April 22, 1997
MONTE CARLO, MONACO
Q. Pete, just how much claycourt practice have you had?
PETE SAMPRAS: I've been hitting for the past week or so in Florida. Got here on Saturday. Not a ton. That's one thing I need right now, obviously, some claycourt matches. Unfortunately, the conditions were as cold as I've ever played. It really is tough to play in these conditions. At this point, going home for two weeks, then back for Rome.
Q. Pete, you started off reasonably well. What was it, in your mind, that enabled him to get control of the match?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I did start off very well, hitting the ball pretty clean. In the second and third, it's the same story with me on clay, I just start pressing a little bit; start going for too much. On hardcourt, it just comes naturally. I just serve, hold serve pretty easily. I start pressing a little bit. I knew coming here I wasn't really expecting any miracles. I was hoping to play some good matches here. It's disappointing, but I just wish it was a little bit warmer, to be honest with you. I was really freezing out there. Just made it that much tougher to play for me.
Q. What made you decide to play here? I mean, you obviously wanted to play more on clay, since you were not playing in Asia. In the same respect, is there any chance you might want to add a tournament, Hamburg, for example?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, way. You couldn't pay me enough to go to Hamburg.
Q. I couldn't pay you anyway.
PETE SAMPRAS: No, you couldn't.
Q. Nobody in this room.
PETE SAMPRAS: If I thought it was cold here, Hamburg is twice as cold. I played there a couple times. I don't plan on going back anytime soon. Rome is my next tournament, so....
Q. When you left this tournament two years ago, did you think, "I will never come back here again"? Were you open?
PETE SAMPRAS: My schedule, I wasn't supposed to play here this year. I was supposed to go to Asia. I unfortunately hurt my wrist. I kind of put my -- it was kind of a loop, my schedule. It was good timing, you know, to play here and have a couple weeks off. It wasn't on my schedule, but these things happen, having little nagging injuries like after Lipton. We'll see what I do next year. I injured myself here a couple years ago. I guess, in a positive way, to look at it, I finished the match today. Still wasn't a good result.
Q. And the wrist is no problem?
PETE SAMPRAS: Under the conditions with these balls and this weather, I didn't feel it, so it really couldn't get any tougher on the wrist. My wrist feels fine. It's really not a concern at this point.
Q. What was exactly the problem with the wrist?
PETE SAMPRAS: I had tendonitis in the wrist. After Palm Springs, I was trying some new string. I had a hard time playing in Palm Springs. I was hitting -- you know, just before Lipton and during Lipton, it was giving me problems. Took an examination after Lipton, suggested I take some time off, let it heal, especially with the claycourt season coming up, hitting a lot of balls. It was best to pull out of the two tournaments in Asia. Just overuse, using new string, just kind of set it off a little. It's much better now.
Q. Are you using the same strings that you tried or have you switched back?
PETE SAMPRAS: No --
Q. Back to the good old strings?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. It was just the last couple years I had a hard time playing in Palm Springs because of the altitude. I tried a new string, tried to make my racquet a little deader. Obviously something I'm not going to do. Tried it out and it didn't work. Just got to figure out what to do next year for Palm Springs. I really played poorly this year.
Q. You gave the impression that in the middle of the second set, you were really suddenly tired, and you couldn't overcome it. Is it a wrong impression or were you really tired?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. I mean, my conditioning is fine. It was more frustration, you know, trying to end the point a little bit too quickly; pressing a little bit. We had some rallies, but I felt I was recovering pretty well. I spent quite a bit of time on my conditioning after Lipton, trying to get in the best shape possible for the French Open. It's frustrating playing in conditions like today. The serve isn't really an issue. I was just grinding it out; didn't do a good enough job grinding it out today.
Q. Even if it's not a very successful place for you here, do you think this tournament deserves to stay in the most important tournaments of the Tour?
PETE SAMPRAS: Absolutely. I mean, with the club, the history behind this tournament, the field they have every year, I think it's one of the bigger tournaments in Europe. It should remain, in my mind, even though I haven't played here much, haven't played well here. A lot of history here, a lot of great matches in the past. It's one of the bigger events, especially to a lot of the European players.
Q. Do you practice on red clay in America, at home?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. There's no red clay in America.
Q. There is none?
PETE SAMPRAS: It's not like here. We tried, but we're not successful.
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