New York: Pete Sampras was reduced to tears as he made an appearance at the US Open for an official announcement of his retirement. Described by many as the greatest ever tennis player, Pete Sampras was honoured in a half-hour ceremony between the two night matches in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday. The 14-time Grand slam champion was at his emotional best at the small ceremony which was attended by other tennis greats including Boris Becker, Andre Agassi and John McEnroe. Sampras did a lap of honour before exiting into the men's changing room for one last time.
It was an emotional moment for Sampras who couldn't hold back tears as the crowd treated him to three extended standing ovations.
Known for his mild-mannered personality both off and on the court, Sampras received rich tributes.
"It's been my privilege to be challenged by him, to share a rivalry with him but there's no question I haven't played anybody better," said Aggasi, the men's No. 1 seed who had lost last yearaÂÂs US Open final against Sampras.
"I know I tried to serve like you, Pete. I couldn't do that. I tried to hit a big forehand like you. I couldn't do that. I also tried to act like Pete. Needless to say, I failed at that," said former US tennis star John McEnroe.
And Pistol Pete, for one, will miss the tennis courts.
"I'm going to miss playing here. I love playing in New York. I love playing in front of you guys but I know in my heart it's time to say goodbye," Sampras said.
Once the ceremony got over, Sampras took a lap around the court with his son in his arms and then walked through the door that leads to the changing rooms for the very last time.
Topics : Tennis