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I really didn't give Federer a chance - Agassi

ESPN staff
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Roger Federer holds the record for the most grand slam titles © Getty Images
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Andre Agassi has revealed that he believed Roger Federer was trying to "imitate" Pete Sampras when he first faced him in 1998, and never gave the Swiss a chance of becoming one of the all-time greats.

In a new book called Facing Federer, author Scoop Malinowski has compiled a profile of Federer by collecting views and thoughts of former and current players, as well as the tennis media and fans.

And Agassi's opinion of the record 17-time grand slam champion is one where he believed the Swiss was intent on being exactly like Sampras, who held the previous major record at 14 titles before Federer surpassed the total in 2009.

"I played him in Basel, Switzerland. I played two Swiss players back-to-back. Then I played Roger in the second round," eight-time slam champion Agassi says in the book about the opponent he defeated in straight sets.

"I just never would have guessed he was in for the career he's had. He looked like he was trying to imitate Sampras when I first played him. But he just didn't look as good. He couldn't quite serve as big, he looked like he was not decisive enough about if he wanted to play coming in, if he wanted to play at the baseline."

And having believed that Sampras would not be under threat from Federer, Agassi even wrote off the Swiss' hopes of becoming an established player on the circuit.

"So I didn't really give him much of a chance to be at the top. But he proved me wrong," the American added.

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