by Mauro Cappiello
Stefan Edberg and Pete Sampras during the 1992 US Open final ceremony
In an exclusive interview released by Linus Sunnervik for Expressen.se, Pete Sampras recalled the 1992 US Open final he lost to Stefan Edberg as a turning point in his career.
The American legend, who is playing the Kings of Tennis Champions event in Stockholm, lost that match at the end of a four set battle, but gradually faded away after the third set tie-break, maybe also due to weakness for a stomach ache that had affected him during the semifinal against Jim Courier.
"None of us played really well, but he won with his experience," admitted Pete. "I remember I slowly lost the will during the match. I didn't fight. I was somehow satisfied to just be in the final. And it gnawed at me for months."
It's not the first time Pete talks about this episode: he recalled that moment in a solemn circustance like his induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport in 2007 and, again, he dedicated an entire chapter of his autobiography "A Champion's Mind" (published in 2009) to the description of the similarities between Edberg and himself and to how that match contributed to his growth in terms of personality.
"Finally I realized that I should begin to work harder. I did not allow myself that it would happen again," said the American in the interview. Sampras would win four more US Open titles and 13 of his 14 Majors afterwards to become the record holder of singles Grand Slam crowns, before Roger Federer came in and surpassed him.
Sampras will battle in a dream final against home star Thomas Enqvist later tonight (20.30 CET) to try and win his first Kings of Tennis title.
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