Here's a rather unusual statistic for you , just off the top of my head. As good as the legendary 14 time Grand slam Champion Pete Sampras was he has a rare distinction.Call it useless information if you wish however the following statistics may be almost a rarity in World Tennis.
Sampras won his final Slam at the 2002 US Open when he defeated Andre Agassi in 4 sets in the Men's Singles Final. Up until then he rarely lost at the final hurdle , here's the proof ;
Pistol Pete won the Australian Open twice, he finished runner up once, to Agassi. He never ever lost in a Wimbledon Final, seven appearances for seven wins. He was never a threat at the French, didn't have the game but he had some issues at the US Open. When i say 'issues' well this was the one tournament that he struggled at the final hurdle, he may be a rarity in the following;
Sampras was beaten in the 2000 final in New York by the tall Russian Marat Safin in three sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 , somewhat of a surprise , after all Sampras in the final match of a Slam was where he was most feared. The following year in the final he was taken out again in straight sets , this time by Lleyton Hewitt 7-6, 6-1, 6-1, another surprise , especially the final two sets.
So for a man who was looking for Grand Slam number 14 Pete Sampras was not even making an impression , particularly in New York. Perhaps he was waiting to deliver his best against a man who talks about Pete as though he were a man who ruined him .
Andre Agassi often mentioned going into the 2002 US Open Final with 26 straight wins accounting for nothing as Pistol stopped him from winning a title he felt was in the bag. The 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory to Sampras that year was almost strange in the way that he had folded the previous two years in straight sets. Sampras loved to torment Agassi, even after the two had retired. The two Champions had words at a charity match involving Federer and Nadal a few years back , rather personal words, there was something between these two.
An unconfirmed quote from Agassi once read " No one deserves to be number one if they look like they swing from a tree ". (Agassi referring to Sampras) Interesting stuff, however as I said, unconfirmed......
I personally believe that Sampras knew he had one last crack at a major and winning it against Andre would make his career that little bit sweeter.
It's a tough one, would you rather have all 4 majors as Andre does or more Slams and a final victory over someone you really wanted to beat ? Pro's and cons of both.........