Dec/17

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Facing Sampras: Press Release

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Facing Sampras: Symposium of a Champion

In this new book, competitors and rivals of Pete Sampras, one of the greatest champions in the history of sport, discuss in detail their memories and experiences of playing tennis against the seven-time Wimbledon champion, who reigned for six years as the ATP World No. 1 ranked tennis player (1993-1998).

Contact: Mark Scoop Malinowski 201-218-0811
scoop.malinowski@yahoo.com

For Immediate Release
Teaneck, NJ —– Author/Journalist Mark ‘Scoop’ Malinowski is proud to announce the publication of his ninth tennis book, Facing Sampras ($9.99, 161-pages, available at Amazon.com).

“I think Pete transformed – in a subtle, silent way – the attitude of the game and the attitude of
the best players.” – Sammy Giammalva Jr.

“People tried all sorts of things to get him off his edge.” – Leander Paes

“He had a button that he could push.” – Todd Martin

“I always used to watch him break down Agassi which was always interesting.” – Wayne Ferreira

“US Tennis owes a lot to Pete Sampras.” – Kent Kinnear

“It was impossible to play him.” – Emilio Sanchez

About The Author
Mark Scoop Malinowski has written about tennis for ATPWORLDTOUR.COM, TENNIS Magazine, Tennis Week, Tennisweek.com, Ace Magazine of U.K. Australian Tennis Magazine, ATPWorldTour.com, Tennis View, Australian Open Official Program, Tennis-prose.com, CBSsportsline.com, ESPNSportszone.com, New York Tennis, Totally Tennis Magazine, The Daily Record of Morris County, N.J., TheBiofile.com, Florida Tennis, South Asia Life & Times Magazine. His previous tennis books were “Marcelo Rios: The Man We Barely Knew”, “Facing Nadal”, “Facing McEnroe”, “Facing Hewitt” and “Facing Federer: Symposium of a Champion.”
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The book’s cover photo is by Danny Chamblee.

Book Excerpt Facing Sampras: Symposium of a Champion

nike-air-oscillate-pete-sampras-release-date-5

Pete developed into an unbelievable player.”

Mats Wilander: “The first time I played Pete I actually thought there’s no – absolutely zero chance he will make it.”

Question: Really?

Mats Wilander: “None. Yeah, yeah. None. Because I played him when I was, I believe, defending champion in ’89. And I think I lost in the second round maybe. I remember going to the press conference and everybody asked, So what do you think? He’s our young up and comer. Obviously, I lost in five sets, so I was slightly upset in a way. But I said that there’s no way you can play tennis like that. You can’t hit one in and one out. Even though we already had Boris Becker, Pete took that style of play to the next level. At 30-love on my serve, he would not put the ball in play, intentionally, I believe. And the intention, I realized later, is so that I wouldn’t get any rhythm. So it’s very clever play. It’s just ugly. It’s just ugly. When you’re playing against him it’s just so ugly. He can’t even hit the ball in the court. The idea is to have a conversation. And Pete was the first guy to say, ‘Fuck you Mats. I’m not worried about you. I’m gonna hold serve and I’m gonna try and keep the ball in play when it’s zero-zero or fifteen-all. Once you’re up, you’re not gonna get anything from me. Forget it.'”

“And it worked. Because you feel like you get to 4-all and he hasn’t literally hit a ball in the court. It’s 4-all and I haven’t really played. And I haven’t really played in his service games and I haven’t really played in mine properly. Maybe a point or two. Maybe 75% – [as Miroslav Mecir walks by us, Mats acknowledges the great Czechoslovak player] this guy knows how to play – he beat Pete Sampras – he would hate him too [smiles]. So and then Pete developed into an unbelievable player. In the beginning it was like?…? And then we realized, that’s how he played.”

“So…and again, never practice with Pete Sampras. Don’t practice with him. He doesn’t keep the ball in play. Pete was an extremely smart player. And it’s just bothersome to play against somebody who – we always try to find a bad reason for why I don’t like somebody, when you’re on the court. For him it was: He thinks I’m absolutely nothing. But that’s the way you have to think, in a way. Nice guy though. Nice guy. He’s a great guy.”

