October 28, 1998
Q. What about your injury, Pete?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is fine. My back just locked up and I had a couple of days of
treatment and just basically had a muscle spasm. It is not a serious injury but it is an
injury you have to take care of. It can turn into a big problem. But it felt pretty loose
tonight and it is really not a problem.
Q. Rios said in Lyon that maybe it was because of the surface in Lyon. Do you think it
is the same problem for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: For my back?
Q. He said the surface was not so good for his back.
PETE SAMPRAS: No. I did one move in the beginning match against Todd, you know, I
played on that surface a number of times and I have been okay on it. So I don't think the
surface really had any impact.
Q. Anything you can do to stop this injury or is it one of those fluke things that may
never happen again?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is one of those fluke things that happened. I had a good week in
Vienna, played a lot -- after the Open, I didn't play for two weeks. When you come back
strong, you are going to have little nagging things that you can usually play through, but
every now and again, it is to the point where you can't play. I certainly hope for the
next three, four weeks it can be nice and loose, but it is kind of a fluke thing, one bad
move and I felt it. I tried to play on it for a couple of matches and it didn't make much
sense to continue playing. That is why I didn't play.
Q. How eager are you to play now knowing that you have to defend a lot of points the
next couple of weeks?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is very simple. I mean, if I win and play well, then the ranking will
take care of itself. Defending points is something - it is really not a problem. Just go
out and play and not worry about it. Key weeks are obviously this week and next week and
Hannover and if I play well and win, then hopefully I can end it No. 1.
Q. Are you ready to play more now knowing that you can achieve this record?
PETE SAMPRAS: I am willing to do whatever it takes to end it No. 1. If it requires
playing an extra event after Paris I am going to do that. I mean, so I am going to push
hard. I have been here since Basel and like I said, I am here for the goal and the goal is
to try to do it again.
Q. If you had to go to Stockholm or Moscow, you would be willing to do that to have
PETE SAMPRAS: It is possible. I am not ruling it out. But with this ranking system, the
more you play, the better off you are. And if I don't do well here or Paris, I might have
to. But we will see.
Q. Are you excited about such a situation?
PETE SAMPRAS: I am excited. I am excited that most of the time after the US Open, it is
kind of like you are trying to finish strong. But to do it five years and maybe six is
something that has never been done before, so it is a huge challenge. There is no doubt
about it that my work is cut out for me. I am going to push hard and hopefully play well.
Q. Where does it stand among the things you have achieved and still want to achieve
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think that will ever be broken. If I do, it goes up there with
the Grand Slams. There is no doubt about how hard it is to stay on top in any sport, but
to do it in an individual sport for the majority of your career, it is not easy. So it is
up there. I mean, if I don't do it, I don't do it. I mean, it is nothing to be ashamed of,
but I feel like I am in a good position to do it. It is definitely up there with the
ultimate achievements in tennis.
Q. Given your attitude towards Davis Cup and the way it maybe affected your seasons in
years gone by and your reaction you got after Moscow which apparently wasn't too great,
how much chance or is there a chance that you may play next time in England next April?
PETE SAMPRAS: At this point, I don't know. It is a good answer, isn't it, I don't know?
Q. Diplomatic answer.
PETE SAMPRAS: (Laughs) Been giving it some thought. Obviously, it is one of the most
difficult first round you can find. In the previous years, I haven't played the first two
rounds - played the last couple of rounds and I will be getting a lot of heat, I am sure,
from Tom to play and, you know, I just don't know at this point. I obviously have a lot
going on at the time, but it is really hard to say what I am going to do.
Q. Do you have any sense of the tradition the match will represent? It was the original
Davis Cup, Britain and USA; this all started -- 100 years have gone by --
PETE SAMPRAS: You are putting a little heat on me.
Q. What if they laid a grass court indoors, how would that --
PETE SAMPRAS: That is good preparation for the French. I know all those things. I know
it is a lot history involved with these two teams and the 100 years, but Davis Cup is a
tough commitment, it really is. If you want to be No. 1 and do well at Grand Slams and
play Davis Cup every tie, I feel like I just can't do that at this point in my career. It
is too much tennis for me. If Davis Cup was a little bit less or once every two years, I
would be more inclined to play. But the way it is now, it is too much tennis for me.
Q. This court is pretty slow. Next week in Paris it will be quite fast. Do you think it
is fair to change the court every week indoors?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think this court is a definite improvement from last year. I have
always felt this court was too fast. They slowed it down which I like. I like to have some
rallies and have some time. Next week isn't that fast. It is pretty medium and Hannover is
a hard court. It is good tennis. It is good to see more tennis played like that, you know,
with groundstrokes and whatever. But it will be nice to have one surface for the whole
swing. You have to change surfaces. I am sure the Tour is trying to do that to try to get
one surface everyone is happy with and this one seems pretty fair.
Q. Krajicek thinks it will be very difficult for him to win this tournament because the
court is quite slow. He thinks more serve and volley players, it is getting more and more
PETE SAMPRAS: Not necessarily. Someone likes Richard who likes a little time and plays
well on slower courts, you know, he is still going to hold serve on any surface and it
could help him. I mean, it could help me out. Everyone thinks just because you serve well,
you want to play on a fast court. I am going to hold serve the majority of the time. It is
nice to have a little time to return serve and that is why I like it.
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