching another sf in a GS would be almost impossible to archieve. Connors, with a similar long career, he was no threat after USO 1984. His last sf were crushing defeats with the likes of Lendl, Curren, Cash, etc.

steve-o Says:

Yes, he will. And more than one.

If Agassi can make Grand Slam finals at 35, Federer can win Grand Slam finals at 35.

Federer’s totally different from Sampras. Sampras was burnt out by the grind of the tour, once he stopped dominating he stopped enjoying tennis as much. He has stated he can’t understand why Federer is so motivated.

Federer enjoys the tour, he’s traveling with his family (with another child on the way!) and he seems quite happy doing so. Sampras of course retired before starting a family (his wife was pregnant with their first child during the last few months of his career). He didn’t have the energy needed to dedicate himself to professional tennis and a family at the same time.

Federer enjoys tennis, and not just when he’s winning. That’s why his motivation remains so incredibly high. As long as he’s happy and fit, he can get back to his best level of tennis, and then when he does, he starts winning.

The racket will definitely help him extend his career, it’s letting him play closer to the baseline without shanking as much. He can step in and go on the attack much more often, and shorten points. It’s easier on his body to play that way, helps him save energy and lessen the strain.

Yes, I think he’s got a lot more great tennis in him.

Hippy Chic Says:

Well it wont be easy,as theres also now new blood thats begining to make some noise,but then again nothing worth while ever was,and as long as Roger continues to enjoy his tennis you can never right of a great champion like him,and with an element of luck with the draws or one of the other top players flaming out early,i suppose you never know,it will be difficult but not impossible,i have a feeling he might eek something out this year or next,i think his best chance will be either Wimbledon or the USO,i think he should concentrate on the smaller tournies to start with,to build upto the GS,my personal opinion for what its worth,and i assume im still allowed one?

steve-o Says:

Who said you weren’t allowed your opinion, Hippy Chic?

MMT Says:

I don’t understand the point of the title of this article: is it that Sampras, for some unexplained reason, has to say that Roger can still win a major even though this is not true?

If Sampras doesn’t see it happening, he could easily just say it. Lots of people have said it, and probably a lot more believe it. Personally, I think he has a shot to win any major he plays, because his game is still good enough to do it.

The problem is that the margin of error he’s working with is smaller – i.e. he has to play closer to his capacity for more matches against more players…but anything is possible.

After all people were writing him off after 2011, and he won Wimbledon and reached #1 in 2012, and his results the two years before that were similar to his results over the last couple of years since.

Anything is possible in tennis as long as your capacity and your execution are there.

Ben Pronin Says:

Federer struggling to win 250s is somewhat irrelevant. Sampras went how long without winning any titles before winning the US Open in 2002? I’m sure that’s where Sampras is coming from. “If I could do it while being burnt out then surely Federer can do it since he still enjoys the game”.

But comparing Agassi and Federer isn’t the same. Agassi’s career path was different from Federer’s. That he was reaching slam finals at 35 is irrelevant to what Federer could be doing at 35. Federer’s career closer parallels Sampras’s than Agassi’s.

Giles Says:

No he can’t! Yes he can! No he can’t! And the vote goes to? NO HE CAN’T!!

steve-o Says:

@Ben Pronin: the comparison between Federer and Agassi is apt, as far as their mentality goes. People get hung up over the similarity in Federer and Sampras’ styles (and even their games quite different in very crucial ways) and think they’re mentally the same, but that’s not the case.

Sampras said he was fine physically at the end of his career and he could have played for a few more years. The problem was mental, he was burned out and had no desire to continue.

For him it was about dominating opponents and when he couldn’t do that anymore, tennis became more of a grind. He had one last hurrah to prove he could win one more major and then bowed out.

Federer’s not all about dominating opponents, he loves the game itself, even when he’s not winning. He loves the process of coming up with new shots and tactics, and he enjoys the tour. That keeps him motivated to keep trying to raise his game.

Agassi was more like Federer in that he also enjoyed the process of playing tennis and kept going until he was physically unable to continue, despite not being #1.

When Federer retires it’ll be because his body can’t handle producing the high level of tennis needed to win the big titles. Until then, he’ll be able to play at an extremely high level.

Hippy Chic Says:

Steve O well it just depends doesnt it?if you actually dare to say something that others disagree with on this forum then your either
a)a vamoshead
b)a Rafa fanatic
c)an essex girl
d)only interested in Rafa for his looks,i could go on but whats the point?
for what its worth im none of the above,even when i try to have a proper conversation with a pertinent question,like could Stan back up his AO win,especially with the younglings coming through?i was heckled for been a Rafa fan sore loser,even though id repeatedly said what a worthy winner and what a fantastic player he is,i was also attacked on the Rafa statue thread about religion of all things,anyway for what its worth i think your man Federer will win another GS,then again what would i know im just some airhead Rafa fanatic,apparantly the lowest common denomenator of a tennis fan.

