Author Topic: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"  (Read 528 times)

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Offline Lugburz

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Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« on: June 29, 2015, 11:32:25 PM »
Had to share it, this is awesome read.  :not worthy:
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http://www.theplayerstribune.com/pete-sampras-letter-to-my-younger-self/

Dear 16-year-old Pete,

Youíre about to go pro, and youíre pretty excited. Deep in your heart you know youíre eventually going to succeed. But believe me, itís coming a lot sooner than you think. Youíll have your early ups and downs, but in just a couple of years, youíre gonna fight your way into the Top 5 in the world rankings, and youíll win the U.S. Open, beating the likes of Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Andre Agassi in the process. At 19, youíll be the youngest player to ever win the U.S. Open.

Thatís when everything will change.

Youíll be an up-and-coming American with no exposure one day; then, when you wake up the morning after winning the Open, youíll be on talk show after talk show. All eyes will be on you, and the attention will take some getting used to ó it wonít mesh well with your reserved personality.

Thereís more to being a pro than just playing tennis. The more successful you are, the more people will want out of you. It wonít always be something youíll want to do, and it wonít always be fun. The pressure will be as exhausting as anything youíll ever do on the tennis court. But as a tennis champion, you have that responsibility. You play tennis because you love the game, not because you love the limelight, so get ready. Think about getting some media training. Itíll go a long way. Luckily, youíll be out of the game before these things called Twitter and Facebook come around. Be thankful for that. One day youíll understand what I mean.

Oh, and put the newspaper down. Donít read what people are saying about you. No good can come of it. And if you do hear or read something negative about yourself, donít sweat it. Let your racket do the talking.

Now, letís talk about your game a little. During your career, theyíll develop a new kind of string that will help you gain a little more spin and speed. Youíll see a guy like Gustavo Kuerten use it on clay and have success, and even though coaches and other players will tell you to use that new string ó along with a bigger head to give you that little extra margin for error you need to win on clay ó youíll resist. Youíre a little neurotic about your equipment ó like most tennis players ó but if you want to win that French Open and complete the career Grand Slam, youíll need to try something different. Be open to new technology.

On top of that, donít forget to take care of your most important weapon: your body. Be aware of what youíre eating. There will be times when you wake up in the middle of the night before a match craving crazy things like hamburgers and pizza. Itís because your body is missing something. If you ignore those cravings and donít figure out what your body needs (and itís definitely not burgers or pizza), youíll get on the court the next day and fall flat.

This will never be more apparent than at the 1996 U.S. Open. Youíll face Alex Corretja in the quarterfinals, and in the fourth set, youíll run out of gas because you didnít eat properly before the match. Youíll need a boost, and youíll reach for a can of Coca-Cola. Thatís not the answer. All thatís gonna do is make you throw up on the court during the fifth-set tiebreaker. Youíll go on to win the match, but believe me, it wonít be fun (although everyone else will love the drama).

One day, everyone will be a nutrition freak. Be ahead of that curve.

Also, be aware of the pills you take. If you take sleeping pills to overcome jet lag, before you know it, youíll be taking them every night. When your arm is sore and youíre given medication for it, throw that bottle away. Those pills will give you a painful, persistent ulcer. Be aware of what you put in your body.

Youíll get to play against your heroes, like Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors ó the guys you grew up watching. Youíll even get to play with John McEnroe in doubles, which will turn out to be an oddly perfect combination. You, the calm, collected right-hander, and McEnroe, the emotional, energetic lefty. When he gets crazy, youíll be the calming influence. When youíre in a lull, heíll energize you. Youíll balance each other out perfectly. Youíll win the Davis Cup together, and itíll be some of the most fun you have in your career playing with probably the greatest doubles player of all time.

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 canít see it now, but you will have a fierce, special rivalry with Andre Agassi. Heíll be the best player you play against during your career, and he will bring out the best in you. Youíll rise to be the best in the world together, and itís always gonna be a heavyweight match when you play. There will always be huge buzz.

Youíll be fortunate enough to play against him in five Grand Slam finals, and youíll win four of them. But if you want to win all five, hear me out.

