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March 26, 1997

Pete Sampras

Key Biscayne, FL

JOE LYNCH: Pete is into the semifinals of the Lipton Championships by walkover after Hendrik Dreekmann turned an ankle last night walking home from dinner. First question from Pete.

Q. Have you ever noticed there's almost like a hex here at this tournament, guys get sick, they sleep wrong, can't get to the final, step on a speed bump, any number of strange things happen here over the years? What do you think?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's in the air.

Q. Cosmic?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's all coincidence. I don't think there's anything more than that.

Q. This has been less of a grueling tournament for you thus far. Are you the kind of player that needs like a blockbuster tough match?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's hard to say because the tournament, except for the Clavet match, has gone pretty smooth. Yesterday was a pretty easy match. You're always concerned when you have two days off like I'm going to have, you might come out on Friday, against whoever I played, maybe a bit rustier, maybe not as sharp if I played every other day. We'll see what happens on Friday.

Q. What do you do today with the change in the schedule? How do you take advantage of it?

PETE SAMPRAS: I practice a little longer. I hit for a little over an hour, rest up. Tomorrow I'll it hit for about an hour and a half. You're still going to work hard to get that good rhythm that I've had for that past week. It's just like having two days off in the majors; you still want to practice hard and maintain that level I've been playing for the past week.

Q. Would you have rather played this match?

PETE SAMPRAS: If I was guaranteed a win, sure (laughter). There are no guarantees in this sport, so it's very disappointing for him because seems like he's been playing well all week and he's played me tough. Played him in the last round or the finals in Basel. He's a very up-and-coming player. It was unfortunate for him.

Q. When you practiced in the middle of a tournament in the off days, do you play points or are you just working?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's nothing I work on; just playing points.

Q. You do play points?


Q. How long typically do you spend playing points?

PETE SAMPRAS: With a day off, I usually play like half a set. Today I played a little bit longer.

Q. Is there something specific you're working on?

PETE SAMPRAS: Just having a good rhythm out there. At this point in my career, there's nothing I'm going to change with my strokes. It's just going out and playing some points.

Q. Does it make you appreciate how fragile it all is? You can have a great tournament, be ready to go, walking back home from dinner take the wrong step on a sidewalk and it's gone?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it's a complete fluke. I've never heard of this on the Tour. I've been on the Tour for six, seven years now. I've never heard of this happening, so there's really not a lot I can say about it.

Q. There's been some talk about coaches getting more involved in game play possibly, sitting on the court, that sort of thing. Are you in favor of coaches getting more involved that way or not?

PETE SAMPRAS: I've never been a fan of coaching on the court, or having a coach on the court. I've always felt it's up to you out there. That's what makes tennis unique. It's the only sport in the world where you're the only one out there, no caddy.

JOE LYNCH: Corner man.

PETE SAMPRAS: Corner man. I've always felt tennis, it's up to you out there. If you lose the first two sets, it's up to you if you want to come back. There's no help out there. I find that very unique about the sport.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Pete?

Q. Pete, looking on the other half of the draw, maybe Jim Courier coming up. Do you ever find yourself sort of rooting for another American to make the final to play against? Does it really matter to you?

PETE SAMPRAS: It doesn't really matter.

Q. In Australia, you were always speaking about the Spaniards coming on the court and getting better on hardcourt. If you look at the draw, Medvedev, Courier and Bruguera, is it a sign that the claycourt players generally are playing better on hardcourt now? Have the conditions of hardcourt been changed?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I don't think so. I think each tournament is different. I don't think there's anything complicated out there about the game. Muster and Courier, they're obviously great players. They're going to go out and the majority of time they're going to win. It's not surprising they're still in the tournament. They're very good players, so. I don't think it's anything.

Q. Will you catch a ball game, movie, do something leisurely?

PETE SAMPRAS: I'm going to go to the game tonight.

Q. What happened to your knee?

PETE SAMPRAS: Went down yesterday.

Q. Not a speed bump.

PETE SAMPRAS: You guys think that's funny? Not funny at all. You should have seen this guy's ankle, it was like a softball, like the size of your head.

Q. That big?

PETE SAMPRAS: Huge. Had no hair on it (laughter).

End of FastScripts....

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