August 9, 1997
MIKI SINGH: First question for Pete.
Q. Served the hell out of the ball today, didn't you?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think in my career I served like 80 percent up until that 5-2 game.
And, you know, I was in a great rhythm, and, jeez, I don't know what happened in there. It
just really clicked. It was kind of the shot that won me the match today, because it was
very tough conditions today with the wind. It was gusting all around the court, it was
tough for us to get any sort of rhythm out there when we got into these baseline rallies,
but I served really big. I wasn't really in any trouble. You know, I just got a little
careless in that one game 5-2 serving for the match, but other than that, you know, I
think it was the best I've ever served.
Q. Were you aware that you won 18 consecutive points on your serve at one point,
starting the last two points of your first game?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. I mean you don't --
Q. Love Love Love, four games to Love.
PETE SAMPRAS: I knew I was holding serve pretty easy, but you don't think of the
points, you don't think how many points you won in a row, you know, but I knew I was
winning a lot of Love games. The fact that I was winning them in a row, it really didn't
cross my mind.
Q. What adjustment did you have to make on serve, like say the north end to the south
end of the court because of the wind?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, the wind and the sun is pretty tough conditions. You just try to
toss it where you think the wind might take it. You toss it a little lower with the sun
where it was today, toss it around the sun. Considering the conditions, I though I handled
it pretty well with as big as I served. And there's just a couple things you have to do
differently when you have conditions like today.
Q. You were serving (inaudible) Wimbledon and I mean you've always had a great serve.
Are you doing anything different?
PETE SAMPRAS: It's not that I'm doing technically different. I've never fooled around
with my serves probably since I was 15 or 16. There's a certain time of year you just get
into a good rhythm, and each day's a little bit different. I can come out tomorrow and not
serve that well. I'm in a great rhythm and when you play everyday like I have, you just
get into a good routine. It's just worked really well so far this week.
Q. Have you surpassed your own expectations to play this week with the lay off?
PETE SAMPRAS: A little bit. I didn't know how I was going to play this week. I was
hoping I would play like I am, but with a long lay off and, you know, after Wimbledon it
would have been easier to have a let down, but my tennis has gotten better and better and
better as the week's gone on. It's a little bit surprising. I didn't think I'd be beating
the guys I've been beating pretty handily. I mean I beat Kafelnikov 2-2 and that's
something I didn't really expect.
Q. You walked out there, you looked up at he skies.
PETE SAMPRAS: Uh-huh.
Q. Looked like you were looking over the conditions. What were you thinking?
PETE SAMPRAS: I was looking at the flags and to see which way the wind was blowing. And
on a stadium like we have here, just bounces off the stadium and kind of swirls around.
It's a little bit easier if the wind kind of goes one direction, but, you know, just try
to look at the flags and see which way the wind's going and try to get any advantage you
can out there. And it just wasn't easy with the wind out there. All in all, I thought I
handled it really well.
PETE SAMPRAS: You know, I played both those guys so many times. You know, I think Chang
might be the slight favorite tonight. He's played well in Cincinnati. I think this is his
fifth year I think he's trying to get to the final, which is a great record. And he's one
of the best players in the world, and obviously one of the best players on hardcourt. I'm
looking forward to the match. It will be a great match; good match for the fans.
Especially playing those guys, you know, they are going to be staying back, I'm going to
be coming in. So you've got that contrast in style, which I think is good for the game. So
I'm looking forward to it. You know Chang and I, with the history that we've had, playing
juniors, and we've had a lot of great matches, so we'll see who I play tomorrow.
Q. You're playing so well right now. Is there a concern about peaking so close to the
PETE SAMPRAS: Not really. I feel like there's some time before the U.S. Open, next week
at Indy, and then a week off. So when you win and you're confident, then that can only
help. I'm not worried about peaking. I'll just hopefully maintain this level for the next
couple of weeks, and take sometime off, a couple days, and get ready for the Open.
Q. You've won here before. Where does this tournament ranked in all the titles you've
won and, looking ahead that you might possibly win it again tomorrow?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, this feel has been kind of Grand Slam type of atmosphere, where
just about everyone playing on the Tour, you know, if you're going to win in Cincinnati,
you've got to be playing great tennis. This is one of the great tournaments we have on the
Tour. It's a Super 9 event, all the players are here, you have to be playing great tennis
to win here, and I'm one match a way.
Q. Sam Wiche give you any advice?
PETE SAMPRAS: Sam Wiche doesn't give me any tips about my tennis, thank God. (Laughter)
I've got a few tips for him about coaching, but (Laughter).
Q. Costa said that you don't have the fastest serve on the Tour, but you have the best
serve on the Tour. What do you do on your serve that is better than anyone else in your
PETE SAMPRAS: I think I will really disguise it really well. I think my ball toss is
pretty much the same for every serve, and accuracy is just as important as power. Try to
hit the line, try to mix it up. Those are the things I try to do, is mix it up. You know,
you can have the hardest serve, but if the guy knows where it's going, then it's not as
effective. Whereas when you change it up, mix it up, and that's something I try to do
every time. I mix it up. Make sure the guy's off balance. And Costa today didn't seem like
he had no idea where I was serving. It's just, you know, keeping the same ball toss and
mixing it up.
PETE SAMPRAS: Well I'm thinking -- obviously when you hit the ones up the middle you're
trying to hit it pretty hard. But you always have some sort of idea where you're trying to
go with it: If it's in the body or out wide to the forehand or up the middle. Every time
you step up there, it's like a baseball pitcher knows where he's going to throw it before
he throws it. It's the same for tennis.
Q. The other thing that you alluded to earlier this week, people when they play you,
they sort of have it in their mind that they're behind. Now that you've beaten those guys
so easily here, is that in your favor going into the Open?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it helps if you've beaten guys pretty handily. I hope that I can
win here tomorrow, but if I don't -- you know, guys know that I'm playing well and I'm
confident and that can only help. When you go out in the U.S. Open and I guy feels like he
has to play great tennis to beat me, and that's just a little bit of advantage that I
might have a couple weeks from now.
Q. Is it because of your history with Michael that you really enjoy playing him? Do you
wish you played more often?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think for the United States and for tennis, I think it's great
that we have -- an All-American final tomorrow, the game needs some sort of camaraderie,
and Mike and I have that. Like I had with Jim and Andre when the Americans played
together, you know, that's what's good for the game, especially in the United States. I
played them a number of times, I mean probably 18 time offer so in my career give or take.
So there's a lot of history there. I've played Michael since was seven years old. I think
he'll probably pull through tonight and hopefully we'll play a good final.
Q. Is he the best candidate to become your rival that you talked about before?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, he's ranked No. 2 the world, so he's there. You know our
personalities are pretty similar, we're pretty easy going and we kind of keep everything
to ourselves. You know when Andre and I played, or Andre and Michael played, I mean he's
kind of the guy that shows a lot of emotion so there's a lot more there. But, you know,
more than that, the tennis we play. I'm going to be coming in and he stays back, and so
you have that contrast, which is obviously fun to watch.
PETE SAMPRAS: He's obviously playing well on the faster courts. He's had better results
on hardcourt than he has on clay. He's playing a little more aggressive, but you just go
out there with the same attitude that I've always played. I've played one of the best
matches of the year against him in Australia. Beat him pretty handily. And anyone's that's
going to get in the final here is playing well.
MIKI SINGH: Anything else for Pete. Thanks everyone.
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