Agassi was tennis’ reluctant idol, uncomfortable with his talent and unsure of his destiny. Sampras, with his laser-like attacking game, at times unstoppable serve and unflappable mental toughness, seemed untroubled by such soul searching. The ruthlessness paid off: head-to-head, Sampras had the edge, winning 20 of 34 matches. Never one for expansive displays of emotion, “Pistol Pete” nonetheless gave Agassi the highest compliment a rival can give after he retired: “Andre always brought out the best in me,” he said.
Top 10 Tennis Rivalries
Nothing ignites engrossing one-on-one match-ups quite like championship tennis finals: two players, one title. So with the U.S. Open in full swing, TIME takes a look at some historic (and current) rivalries.
Pete Sampras v. Andre Agassi
I Challenge You to a Duel