The storage locker that Pete Sampras kept a bunch of his trophies and memorabilia was robbed a few weeks ago. He still has 13 of his 14 trophies, but his Australian Open 1994 trophy is gone, along with any trophies or crystal he won in his 64 tournament wins and 24 finalist appearances.
I have to think these thing are going to be recovered. I mean, how the hell are you going to pawn this shit?
Besides, not to worry you guys. Gimelstob's on the case and is offering a reward. Which obviously makes him a prime suspect.
A couple of old dudes dialed the clock back nine years and the result was the same. Marat beat Pete in their LA exo in a tiebreak, 6-4, 3-6 (10-6). Pete was still serving bombs but let's face it, Marat, despite his attempts to prove otherwise, is still a tour player.
I don't know what's up with the sleeveless look. But apparently Pete's been doing some push ups.
Interesting stuff from Pete Sampras, as written up by Pete Bodo, on GOATs (or not), Fed, and Marat.
"I do understand the argument as far as being the best ever. You have to be the man of your generation. He (Roger) has come up short against Nadal. I can see the point. It's hard to answer that. I don't know how to answer it.You know, it's not done yet. Roger's career isn't done yet. He's going to play Nadal a number of times over the next number of years, and he has to beat him. He has to beat him in the finals of majors. To be considered the greatest ever, he certainly in my book is (already that). But he has to figure this kid out. He has to beat him. He's lost to him a number of times. You know, you got to be the man of your generation. He certainly is the man of his generation; he just has to figure out Nadal."
Pushed to elaborate vis a vis his own experience wih Agassi, Pete added:
"Well, God, you're giving it some thought, huh (laughter)? It would have bothered me if I had a losing record against Andre in majors. It wouldn't have sat well with me. Did it mean I was the greatest or not the greatest? I don't know. It's the debate of greatest of all time. We so badly want to pin it on someone. With the numbers you have to give it to Roger. His record against Nadal, okay, you might not give it to him.
"I mean, if I was 7-15 against Andre and I was done, it's hard to say I was the player of my generation - just because he got the best of me.
You may remember that in his Wimbledon press conference, Rod Laver took the position that in one match, on grass, he would pick Sampras over Federer. Laver wasn't the only one who took that tack. Just a few weeks ago, John McEnroe told me, "Watching these guys today, I keep thinking that if Sampras walked out there, he’d still drive these guys bananas. In my opinion he’s still the greatest fast court-player who ever lived. Where Roger is the greatest, period."
I asked Sampras about that, too. He said:
"Well, I think one thing Roger doesn't see on grass the last number of years is really a true serve-and- volleyer, someone that's willing to come in and put the pressure on and make him pass, make him return these big serves. I don't think anyone really scares him. I think my game would make Roger a little bit more uncomfortable. I would obviously come in on both serves and put the pressure on his backhand, sort of go from there. . . I would sort of dictate the play. But, you know, he'd be a tough guy to break, especially when he's hitting 50 aces like he did (in the recent Wimbledon final). It would have been a great matchup"If I would beat him? If I felt my best on grass, I did feel unbeatable, especially in the mid '90s. I was a tough guy to break, played well from the back court to have chances, and I moved well enough. It's a flattering comment. Do I think I could have beaten Roger in my prime? Sure. I don't think anyone could beat me in my prime on grass. I felt as Roger does now - he feels unbeatable."
"Marat and I always got along very well when we were playing. He's a really nice guy, great player, showed what he could do especially at the US Open the one year, he tuned me up pretty good. He's an expressive guy on the court, shows emotion. Off the court, he's a happy-go-lucky guy. I was pretty reserved when I was playing, to myself. For whatever reason, he and I seemed to get on really well. We practiced quite a bit together.
"You know, he's a champion. He got to No. 1. He won a major, I think two majors. It's sad to see him go because I think he brought a lot to the sport. Haven't sort of kept in contact with him. But certainly when I see him, we'll talk about some of our matches. When Paul (Annacone) was coaching (Tim) Henman, Marat would ask Paul, How is Pete doing? He was always just a personable guy, really nice guy, and someone that I've always gotten along really well with."
