Pete Sampras thinks Roger Federer will overhaul his record for most career Grand Slam singles titles, despite his recent dip in form.
In fact, Sampras plans to be sitting among Federer's most vocal supporters when he does win a 15th career major – even if that requires a lengthy flight to Melbourne, Australia.
Federer has 12 Grand Slam titles, two behind Sampras' record. If Federer won a sixth straight Wimbledon title, in the tournament that begins next week, and a fifth consecutive US Open title in September, he would be aiming for number 15 at the Australian Open in January.
"There is a burning desire in Roger to break my record, and when he does it I would like to be there," said Sampras. "I said to Roger, 'Just make sure it's in New York or London. Australia is a long way to go. [But] if it worked out like that, I would fly there'."
"I would just let him enjoy it as his moment but [I would want to be there] just to respect the record and what he was able to do and to just say, 'Congratulations'."
Despite Federer's heavy loss to No2-ranked Rafael Nadal in the French Open final, Sampras is confident the Swiss star will bounce back at the All England Club. "He's created this monster of winning so many tournaments and so many majors and doing it with ease," said Sampras. "As great as Roger is, he's going to have his losses and his bad days. It's just human nature to go through some lulls.
"In the majors, he's still the guy that's most likely to win them. He's lost a couple and, if anything, that'll do him some good. It'll get him going and fired up. He'll be just fine."
The 36-year-old Sampras was speaking from BlackRock Tour of Champions in Brazil, but said he would find it very hard wiping out thoughts of Wimbledon, which begins on Monday, where he captured half of his career majors.
"I think if I were to step back on that court at Wimbledon it would bring up a lot of emotion," said Sampras. "Just because of what the place meant to me and how big it was to the sport of tennis."
Meanwhile, former Wimbledon great Bjorn Borg believes world No1 Roger Federer is only third favourite to win the grasscourt grand slam this year.
The Swede also said he will not be surprised if Federer chooses to retire next year.
"I pick Rafael Nadal as winner and my second choice is Novak Djokovic, my third is Roger," said Borg.
"For [Roger] to beat those guys at Wimbledon he needs to play much better than he did last summer. He knows he will have to play some unbelievable tennis to win again."