Sampras appoints Gullikson as coach

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The Independent Online

Pete Sampras' new coach is Tom Gullikson, the twin brother of Tim, who took the American to the top of the world game but died of brain cancer in 1996. The former world No 1, who finished the year without a Grand Slam for the first time since 1992, parted with Paul Annacone as his coach last month.

Yesterday, Annacone was named managing director of USA Tennis High Performance, a United States Tennis Association programme which is geared towards producing future American champions.

"I have a lot of respect for Paul. We have a great relationship and he is still my friend but I needed a change, a breath of fresh air," said Sampras, 31, while playing at a fund-raiser in Sacramento to benefit the Elton John Aids Foundation. "Seven years with one coach is a long time."

Sampras also revealed that he had asked Tom Gullikson to coach him before he appointed Tim Gullikson. Tom, according to Sampras "wasn't available", though he has coached Sampras when he was America's Davis Cup captain

The big-serving Californian, who married the actress Bridgette Wilson last year, said: "I needed a fresh look. I performed inconsistently this year and want to be at the top of my game mentally and physically next year."

Sampras holds the record for the number of Grand Slam victories – 13 – which he broke in winning his seventh Wimbledon title in 2000. But although he reached the final of the US Open this year, losing to Lleyton Hewitt, he has not managed to add to that figure.

Sampras broke down in tears on court at the 1995 Australian Open in a match against his fellow American Jim Courier after learning that Tim Gullikson was facing death after contracting brain cancer.