Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sampras

Petros "Pete" Sampras (pronounced) (born August 12, 1971) is a retired American tennis player and former World No. 1. During his 15-year tour career, he won 14 Grand Slam singles titles.Sampras debuted on the professional tour in 1988 and played his last top-level tournament in 2002 when he won the US Open, defeating rival Andre Agassi in the final. He was the year-end World No. 1 for six consecutive years (1993–1998), a record for the open era. His seven Wimbledon singles championships is a record shared with William Renshaw. He spent 286 weeks at number 1, the most of any player. His five US Open singles titles is an
open-era record shared with former World No. 1 players Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer. He won five ATP World Tour Finals, a record shared with Ivan Lendl and Federer. Sampras is the last American male to win Wimbledon (2000) and ATP World Tour Finals (1999). He is widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
Pete Sampras was born in Potomac, Maryland, and is the third child of Sammy and Georgia Sampras. His mother immigrated from Sparta, Greece, and his father was born in the United States to a Greek immigrant father and a Jewish mother.Greek culture played a big role in his upbringing.Pete attended regular services of the Greek Orthodox Church on Sundays. From an early age, Sampras showed signs of outstanding athletic ability. At age 3 Sampras discovered a tennis racket in the basement of his home and spent hours hitting balls against the wall. In 1978, the Sampras family moved to
Palos Verdes, California, and the warmer climate there allowed seven-year-old Pete to play more tennis. From early on, his great idol was Rod Laver, and at 11 Sampras met and played with him.The Sampras family joined the Jack Kramer Club, and it was here that Sampras's talent became apparent. He was spotted by Peter Fischer, a pediatrician and tennis enthusiast, who coached Sampras until 1989. Fischer was responsible for converting Sampras's double-handed backhand to single-handed with the goal of being better prepared to win Wimbledon.
Sampras turned professional in 1988, at the age of 16, and finished the year ranked World No. 97 after starting the year at World No. 893.[10] His first professional match was a loss to Sammy Giammalva, Jr. at the February Ebel U.S. Pro Indoor in Philadelphia. But just one week later at the Lipton International Players Championships in Miami, Sampras defeated two top-40 players before losing to World No. 18 Emilio Sánchez. He did not defeat another top-40 player for almost six months, when he defeated World No. 39 Michiel Schapers at a US Open warm-up tournament in Rye Brook, New York.
In his first Grand Slam singles match, Sampras lost to World No. 69 Jaime Yzaga of Peru in the first round of the US Open 6–7(2), 6–7(4), 6–4, 7–5, 6–2. Sampras did not advance past the quarterfinals in his next three tournaments, although he did record wins over World No. 79 Jim Courier, in their first career match-up, and World No. 8 Tim Mayotte.
The following year, Sampras slightly improved his ranking to a year-ending World No. 81. He lost in the first round of the 1989 Australian Open to Christian Saceanu and the first round of Wimbledon to Todd Woodbridge 7–5, 7–6(5), 5–7, 6–3. He won a Grand Slam singles match for the first time at the French Open before losing in the second round to eventual champion, 17-year-old Michael Chang, 6–1, 6–1, 6–1 in their first career match-up.

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