September 3, 2002
NEW YORK CITY
MODERATOR: Questions for Pete.
Q. Can you talk about the tiebreak, early leads, how frustrating that must have been to start the fourth when you were so close to putting him away?
PETE SAMPRAS: I was frustrated. I had that Love-40 game there in the third. Got in the breaker, up 2-Love, had a mini break, missed a few shots. He came up with some pretty good stuff there. I was pretty frustrated, but I hung in there. I was still upset, so I still liked my position. Would have been nice to win it in straights.
Q. Andy Roddick said it would be a dream come true. What is it for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: I hope it's a nightmare for him (laughter). He is the future of the game, especially in the US. He's got a big game, a lot of power. It's kind of an older veteran playing against the young guy. So it's a good match-up. I'm looking forward to it.
Q. Is this going to decide who is the best player in America?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, not one match. Accumulation of years will do that. We know Andy is the future.
Q. Any thoughts on Greg Rusedski's comments, things he said?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't really worry about what he says.
Q. Do you think you're a step and a half slower?
PETE SAMPRAS: Against him, I don't really need to be a step and a half quicker.
Q. There's no doubt it takes talent out here. To win a match like this, come back from last night, what else does it take to really win out here?
PETE SAMPRAS: It took stamina. It's been a long three days, hanging around. I was feeling it at the end. This is the US Open. You dig deep. You do whatever you can to win. I played well. Tommy Haas a great future himself. It was a good win to get through that in four.
Q. This place is a comfort zone for you. Been to the final seven times. That might help explain why suddenly you're having a great tournament. You've always done well at Wimbledon. You've struggled there. How do you explain we're here in September, your game is finally arriving?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it's confidence. It's being comfortable. It's getting into kind of a rhythm. I haven't really felt like I've settled into the year. This past week and a half, I feel like I have kind of got my game going. I'm comfortable playing here, the conditions. This is our Super Bowl. I'm pretty pumped, ready to go. I think the days of me dominating are over, but I still feel like I have a major in me. I'm going to give it my best shot here.
Q. Any reason why it's coming together now as opposed to Wimbledon?
PETE SAMPRAS: Wimbledon was a fluke. It happened. It was kind of a shocking loss, but it happened. Didn't play very well. It's over. You've got to move on. You can't dwell on Wimbledon. Get ready for The Open and do the best you can.
Q. Comments from Greg appeared to be from a player who is circling around, looking to pick off the bones of an old player. The message you send out tonight is pretty loud?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, beating Tommy, the No. 3 seed, to beat him in four, play pretty well, I'm not really worried about what Greg says or thinks. You know, I can't waste my energy on stuff like that.
Q. The message you send out is pretty powerful to the rest of the guys.
PETE SAMPRAS: I'm playing well. Served well. Any time you can serve 130 on the line, you're going to be a threat.
Q. Do you feel you're getting better as each match goes on?
PETE SAMPRAS: I feel I played pretty well tonight. I feel I got my game going, played at a pretty high level. I struggled against Greg last night, but today I kind of clicked. It was a good win.
Q. You don't feel like you need to send out any messages, do you?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. How proud are you to get the 200th win in a Grand Slam?
PETE SAMPRAS: Numbers don't really mean much. When it comes to stuff like that... I'm in the quarters against Roddick. That's my main concern.
Q. Are there any tactical concerns you've been talking about since you got back together with Paul?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. Do you want to tell us about it?
PETE SAMPRAS: Being aggressive, playing on my own terms, taking chances, coming in, using my athletic ability.
Q. How big of a change has it been, the coaching change?
PETE SAMPRAS: It gives me some stability. Paul knows me better than anyone as a tennis player. He knows what to say, what not to say. There's a lot of comfort there. It's been kind of a sporadic year with my coaching. Paul is nice enough to help out. It's really paid off quite well for me.
Q. Davis Cup question. If in his wisdom Patrick McEnroe decides he wants to play James Blake and Andy Roddick in singles, calls you and asks you if you would play doubles for the Davis Cup team, backup singles player, what is your response?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, Pat has to put out the best team. If he wants to put James, I have no problem with that. For me to go over and play doubles, I don't know. I mean, not really my first choice (smiling). But I committed to the year. I don't think we're really worried about that now. We'll just see how this week goes. I don't know. I haven't really thought about it much.
Q. What is the biggest challenge when you face Roddick? How different a player is he now than, say, a year ago?
PETE SAMPRAS: He's a little more well-rounded. His serve is devastating, especially the power that he gets. You know, his second serve is huge. He's got a lot of heat. He moves well, is competitive. He's got all those intangibles to be a great player.
Q. How much more confidence do you have in your game at this point than when you started this tournament?
PETE SAMPRAS: It's gotten a little better. I thought I played pretty well my first two matches. The serve and volley is there. I feel like I've got a pretty good rhythm. I feel like my game's there.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.