Volume 93, Issue 11

Thursday, September 16, 1999


Real hockey players wear kilts

Symmering over the hockey field

Pete Sampras is the best tennis player in the world

Western lacrosse team ready to net another year

Magical origins of field hockey

Pete Sampras is the best tennis player in the world

Pete Sampras is the most under appreciated tennis player who has ever played the game.

Shocked? Horrified? Well it's true and you have to wonder why. He has won more grand slam titles than any active player and has proven to be the best player on the pro tour. However, you don't see him in many commercials hocking products.

Perhaps the reason lies in the fact Sampras is more about playing the game than he is about creating some obnoxious persona for fans and media to grab hold of and revel in.

Sampras is far superior to Andre Agassi when it comes to playing on the court. Sampras is stronger, faster and has an amazing serve yet Agassi receives all the press coverage. Think about the years Agassi was a mediocre tennis player, he lost a lot of matches yet he was still in the spotlight because of his marriage to Brooke Shields and his antics on the court, therefore he is seen as a better player.

What separates Sampras and Agassi is character. Sampras is calm and quite and keeps to himself. He does not need to flaunt himself on the court nor does he feel the need to have his life lived in the public eye. Agassi may say he doesn't want to live in a fishbowl but the truth remains, he is far more popular because of it. Sampras displays his character on the court – he plays hard and works hard for all he receives.

Perhaps Sampras doesn't get the spotlight because he doesn't live up to the American brash attitude or he doesn't have the character which the press loves to talk about. Heck, who wants to talk about a guy who does his job unless there's some sort of colour to the story? Sampras plays the game hard and he should receive credit for his play, not for his antics.

John McEnroe was a great tennis player, there is no doubt about it. However, he became an icon in the tennis world for the way he acted not for his play on the court. Take away McEnroe's antics and you're left with a quality tennis player but not much of a story, which is the case for Sampras. He's a quality player but he shies away from glamour. The reason is because he doesn't make a big deal out of everything. He doesn't argue with refs or date celebrities – he plays tennis and he plays it better than anyone in the world.

The fact remains, Sampras will always be a great tennis player even if he doesn't flaunt his life to the public. Perhaps that's why I think Sampras is the best player. He is quiet and unassuming yet he can beat anyone on the court. He's a true tennis great and a role model for young tennis players of today. Sampras shows class and character.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999