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Publisher's Summary

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 14 Grand Slam titles. While his more vocal rivals sometimes grabbed the headlines, Pete always preferred to let his racket do the talking. Until now. 

In A Champion’s Mind, the tennis great who so often exhibited visible discomfort with letting people “inside his head” finally opens up. An athletic prodigy, Pete resolved from his earliest playing days never to let anything get in the way of his love for the game. But while this single-minded determination led to tennis domination, success didn’t come without a price. The constant pressure of competing on the world’s biggest stage - in the unblinking eye of a media machine hungry for more than mere athletic greatness - took its toll.  

Here for the first time Pete speaks freely about what it was like to possess what he calls “the Gift.” He writes about the personal trials he faced - including the death of a longtime coach and confidant - and the struggles he gutted his way through while being seemingly on top of the world. 

Among the book’s most riveting scenes are an early devastating loss to Stefan Edberg that led Pete to make a monastic commitment to delivering on his natural talent; a grueling, four-hour-plus match against Alex Corretja during which Pete became seriously ill; fierce on-court battles with rival and friend Andre Agassi; and the triumphant last match of Pete’s career at the finals of the 2002 U.S. Open. 

In A Champion’s Mind, one of the most revered, successful, and intensely private players in the history of tennis offers an intimate look at the life of an elite athlete. 

©2008 Pete Sampras (P)2008 Books on Tape

What the critics say

"A thoroughly compelling read that - apart from retracing a gilded sport career - really probes the 'hard drive' of a champion." (Jon Wertheim, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated

"Whether championships are in your past or just live in your dreams, you'll learn a lot from Pete's story." (Monica Seles) 

"Pete Sampras was always able to rise to the occasion, winning so many big matches at the biggest events. This book provides the reader a glimpse into Pete's remarkable career and how he was able attain his vision of being the best player in the world. We can all benefit from the insight he offers." (Roger Federer)

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What listeners say about A Champion's Mind

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • A. M. Dalessandro
  • 2009-07-21

Not As Strong As His Forehand

A Champion's Mind is a fairly interesting book filled with bits and pieces of this champion's career. But in the end, you don't learn very much about Pete Samphras beyond what you probably already know or could have assumed.

He certainly provides some insight into his focus, his dedication, and his selfishness, which is evidently an important quality for a sports champion. He comes off pretty self absorbed, which is no surprise. He offers little information, beyond generalities, about how he got so good, other than to say he did little else but tennis in high school. He does call what he has, "the gift," but what exactly that is -- hand-eye coordination, focus, dedication, a combination -- he doesn't say. But, would he have been a great basketball player or baseball player, or was it something specifically about tennis that he was gifted to do? He doesn't help us understand this gift.

He offers little thanks to those who helped him along the way, and he provides a few rather strange details about his life on tour with his wife.

7 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
  • gifts4444you
  • 2010-04-12

Great title

Not only did this book didn't live up to the title it just sucked!
Andre Agassi's book was outstanding!!!!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-12-18

Focus is not everything

Sampras in his own words. He is a focused man - no doubt. Single minded. In the mold of all great single discipline sports. Golf etc. Similar to Tiger Woods or Nick Faldo. Comes across as extremely selfish. And egotistical. The fact that he was put on the graveyard court story etc. I was shocked. He is so big headed to think he was above that. He was lucky to be invited to Wimbledon. He also comes across as extremely boring. V talented. But he wrote this book and therefore as reader I have the right to make comments. Ultimately- pretty boring read. No personality. A great on the court - but apart from that - zero.

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  • Brad
  • 2019-08-10

Tennis Fan

Love Pete but story is fairly boring. It’s still worth a listen as a fan.

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  • Steven
  • 2019-08-03

Great to Hear from Pete

It took me a long time to finally buy and listen to this audiobook and I think the reason why is because of underwhelming feedback from Audible members on their reviews.
Now that I have listened to the entire book I can say it was absolutely worth a credit and was a great book.
Pete Sampras was my favorite player as a kid because he had such an overpowering game an was so consistently great and this book takes you closer to his perspective of it all.
If you are a fan of him or just want to find great books about tennis (which Audible is in sore need of) check this one out.

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  • mark levinson
  • 2016-12-18

Review

Excellent book graphing the life and career of a great tennis legend from start to finish! Well done Pete!

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  • Lorne
  • 2016-10-27

Great

If you love tennis you will enjoy this. Narration was great and lots of little stories of his career.

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  • Jacob Reynolds
  • 2015-11-16

Love Agassi v Sampras? You'll love this!

I grew up a huge tennis fan. I especially loved watching Andre Agassi versus Pete Sampras. I have read Agassi's book 2 times. This was my first time through the Sampras book and I loved it. The book is not about Andre Agassi but do you respect is given to him. I loved reading about Pete's life. It's Pete side of the story of one of the great decades and tennis. I enjoyed the book immensely, and could see myself reading it again.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 2012-02-10

Inside the Head of a Great Tennis Player

What did you love best about A Champion's Mind?

The focus on success and Samprass' disciplined mind (as opposed to those who throw tantrums). As some people say, surround yourself with greatness -- but if a great tennis player or other person (like Steve Jobs) cannot be in your circle of friends, pick his brain by reading his book.

What does Mark Deakins bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mark did a good job, I think, of reading the spirit of the words. Some readers don't seem to capture that.

Any additional comments?

Too much tennis for me, but I'm not a tennis player -- and tennis is what it's about. So I was not interested in some parts of it. But, still, a book worth a listen for the insights Samprass has into his greatness and the stories about his struggles and successes.

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  • Michel
  • 2017-07-17

Nothing More Than a Biography

This is nothing more than a biography on this guy. I've never even heard of him, but it was definitely not what I was looking for in a book titled "The Champion's Mind."

It's just his life story and some clarifications on things that happened behind the scenes of his personal life and his matches.

DO NOT BUY IF LOOKING FOR SELF IMPROVEMENT.

This is just a biography.