Sampras, whose 14 major championships are second in men’s tennis history to Roger Federer’s 16, was robbed of most of the trophies he won throughout his playing career, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.
Sampras, 39, told the newspaper that while he still has 13 of his Grand Slam awards, he lost “everything else,” when dozens of boxes were stolen from a public storage facility in west Los Angeles. Items included trophies for his first Australian Open title as well as two Davis Cup wins.
“We were sorry to learn of the theft,” Francesco Ricci Bitti, president of the London-based International Tennis Federation, said in a statement. “We know how special a Davis Cup victory is for a player, and if he is unable to recover the loss of his two Davis Cup trophies we would like to offer him a replica trophy in recognition of his outstanding record in the event.”
Sampras won the Davis Cup, the ITF’s elite team competition for men, with the U.S. in 1992 and 1995 with victories over Switzerland and Russia, respectively.
Australian Open organizers also expressed their regret about the theft. Sampras won the first of his two Australian Open titles in 1994.
“We have been in touch with the Sampras camp overnight just to see if there is anything we can do,” tournament director Craig Tiley said in an e-mailed statement. “We are keen to help out one of our great champions in whatever way we can.”
“It is a very valuable trophy but its worth goes far beyond dollars and cents,” Tiley said.
Sampras said none of the trophies or memorabilia was insured because there was no way to assess their value.
He and his family recently moved and rented two storage units, the Times said. Items stolen also included awards for winning 64 ATP Tour events and reaching the finals of 24 others; trophies from his five season-ending ATP World Tour titles, 11 ATP Masters event titles; an Olympic ring; and six trophies for finishing No. 1 in tennis’s annual ranking, according to the report.
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