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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
2.79 out of 52.79 out of 52.79 out of 52.79 out of 52.79 out of 5 2.79 (28 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Pete Sampras, Peter Bodo Narrator: Mark Deakins Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2008 ISBN: 9780739328767
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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

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Catherine | 2/20/2014

    " 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 Jenny | 2/12/2014

    " I thought this would be an interesting read about one of the greatest tennis champions and as the reviews stated, the book is a good reflection of Pete Sampras. I enjoyed re-living many of his matches while reading his perspective on the game. There are no controversial or tabloid items revealed. Pete is just a nice guy and all about tennis! You will not like this book unless you are a tennis fan! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Zoe Heimdal | 2/12/2014

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

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Yune | 2/11/2014

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lucy Montgomery | 2/1/2014

    " I have never been a big Pete Sampras fan, and really only read A Champion's Mind because a pro told me that it was interesting in comparison to Open, Andre Agassi's recent autobiography. I was hugely surprised to find the book was a very interesting read and that Sampras is a much nicer guy than I expected (in fact, Pete reminded me a lot of my son, which helped me relate to him right away). It was interesting to read about the 1990s era of tennis (and Andre Agassi) from another perspective, but that was only a small part of why I liked the book so much. Sampras had a different path to tennis greatness than Agassi, and his approach to the game is entirely different as well. I learned a lot from how he looked at the game, both in preparation and during matches, and I look forward to using some of his tools the next time I hit the court competitively. Sampras also shed light on men's tennis of today and explained how the game has changed during the last 10-15 years. I highly recommend this for the tennis player/fan and really any sports fan -- Sampras is a world class athlete and a class act -- a pairing that is far from given in contemporary sports. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carol | 1/25/2014

    " 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bill | 1/24/2014

    " took about 2 hours with the Champ, intrigued by DFW's piece on Roger Federer and my own memories, and renewed in terest in the game... and in focus. Was with him until he describe meeting his wife... here's the short version: "saw her in a movie. thought she was hot. got a date. met her... she was really hot.. the hottest... so I married her." it's at that point that the balance between jock brain and zen master tipped toward the former in my estimation and I never quite got it back. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren Beurlot | 1/23/2014

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

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 1/20/2014

    " 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 1/10/2014

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan | 12/22/2013

    " Interesting book, with a ton of info on his classic matches and major rivals. I would have liked to discover a bit more info about his life away from tennis, but that's not Pete's style. Worth reading if you're a fan of Sampras or tennis in general. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tim | 12/6/2013

    " 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. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Andrea | 12/3/2013

    " Unless you're a true fan, I wouldn't recommend this book. I thought I was a fan of his but find myself liking him less now that I know more about him. Ugh. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joel | 7/9/2013

    " 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. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michelle | 2/16/2012

    " I have to agree with other reviewers that commented on the lack of insight into the person. As a player I enjoyed the details about tennis matches but would have enjoyed getting to know more about Pete. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shonny | 12/12/2011

    " I was a huge Pete Sampras fan back in the 1990s (which seems like a long time ago). I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot about Sampras. If you are tennis fan you will enjoy this one! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 BilieS | 10/18/2011

    " 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! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jo-Willfried | 7/13/2011

    " This was a really good book about Pete Sampras's career. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy Schwartz | 6/9/2011

    " 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! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 4/24/2011

    " Pete comes off as a little arrogant, but what else can you expect from someone as great as he is! All in all, very insightful and lots of good life lessons. But as a tennis player, I may be biased. :) "

  • 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.