Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras ( born August 12, 1971 in Washington, DC ) is a retired American professional tennis player.

Sampras, son of Greek immigrants, the father of the island of Kos and the mother of Salacia in the Peloponnese, won in his career total of 14 Grand Slam tournaments in singles, six years was one behind the other at the end of the No. 1 tennis world rankings, was a total of 286 weeks at the top and was in 1990 with 19 years to become the youngest winner of the U.S. Open. Sampras is considered alongside Ricardo Gonzalez, Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as one of the best professional tennis player of all time.

In his 15 year career he won a total of 64 tournaments in singles and two in doubles, including seven Wimbledon, five U.S. Open twice and the Australian Open. Only the success at the French Open was denied him. In addition, he was five ATP World Champion, won 11 tournaments in the so-called Super -9 series ( today ATP World Tour Masters 1000), won the USA twice the Davis Cup six times and was voted player of the year. In its balance sheet are 762 won games against 222 defeats.

  • 3.1 existing records
  • 3.2 Former Records
  • 5.1 Wins (14 )
  • 5.2 Final Loss ( 4)

Tennis career

Youth and first professional years (1971-1992)

From a young age Sampras discovered his passion for the sport of tennis, but only after his family moved to Palos Verdes, a suburb of Los Angeles, it was possible for him to play the game regularly. It was the pediatrician and avid tennis player Pete Fischer, who recognized the talent of the then nine -year-old Sampras and in the next few years a kind of mentor to him was. Fischer was also the various trainers dedicated to improving various aspects in Sampras ' tennis game. The doctor himself, whom Sampras later described as a " mad scientist ", was mainly involved the mental level of the game. So Fischer Sampras impressed upon an increasingly controlled and little emotional behavior on the tennis court, and arranged for the historic significance of the Grand Slam tournaments. The young Sampras studied under the guidance of Fischer's games the most famous tennis pros of the past, and especially Rod Laver (which he at the age of eleven years personally met ) Sampras impressed with his touch and his successes. It soon reached Sampras first success on the junior tour, and although Pete Fischer insisted that Sampras should compete in tournaments, where also much older and more experienced players played, he had soon become one of the best classified players of his age group. At this time, Sampras played a solid two-handed backhand, which enabled him to secure baseline game. But fishermen convinced the then 14- year-old was to play in the future one-handed backhand, and molded him into a classic serve- and-volley player. Shortly before joining the professional tour in the 1988 season reached Sampras the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Junior Singles ( where he worked in the first round also set the number to 1 compatriot Michael Chang beat ) and the semifinals in doubles. In the same year the 16 -year-old Sampras was also nominated for the Junior Davis Cup competition.

In his first season on the ATP Tour Sampras played ten tournaments, with the semi-finals at a tournament in Schenectady was the greatest success. He finished his first professional season ( in which he did not participate in U.S. tournaments) number 97 of the world tennis rankings, and was one of the youngest players in the tennis history to finish a season in the Top 100 players. In the following season Sampras raised its game plan also to the most important tournaments in Australia and Europe. He won 18 of his 37 games this season and could be improved by 16 places in the world rankings. Among other things, he reached the quarter-finals here in Adelaide and Indianapolis. On the side of Jim Courier, he won the Italian Open in doubles, and at the U.S. Open he played after a second-round victory over defending champion Mats Wilander to the last sixteen. A few weeks later he separated from Fischer, of which he said he tried " to implant his brain in my body ."

