Pete Sampras tennis trophies stolen from storage depot

Pete Sampras Pete Sampras was ranked number one in the world from 1993 to 1998

Former world number one men's tennis player Pete Sampras has had most of his tournament trophies stolen.

The American said the trophies were taken from a warehouse in Los Angeles, where they were being kept in storage.

"Losing this stuff is like having the history of my tennis life taken away," the retired star told the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

Mr Sampras said he wanted his children to see the trophies and appealed for help in getting them back.

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I thought these things were locked up tight”

End Quote Pete Sampras Retired tennis star

"I'm not one to gloat about trophies, or show them off. I've never been like that. They didn't see me play, but I would like them to see these things," he said.

He said he was making the theft public in the hope that it would lead to the return of the items.

"I know this is a long shot, but I would regret it if I didn't at least try. Maybe somebody knows something. That's all I can hope for," Mr Sampras said.

Memorabilia taken

He said he had put the trophies in storage after moving home twice, but that none of the items was insured because there was no way of placing a monetary value on them.

"I thought there were security cameras. I thought these things were locked up tight," Mr Sampras said. "I was shocked."

The paper said the thieves had made off with most of his trophies from his 64 tour wins, two Davis Cups victories, an Olympic ring and six trophies for his world number one rankings from 1993 to 1998.

Magazine articles and newspaper clippings were also taken, along with memorabilia autographed by the musicians Elton John and Carlos Santana.

However, Mr Sampras said that only one of the 14 Grand Slam trophies he had won had been stolen - the first one he won at the Australian Open in 1994.

The 39-year-old retired in 2003 and has two children with his wife, the actress Bridgette Wilson.

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