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Extended Audio Sample A Champions Mind: Lessons from a Life in Tennis Audiobook, by Pete Sampras Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (424 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Pete Sampras, Peter Bodo Narrator: Mark Deakins Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2008 ISBN: 9781415949610
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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.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Consider this book Sampras’ 15th Grand Slam. A thoroughly compelling read that–apart from retracing a gilded sport career–really probes the ‘hard drive’ of a champion. It’s as if all the emotion and insight that Sampras sometimes seemed reluctant to express during his playing days comes spilling forth. Jon Wertheim, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated and SI.com
  • As the title says, this is a remarkable look into a champion's mind, and maybe one of the best tennis memoirs ever. Pete captures the pressure a player feels once he's reached the top. He puts us next to him on the court, and we get a clear sense of what made him extraordinary: he was supremely determined, dedicated to learning the strengths and weaknesses of his opponents, and committed to never ever yielding a point easily. Pete wrote this book the way he plays tennis: full-out. Rod Laver
  • Even playing at a high level, it’s hard to know what the experience of winning–and trying to stay on top–is like for another competitor. We all react so differently to pressure, to the glow of the spotlight. It is brutally hard to stay grounded, and yet this wonderfully candid book shows that it was Pete’s rare ability to compartmentalize and draw strength from his family that allowed him to reach the sport’s pinnacle. 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

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael Scott | 2/15/2014

    " A Champion's Mind is the auto-biography of Pete Sampras, who is one of the top tennis players of all-time; Sampras is still (in 2009) the only player to have been ranked #1 in the world for six consecutive years, and the holder of the second-most wins of Grand Slams (the highest ranked world tennis tournaments) after Roger Federer. The book reflects well Sampras' self-description, that is, it is a solid, no-frills account of a super-consistent tennis career. In particular, there aren't many surprises in the story, and the writing style is average. One of the nice questions Sampras asks and attempts to answer is: how to maintain a top professional level for a long period of time? Overall, a nice read in between airplanes, but not more. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 BilieS | 2/11/2014

    " A good book but nothing 'woow'... he worked hard, he tried to have good work ethics but says 3-4 times in the book "motherf*^&^%&r"... whoooaaaa, where's the profesionalism?? He seems to be an adult-kid-mature-old-fullofsh&*& type of guy! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rachel | 2/11/2014

    " I could've learned as much about him from watching clips on youtube or reading match statistics. Completely devoid of personality. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dianne | 2/9/2014

    " Very interesting book detailing how a tennis great got his start and the people along the way who were a part of his development and the bumps in the road he had to deal with. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandra | 2/2/2014

    " A little cocky, but it's interesting to know the mind behind the mask. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patty | 1/29/2014

    " This book read exactly the way I expected. It was finally nice to get insight into his past and growing up as well as a bit of his personal life. He always seemed a private person and for him to reveal so much here is amazing. Pretty technical tennis reading, so don't pick this up if you don't enjoy the sport. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 1/13/2014

    " Introspective look at tennis at the professional and technical level. Focus, hard work and 'the Gift' makes Pete a champion and interesting to read about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Curlywurly | 11/11/2013

    " Worth checking out. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tim | 10/30/2013

    " I was more of a fan of Sampras before I read this book. His tennis strategy discussions are relatively interesting, but he leaves so much out. Either he's just not a very interesting person or he's hiding a lot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 9/26/2013

    " This book is a must for tennis and/or Pete Sampras fans. He is truly one of the greats and the book gives you insight into how and why. It really struck me that Pete is the kind of champion that Tiger pretended to be but never really was. Inspiring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joel | 9/4/2013

    " Pete training year after year. His dedication to be #1 everyyear. To break the grandslam record he tells you what, when, why,how to in this book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Yune | 8/15/2013

    " Fell a bit flat. I can't recall a single passage that particularly hooked me, but it did provide perspective about a professional tennis player's career. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Zoe Heimdal | 2/11/2013

    " Did not enjoy the minutiae he chose to include. Did not find it an interesting/educational/inspiring read, as I had hoped to. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Aly | 5/28/2012

    " Wasn't what I thought it would be..basically just a diary of his key matches and some of the background stuff....but it was very much the same..fits with his personality - very private and reserved. Almost stopped reading it a couple of times. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Pat | 5/22/2012

    " Pete Sampras has a high opinion of himself. Sampras loved talking about himself, attempting to make himself look good. Not a good read in my opinion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mona Shahab | 10/12/2011

    " When it comes to tennis I'm super biased. Why? Cuz I'm a tennis freak! Absolutely addicted! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bob Conroy | 10/8/2011

    " If you a interested in the tennis and the strategy of the game then this is a good book to read. I also gives you an in site of the ATP tour during the 90's. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meagan Church | 9/5/2011

    " Honestly, not the most thrilling read (especially compared to Agassi's book), but I am a Pete fan through-and-through, so I enjoyed a peek inside his introverted mind. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan Mick | 8/2/2011

    " After reading Rafa and Agassi's books this one fell short of the mark. Dont get me wrong if you watched tennis in the 90's this is a must read...but dont read it after Rafa and Andre's books or you will be bored. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 7/25/2011

    " A very technical book about tennis - so you have to really love the game to be ready for all those details. It helps to know the different players he talks about too. But I love tennis and Pete Sampras is my all time favorite player. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Beers | 6/13/2011

    " I really liked this book. I'm a huge Pete Sampras fan, and having a glimpse into his psyche as well as what the game meant to him was amazing. His mental edge is astounding, and its no wonder he is the greatest tennis player of all time. Great book, Pete! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carol | 4/12/2011

    " Although the book contains a lot of good tennis advice, I found it hard to read because Pete came across as so arrogant. I liked Agassi's and McEnroe's books much better.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 12/7/2010

    " Introspective look at tennis at the professional and technical level. Focus, hard work and 'the Gift' makes Pete a champion and interesting to read about. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 5/15/2010

    " I enjoyed this book although I don't think it would appeal to non-tennis fans. Although he is gracious towards his rivals, he clearly states he was the best among his peers. I think that is a debatable point -- I would vote for Aggassi! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Indra | 3/9/2010

    " An inside story from someone who wasn't very open during his career. Very biographical and just a lot of confirmation of what everyone has guessed. Nothing new, just a view athlete's life. I gave it three stars just because of the quality of the reporting. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Catherine | 2/15/2010

    " This was not a very interesting book. He pretty much just talks about his tennis matches, one by one. He definitely just barely touches on his personal life. Andre Agassi's autobiography leaves this one in the dust. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Iain | 1/11/2010

    " Enjoyed the book. Having read it after Andre's it just reinforced the contrasts of styles between the 2 that was noticeable throughout their careers. Much more straight forward, where Andre's was more dramatic. A great glimpse of someone that wasn't very public during his career. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 5/31/2009

    " Quite an interesting look into the emotional roller-coaster that is the life of a world-class athlete. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 3/11/2009

    " Yes, it's another tennis player book. But it's pretty good, so far... "

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About the Author
Pete Sampras holds the distinction of being the youngest male player (at age nineteen) to win the U.S. Open. During his career he won sixty-four top-level singles titles (including fourteen Grand Slams, eleven ATP Masters Series titles, and five Tennis Masters Cup titles) as well as two doubles titles. Currently he makes his home in Los Angeles with his wife, Bridgette, and their sons, Christian and Ryan.
About the Narrator

Mark Deakins is an actor whose television appearances include Head Case, Star Trek: Voyager, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His film credits include Intervention, Star Trek: Insurrection, and The Devil’s Advocate. He recently wrote, directed, and produced the short film The Smith Interviews.