LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Pete Sampras, the 14-time Grand Slam champion whose Wimbledon reign was ended by Roger Federer in 2001, paid tribute to the Swiss great in a social media video on Thursday.
Federer, winner of 20 Grand Slam titles and one of the best players in history, is making a farewell appearance at the Laver Cup in London on Friday before he heads into retirement.
Sampras took the occasion to recall their only meeting – when 19-year-old Federer beat him in the fourth round at the All England Club.
“Not really sure where to begin, so I’ll just start from the very beginning,” Sampras said in a video directed straight to Federer.
“When I first played you, you were 19 years old, an up-and-coming player and people were talking about you.
“And we had a great battle on the Centre Court of Wimbledon. And you took me down.
“Tough five-setter,” recalled Sampras, who had won the previous four Wimbledon titles to take his tally to seven.
“And I just remember walking off the court, feeling like I met my match.”