Sampras won series 2-1
1995 SWE V USA SF U.S.A. RR Pete Sampras 26 76 63
1990 Sydney Outdoor Australia Outdoor Hard QF Mats Wilander 67 75 60
1989 US Open NY, U.S.A. Outdoor Hard R64 Pete Sampras 57 63 16 61 64

Order book now at www.createspace.com and in a few days at amazon.com

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Reviews:

“It’s pretty addictive reading.” –Steve Tignor Tennis Magazine

“Excellent book. Fun read.” –Justin Gimelstob Former ATP player and Tennis Channel analyst

“Great content. Excellent read. Well done. Awesome topic.” — Harry Cicma NBC New sports anchor

“Facing Federer is a great insight as to how the players view Roger. I read half the book in one night.” –Robbie Koenig, Former ATP player and International TV commentator/analyst

“You do a very good job with these Facing books.” –Fred Stolle, Tennis Hall of Famer

“I loved Facing McEnroe. Love that era of tennis and all the anecdotes. My favourite of your books to date.” Owen Gigg, Discuss.Tennis

“Amazing anecdotes.” – Sonny Dearth, Daily Press, Newport News, VA

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86 comments

  • catherine · December 14, 2017 at 3:21 am

    Andrew – Boris was incredibly strong physically at the game he played. I remember someone telling me after Boris first won Wimbledon, that he wouldn’t last long because he was too ‘heavy-legged’. That didn’t turn out to be true but Boris never won a clay court event as far as I can see. No idea if there’s any connection there.

  • catherine · December 14, 2017 at 5:16 am

    Scoop – interesting that about Martina. Characteristic of her though to take playing so seriously late in her career and to choose a good place to train.
    She was always intent and focussed in tennis – whatever shenanigans went on off court. Martina’s devotion to improvement and fitness made some of her contemporaries look like amateurs.
    Wish she’d made more of a coaching career.

  • Hartt · December 14, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Scoop, I will definitely look for Rios videos.

    As far as Felix training with Fed, I think Felix will be just fine. He was very excited about the prospect and his team is taking it very seriously, both his coaches, Fred Fontang and Guillaume Marx, went with him.

    I suspect you are right about non-disclosure. So far the only thing I have seen about the training is a pic of Fed, Felix and their teams. Felix is standing next to Fed and he towers over him. At 17 he is a big kid, 6’3″, 175 lbs and broad-shouldered. With his size, his talent, his good movement and his ambition, Felix really is a superstar in waiting. I can’t wait for him to be on the main tour.

    As far as the results of other players, Pouille trained with Fed and is doing just fine. Levine’s career was derailed by a series of injuries, I don’t think working with Fed was the problem.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 14, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Well, Hartt, you won't be waiting long, looks like Felix will be top 50 by the end of the year so he will play in a lot of ATP events in 2018. I fully expect him to match Shapovalov's success of 2017 in 2018, if not do even better.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 14, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Catherine; Marina might have been the most dedicated athlete of all time, with the greatest longevity, with the exception of the amazing Bernard Hopkins who boxed at the elite world class level to age 51. Martina fall short of Hopkins, as she gave up singles I believe in her later 30s.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 14, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Andrew, Felix and who ever Roger asks can always say, Hey Roger, can you come to me this time? Next year we can train in Dubai :)

  • Hartt · December 14, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Felix is currently ranked No. 162, so he has a ways to go to make top 50. But if Shapo can go from No. 250 to No. 51 in a season (and briefly cracking the top 50) I don’t see why Felix can’t do the same. I am surprised how many articles there are on Felix already. Obviously a lot of experts are, as been termed on this site, waiting for Felix.

  • Hartt · December 14, 2017 at 9:56 am

    In looking up some info on Felix I discovered I had short-changed him in the weight dept. – he is 185 lbs.

    If you have not seen it, there is a terrific video on the ATP site about Felix in London during the ATP “university.” If you did not know this is a 17-year-old kid, you would swear he is about 21, he even has a fairly deep voice. Given that it is his second language, Felix speaks excellent English, with just a hint of a charming French accent.

  • catherine · December 14, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Hartt – is Canada entered in the Hopman Cup ?

  • Hartt · December 14, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Yes, Bouchard and Pospisil are playing Hopman Cup. Neither has been doing well for some time, so it will be interesting to see how they fare in a tourney where there are no ranking points, so with less pressure.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 14, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Hopman Cup is serious business. I have seen players try harder in Hopman Cup than Masters Series and some rare instances even in majors. Depends on the player of course, without naming any suspects. Hopman Cup is one of the best events in pro tennis.

  • Hartt · December 14, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    I enjoy the Hopman Cup, especially the format, having singles matches and mixed doubles. And this year’s event has some strong teams, including Fed and Bencic (who has been winning like crazy at ITF tourneys).

  • catherine · December 14, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    I shall be following of course because Angie is playing this year with Zverev (Petkovic played last year) as part of her run-up to the AO – she’s skipping Brisbane. Her preparation seems more seriously planned than ’17 so it will be interesting to see if this pays off. Zero expectations and out of the spotlight.

    When Hopman Cup started everyone thought it was hit and giggle and wouldn’t last but I’m glad it has.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 14, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    I wonder if there is any sort of demand for the book "Facing Kerber"?

