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September 4, 2000
U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What was it like to play another guy you've never heard much of, you know, there's a
lot of hype about him, although he's playing pretty well he's kind of an unknown? Is it
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, a little bit. In the first set, it's always difficult playing
someone I've never seen play, and obviously I've never played him. So, you know, he came
out playing well. He wasn't overwhelmed by the situation, playing me on center court. He
came out and held his own. You know, but after I got the first set, I started to settle
down and started playing a little bit better and just went from there to deal with the
rain. And then coming back, dealing with the wind and the cool weather, it was a
completely different match from the first set. But it's just always, you know, it's like a
batter, if he's seeing a pitcher he's never seen. It takes you a little while to feel it
out. Fortunately, I got that first set, which was nice.
Q. Does your level of play ever go down when you play a player so much lower in
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, no. It's -- the ranking is -- I don't look at the ranking, I look
at who I'm playing, who he's beaten. He's in the fourth round of the Open. You can't look
at the ranking, what it says on paper, you can't take any match for granted in today's
game. And I thought I played pretty well. I didn't play a great first set, but I got
through it, but I got better as the match went on. So I feel confident and good about the
Q. Pete, another epic Krajicek match coming up next. What was the big difference in
your win in Cincinnati?
PETE SAMPRAS: That's the key to the match, who puts more pressure on the service games.
Obviously Richard's got a huge serve and backs it up with good volleys, a tough guy to
pass. It's going to come down to the return of serve, who puts more pressure on the second
serve. Hopefully, I can get a hold of his serve and make him play and, you know. But it's
not an easy match. The court's playing pretty quick. It's going to be tough to break. But,
you know, he's confident against me, he's played well against me over the years. So it
won't be an easy match.
Q. Do you have any sense of why finally you began to get a feel for his second serve?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, in the Cincinnati match?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it's tough because you feel like you should make it. But once you
start making them and being safe, he volleys great. So then you start overplaying and
hitting it a little bit harder, start missing some. It's a fine line. It's just a matter
of making him play as much as possible and putting the pressure on him. If he's going to
hit low volleys, great, you know, it's too good. But, you know, it's a match that's gonna
come down to a couple of points. We're both gonna hold serve most of the time, and you
know, he's a great player. When he's on, he's tough to beat.
Q. To play against Krajicek, is it better to play best-of-three or best-of-five for
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, either way. You know, if I'm playing well, it doesn't matter -
three, five or seven. It doesn't really matter. I just hope it's not that windy like it
Q. Can you go back to this match, the tiebreaker on your side of the court, what you
saw happen. Did you realize right away --?
PETE SAMPRAS: Oh, no. I had no idea. I was going back for the next point. Then the
umpire said, "First set." I don't know what happened. What did happen?
Q. He ran into the net.
PETE SAMPRAS: His foot hit the net? So it's a little odd.
Q. Have you ever seen that happen to you before?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. On a tiebreaker? A final point?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know about a final point, but I think I played Justin -- I don't
know who I played. Maybe at Wimbledon, Justin might have tripped and hit the net or
Q. Had to be Justin. Have you had a guy ever come out of nowhere and play so boldly
against you? He was going for the lines, passing shots, he even dropshotted you on break
point once to save it. Is that unusual?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. I mean it's not unusual. You knew he was on the one hand going to be
a little bit nervous playing his match, but once he settled down he was going to go out
and have some fun. He did that, he hit some good shots. The match against Voltchkov I
played at Wimbledon semifinals, same type of thing. You just try to figure it out. At
least on Wednesday I'll know what to expect. But it's gonna be a big game to try to break
Q. There aren't many guys who you don't have a winning record against, but you don't
against Krajicek. Do you go in against a player like that and does it make you more
anxious the day before going into it, or do you not take that into account?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, you don't really think of it, the record. It's just someone that's
got a big game. You just try to figure it out. And beating him the last time, I think he
beat me five times in a row, then I finally broke through and I beat him in Cincinnati.
That's a nice win to have going into the match. But will it have an impact on the match?
It's hard to say. I'm just more concerned about, you know, trying to get his game under
control, and that's my goal.
Q. I'm just saying, in the past when you've gone up against somebody you've had real
trouble with, does it change your feelings going into the match?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. Not really. It really doesn't. It's a big match, it's quarterfinals.
It's anxious moments if I'm playing Richard or -- doesn't matter. But it's a big match, so
I'll be ready.
Q. When he's on and really brings his A game and is cranking his serve, is he as tough
as anyone on the circuit?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. How would you say?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, when he's on, you know, he's, you know, he's Top 5, Top 10. I don't
know what he's ranked at the moment, but I think we all know Richard has been on the top
of the game and has won a Slam. And he, you know, we know that he possesses some heavy
heat. And, you know, hopefully I can control it and get his serve back. That's really the
biggest point in the match, is the return.
Q. Some people are known for their deep thinking of life. Have you ever thought about
any Asian philosophies?
PETE SAMPRAS: Oh, geez. Just have some Chinese food every now and again. No, I haven't.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.