I was asked why I didn’t say anything about the three matches played in the far east. First reason is that the only thing I’ve seen is the clips on youtube. But from what I’ve seen…:

People have got to start to talk about the matches as if they are EXHIBITION matches, nothing more, nothing less. There’s almost no point in comparing the two in trying to find the best. People have mentioned reasons like age diff of 10, Pete has not competed in a pro setting since 2002, he has gained a little weight I think?, and other obvious little facts.
My problem is that you cannot compare Federer on his best with Sampras five years after retiring. And certainly not in a show-match! If this was a Wimbledon-final… well first of all Pete would not be able to win the 6 matches to get there, but IF it were to happen, Federer would destroy the American with a lot of breaks.

One thing I noticed was the willingness to try to play for the audience rather than trying to win every point. That applies for both but especially for Federer. Sampras could have gotten more returns if a Wimbledon trophy was at stake, and Federer would not let Sampras get those beautiful volley shots he made if he REALLY wanted to do serious damage.
But Sampras surprised me in how fit he is and how his footwork is ALMOST the same as it was in the early 00s. I did not see the big difference, but he came to the net very easily and seemed to be a greater threat to Federer at the net than most other current players. That just shows what kind of generation we left behind in the 80s and 90s.

Federes’s claim that Sampras could beat top 5 players is obvious. Sampras brilliant serve-volleying is a threat at any age, and it seems to be the style that never grows old in the being offensive-sense. Sampras would never get bagaled against other top 5 players if he gives 100% today. His placement of the serve and the volley is still on the highest level. In reality I think stamina is the only critical factor that prevents Sampras from being able to still be a top player.

Another thing is that I really believe Federer is stronger mentally. Regardless of who hits the best and nicest shots, Sampras often showed weakness in situations he perhaps shouldn’t have. Federer does not fit that description at the same level. I’m certainly not referring to the exhibition matches, but in comparison as dominant tennis players Federer seems to have a mental edge. Yes, this is not a strong argument but if you just compare the years Sampras dominated 93-98 with Federer’s 04-07 there’s a clear pattern that Federer is more likely to both go far into the tournament or win it than Sampras. Competition? I would say Sampras had more but weaker competition in comparison to Federer’s Nadal and Djokovic and other fire crackers like Nalbandian. And Sampras didn’t lose only to Agassi.

The only big difference between the two, besides their somewhat different playing styles, is their record on clay. Sampras was not once dominant on clay. Federer is dominant on clay where there is not Nadal, and just imagine how many clay titles Federer would have if Nadal wasn’t around!

But what matters is, who is the best?
I think the match in 2001 says it all. Sampras was GOOD! Federer was not as good as today, but during that match, every aspect of Federer’s game came out and he was able to press out every talent-unit he had in him. Federer played great, Sampras played great, great match, great win by Roger. And today’s Roger is even better! His groundstrokes were not as good as today and that includes that match in 2001. But I STILL don’t want to compare them!!

Sampras was the best player of 1990s.
Federer is the best player of 00s, and will continue for a few more years.

That’s a frickin’ wrap!!


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4 Responses to “Sampras/Federer…”

  1. cms Says:

    I agree with you, comparisons are futile. I think it’s weird Pete keeps saying that he competition was harder than Fed’s — and I even saw an interview with him from a couple of years ago where he said that he competition was tougher than Laver’s. So is Pete saying he had it the hardest of anyone?? Again, more futile comparisons.

  2. backhand Says:

    He said his competition was harder? Did not know that.
    If so I don’t agree with him.

  3. foo Says:

    Sampras said that the current ATP field is stronger overall, but not as strong as his era in the Top 20.

  4. backhand Says:

    Thing is Sampras was still at his best even in the 2000s, but started to face some harder competition. A lot of them playing today. Remeber Roddick beat him at age 18? The overall increased pace might be a reason, but Sampras’ top 20 competition was not tougher. Rafter? Guga? Kafelnikov? Moya? List goes on but I don’t see the ONE or TWO players who really annoyed Sampras.
    But once again, comparing different eras is like comparing T-Ford and Prius.

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