Sampras Says Federer Will Break Record

Take it from no less an authority than Pete Sampras: Roger Federer is more dominant than he was and predicts the Swiss star will break his record of 14 Grand Slam titles. Still, Sampras isn't prepared to cede his place in history just yet. Asked how Sampras in his prime would fare against Federer, the 36-year-old American said it wasn't a fair comparison. "For me, in my prime, I felt unbeatable," Sampras said Friday. "In Roger's days, he's unbeatable. It's really hard to put one guy over the other. Having said that, I think Roger is dominating the game much more than I ever did. I think he's going to go on and past 14 and win 16, 17, 18 majors." Sampras said at a news conference he thought Federer would remain No. 1 a "very, very long time." Federer has won 12 Grand Slams titles, two short of Sampras' mark. "I think he's going to break all records," Sampras said. The two tennis greats arrived in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau for the last of their three-match Asian exhibition series. Sampras, who retired in 2002 after winning the U.S. Open, lost the first two matches in straight sets. Their only previous meeting was in the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2001, when Federer won in five sets. Sampras poked fun at his losses - 6-4, 6-3 in South Korea on Tuesday and 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) in Malaysia on Thursday - and urged Federer to "throw me a bone" in Saturday's finale. He likened the possibility of just winning a set against Federer to an eighth Wimbledon title. When Federer, fresh from winning the Masters Cup in Shanghai, China, last week, said Sampras has "a chance" on Saturday, the American sheepishly repeated, "just a chance." The 26-year-old Swiss was respectful toward Sampras, whose playing style and career resembles his own. Both serve and volley well and use one-handed backhands. Both have dominated Wimbledon - Sampras has won seven times and Federer five. And both have struggled to win on clay at the French Open, the only Grand Slam to elude both. "Playing against Pete is obviously a big honor because I grew up idolizing Pete, his game, the way he pulled off shots on big points, his beautiful technique, the way he ran on court. Everything is perfect," Federer said. He has enjoyed spending time with Sampras during the tour and hearing him share the ups and downs of his career. "It's been a great insight for me," Federer said.

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