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ATP Tour World Championship

November 25, 1998

Pete Sampras

Hannover, Germany

Q. What a different match, comparing last year against Moya, the first one.

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, last year I came in here, like I said yesterday, I was a little bit flat playing against Carlos. You know, he played a very good match against me last year. This year, I obviously was playing very well yesterday. I was coming into today's match pretty confident. I wanted to make sure I was coming in a little bit more than last year, chipping and charging, trying to put as much pressure on him as possible. Last year I probably stayed back a little bit too much. When you do that against Carlos, he has got some very heavy groundies. Today, I came in a lot more, was a lot more aggressive.

Q. You're into the semifinals. Happy about that, obviously.

PETE SAMPRAS: Not yet. I'm not into the semifinals.

Q. We're told you are.

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think so.

ATP: Yes.

PETE SAMPRAS: I really don't.

Q. We worked it out.

PETE SAMPRAS: You worked it out? That's nice to hear. I mean, the way I'm feeling right now, the way I'm playing, like I said yesterday, I hope I can maintain this form. It's not easy to play well, like I have been today and yesterday. That's really the test. I play tomorrow night against Kucera, who is going to obviously be hunting for me. But it's certainly a good feeling to be here over the weekend.

Q. Things seem to be working out for you so far, don't they, with Rios losing last night?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it helps. I'm also helping myself by winning. You can't really be too concerned about what Marcelo is doing. I have to focus on what I'm trying to do, concentrate on my matches. If I take care of things myself and go out and win, then it should be hopefully good enough. But I must admit, I was rooting for the Englishman yesterday. I was (laughter).

Q. Did you watch the match?


Q. It seems to me that you're using the chip-and-charge much more this year than before. Is it something you decided to do with Paul? How did it come to your mind?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it's something that I've been slowly working on over the past couple years. Paul, being the ultimate chip-and-charger, obviously I'm not going to chip-and-charge that much, but guys don't like when I do that. They'd much rather have me stay back. They can kind of wear me down sometimes doing that. To chip-and-charge, put a lot of pressure on these guys, it's not easy to play against someone like that. That was my strategy today, was whenever I saw a second serve, I was going to try to do something with it. Not every point was I going to come in, but on the big points, I was going to try to be aggressive.

Q. By the way, how is your back?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's fine.

Q. You're the exception, aren't you?

PETE SAMPRAS: One of the few healthy ones, I guess.

Q. Pete, the round-robin situation, do you feel more fired for it this year because of what you're aiming at? Sometimes do you go into a round-robin, think, "First match, maybe if I lose this, I still have a chance"?

PETE SAMPRAS: You don't go out with any intention of losing. But last year, I must admit I felt, like I said before, a little flat. This year, with the ranking up for grabs, I just made a concerned effort to come here a little bit early and prepare as best I can. It's obviously worked out so far these past couple matches. It's obviously a very big week, you know, for Marcelo and I. I just want to give myself the best chance possible to play well here.

Q. Is it a surprise to you that so many people at this stage of a season are suffering these tweaks and groans and moans, what have you? It's not a surprise really?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's not a surprise. It's the end of the year. Guys that are here have been playing a lot. You have to play a lot to get here. It's not surprising. I mean, seems like there's always someone that pulls out of this event over the last number of years. You know, everyone mentally is a little tired. You just have to hang in there. You always feel different aches and pains. You don't walk out there feeling like everything's perfect. It's just a matter of getting through it.

Q. You said a couple weeks ago that you and Marcelo don't really converse about the situation. Has that changed at all in the last couple days you've been here?


Q. Have you ever had a conversation, the two of you?

PETE SAMPRAS: Nothing more than, "Hello." It's probably the language barrier, I don't know.

Q. The other day at the round table, you said that the court was slower, slightly slower than last year, I think. Moya said today that he thought it was faster than last year.

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think you might not have understood. I did think it was a little bit quicker this year. Last year they played on cement. This year they're playing it on wood. I mean, it's playing not fast, but it's maybe just a touch quicker than last year. Obviously, I liked the court last year here. When I play someone like Moya, who stays back most of the time, I mean, it definitely would be to his advantage if we played on the court last year. I think it's a fair court. With the combination of the balls, you can stay back or come in.

Q. You think the court suits Kucera's game better?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I think it does. Kucera, who hits the ball quite flat, is going to go through this court pretty good. You know, he's obviously not out of this. He plays a tough match tonight.

Q. You said you just say hello to Marcelo. Is there anyone with whom you've had less rapport on the Tour, don't speak to at all?

PETE SAMPRAS: Probably not. You know, I mean, we just haven't really talked. I get along with most of the guys on Tour. You always have a bit of a conversation when you see them. You know, Marcelo, let's say he's very shy. It's kind of the way it's been.

Q. Have you any plans for next year? Have you any plans for next year to beat some records?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, next year, you know, the Grand Slams, have an opportunity in a couple months in Australia, throughout the year. That's kind of what I want to try to do next. Obviously, I'm more concerned about what I'm trying to do this week. But when this year is over, I'll figure out my goals for next year, which are going to be the same as it always is. But I still have a lot of work here to do.

Q. Have you got any intention someday to play some doubles?

PETE SAMPRAS: Playing doubles?

Q. Yes.

PETE SAMPRAS: Every now and again, but not too consistently.

End of FastScripts….

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