Pistol Pete, as Pete Sampras was more affectionately known, owned the most accurate and one of the fastest serves in tennis when he was at the peak of his powers. The best player of a generation and one of the best in the history of the game, Sampras would go on to generate enormous wealth during and after his professional tennis career.
How Much Is Pete Sampras Worth? It is estimated, by some, that Pete Sampras is worth something in the region of $150-million. While it does not tell the whole story of a tennis player’s earnings, it is also worth noting that Sampras ranks among the top five tennis players in career prize money – having accumulated $43,280,489 during his playing days. That is a sizable sum of money.
Three of the four players who feature above Sampras on this incredible career prize money list are active players Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
The fourth player (Andy Murray) is still an active player on the ATP Tour but barely. Permanent retirement beckons for the Brit, who has been grappling with injury for a sustained period now.
The only other player from the Sampras generation to feature on that Top 10 money list is his great rival Andre Agassi, who slots in at a comfortable eight.
Pete Sampras Endorsements
When Pete Sampras was at the peak of his powers, it was hard to imagine that there was any tennis racket worth buying other than Wilson. The Wilson Pro Staff Original only made its initial appearance on the ATP Tour midway through the 80s, competing against many more fancied brands. The two premier players during the 80s , Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe, definitely weren’t using Wilson rackets.
However, the Sampras era changed all of that – Sampras used the racket for his entire professional tennis career. The Wilson Pro Staff Original was never a particularly compelling piece of equipment but when Sampras had it in his hands it looked like it had greater powers than Thor’s hammer.
Sampras’s worth to Wilson rackets is not lost on anybody. After stepping away from the professional game, Sampras continued to work with Wilson – although most of his subsequent exhibition matches were played with the Modified Pro staff in his hands. Not the original.
Sampras has also been cited using a Babolat in more recent post-retirement appearances. A compelling feature of the Babolat is that it generally produces more power than most of the rackets on tour.
Like competing brand HEAD, it is a popular choice for older tennis players at clubs all around the world. The fact Sampras has moved onto Babolat is perhaps as clear a sign of age as any.
Before Sampras became the sporting icon that he was, he would wear apparel designed and produced by Sergio Tacchini. While the Italian sport clothing brand remains prominent in 2020, Sampras actually parted ways with the firm in 1994.
That is sometimes hard to believe, as the association between Sampras and Nike is the only one that anybody growing up in the 90s can remember. It is impossible to imagine that the American tennis star ever wore anything else before that.
The deal with Nike included everything, the shoes and additional carry bag too.
Pete Sampras Tournament Wins
During his glorious tennis career, Pete Sampras won a whopping 64 professional singles titles.
Fourteen of those professional singles titles were recorded at the Grand Slam events. The American also won five Year-End championships and two Grand Slam Cups.
Here is a brief rundown of the big tournaments that he won, who he beat and how much he was likely paid for beating those individuals.
Sampras At The Majors
Sampras only won the Australian Open twice during his professional career. The first of those titles was recorded in 1994, when he beat Todd Martin in straight sets.
The second of his Australian Open singles titles was recorded in 1997, when Sampras beat Carlos Moya in straight sets. The total tournament purse, for the men’s singles draw, that year was just over $3.5-million. Sampras walked away with a considerable chunk of that in the end.
Pete Sampras was never ever able to solve the clay-court mystery at Roland Garros, but the grass of Wimbledon is where the American thrived. It took a brief while before Sampras won his first Wimbledon title in 1993.
However, when he eventually did cross the finish line at SW19, he never wanted to let that title go. His seven titles during the 90s are compelling evidence of that.
In 1993, Sampras beat compatriot Jim Courier in four sets. In 1994, Sampras won his second Wimbledon singles title when he beat Goran Ivanišević in straight sets. The 6-0 in the final set is something tennis fans will not forget for many years to come.
The total tournament financial commitment, for men’s singles, in 1994 was $3.9-million. Sampras walked away with a considerable chunk of that too.
When Pete Sampras beat Boris Becker in four sets at the 1995 final, it was becoming increasingly apparent that this Wimbledon business was soon going to become a laugh.
