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September 26, 1997

Pete Sampras


PETE SAMPRAS: What's going on in the Ryder Cup, does anyone know?

Q. Rain. They played a little bit; not much. Pete, was the Davis Cup in the back of your mind when you were playing this today? Did you even think about that?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, yeah, I did. I'm going to play him in six weeks' time. You know, it definitely crossed my mind when I saw the draw, if we would have won our first two matches, we would play. Yeah, it crossed my mind.

Q. You seem to be more nervous than in other times. For some reason?


Q. More tired?


Q. I heard some four-letter words (laughter)?

PETE SAMPRAS: Uh-huh, so? What's your question?

Q. So you were not more nervous than usual?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I felt much better today than I did a couple days ago. I felt a little more awake, a little bit used to the time change. So I just felt physically and mentally a lot better than I did a couple days ago.

Q. Is the fact that you only stay in Europe for a couple weeks, then go home again, does it mean it is more difficult for you to adjust to the different time zones than if you stayed for the six-week season?

PETE SAMPRAS: The thing that was difficult, I played over the week and then I got her on Monday, played Wednesday. Usually I come here a little bit earlier to get used to the time change. Next five, six weeks, I'm going to be going back and forth three times, coming back for the Davis Cup final. That's the way I made my schedule. It's not easy to deal with the time change, but, you know, that's where I'm at. I mean, that's my schedule. So I'll just make the best of it.

Q. Could I just ask you about if you play Rusedski tomorrow, any thoughts on that match?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, you know, it's going to be a hard-hitting match, a lot of big serves. The court's playing very quick. You're not going to see a lot of rallies. It's going to be like grass court tennis out there. He's obviously had a great year. He's serving well, he's confident. It will be an interesting match if I play him.

Q. Since you probably have to play Bjorkman again in the Davis Cup match, do you thought about that in the match or just put it away?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I thought about it. Playing him today, you know, I'm going to play him in six weeks' time, in a very big moment. I was concerned because he played so well yesterday against Boris, to beat him 3 and 2. I felt I had to play at a very high level. He's confident, he's had a great year. He's going to be pumped up, I'm sure, in this Davis Cup final, like the fans are. It's going to be a very interesting tie.

Q. Pete, do you have any strong feelings either way about the Ryder Cup?

PETE SAMPRAS: Absolutely. I can't believe it's not on TV here, which is very disappointing. But obviously, sure, I'd love to see the Americans win. It's a huge. I'll tell you, it's a huge event in the States, huge event all over the world. It's too bad I'm in Europe and it's not on TV.

Q. 2-All at the moment.

PETE SAMPRAS: 2-All at the moment? It's going to be exciting.

Q. Pete, you going to have a tough schedule till the end of the season. Are you going to take it one week at a time or do you have any priority?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it is one week at a time. But, sure, you've got the ATP finals, is one that stands out, huge event. And the Davis Cup final. Those two things always stand out. Playing next week in Basel. Regardless of where or when I play, I want to play well and I want to win. Sure, there are certain weeks that mean a little bit more, bigger tournaments. You know, Hannover and the Super 9s, Paris and Stuttgart are big tournaments, but Davis Cup final is definitely something I'm looking forward to.

Q. Getting back to your Atlantic hopping?


Q. Your returning across the Atlantic. Have you thought about following Andre's method and buy your own plane? What is your idea of a transAtlantic flight? Is it get on the flight, pull down the eye shades, wake up when you land?

PETE SAMPRAS: A lot depends. No, I'm not going to buy a plane. I do fly privately some places. It depends where I'm flying to and from because obviously I want to take the Concord as much as possible. But if you're flying into Basel, it doesn't make sense. Usually, you know, if it's time to sleep, put down the eye shades, try to sleep. It's just part of what we all do. We travel around and we get used to the time change. It's not easy to come from the States to Europe for me. Always takes me three, four days to adjust. It's tough. I mean, it's not easy to deal with a six-, seven-hour time change.

Q. Did you think of pulling out of this after the Davis Cup?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. No, I didn't. I was scheduled to play here. It's a tough schedule, it really is. To get on the emotional high I was on, played so well over the weekend. To come here, I felt tired, I felt worn out. Now that it's been four days, I feel refreshed and ready to go. Emotionally it's tough, I mean, playing such a huge match against Australia. And to come back and to come to Germany, sure, it's a lot of money here, but you get a little bit tired after a while.