In the 1995 Australian Open Final, youíll be be tied at one set apiece. Youíll 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. Donít serve out wide. Go up the middle. If you go out wide, heíll pass you on the forehand, and heíll go on to win the set, the tiebreaker and the match. Itíll be the only Grand Slam final he beats you in. This adjustment wonít guarantee you the win but it will put you in a much better position.

Youíre gonna win your first and last Grand Slams against Andre, and somewhere in between, youíll start to understand how important that rivalry is to American tennis and how special it is to both of you as individuals. This rivalry will be bigger than either of you could ever dream. Your games are so different, as are your personalities. Keeping it professional and always maintaining a mutual respect for one another is what will make the rivalry one of the best the game will ever see.

Itís not just Andre and that rivalry you should stop to appreciate, either. There will be many people who will have an enormous impact on your tennis game and on your life ó none more important than your future coach, mentor and friend, Tim Gullikson.

During that same í95 Aussie Open where youíll lose to Andre in the finals (unless you take my advice), Tim will mysteriously collapse and will be forced to miss the tournament. Seeing him in the hospital and seeing his brother in tears will be more than you can handle alone.

Talk about it. I know, youíre introverted and reserved. But this oneís too big for you to take on alone. If you donít talk about it, itíll build up inside and come boiling over in one big rush of emotion during the quarterfinals against Jim Courier, and youíll break down and cry right there on the court.

Tim will eventually succumb to the brain cancer that caused him to collapse, and that will hit you even harder. Donít go at it alone. Appreciate him while you have him, and talk about it when heís gone. Youíll thank me later.

Itís the people in your life ó people like Tim ó that will shape you. Appreciate them.

Appreciate your friend John Black. When he gives you the number of that pretty girl named Bridgette you see on the movie screen, thank him, and call her. I know, itís not like you to put yourself out there like that. Itís bizarre. But do it ó call her. And later on, when she becomes your wife, appreciate her. Every day ó appreciate her.

Appreciate your sisters, Stella and Marion, and your brother Gus. Listen to them. They have good advice. And know that they will always support you no matter what.

Appreciate your parents. They give you the coaching you need. They always support you. They let you be your own man. And now that youíre ready to go pro, appreciate that theyíve given you as much of a normal childhood as possible. They never have and never will put too much pressure on you. Those are things you canít see as a 16-year-old ó the sacrifices your parents make.

Pay attention to all your parents do and take notes. Itíll come in handy one day when you have a couple of boys of your own.

Youíre 16 years old and your life is just beginning, but donít get sucked into always looking ahead. Itís tough because after every tournament ó even when you win ó your focus immediately shifts to the next one. Take time to appreciate your major wins and share them with your family and friends. Take advantage of your youth and enjoy it. The journey truly is the reward.

Play hard, do it on your own terms and stay true to yourself. Do that, and you canít go wrong.

Sincerely,

Pete
« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 11:33:33 PM by Lugburz »
In the absence of light, darkness prevails!
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Philipp Kohlschreiber  -  Stanislas Wawrinka - TB - NM - GD - EG - IS - DL - RF - DT - JWT

Offline monstertruck

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 05:58:02 AM »
 ://

I especially like the nod to JMac.
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Offline Alex

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 11:36:03 AM »
I've seen it and it is great. It is inspirational. I'm serious though.

Now, the fun part.

I need to write a letter to my self. It's gonna go like 'Dear Alex, you suck at the moment, but things might get better'  :whistle:. You might get that perfect job you are looking for. You might get a perfect wife. You might win 6/49. You'll probably get nothing.

THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING   :)

Offline Nekro t4u

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2015, 02:35:41 PM »
I've seen it and it is great. It is inspirational. I'm serious though.

Now, the fun part.

I need to write a letter to my self. It's gonna go like 'Dear Alex, you suck at the moment, but things might get better'  :whistle:. You might get that perfect job you are looking for. You might get a perfect wife. You might win 6/49. You'll probably get nothing.

THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING   :)
lol Alex bro, Emma was right, you're pro at derailing threads, you were quite creative with this one too :rofl_2: :king:

Anyway, about the Sampras letter, imo it's like a kid trying to explain the bad school certificate...... Sampras is a great champ  and 14 is a big number when it comes to GSs but in his interviews in the past few years he's been full of excuses. He seems really pissed and butthurt that other players are not only matching/beating his GS count but also completing the career golden slam. And then he's whining a lot these players don't play with wood, lol it's not even tennis if you don't play with wood, that's where it turns out if you have real power or no Then the Agassi  ownage bragging ooh my biggest rival was a bohemian who was focused 90% on fixing his private life and sometimes he played tennis too  :rofl_2: what a challenge....... and when there's a gap or failing in my tennis knowledge i just skip and find excuses......... Anyway, looking back at Sampras' career it really stinks if you compare it to Roger's for example...... Fed is just much more of a pro, ambitious, intelligent, cold-blooded......  he wanted the damn RG and he got it no matter what....  Also i can't imagine Fed writing a theatrical excuse letter like this one  :rofl_2:   I don't want to hurt monster's and other Sampras fans' feelings it's just how i see this letter and Sampras' recent utterances  :rofl_2:
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 02:36:54 PM by Nekro t4u »

Offline Lugburz

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2015, 02:42:43 PM »
Nekro, I think you missed the point of this letter.
I really don't see it as excuses, more of a satirical and kinda funny way to address how competing at high level was so different back then.

How not only technology changed but how players have much more going ons right now. The pills for everything, strict training pre and post-match etc etc.
How the internet and the media itself is much harsher and more difficult to ignore today. Twitter, facebook and all that sh!t...

In the absence of light, darkness prevails!
------------------------------------------------------

TOMMY HAAS
Philipp Kohlschreiber  -  Stanislas Wawrinka - TB - NM - GD - EG - IS - DL - RF - DT - JWT

Offline Nekro t4u

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2015, 03:04:09 PM »
Nekro, I think you missed the point of this letter.
I really don't see it as excuses, more of a satirical and kinda funny way to address how competing at high level was so different back then.

How not only technology changed but how players have much more going ons right now. The pills for everything, strict training pre and post-match etc etc.
How the internet and the media itself is much harsher and more difficult to ignore today. Twitter, facebook and all that sh!t...
There are many aspects to this letter, i focused on the excuse one cause that's what strikes me most whenever Sampras opens his mouth......  it's like he's fighting with his demons, this letter's no different, oohh nutrition was different (did i mention the cheat racket that prevented me from getting the French????   :ranting: ) .......My loving sisters (screw the racket it's to blame not my lack of movement and spinning skills  :cursing: ) blablabla.....  The Agassi part is so cheap  and hypocritical too  :rofl_2: Really dude, i know what i'm supposed to get from this letter and thanks a lot but you don't have to introduce Sampras to me  :tounge-smile:

Offline monstertruck

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2015, 07:36:59 AM »
Fascinating how people have different lenses through which they view the world.  Myself included.

The only part I really liked was the mention of dubs with JMac.
The rest seemed rather shallow and obvious.
And heck, I'm a fan of the man. :Confused:
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Offline Lugburz

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2015, 10:29:37 AM »
I just thought it was great read since we get to see more about his personality.
It's not philosophical but rather obvious and well written for an ex-professional athlete.
In the absence of light, darkness prevails!
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TOMMY HAAS
Philipp Kohlschreiber  -  Stanislas Wawrinka - TB - NM - GD - EG - IS - DL - RF - DT - JWT

Offline monstertruck

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2015, 03:57:14 PM »
I just thought it was great read since we get to see more about his personality.
It's not philosophical but rather obvious and well written for an ex-professional athlete.
Agreed.
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Offline Emma

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2015, 06:54:30 PM »
Hey Luggy, I meant to tell you - this is a beautiful thread. I really enjoyed reading the letter from Pete. Though he wrote to his younger self, he's actually reflecting back.

