Just like a lot of retirees, he plays golf, travels and still dabbles in his former profession. But even after five or so years since calling it quits, 37-year-old Pete Sampras is still feeling his way through retirement.
“It’s a work in progress, retirement,” Sampras said. “I will say I have my moments. I had those moments happen a couple years back where I was getting a little bit bored, a little bit restless. I was playing a lot of golf, not really doing much.After a while of doing that, I just felt a little bit, you know, ‘What’s next?’ sort of stuff.
“There’s no book on retirement at 31. It’s sort of a tricky one. But I think playing tennis again, on my terms, has been fun.”
That in a nutshell is the state of mind of one of the greatest players in tennis history. Sampras, who won a record 14 Grand Slam titles (including seven Wimbledon titles), returns to the court in today’s night session at the SAP Open at HP Pavilion with an exhibition against Tommy Haas.</p>
Sampras played top-ranked Roger Federer in a series of November exhibitions, with the retiree actually winning the finale in straight sets 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5).
Unlike a lot of retired boxers, though, Sampras knows tennis is a game for the younger generation.
“You know, I could still play a little bit, still play at a pretty high level, but coming back is a whole different ballgame, whole different lifestyle, a lot of work,” Sampras said. “Even in my prime, it was a lot of work staying on top. The day in, day out grind of tennis isn’t in me any more.”