Sampras Wins Record 13th Grand Slam
July 9 -- — Pete Sampras won a title and made history.
An uncharacteristically emotional Sampras defeated No. 12 seed Patrick Rafter 6-7 (10), 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2 in a serve-and-volley classic that gave Sampras his seventh Wimbledon title, tying him with Willie Renshaw.
The grass court specialist, who is widely considered the greatest to ever play at Wimbledon, also broke Australian Roy Emerson’s record for the most Grand Slam singles victories with 13.
After hitting a service winner on match point as dusk began to descend at the All England Club, Sampras threw his arms in the air and began to cry. He then climbed into the stands to hug his tearful father and mother, who had never seen him win a Grand Slam title in person. Venus Williams also had joined her family in the stands after winning the women’s title Saturday.
“It meant so much to me,” he said after accepting the winner’s trophy. “My parents are heretoday. It’s so important to me they could share it with me.
“I love Wimbledon, I love playing here. … This is the best court in the world.”
Rain-Soaked First Set
Sampras won the match in the way he always has: with missile-like serves. His first serves averaged 124 mph and reached a top speed of 133 mph, and he notched 27 aces to Rafter’s 12.
Rafter was unable to break Sampras’ serve, something most opponents have been unable to do at Wimbledon. In seven Wimbledon finals, Sampras has lost his serve only four times in 131 service games.
Rain delayed the first set three times, once postponing the start for an hour and twice disrupting play. The first time the set was stopped for 25 minutes with Rafter leading 4-3. After 10 minutes of play, play was stopped again, this time for two and a half hours with the set tied 4-4.
When play resumed, Rafter — a two-time U.S. Open champion playing in his first Wimbledon final — held on to win after Sampras failed to convert three set points. But that would be Rafter’s sole set win.