Back in 1999, Pete Sampras appeared on "60 Minutes." Charlie Rose posed a somewhat leading question that could've made Sampras uncomfortable.
Instead, the tennis great just smiled.
"So when you read, 'he's boring,' you say," Rose prompted.
"I'm not," Sampras said. "I got my own jet. Hollywood girlfriend."
Twelve years later, most would still want to describe Sampras as boring, but they can't. Not when that Hollywood girlfriend is now his wife. They have two boys, Christian and Ryan, and they certainly bring their own brand of excitement.
"It's very different," Sampras said of being a father rather than a top-ranked pro. "They are at the age now that they understand what's going on. They're in school and doing all the homework and reading … You're just trying to help them any way you can. You want your kids to listen and behave and do what you say, but they do the opposite. They are boys. First thing in the morning they are up and ready to go. I'm just barely waking up. As a tennis player you only worry about you, but now I'm thinking about them. I enjoy it. It's a lot of fun."
Sampras brought the fun to The Tennis Club Newport Beach Saturday night. He said he agreed to play for the World Team Tennis league because he could choose his team. When you've won 14 Grand Slam titles, including seven at Wimbledon, you can call the shots. He chose Newport Beach because it was close to his home in Los Angeles.
He knew his wife, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, and the boys could come and see him play. Bridgette and the boys also made a mini vacation of it. They visited The Wedge in Corona del Mar and went to Fashion Island in Newport Beach during the day before the match.
Yes, things have changed since Sampras talked about his life and personality on "60 Minutes." He talked about his desire to be the best. And, others, like John McEnroe gushed about Sampras and how he made it all look so easy.
Things didn't come so easy on Saturday. Sampras tweaked his ankle. After he played his two sets, losing in doubles, 5-0, and winning in singles, 5-3, he went to the clubhouse to rest his leg for treatment on his ankle. Nearby, Christian, 8, and Ryan, 5, played. Bridgette agreed to speak with me.
She told me how she and Sampras met before talking about Pete as a dad. She gave me the short version. After making the movie, "Love Stinks," Bridgette said she would never get a date because she played such a psycho woman. The film's trailer ends with the statement: A movie about a relationship that's worse than yours.
Little did she know that movie would lead to her finding her husband. Bridgette said Sampras and his friend, John Black, the public relations chief of the Lakers, went to see the movie. Sampras kind of jokingly told Black to get Bridgette's phone number because they shared mutual friends.
"And then here we are, almost 11 years later and two kids later," said Bridgette, best known for her roles in "Billy Madison," "Mortal Kombat," and "The Wedding Planner." "We got married in his backyard and we flew down my pastor from Oregon."
Elton John, as a favor to Sampras, also played at the wedding. Four months later, Bridgette confessed to Craig Kilborn that she did not know Sampras was a famous tennis player before meeting him.
"I am more into football and basketball," Bridgette said on Kilborn's show.
"Yes, real sports," Kilborn joked.
Bridgette said she doesn't watch her husband play much now that he's in retirement. She's focused on the boys, and so is Sampras.
When Christian was born eight years ago, Bridgette described the tennis legend as intimidated early on as a father. But he is well beyond that now. Mostly he can be a disciplinarian, she said.
"He's a good one to be on the journey with, because it's definitely a partnership," Bridgette said. "He allows me my freedom and I allow him his freedom. So it's good."
Before you take that last quote of context, Bridgette was referring to freedom in parenting.
"It took a while to get there," Bridgette said. "I can remember when we first had Christian, he was always like, 'what are you doing?'"
But it's different now. They're in it together.
Bridgette didn't talk about her upcoming projects or any films she would want to pursue.
"I'm just enjoying the summer moments with the boys because I know it goes too quick," she said.
Some of those moments were spent in Newport Beach. Sampras was happy to share it with the Breakers, who play host to the Kansas City Explorers Wednesday night, when the Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, will be featured.
"I don't get a chance to play in L.A. often so for them to come out and watch me is exciting for me and for them," Sampras said.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times