Peter "Pete" Sampras is a retired American tennis player and former world number 1. During his 14-year tour career, he won 14 Grand Slam singles titles and became recognized as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Sampras debuted on the professional tour in 1988 and played his last top-level tournament in 2002 when he won the US Open.
In 1997, named U.S. Olympic Committee "Sportsman of the Year"; first tennis player to receive award...To commemorate 25th anniversary of ATP in 1997, a panel of 100 current and past players, journalists and tournament directors voted for the Top 25 players of past 25 years and Sampras was selected No. 1
He compiled a 762-222 record during his years on the circuit – winning more than 77% of all the matches he played in 15 years.
During one rain delay, Sampras said he asked for another cortisone injection because he could feel the first one wearing off, only to be told it was not an option.
“I knew then I was going to have to tough it out,” Sampras said. After he did, winning by 6-7 (10), 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2, he grew teary.
“The record means so much to me,” Sampras said then.
With more men’s singles titles than anyone except Roger Federer, Sampras stands—by many accounts—as the greatest tennis player of all-time.
"Mentally I felt better. By '92 I felt really comfortable, I was the owner of the place for the next seven years."
Only a quarterfinal defeat to eventual winner Richard Kracijek in 1996 interrupted an incredible run which saw Sampras claim seven of the next eight Wimbledon crowns.
Until Roger Federer came along, Pete Sampras won more Grand Slam singles titles than any man living or dead. And he forged that record in the game’s most competitive era. He won as a teenager, he won in his 20s, and he was still a dominant presence on the pro tour in his 30s.
Sampras, who idolized Rod Laver, moved to become a serve-and-volley player. The approach proved frustrating initially, but ultimately helped him dominate Grand Slam tournaments such as Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Instead, Pete and Sam were approached by Pete Fischer, a pediatrician with a genius-level IQ. Fischer was an awful player with no coaching experience. Yet his philosophies on teaching kids made sense to Sam. With money tight, Fischer’s offer to work with Pete for free was too good to pass up.
Once I won that last U.S. Open, I spent the next six months trying to figure out what was next. Slowly my passion for the sport just vanished. I had nothing left to prove.
At the age of 19, he became the youngest men's tennis champion at the US Open.
I'm not going to win Wimbledon every year, but if I play well I can do it again because Wimbledon brings out something great in me. The atmosphere of the place is phenomenal. You feel like the whole world is watching Wimbledon.
An all-court player with one of the greatest serves in history, his early career was defined by his rivalry with his countryman Andre Agassi, whose flash and flamboyance stood in stark contrast to Sampras' understated, methodical style.
"I didn't like grass at all and when people ask me about grass and when I first went over there, I tell them I hated Wimbledon. I hated the surface," he told CNN.
Wimbledon is the place that holds many of his fondest memories. It is where he won seven singles titles, losing only four service games in those seven finals.