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'Dear 16-year-old Pete': Sampras writes to his younger self to prepare him for his career

Who doesn't love a second chance? An opportunity to go back in time and be better prepared to face tricky situations in life? Of course, unless time travel becomes a reality, there isn't much one can do about it but wonder.

Or you can write a letter to your younger self.

 Dear 16-year-old Pete: Sampras writes to his younger self to prepare him for his career

At 19, Sampras became the youngest ever US Open champion in 1990. File photo: Getty

Pete Sampras, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, decided to do just that. To warn the 16-year-old Pete of what's to come in his life, Sampras took to the Players' Tribune website.

"You’ll be an up-and-coming American with no exposure one day; then, when you wake up the morning after winning the Open, you’ll be on talk show after talk show," Sampras tells little Pete. "All eyes will be on you, and the attention will take some getting used to — it won’t mesh well with your reserved personality."

Sampras, after turning professional in 1988 won a whopping 14 Grand Slam singles titles, reminds himself to appreciate all the people involved with his career on and off the courts.

None more so than compatriot and competitor, Andre Agassi. Idols (Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors) will become rivals, heroes (John McEnroe) will become doubles partners, but Agassi's name will be forever remembered as Pete Sampras' most intense rival.

"I know you can’t see it now, but you will have a fierce, special rivalry with Andre Agassi. He’ll be the best player you play against during your career, and he will bring out the best in you. You’ll rise to be the best in the world together," Sampras wrote.

He goes on to talk about heeding to his middle-of-the-night cravings, being more receptive to technology, serving down the line and not out wide in the only slam final he'll lose to Agassi, appreciating his family and friends, and listening to his instincts when he talks to Bridgette Wilson, his wife-to-be.

But most of all, Sampras wants little Pete to realise that the reward for this long, highly-successful career is the journey itself.

And who better than Pete to know the perfect way to end a good thing, much as he did by calling it a day after winning the US Open in 2002, defeating Agassi.

"Play hard, do it on your own terms and stay true to yourself. Do that, and you can’t go wrong," signs off Sampras.

Do read Sampras' full letter here. And maybe write one yourself too?

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Updated Date: Jul 01, 2015 14:37:16 IST