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Last Updated: Friday, 22 August, 2003, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Wimbledon legends: Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras
Born: 12/08/71
Washington DC, USA
Wimbledon titles:
1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
Runner up: 1988, 1989, 1994
Grand Slam titles: 13
Prize money: $43,280,489 (to 5 June 2002)

Believe it or not, in his first three years at Wimbledon, Pete Sampras only won one match, losing twice in the first round and one in the second.

It was puzzling to a man who had won the US Open at the age of 19.

Although he had barely played on grass as a junior he thought his serve-volley game would be well-suited to the fast grass-courts of SW19.

But things eventually came right, and in some style.

In the 1993 final he beat the then world number one, Jim Courier, having already dismissed Andre Agassi and Boris Becker in previous rounds.

From then on, of course, 'Pistol Pete' made Centre Court his own.

He may not go for quite the pace of a Greg Rusedski or Mark Philippoussis on his serve, but its accuracy, disguise and above all consistency, make it far and away the best the game has ever seen.

Similarly, Stefan Edberg could claim to have been a better volleyer and Pat Rafter a superior athlete, but no one has ever put it all together like Sampras.

The American also boasted fierce groundstrokes and a will to win that saw him play through injury and sickness on a regular basis.

These are all reasons why Sampras has won more Grand Slams than anyone else and was voted the best player in the history of the Association of Tennis Professionals.

If any of Sampras' games are forgettable, which many are, it is because he was so far ahead of the rest, they could barely give him a game.

His power may have dimmed over the last year, but his achievements will never be forgotten.





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