Q. Talking about Davis Cup, you sure are aware the United States lost against Goteborg in Sweden with the two best players at the time, Connors and McEnroe.


Q. You have two best players now.

PETE SAMPRAS: I guess we shouldn't show up (laughter). It's a pick 'em tie. We don't really have a doubles team. They have one of the best doubles teams. They're going to have their support, put on their court. Larsson has beaten me, Enqvist. It's a pick 'em match. I don't see any strong favorite in this tie. You know, that's why we're going to play, see who comes out ahead.

Q. Would you like to play the doubles as well, as you did in the semifinal, during the final?

PETE SAMPRAS: Would I like to? No. I would rather have the day off. What's best for the team, what Tom decides, I'll do. I'll be available for the doubles. You know, who I would play with, I really don't know. You know, doubles is definitely a question mark at this point. You know, we can play well. Todd and I, Jim and I, or Jim and Todd. We have some options out there. It's a big point. I mean, it really is a big point. It's a huge momentum switch, it can be. But, you know, singles is four of the points, so that's I'm sure what we're going to concentrate on. But the doubles is definitely a big point.

Q. If you are available in Moscow, you always will be available?

PETE SAMPRAS: I'm sorry?

Q. If you were available in Moscow, you always will be available for the doubles? Remember the way you finished the match?


BARBARA TRAVERS: That's a compliment.

PETE SAMPRAS: Thanks for the compliment.

Q. In Washington you said you couldn't play any better than you were playing with those 6-1 sets that you had. Since Washington, has your level dropped a bit, and if it has, how far has it dropped?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it hasn't really dropped this week. You know, as far as the conditions in Washington, they were perfect for me. It was slow hardcourt. Where playing here, it's like playing on grass, which obviously I don't mind. But, you know, it's hard to get a rhythm out there. The court is playing so quick that I don't feel like my level has dropped, it's just trying to hold serve and try to break. That's really what the key is out there. But I feel like I'm playing well. I felt much better on the court today. Tomorrow's match I'm sure will be tougher.

Q. You have mentioned the surface, and Thomas Muster said it's made especially for Boris Becker. Would you say after he's retiring, though, that they should change the surface here to become more rallies, better tennis next year for the crowd?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I've always said, and I tell the tournament every year I've played here, that the court is too fast. I mean, you have altitude here, which is going to quicken things up, which you can't do anything about. If you put down a Supreme Court, it's really not -- I'm sure it's not fun to watch. To play, it's not that fun. It's great to serve and volley and win easy points. But I like to hit a few balls and have some rallies out there. You know, I've always said to the tournament, whoever, director, they should really slow down the court. Just make it slower and have some rallies, just be more enjoyable for everybody.

Q. What did you think about the Taraflex surface that you find in Paris? Is that your favorite one, indoor?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't mind Taraflex. Green Set I like. Supreme Court is pretty much over with. I mean, this is the only event we have on Supreme. Taraflex or Green Set is suitable for me.

Q. Pete, you've always said that Rafter is a marked man following his US Open victory. Do you think Rusedski is also a marked player because he reached the final, not as much as Pat?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think it's different when you win. When you hold that trophy up, you're the only guy with that trophy. You know, expectations are much higher for Patrick and I'm sure for Greg now, but maybe not quite as much. But Patrick seemed like he's responded pretty well. And Greg has obviously improved his game each year he's played. It's much different when you win and than get to the finals. There's only one winner out there.

Q. Today you received for the second time the Fred Perry award. After all the trophies and awards you've received so far in your life, what's the meaning of this for you?

PETE SAMPRAS: Any award you get, to be included with someone like Fred Perry, someone I admired and did a lot for the game, you know, he predicted I would win Wimbledon when he saw me play at 17 or 18. I always remembered that. It's an honor, I mean, to receive any award, especially this one. Fred Perry, one of the greatest of all time, something that I'm going to put on my cabinet next to my other trophies and enjoy it.

Q. Have you been to the Oktoberfest?


Q. You will go there?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't have time.

End of FastScripts….

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