2001 US Open QF: Andre Agassi – Pete Sampras
From Sampras‘ autobiography ” A champion’s mind”:
“We had a tremendous crowd for our big quarterfinal in Flushing Meadows. Word must have gone out all over Wall Street, the Upper East Side, and Central Park West that this was potential classic, for all the scenemakers, movers and shakers, and celebrities were out. The best thing was that you could feel this respect and appreciation for tennis in the air. It wasn’t the usual noisy New York crowd, being semiattentive. Everyone seemed riveted and there were moments when you could have heard a pin drop.”
“Andre and I gave them their money’s worth – this was a battle pitting the best serve-and-volleyer against the best returner and passer.
It was different from our final of 1995, because I attacked more – in fact, I attacked relentlessly. I think I served and volleyed on every single service point I played for more than three hours. ”
“That match also represented the longest period of time over which Andre and I both played really well at the same time. We each had our little lulls and hiccups, but nobody lost serve for more than three hours. I had chances to break Andre in the first set, but I blew it. I lost the first tiebreaker, but I came back to win the next three. It was a blunt and sometimes brutal battle that was decided most of all by execution and mental focus, rather than strategy or the way our strokes matched up.”
“In a way, that high point of our rivalry was also a microcosm of our decade-long battle. I held a six-win edge in our rivalry (20-14), although if Andre had not taken significant breaks from the game we might have played fifty times.
I performed a little better in the majors holding a 6-3 edge. He won all our clashes at the Australian and French Open; I won all the ones we played at Wimbledon and the US Open. We met in five major finals, and I won on every occasion but one, the Australian Open of 1995. We had a few epics.”
In the long run, I was just a little better at those giant moments, just like I was on that sultry New York night when Andre and I played our masterpiece.