September 09, 2002

The Bonehead of the Week Award goes to British tennis pro Greg Rusedski, who sputtered out this gracious tribute to Pete Sampras after losing to the American in the third-round of the U.S. Open:

“I tried my best. But unfortunately, when it counted, I gave him a little too much respect. I mean, he’s not playing that great. I’d be surprised if he wins his next match. To be honest with you, I’d be very surprised.”

Although Rusedski’s remarks garnered substantial media attention, Sampras’s post-match observations did not, which is quite a shame, considering how well they reflect upon this longstanding champion and true gentleman:

“I feel pretty good. I feel like it’s a tough match. Playing Greg is difficult. You don’t get a ton of rhythm. It’s kind of hit-and-miss tennis. You kind of hang in there against Greg. I thought he played pretty flawless. Really mixed up his serves, first and second. He kind of had me guessing a lot the whole match. I thought Greg played well. I thought he handled the nerves well.”

Pete Sampras

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Of course, as most readers know, Sampras proceeded to beat the incredibly talented and much younger Tommy Haas and Andy Roddick, the significantly younger Sjeng Schalken, and the one-year-older Andre Agassi to win his fifth U.S. Open Championship, the oldest man to win the title since Australian Ken Rosewall, then nearly 36 years old, took the cup in 1970. (Note: Sampras holds the record for the youngest man to win the U.S. Open, that in 1990, at age 19.)

I don’t know but I think that if I were Rusedski, I might think seriously about skipping Flushing Meadow next year.


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