Tennis Identity

Pete Sampras’ “Letter To My Younger Self”

I’m not a tennis pro, so I’ve never led that life. But after following the game for a long time, I have a tiny idea what they go through. Endless travel. Missed flights. Sponsor parties. Early morning runs. Unbelievable stress- hello, down three match points. Self-doubt. It’s all there, a tennis-microcosm of life itself. They all go through it, even the greats like Serena Williams…and Pete Sampras.


In life (and tennis,) hindsight is 20/20. Sampras has written a post on The Players called, fittingly, a Letter To My Younger Self. In it, he tells himself back then what he knows now.

On his special tennis relationship with Andre Agassi…

“But when you leave the court for good, there is one opponent whose name will be mentioned alongside yours forever. Andre Agassi. I know you can’t see it now, but you will have a fierce, special rivalry with Andre Agassi. He’ll be the best player you play against during your career, and he will bring out the best in you. You’ll rise to be the best in the world together, and it’s always gonna be a heavyweight match when you play. There will always be huge buzz.”

On how to beat Andre Agassi in the 1995 Australian Open Final…

“In the 1995 Australian Open Final, you’ll be be tied at one set apiece. You’ll be up 6-4 in a tiebreaker, serving for the set, which would put you up two sets to one and in pretty good shape. Don’t serve out wide. Go up the middle. If you go out wide, he’ll pass you on the forehand, and he’ll go on to win the set, the tiebreaker and the match. It’ll be the only Grand Slam final he beats you in. This adjustment won’t guarantee you the win but it will put you in a much better position.”


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