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November 22, 1996

Pete Sampras


Q. How close were you to losing the second set?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I wasn't close to losing it. It was pretty close to going to a tiebreaker. I completely lost rhythm on my serve at 4-3. I don't think I was close to losing it. Everything was going pretty smoothly. I played a little bit of loose tennis; lost my serve a little bit. I wasn't down any breakpoints. I wasn't down any set points. But, I wanted to end it. I definitely wanted to win in straight sets. We were playing some long points and I was feeling it a little bit. Yeah, I played pretty solid.

Q. Although it could turn out to be a tough schedule playing five days in row was, it good to get back on court so soon after that Boris match?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I would have preferred a day off. I would have preferred to let the body rest; let the mind rest. It is not easy after losing such a tough match. It was a little bit mentally draining yesterday. And, I woke up today. It a new day; a new tournament. But, it is not easy day after day to come back and play these guys. I mean, in order to win here, you need to beat four, five guys in the top 8 of the world. Really, you don't see that very often through the Tour. And, it is -- in Grand Slams you have a day off in between. It would have been nice to have a day to rest. But, the way the schedule turned out, five straight days. Hopefully, five straight days, hopefully, if I win my match tomorrow.

Q. In view of the tough match yesterday, were you, in that case, probably pretty pleased with the way you played at least until you just faultered a wee bit towards the end?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I was very happy came out; got to a great start. Broke him the first game. Like I said, it is not easy after losing a tough match to come back, but like I said, I woke up today, kind of tried to put what happened against Boris behind me. And, that is really the attitude you really have to have at this point. And, I was very pleased. I hit the ball very well. Served pretty well for most of the match except for the end. So, I have no complaints. Tomorrow's match is going to be a roller-coaster ride like it is always against Goran. So, it was a good effort today.

Q. Was it easy for you to fall asleep yesterday night or did you think about the match you played?

PETE SAMPRAS: That is -- it takes time. It takes time after having so many chances and felt like I played -- didn't play great, but I felt I played well enough to win and didn't convert on the chances I had. So, you know, you toss and turn a little bit. But, eventually you fall asleep. Like I said, I woke up today, it is a new day; try to put what happened against Boris behind me and move on.

Q. What if Boris is in the final going in front of that crowd again which will -- he will be even more pumped for the final?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I am not really thinking about it. I mean, this court, playing against Goran, it is kind of -- it is kind of a crap shoot. I mean, anything can happen. The way he serves and returns, I mean, he could blow you off the court. Hopefully, I can prevent that from happening. But, you know, if I can get through and maybe play Boris, I have another shot at him. It is something that is definitely going to be a challenge. But, it is something I am not really thinking about.

Q. Will his new hairstyle distract you?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know. I don't know if he will look taller out there. Couple of more inches with the hair, I don't know what it is going to be like -- but, it is different.

Q. What do you have to do not to have these problems like you have had the last two matches?

PETE SAMPRAS: Just talking to Paul just now, I think at times I rush it a little bit, not taking my time. My toss gets a little bit low and if I get into a situation where I am trying to close out a set or a match, just get the toss up and just not be so anxious to get it over with. Just take it one point at a time. Same old cliche which is something I have to think about. Because you start pressing, getting overanxious. It happened yesterday and it happened today a little bit. And, we will just have to take my time a little bit more if I am in that situation tomorrow.

Q. Who would you say, in your career, are the guys who are considered the best indoor players?

PETE SAMPRAS: Boris stands out. Ivanisevic. Andre, when he has got his game going, he is tough to beat anywhere. Those guys stand out more than anyone. Kafelnikov, he has got a good game indoor. He is going to get better as the years go on. You know, Krajicek, I mean, anyone that can serve real big on a court as quick as we are playing this week is going to be dangerous.

Q. Pete, you have played three different matches in three totally different atmospheres here in a way. This was the first what you might call "normal chance" to test it. How was it today?

