July 3, 2000
MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, Pete Sampras.
Q. Do you think the Lakers will repeat next year?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah (smiling). Got a good chance.
Q. Do you think you'll repeat this year?
PETE SAMPRAS: We'll find out soon.
Q. Is it all flowing today?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I felt better about the way I played today versus the other day against Justin. Not playing for a couple days, I came out obviously very rusty. Today I was a lot more comfortable; hit the ball pretty well. So I was pleased I was able to get it over with, you know, before the rain started.
Q. Did you hit a little bit yesterday?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. Not at all?
PETE SAMPRAS: (Shaking head.)
Q. You also seemed to be extremely pumped up from the word go. Is it second-weekitis? We're getting very close now?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, you know, I think my body language against Justin was pretty poor. You know, I was dropping my head even more than usual (laughter). You know, Paul and people said, "Show a little more energy," not only for myself but for my opponent, for the crowd. You know, I made an effort to do that, to show a little bit more emotion. I was playing a little bit better. But, sure, it is the second week and you want to step it up. I just feel like my energy was a lot better today versus Justin. Justin, I was out of sorts with my mind and everything. It was nice to go out with a good attitude today, a positive attitude. As a result, I played quite well.
Q. Did you practise at all between the last match and today?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. You had a number of second serve aces today. Was that an indication of a very high confidence level for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, yeah. Versus Justin, I had no rhythm. Just having one day off, I came out -- I really concentrated in the warm-up to really get my rhythm on my serve. You know, if I get my serve going, especially my second serve, it just makes me, you know, that much more difficult to break. Playing someone that returns well, Jonas, you need to do a lot with it. You know, I go for it. Sometimes you pull it off and hit good serves, sometimes you throw in doubles. It is confidence. At the moment I'm pretty confident.
Q. Sorry if I missed the first question, which was presumably health-wise. How are you in terms of that? The foot is all right now, better?
PETE SAMPRAS: It's okay.
Q. Just okay?
PETE SAMPRAS: Just okay. I mean, I'm tired of talking about the injury. I mean, it is what it is. I'm going to go out there and try my best under the circumstances. I'm sure there are a lot of cynical players out there, reading all this stuff. You know, I'm definitely going to give everything I have this week.
Q. It did appear to be better today than it was on Saturday.
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, it was, for a number of different reasons. But, you know, I'm going to try everything to go out and play, and I've done that. You know, as you play on it, it's definitely not going to go away every night. But, you know, it's not an injury that is career-threatening, I'm not going to rip anything. It's sore. That's pretty much it. You know, we can talk about it all day here, but it is what it is.
Q. On Saturday you said you're playing at 80%. You appeared to be playing a lot better than that today. Do you think so, too?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, mentally I was a lot better. Against Justin, I was just kind of -- my mind wasn't there. I felt a little bit lost on Centre Court. Today I kind of knew what to expect. I only had the one day off. Against Justin, my mind wasn't there. It was on other things. Today, if anything, if I was going to lose this match, I wanted to come out with a good attitude, a positive attitude, not get down on myself, worry about this or that, what's been going on. That was my goal today, was to have some fun.
Q. Do you think you're still not going to practise between matches each time?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. You're going to follow the same routine?
PETE SAMPRAS: Uh-huh.
Q. It's often said about you that you do a good job of not looking ahead beyond the match that you're playing. This weekend did you at all think in your mind that you have a chance to make history this week, and how much did you contemplate that as you started this match today?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I'm not thinking about it, to be honest with you. The only time I'm really thinking about it is when I'm in this room. I've got other things on my mind, who I'm playing, my preparation, trying to get ready to play. You know, sure, if I get myself in a position where I'm on the verge, sure, it crosses your mind. But you can't play these two weeks like you're playing for history. You've got to play like you're playing another Wimbledon. That's the attitude that I've had.
Q. The media tends to dwell on these incidents, whatever they are - somebody's love life, an injury. When people come in here, they know they're going to get that. Does it get old hat where you say, "Ask me something else, please"?
PETE SAMPRAS: Like a good question. I'm just kidding. That was a joke (laughter). Sorry. No, I mean, you have to expect it. Obviously, being engaged, I was going to answer some questions about that. My leg, the historical situation I'm on this week. I come in here and I answer your questions. It's something you expect when you come to England. I've had my moments in press rooms. I think things are pretty calm here.
