One of the greatest men’s singles rivalries in Wimbledon and professional tennis history burned fiercely between the two USA tennis players Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. Overall the pair met in the finals of major (Grand Slam) tournaments 34 times.
Of these meetings, Sampras won 20 to Agassi’s 14, giving him an edge over Andre. Agassi’s only major tournament victory over Sampras came in the 2005 Australian Open, where he defeated his nemesis in an amazing four-set match.
The two first met at the Grand Slam level of play in the 1990 US Open, where Agassi, with his number 4 in the world ranking, was favored. Agassi lost to Sampras in straight sets and the rivalry began to grow. Their next meeting in the 1992 French Open tennis tournament brought them head to head in the quarterfinals.
This time, although Sampras was ranked higher, Agassi won. Then came Wimbledon, 1993, where Agassi was the defending champion, and Sampras cruised in with a very shiny new number one world ranking. This time Sampras took the match in five sets and went on to win the tournament.
The rivalry continued for years. Some of their more noteworthy matches included finals in the Australian Open, The Canadian Open, and The US Open. They didn’t meet again at Wimbledon until 1999. Again Sampras won, this time in straight sets. That year, Sampras forfeited the number one ranking to Agassi when, being injured, he had to withdraw from the US Open.
They met only once in 2000 when Agassi defeated Sampras in the semi-finals of the Australian Open. The 2001 US Open offered them another chance to spar, again in the quarterfinals. Sampras defeated Agassi that year in a grueling match that featured no breaks of serve during the entire match. It was a moment in tennis history and fuel for the rivalry’s fire.
They didn’t meet in another final until the 2002 US Open. Sampras enjoyed a bittersweet victory over his longtime rival in this match, as it would be his last ATP Singles career match. Rivalries intrigue us, allow us to take sides and get involved.
The attendance at tennis tournaments where rivals play is higher and the matches are often more volatile and interesting to watch. With this being the case, surely the rivalry between the greatest tennis players Sampras and Agassi was a winning one for the world of tennis.