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August 7, 2002

Pete Sampras


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Start with the match and what went right; what went wrong?

PETE SAMPRAS: It started off pretty well on the first, 6-4 played a good service game to break him. Good return game. Things were going pretty well. At 4-3 I threw in a couple of doubles and he puts a lot of pressure on your service games because his serve is so big, he's very tough to break. Matter a couple of minutes one set-all and start over again and no breaks in the third and lost a tough tiebreaker. I mean, he has got a huge serve, no question. He has got one of the best serves on the Tour. And he backs it up with a big second serve, has a lot of action on it, and never really feel like I really got a hold of it, just, you know, had one chance at Love-30 there, he popped in a couple of aces and it is a tough one to lose, tiebreaker in the third, you could roll the dice. Unfortunately it didn't go my way.

Q. He can roll the dice, but is he the guy the kind that you don't want to meet in that type of situation because of the serve?

PETE SAMPRAS: You hope that you can close him out earlier, but when you get into a breaker I start off serving in the breaker in the sun and that kind of wasn't easy to deal with and he got a couple of mini breaks, anything can happen. He hit a couple of good returns and couple of big bombs and that's it. I just felt like my chance there was -- first game of the second when I had a couple of breakpoints and if I could have broken him there, I think things would have went a little smoother. But he managed to win that game, and he played pretty well from there. Tough one to lose. It was an awkward match. You get no rhythm out there, I am a little bit at the mercy of him a little bit. I don't feel like I had much control out there.

Q. Is that getting weird for you to be the person on the -- I mean, so many guys have come in here and said that about you?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I just think it's just Wayne and his game. There aren't too many big servers like that. We have big servers but I mean, he really is one of the best servers, I think I have played against. You are a little bit at the mercy of -- it is like playing Goran a little bit, he's going to pop in his aces; he's going to throw in a few doubles, you have to be patient. But it's frustrating, you know, not to see the ball for -- service game, you just hit a couple of big bombs, that's the way he plays.

Q. Still planning on taking next week off?


Q. You will play the following week?


Q. Long Island?


Q. You were concerned about this match going in because of the way he serves?

PETE SAMPRAS: Oh, yeah. He's dangerous, very dangerous. He's qualified, he's obviously in a pretty good rhythm and going in, I knew he was going to pop his aces, and he has got a big second serve. That's the shot that kind of worries me a little bit, is that second serve. And I knew he -- it was going to be a match like this, a lot of -- not a lot of rallies, just basically a lot of returning and hopefully make him play a little bit, and -- but I knew it was going to be a dangerous match.

Q. You didn't have a good draw at all, I mean, last night's match wasn't easy and today's, did you expect last night to be like that too?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. I knew it was going to be a tough match against Canas, after winning Toronto he came in here pretty confident. I knew it was going to be a battle. He's playing well, and it is a tough turnaround getting done late and then coming back in the afternoon. Physically I felt fine and ready to go. It was a huge contrast from last night to today, from playing some baseline; now just hitting, you know, seeing a lot of big serves go by, but that is the nature of the sport.

Q. You played like four, five straight 3-set matches. Does that wear you down at all that things don't come as easily as going out and popping someone out in a short time?

PETE SAMPRAS: I thought I was on my way today to maybe getting through a straight-set match, but sure, when you play three-setters back-to-back, it takes its toll on the body a little bit as you get a little bit older. It would have been nice to have gotten through this match in three sets, just to get through it. But it wasn't to be.

Q. Do you think there should be a different kind of rule for, let's say, Andre and you who have been on the Tour for at least ten years and are over 30 maybe not having to supposedly play all nine Tennis Masters, maybe 7, you know --

PETE SAMPRAS: No, we kind of have our own schedule at this stage. We don't play them all.

Q. But not to get penalized at a certain point, if you have been there a long time and let's say you are over 30 that maybe you get seven instead of the nine or something?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think we get penalized. They make the draw ---

Q. Pointswise?

PETE SAMPRAS: Pointswise, I am not really too concerned about it. But I think there used to be a rule if you have been on the Tour for ten years you only had to play one less. I mean, I like that. I think as you have been out there a number of years nine is a big commitment, and -- but you know those are things that I don't worry about much.

Q. You're worried a little bit about his serve and last night a guy that was coming off a big victory. Five years ago anyone you played, would you have -- would that have concerned you at all? Are you more concerned about things like that now?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I was concerned about it five years ago. The players are better today, that's a concern. But worried about just as much when I was one in the word than what I am now. It is tough to turn around and playing two really good players back-to-back. But today's match was just an awkward match, awkward, had no rhythm. There aren't a lot of guys on Tour that play like that. He comes up with some big serves and little bit at the mercy of him, a little bit, which is -- you don't really see much in the game. Usually you have some time to play a little bit, but the court is playing a little bit quicker in the afternoon than last night. He was tough to break.

Q. Can you just look forward a little bit to the Open? Last year obviously was the highlight for you, are you hoping the same?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I am looking forward to it. I feel like I am hitting the ball okay and body is holding up quite well. Yeah, I am ready to go. I am a little disappointed these two weeks didn't show more, two breakers in the third that I lost, a little frustrating, but in the picture, by US Open hopefully I will be peaking at the right time and playing great. That's the plan. These matches were important to win, they really are, for confidence, for just guys know I am starting to play better now, but when you lose it's pretty discouraging at times.

Q. Feeling a little more on the comfort zone with Paul back?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, feel like I have some peace of mind with my coaching situation and he knows me better than anyone and there's a comfort level, he knows my game, my personality, and he knows what to say. I am glad we are working together.

End of FastScripts….

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