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MELBOURNE, Australia – Tennis great Pete Sampras said on Friday that he was not interested in joining the clamour of legends returning to the game as high-profile coaches.
The American 14-time Grand Slam champion, who is in Melbourne to present the trophy to the men’s winner in Sunday’s Australian Open final, said it was not for him.
Sampras, who won two Australian titles in 1994 and 1997, said while it was good to have his contemporaries, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl, involved with the game’s top players, he was now happily retired.
“No, no, no. It’s not for me,” Sampras said.
“I’ve been asked by a couple guys. But the travel, to go on the road, do all that they’re doing is not something that I’m interested in.”
Edberg is now working with Roger Federer while Becker is in the Novak Djokovic camp and Lendl coaches Andy Murray.
Sampras, who retired 12 years ago after winning the US Open, also brushed aside suggestions that he might come back and play doubles, as former US Open champion Pat Rafter did with Lleyton Hewitt at this year’s Australian Open.
“No,” he said.
“I’m very relaxed coming in here. I miss the moment. I miss the last weekend of a major. I miss the excitement, I don’t miss the stress. I don’t miss the pressure, the expectations I put on myself.
“I miss the game, but I don’t miss the stress of it.
“It’s a tough sport. I feel like I walked away at the right time,” he added.
Sampras, 42, said he watches little tennis these days and travels even less.
“I got married, 13 years. Two kids, 11 and 8. They keep my energy up,” he said.
“I play a little bit occasionally, a couple exhibitions here and there. I still get in the gym. I work out a touch. I play a lot of golf.
“I just enjoy my life at home. Don’t really travel too much.”
As 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer plays on at the age of 32, Sampras said the grind of the world tour hit him when he was 30.
“Just from my experience, I felt as I hit 30, 31, that the grind of the tour, the travel, the international jetlag, all that just wore on me,” he said.
“It tired me. It affected my motivation. That’s why I’ve been so impressed with Roger, that he keeps going. Seems like he wants to play for another four or five years. I don’t know how he does it.” – Rappler.com