For the new season committed Sampras Joe Brandi as their new coach. Soon the Americans has seen better results. So he reached the Australian Open, the second Grand Slam second round in a row, and after a semi-final in Milan Sampras won the first tournament of his career in Philadelphia. After he won the warm-up tournament in Manchester a week before Wimbledon, he was considered a tip for the prestigious tournament in London. Especially Fred Perry Sampras predicted a great success at Wimbledon. But Sampras was defeated in the first round of the South African Christo van Rensburg in three tight sets. In the following weeks Sampras, who had now made ​​the leap into the top 15 players in the world rankings, could reach even twice a semi-final, before he took at the U.S. Open. Not necessarily viewed as a tournament favorite, the set at position 12 Americans reached the second round without dropping a set, where he defeated the Austrian Thomas Muster in four sets and reached a quarterfinal duel with Ivan Lendl. Lendl Sampras had ten months earlier invited to several training sessions in his home in Connecticut. Sampras later spoke with admiration of exercise performance that showed Lendl and his young compatriot mediated. But at the U.S. Open, it was Sampras, who held the upper hand and ended Lendls series of seven finals in a row at this tournament. The next U.S. tennis legend John McEnroe was no effective remedy for the power hitter of the 19- year-old and eventually lost in four sets. In the final, Sampras met on the year- old Andre Agassi, who had already made ​​a name as a bird of paradise on the ATP Tour, against Sampras was but a chance and the final with 4:6, 3:6 and 2:6 lost. At the age of 19 years and 28 days, Sampras was the youngest U.S. Open champion of all time, and he later said that he was not yet ready for this great success, and not as a tennis player or as a person. In fact, it should last until his next Grand Slam triumph for almost three years. The season ended Sampras after his fourth win of the season at the Grand Slam Cup in Germany at number 5 in the world rankings.

The season 1991 was for Sampras as successful as the previous season, but without much success in the Grand Slam tournaments. Overall, the Americans reached eight finals on the ATP Tour and has four of these games to decide for themselves, including for the first time in his career, the seasonally final ATP World Championship. At the U.S. Open Sampras moved after his quarter-final defeat by his opponent Jim Courier and fellow countryman Jimmy Connors significant criticism when he spoke at the press conference of the relief that it is the pressure ( which had weighed upon him as the defending champion ) after the defeat of Referring back. After the tournament, he separated from his coach Joe Brandi and dedicated Tim Gullikson, who had worked as manager of tennis pros like Martina Navratilova, Mary Joe Fernández and Aaron Krickstein. At the end of the year, Sampras was also the first time in Davis Cup squad of the U.S. for the final against the French team. However, Sampras lost both single and the United States the final with 1:3. The season he finished in 6th place in the world rankings.

Gulliksons efforts to make Sampras, who had a great forsaking in his career on his strong serve, a more complete player, their first successes in the 1992 season. So the Americans could for the first time in Clay Court tournaments that he had previously shunned largely achieve good results and reach the quarterfinals at the French Open, among others. A few weeks later showed Sampras that he would be good in principle suitable game on the " hallowed turf " also was able to implement successful - he reached the third Grand Slam tournament of the season, the semi-finals. With two successful Grand Slam tournaments in back and a winning streak of ten games from the last preparation tournament in Cincinnati and Indianapolis Sampras started at the U.S. Open. After two five- set victories in the early rounds of the tournament, he defeated the world number one Jim Courier in the semifinals and moved into the final game against the Sweden Stefan Edberg. Sampras won the first set, but missed more opportunities and went to four sets as losers from the square. Later, Sampras said that he was not after the defeat had many nights sleep and he had clearly made ​​the game how important the success was especially at the Grand Slam tournaments for him. In the course of the season Sampras won five of his seven tournament finals and finished the season at No. 3 in the world rankings. In December, he helped the U.S. with the preliminary decision twin success at the side of John McEnroe for the second Davis Cup victory in the last three years.

At the top of the world (1993-1998)

After losing to Edberg and Sampras Gullikson continued to work on improving his game. In the first months of the 1993 season Sampras failed only once before the semi finals, defeated in the Australian Open just there again Stefan Edberg. After his third win of the season in Tokyo Sampras reached with a playoff victory over Brad Gilbert for the first time the top position in the world rankings. At the French Open of the new collection followed the quarter-finals. Without problems Sampras reached the quarterfinals, where he was able to defeat compatriot Agassi in five sets in Wimbledon. After a three-set victory over Boris Becker in the final he beat Jim Courier in four sets and drove a second Grand Slam title of his career. Until the U.S. Open Sampras managed no more finals, but at Flushing Meadows even Sampras was on his way to his second victory in the most important American tennis tournament only two sets from. In the last third of the season he consolidated its leading position in the world rankings with the season tracks seven and eight in Lyon and Antwerp. However, he lost the final of the ATP World Cup against the German Michael Stich.

