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November 23, 1996

Pete Sampras


Q. Was that pleasurable or agonizing?

PETE SAMPRAS: Scary. That is what it is. It is scary to play this guy. Never faced a bigger server in tennis. I mean, looking at the stats, he hit, I believe, 35 aces in three sets of tennis. I mean, it is so frustrating playing him. You play a couple of goods points, Love-15, 15-All then three aces in a row- nothing really you can do. Only thing I can do is hold on to my serve as best I can. I did that the whole match and just, you know, really you just hope and pray that he goes through one of his spells, where he doubles faults a couple of times. Because once he gets his first serve in, you virtually have no chance. Maybe you could hit a couple of returns in, but like his second serve, first set point I had in the first set, he hits 186-K up the middle. Nothing you can do. You just have to hang there and just ride the wave with him. Just got to -- it is tough playing him - serve is so dominating.

Q. At the end did you still believe in the possibilities of a break?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. I figured we were going to a tiebreaker. He was up 30-Love that game, and I am not really sure what happened. I just -- I mean, so surprising went for the big one up the middle and he missed it. Which is weird just comparing to myself what I was going to do in the tiebreaker, all of a sudden, I won the match. Kind of -- it was kind of surprising because the way we were holding serve, I mean, three breakers, was something that was very possible.

Q. Is it a little unnerving playing that sort of a match when you know that the slightest lapse on your part -- I mean, you played --

PETE SAMPRAS: That is what makes Goran so dangerous especially indoor you, feel like if you miss a couple of shots; miss some first serves, the way he returns, he just kind of goes for it. You get a little tentative because you feel like if you are going to miss a couple of shots, the set is over because he is going to pretty much hold serve. So it is very nerve-wracking. Only thing you can do is stay calm and try to hold serve and I did that exceptionally well today.

Q. Can you remember, Pete, the last time if ever you lost a match without losing your serve?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know. I don't know.

Q. Probably haven't?

PETE SAMPRAS: I really -- I am sure I have in my career lost 6 and 6 or something, but I can't really remember a match. I really could have lost this -- it could have be in a tiebreaker right now and couple of let cords, couple of doublefaults, I could have been out of here. So you just need a little bit of luck, especially at this level playing a guy that serves that big, you need a little bit of luck and I got that today.

Q. You could have won the first set tiebreaker?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I got tentative in the first set, 6-All, doublefaulted. Got a little bit tight, and the first set, and -- but I didn't stop competing. I just said, I am here. Might as well try to fight hard and try to get into this match.

Q. Regarding the result, whether you win or lose, did you ever walk off-court thinking to yourself, "I enjoyed that"?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I enjoy winning. (Laughter.) I really felt the crowd. The crowd, atmosphere, was really nice today. It has been all week. It has been -- the crowd has been great atmosphere. I felt them kind of getting behind me in the second set, and kind of want to see a third set, and it was really nice. Even if I would have lost, I'm sure I would have been in my locker room really pissed. That, fortunately, didn't happen.

Q. Apart from being fair, Pete, do you feel that this crowd understands the game well, I mean, compared say, with the Paris Open crowd?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, the Paris Open crowd, they just yell at times when they shouldn't yell. And, this crowd seems like they are very knowledgeable. They know the game even though they have haven't had a lot of tennis in Hannover. Very respectful. Even when I played Boris a couple of days ago, they weren't rude. Obviously, very loud and supportive of him, but it is not a problem.

Q. How much do you know about the letter, apparently, some or most of the players sent into the ATP about change of surface next year?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think today's match was an indication that I think the court is a little bit quick. Goran and I got two of the best serves in the game and we are serving like we were today; there are not a lot of rallies. I think they can slow it down a little bit. It is still going to be indoor tennis. It is still going to be pretty quick. But, I think they can slow it down where we can have some more rallies and not so many aces.

Q. Is this essentially the same court as Frankfurt, or is it --

PETE SAMPRAS: I think it's a tad quicker, just a little bit.

Q. Do you think it is the size of the stadium? Do you think it is the atmosphere or just the actual court?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think it is the court, just a touch.

Q. Muster was apparently talking about hard court like the U.S. Open. Any thoughts?

PETE SAMPRAS: That would be fine. Just as long as it is not clay. (audience laughter) But, it really gives someone like Muster, even Chang, very tough situation to play two big servers like Ivanisevic and Krajicek. If you put down a hard court, at least it gives those guys a chance to win, against those big servers and if you just slow it down, put a medium pace hard court, something, I have no problem with it.

Q. Muster mentioned some kind of letter or petition. Did you sign anything?


Q. Whose idea was that?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think a lot -- at least I have talked to Thomas and couple of other players and ATP a little bit and I felt the court is playing -- I mean, I like it. It is good for my game. But, I think from a tennis standpoint we can definitely slow it down and maybe put down a slower court. Have some more rallies, but, I think they will change it if all the players agree. So we will see.

Q. What does it mean to you getting back into the final here in this tournament?

PETE SAMPRAS: It is great. After the Open, I was trying to set a new goal that was to end the year No. 1. I have done that. And try to, you know, finish strong. And, this is a huge event with a lot of points at stake, and if I can win here, I will feel content. I feel like I have one more good match in me and have a little bit of a break.

Q. Have all the players signed this letter, do you know?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know. I just have. I think Thomas has. And, it is really no big deal. It is up to the ATP or whoever is putting down the court to do whatever the players want to do. So, it is -- I mean, they have a year to maybe fix it. But, as far as this year, it is laid down and we are going to play on it.

Q. If it is Boris again in the finals, talk a bit about that?

PETE SAMPRAS: I am just repeating myself each day. What can I say? He comes out with a lot of support from the crowd. He is very tough to beat from a tennis standpoint, but with the crowd it is kind of a Davis Cup atmosphere and it is a little bit tougher on the players. Maybe I can try some different things that I didn't do on Wednesday, if I play him. He plays Krajicek who has got a big game, so we will see. I mean, it is going to be a three out of five set match and we will have sometime to get into some sort of groove out there, so, it will be a tough ballgame.

End of FastScripts....

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