Pete Sampras and Roger Federer were both born in August, almost exactly 10 years apart. Their physical stature is strikingly similar, standing 6'1" and around 175lbs. They both have a complete all-around game, with Federer having a better backhand and slightly more maneuverable forehand, and Sampras with the better 1st and 2nd serves and more maneuverable volley.
They both reached headlines at the same age of 19, Pete winning his 1990 US OPEN and Roger beating Pete at Wimbledon in 2001. It would take them both the same amount of time to come to gripes with their tennis ability, and the motivation and hunger to be the best. From 1993 to 1999, Pete Sampras won 12 Grand Slams and stayed at the No. 1 spot for 287 weeks.
From 2003 to 2009, Roger Federer has won 13 Grand Slams and stayed at the No. 1 spot for 237 weeks. Fittingly, it would be their greatest rivals who would take away their No. 1 rankings, Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal.
They are both considered the "greatest of all time", with the only downside being that neither have a French Open title. For four French Opens, Federer lost to the eventual champion Rafael Nadal.
For two French Opens, Sampras lost to the eventual champions Brugera and Kafelnikov, and in 1999, lost to the finalist Medvedev. Federer has beaten Nadal once on clay, while Sampras has beaten Agassi, Brugeura, and Courier on clay.
At the same age of 27 years and five months, Sampras had 56 ATP titles and a 618-168 record. Federer currently has 57 ATP titles and a 626-151 record. In Grand Slam matches, Federer has won 86.2% of his matches compared to Sampras' 85%.
Incredible and Ironic are two words which come to mind after comparing these two tennis greats. There has been so many articles and arguments about which one is "greater" that many neglect to see how similar both really are...in statistics and personality.
So it is fitting that the one time they did play each other, it would mark the end of Sampras' career and the beginning of Federer's. A tight five-set match that could have gone either way, but ended with the younger and hungrier of the two in a 7-6 (7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5 match to Federer.
Thanks to tennis28.com for constantly updating the similarities between the two.
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