Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable evening with Pistol Pete, 20 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Pete Sampras: A Champion's Mind (Paperback)
This book, coupled with the DVD 'Legends of Wimbledon: Pete Sampras', manages to showcase some of the less observed sides to 'Pistol Pete'. It is true that Pete gave away very little in interviews and features during his career, but written together with Peter Bodo, some fascinating insights are to be found in this autobiography.

It is worth repeating what others have said when comparing this to Agassi's book - the two men were and are very different characters; and differences between their respective autobiographies mirror their characteristics. Not everyone liked the outgoing Agassi and not everyone liked the reserved and somewhat introverted Sampras; and I expect the same opinions will be reflected by readers of their books.

Unlike the dramatic narrative of Agassi's 'Open', 'A Champion's Mind' is a more direct and descriptive journey through the Sampras life story. One of the more interesting aspects of the book, as implied by the title, is how Sampras approached the tennis tournaments he excelled at, especially Wimbledon and the US Open. I felt as though Sampras feared very little in these situations, and passage to the later stages of tournaments was not ever in doubt. All the familiar questions about his professional achievements are raised, and adroitly answered (lack of French Open title, rivalry with Agassi, passing of the flame to Roger Federer and his interest in the Davis Cup). Sampras also gives his thoughts on many contemporaries - amusingly, he doesn't seem too bothered in a competitive sense by his fellow Americans - save for Agassi - and rather frankly sums up his fairly impressive head-to-head records against them: Courier, Martin, Chang and Wheaton. Sampras does allow some exposure to his private life, but as you would expect, the gaze isn't permitted too far.

The book is enjoyable, particularly if you were a fan of tennis during the 'final age' of serve-volleying, and when all surfaces last had appreciable differences in speed (as opposed to the identical slow courts we have across the spectrum now, tailor-made for endlessly dull baseline slugfests with little or no finesse). No real shocks are delivered here, although the odd unkind comment made against rivals does raise a wry grin. But then that is Sampras. If one wants controversy and (admittedly entertaining) hyperbole by the bucketload, then seek out Agassi's offering. If however you are more interested in the no-frills approach to attaining sporting legend, then this book is definitely worth reading.
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