Q. What is your favourite story of you from the tabloids over the years?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, obviously the situation I had in '93, when I got into it with Foster a little bit. First I was the boring guy, then I was the biggest, most hated man in England. Wasn't sure how you guys wanted me to act. Boring or like a lunatic. Wasn't sure what you guys wanted.
Q. Do you remember when they asked you about Princess Diana in the box?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. I do remember it (laughter).
Q. You just mentioned cynical players. Are you worried that they think you're trying it on with all this?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I'm sure there are players. I can tell the way Jonas shook my hand today that, you know, he was thinking whatever he thinks. For the first time, the pressure's kind of on my opponent a little bit. They know I'm a little bit injured; the pressure's on them. They're not liking it. But I'm just going to go out and try to win. That's all I can do. They can believe or read what they want to read. It's still two guys playing out there. You know, if Jonas was hurt or whatever, I played guys that have been hurt, you just play your tennis. That's how I'm going to do it.
Q. Do you think Jonas didn't believe that you were hurt?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I'm sure. I'm sure a lot of players, whatever, think whatever they think. You can just tell. But that's fine.
Q. You've run into that in the past, when you vomited against Corretja, McEnroe and Courier were, I don't know, maybe something going on there. He has a pocketful of vomit somewhere. Seriously, they said it. Is it strange to you that this comes up? What else do you have to do to show you're injured?
PETE SAMPRAS: Usually, when it's a tough moment, I kind of carry it in my pocket , the vomit. I explode it, it comes out.
Q. Seriously, can you answer that, the idea that this is a recurring thing from players?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I've had my moments on the court of getting sick against Corretja, having pulls here and there. You know, I've always kind of prided myself on getting through whatever I have to get through. Athletes are injured, and you play through injuries. That's the bottom line. My opponents should just worry about playing me and not worry if I'm hurt or not. You know, my body has been fragile over the past couple years. But this is our biggest tournament, and I'm going to play it, do whatever I can to get to the weekend here.
Q. Either Enqvist or Gambill. A couple of hard-hitters with big serves. Is the basic difference between those two, one guy is pretty experience and one is pretty young?
PETE SAMPRAS: At the moment, sure, Thomas has been around a little bit longer. But Jan-Michael has had a great tournament. He's got a big serve; backs it up with good groundstrokes. Their games are pretty similar. They hit the ball very flat, through the court. They are still battling, I believe. It's anyone's match. Experience does help. Thomas has been here before. Wouldn't be surprised if Jan-Michael comes back and wins that match.
Q. Can you remember the last match you played here that wasn't on Centre Court?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. It was last year against someone.
Q. Do you think playing all the matches, you will now obviously from here on in --?
PETE SAMPRAS: Not necessarily.
Q. I think it would take a brave committee who didn't put you on that court.
PETE SAMPRAS: It's happened before, quarters. I've been in quarters on Court 1.
Q. If you do play every match on Centre Court, do you think that is a distinct advantage?
PETE SAMPRAS: It helps. It definitely helps. It's a court that I've lost one match in seven years now. Very comfortable with the surroundings. You know, I've gotten through some tough matches on Court 1. Not quite as comfortable, just a touch tough, a little bit harder on Court 1, a little bit quicker. Hopefully I can get back on the centre and get back home.
Q. Is there any part of your game you'd like to get better?
PETE SAMPRAS: The way things went today, I was very pleased. Returned well, got my second serve going, served big - that's really the key to grass.
Q. You mentioned Kobe the other day. Ever met him?
PETE SAMPRAS: Met him one time a number of years ago, but never really talked to him much.
Q. How much do you get paid for wearing the cap (referring to Lakers cap)?
PETE SAMPRAS: I just signed a five-year, guaranteed $25 million contract (laughter). It's guaranteed. I don't have to perform.
Q. Does Annacone have to worry about Phil Jackson becoming your coach?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think McEnroe does. No, I'm just kidding.
Q. Why do you think there is that cynicism about you and injuries among players?
PETE SAMPRAS: It's not only about me, but a lot of players that think they're hurt, people hear this and that. There's always a cynical comment here or there that you hear from whoever. You know, I think guys know me. I've been around many years. I've got high integrity. There's always going to be cynics in this world.
Q. Do you think they're jealous that you can get through it and they don't seem to get through their injuries as well?
PETE SAMPRAS: We have to go, don't we (laughter)? Cry me a river.
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