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July 5, 2000

Pete Sampras


MODERATOR: Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. Pete Sampras.

Q. You seemed to be moving better today. Was there any problem at all with your leg, anything that might have bothered you at all?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it's a touch sore. That's pretty much it.

Q. How did you feel about the match? What were your feelings?

PETE SAMPRAS: I felt good. I got off to a good start, winning the first set. Second set I had some chances there, breakpoints. He came up with some big stuff at the right times. Really has a big game, a good future. Hit some great shots in the tiebreaker. All of a sudden it's one set all. He was giving me a lot of problems with his serve, his second serve especially, moving it around, got a big kick. Never felt like I was in control of his service games. I served well, was taking advantage of his two-handed on the forehand side. Got through some tough situations. But you're looking at the future of American tennis. I mean, I think he's a stand-out as far as he's a young guy with a lot of potential.

Q. You've talked about that in the past. You said you were worried about the future. Are you surprised by his recent development in the last year or two? Do you feel like he's done better than even you would have expected?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, he went through a little sophomore jinx. Came out and beat a lot of top guys, then it took a little while for guys to figure him out a little bit. I think he's gotten past to the point where he's going to be a threat. He's got a big serve. Whenever you look at a young guy coming up, you look at a weapon. He's got it. Grass is a surface he's going to get better on. He moves pretty well on it. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of guys to push him. I had Andre, Jim, Michael, where he is pretty much the only guy, except maybe for Justin. But I think he's got a lot of potential.

Q. How much of a physical struggle has it been to get to the semifinals, and how would you describe what it's been like to get this far?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it's been different, not practising. Mentally, it's a little unsettling. I've been dealt this hand, and there's not much I can do about it now. Go out there and try my best, just work through it. You know, it's not ideal, but I'll just go out there with a good frame of mind, just let it go.

Q. Is it one of the toughest times you've experienced in a two-week tournament?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, it's up there.

Q. Why?

PETE SAMPRAS: You know, when you're dealing with something, you're not able to really practise, it's not easy. It's definitely something I'm not used to. I've gone through tough weeks in Slams with other situations. You know, it's difficult, but it's a challenge. This is, you know, what we play for, so we just go out and do the best we can.

Q. What percentage are you right now going into the semifinals, if you had to assess that?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I'm doing pretty good. I mean, I'm looking forward to a little time off, to be honest with you. But hopefully I can stay around for the weekend.

Q. Do you think you'll do the same if you win on Friday, the same practise schedule - no practise - right through into the final?

PETE SAMPRAS: If things go well on Friday, yeah.

Q. You wouldn't play on Saturday?

PETE SAMPRAS: (Shaking head negatively.)

Q. You said the other day that you need to get your energy up, change your body language. Today you seemed, despite the aces and winning, you seemed kind of flat, almost the way you were a couple days ago.

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it's definitely been a tough week. You go through an emotional roller coaster with your good days and your bad days. It's not an ideal situation for me, but it's one thing I've been talking to about with Paul and the people that are with me here - just go out, have some fun, be positive, not to get down on yourself. If something is bothering you, you're going to feel it, but just do the best you can. If I don't win here, it's okay. I'm still here and I'm positive for Friday.

Q. Were you feeling that flatness on the court?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, a little bit. You know, just try to get my energy up on Friday. When I was playing Bjorkman, I was bouncing around a lot more. Today, you know, you just kind of go through different spells mentally. That's part of, you know, playing a Grand Slam, playing under, you know, pressure, dealing with something that isn't easy. But this has definitely, you know, been an interesting tournament for me.

Q. Two-part question. Could you tell us what you know about Voltchkov a little? He's been sort of scrambling around for apparel, foot gear. You're known to be a generous guy. Would you give him a couple Nikes?

PETE SAMPRAS: I'll give him some hard court shoes; I won't give him any grass court shoes (laughter). I've never seen him play; never played him. I'm probably going to get a tape tomorrow and see what kind of player he is. Obviously he's playing great, he's confident, went through the quallies. I saw him play a little bit against Ferreira. He was a great shot-maker . Really, to get to the semis of a Slam the way he has, very impressive.

