I thought I was untouchable, says Sampras

29th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

US tennis legend reflects on Federer surpassing his Grand Slam record earlier in July.

Los Angeles -- American tennis legend Pete Sampras has admitted he was surprised when his record 14 Grand Slam singles titles was broken earlier in July by Roger Federer.

The American, retired and living in California, says he expects the Swiss player to continue playing successfully for years to come.

"When I was done (with my career), I felt I'd put up some numbers no one would touch," said the 37-year-old Sampras, who was beaten by Marat Safin on Monday night in a Los Angeles exhibition.

Sampras, who watched from Wimbledon's Royal box on 5 July as Federer won his historic 15th Grand Slam title with a win over Andy Roddick, said he was somewhat shocked.

"Little did I know Roger would surpass me in seven years," said Sampras, who set the mark of 14 with a defeat of Andre Agassi in the 2002 US Open final just before retiring from the sport.

"He saw 14 as his goal. Records are made to be broken. I believe in that. I also can't do anything about it. My days are over but I'm content with my 14.

"I'm still amazed at what Roger has been able to do, it's incredible."

Sampras also spared a thought for the devastated Roddick, who has now lost three Wimbledon finals to Federer.

"We all felt bad for Andy, he was distraught. He played so well and had his chances. But Roger was so stable and had more at the end. It was pretty cool for me; the future of sport is bright.

"Roger will win some more after 15. But Andy's performance was worthy of having his name (engraved) on that trophy.

Sampras also said that even though he has become a father for the first time, Federer’s twin daughters, born last week in Zurich, will probably not distract him from tennis.

"He'll hit the road as soon as he can," joked the American. "I'm sure he will start playing 40 weeks a year."

"I can't see Roger changing diapers at 4h00 at the US Open. I'm sure they will have help. I don't think fatherhood will affect his game.

"It's a life-changer, but he's focused on his tennis. He'll keep doing what's he's done the past few years."

AFP / Scott Williams / Expatica

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