Pete Sampras' classy act for Roger Federer in tennis swan song

Pete Sampras (pictured right) shares a laugh with Roger Federer (pictured left) during an exhibition match.
Pete Sampras (pictured right) congratulated Roger Federer (pictured left) ahead of his final competitive tennis match. (Getty Images)

Tennis icon Pete Sampras has sent Roger Federer a classy message to congratulate him on his retirement.

Federer is set to play in his final ever match with Rafa Nadal as they team up in the Laver Cup doubles event.

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The 41-year-old has received an enormous amount of tributes since announcing his retirement.

And once such icon that has reached out is Sampras.

The American and Federer crossed paths for the first time in 2001 when the young Swiss maestro defeated Sampras to end his stranglehold at Wimbledon.

Federer went on to surpass Sampras' record with eight Wimbledon titles.

And only a day before his final ever competitive tennis match, Sampras recalled their only encounter in the fourth round of Wimbledon.

"Not really sure where to begin, so I'll just start from the very beginning," Sampras said in a video.

"When I first played you, you were 19 years old, an up-and-coming player and people were talking about you.

"And we had a great battle on the Centre Court of Wimbledon. And you took me down.

"Tough five-setter...And I just remember walking off the court, feeling like I met my match."

Federer became the first man to move past the American's all-time grand slam record of 14 titles back in 2009.

He went on to amass 20 grand slam titles and become one of the most beloved sport stars of all-time.

And Sampras added that he had no idea the heights Federer would reach in the sport.

Roger Federer (pictured left) smiles after defeating Pete Sampras (pictured right) at Wimbledon in 2009.
Roger Federer (pictured left) walks off court next to Pete Sampras (pictured right) at Wimbledon in 2009.(Photo by Art SEITZ/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) (Art SEITZ via Getty Images)

"Little did I know, 20 years later, that you would have 20 majors, be number one for years, dominate our sport — basically do it all," Sampras said, calling Federer "truly a special player".

The American added that Federer's grace and elegance on and off the court was why he had amassed such a huge fan base around the world.

"You're going to be missed in our game," Sampras said.

Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal to play doubles

Federer and Team Europe announced that the 20-time grand slam champion would team up with Nadal for his final ever competitive match.

And upon Nadal's arrival in London, the duo teamed up in a practice session against Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic in front of a raucous 02 Arena.

Fans were in meltdown as the four tennis legends - who have a combined 66 singles grand slam titles - enjoyed a hit to prepare for the Laver Cup.

The tennis world was in awe having been granted a glimpse of the longtime rivals sharing a laugh in a moment that will resonate with fans for years to come.

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