“Slightly Embarrassed”: How Pete Sampras Spent Thanksgiving With Roger Federer in 2007

By the time Roger Federer found his way to the top on the ATP tour, American great Pete Sampras had already enjoyed his run and on the verge of retirement. The only encounter between the two stars came in the fourth-round at 2001 Wimbledon Championships.

The first encounter was clinched by Federer in four sets as he reached his first-ever major quarter-final by defeating a possible all-time great. Even though fans didn’t get to see much of Sampras-Federer rivalry, they got a glimpse of how it would have turned out when both players did the Asia tour in 2007.

Federer, who was the number one player back then, defeated the American legend in two exhibition matches at Seoul and Kuala Lumpur. But, Sampras got back in style, defeating the Swiss in their third and final exhibition match in Macau.

Roger Federer and Pete Sampras enjoyed Thanksgiving together in 2007 during their Asia tour

These three matches happened during Thanksgiving week in November 2007. The 20-time Grand Slam Champion could also be seen hosting Thanksgiving dinner for Pete Sampras.

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Sampras recalled the 2007 Asia Tour during an interview he gave in 2013 and praised Federer for being a ‘down-to-earth’ guy.

We were traveling in Asia in 2007 on an exhibition tour and I thought to myself, ‘this guy is like he’s in high school’. I’m slightly embarrassed to be telling you this but he would come up and blow in your ear or scream in your ear. He did it to his trainer a few times”, the American recollected.

While Federer always maintained that his childhood idols were Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker, he had high regard for Pete Sampras. On the other hand, world no.1 Novak Djokovic is directly influenced by the 14-time Grand Slam Champion.

Sampras and Federer were part of multiple exhibition matches

Coming to Federer and Sampras, the duo also played another exhibition match at Madison Square Garden in 2008. Fans also got the chance to see these two legends play once again but for a noble cause this time.

INDIAN WELLS, CA – MARCH 12: (L-R) Roger Federer of Switzerland, Pete Sampras, former tennis player Rod Laver, Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal of Spain pose at Hit for Haiti, a charity event during the BNP Paribas Open on March 12, 2010 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

To provide funds for victims of 2010 Haiti earthquake, Federer and Nadal joined Agassi and Sampras for a charity match just before the start of Australian Open.

Even though fans couldn’t get to see Roger Federer and Pete Sampras play intense battles against each other on the ATP tour multiple times, these charity and exhibition matches would give a pretty good assumption of how those encounters could have turned out.

Also read: Roger Federer Gives Delightful Surprise for Fans Ahead of Thanksgiving and Holiday Season

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