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Since 1st March, 1999
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I won’t be seen at Roland Garros again: Sampras

Paris, June 14 (Reuters): Former world No. 1 Pete Sampras says he will never again play at the French Open, the only Grand Slam tournament he has not won.

The record 14-times Grand Slam winner, who has not played since beating old rival Andre Agassi in September to win his fifth US Open title, said he had put too much pressure on himself to win in Paris.

“That’s that. I won’t be seen at Roland Garros anymore,” the 31-year-old said in an interview with sports daily L’Equipe on Saturday.

“I did everything I could to win the title, so I am giving up without regret. I changed my preparation, playing a lot on clay before the French Open, or less, but there was always something wrong,” Sampras said.

“When I came back to Flushing Meadow last year, everyone thought I couldn’t win. Then I did win. So when I beat Andre in the final, it meant something enormous to me.

“I wanted to prove something, that I was still able to win a 14th Grand Slam tournament,” he added.

Sampras said he had planned to return to Wimbledon this year. The American has pulled out of this month’s grass court event, which he has won seven times, but has not ruled out a possible return.

“Two months ago, I started to train again, but my heart was not in it,” he said.

Asked why he did not announce his retirement, Sampras said: “I did not want to close the door for good. I will see at the end of the year if I will quit or not. Maybe in November or December, after more than a year without a competition, I will have the desire to play a few tournaments.

“With a bit of luck, it will be for the US Open (this year) or Wimbledon in 2004.”

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