In the season of 1994, little changed on the dominance of Sampras in men's tennis, in fact, he lost in the first season months up to the French Open just three matches and was with the victory at the Australian Open as the first player after Rod Laver in 1969 again three Grand win Slam tournaments in a row. The chance to become champions in all four major tournaments, he forgave then, however, at the French Open, where he had to retire for the third time in a row in the quarterfinals. In contrast, Wimbledon Sampras first successfully defended a Grand Slam title and was on the way to the final against Goran Ivanisevic (which he finally won after two hard-fought first sets with 7:6, 7:6 and 6:0 ), only a single the sentence. Due to an ankle injury he was up to the U.S. Open contest, no further match. In the first knockout round match against Jaime Yzaga the Americans ultimately lacked match practice and fitness to survive after five sets and three and a half hours of play time. In 1994, Sampras and his comeback in the U.S. Davis Cup team after he had concentrated on his solo career last year. But in the semifinal against Sweden, he was forced to retire injured in the duel against Stefan Edberg and another month pause ( lost the encounter with the United States 2:3 ). At season's end Sampras was back to its former strength and won for the second time the ATP World Championship. He finished the season with 10 tournament wins and defended his leading position in the world rankings throughout the season.

After he had fully recovered from his injuries, Sampras returned with renewed motivation on the tennis court back, but at the Australian Open suffered his coach Gullikson one hour before Sampras ' third- round match faint. In the quarter- final match against Jim Courier Sampras broke in the fifth set down in tears after a fan had called from the tribune, that he should win the game for his coach. Sampras turned the game after that, a 0-2 sentence residue, a few days later a brain tumor was diagnosed with Gullikson. Sampras eventually played his way to the finals but lost emotionally drained against Andre Agassi. A few months later he would also make the top spot in the world rankings to his compatriot. Until Wimbledon Sampras won only two tournaments, and especially in the clay court tournaments followed early defeats. On the lawn of Wimbledon Sampras, however, remained unbeaten and won the tournament for the third time in a row. In time for the hard court season witnessed the duel Sampras / Agassi its peak, because both players still had every chance to the top position in the world rankings at the end of the year. Agassi even went so far as to say that the player who would win the U.S. Open, the true number 1 of the season would be. Indeed, it came at Flushing Meadows for media- final Sampras against Agassi, Sampras with the 6:4, 6:3, 4:6 and 7:5 could decide for themselves. Agassi was not until years later back to his form of 1995 back while Sampras, the top ranking a few weeks later recaptured and was able to hold out until the end of the season. End of 1995, Sampras managed also the second Davis Cup triumph, he was able to boast a 7-0 record this season and win the first singles match against Andrei Chesnokov of Russia in five sets, even though he had to be subsequently carried convulsions from space.

The 1996 season began with light and shadow for Sampras, although it was able to win four tournaments up to the French Open, but failed at the Australian Open already in the third round. The French Open has been overshadowed by the death of his former coach Tim Gullikson, but Sampras showed at Roland Garros, the best performance of his career. Having destroyed Jim Courier in the quarterfinals after a 0-2 sets down, he failed in the semi -tired on Russians Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who won the tournament later. Sampras was never to reach the semifinals in Paris. Without further preparation, he stepped to the side of his new coach Paul Annacone at Wimbledon. His winning streak on the hallowed turf ended after 25 games against the eventual title winner Richard Krajicek in the quarterfinals. In the North American hard court season Sampras showed his best season performances. He had to in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open against Àlex Corretja passed on the pitch, the game still won in five sets, and then the tournament - a title that saved his own words his year. His eighth and final season titles won Sampras at the ATP World Championships, where he could conquer in a four hours continuous Final match Boris Becker - this match is still considered among tennis experts to this day as one of the best matches of all time. The explosiveness resulted not least from the fact that Sampras Becker defeated twice within a week in Stuttgart and in the preliminary round in Frankfurt and the current number one would have lost so three times in a row against the same player. Unique is the appreciation of both opponents were for each other, everyone wanted to " show " who the "best" has beats. This resulted in a variety of spectacular rallies.

