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A Champion's Mind: Lessons from a Life in Tennis

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,058 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
Pete Sampras is arguably the greatest tennis player ever, a man whose hard-nosed work ethic led to an unprecedented number one world ranking for 286 weeks, and whose prodigious talent made possible a record-setting fourteen Grand Slam titles. While his more vocal rivals sometimes grabbed the headlines, Pete always preferred to let his racket do the talking.

Until now.

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Hardcover, 306 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by Crown Archetype (first published January 1st 2008)
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Mar 28, 2010 Tania rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I just finish the autobiography of Pete Sampras and have mixed feelings about it. During the time at which he competed with Agassi and there was the rivalry among them I always tended to side with Sampras. I liked better Samprass personality, the quintessential gentleman, a class act. With time Sampras retired, Agassi married Steffi Graff, got rid of its irreverent wardrobe, shaved his colorful hair, in other words, he matured, and my respect grew for him not only for the athlete but for the hum
Feb 16, 2010 Aaron rated it really liked it
After reading Andre Agassi's autobiography, I felt the need to looking into the autobiography for his long-time rival Pete Sampras. While I enjoyed the book, I was a little disappointed by the fact that the book really is an overview of his professional life.

With all fairness to Sampras, the subtitle (Lessons from a Life in Tennis) should have made it clear that he was going to be focusing mostly on his time on the courts. I just would have liked to know more about him as a person and those arou
Aug 13, 2015 Rohan rated it liked it
After reading Open by Agassi just before I started this one, I felt this book was a little lackluster. I did get what I needed to hear from Sampras in terms of the On court tennis game and drama around it, but I never got enough details on Sampras's personal life which would have given me an insight into his "Champion Mind". I would've really liked to have read a bit more about his struggling period towards the end as well but those chapters were fairly short also. Overall I just wanted to know ...more
Dec 22, 2013 Lance rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports, blog, tennis
5 of 5 stars (Outstanding)

Pete Sampras retired from tennis holding the record for most career Grand Slam victories and his journey to setting that record is chronicled here in his autobiography that covers his tennis career. I added that last phrase to the sentence because unlike most biographies or autobiographies on athletes, this book focuses solely on his tennis career. There are stories about his childhood, but they are about the development of his game during his youth when
Loy Machedo
Dec 05, 2011 Loy Machedo rated it it was ok

The greatest competitors in the computer industry were Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

The greatest competitors in the Action movies genre were Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.

And the greatest competitors in the Tennis World…among the many, were Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

No other rivalry matched the intensity these two had.

When I was young, I remember watching the matches of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi on TV, even though I was brought up in a conservative middle class Indian househo
Oct 21, 2015 Finn added it
An excellent piece of writing with many twists and turns, "The Mind of a Champion" by Pete Sampras and Peter Bodo highlights the legendary career of all-time tennis great Pete Sampras. Born in the U.S, Pete showed his many talents were present from a young age. Winning multiple titles as a junior, Pete rose to the top quickly and was in the top ten in the world in only a matter or years. Along side the likes of Mcenroe, Lendl, Chang, Agassi, Borg, and Courier, Pete's success on and off the court ...more
Özgür Takmaz
Oct 15, 2015 Özgür Takmaz rated it liked it
Şampiyonun zihninden çıkarılacak ders yok. En azından bunun.
Jul 11, 2008 Beth666ann rated it it was ok
Oh, Pete Sampras. You are just not that interesting, but you do make me think about the psyche that goes into making a champion. Champion athletes must be very level and consistent and focused. You tell us that you don't like to "make too much of things," which means you don't like to think/overthink too much, which again is what athletes have to do to perform. The problem is, this mindset/tendency does not exactly make for a reflective person or a great memoir. But I do admire you for your cons ...more
Apr 09, 2016 Tore rated it liked it
Not as good as Agassis Open, but stil worth a read, especially as a sort of counter tale to the other. These two men pushed each other to the limit, with Sampras most often coming out on top. I rooted for the other guy, but Sampras is likable enough, a thorough professional, and an honest player. In the meaning he didn't play mind games, not like Connors or McEnroe, great players but terrible sportsmen. One with a gigantic chip on his shoulder, the other a primadonna throwing tantrums, well both ...more
Brandon Day
Nov 19, 2015 Brandon Day rated it really liked it
This book is a very good read if you like the game of tennis or just a professional's view on the game. I have read the Agassi book and it is cool to compared how they talk about the other and the ways they effect both of their careers. This gives a great description of the pressure and dedication to be the best player in the world. Pete describes winning his first grand slam in 1990 at the U.S. open at the age of 18. He really opened my eyes to things I do on the court that he had the same prob ...more
Feb 14, 2016 Chippiya rated it it was amazing
If I ever had a hero growing up.. it was Pete Sampras. Over the last 10 years I have occasionally followed his progress off-the-mainstage and a couple of times considered making a trek to one of the exhibition matches he was playing. I got to this book only 8 years after it was published - and it brought back wonderful, wonderful, wonderful memories - of a humble personality who let his skill do the talking, was not afraid to share/show his emotions at appropriate moments, gave due recognition w ...more
Dec 23, 2014 Venky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bibliocase
Pete Sampras - A legend with a hangdog expression calmly decimating his foes on the court with utter disdain. What is it that lies behind this poker faced demeanor and the unblinking exterior that put paid hopes to the plotting of an Agassi, the passion of a Becker and the penchant of a Safin?

