Image: Joe Winkler
Let's do a quick recall of a recent American champion, regarded
as one of the greatest players ever - "Pistol" Pete Sampras.
The promising junior was trained at the Jack Kramer
Club in southern California, and coached by the legendary Robert Lansdorp.
He broke through in 1990 when he won the U.S. Open at age 19
years and 28 days, the youngest champion ever at Forest Hills.
He went on to build an unrivaled illustrious career over 14
Sampras won a then-record 14 Grand Slam singles titles,
including 7 championships at Wimbledon and 5 at the U.S. Open.
He also finished with 64 professional
He achieved year-end World No. 1 rank for a record 6 consecutive
years, from 1993 to 1998.
And he recorded World No. 1 rank for 286 calendar weeks, second
Sampras was a world-class all-court player, with an overpowering
His running forehand became one of the most feared weapons in his
The Sampras first and second serve were considered perhaps the
best of any player ever.
His rivalry with the other great American champion of his era,
Andre Agassi, made for some of the greatest matches in history.
And he was known for his quiet and humble demeanor, and as a
player who "let his racket do the talking."
Boris Becker was quoted as saying: "For me, [Sampras] was always the
most complete player. He has the power. He has the speed. He has the touch. He is the
best player ever."
Roger Federer remarked: "He was my childhood idol, and I have always looked up to him."
John McEnroe added: "I put him in the godlike stratosphere . . .
Video: Pete Sampras - Beyond the Glory (Documentary)