Pete Sampras is an American former professional tennis player. Widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, his professional career began in 1988 and ended at the 2002 US Open, which he won, defeating rival Andre Agassi in the final.
Sampras won 14 Grand Slam singles titles during his career, which was an Open Era record at the time of his retirement: seven Wimbledon, two Australian Open and a joint Open Era record five US Open titles. He won 64 singles titles in total.
He first reached world No. 1 in 1993, and held that position for a total of 286 weeks (second of all time), including an Open Era record of six consecutive year-end No. 1 rankings from 1993 to 1998.
A right-handed player with a single-handed backhand, his precise and powerful serve earned him the nickname “Pistol Pete”. In 2007, he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
- Full name: Petros “Pete” Sampras
- Profession: American tennis player
- Born: 12 August 1971 (age 48 years), Potomac, Maryland, United States
- Grand Slam Cup: W (1990, 1997)
- Int. Tennis HoF: 2007 (member page)
- Retired: September 8, 2002 (last match); August 25, 2003 (official)
- Spouse: Bridgette Wilson (m. 2000)
- Tour Finals: W (1991, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999)
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About Pete Sampras
Pete was born on 12 August 1971 (age 48 years), Potomac, Maryland, United States. He is the third child of Soterios “Sammy” and Georgia (née Vroustouris) Sampras.
His mother emigrated from Sparta, Greece, and his father was born in the United States to a Greek father, Costas “Gus” Sampras and a Jewish mother, Sarah Steinberg.
He attended regular services of the Greek Orthodox Church on Sundays. At the age of 3, he 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 the seven-year-old Sampras to play tennis throughout most of the year.
From early on, his great idol was Rod Laver, and at the age of 11, Sampras met and played tennis with the legend.
The Sampras family joined the Jack Kramer Club, and it was here that Sampras’s talent became apparent.
As a teenager, Sampras trained with tennis coach Robert Lansdorp. The forehand he learned from Lansdorp was the same forehand he used throughout his career.
The key was an emphasis on driving through the ball and not hitting extreme topspin. He was spotted by Dr. Peter Fischer, a pediatrician and tennis enthusiast, who coached Sampras until 1989.
Fischer was responsible for converting Sampras’s double-handed backhand to single-hand with the goal of being better prepared to win Wimbledon.