In this riveting autobiography, Pete Sampras with the able assistance of Peter Bodo bares it all. What he has to say jolts the reader out of his reverie! Pete Sampras is a bundle of raw emotions, as vulnera
Jul 09, 2014 Lauri rated it liked it
I so liked Pete Sampras & hoped to somehow run into him at the ATP tournament and fall in love despite the fact that I was in high school. The book was okay - really there aren't a lot of surprises in there. Also, he's still very private. I remember seeing Kimberly Williams at his matches for awhile, but for all the casual reader can guess is that his wife was his first girlfriend. I can see it's a compliment to her that he leaves others out, but there's a way to tell something.
OTOH, there a
Alejandro Shirvani
Jan 24, 2016 Alejandro Shirvani rated it really liked it
Sampras was a low-key champion but he has a lot to say and this book reveals him as a well-grounded, humble but deep thinker about the game, with a lot of interesting opinions on the game and his main adversaries from his era.

It's also pretty effective as an insight in to the mental approach which gave him the edge as a player: his 'conversation with commitment' which turned him from a player with talent who would have potentially won a handful of Grand Slams, in to a relentless winner who could
Ando Mando
This was pretty much how I expected it to be. Fairly interesting but it gave nothing much away in terms of who Sampras is as a person. A fabulous tennis player who I didn't particularly like in his prime (Agassi was my idol) but who I thought would have more to say. He was sulky and I found he took himself too seriously. No humour in this book either. Additionally Pete's date keeping is awful and some stuff he recalls didn't even happen. For instance, he claims he didn't enter the 2002 French Op ...more
Ankit Hawk
Book: A Champion’s Mind

Author: Pete Sampras and Peter Bodo

Publishers: Crown Archetype

Pages: 306

Published on: 10th June 2008

ISBN: 9780307383297

Genre: Non-Fiction, Autobiography

The Agenda: Curiosity list, Biography.

Review words count: 556

A Champion’s Mind by Pete Sampras and Peter Bodo

Ankit Gindoria

Why I am reading Pete Sampras auto biography “A Champion’s Mind”? It was tinkering me for a while as I started reading the book. I have never seen Pete Sampras playing nor I am fan of his legacy. So why
Marc Baldwin
Having read Agassi's book within the last year, this book paled a little bit in comparison. I'm a tennis fan, so I enjoyed hearing about the purely tennis thoughts from Sampras, but just as he was criticized for during his tennis career, this book lacked emotion. I read it because I thought that he might reveal a little bit more about the emotions that he surely must have felt during his years as a champion. But he didn't. There is an attempt to justify his lack of emotion as a player, and it ma ...more
Apr 21, 2009 Hannah rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-books
This book is just what I should have expected but didn't. For a brief time, I thought I might actually learn about Pete the man. The book does give a much more thorough look at Pete's career in tennis and the overall field during the Open Era.

Despite that insider's view of men's professional tennis, there is still this nagging feeling that although I've read a book by and about my favorite tennis player of all time, I know very little more about the man than I did before reading the book. Is th
Lucy Montgomery
Oct 14, 2011 Lucy Montgomery rated it really liked it
I have never been a big Pete Sampras fan, and really only read A Champion's Mind because a pro told me that it was interesting in comparison to Open, Andre Agassi's recent autobiography. I was hugely surprised to find the book was a very interesting read and that Sampras is a much nicer guy than I expected (in fact, Pete reminded me a lot of my son, which helped me relate to him right away). It was interesting to read about the 1990s era of tennis (and Andre Agassi) from another perspective, but ...more
Aug 17, 2009 Scott rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This is the second tennis autobiography I’ve read—the first being John McEnroe’s. This one in particular impacted me because reading it was like a trip down memory lane. The early years of Pete’s tennis career coincided with the years when I first started playing and watching tennis (the majority of his career spanned the years of my life between ages 15 and 27). I was a big fan of Pete’s and admired his immense talent, but he wasn’t my favorite player of the day— ...more
Nov 27, 2013 Saba rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir-biography
This is an outstanding piece of work that bestows us with a glimpse of one of the most phenomenal tennis players of all time. Pete Sampras was one of my role models growing up and he still is to this very day even after years of retirement. In his breathtaking autobiography, he candidly reveals all his trials and tribulations that acted as various stepping stones to lead him to all his glory and success. He made a lot of difficult sacrifices to succeed in his career with his hard-nosed work ethi ...more
Harold Bloom Jr
Mar 26, 2012 Harold Bloom Jr rated it it was amazing
I'm obsessed with studying the mindsets of what Malcolm Gladwell calls 'Outliers'. What makes them different from the mass of also-rans? What was their work ethic like? What kind of sacrifices they made?

