Former Coach Details How Roger Federer and Pete Sampras Were Similar

Published 10/28/2021, 3:30 PM EDT
DELHI, INDIA – DECEMBER 07: Roger Federer of the Indian Aces sits on the team bench with Pete Sampras and Gael Monfils during their teams match against the Singapore Slammers during the Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League third leg at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium December 7, 2014 in Delhi, Delhi. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for IPTL 2014)


The incredible longevity of Roger Federer often makes you forget that he started as a professional in 1998. The Swiss Maestro had the rare privilege of playing against one of his idols, Pete Sampras. Sampras and Federer both are two of the most iconic players on grass and have 7 and 8 Wimbledon titles, respectively. 

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Recently, Paul Annacone spoke about these two players. He has had the privilege of coaching both Roger Federer and Pete Sampras. The American coach spent a fair bit of time with these two amazing talents and highlighted their similarities. 

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The 58-year-old stated, “I think personality-wise they’re very different but they got to their same place in their goal orientation with very different methods and what I mean by that is they both understood themselves very well as I said about Roger. Pete knew exactly what he needed to do to be successful.”  

Roger Federer and Pete Sampras would work extremely hard in preseason 

One thing common between both of them was the fact they knew their strengths and abilities well and worked on them. During the preseason, they would train harder than usual.

Annacone added, “In terms of preparation, they’re pretty similar. They worked hardest in the preseason and luckily for them because they win so much, during the year, they’re playing so many matches. A lot of their fitness and training gets done because they win so much.”

Pete Sampras of the United States serves to Martin Damm during their Men’s Singles first round match at the US Open Tennis Championship on 2 September 2000 at the USTA National Tennis Center in the Flushing neighbourhood of Queens in New York, United States. (Photo by Gary M. Prior/Getty Images)

Federer and Sampras worked on adaptation for different surfaces 

The versatility required to excel on all three surfaces – hardcourt, grass, and clay – was an acquired skill and both Federer and Sampras worked extremely diligently towards it. 

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The former coach said, “When there are breaks on the calendar they’re both pretty diligent about getting ready for the clay-court season, making sure they’re prepared for the differences than for the grass-court season. The key is they know themselves really well.”

As far as personalities were concerned, Roger was slightly more extroverted than Pete, according to Paul. He would always crack jokes and when it came to focusing on tennis, he would give it his all. On the other hand, Pete was reserved and had his focus only on tennis. 

PARIS, FRANCE May 29. Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates his victory against Oscar Otte of Germany by hitting the ball into the spectators on Court Philippe-Chatrier in the Men”u2019s Singles second round match at the 2019 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on May 29th 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Pete retired from the game with 14 Majors to his name. On the other hand, Federer is on 20 Slams and is still competing. We wish both individuals the best of luck in all their endeavors in life. 

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Watch this story: The Journey of Roger Federer to the Elite Billionaire’s Club

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Rohan Kollare

1365 articles

Rohan Kollare is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Rohan has studied Sports Management and has a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering Tennis and Formula One.

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