PETE SAMPRAS: It was a lot less stressful. I mean, it was a lot quicker as far as in between points, I mean, playing Boris, with the crowd chanting, and, you know, he feeds off that emotion from the crowd. I kind of felt like I was in my rhythm today. I was playing the way I wanted to play. That is what makes playing Boris in Germany so difficult because you are playing at the crowd's pace and the way he wants to play. Today was a little bit more normal. Yesterday was more of a Davis Cup type of atmosphere. So I prefer to play at my own pace.

Q. Could you, Pete, try and quantify the kind of headstart he has by this event being in Germany and being on a court, say, it was a 100 meter race, how far in front of the rest is he?

PETE SAMPRAS: He has got a lead. I mean, he is definitely coming out with an advantage. There is no doubt about it. The conditions suit his game. The crowd. He is getting off the blocks a little bit sooner than anyone else. But, I had beaten him here. There is no reason why I can't do it again if I win tomorrow. But, like I said, I am not thinking about the Sunday match. I got my hands full tomorrow against Goran, so, we will see.

Q. Davis Cup final is next week. Knowing the strength of American tennis right now, does it bother you at all, in any way irritates you to see that it is going to be France against the Swedes and not -- the Americans are not involved in it; does that affect you in anyway?

PETE SAMPRAS: I kind of look at it both ways. I mean, in one way it is disappointing that we are, by far, the best, you know, as far as strength in our country is with me and Chang and Agassi and Courier, Martin - just go down the rankings, we should be there. But, on the other hand, you know, after in Moscow last year I felt going down to Australia I really wasn't that fresh. I got some time to let my body rest. I just have Munich after this, so, from a percentage standpoint, it is okay. But, as a tennis player, as a competitor, being an American, you know, there is no reason why we shouldn't win the Cup as many times as we want to win it. It is just a matter of what is best for my tennis and what is best for my health. And, I have decided to not play next year first round against Brazil. I just wish that the ITF would try to figure out a way to make Davis Cup a little bit more playable for the top guys with the schedule as much as we are playing, I am not playing in Brazil. It is just too much for me. Maybe play once every two years, once every four years make Davis Cup a little bit more special like the Ryder Cup in golf, but, you know, I tell them what I think and that is really it.

Q. Are you looking forward to Munich being moved to October so you can finally chop the year off here and go away on holiday?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. Yeah. Because Munich --

Q. You think it is a good thing?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. For me. I mean, for my tennis, once Frankfurt is over -- excuse me, Hannover (audience laughter) I am in Germany, doesn't really matter. Once Hanover is over, the year is over and you have six weeks now. I will play Munich in a couple of weeks and I will basically have three, four weeks; then I go to Australia. So, from a scheduling standpoint, it is a lot better for the players.

Q. Would you definitely play it next year Munich?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, if I don't win a major, then I won't play. If I win a major, then I will play.

Q. That is because you deserve to be there if you win a major?

PETE SAMPRAS: There is a bonus if you win a major. I mean, if I didn't win the Open, I wouldn't be playing Munich this year.

Q. Just on a British note....

PETE SAMPRAS: Talking about Henman?

Q. Rather concerning Queens. Becker and Muster and people like that are going to play Halle in the fact that it is the same week as Queens. Have you made any commitments with Queens this year?

PETE SAMPRAS: I have not made any deal or anything at Queens. It is not on my schedule. It is and it isn't. Depends what happens at the French. I have no plans of playing Halle. I am -- if I am going to play a grass court event, it is going to be Queens. It is -- preparation, it is too convenient. The court is so similar and you are in London. You can't find better preparation. We will just see how I do at the French and maybe I will take a wildcard; maybe I will rest. We will just see what happens at the French.

Q. Do you think -- I mean, for purely tennis reasons, Queens is unbeatable preparation for Wimbledon? So, even a massive amount of bucks wouldn't get you to Halle?


Q. You wouldn't consider it worth it, given the way you view Wimbledon?

PETE SAMPRAS: It is too important. I mean, sure Halle, financially, they pay a lot of money. I am sure they do. At that point of the year, getting ready for the biggest tournament in the world, you know, there is no sense of screwing around with my schedule and coming into Germany to play Halle. Queens, it is a good event. The preparation is ideal. And, there is no amount of money that will get me to play Halle.

End of FastScripts....

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