Interesting stuff from the always honest and forthcoming Pete. Too bad no one asked him about Palin. That would have been fun.
The SAP Open in San Jose kicked off yesterday and Pete Sampras shook the dust off his Pro Staff to show the packed crowd what it kinda sorta looked like when he used to play, if he was slower, less flexible, less explosive, and wasn't as good. He was supposed to play Blah in the exo but Blah, ironically, had to pull out due to a sore back. So in stepped Tommy Haas.
What is this, 2002?
The night session was capped with Special K taking on the ever annoying Gilles Muller. Kei took him out in straight sets, 75 62.
 Radek STEPANEK (CZE) d [Q] Dominik MEFFERT (GER) 5-7 6-3 6-1
Christophe ROCHUS (BEL) d  Igor KUNITSYN (RUS) 6-2 7-6(7)
Tommy HAAS (GER) d [WC] Loerschke POERSCHKE (GER) 6-1 7-6(8)
Taylor Dent (USA) d Bobby REYNOLDS (USA) 6-3 6-4
Florent SERRA (FRA) d Jarkko NIEMINEN (FIN) 7-5 6-7(1) 6-4
Kei NISHIKORI (JPN) d Gilles MULLER (LUX) 7-5 6-2
Denis GREMELMAYR (GER) d Roko KARANUSIC (CRO) 3-6 7-6(4) 6-2
I'm making my way through A Champion's Mind, which so far, is really great and I highly recommend it. It's fun to see how this guy was hard wired, and the anecdotes are relevant even today because you can see how Rafa and Roger are very similarly built.
But if you want the Cliff's Notes version, here's a great article on Pete from today. Thanks to mkeller for sending it along.
From this week's mailbag:
-- Darise, Amherst
• Not gauche. And depending on where the event is held, it might not even be dangerous. I do think you've also highlighted a...I don't want to say a flaw, but maybe an "odd dimension" of Davis Cup. In this era of globalization, who can really get worked up in a nationalistic frenzy, cheering against those dastardly Swiss?
Now that Rafa is the year-end No. 1, Sampras' record of six years
as year-end No. 1 remains. Am I right? You had mentioned earlier in one
of your mail bags that "it's one of sports' most underrated records." I
thought I would point that out now. Fed was year-end No. 1 for five
-- Shanky Fremont, Calif.
• Good point. Pete Sampras, take a bow. Long as you brought up Sampras, as many of you know, I've been spending this fall trying to write a book about Federer, Nadal and the 2008 Wimbledon final. In the course of the research, I've really been struck by how classily Sampras has handled the "Greatest Ever" talk and his relationship with Federer more generally. Hard to imagine too many other athletes embracing the guy who's gunning for their record.
I am wondering. Are you getting any questions about Sharapova
those days? Or more generally: how long does it typically take for a
player (injured or retired) to be "forgotten"? I guess you can judge
this from the mails you get.
-- D.P., Europe
• Interesting question. I'm not sure this is the greatest barometer for her relevance, but, as one would expect, the Sharapova questions have slowed to a trickle. It's funny, though, because I think she (more specifically, her health) is a fiercely relevant subject. Before her shoulder went back on the fritz, she was playing exceptionally well to start the year and is/was, I think, the obvious heiress to the top spot, the player best suited to grab the top spot and make some order of all the chaos in the women's game. If she is unable to come back, the WTA is a much weaker product.
Have you ever seen Mario Ancic and Marin Cilic in the same room at the same time?
-- Brett Davis, Los Angeles, Calif.
• When Cilic starts showing up at Croatian CLE classes, we'll know something is really up.
Nevermind that Pistol Pete is a Republican, that much is weird in and of itself but for whatever reason, not all that surprising. As one of my Red State friends always says "If you're rich and you're not a Republican, you're a communist." Yeah, he's rich. And I'm actually kind of with him insofar as I could care less what athletes and celebrities say about politics.
BUT THE DUDE DOESN"T KNOW WHO TINA FEY IS??!?!? That's like saying you've never seen sunshine, puppies, and you hate America. I feel sad for you, Pete. Oh so very sad.
(I'm totally kidding folks. Pete was just messing around. This is just an excuse for me to post some T. Fey goodness.)