As to some of the reactions here - I see it as a matter of perspective. Some see it as 'obvious and shallow' while others find it meaningful - like myself. Of course it's obvious as some of us who followed Pete night and day back on those days, know what he'd gone through, but we never knew his side of story. Everything was from our perspective so it was very good to know what was going on in his mind at that time.

Also, it's very inspirational not to mention educational for younger players - especially those who are looking into some guidance from Champions like him. Like how he talked about his mental aspects of things (not to bottle up emotion and carry onto court etc), take care of the body (not to go for fast foods or drink sodas the night before) but most importantly, to be very thankful for the all support they get from their surroundings (be it parents, siblings, coaches, friends, wife etc.). In other words, not to take anything for granted. There are lots of hidden messages in that simple yet touching letter. Of course it is not for the likes of Kyrgios or Dimitrov who give into hypes but for those hidden ones who dream about becoming big like Sampras, Federer etc.

In all honesty, I don't think Federer would have even existed if there was no Sampras. Federer still giggles around Sampras when they get together - he almost worships Sampras. Sampras has always been Federer's idol and the bar that he wanted to cross.
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Offline Fiero425

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2015, 12:53:06 AM »
You forgot the 2 times Federer melted into a "puddle" at the Aussie Open; 1 time he was being presented the trophy by ROD Laver! He lost it and had to be consoled by the old man who probably wondered "wtf is wrong with this kid?"  :rofl_2:  :whistle:  :cool:
"What consequence are you now, this  planet, these people? The universe is power, pure unstoppable power; and I am that force, I am that power! Kneel before your Master! Fool; You Are No Longer My Equal! I AM More Than Man, More Than LIFE; I AM A GOD!" Skeletor to He-Man in Masters Of The Universe

Offline Emma

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2015, 12:11:31 PM »
Rod Laver is one of the founding fathers of tennis. Even Sampras lights up when he stands next to him but he's also Sampras' idol just like Sampras is to Federer.

But Sampras started the trend to chase history and break records when he decided to be No. 1 for 6 straight years at a young age and break Roy Emerson's 12 Slam record and win the most Slams in men's tennis. Not to mention, his 7 Wimbledon titles over 8 years. Federer simply followed suit. If the trend hadn't started out by Sampras then I am not sure how motivated Federer would have been and how many Slams he would have actually won.  In one of his interviews, Federer himself noted that Sampras started the trend. The idea of chasing and breaking records didn't exist in the way it exists now. Sampras gave tennis a new dimension and gave birth to a new era.

In fact, Sampras going out winning 2002 USO is also a trend something that Federer is also trying to achieve. He's not only a fabulous trend setter but also should be regarded as the father of modern tennis - considering his great serves and slam dunks. And to think he did it all in a very quiet manner makes it even more amazing.

But of course records will be broken. That's why they are meant to be created but fans do get too caught up in the competition to the point they stop enjoying the game itself. Sampras himself said after Federer broke his record that, he doesn't take it too seriously and that he goes to bed knowing he was the best player and the player to beat in his era/time. Even Agassi, his arch nemesis, wasn't able to put a dent to his career.
When the night comes with the action, I just know it's time to go
Can't resist the strange attraction from that giant dynamo...

Offline Emma

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2015, 12:15:45 PM »
I also loved his take on FB, Twitter etc. So spot on. I am sure he would have detested it - being surrounded by people who are only capable of kneejerk responses and who take the internet for granted. That's one area where Andy's not as enlightened as Sampras but then he's so British and British are very media/social network oriented people. Andy loves the social media/network stuff. That's where we can't see things eye to eye.
When the night comes with the action, I just know it's time to go
Can't resist the strange attraction from that giant dynamo...

Offline monstertruck

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2015, 12:58:21 PM »
Rod Laver is one of the founding fathers of tennis. Even Sampras lights up when he stands next to him but he's also Sampras' idol just like Sampras is to Federer.

