Tennis Prose



Biofile Pete Sampras Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

STATUS: Winner of fourteen Grand Slam major singles titles – two Australian Opens, seven Wimbledons and five US Opens. Finished as ATP world no. 1 for six years in a row. Won 64 ATP singles titles. Competed as a professional from 1988-2002.

DOB: August 12, 1971 IN: Washington DC

HT: 6-2 WT:
NICKNAMES: Pistol Pete, Mongoose, Sweet Pete.
HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Golf, going to the movies, going to Lakers games.
CHILDHOOD HERO: Rod Laver. His attitude on the court was very good, never any outbursts. He was always a gentleman on the court. I admire that. I tried to emulate him.
EARLY TENNIS MEMORY: I lost my first tournament match ever (age 10), 6-0, 6-0. I think I cried after that [smiles]. I remember playing and practicing with my sister Stella every day at the club for like six or seven hours every day.
FAVORITE MOVIES: Rain Man, Caddyshack
MUSICAL TASTES: Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin, Cat Stevens, REM, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
PRE-MATCH FEELING: To Be No. 1 (Pete was No. 1 for six years), you have to be consumed by the game. You have to eat, live and breathe tennis. Being No. 1 is a passion. I still love competing. I love being in situations where you feel nervous before you go out there, you have anxiety. You find a way to get through. Going out in an arena like Wimbledon or the US Open, having every eye on you, it’s a rush. It’s a great job to play a sport. And make a good living and travel around the world. I wouldn’t trade this for anything.
GREATEST SPORTS MOMENT: Winning Wimbledon for the first time (over Jim Courier in four sets in ’93). You set the goal, you work hard and you achieve it. It’s the best feeling when you wake up that next morning after winning a Slam and you feel great. You have ovations when you go out and play. People respect what you’ve done in your career.
MOST PAINFUL MOMENT: The death of my coach (Tim Gullikson from cancer in ’95). He was a huge impact on my tennis. And my life. It’s hard to talk about it…even now.
FAVORITE MEAL: Italian or barbecued food.
CLOSEST FRIEND(S) IN TENNIS: Don’t really have one.
PEOPLE MOST ADMIRED: People who know they’re great without having to say they’re great. That’s what I aspire to be like. To me, that’s untouchable.

Read more Biofiles like this at Scoop’s Biofile site

Facing Sampras

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