ATP Tour

Rafter names Sampras as the toughest opponent in his career

2020-04-09 15:13
Pete Sampras (File)

Pat Rafter has described Pete Sampras as the "toughest player I played against" and has also given some background to one of his infamous run-ins with Pistol Pete.

The duo’s professional careers overlapped and they faced each 16 times on the ATP Tour with Sampras winning their head-to-head count 12-4.

Two-time Grand Slam winner Rafter says there is no doubt that the American, who won 14 majors before hanging up his racket, was the stand-out player during their heydays.

Rafter told Eurosport: "The toughest player I played against was definitely Pete Sampras – he did everything I did, only better.

"His record was the best so there’s no doubt about it, Sampras the stand-out.

"I enjoyed playing Andre Agassi the most – I thought we had a really good battle, I really enjoyed playing him."

The pair had their run-ins on and off court and Rafter reportedly once called Sampras a "cry baby" during an intense battle.

When asked about the cry baby comment, the Australian replied: "I can’t remember the exact words, but we had a run-in in Cincinnati one year – I probably told him to grow up.

"He cracked it when I beat him one time. But that was back in the old days, emotions were running high and I don’t take it personally. It’s all good."

Rafter was also asked which players he would like to have played from the current era, but he wasn’t keen to face anyone.

"No-one! Someone like Djokovic would make my life miserable,” he joked.

"He returns too well. Someone like Rafa, I reckon I could get two and two [6-2, 6-2] in my heyday, on the fastest court you have ever seen. They are two of the best players I have ever seen."

Read more on:    atp tour  |  pete sampras  |  tennis  |  lockdown  |  coronavirus


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