Pete Sampras as a Role Model

Name: Pete Sampras

Role Model Spotlight as: a World Class tennis champion

Birthdate: August 12, 1971

Birthplace: Washington, D. C.

Residence: Tampa, Florida, USA

Personality Style: Pete has an easy-going nature, but on the court he has an aggressive serve along with a competitive style that has won him many fans as well as Grand Slam titles. As a personality, Pete is very straightforward, sincere and candid. Fans like his direct, easygoing approach.

Role Model Profile: Pete Sampras is one of the most admired all-American tennis players. He is a versatile player who masters any situation. He has integrity the way he plays and the way he lives his life. He has a determination that is an inspiration to others and a motivating force among youths.

Pete started getting noticed on the tennis tour in 1988 as a 16-year old qualifier. He played a game they called "dangerous." It took him two years to reach the top ten, and along the way he defeated several of the great tennis legends. His first Grand Slam title was the U.S. Open that he won in 1990 with an unbelievable serve that stunned players like Agassi, Lendl, and McEnroe. At age 19, Pete was the youngest tennis player ever to win the coveted U.S. Open cup.

In 1991 Pete added the IBM World Championship onto his string of victories and in the next year he helped the U.S. to win back the Davis cup. With his likable, relaxed attitude he showed that he could be a great team player.

His next big accomplishment came in 1993 when he made a new record for the tour history books by slamming 1000 aces in a single season. Because of this record it helped him to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Soon after this he won the Australian Open in 1994. This made him the first player to win three Grand Slam tournaments in a row in 25 years. Since 1993 he has finished with the tour's ranking of Number One every year since 1993. The only other players to have ever achieved this were John McEnroe and Jimmy Conners.

While Pete Sampras tries to keep a low profile, it's getting harder and harder considering that he is now a four-time Wimbledon champion (1993, 1994, 1995, 1997). He has also just won his 10th career Grand Slam title.

His Role Model: Pete grow up idolizing the great tennis player Rod Laver of Australia

Best Quality: Pete has great staying power. That's a big part of his appeal.

Other Honors: Pete reached the 3rd round of the singles competition in the 1992 Olympics. Pete was a gold medalist in men's singles at the 1987 U.S. Olympic Festival and was named USOC Athlete of the Month for July 1995. He finished third in 1994 and 1995 in the USOC's voting for Athlete of the Year.

Family: Pete is the son of Greek immigrants, Sam and Georgia Sampras . He is one of four children that include his brother Gus, and his sisters Stella and Marion.

He was born in Washington, D.C., the third child. His father was working for the aerospace field for the Department of Defense. At night his father worked at a deli where he was a part owner.

Even as a boy, Pete showed signs of having outstanding athletic ability. As a youngster, Pete discovered a tennis racket in the basement of their house in Potomac, Maryland. He used to spend hours hitting balls against the basement walls.

In the summer of 1978, the Sampras family drove across the U.S. to Palos Verdes, California, outside of Los Angeles. Sam Sampras had accepted a new job in the aerospace industry. The family was happy about moving into a warm climate. Seven year old Pete Sampras became more and more involved in the game of tennis. The hit the ball beautifully -- like a pro. Soon the family joined the Peninsula Racquet Club. They played a great deal of tennis together. It was soon apparent that Pete was a tennis Prodigy. At age 11, he could pick up volleys at the service line, and hit low volleys will all the ease in the world.

Other sports: Golf is a favorite of Pete's. He says that if he wasn't a professional tennis player he would have played professional golf. His reasons? Golf is a sport that you can play for 30 years. In tennis, your career only lasts 10 or 12 years. In tennis, your body takes a lot of pounding, and golf is easier on the body.

On His Game: Clay is not his best surface. Winning against the French meant clay courts and that was a big hurdle for him. The tournament in France was doubly hard for him considering that his coach had just passed away. But Pete purposely puts a lot of pressure on himself. He thrives on pressure and that's one of the things that makes him a champion.

Goal: " Every year my goal is to try to win one big Grand Slam, and if I do it's a good year. If it's two it's a GREAT year!"

Mailing Address:
You can write Pete Sampras c/o IMG
1 Erieview Plaza
Suite 1300
Cleveland, Ohio 44114