Pete Sampras, one of the best players of all time, has written a letter to his 16 year old self. He preps him for the coming decades and informs him of nutrition trends, that he should be lucky that he is out of the game before Facebook and Twitter and mostly to enjoy the ride.
On his special tennis relationship with Andre Agassi
“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 can’t see it now, but you will have a fierce, special rivalry with Andre Agassi. He’ll be the best player you play against during your career, and he will bring out the best in you. You’ll rise to be the best in the world together, and it’s always gonna be a heavyweight match when you play. There will always be huge buzz.”
On how to beat Andre Agassi in the 1995 Australian Open Final
“In the 1995 Australian Open Final, you’ll be be tied at one set apiece. You’ll 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. Don’t serve out wide. Go up the middle. If you go out wide, he’ll pass you on the forehand, and he’ll go on to win the set, the tiebreaker and the match. It’ll be the only Grand Slam final he beats you in. This adjustment won’t guarantee you the win but it will put you in a much better position.”
On enjoying the success in your career
“You’re 16 years old and your life is just beginning, but don’t get sucked into always looking ahead. It’s tough because after every tournament — even when you win — 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.”
On playing with your heroes
“You’ll get to play against your heroes, like Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors — the guys you grew up watching. You’ll 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, you’ll be the calming influence. When you’re in a lull, he’ll energize you. You’ll balance each other out perfectly. You’ll win the Davis Cup together, and it’ll be some of the most fun you have in your career playing with probably the greatest doubles player of all time.”
For the whole article visit The Players Tribune.