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ATP TOUR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP


November 11, 1997


Pete Sampras


HANNOVER, GERMANY

Q. Pete, it seemed that you couldn't find the right racquet this match, is that right?

PETE SAMPRAS: Not just the right racquet; just, you know, kind of struggled today with my racquets and my form. The court, the conditions, it's very, very slow. It's tough to finish the point out there. You know, just a tough serving day. Tough day all-around for me.

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Q. And Moya played extremely well, I think?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. He played well. I mean, he served well. He hit some big groundies. You know, even though it's indoor, as far as the court, it's slow and it gives him more time, you know, to set up his groundies. His topspin shots on this court are bouncing very high, so it's not easy to come in against him. He played strong. This is not the start I wanted, but I'm not out of it. The court is playing slow. It's not easy to play.

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Q. It's good it's round-robin?

PETE SAMPRAS: Thank God it's round-robin.

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Q. Pete, yesterday you were saying that the court was more slow, but it was fine, no problems. Having played a match on it now, do you feel it is to your disadvantage?

PETE SAMPRAS: A little bit, you know, enough to feel as far as the balls get extremely chewed up and it gets very heavy. It's tough, at least when I was playing, I feel like I couldn't get anything off my shots. You know, it was just heavy. It was extremely slow. I don't mind playing on slow courts, but when you have the balls like they're using here, it makes it very difficult to end the point. So, you know, it just helped him out that much more. Gave him just a little bit more time to set up for his shots. He was hitting very heavy groundstrokes.

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Q. Did you have any problem with your arm?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. Well, the only good thing is that my arm is great. You know, felt very, very loose, lively. Felt no pain whatsoever. There's something positive.

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Q. What was the problem with the strings? Too loose? To tight? What happened?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it's been kind of a stressful couple of days with my racquets. But just having them restrung when they look like they're breaking, it's something I have to do. That's always kind of a stressful situation, my racquets. I string them so tight. You know, they break. Looks like they're going to break after two, three games, so I have to get them restrung.

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Q. Did that affect your concentration?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, not really, no. It didn't affect my concentration at all.

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Q. This is the first time we saw you on your knees.

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.

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Q. What was the reason you did that?

PETE SAMPRAS: I saw Boris do it when I played him in Paris. He went down on his knees. Obviously it was a bad call. He just missed it. I don't know, just kind of a reaction that I gave. It didn't really start off the third set that well for me. It was --

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Q. You said the court was very slow and a disadvantage against Moya. It could be an advantage for you for the following matches?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, it could be. I mean, it's not easy to serve and volley out there. Obviously on the first serve it is. But I thought I was hitting some pretty good volleys, and it just wasn't going anywhere. I just felt my shots didn't have the bite on them that they normally do. Playing Rusedski and Rafter, gives me a little more time to return. You know, it's tough. It's not easy to play out there.

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Q. Pete, when you saved two match points in that second set, got back into it, did you think at that stage that Moya might have started to think about how far he had gone?

PETE SAMPRAS: Maybe a little bit. But even though I won the second, I still didn't really feel like I was in control of the match. You know, I didn't feel like I was controlling -- I didn't feel like I was controlling the rallies. I didn't think he was serving that well. I just felt -- I just wasn't on top of him like I should have been. That's really it.

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Q. Does the fact that you've lost a round-robin here, does that give you a sense of optimism?

PETE SAMPRAS: The times I've won here, I've lost a match. It's obviously not a good start, but at this point I'm used to flying home right now, but I'm sticking around obviously to try to qualify for the semis and finals. We'll see. But it's not a good start to lose your first match. But, you know, I remember losing to Boris here, you know, last year. I lost my first match or second match, and still qualified. So it's not over.

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Q. Do you think an extra day of practice, if you don't play tomorrow, will give you help, would help you or no?

PETE SAMPRAS: Doesn't really matter. I mean, I feel like I'm hitting the ball okay. I just need to get a little sharper with my tennis. I've been practicing pretty well. I've played a lot of tennis over the past three or four weeks. I feel like I'm match tough. It's just, you know, getting out there and getting a little more used to the conditions and hopefully playing better tennis.

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Q. You would rather play tomorrow than have an extra day off?

PETE SAMPRAS: It doesn't matter. Doesn't matter.

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Q. Pete, do you know who you play next? Is it Rafter or Rusedski?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know. The sound in here is really bad.

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End of FastScripts....

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