|Wednesday, October 2
Updated: October 7, 9:53 AM ET
Sampras' move fuels retirement speculation
ESPN.com news services
BASEL, Switzerland -- U.S. Open champion Pete Sampras has withdrawn from all remaining ATP tournaments this season, organizers of this month's Swiss Indoors event said Wednesday.
The message we got was that he would not be playing here, and probably would not be playing in the European indoor season at all," Juerg Vogel with the Swiss Indoors tournament told Reuters.
"His baby is due at the start of December and the impression we got was that he would not be playing this year ... probably not in the Masters Cup season-ender in Shanghai in November."
"Since winning the U.S. Open on Sept. 8," Sampras said in a statement released by the ATP, "I have been taking some time to re-evaluate where I want to go from here. I'm therefore not sufficiently prepared to compete in the upcoming tournaments in Madrid, Basel and Paris."
The news adds to speculation that the 31-year-old American is planning to retire.
Sampras, who hasn't played since he won a record 14th Grand Slam singles title last month in New York, will not start in the Basel event, which opens Oct. 19, nor in the Masters Series events in Madrid, Spain, and Paris.
That means he will have little chance of qualifying for the eight-player Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, China, the final event of the season in mid-November. Sampras chances of qualifying improved after his U.S. Open victory moved him from 32nd to 12th place in the ATP Champions Race.
There's still an outside chance that Sampras could earn the eighth Tennis Masters Cup spot given to a Grand Slam champion. For that to happen, French Open champion Albert Costa has to stay ranked in the top seven, in an unusually tight race, plus Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson is only 35 points behind Sampras. If either man earns a higher rank than Sampras while remaining outside of the top seven, the eighth spot would go to one of them.
Sampras stoked speculation that he would retire at the end of this year following his victory at Flushing Meadows over old adversary Andre Agassi.
"To beat a rival like Andre, in a storybook ending, it might be nice to stop. But ..." Sampras said at the time.
Sampras' wife, actress Bridgette Wilson, is pregnant with their first child.
Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.