Stefan Edberg and Pete Sampras
NEWPORT - Despite 14 Grand Slam titles, it's a loss in the 1992 U.S. Open final that sticks with Pete Sampras.
"That's always the first match that comes to my mind," said Sampras, who recalled the turning point in his career Saturday before his induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., along with Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Sven Davidson and photographer Russ Adams.
After splitting the first two sets in the 1992 U.S. Open final, Sampras led 5-4 in the third against 2004 Hall of Famer Stefan Edberg before he double-faulted on the first and last points of the game, eventually losing the set in a tiebreaker.
Sampras said he gave up in the fourth set and ended up losing, 6-2. "It changed my whole mentality when I kind of gave up in that fourth set," he said. "I just promised myself I would never let that happen again. I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted to stay No. 1. That 1992 loss to Edberg was the wake-up call that I needed to really figure this thing out."
He did that, becoming the career leader with 14 Grand Slam singles titles that included seven Wimbledons, five U.S. Opens and two Australian Opens. Sampras was No. 1 in the world for a record 286 weeks, 102 straight from April 15, 1996 to March 30, 1998.
"My goal was to finish the year No. 1," said Sampras, who turns 36 next month. "When each January started, it was, 'What do I need to do to be No. 1?'"
Sanchez-Vicario, of Spain, won three Grand Slam singles titles, including the French Open in 1989, when as a 17-year-old she upset Steffi Graf - a match she recalled Saturday as her greatest moment.
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