October 31, 1998
Q. Richard is one of the very few players that always seems to win against you. Apart
from the obvious fact of his service what, about his serve bothers you, gives you trouble?
PETE SAMPRAS: That is pretty much it. I mean, first and second serve are very powerful.
He returns as well as I am serving. He is not going to have a lot of chances to break me,
but he just seems to have better nerve against me, when it comes down to the pivotal
points of the match tiebreaker, I mean, I could have very easily been sitting here winning
this match. I got a little bit unlucky. No question when he is on, he is very devastating
because he moves quite well at net and he has got one of the bigger serves on Tour. The
majority of matches I have lost to him has been on pretty fast surfaces grass or indoors,
so, it is frustrating, I mean, I felt I was playing very well this week and felt like I
had a good chance of winning here.
Q. You did say coming into the match that you felt if you could nail his second serve,
you'd have a chance. You never really --
PETE SAMPRAS: Never really got a hold of it.
Q. Missed a lot of opportunities on that today?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I never really got a hold of it. He was mixing it up very well and
going into my body, going out wide, and, you know, it was hard to get a read on it. Just a
little bit up and down the return of serve today and I mean, he has got a big second
serve, no question about it. But that was kind of the key to the match was how well I
returned his second serve, and just wasn't quite good enough. I didn't put enough pressure
on his service games, and I played the one bad service game in the second set to lose my
serve; doublefaulted three times and, you know, it is tough. I mean, it is a tough loss to
Q. When you lost your second - on the second set, was it because of lack of
concentration or --
PETE SAMPRAS: Not concentration. I just got a little bit tight, I must admit. Richard
puts - he puts so much pressure on your service games, you feel like you have made a
couple of mistakes, I pressed a little bit. I was going for big second serves the whole
match. I pushed a few long. He had to hit a couple of good shots. That is tennis. That is
the nature of the game, especially out there is, you know, it is just - it was a bad game.
I mean, it wasn't lack of concentration. I think I just got a touch tight and I paid the
Q. Did you also get tight, tense in the tiebreaker for the third set because the
doublefault you hit on 3-2, seemed to be the crucial point --
PETE SAMPRAS: Crucial point was hitting a good return, I had a pretty easy backhand
volley, I didn't do enough with that. That point kind of led into the next point. You kind
of live and die by the serve. I have been going for very big second serves this whole
tournament because I was very confident, but I just, again, pushed it a little bit long
and that was kind of the pivotal point of the tiebreaker. I played a decent matchpoint. I
got a little unlucky.
Q. Somebody like you to get tight in a match like that, is it just the match situation
getting you tight or is it the No. 1 thing?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think it is the match situation, I mean, I know Richard seems -- like
the close matches we have played in the past, he just seems to squeak it out. It happened
at Wimbledon a couple of years ago and he seems to, you know, play with no fear against
me, kind of just goes for it. I really felt I was going to break through and beat him
today because I have been playing well all week. But it is a tough one to take, it really
is. At this point I have got to find something to regroup here and get ready for next
week. But it is tough. It is not easy to do that.
Q. Your aim for being No. 1 at the end of the year, would you summarize this tournament
as a success even though you have lost today?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. I mean, I don't look at losing as any success. Success is walking out
of here with the title and anything less is, it is not good enough in my book.
Q. He is more difficult to you than anyone else on the Tour?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, the guys have giving me problems -- sure, the big server, the
Gorans - Richard has got a big game and playing with him on a pretty quick court. I mean,
when he is on, he is devastating. But Richard can definitely have his bad days, but
unfortunately when you are playing the No. 1 guy, you can have some fun and have nothing
to lose out there. The matches he seems to have trouble with are the matches -- it is the
matches that he is supposed to win and he is not really supposed to beat me. But it is bad
luck, you know.
Q. Do you think possibly that part of the reason is that you have been so long on the
road on this trip and it is getting to you possibly?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, I felt fresh today, mentally and physically -- yeah, I feel pretty
fresh. The key for me right now is trying to get ready for next week. Coming close to get
into the final of the big event, you know, it is my fifth week in a row next week and that
is really the true test how I can kind of regroup from this over the next couple of days
and just mentally stay strong. I have to be. There is no other choice. But I don't think
the fact that I have been here so long had any bearing on the match today.
Q. Obviously you would like to avoid playing an extra tournament the week after Paris.
Do you think --
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think I can. I don't know if I'd want to play an extra week after
Paris. I feel like Paris then I am going home. That is the way I feel right now walking
off the court pretty, obviously, you guys think I am pretty pissed which is true, but we
will see. I don't know. At this point I really haven't given it much thought.
PETE SAMPRAS: It is close. This week has helped but it would have helped more if I
would have won today and maybe won the tournament, but Marcelo, I am sure is going to play
next week. It is going to be a close race going to come down to Hannover; that is where
the majority of the point are, and -- but this was definitely a good opportunity this
End of FastScripts