Although his record of 14 Grand Slam titles has since been broken by all members of the Big 3, Pete Sampras believes he holds one tennis record that can never be broken by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic.
The retired American once held the record for most ATP titles with 64, but that has also been surpassed by the legendary trio. Furthermore, Djokovic recently claimed a seventh year-ending World No.1 title, passing Sampras' record of six.
However, Sampras still holds one record that will unlikely be matched or surpassed by the trio, he finished as the year-ending World No.1 in six consecutive years, from 1993-1998. The closest anyone has gotten to reaching this landmark is when Novak Djokovic won back-to-back year-end No.1 titles in 2011 and 2012, then again in 2014 and 2105.
"I think that’s the only record I’m going to have left,” Sampras joked in an interview with the ATP Tour. “Now that I look back on it, knowing how difficult it is to finish number one once or twice, but to do it six years in a row.
“The consistency that I had, the endurance, the will … I think it is one of my best achievements. I always based my year on the majors and the bonus beyond that was to finish number one.”
The former World No.1 did have high praise for Djokovic after the Serbian won a record seventh year-ending World No.1 title, but stated his own achievement would be difficult to surpass.
"Novak has seven, but not in a row. Over time, I think it will be tough to break six straight,” reflected Sampras. “When I did it two, three, four times, I just felt like there was a minute there where I was just really mentally, physically dominating.
“I just felt like I was ‘The Man’, from Year Two to Year Five. Once I got to six, I was done. I was done chasing it (Jimmy Connors’ record of five consecutive Year-End number one finishes). I let up a little bit and just tried to win majors. No question, that took a lot out of me,”