  • Andrew Miller · December 14, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Levine was once top 100 and a member of the up and coming young USA players. Then he practiced with Federer. End of story!

  • scoopmalinowski · December 14, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Andrew; Levine is Canadien but yes he did seem to flounder after Fed took his mojo. Every player Fed picks to train has shown potential. Thats why they were picked. Its uncanny how so many of these picked players plummeted post Fed. I wonder if there is a complete list compiled by someone.

  • Fiero425 · December 15, 2017 at 12:42 am

    It's just a step below Davis and Fed Cup; actually playing for their country! You also have a partner you don't want to disappoint! Team comps are always more competitive for that reason; players you never heard of "rising to the occasion!" :whistle: :oops: :ptennis:

  • Fiero425 · December 15, 2017 at 12:42 am

    It's just a step below Davis and Fed Cup; actually playing for their country! You also have a partner you don't want to disappoint! Team comps are always more competitive for that reason; players you never heard of "rising to the occasion!" :whistle: :oops: :ptennis:

  • Moxie · December 15, 2017 at 1:25 am

    For your first woman in the series? Why not Serena or Steffi?

  • catherine · December 15, 2017 at 3:33 am

    I think there is a ‘Facing Serena’ ? If not, there should be.

    Scoop – As for ‘Facing Kerber’, as I have a PhD in Kerber Studies from University of Topspin I should definitely be consulted on such a work.

    Unfortunately you’ll be hearing a bit about Angie from me in the future since 2018 will be an important year for her.
    You can skip those posts when you see her name :)

    Hey – here’s a good idea – ‘Facing Bouchard’ ! Would sell a million.

    (BTW it is worth noting that Angie’s playing Hopman Cup – she’s never played before and I think she did plan it on purpose as part of her preparation to play the New Year in a team competition with pressure off – so there)

  • catherine · December 15, 2017 at 3:45 am

    Hasn’t it occurred to anyone that Federer picks players to train with who have potential with an underlying purpose in mind ?

    If I was an up and coming guy I’d run a mile from this two-edged invitation :)

  • Federberg · December 15, 2017 at 4:57 am

    Moxie said:

    For your first woman in the series? Why not Serena or Steffi?Click to expand…

    Seles or Navratilova would be more interesting imho

  • catherine · December 15, 2017 at 5:43 am

    Moxie – or Billie Jean King ? Actually I don’t think Scoop’s too interested in adding women to his list although he’s done plenty of Biofiles on women players.

  • Hartt · December 15, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Regarding Jesse Levine, he played for both Canada and the US. Although he grew up in Ottawa, when Jesse was 13 the family moved to Florida because of his brother’s health. Jesse played his first years as a pro, from 2007-2012, as an American, but in late 2012 made a request to the ITF to represent Canada at Davis Cup. It is unclear why he made that change, unless he thought that there was less competition in Canada for things like a DC spot. In any case, an ongoing elbow problem forced him to retire in 2014.

    Jesse trained with Fed before he even turned pro, when he was still officially a college player. He did turn pro sometime after training with Roger, and won his first two titles later that same year. So his career, which was just beginning, was not damaged by working with Federer.

    An update on Jesse. During the Rogers Cup in Montreal last summer, he worked as a TV commentator and also practiced with Shapo. One of his tasks was to simulate Rafa’s play (Jesse is a leftie), and he also gave Denis some advice on facing Rafa. So perhaps he can take some of the credit for Shapo’s unexpected win.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 15, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Fiero245; Not sure if you're joking but Hopman Cup is definitely more serious than given credit for. I've seen many battles, only rarely do you see the players clowning or joking like it's an exo. Aussies pay to see top notch tennis and the players deliver it. Love the Hopman Cup every year. Players take it seriously and Hrbaty told me that Safin was busting his chops during the final for taking it so seriously in their final – quotes to be in Facing Safin.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 15, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Moxie; I'm working on Facing Serena and Facing Steffi but pretty far from finished, maybe by next year. Facing Serena as a mag feature ran in the Australian Open program two years ago.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 15, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Catherine; Kerber is a hot topic around here and I hope she always will be :)

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 15, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Fed is definitely shrewd in selecting his training partners Catherine, and it's such a fascinating opportunity. Greatness definitely rubs off and these players learn so much from the master of the universe. It's a wonder that every single player who plays with Fed doesn't automatically become better. But they also have to keep in mind to maintain their own specialness and not lose their originality.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 15, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Federerberger; Definitely will eventually tackle Facing Seles and Martina.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 15, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Catherine, I would like to do a Facing on every historic player, BJK included. Wish I had more time and more opportunities to interview all the players necessary to do a thorough book.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 15, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Hartt; Which two titles did Levine win? Must've been Futures or Challengers. I did a Biofile with him in Newport one year and it was an excellent Biofile too. I just can't remember any of his big or what his biggest career win was. I will ask him next time I see him as he's around quite a bit.

