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October 17, 2001

Pete Sampras

MODERATOR: Questions for Pete.

Q. You got a little agitated a couple times today, fired up.

PETE SAMPRAS: Pretty disgusted at some of these line calls. I mean, I normally don't show too much emotion, but when it's something so blatantly obvious, you know, I wasn't too happy about it. It's part the speed of the ball. But, I mean, I must say a few of the lines were ridiculous, you know, some of the line calls. The head umpire just didn't have much control of the match. You know, you don't have much confidence in going for the line, to be honest with you.

Q. Do you think that he realized that, and that's why he didn't issue a code violation when you put the ball out?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know why. Usually you do when you hit a ball off the court, it's a given. He knew I was agitated. I rarely have done that over my career. You know, being that upset, the reputation definitely helps to save a few bucks (smiling).

Q. I assume you have had a code violation, but I can't remember when.

PETE SAMPRAS: I think I've only had one maybe, if that. I don't even know.

Q. Can't remember having one?


Q. How have you been in the kind of intervening few weeks? Quite a horrendous and memorable time. Some of the things going on have been unbelievable. How have you managed to cope with what's been happening, get yourself back into the thought of coming back onto a tennis court again?

PETE SAMPRAS: Just coming back from The Open, pretty disappointed with what happened in the final. I woke up Tuesday morning, and I could honestly care less about what happened. For the next two, three days, you're just sitting at home, watching the news. You know, you're shocked. You have an unbelievable wave of emotion. It took me a while just to leave the house. I was just kind of -- didn't really feel like doing anything for quite a while. You know, after a certain amount of time, you need to do something, go for a walk outside, see the world, don't let it consume you too much. But initially, it was very sad.

Q. Was there any reluctance on your part to get on an airplane, come across the ocean? Some of your countrymen aren't too keen on the idea.

PETE SAMPRAS: Definitely, I thought twice about it. Honestly, I wasn't sure if I should come. At the end of the day, I felt it was best to come, you know, feel safe here, and traveling. So I can understand people staying home. I mean, you want to be with your family at a time like this. But you can't let it, you know, affect you. You have to play your sport and do the normal things.

Q. This being said, how does it feel being back on the tennis court and in a tournament?

PETE SAMPRAS: It feels pretty good. You know, I thought I played pretty good today. You know, there's always a little bit of rust. Haven't played in quite a while. I've never been crazy about having byes. I always like to work my way into shape. You know, played pretty solid, served well, feel like can I play a little bit better as the week goes on - and I'm going to have to. A good start. You know, a good, solid day. Hopefully I can build from playing pretty well and play even better tomorrow.

Q. Did you know anyone in the towers?


Q. You managed to get out on the Monday, get home?

PETE SAMPRAS: Sunday night I left.

Q. Given that you had come over here, obviously are playing Basel next week, and Paris, you're obviously determined to qualify for the Sydney Masters Cup.

PETE SAMPRAS: That's why I'm here, is to try to qualify. It would be nice to make it and play against the best players in the world in such a huge event. Definitely got some work ahead of me to try to make it. There's a couple guys that are on the bubble, and I'm one of them. That's why I'm here.

Q. Is there a sort of little extra motivation because of what's happened at Wimbledon and the US Open this year, there's something that you want to aim for to finish the year with something big?


Q. Had you won one of those two, perhaps you might not have wanted to come here?

PETE SAMPRAS: That's true. I mean, I probably wouldn't be here if I would have made Sydney by now. But I want to make it, I want to play against those guys. But, you know, it's kind of a dilemma. I feel like I play better as I play more. Not playing at all in the fall last year I think didn't help at the beginning of the year this year. But, sure, it would be great to make it and do well there and end it on somewhat of a positive note. I definitely built a little bit of momentum at The Open. Even though I didn't win there, I felt like I got through a pretty tough draw.

Q. Would you like the courts to be a bit faster here?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. I think the combination of the court and the balls is a good speed. You can still serve and volley on both serves. It's not too slow. I mean, I think it's a good speed.

Q. Has what's happened at all do you think changed your attitude to playing sport, getting out there, being an American in a sport? Has your attitude to that changed at all? Do you feel as though you want to get out more and do something, be positive, get yourself going, get out there and do something positive for America?

PETE SAMPRAS: Initially, I kind of resented sports, kind of put sports in perspective, how we make such a big deal out of sports. When it comes down to it, it's a game. That situation on the 11th kind of put everything in perspective. You know, as time goes on, yeah, I'm proud to be an American. I think once we're up against some adversity, I think Americans really stick together. You know, things are different. I think all of us, especially the Americans, something kind of - how can I say it? - Something is missing. Definitely things aren't the same. What can you say? Just still in shock.

Q. Is the feeling getting through now in America that, "We've got to carry on, otherwise we're giving in to what has happened"?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. Obviously, watching the news, listening to the President, he wants everyone to get back to work, get back to normal things; don't let it consume you where you don't want to travel, get on an airplane. Sure, the initial reaction is you want to stay with your family. As time goes on, you want to get back to normal life and get back to your job, get back to traveling, get back to doing what I do, and that's playing.

Q. Has Bridgette not come because you didn't want her to come?

PETE SAMPRAS: She's not here. No, nothing to do with that. More she's at home taking care of her career a little bit, working on that.

Q. Don't answer if this you don't want to. A lot has been made about you being a golf fan. The Ryder Cup not being played, do you have any thoughts about that?

PETE SAMPRAS: I wasn't surprised that it was canceled. I mean, with all the buildup, the traveling, everyone going over, yeah, I think it was a smart decision. I think it was too soon to have The Ryder Cup. I'm not surprised. I think it was a smart decision from the Golf World. It's a bit rhetorical to even mention about playing it. I think it just took some time. The NFL canceled, Major League Baseball, and Ryder Cup was part of that.

End of FastScripts....

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