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Sampras

Sampras

[sam-pruhs]
Sampras, Pete, 1971-, American tennis player, b. Washington, D.C. Learning the game in the Los Angeles area, he rose to world tennis supremacy after becoming the youngest man to win the U.S. Open, in 1990. Tall and long-armed, he was noted for his powerful serve and overhead as well as for his fluidity on the court. He won 14 Grand Slam events—the record for a male tennis player until it was surpassed by Federer in 2009—including the 1990, 1993, 1995-96, and 2002 U.S. Opens, the 1993-95 and 1997-2000 Wimbledon titles, and the 1994 and 1997 Australian Opens. In the 1990s he was the male player most consistently ranked first in the world, and set a career record of 286 weeks at number one. He retired in 2003.

(born Aug. 12, 1971, Washington, D.C., U.S.) U.S. tennis player. He learned tennis after moving to southern California in 1978. He was a five-time U.S. Open champion (1990, 1993, 1995–96, 2002), seven-time Wimbledon champion (1993–95, 1997–2000), and two-time Australian Open champion (1994, 1997). In 2000 he won his 7th Wimbledon men's singles trophy, setting a world record of 13 grand-slam victories; he claimed his 14th grand-slam h1 at the 2002 U.S. Open. He was known for his high-powered serves, accurate volleys, and unassuming demeanour. In 2003 Sampras retired from professional tennis. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007.

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(born Aug. 12, 1971, Washington, D.C., U.S.) U.S. tennis player. He learned tennis after moving to southern California in 1978. He was a five-time U.S. Open champion (1990, 1993, 1995–96, 2002), seven-time Wimbledon champion (1993–95, 1997–2000), and two-time Australian Open champion (1994, 1997). In 2000 he won his 7th Wimbledon men's singles trophy, setting a world record of 13 grand-slam victories; he claimed his 14th grand-slam h1 at the 2002 U.S. Open. He was known for his high-powered serves, accurate volleys, and unassuming demeanour. In 2003 Sampras retired from professional tennis. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007.

Learn more about Sampras, Pete with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi are retired professional men's tennis players who were ranked World No. 1 during the 1990s. With contrasting styles and temperaments, they played each other 34 times from 1989 through 2002, with Sampras winning 20 of their matches.

In Grand Slam tournaments, they played in five finals, with Sampras winning four. They met for the first time in a Grand Slam final at the 1990 US Open, with Agassi the favorite because of his top three ranking even though Sampras had defeated former World No. 1 players Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe on the way to the final. Sampras defeated Agassi in straight sets.

The Sampras-Agassi rivalry was at its peak in 1995 when the pair traded the World No. 1 ranking on several occasions. The pair both agreed to play in the Davis Cup but only on the condition that the other played. The United States went on to win the cup. During the year, the most notable matches between these players were at the finals of Australian Open, Indian Wells, Canadian Open and US Open, with Sampras winning at Indian Wells and the US Open. The US Open final gripped tennis audiences in a match Agassi claimed would decide the World No. 1 ranking.

The next time the pair met at a Grand Slam final was at Wimbledon in 1999, a match that was considered a career rejuvination for both. While Sampras had suffered a string of dissapointments in the last year Agassi was just regaining his status as a top-ranked player after winning the French Open. Later that year, Sampras had to withdraw from the US Open due to injury and ultimately forfeited his World No. 1 ranking to Agassi.

In arguably their most memorable match, Sampras defeated Agassi in a 2001 US Open quarterfinal 6-7(7), 7-6(2), 7-6(2), 7-6(5) in a match which featured no breaks of serve. The last match in their rivalry came at the 2002 US Open final. It was their first meeting in the final since Sampras won in 1995. Several commentators claimed their match was a symbolic way to close out their rivalry. Sampras went on to win the match in four sets and shortly after announced his retirement from the game.

Head-to-head

Pete Sampras 20-14 Andre Agassi

No. Date Tournament Surface Round Winner Score
1 May-89 Rome Clay R32 Andre Agassi 6-2, 6-1
2 Feb-90 Philadelphia Carpet R16 Pete Sampras 5-7, 7-5, RET
3 Sep-90 US Open Hard Final Pete Sampras 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
4 Nov-90 Singles Championship RR Carpet Andre Agassi 6-4, 6-2
5 Nov-91 Singles Championship RR Carpet Pete Sampras 6-3, 1-6, 6-3
6 May-92 Atlanta Clay Final Andre Agassi 7-5, 6-4
7 Jun-92 French Open Clay Quarter-final Andre Agassi 7-6(6), 6-2, 6-1
8 Jul-93 Wimbledon Grass Quarter-final Pete Sampras 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4
9 Mar-94 Key Biscane Hard Final Pete Sampras 5-7, 6-3, 6-3
10 Apr-94 Osaka Hard Semi-final Pete Sampras 6-3, 6-1
11 Nov-94 Paris Indoor Carpet Quarter-final Andre Agassi 7-6(6), 7-5
12 Nov-94 Singles Championship Carpet Semi-final Pete Sampras 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3
13 Jan-95 Australian Open Hard Final Andre Agassi 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(6), 6-4
14 Mar-95 Indian Wells Masters Hard Final Pete Sampras 7-5, 6-3, 7-5
15 Mar-95 Key Biscane Hard Final Andre Agassi 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(3)
16 Aug-95 Montreal Hard Final Andre Agassi 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
17 Sep-95 US Open Hard Final Pete Sampras 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
18 Feb-96 San Jose Hard Final Pete Sampras 6-2, 6-3
19 Oct-96 Stuttgart Indoor Carpet Quarter-final Pete Sampras 6-4, 6-1
20 Nov-96 Singles Championship Carpet RR Pete Sampras 6-2, 6-1
21 Feb-98 San Jose Hard Final Andre Agassi 6-2,6-4
22 Apr-98 Monte Carlo Clay R32 Pete Sampras 6-4, 7-5
23 Aug-98 Montreal Hard Quarter-final Andre Agassi 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-2
24 Jul-98 Wimbledon Grass Final Pete Sampras 6-3, 6-4, 7-5
25 Aug-99 Los Angeles Hard Final Pete Sampras 7-6(3), 7-6(1)
26 Aug-99 Cincinnati Hard Semi-Final Pete Sampras 7-6(7), 6-4
27 Nov-99 Singles Championship Hard RR Andre Agassi 6-2, 6-2
28 Nov-99 Singles Championship Hard Final Pete Sampras 6-1, 7-5, 6-4
29 Jan-00 Australian Open Hard Semi-final Andre Agassi 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(0), 7-6(5), 6-1
30 Mar-01 Indian Wells Hard Final Andre Agassi 7-6(5), 7-5, 6-1
31 Jul-01 Los Angeles Hard Final Andre Agassi 6-4, 6-2
32 Sep-01 US Open Hard Quarter-final Pete Sampras 6-7(7), 7-6(2), 7-6(2), 7-6(5)
33 Apr-02 Houston Clay Semi-final Pete Sampras 6-1, 7-5
34 Sep-02 US Open Hard Final Pete Sampras 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4

Breakdown of their rivalry

  • Hard courts: Sampras 11-9
  • Grass courts: Sampras 2-0
  • Clay courts: Agassi 3-2
  • Carpet: Sampras 5-2
  • Grand Slam finals: Sampras 4-1
  • All finals: Sampras 9-7

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