Pete Sampras, the 14-time Grand Slam champion whose Wimbledon reign was ended by Roger Federer in 2001, paid tribute to the Swiss great in a social media video on Thursday.Federer, winner of 20 Grand Slam titles and one of the best players in history, is making a farewell appearance at the Laver Cup in London on Friday before he heads into retirement.Sampras took the occasion to recall their only meeting - when 19-year-old Federer beat him in the fourth round at the All England Club."Not really sure where to begin, so I'll just start from the very beginning," Sampras said in a video directed straight to Federer."When I first played you, you were 19 years old, an up-and-coming player and people were talking about you."And we had a great battle on the Centre Court of Wimbledon.
And you took me down."Tough five-setter," recalled Sampras, who had won the previous four Wimbledon titles to take his tally to seven. "And I just remember walking off the court, feeling like I met my match."From one legend of the game to another ?? @rogerfederer | #RForever pic.twitter.com/j36ugRxF2xSampras would win one more Grand Slam title, at the US Open in 2002, before retiring.
Over the next two decades he watched Federer's career blossom."Little did I know, 20 years later, that you would have 20 majors, be number one for years, dominate our sport - basically do it all," Sampras said, calling Federer "truly a special player".Sampras lauded Federer's dedication, saying his famously fluid game disguised the rigorous work that produced it."You're going to be missed in our game," Sampras said.Read more on news24.com