in 2001, Roger Federer won the only ATP Tour meeting Peter Samprasneeded five sets to defeat the American in the fourth round Wimbledon. When Federer clinched the All England Club title in 2009, Sampras was there to watch the Swiss surpass his then-record 14 Grand Slam titles.
Now Federer says goodbye to his illustrious career at the Laver Cup On Friday, Sampras shared a video tribute reflecting on what the 20-time Major champion has meant to him on and off the court.
“I’m not sure where to start,” Sampras said. “I’m starting from scratch when I played you for the first time. You were 19 years old, an aspiring player, people were talking about you and we had a great fight on Center Court Wimbledon and you tripped me hard fiver I just remember walking off the pitch feeling like I’d met my match, really a special player. Little did I know 20 years later that you would have 20 majors, be No. 1 for years, dominate our sport, do basically anything.
Roger Federer (left) and Peter Sampras hug at the net after their game Wimbledon in 2001.” />
Roger Federer (left) and Peter Sampras hug at the net after their game Wimbledon in 2001. Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
“I know that in those 20 years of sacrifice and dedication you got your body right. I don’t think people saw that side of you because you make the game look so easy. But I know you’re the ultimate pro when it comes to preparation, quite extraordinary what you’ve done.
“I admired the way you handled it all, from start to finish. You are always merciful in your defeats, merciful in your victories. I sat back and watched 20 years of brilliance, heartbreak and triumph, and throughout your career you’ve never really changed. You are true to yourself and where you come from. You should look back on your career and be really proud of what you have achieved.
“Personally I’ll never forget the week we had in Asia, messing around, playing a few shows, that’s when I got to know you pretty well. We’ve since developed a pretty good friendship, just keep in touch and check in on each other’s families. We’ll all be sad to see you go, but I know that’s part of the sport.
“I just want to shout out to you and tell you that our game will miss you, but you left the game in good hands. I just want to wish you a great retirement, I hope to see you sometime later and catch up.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) 09/22/2022