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HomeSportsTennisSampras to Federer - I watched 20 years of brilliance, heartache and...

Sampras to Federer – I watched 20 years of brilliance, heartache and triumph

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday, September 22, 2022

Pete Sampras was the legend of the game – and hands-down king of the grass – that each one gamers aspired to within the early 2000s. And earlier than Roger Federer made his ascent to the highest of tennis the Swiss, then a teen, had a formative expertise with the seven-time Wimbledon champion on Centre Court in 2001.

Sampras, who despatched a heartfelt video tribute to Federer on Thursday by way of the ATP, remembers the event properly.

“Not really sure where to begin, so I’ll just start from the very beginning,” Sampras mentioned, referring to Federer’s 7-6(7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5 victory over Sampras within the spherical of 16 at Wimbledon in 2001. “When I first played you, you were 19 years old, an up and coming player and people were talking about you. And we had a great battle on the Centre Court of Wimbledon. And you took me down in a tough five-setter. And I just remember walking off the court, feeling like I met my match – truly a special player.

“Little did I know, 20 years later that you would have 20 majors, be number one for years, dominate our sport, and basically do it all.”



Sampras went on to provide reward to Federer for his illustrious, record-shattering profession, making point out of the oft-overlooked work ethic and stage of dedication that Federer put into his sport and profession.

“I know through those 20 years that you sacrificed, you dedicated yourself, you got your body, right – I don’t think people saw that side of you because you made the game look so easy,” Sampras mentioned. “But I know you’re the ultimate professional when it comes to preparing. So pretty extraordinary what you’ve done.”

Sampras additionally hit on the sportsmanship of Federer, and the grace underneath stress.

“I’ve admired the way you’ve handled it all from the very beginning to the very end,” he mentioned. “You were always gracious in your defeats and gracious in your wins.”

The 14-time Slam champion has developed a friendship with Federer over time, and mentioned that the pair acquired so much nearer throughout their exhibition tour in China in 2007.

Spending time within the presence of the Swiss legend helped him perceive what made Federer a singular expertise – and human being.

“I’ve sat back and watched 20 years of brilliance, of heartache, of triumph,” he mentioned. “And throughout the whole span of your career, you’ve never really changed. You were true to yourself and where you came from. You should look back to your career and feel really proud of what you’ve been able to accomplish.

“I just want to shout out to you and tell you that you’re gonna be missing our game. But you left the game in good hands.”

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