But the emotional and physical toll on Becker told in the final. Heavy in the legs, he committed 15 double faults. There was a time, Becker said, when his competitive rage was such that he might have bumped chests with Sampras in the locker room. Not anymore. Becker once called Centre Court his home, but clearly he has been usurped. "It used to be mine, now it's his," he said.
Here's what Sampras has accomplished at the tender age of 23. With six Grand Slam titles, he is halfway to Roy Emerson's record total of 12 and closing fast on the number won by Connors (eight) and McEnroe (seven). Only two other American men have won as many Wimbledons, McEnroe and Bill Tilden. He has once more made a persuasive case to be remembered as the player of his generation. A trophy in his possession again, Sampras sat in the Wimbledon basement, wired and jiggling a foot. "I can play this game a long, long time," he said.