The whole world was stunned – and people didn’t know what to do with themselves – when Sampras failed to win the 1996 title at SW19. He lost the quarter-final to eventual tournament winner Richard Krajicek, in straight sets too.
However, order was restored in 1997, when Sampras went on to beat Cédric Pioline in straight sets. It was like he had never been away from the grass. The total tournament financial commitment for men’s singles in 1997 was $5.4-million.
Ivanišević took Sampras all the way in 1998 but ultimately the American dashed his grass court hopes yet again. 1998 was also a record-equalling year for Sampras who won his fifth Wimbledon title.
The total tournament financial commitment for men’s singles in 1998 was $5.6-million. Records being equalled and broken on all counts by Sampras, then. In 1999 came the demolition job against rival Andre Agassi.
Those who watched it will tell you there was less devastating footage from the Middle East at the time. The total purse for the men’s singles draw increased to a little over $5.6-million that year.
All things do eventually come to an end but there was no way Wimbledon fans could have foreseen 2000 being the last year Pete Sampras would wear the Wimbledon crown. He beat Pat Rafter in a gripping four-set duel that included two tie-breakers up front.
There was very little variation in the men’s singles financial commitment that year though.
This might come as a surprise to some but there was actually a life beyond Wimbledon for Pete Sampras and that happened to be at a grand old place called Flushing Meadows. During his compelling career, Pete Sampras went on to conquer the US Open five times. There is nothing quite like home.
The year the international tennis fraternity first got to see what a young Pete Sampras was all about was at the 1990 US Open. At that tournament, the first sign of things to come was the quarter-final fixture against the legendary Ivan Lendl, who had competed in the previous eight US Open men’s singles finals.
It was a defining moment in men’s singles tennis. A genuine changing of the guard. Lendl and Sampras produced an epic too. Another sign of things to come presented itself in the 1990 men’s singles final when Sampras beat his rival Andre Agassi in straights.
The financial commitment for the men’s singles tournament that year was $2.5-million.
Following that success, there was a strange little period where Sampras didn’t win any Grand Slam singles titles.
However, a riot started at Wimbledon 2003. The Sampras storm continued to lash the tennis world at the 2003 US Open, where he beat Pioline in another straight sets final.
In 1995 it was Agassi again. This time he managed to score one set against Sampras but the result did seem inevitable. Sampras then defended his title against Michael Chang in 1996, following a compelling. straight sets victory.
Then followed a period where it became increasingly apparent that Sampras was no longer at the peak of his powers, that we were entering the dawn of a new tennis era. However, trust Sampras to try and go out on his own terms.
He came back in 2002 to win the US Open for the final time. Guess who….Agassi again. This time in four sets.
Sampras entered that tournament as the 17th seed and the men’s singles purse that year was just under $7-million.
Pete Sampras At The Year-End Championships
Throughout his glittering career, Pete Sampras spent 286 weeks at the summit of the ATP World Rankings. The only player who has dominated the game for longer than that is the man who broke Sampras’s Grand Slam singles record, Roger Federer.
There is also every indication that Novak Djokovic, who is the premier player in world tennis at the time of writing this blog, will overtake Sampras before the end of 2020. More on that later though.
The fact Sampras won five World Tour Finals is a reflection of the extent of his dominance. The American was the year-end number one six times, which is the most in the history of the ATP Tour.
Also, the only person who has won more Year-End Championships than Sampras is the legendary John McEnroe.
At the 1991 tournament Sampras beat Courier in four compelling sets. The tournament purse that year was $2,225,000. In 1994, Sampras beat Becker in four sets, also securing his tenth title for the season.
In 1996, it was Sampras against Becker once again. This time, the American required five dramatic sets to win. In 1997, Sampras executed a straight sets demolition job against Russian number one Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
The Sampras show continued in the winter of 1999…and yes, you guessed it. Agassi was at the receiving end of another brutal demotion job.
Pete Sampras Books
There are two compelling reads about Pete Sampras in particular. They include Facing Sampras: Symposium of a Champion (written by Scoop Malinowski) and the Sampras autobiography titled Pete Sampras: A Champion’s Mind.
