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Champion Sampras Near Certain He's Finished with Professional Tennis - 2003-06-22


Seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras says he is now 95 percent certain that he has played his last professional tennis match. Sampras won the Wimbledon title at the All England Club from 1993 to 1995, and from 1997 to 2000. The wins are among his record 14 Grand Slam titles. Sampras turns 32 in August, and he told the Sunday Times in London that the time had come to leave the stage and allow younger stars to rise.

Sampras held the year-end top ranking every season between 1993 and 1998 - a record streak of six years. But Sampras says his heart has not been in his practice sessions and his body has not felt good while playing.

When Sampras beat long-time rival Andre Agassi at last year's U.S. Open, it was his first tournament win of any kind since his record-breaking achievement of a seventh Wimbledon crown in 2000, snapping a drought of 33 events. He finished last season ranked 13, his first finish out of the world top 10 since 1989.

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