ADAM BUTLER/Associated Press
Pete Sampras was arguably the greatest tennis player on a grass surface. He certainly was the most dominant player at Wimbledon from 1993-2000, winning seven championships in eight years. It’s unfathomable to imagine that another player will achieve this feat.
Bjorn Borg won five consecutive Wimbledon titles from 1976-80. Roger Federer matched this streak from 2003-07, and had he won his epic 2008 Wimbledon loss to Rafael Nadal, Federer was in line to win seven straight titles by the time he finished off Andy Roddick in 2009. (Federer added his seventh Wimbledon title in 2012, but Sampras’ seven titles in eight years is more impressive.)
Pistol Pete crushed the field at a time when serve-and-volley tennis was being replaced by bigger servers on the faster, more skidding grass surface of the time. His only blemish was one quarterfinal loss against eventual-champion Richard Krajicek in 1996, a straight-sets defeat over delays and two days.
Sampras explained his missed opportunity in the New York Times: “I missed a backhand, I guess by an inch or so; I felt it was good but the lady called it wide, and that was my one opportunity to even things up.”
Usually, Sampras dominated, but he also had the uncanny ability to win the pressure points when a match can turn quickly at Wimbledon. Sampras and Federer aside, it will be many years or decades, if ever, before someone else challenges this mark at Wimbledon.
For comparison, Novak Djokovic (2011-13, 15) would need to win the next three Australian Open titles to match this accomplishment in Melbourne.