In the 1997 season Sampras was able to hold the top position in the world rankings over the entire calendar year round for the second time in his career. He started the season with his second title at the Australian Open, his total of 9 Grand Slam success. Without defeat and with just three wins this season Sampras started in the clay court season, where he remained but without much success and failed at the French Open in the third round. At Wimbledon, Sampras went on the other hand back to his dominance and won the final against Cedric Pioline his fourth title. With already won two Grand Slam titles in the back Sampras started as a big favorite at the U.S. Open, losing there but surprisingly in the second round against Petr Korda in five sets. Of the last four season tournaments Sampras won three, including the fourth victory at the ATP World Championship, which he defended his world ranking position safely. In November, however, was the fourth Davis Cup final of his career against Sweden lost with 0:5 - he had to give up injured in his first match and had not been used.

1998 Sampras came first time since 1995 in danger of permanently losing his world ranking. Younger players like Marcelo Rios and Patrick Rafter shortened the distance between points rapidly, partly because Sampras failed this season in the quarter- finals of the Australian Open. For the first time since 102 weeks Sampras had its top position in March 1998, vacate the position conquered but back as early as next month. At Wimbledon, Sampras scored his fifth victory, Goran Ivanisevic defeated in the final after five hard- fought sets. With his eleventh Grand Slam title he now lay in the eternal Statistics par with Björn Borg and his great idol was Rod Laver, and only a success of Roy Emerson's Grand Slam record removed. Critics, however, believed that Sampras ' big time was over. In the semifinals of the U.S. Open came to a duel between Sampras and Rafter, who had previously played some disputes over the media in the weeks after Rafter had won the final against Sampras in Cincinnati after a dubious line decision. Also at the U.S. Open remained Rafter in five sets the better end and critics felt confirmed. Late in the season revealed Sampras his coach Annacone the great goal, the season for the sixth time in a row as number 1 in the world rankings to end - which has never been achieved in the history of professional tennis. Sampras put all his efforts in this success and even took a wild card by Boris Becker for a tournament in Vienna to decide the points race against Rios and rafters for themselves. Finally, the semi-finals was enough in the ATP World Championships to secure the position.

The last few years (1999-2003)

After the grueling battle for the top of world rankings to Sampras took at the beginning of the 1999 season, a one-month break, which shall include back problems that made impossible for him a start at the Australian Open came. In his first tournament of the 1999 season in San Jose Sampras was in the semifinals due to a foot injury not compete and had to pause for another month. Only in March this year, he could again take part in regular tournaments in April but turn back problems prevented the regular games. Also in the world rankings lost Sampras increasingly points. As he himself said, the world ranking no decisive significance had for him but more, after he had in the previous season broke the record for most years at the top of world rankings. The focus now was rather the Grand Slam record of Roy Emerson, who was now within reach. After a Zweitrundenaus at Roland Garros a winning streak for Sampras, the Queen's Club was able to triumph and then at Wimbledon stopped the Grand Slam record, started by one of the best games of his career, the resurgent rival Andre Agassi 6-3, 6: 4 and 7:5 defeated. Agassi conquered by the finals the top of the world rankings, this position but a few weeks later had to leave again to Sampras, of the North American hard court season dominated and both Agassi and Rafter in preparation tournaments before the U.S. Open was washed twice beat clearly. Considered to be the top favorite for the U.S. Open, Sampras is injured in training just before the start of the tournament and was sidelined for two months. Only the ATP World Championship in Hannover at the end of Sampras was fully fit again when the chance was long assigned to a seventh season at the top of world rankings. But Sampras was quickly back to his best form and was in the last game of the season Agassi 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 beating in the final of the World Cup and celebrate the fifth title of the year and the fifth victory in this particular tournament. Agassi was indeed performed at the end of the season as the world No. 1 ranking, but had a personal season record of 1:4 against Sampras, who finished the season at No. 3 in the world rankings.