  • catherine · December 15, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Scoop – I wonder if Fed’s young training partners don’t get a little overwhelmed and maybe unless they’re super strong the experience affects them for a while. Somehow I don’t think Felix will fall into that category.

    Re Kerber – I thought about why I like watching her play so much then I saw a BTL comment on another site – seeing her as ‘opportunistic and cunning’ on court. I get that.
    Whatever her play level next year, no one can accuse Angie of not trying when things got too hard – new coach, new pre-season training regime – what else can she do ? So all the best to her :)

  • Hartt · December 15, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Catherine, I think you are right about Felix. I suspect he has a healthy ego and of course Tennis Canada is giving him a lot of support – how many 17-year-old kids have two coaches?

    I remember Scoop writing about how, when he interviewed Felix, the Tennis Canada officials were trying to keep the youngster under wraps in terms of the media. Of course, with Felix’s success this year, he is now getting lots of attention, the cat is out of the bag and there is no way to change that.

    Scoop, in terms of Levine’s titles, yes, those were Challengers – Nashville and Champaign. He won 3 more Challengers in later years, but never did win a main tour title. If you are talking with him, it would be interesting to hear what he has to say about the Shapo win over Rafa, and if he has any insights about Denis.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 15, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Catherine; Let's be real. Fed is using these guys for his own gain, he's not trying to help these guys and teach them how to be ultimate champions. He may show them his work ethic and his drills and maybe some of his training secrets, but it's clear that Fed is in this for himself not producing future champions to take him down. I think Fed is also exploiting these guys to see what they have and what they are capable of and how he can exploit them when they play for real inevitably. Paes use to be the regular hitting partner of Sampras in Orlando and he told me in Facing Sampras he learned a lot about Pete and used it to beat Pete in their lone singles match. Lendl trained with young Pete and Pete won their first big US battle when Lendl was going for his ninth US Open final in a row. Thiem trained with Gulbis and dominated him in their head to head meetings back when Gulbis was ranked higher. Sampras used to coast in practice at half speed, where the players had to ask Pete to play a tiebreaker at the end because he felt he didn't get enough. It's an interesting topic to study, how Fed is taking these young players into his practice domain.

  • Fiero425 · December 15, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    scoop said:

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Catherine; Let's be real. Fed is using these guys for his own gain, he's not trying to help these guys and teach them how to be ultimate champions. He may show them his work ethic and his drills and maybe some of his training secrets, but it's clear that Fed is in this for himself not producing future champions to take him down. I think Fed is also exploiting these guys to see what they have and what they are capable of and how he can exploit them when they play for real inevitably. Paes use to be the regular hitting partner of Sampras in Orlando and he told me in Facing Sampras he learned a lot about Pete and used it to beat Pete in their lone singles match. Lendl trained with young Pete and Pete won their first big US battle when Lendl was going for his ninth US Open final in a row. Thiem trained with Gulbis and dominated him in their head to head meetings back when Gulbis was ranked higher. Sampras used to coast in practice at half speed, where the players had to ask Pete to play a tiebreaker at the end because he felt he didn't get enough. It's an interesting topic to study, how Fed is taking these young players into his practice domain.Click to expand…

    Few top players are saints! If they didn't have a nasty streak of some sort which is totally self-serving, they'd never get to be the best! Sampras and Borg were probably the only 2 greats I can think of who didn't have a blemish in their character! I wasn't happy with Pete and his attitude showing up late to Davis Cup against Russia, but overall he's been a good guy! I can still remember how some of the guys were so in love with making John McEnroe captain of the Davis Cup team, then they didn't show resulting in him quitting before the year was out! No one's immune to being a real jerk I guess! :whistle: :facepalm: :banghead: :cuckoo: :rolleyes:

  • Andrew Miller · December 16, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Sure practice with Federer…see your ranking slide or worse, watch as you lose to him next time you plymay because he used the session to scope you out!

    Andy Roddick. 2007 Australian Open. Practiced with Federer that week. Showed all his cards. Federer gets him semifinals, already knew what to expect based on the set they played, and Roddick delivers worst performance of all time.

    Two years later they square off in Wimbledon final. Different performance. Roddick shows a lot more versatility and didn’t practice with Federer. Next year he beats him and then again. That Roddick ended up with two more wins was to me because he saw himself as capable and also decided to mix it up. And didn’t practice with Federer the same tournament they played.

    Sorry folks. Federer looks at other players as firewood.

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