Pete Sampras, half a century of the “King of Swing”

Pete Sampras, half a century of the "King of Swing"

Now it is not common to remember him for the number of titles and the great rivalry that this trio has sustained for years, but before Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic there were already names that held unthinkable records. This is the case of the “King of Swing”. Today, far from the spotlight, but with An enviable career, Pete Sampras turns 50.

The Washington-born man of Greek descent who At age 19, he broke into tennis by winning the Philadelphia ATP in February 1990 and a few months later presenting his credential on the big courts by winning the US Open after beating Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and in the final, the promising Andre Agassi who would be the main rival during his career.

Sampras became the player who at the youngest age (19 years and 29 days) won the United States Open, a record that he maintains to this day and that warned of everything that was to come. In his 15-year career, the right-hander won 64 titles, among which the fourteen Grand Slam titles (7 at Wimbledon, 5 US Open and 2 Australian Open), the eleven ATP Masters Series and the five editions of the ATP Tour World stand out. Championships.

As in life and consequently in sports, Sampras’ career also presented several impasses, among which are remembered that of August 2, 1992, a day in which he was eliminated from both the singles and doubles tournament in the Barcelona Olympic Games and that he defined it as “a difficult day at the office, a day you just want to get over.”

The 1995 Australian Open represented an indelible mark in his life as Tim Gullikson, his coach, had to leave the tournament due to an attack of the disease that a year later would cost him his life. In the quarterfinal match against Jim Courier and after Tim’s departure, Pete burst into tears on the court and even with tears in his eyes managed to recover and win, but then in the final he could not dedicate the victory to his mentor and friend, since Agassi got in the way.

In the year 2000, Pistol Pete He won his seventh Wimbledon and thus equaled the mark for the highest number of Grand Slam titles (13) that until that moment was Roy Emerson and that today Federer, Nadal and Djokovic see from afar with 20.

His last dance, if you want to define it like that, took place in his country and before his compatriot Andre Agassi. The 2002 US Open was the 14th title, It was the icing on the cake for someone who was at the top of world tennis for 286 weeks, for a tennis player who did not stop reaping successes and great performances in a decade and a half of his career.

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