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August 7, 1997

Pete Sampras


JOE LYNCH: First question for Pete who moves into the quarterfinals and who will play Yevgeny Kafelnikov tomorrow.

Q. Pete, Joe said each of you won 69 points in this match. Obviously it is pretty close. What it is that separates you, allows you to win the big points and take a match like this?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think there is -- if anything, it was a little bit of luck, I mean, the first set I got a number of breakpoints. He was serving very, very well and holding serve pretty easy. One of those matches where I just got a little bit lucky and hung in there. I wasn't playing all that well in the first set. And, couple of shots here and there in the tiebreaker I got and that is really the difference. It could have gone either way. It is nothing really specifically I can say that was the difference. It was just a little bit of luck I had on my side today.

Q. You have been No. 1 for four years. You can't say luck is -- has played a big factor in it, can you?

PETE SAMPRAS: I am talking about as far as the match today. I mean -- yeah.

Q. I mean, he has played you pretty comfortably in the last few years. You always had that little bit of extra on him, I am sure that -- what is that extra that you have?

PETE SAMPRAS: I really don't know. Mentally hanging in there. Maybe hit that smart shot at the right time. But I can't -- there is nothing I really think of. I just try to play the point as best I can and hopefully convert on a big point. And, you know, I have done that pretty well over the past number of years, and, you know, there is nothing really that I do differently. I just -- I play the smart point. That is all I am trying to do.

Q. If you would lose a match in a Grand Slam tournament, people would consider it an upset. In any other tournament, people would say well he didn't give it his best, is that fair?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, it is not fair because I don't care where I am playing in the world. There is a lot of pride out there and I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't try. I mean, I try every week. That doesn't mean I am going to win every week. You know, it is not easy week-in and week-out to put up good results and against these players, like a Rafter, who is a very tough guy to play and anything is really possible out there on the court as quick as we are playing here. So, I try to win every week I play. That is kind of, you know, that is what got me to this level, is mentally treating each week like it's an important week. And, obviously, I base my tournaments around the Grand Slams through really -- where I really want to peak, but I want to win here at Cincy and Indy next week.

Q. But you have only won once here and other guys--

PETE SAMPRAS: I thought I played pretty well. I have gotten to the -- I don't know what I have done here. I know I have won. But you kind of -- I mean, coming here seven, eight years, so the court is pretty quick here which is okay. And, for instance, Indianapolis the court is a little bit slower which I kind of like a little bit better and that is maybe why I have won there more than here. Usually Cincinnati is my first tournament back from Wimbledon, so you may be not as quite as match tough. So, I thought I have always played pretty well here, but not great.

Q. Last couple of years here you have had a little bit of trouble with the heat, as I remember. And last year at the U.S. Open. Is this weather conditions, this week, is this sort of playing into your hand? Is it helping you out a little bit more?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it makes a little bit easier on everybody, but one thing I really try to do after Wimbledon was obviously take the rest. But, for the past couple of weeks I have been training pretty hard in the heat, getting used to the humidity. It was 95 degrees every day in Tampa. So, I made a concerted effort to practice and training out there and the stuff I do. It is just ironic the year I felt I was in pretty in good shape here, it's been pretty cool. I am sure maybe next week, the week of Indianapolis, I am sure it will warp up.

Q. Do you think that people fear you when they come into matches and play against you?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think players feel that if I am playing well and I am confident that it is going to be a tough match for them. On the other hand, guys I may have nothing to lose, I am the one -- they are shooting from the hip, you know, swinging away. It is always tough to play guys like that week-in and week-out. But I feel like if I am playing well, I am pretty tough to beat.

Q. How do you feel about playing Kafelnikov the next round?

PETE SAMPRAS: I feel pretty good. I feel like my form is pretty good. He is obviously playing well. He has got a great all-around court game. Does everything pretty well. Has had a pretty good hard season. It will be a tough match. It will be a good test to see how I am playing. It will be a different match from today. I will have a little more time as far as hitting some more balls. Today was pretty much hit-or-miss tennis. But, I am looking forward to it. It will be a good match.

Q. How many point do you think being No. 1 in the world gets you every match?

PETE SAMPRAS: You know, I have won a lot of matches throughout my career just on reputation alone, just the fact that I am No. 1, guys might get a little tight serving for the match or strange things happen out there that, you know, it definitely has its benefits. But, like I said, you know, everyone comes out with nothing to lose, so it also makes it a little bit difficult.

End of FastScripts….

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