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Pete Sampras

Tennis Player

Born: 12 August 1971
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
Best known as: "Pistol Pete," the 14-time Grand Slam winner

One of the all-time great tennis players, Pete Sampras spent 286 consecutive weeks in the 1990s as the no. 1 ranked player in the world. Nicknamed "Pistol Pete" because of his fast and true serve, Sampras turned professional in 1988. In 1990, when he was 19 years old, he beat Andre Agassi to become the youngest man ever to win the U.S. Open, and for six consecutive years, from 1993 through 1998, he ended the season as the top-ranked player in the world. During his career he won a total of 64 singles titles, with 14 Grand Slam titles. Sampras won Wimbledon seven times, the U.S. Open five times and the Australian Open twice; he never won the French Open. Sampras dominated men's tennis in the last half of the 1990s, and had a long rivalry with Agassi (who he beat in 2002 for his final U.S. Open title), but his low-key demeanor and sportsmanlike behavior kept him from becoming a major celebrity beyond the court. He retired in 2003. His 14 Grand Slam singles titles were a record until July of 2009, when Roger Federer won at Wimbledon to collect his 15th Grand Slam title.

Extra credit:

Sampras's older sister, Stella Sampras Webster, became the head coach of women's tennis at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1997.

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