Legend Pete Sampras recalls not-so-friendly relationship with compatriot Agassi when the two ruled world tennis
New Delhi: In his playing days, he was known as 'Pistol' Pete Sampras because of his booming serve. He belted numerous aces on his way to picking up 14 Grand Slam titles.
American Pete Sampras of the Indian Aces lines up a backhand during his IPTL match in New Delhi on Sunday night. Pic/PTI
Nowadays, the 43-year-old has lost a lot of hair on his head and plays tennis only occasionally. He plays plenty of golf and keeps himself occupied with wife Bridgette and kids (Ryan Nikolaos and Christian Charles), who incidentally don't play tennis.
The Californian received a rapturous welcome on his first visit to India. "I have had a very positive response here. People are very enthusiastic about tennis and very nice,'" said the affable former World No 1 Sampras appearing for the Indian Aces was in action against Pat Rafter on Friday. However, he was misfiring his shots especially the backhand as he went down easily to the Australian.
"Yeah, I was rusty, my shots were all over the place, especially my backhand. I just play 10 matches a year on the Senior Tour,'" said the seven-time Wimbledon champion smiling. Any conversation with Sampras has to involve Las Vegas showman Andre Agassi. Their rivalry in the 90s was mouth-watering.
"It was just one of those times, we were No 1 and 2, had totally different personalities and games but we brought out the best in each other. I didn't really hang out with Andre as we were both so busy on the tour. We did stuff when we played Davis Cup ties together," recalled Sampras. Meanwhile, in yesterday's opener Manila Mavericks beat Singapore Slammers 23-17.