The former is essentially a recollection of what it was like to play against Pete Sampras, by some of his more prominent opponents over the years. Tennis fans remember many of those matches pretty well but getting into the heads of Sampras competitors and rivals was interesting.
The book which captured everybody’s imagination though is definitely the autobiography. That is primarily because Sampras was so secretive when off the tennis court. Success with sales of that book was inevitable because the tennis fraternity was just so curious about the man and mind behind the racket.
The fascinating thing about Pete Sampras in his post-retirement years is that he remains just as secretive as he was as a professional player. Tennis fans know as little about Sampras now as they did back then, which shouldn’t really be that startling come to that.
We seldom see the man on the tube and even then, it is really just in rare interviews and documentaries. Beyond that, Pete Sampras only makes appearances at exhibition tennis events, for which he no doubt gets paid.
There have actually been several of those since he retired from the sport. They include matches against Robby Ginepri, Todd Martin, Roger Federer, Tommy Haas, Patrick Rafter, Andre Agassi, Milos Raonic and Rafael Nadal.
Sampras Still Making It Rain
A list of the 25 richest tennis players in the world was published in 2019. Despite being in retirement for the greater part of two decades, Sampras still makes it onto that list. This at a time when more money is being splashed on the sport than ever before.
It has to be said, it is a speculative list but a list nonetheless. Nobody really knows what these professional athletes are worth. Anybody who suggests otherwise is not being honest with you. So, let us examine that list anyway.
They rank Sampras as high as seven on a list which features many active players. They are also just one of many sources that quotes the net worth figure of $150-million. Interestingly enough, one of the players that ranks higher than Sampras on this list is Agassi – the man who was at the losing end of their decade-long rivalry. We will talk about Agassi on another day though.
The one point worth making is that Sampras was identified by Agassi as being a dull character.
We do not know this for sure but perhaps the absence of genuine charisma has limited the Sampras earning potential somewhat. We are certain he doesn’t spend too much time thinking about that though. From a financial point of view, Sampras is doing just fine…better than most actually.
Sampras And Real Estate
One area in which very little can go wrong, from an investment point of view, is real estate.
Sampras understands this better than most. Most of Sampras’s real estate activity has been in Los Angeles, where he has bought and sold property for years.
Among the most famous Sampras properties was the impressive $20-million mansion that he and his wife built from scratch. That was built in Thousand Oaks, California. Nobody really knows how much they managed to sell it for though.
They have also invested heavily in Beverly Hills over the years. One of those sales were for $14.5-million. Sampras also has property interests in Bel Air and Brentwood.
Sampras The Philanthropist
Sampras is still heavily involved with work for the Tim and Tom Gullikson Foundation. Sampras had an outstanding relationship with the late Tim Gullikson, who was his coach for a period.
The Pete Sampras Golf Classic is an annual charitable tournament that Sampras organises for the work of the foundation.
Other charitable work includes the American Cancer Awareness Society, Aces for Charity, Vitas Gerulaitis Youth Foundation and Kids’ Stuff Foundation.
The author of this article has always maintained that to be a successful professional tennis player, you need to be a particularly driven individual. More often than not, this level of drive is something you are born with. It can seldom be coached or taught.
There is a familiar anecdote about Pete Sampras having to alter his whole game as a teenager because he had been led to believe that it would benefit him more when competing at the biggest tennis tournaments, where the surfaces tend to be faster.
Sampras used to have a double-handed backhand and played a baseline game, which was fast becoming the trend when he was emerging as a future star. He abandoned the double-handed backhand and the baseline game, for a one-handed backhand and a devastating serve and volley routine. Watching Sampras was like watching a sniper.
Expecting any youngster to make that significant an adjustment to his game would ordinarily be akin to farting in the wind. Young people can be stubborn. However, that was not the case with Sampras – which was as good a sign as any that the “boy” was destined for greater things.
A considerable amount of the Sampras wealth, both during and after his career, was generated because he was a driven individual and not because he was charismatic, particularly creative or gorgeous.
We cannot think of many professional athletes who have been more driven than Sampras. It is a lesson to be had for young people.