SG1 Says:

I’ll get ripped for this but I think that Federer has been a little fortunate to get to 17 slams. The two slams he won in 2009 were essentially (if not effectively) sans-Rafa. Fortune has this nasty habit of rubbing both ways. I don’t think it’s impossible for Federer to win another slam, I just see it as highly unlikely.

skeezer Says:

I for one won’t rip ya. Think it is a fair assessment (highly unlikely). Just remember Rafa has to enter and get through a draw just like Fed. So to say Rafa will stop or will be the stopper to Feds chances at another Slam doesn’t solely rely upon Rafa. So Rafa doesn’t enter or gets ousted early means Fed undeservedly gets 2 Slams? Simply not how the game works. Gotta be healthy and beat other players, not just your nemesis, as some want to call this whole F vs. R thingy..

steve-o Says:

@Hippy Chic: I never said you were the lowest common denominator of tennis fan; I said Nadal pandered to the lowest common denominator. There’s a subtle but important difference between those two statements.

There are plenty of airhead Nadal fanatics on this blog (and it’s clear who they are–I need not name names), but I never considered you one.

Anyhow, when it comes to disagreement, it’s usually the Nadal fans who are the rudest and most obnoxious when someone expresses a contrary opinion. They pounce en masse and they insult people personally. (Again, lest you jump on me, I am not counting you among them).

Hippy Chic Says:

Steve O i would never jump on you i wouldnt dare,i think ive always done my best to be fair to all the players,as well as my favorite even though i think hes far from perfect as ive said a gazillion timeS,but to be perfectly honest there is childishness in both the fan groups that frequent this forum IMO,anyway you would be pleased to know this Rafa fan is sick to the back boody teeth of it all and is wondering if its all really worth the bother anymore,the only thing i ever wanted to do was talk tennis not keep batting heads with all and sundry,im obviously out of my depth,so maybe the best thing i could do is just leave and enjoy my tennis in peace, the joy of blogging has sadly gone for me now,anyway its a Federer thread so enjoy the chat.

Hippy Chic Says:

Pete does seem to change his opinion,it wasnt so long ago when Rafa won the USO,he said that he thought Rafa would go on to surpass Roger,now he thinks Roger will surpass him and win another Wimbledon,i suppose either or both senarios are quite possible,but he changes his opinions depending on which way the wind blows,sorry just saying.

SG1 Says:

Pete’s was one of the all time greats (and my favorite player) but I have this impression that he doesn’t seem to be the least bit introspective. I guess there’s something to be said for going to college and getting a good education.

steve-o Says:

I don’t think college, or any other kind of life experience, would have made Sampras more introspective.

In interviews, he strikes me as having almost autistic personality traits–a certain lack of affect. I think it’s one of the things that made him so successful, this peculiar kind of absence of sensitivity. When the match got tight, he didn’t feel it. It’s not that he overcame his nerves; just didn’t have them. A kind of void.

A Tango Lad Says:

Well said Steve. I quite agree. I’ve often felt the same way. I always saw that he rarely ahowed mental frailty but never realized this almost detached side of him until after he’d retired.

He is my second favourite player since I’ve watched the game.

Hippy Chic Says:

Pete was an amazing player no doubt,but i could never warm to him,his style of tennis always left me feeling cold,i always was a fan of Rafter/Agassi who both had much more variety IMO,and i always enjoyed that particular match up much more,although neither matched up well with Pete,and when Roger came onto the scene i thought wow this kid has an amazing future,and Roger then became my favorite player that was till Rafa came along to challenge that domination,just my opinion.

Slice Tennis Says:

steve-o Says:
“If Agassi can make Grand Slam finals at 35, Federer can win Grand Slam finals at 35.”

This is possible if you are playing in the era of Philipousis, Baghdatis, Gonzalez, Hewitt, Roddick, Schuttler, etc.

Giles Says:

Let’s see how Faderer fares in Dubai first before counting him in to win more Grand Slams. Ole Faderer has NEVER won back to back 5 setters in his career and these types are nominating him to win another Grand Slam at the ripe old age of 33!! Pathetic really!!

Slice Tennis Says:

Federer has set himself a lofty goal of winning around 5 250s this year.
Let us see if he can walk the talk.
He already lost a golden chance to win a 250 against another oldie with one more kid than him.

SG1 Says:

I just think that Sampras came from a very tennis-centric world. Some people (like Agassi and Roddick) can transcend this. I doubt that college would have made Sampras a better tennis player. I just wonder if being around other people his age, having fun and exchanging ideas might have in fact helped him be more interesting, and perhaps more introspective about things.

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