Sampras paints bleak picture for U.S. tennis


Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:10

Owner of a record 14 Grand Slam titles, Sampras led the American supremacy in the 1990s, holding the year-end No. 1 for a record six years from 1993 to 1998, and was closely followed along with countrymen Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Michael Chang.

These days, Grand Slam hopes rest on Andy Roddick, 26, and James Blake, 28, and Sampras indicated that it could be tough for that pair to break through at this point. “It’s a tricky time,” said Sampras. “The American media and the fans expect American champions and our guys to be No. 1, and when you don’t get that people start complaining.”

He added: “It’s a tough comparison for Andy (Roddick) and James (Blake) to be compared to myself and Andre (Agassi) and Jim (Courier) and Michael (Chang). That was a pretty unique crew. But we need some sort of American presence at the top of the game.”

Roddick won his lone Grand Slam title at the 2003 U.S. Open and Blake has never reached the semifinals at a major.

“Roddick is a notch below the top guys and James is a couple of notches so it’s going to take some years,” Sampras said. “It’s going to take maybe five, 10, 15 years for another crew of really good young Americans. It might not happen for 40 years – it’s hard to say.”

Sampras also ruled himself out of any Davis Cup role in the foreseeable future.

“Not at the moment, no,” said Sampras, when asked if he would like to get involved with the U.S. Davis Cup team. “You can never say never…But you know, when it comes to the captaincy, I’m 37 so maybe later in my life but not now.”


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.