'I don't see Roger changing nappies'

American tennis legend Pete Sampras with son Ryan and wife Bridgette Wilson during the LA Open at Los Angeles Tennis Center on Monday. AFP

World number one Federer became a father for the first time when his wife Mirka gave birth to daughters Charlene Riva and Myla Rose in Switzerland on Thursday.

"I don't see Roger changing diapers at four in the morning," Sampras, 37, told reporters with a broad grin on Monday, the first day of the LA Open, where he played against Russian Marat Safin in an exhibition game.

"I don't think it will affect his career. It's a life-changer for him but he is focused on his tennis and he's got the help from his wife and his parents and whoever else," added the American, who is a father of two boys.

Federer became a father 23 days after beating American Andy Roddick in a gripping five-set final at Wimbledon, clinching a 15th grand slam title to break the record held by Sampras.

"I am content with the 14 that I have and I am amazed with what Roger has been able to do," Sampras said. "It's incredible."

Asked if he had any regrets about ending his career at 32 with 14 grand slams, Sampras replied: "I was happy when I stopped. It was more than a number for me. I wanted (Roy) Emerson's record, I got it. I wanted to win one more, and I did. And then I won the US Open and I was cooked.

"Emotionally I was spent. I didn't have much left in the tank. When I was done, I felt I had put up some numbers that nobody would touch. Little did I know that Roger was going to come along and surpass me in eight years. He saw 14 as his goal and now he has 15 and he's going to go on and win some more."  Sampras said he would probably name Federer as the best of all time if pushed.  "It's a hard question to answer and I just feel each generation has its player," he added.

"You had (Rod) Laver in the sixties, (Bjorn) Borg in the seventies and the eighties, me in the nineties and Roger today.

"The greatest player of all time? It's hard to say but I would give it to Roger.
"Do I think I could beat Roger at my best? There is no reason why I couldn't. That's not being cocky. It's just how I feel."

Reuters

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