The next duel Agassi - Sampras should not be long in coming, already at the Australian Open of the 2000 season, the two Americans came together again. This time it was Agassi who had made ​​it into the finals of the tournament after five sets. Sampras retired in the match during an injury, which he had to recuperate until early March. In Miami, followed in March, the first tournament win of the season for Sampras. It had become clear at the latest after the injury -plagued pre-season that he had to severely limit his tournament schedule in order to save his strength for the real major events of the year. As a result, Sampras came almost exclusively on at Grand Slam and Masters Series tournaments. After Erstrundenaus at Queen's Club followed the seventh victory at Wimbledon, where he won the final against Patrick Rafter in four sets, import on the hallowed turf his 13th Grand Slam title, and thus set a new record for Sampras. Sampras was also at the U.S. Open for the first time since 1996 to reach the final, but lost in three very distinct sets against Russian Marat Safin. The revenge against Safin Sampras succeeded then the final season Masters Cup when he beat the Russians clearly in the preliminary round of the tournament and thus also prevented the leap from Safin to the top of world rankings. In fact, Sampras himself had also the chance to take the top spot at the end with a tournament victory, but he lost his semifinal match against Gustavo Kuerten.

The 2001 season should be one of the least successful in Sampras ' career. Throughout the course of the season he had no tournament win ( first time since 1989 ), and also in the world rankings, he could not maintain the level of recent years. Until the tournament in Wimbledon Sampras had only twice to reach the semi-finals of a tournament, in Indian Wells, where he failed in the final to Agassi, and in the Queen's Club where he lost to Lleyton Hewitt in the semifinals. At the Australian Open he was against it already failed in the second round in Roland Garros he did not make it past the first round. At Wimbledon, then it came after 31 consecutive victories for the second defeat of the last eight years, when he lost to the Swiss Roger Federer in five sets. After the tournament, Sampras was the first time no longer conducted since 1990 among the top ten players in the world rankings. In the North American hard court season Sampras showed an upward trend and was able to achieve at least two tournament finals. At the U.S. Open Sampras then played the best tennis of the season and beat on the way to the final players such as Andre Agassi, Patrick Rafter and also last year's winner Marat Safin. In the finale, it was enough again not for Sampras, Lleyton Hewitt was the clearly inferior. After a final show in Stuttgart, Sampras finished the 2001 season prematurely. End of the year were rumors loud that Sampras would be separated from his longtime coach Paul Annacone.

For the new season, presented Sampras Tom Gullikson as their new coach, the twin brother of Tim Gullikson, had Sampras looked after in the years 1992 to 1996. But the success was not one for Sampras, who in turn lost at the Australian Open in the second round. Previously, Sampras had his long-term contract not renewed with Nike and also briefly separated from his manager. After the following tournaments brought no outstanding results to Sampras separated by Gullikson after about three months of cooperation. As a new coach he hired José Higueras, the Sampras especially should prepare for a successful run at the French Open again. In March 2002, Sampras reached the semifinals in Indian Wells, where he had to give a player the younger generation, Lleyton Hewitt, beaten again. In the same month, he also signed a new, much lower doped contract with Nike. After he had lost on turf in his Davis Cup match against the Spaniard Àlex Corretja, Sampras reached the first season finale in Houston, but he lost against his compatriot Andy Roddick. At the Grand Slam tournaments at Roland Garros ( first round ) and Wimbledon ( second round ), there was another bitter defeats, whereupon Sampras also separated by José Higueras and returned to Paul Annacone as a coach. With a match record of 3-3 Sampras traveled to the U.S. Open, where he found his best form as in the previous two years and the third time in a row to reach the final. Unlike in previous years, but he did not hit on a player of the younger generation, but on his old rival Andre Agassi, whom he defeated 6-3, 6-4, 5:7 and 6:4 to 14 retract Grand Slam title of his career and to celebrate the first tournament win in over two years. Even in the press conference after the victory rumors of a retirement of Sampras were loud, the dispute should no further play in the 2002 season.

Through the 2003 season through announcements were heard over and over again, after which Sampras would make his comeback in certain tournaments, but these were withdrawn again and again. Ultimately, it was announced just before the 2003 U.S. Open that Sampras would end his career at a ceremony on the center court of Flushing Meadows on August 25, 2003.

