He grew up idolising Laver

Pete Sampras with the 2000 Wimbledon Trophy. He won a record seven Wimbledon titles at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. — Pic. CLIVE BRUNSKILL/GETTY IMAGES-

Began playing tennis at age seven. Changed from a two-handed to one-handed backhand in 1987.

Grew up idolising Rod Laver, and often watched tapes of him. Made U.S. Davis Cup debut in 1991 and has a 18-8 career record (14-7 in singles) in 14 ties and on winning teams in 1992 and '95.

Enjoys playing golf to nine handicap (won celebrity Long Drive contest, 332 yards, in Lake Tahoe, Nev., in July 1996). Likes watching Formula I racing and an avid fan of Los Angeles Lakers (NBA).

Owns Lakers' season tickets. Played in Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in LaQuinta, California in January 1999 and partnered with Paul Azinger, Fred Couples, David Duval and Arnold Palmer in separate rounds. Birdied same hole as Palmer on 15th hole of Palmer PGA West course.

Parents, Georgia and Sam, a retired civilian engineer for Deptartment of Defense, do not watch Sampras play often because it makes them nervous but they attended their son's Grand Slam record-breaking title performance at Wimbledon in 2000.

Made appearance on Wheaties cereal box in August 2000 after his Grand Slam record. Older sister Stella is head coach at UCLA. Younger sister Marion is a teacher in Los Angeles. Older brother Gus is tournament director at Scottsdale ATP event.

Named ATP Player of the Year six straight years (1993-98) and Jim Thorpe Tennis Player of Year in 1993. Served as chairman of the ATP Charities programme in 1992. A member of the American Cancer Society's Public Awareness Council and in 1997 started Aces for Charity, in which he donated $100 for each ace he served. In three years, raised close to $1 million through contributions and a number of sponsors, with a percentage going to the Tim and Tom Gullikson Foundation, of which he is a board member. Also benefiting is the Vitas Gerulaitis Youth Foundation and Kids' Stuff Foundation, founded by Andrea Jaeger, and Avon Breast Center and Revlon Breast Cancer Research Center.

Donated his time for a tennis lession around 2002 US Open on Arthur Ashe Stadium court that was auctioned off with proceeds benefiting Gullikson Foundation.

In 1997, named U.S. Olympic Committee "Sportsman of the Year," first tennis player to receive award. To commemorate 25th anniversary of ATP in 1997, a panel of 100 current and past players, journalists and tournament directors voted for the Top 25 players of past 25 years and Sampras was selected No. 1.

Voted 48th athlete of Top 50 Greatest North American Athletes of ESPN's SportsCentury (also youngest on list).

In March 2000, held the inaugural Pete Sampras Classic, a celebrity golf event that raised $100,000 to benefit the Tim and Tom Gullikson Foundation.

A British audience of 12.5 million viewers watched 2000 Wimbledon final on BBC, highest figures since 1992.

Named GQ magazine's Individual Athlete Award for Man of the Year in 2000.

Wife, Bridgette Wilson (married September 30, 2000) is an actress. Began working with Tom Gullikson in January 2002 after parting ways with Paul Annacone in December 2001.

Annacone had been mentor since January 1995 and he took over from Tim Gullikson, who died of brain cancer on May 3, 1996.

Tim coached for three full seasons from 1992-94. Worked with trainer Brett Stephens.