London, Dec 4: Pete Sampras has dismissed suggestions that Roger Federer has gone into decline and backed the Swiss star to beat his record of 14 Grand Slam titles.
Federer, 27, is one short of that mark but has had a mixed year, his US Open victory having been offset by the loss of the Wimbledon and French Open finals and his world number one slot to Rafael Nadal.
Sampras, however, believes Federer has too much talent not to continue picking up major titles for some years to come, insisting: "There's a lot left in Roger.
"I think he'd like to get back to number one and he's looking forward to breaking my record soon. He can win as many Wimbledons as he wants - he's got the game.
"I've been pretty accepting that he'll break my mark because he's a credit to the game, he's a friend and there's nothing I can do about it, apart from sit back and watch him do it and respect it."
At 22 and with five Grand Slam titles already, Nadal may yet eclipse both Sampras and Federer's haul, but Sampras fears that the Spaniard's hard-hitting style will take its toll on his body.
"The amount of work he has to do to stay on top and stay healthy - I think that's where Roger has a bit of an advantage because it takes a lot less energy for Roger to stay on top than Nadal.
"Rafa puts so much effort into each point that eventually something will break. There's a certain grind that he goes through, unlike Roger who is a lot more fluid and wins matches a lot easier."
Sampras, who won his last major title at the 2002 US Open, is now playing on the seniors tour and is in London for the BlackRock Masters event.