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American great Pete Sampras pays tribute to outgoing Roger Federer | tennis news

LOS ANGELES: Pete Sampras, the 14-time Grand Slam champion whose Wimbledon regime was ended in 2001 by Roger Federer, paid tribute to the Swiss greatness in a social media video on Thursday.
Federer, winner of 20 Grand Slam titles and one of the greatest players in history, makes a farewell appearance on the Laver Cup in London on Friday before retiring.
Sampras took the opportunity to recall their only encounter, when 19-year-old Federer defeated him in the fourth round at the All England Club.

“I don’t really know where to start, so I’ll just start at the beginning,” Sampras said in a video addressed directly to Federer.
“When I first played against you, you were 19 years old, an up and coming player and people were talking about you. And we had a great fight on Wimbledon’s Center Court. And you knocked me down.
“A tough five-setter,” recalls Sampras, who had won the previous four Wimbledon titles to bring his tally to seven. “And I just remember walking off the field and feeling like I had met my match.”

Sampras would go on to win another Grand Slam title, at the US Open in 2002, before retiring. Over the next two decades, he saw Federer’s career blossom.
“I didn’t know, 20 years later, you’d have 20 majors, be number one for years, dominate our sport — basically do anything,” said Sampras, calling Federer “a really special player.”
Sampras praised Federer’s dedication, saying that his famously flowing playing disguised the rigorous work it produced.
“You’re going to be missed in our game,” Sampras said.



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