Steve Flink on his Book "Greatness Revisited" and Pete Sampras' Rise to Glory

Today on the Lucky Letcord Podcast host Chris Oddo is joined by Tennis author, journalist and historian Steve Flink. A member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Flink has been covering tennis full time since 1974. He has recently written a book about Pete Sampras, entitled "Greatness Revisited." You can buy the book on Amazon here You can learn more about Hall of Famer Steve Flink here On this episode we discuss the formative years of Pete Sampras and his initial foray into greatness. Steve tells us why he chose to tell the story of Sampras, a legendary talent that he has developed an exceptional rapport with. We learn about Sampras' early years under the tutelage of his dad and the unconventional Pete Fischer, and find out why Sampras changed from a two-handed backhand to a one-handed backhand so late in his development. We discuss some of Sampras' early rivals, and how they initially had the upper hand with the late-blooming American, such as Andre Agassi and Michael Chang. We look at Sampras' momentous 1990 US Open, where he won his maiden major title and became the youngest men's singles winner in the tournament's history. We focus on his extremely difficult path to the title, which saw him face Thomas Muster, Ivan Lendl (who had played eight consecutive finals in New York), John McEnroe (a four-time champion) and Andre Agassi in his final four matches. Steve answers my questions about the elements that made Sampras such a unique player, like his ability to deliver big match tennis in finals and his incredibly humble nature, which allowed him to continue his improvement even when he was already a proven champion. We touch on Sampras' greatest influence in his early career, coach Tim Gullickson, and how the relationship originated, and we look at how difficult it was for Sampras to back up his US Open title in 1990 - something that he was unable to do for nearly three years. We stop our conversation after Sampras has won three straight majors, in early 1994, and plan to pick it up with part 2 of this podcast later next week. Thanks to Steve for writing a great book and for taking the time to speak with us about it! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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