Simon Reed

Who’s the GOAT? 1-Roger Federer v 2-Pete Sampras

Simon Reed

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It's the final everyone has been expecting: top seed Roger Federer against Pete Sampras in a bid to be crowned the Greatest of All Time.

Federer has already beaten the man many tipped to be his main contender - Aussie legend Rod Laver - as well as taking out Boris Becker and Jim Courier.

Sampras, meanwhile, booked his spot in the final by beating Guillermo Vilas, Stefan Edberg and the ice-cool Bjorn Borg.

Under our GOAT rules each match is three sets, one on each surface. Here's how the players' records compare at each of the Grand Slams.

Roger Federer

Nationality: Swiss

Seeded: 1

Grand Slam titles:

Australian Open winner (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010)

French Open winner (2009)

Wimbledon winner (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009)

US Open winner (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)

Pete Sampras

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Nationality: American

Seeded: 2

Grand Slam titles: 14

Australian Open winner (1994, 1997)

French Open semi-finalist (1996)

Wimbledon winner (1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 200)

US Open winner (1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2002)

Real life head-to-head:

Federer 1-0 Sampras

Wimbledon 2001 - Federer won 7-6(7) 5-7 6-4 6-7(2) 7-5

Simon Reed's verdict

Let's start with the easy one - Federer wins at Roland Garros. He's a better clay court player than Sampras ever was. So that set can only go one way for me.

It becomes more tricky when you look at Wimbledon, but I think Sampras would just edge it. At his peak, Sampras was even more dominant at the All England Club than Federer has been.

But the win would be by the narrowest of margins - something like 22-20 in a tiebreak!

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And I think Federer would win the hardcourt battle. Not by much and it may very well come down to a tie-break once again. But I think Federer just edges it.

It still seems odd to me that we're talking about the greatest player of all time who cant beat the second best player of his era often enough.

But I am happy to call Federer the greatest of all time. I do think that Sampras had more high quality opposition during his time. When Federer was at his most dominant only Nadal really emerged as a contender and since then he and the Spaniard have been head and shoulders above the rest.

But Federer is the more complete player when you compare him and Sampras. Sampras had undoubtedly the best serve of all time and he was totally unflappable. I think he was probably the better match player as well, as Federer sometimes seems to get by on sheer brilliance.

But Federer is the better player to watch and while I wouldn't go so far as to say Sampras's backhand was a weakness, it was definitely the weaker side of his game, whereas you don't want to go anywhere near Federer's backhand or forehand really!

Final verdict

Federer wins 6-7 (grass) 6-3 (clay) 7-6 (hard)

Who do you think would win?


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