Return to the tennis court ( 2006 -)

After Sampras had only about four real workouts denied in his own words in three and a half years since his last match in 2002, it was announced in February 2006 that the Americans would make a comeback at the World Team Tennis ( WTT ) Series. He should be six or seven games contest during the regular season from 6 to 26 July 2006. On 28 March 2006 he was selected as the first choice of the WTT - Drafts of the Newport Beach Breakers. On 6 April 2006 Sampras played also a game as part of the invitation tournament River Oaks in Houston against Robby Ginepri International. The first match since his retirement in 2003 lost Sampras on clay against his younger compatriot Ginepri 3:6 and 6:7.

In 2007, Sampras participated in several tournaments in the Outback Champions Series, three of which he could decide for themselves. On 14 July 2007, he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. On 15 July 2007, he played a friendly match against Todd Martin, which he won 7-5. In November 2007, Sampras played three times against the leaders of the world tennis rankings, Roger Federer. The first two encounters won Federer, Sampras in the third game scored the first victory. In March was another duel between Federer and Sampras held in New York, which the Swiss won in three sets for itself.

2008 Sampras took the first time at a tournament at the Tour of Champions part, regularly participate in the former world-class players such as John McEnroe, Goran Ivanisevic and Stefan Edberg. The tournament in São Paulo could decide Sampras in the final against Marcelo Ríos for themselves.

Private life

Sampras has three siblings. His older sister Stella is tennis coach at the University of California, his younger sister, Marion, is a teacher. His brother Gus worked as tournament director of the ATP event in Scottsdale, a tournament in which Sampras regularly attended during his active career.

30 September 2000, Sampras married American actress Bridgette Wilson, whom he had met in 1999. They have two sons, Christian Charles was born on 21 November 2001, Ryan Nikolaos on 29 July 2005. Earlier Sampras a two-year relationship with actress Kimberly Williams - Paisley, a brief relationship with actress Lauren Holly and a six-year acquaintance with the South African student Delaina Mulcahy.

Sampras suffers from thalassemia minor, a genetic disease that causes no anemia usually, but by a smaller number of red blood cells may result, which in turn can cause circulation problems and fatigue. Sampras himself said that the illness had affected him especially in hot conditions and he had not made the illness public in order not to give his opponents the certainty that he was playing with a deficit.


Existing records

  • Sampras was 11 years in a row ( 1992-2002) in at least one Grand Slam tournament in the final.
  • In addition to Ken Rosewall Sampras is the only player to have won a Grand Slam tournament both as a teenager, as well as in his 20s and in his 30s.
  • Sampras hit the most aces on the ATP Tour in the years 1993 (1011) and 1995 ( 974 ).
  • He was in 1990 with 19 years and 28 days, the youngest U.S. Open champion of all time.
  • His seven titles at Wimbledon mean to set the record of William Renshaw. 2012 Roger Federer withdrew with both the same.

Former records

  • The record of won Grand Slam titles held Sampras (14 ) until July 5, 2009, when Roger Federer surpassed him with his 15th Grand Slam victory. On 7 June 2009 Federer had the record can be set initially.
  • A total of 286 weeks was Sampras No. 1 on the world ranking. Long time it looked as if even Roger Federer this record may not have wings, as he had to leave the top of world rankings in the spring of 2010 after a total of 285 weeks. After Federer's Wimbledon victory in 2012 but it conquered again number 1 in the world rankings, surpassing July 16, 2012 with 287 weeks the record of Sampras.
  • Sampras won over 43 million U.S. dollars in prize money so he led until October 2008 to the prize list. By winning the first round at the Madrid Masters Sampras was overtaken in this summary of Roger Federer.
  • In addition to Ivan Lendl and Roger Federer Sampras was five times decide the Masters Cup for itself as the only players. Since the 2011 season, Roger Federer is the record holder with 6 wins.


  • Six times ATP Player of the Year (1993-1998)
  • Six times ITF World Champion (1993-1998)
  • 9 Espy Awards

Grand Slam success

Wins ( 14)

Final Loss ( 4)


Tournament Win (64 )