But Sampras started the trend to chase history and break records when he decided to be No. 1 for 6 straight years at a young age and break Roy Emerson's 12 Slam record and win the most Slams in men's tennis. Not to mention, his 7 Wimbledon titles over 8 years. Federer simply followed suit. If the trend hadn't started out by Sampras then I am not sure how motivated Federer would have been and how many Slams he would have actually won.  In one of his interviews, Federer himself noted that Sampras started the trend. The idea of chasing and breaking records didn't exist in the way it exists now. Sampras gave tennis a new dimension and gave birth to a new era.
In fact, Sampras going out winning 2002 USO is also a trend something that Federer is also trying to achieve. He's not only a fabulous trend setter but also should be regarded as the father of modern tennis - considering his great serves and slam dunks. And to think he did it all in a very quiet manner makes it even more amazing.

But of course records will be broken. That's why they are meant to be created but fans do get too caught up in the competition to the point they stop enjoying the game itself. Sampras himself said after Federer broke his record that, he doesn't take it too seriously and that he goes to bed knowing he was the best player and the player to beat in his era/time. Even Agassi, his arch nemesis, wasn't able to put a dent to his career.
That idea is threadworthy. :not worthy:
The media is/was more than willing to jump onboard and hype 'the pursuit' of breaking records.  I guess there are many fans who enjoy that facet of the game as well.  Silly me, I just like like the game itself. :))
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Offline Fiero425

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2015, 03:38:57 AM »
Rod Laver is one of the founding fathers of tennis. Even Sampras lights up when he stands next to him but he's also Sampras' idol just like Sampras is to Federer.

But Sampras started the trend to chase history and break records when he decided to be No. 1 for 6 straight years at a young age and break Roy Emerson's 12 Slam record and win the most Slams in men's tennis. Not to mention, his 7 Wimbledon titles over 8 years. Federer simply followed suit. If the trend hadn't started out by Sampras then I am not sure how motivated Federer would have been and how many Slams he would have actually won.  In one of his interviews, Federer himself noted that Sampras started the trend. The idea of chasing and breaking records didn't exist in the way it exists now. Sampras gave tennis a new dimension and gave birth to a new era.

In fact, Sampras going out winning 2002 USO is also a trend something that Federer is also trying to achieve. He's not only a fabulous trend setter but also should be regarded as the father of modern tennis - considering his great serves and slam dunks. And to think he did it all in a very quiet manner makes it even more amazing.

But of course records will be broken. That's why they are meant to be created but fans do get too caught up in the competition to the point they stop enjoying the game itself. Sampras himself said after Federer broke his record that, he doesn't take it too seriously and that he goes to bed knowing he was the best player and the player to beat in his era/time. Even Agassi, his arch nemesis, wasn't able to put a dent to his career.

IIRC, anecdotally that final run in '98 as #1 or the following year included a plea from Sampras to Boris Becker to take his place as a WC at the Paris Open! I have no idea what happened; wasn't telecast here in the STATES and Sampras didn't win either time! Looking up the record, he lost in the final against Rusedski in '98 and had enough points to retain his #1 ranking! In '99 he won 1 match over Clavet, then defaulted to Haas in the 3rd Rd! His ranking had already taken a hit from withdrawals earlier in the season, after winning the Masters it settled at #3! He famously said he lost hair trying to secure that record in '98! Excuses, excuses! It was going to happen anyway; saw his old man! lol!  :whistle:
"What consequence are you now, this  planet, these people? The universe is power, pure unstoppable power; and I am that force, I am that power! Kneel before your Master! Fool; You Are No Longer My Equal! I AM More Than Man, More Than LIFE; I AM A GOD!" Skeletor to He-Man in Masters Of The Universe

Offline Emma

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Re: Pete Sampras "Letter to My Younger Self"
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2015, 02:00:20 PM »
I do remember that incident - Sampras pulling out and BB taking a WC. Anyway, Sampras could have ended the year 1999 as ranked 1 as well but he had to pull out from AO and then USO so he lost a lot of points in the process. And despite winning Wimbledon that year, he still ended up losing his No. 1 ranking to Agassi whom he beat quite convincingly in the final.

As to his hair, well he's still got plenty left and Roger's hairline is receding too! He looks much older nowadays.
When the night comes with the action, I just know it's time to go
Can't resist the strange attraction from that giant dynamo...