Sampras ‘disappointed’ by remarks in Agassi’s book

Pete Sampras would like a sit-down with longtime American rival
Andre Agassi away from the tennis court to discuss Agassi’s harsh
words about the 14-time Grand Slam champion in his recent
autobiography, “Open.”

Sampras said Thursday he was surprised and disappointed by
Agassi’s “shots” at Sampras in the book and would like to meet
“man to man” to discuss it.

Sampras hasn’t read Agassi’s book, in which Agassi
acknowledged taking crystal meth, and doesn’t plan to. Agassi also
talks about evading punishment for a failed drug test and dealing
with the insane pressure he felt from his overbearing father and
coach.

“He was a big rival,” said Sampras, who retired in 2003. “I
think it’s a reflection that I didn’t know Andre all that well in
our competitive days. Got to know him a little bit better as we got
older, but in (our) mid-20s and times he was there and at times he
was a little removed. Little did I know he was getting involved in
some bad decisions.”

Sampras spoke on a conference call organized by the SAP Open,
where he is scheduled for a Feb. 8 exhibition match against Spain’s
Fernando Verdasco. Sampras even expressed amazement at Agassi’s
timing to make such dramatic revelations about his personal life
and problems.

“He had a lot of peaks and valleys, a lot of ups,” Sampras
said. “Everyone’s sort of asking about it and talking about the
crystal meth. He decided to bring it out now, which was a little
surprising, but Andre always likes to separate himself from the
rest, good or bad.”

In the book released last fall, Agassi made references to
Sampras being dull with a “lack of inspiration” and said the two
couldn’t be any more different.

Agassi made a statement that Sampras “sounds more robotic
than” a parrot.

“I envy Pete’s dullness. I wish I could emulate his
spectacular lack of inspiration, and his peculiar lack of need for
inspiration,” Agassi wrote.

Agassi told of betting coach Brad Gilbert about how much
Sampras tipped a parking valet. They asked the valet, who said $1.

“We could not be more different, Pete and I,” Agassi wrote.

Sampras won’t debate that.

“I got wind of a few things that he said about me, and I was
a little surprised and a little disappointed,” Sampras said. “I
always felt like Andre and I had risen above taking shots at one
another. When I did my book, it wasn’t my way of settling scores or
taking shots.”

Agassi also criticized Michael Chang and Boris Becker.

Sampras acknowledged he and Agassi are drastically different
people despite their tremendous success on a tennis court and
everything they did for the rise of their sport in the U.S.

Agassi said he sometimes hated tennis and going out to
practice for hours at a time. He said he sometimes tanked matches,
too.

“We were going in two different directions,” Sampras said.
“I think he was sort of lost and not sure what he wanted, and I
knew exactly where I wanted to go. In order to be the best player
in the world, tennis has to be your life. It’s a sacrifice, and
something I was willing to do and it was something he was willing
to do at times. But consistently I was willing to sacrifice more
than many.

“You can’t have it both ways. I did it my way, and I have no
regrets when I look back on my career that it was just a big focus
for me.”