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A Champion's Mind, by Pete Sampras - Excerpt

A Champion's Mind, by Pete Sampras - Excerpt

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3.17

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Pete Sampras is arguably the greatest tennis player ever, a man whose hard-nosed work ethic led to an unprecedented number one world ranking for 286 weeks, and whose prodigious talent made possible a record-setting fourteen Grand Slam titles. While his more vocal rivals sometimes grabbed the headlines, Pete always preferred to let his racket do the talking.

Until now.

In A Champion’s Mind, the tennis great who so often exhibited visible discomfort with letting people “inside his head” finally opens up. An athletic prodigy, Pete resolved from his earliest playing days never to let anything get in the way of his love for the game. But while this single-minded determination led to tennis domination, success didn’t come without a price. The constant pressure of competing on the world’s biggest stage—in the unblinking eye of a media machine hungry for more than mere athletic greatness—took its toll.

Here for the first time Pete speaks freely about what it was like to possess what he calls “the Gift.” He writes about the personal trials he faced—including the death of a longtime coach and confidant—and the struggles he gutted his way through while being seemingly on top of the world. Among the book’s most riveting scenes are an early devastating loss to Stefan Edberg that led Pete to make a monastic commitment to delivering on his natural talent; a grueling, four-hour-plus match against Alex Corretja during which Pete became seriously ill; fierce on-court battles with rival and friend Andre Agassi; and the triumphant last match of Pete’s career at the finals of the 2002 U.S. Open.

In A Champion’s Mind, one of the most revered, successful, and intensely private players in the history of tennis offers an intimate look at the life of an elite athlete.
Pete Sampras is arguably the greatest tennis player ever, a man whose hard-nosed work ethic led to an unprecedented number one world ranking for 286 weeks, and whose prodigious talent made possible a record-setting fourteen Grand Slam titles. While his more vocal rivals sometimes grabbed the headlines, Pete always preferred to let his racket do the talking.

Until now.

In A Champion’s Mind, the tennis great who so often exhibited visible discomfort with letting people “inside his head” finally opens up. An athletic prodigy, Pete resolved from his earliest playing days never to let anything get in the way of his love for the game. But while this single-minded determination led to tennis domination, success didn’t come without a price. The constant pressure of competing on the world’s biggest stage—in the unblinking eye of a media machine hungry for more than mere athletic greatness—took its toll.

Here for the first time Pete speaks freely about what it was like to possess what he calls “the Gift.” He writes about the personal trials he faced—including the death of a longtime coach and confidant—and the struggles he gutted his way through while being seemingly on top of the world. Among the book’s most riveting scenes are an early devastating loss to Stefan Edberg that led Pete to make a monastic commitment to delivering on his natural talent; a grueling, four-hour-plus match against Alex Corretja during which Pete became seriously ill; fierce on-court battles with rival and friend Andre Agassi; and the triumphant last match of Pete’s career at the finals of the 2002 U.S. Open.

In A Champion’s Mind, one of the most revered, successful, and intensely private players in the history of tennis offers an intimate look at the life of an elite athlete.

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Publish date: May 26, 2009
Added to Scribd: May 26, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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05/11/2014

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achampion’smind
 
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PETESAMPRAS
Lessons from aLife in Tennis

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asktheages reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Sampras was my idol growing up, and naturally, I was very excited to read this. It's a pretty good autobiography, befitting of his "dull" personality in that he really only talks about tennis in the book. But that's fine, as he was not one to seek publicity or make outrageous statements a la Andre Agassi (not knocking Andre - I was a big fan of his too). If you're interested in how Pete's game developed and his take on the ups and downs of his career, this is worth a read, but it doesn't get much more in depth than that, nor does it dish out any dirt/gossip like Open did (again, not meant to be an insult - it's hard not to link Pete and Andre). Pete was always all about his tennis, and that's exactly what you get here - no more, no less.
stellarexplorer reviewed this
Rated 3/5
The tennis fan who followed Sampras' glorious career will enjoy reliving that journey through the eyes of the player himself. There are the expected interesting vignettes, and odd insights into Sampras' thinking at important and memorable moments on the court. As an example, tennis aficionados will recall the famous 1995 Australian open quarterfinal against Jim Courier, in which Sampras wept his way through the final set, having just learned of his long-time coach Tim Gullikson's illness, which would ultimately kill him. What is less known is that Courier's words from the other side of the net, which to most listeners sounded consoling and playful, struck Sampras as irksome and irritated, motivating his victory.The book is a sincere effort to lay forth his attitudes, his approach to his career, his history. There are many places in which the language seems more that of the co-author, Peter Bodo, than Pistol Pete's. Would Sampras describe a sky as "leaden"? I doubt it.I doubt too whether this is a book for the general reader, even the sports reader. I think one has to care about Sampras and tennis to begin with for this to hold one's interest. An uninitiated reader seeking an understanding of the sport of professional tennis has many other illuminating and more engaging choices. Gordon Forbes A Handful of Summers and John McPhee's Levels of the Game come to mind. As do the insightful essays of the ever-brilliant (and tragically lost) David Foster Wallace. Or Steve Flink's The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century.But for the tennis fan actively engaged in the game, A Champion's Mind will offer its satisfactions.
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