Sampras, a 14-time Grand Slam winner, dominated much of the 1990s, ending as the year's number one player on a record six occassions between 1993 and 1998.
Federer enjoyed a similar level of success during the mid-2000s, racking up a record 17 Grand Slam titles, and the Swiss maestro says that Sampras' achievements were a driving force for him.
"Pete is my hero, my idol growing up. For me, he was an inspiration," Federer told NDTVSports.
"I am who I am because of Pete. Without him, I won't have tried to chase his records. He paved the way and I followed."
Sampras, who is currently turning out with Federer at the International Premier Tennis League, was equally complemantary of the 33-year-old, inisting that Federer is a much better player than he ever was.
"If you look at the record books, Mr Federer has 17 majors," he said.
"He has won in Paris which is something I didn't do. He's been World No. 1 for 800 weeks. So, if you look at the numbers, Roger has clearly been more dominant."