Q. Is it somehow tougher for you to play someone you don't know about? Could you talk about that aspect of it?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's always tough playing someone you've never played before, just to see what his tendencies are, what his weaknesses are. Might take me a little while to kind of feel his game out. Like I said, I'll get a tape tomorrow to see, you know, what's his strengths and weaknesses. But it is difficult. I mean, no question it's difficult. As long as I take care of what I have to take care of with my service games, then pretty much stay back. I know a little bit about him.

Q. Because you're not practising, you'll obviously be feeling yourself out, where you are at in the game, and feeling him out. That's a difficult combination.


Q. Thank you.

PETE SAMPRAS: Good assessment (laughter).

Q. Is it considered a good break in your condition that you haven't faced a seeded player, and you won't face one till the final?

PETE SAMPRAS: I'm not thinking about it. I'm not thinking about who's ranked where, if I'm playing seeds. I mean, everyone to this point has beaten seeds. I'm not even thinking about it. I mean, I'm just going out and playing. Everyone's a threat. Gambill is a big threat. A lot of upsets at this tournament. You can't take any match for granted.

Q. Was there a time in your career where the physical condition that you have now would have stopped you much earlier or is it because it's Wimbledon and certain experiences you've had are making you more capable of getting through what you've been dealt?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, having been through some situations during Slams, finding something deep down to get you through situations, it helps with a little bit of experience. You know, if this was any other tournament, other than a Slam, I probably wouldn't play. I think we're taking this injury a little bit too far. I have it, and I really don't want to talk about it anymore. I mean, mentally I need to not think about it, do what I got to do.

Q. How did you kill your time when you're not practising? What did you do Monday?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, pretty much staying at home, just treating my situation.

Q. Having treatment on the ankle?

PETE SAMPRAS: At home, yeah.

Q. The very last question, have you had acupuncture or anything different for treatment to the ankle?

PETE SAMPRAS: I've tried some different things.

Q. Mr. Sun, the Chinese guy has been working with you?

PETE SAMPRAS: I've tried a lot of different things. You can have some sort of conclusion there, yeah (smiling).

Q. Which has been best of all the treatments you've tried?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, obviously rest is the best treatment. I don't have a lot of time. Like I said, I don't want to really harp on this.

Q. That's obviously helped, the various treatments you've had?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, yeah. I mean, I'd like to think it helps.

Q. How difficult were the conditions out there? It was so dark for the first couple of sets. Was that a factor?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. It was cloudy. If anything, it was heavy. Balls were fluffing up. Ball wasn't going through the air that quick. It was fine. It was okay to see.

Q. How about in the second set, seemed like you were knocking on the door, was that a big blow psychologically?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, sure it was a blow. I mean, grass is a point here and there. Had a couple breakpoints. I thought maybe I got a tough call there with the Cyclops. Doesn't seem like it's working on one side. Sure, I mean, you want to try to win in straight sets. When you lose the second in a tiebreaker, had breakpoint, set point, it is tough psychologically. There's not a lot of time to really sulk out there. You have to rebound and get back at it.

Q. Could you talk about the dynamic of defending your title in the sense, do you have a quality within you, "This is my title, my turf, I'm going to do everything I can to keep it"?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I'm doing the best I can, going out, and obviously I'm probably more a threat here than anywhere else in the world. You know, I've won here a number of times. I have nothing to prove here at Wimbledon. I'd love to add on to what I have. I feel like I can. If not this year, maybe next year. Maybe I'll take a wildcard till I'm 40.

Q. Any thoughts on the Williams sisters? Everybody is taking their pick of one of those two.

PETE SAMPRAS: It should be entertaining, and tough for them to play each other. I'll take a Williams. I don't know which one. Maybe the younger one.

Q. Younger one?

PETE SAMPRAS: Maybe. But I have no favourites.

End of FastScripts....

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