Advertisement

Sampras’ Chance at Wimbledon Repeat Are Suddenly Hurting

TIMES STAFF WRITER

For the frequently injured Pete Sampras, this latest setback was an unusual one, even by his standards. His longtime coach, Paul Annacone, called it “strange” and ATP trainer Doug Spreen used the word “unique.”

No matter the description, Sampras’ inflamed left shin and ankle have put his pursuit of a seventh Wimbledon championship and record 13th Grand Slam singles title in jeopardy. An MRI, as previously reported, was negative, and there is no structural damage to the bones, only acute tendinitis, according to a statement from Spreen.

Annacone said that Sampras, the defending champion, suffered the injury Wednesday during a practice session shortly before his second-round match against Karol Kucera of Slovakia.

“We can’t figure it out,” Annacone said.

Advertisement

Sampras, in dramatic fashion, beat Kucera in four sets shortly before nightfall and will try to play Justin Gimelstob in the third round today, weather permitting. His draw is favorable, but it is debatable whether Sampras can hold up for five more matches.

“As far as I know he’s going to play unless he tells me otherwise,” Annacone said.

Sampras was at Wimbledon receiving treatment but did not speak to the media. He was still hobbling, however.

“Yeah, he can walk,” Annacone said. “He’s not going to be breaking the 100-meter record today. It’s not in his foot, it’s in his shin. But the tendon looks really good. There’s no tears. It’s sore. It hurts like heck.”

Advertisement

Sampras, 28, has had to deal with injuries throughout his career, and this is the third major one in 2000.

The uncertainty about Sampras has U.S. Davis Cup captain John McEnroe searching for possible replacements in preparation for the July 21-23 matches against Spain. Michael Chang, a solid clay-courter, already has a previous commitment in Los Angeles.


Advertisement