March 22, 1997
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
JOE LYNCH: Pete Sampras starts another winning streak at one match now.
PETE SAMPRAS: Funny, Joe. That will get you a long way.
JOE LYNCH: The Shark statistic for today: least amount of games he's lost in 33 Lipton matches. First question for Pete.
Q. Easy day at the office today?
PETE SAMPRAS: Pretty easy. I got off to a good start. After I got that first break, I just felt real comfortable out there. It's always a little bit difficult your first round match. He's already played a match, used to the conditions and the balls. Not playing well last week. Confidence not there. It's always great to win tournaments. Got off to a good start and played real well.
Q. Given how disappointed you were about last week and the way you played that match, what were you telling yourself, and in hindsight, what are you thinking about last week?
PETE SAMPRAS: About last week, my tennis really wasn't the issue. It was how to deal with the elements. For the past couple years, I have struggled in that dry altitude. The ball seems to be flying and I can't control it. Next year when I play there, I'm going to try something different, maybe use a little Kevlar to be able to swing like I want to swing and have control of the ball. I have a problem playing there. It's nice to play here in the humidity; you can take a pretty good crack at it. I was disappointed. I just need to figure out what I need to do to play those conditions. It's not really my tennis; I'm hitting the ball fine. It's figuring out what to do for next year.
Q. Did you think it actually did fool with your confidence, or did you feel like you knew what the problem was when you came in here?
PETE SAMPRAS: I knew what the problem was. I walked off the court and I couldn't believe how bad I played, the way I'd been playing all year, I just couldn't figure it out. I just really never felt comfortable in my practices there. The ball just seemed like I couldn't control it. I'm sure it's not good for the confidence when you play like that, but you chalk it up and try to figure what to do for next year, try to get ready for this tournament.
Q. I mean, coming into this tournament, did you feel like your confidence was slightly shaken, or did you feel like, "I know why that happened and I'll be right back on track when I go to Lipton"?
PETE SAMPRAS: That's exactly how I felt. I feel disappointed whenever I lose, but I knew why. Just figure out what to do for next year. Fortunately the US Open isn't in Palm Springs.
Q. Are you the kind of guy who needs to know why you lose every match?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, yeah. I mean, I like to figure it out, talk to Paul after my matches, especially if I lose. "What happened?" You have to figure out what happened to correct the problem for the next match. A match like today, not really a lot to talk about. Hit the ball well, did my thing. Whenever you lose, you need to analyze it and try to correct it for the next time.
Q. How long did you spend analyzing that particular match?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, we didn't really talk much about the match. We just started talking to the stringers, looking at my gut, tried to figure out how I can feel like I can swing at the ball in those conditions with the balls they use there, maybe using Kevlar. I string my racquets to 35 kilos with thin gut. That's not the answer. I do that here in these conditions, but in Palm Springs I might use some nylon for next year. Fortunately I don't have to worry about it for a year. It would be nice to play well there.
Q. Did you watch Andre?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. Just a little bit to see what the score was.
Q. I think it's the first time he's lost five in a row, is that right?
JOE LYNCH: Yes.
Q. Can you see that in his game? Is he clearly off confidence?
PETE SAMPRAS: I haven't really seen him play much. I saw him play a little in San Jose. Seemed like he was hitting the ball well. You know, it just goes to show, if you're not that confident against these guys that he's playing, with nothing to lose, a little bit off with your game, it's tough out there. These things happen.
Q. Can you sense in the locker room that the feeling is that he's more beatable these days or not?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. I don't spend that much time in the locker room. I don't know. I don't know.
JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Pete?
Q. Do you have any thoughts on the locker room being dedicated to Tim?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think that's awesome. Tim never got injured, but he spent more time in the locker room than anyone. He loved hanging out with the boys, watching the girls' matches, giving those girls a hard time. He loved the locker room. He loved hanging with the boys. I'm sure he's looking down today and happy because he would have loved it.
JOE LYNCH: Anything else? Thank you.
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