Pete Sampras is a former tennis player, regarded by many as one of the greatest in the history of the sport. A right-handed player with a single-handed backhand, his precise and powerful serve earned him the nickname “Pistol Pete”. His professional career began in 1988 and ended at the 2002 US Open, which he won, defeating rival Andre Agassi in the final.
Sampras held the all-time record of seven Wimbledon Men’s Singles titles with William Renshaw until 2017 when Roger Federer won his 8th title. Sampras also won five US Open titles, a joint Open-era record shared by Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors, and two Australian Open titles. His 14 Grand Slam titles were a record, surpassed when Federer won his 15th Grand Slam title at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships and later also by Rafael Nadal at the 2017 French Open and Novak Djokovic at the 2019 Australian Open. Sampras won 64 singles titles. He first reached world No. 1 in 1993 and held that position for a total of 286 weeks, including a record six consecutive year-end No. 1 rankings from 1993 to 1998. In 2007, he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Sampras’s pro career began in 1988 at the age of 16. His first victory in a Grand Slam tournament came at the US Open in 1990, when he defeated, among others, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, and in the final, an up-and-coming young player named Andre Agassi. At only 19 years 28 days, Pete Sampras was the youngest tennis player ever to win the US Open Men’s title. The rivalry between Agassi and Sampras lasted throughout the 1990s. Sampras dominated Wimbledon for much of the 1990s, taking the title there in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000. In 1991 Pete won the IBM World Championship and in 1992 played on the team that won the Davis Cup. Pete set a new ATP Tour record in 1993 when he became the first player to serve over 1000 aces in a season. He has been very successful at Queen’s Club.
Whereas the grass courts of Wimbledon played to Sampras’s strengths, his only real weakness was on clay, where the slow surface tended to negate his natural attacking serve-and-volley game, and he never progressed beyond the semi-final stage at the French Open. His businesslike attitude during play and cautious handling of the press led critics to bemoan his lack of charisma, but his natural talent and work ethic meant that Sampras was always able to let his results speak for themselves.
He was known for his good all-around game and a strong competitive instinct. Sampras led the world tennis rankings for six consecutive years, from 1993 to 1998. After a period of time during which he, by his own admission, lacked the drive and hunger needed to remain at the top, Sampras officially retired on August 25, 2003.
“I didn’t have a big fat Greek wedding,
but I have a lot of fat Greek friends.”
Is Pete Sampras Greek?
Yes, he is. Pete Sampras was born in Washington DC on August 12, 1971, as Petros Sampras). He is the third child of Soterios “Sammy” and Georgia (née Vroustouris), Sampras.
Sampras traveled to Greece for the first time for an event in 2007 called “Champions Cup”. At the press conference he said:
“Unfortunately, I do not speak any Greek, but I do remember my mother yelling at me in Greek when I was young and she was scolding me. At age 17, I was playing in a tournament in Germany and someone from the Greek government, if memory serves me right, approached my father and discussed with him the possibility of me representing Greece, but there was no follow-up after that. I am a Greek-American, but I have played the Davis Cup with the USA national team for many years.”