And 'Pete Sampras: A Champion's Mind' is a masterpiece. This is the best sport autobiography I read since Steve Waugh's 'Out of My Comfort Zone'. And just like with Waugh's baggy monster, I'm tempted to read and reread Sampras's book as a self-help guide.

But don't let my use of the term 'self-h
Joe Healy
What ends up hurting Pete's book for me is the fact that I read Agassi's "Open" first.

For me, Open is what every sports biography should aspire to be. Granted, not every athlete has skeletons in the closet like Agassi had, but the book left no stone unturned in telling the story of Agassi's upbringing and career. Upon finishing it, I felt like I had a good grasp on Agassi's story even though I was too young to remember much of his career.

Sampras' book reads like a more traditional sports biogr
Oct 31, 2013 Vishal rated it really liked it
Recently, I completed an autobiography about John McEnroe and thought it was one of the best books I have read. With this thought, I moved on to finding another great autobiography of another tennis legend. I found the book, A Champion's Mind: Lessons from a Life in Tennis by Pete Sampras, to be another terrific autobiography. Sampras, arguably considered to be the greatest tennis player, reveals his true colors in this book. On the court and publicly, Pete never revealed any emotions; none at a ...more
Feb 22, 2012 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
In the intro to Pete's book, "he" writes for the first of what seems like 250 times that he was accused of being boring before/during/after his illustrious tennis career. And that this book is his attempt at showing his fans and extended family the real Pete Sampras. Well, I love you, Pete, but you just confirmed with me and everyone else that you are indeed very boring.

And that's really okay. While Pete does not have a fascinating or dramatic (or even particularly interesting) social/family lif
Feb 13, 2013 Renee rated it it was ok
I didn’t pick this book up because I am a tennis fan of any measure, I picked it up because a few months ago I read “Open” by Andre Agassi and it was one of the best memoirs I ever read. In fact, it was deemed one of the best sports memoirs ever written.

Sadly, there is no comparison to Agassi’s book. “A Champions Mind” reads like a rote recollection of Sampras tennis matches over the span of his great career.

There is absolutely no insight to who this man is, what makes him tick, and what drives
Michael Scott
Nov 04, 2009 Michael Scott rated it liked it
Shelves: sports, memoir, bio
A Champion's Mind is the auto-biography of Pete Sampras, who is one of the top tennis players of all-time; Sampras is still (in 2009) the only player to have been ranked #1 in the world for six consecutive years, and the holder of the second-most wins of Grand Slams (the highest ranked world tennis tournaments) after Roger Federer. The book reflects well Sampras' self-description, that is, it is a solid, no-frills account of a super-consistent tennis career. In particular, there aren't many surp ...more
Sue Myers
Jan 24, 2016 Sue Myers rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography, tennis
A very interesting biography for me, a tennis player, who actually saw Pete in person at the US Open. Pete was very unusual in that he stayed out of the limelight, was not a "bad" boy and his parents were far from "tennis parents." This book gives one insight on how hard it is to make it on the tour. My husband and I listened to this one in the car on a long trip.
Adwait Deshpande
Apr 19, 2015 Adwait Deshpande rated it really liked it
Pistol Pete at his candid best..talking about his rivals.. his game.. the love for Wimbledon.. the respect for his competitors and his determination to succeed in the world of tennis.

For someone who was accussed of being dull and emotionless while playing, his this book is a very candid take of the joys and sorrows , the good times , bad times and difficult times of his tennis career
Ayush EVHS Shukla
Feb 12, 2015 Ayush EVHS Shukla rated it liked it
This book is essential for anyone who wants to truly see inside a champion's mind. However, the book lacks emotion, and does not give you as great of a feel as other biographies. In this book, you will see how Sampras transitions to a one handed backhand, and how tough life on the tour actually is.
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“Andre always seemed bent on asserting his individuality and independence, while I tried to submerge my individuality and accepted the loss of some personal freedoms. Andre was Joe Frazier to my Muhammad Ali, although the personalities were kind of flipped around because Andre was the showman and I was the craftsman. Wherever you lived, we were your neighbors: I was the nice, quiet kid next door on one side, and Andre was the rebellious teenager on the other.” 0 likes
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