November 21, 1996
Q. Was it the crowd? Was it him? How much would you say was you regarding the result today?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think it was a little bit of everything. He played very well. I thought I played pretty well. The crowd was very much into the match and he seemed like I really -- he really feeds off the crowd. It's is tough to play him here. Tough to play him anywhere. The court speed is to his liking. He likes it pretty quick. I had a lot of chances, tiebreaker, first set, serving for the second set, really could have made it into a three-set match and maybe have won. But, at this point, I am a little bit upset. I had a lot of chances. But, I am to the point where I just need to regroup. I am not out of this thing. I have a chance to play tomorrow and hopefully win and hopefully I will be around in the semifinals. It is a tough loss to get over. I mean, I feel like I played well enough to win. He just got the important points. I thought I had my chances. I had so many chances in the tiebreaker and set points and serving for the set, and I just let them slip away. I just didn't make a play on them.
Q. Seemed like you were serving pretty well most of the day; then you got to the point where you served for the second set; then you lost your first serve. What happened there?
PETE SAMPRAS: I just -- I don't know if it was -- what it was. But, I completely lost my rhythm. I don't know. I mean, you know, even serving for the set even the next game and the tiebreaker, I completely lost my rhythm. I don't know why. Maybe I was getting little bit overanxious trying to finish it off too quickly and I was rushing things. Maybe if I would have taken my time a little bit more. That is a time where your need to -- I was holding serve pretty handily throughout the match. When it came down to the time to put the nail in the coffin in the second set, I just let it slip away and didn't get any first serves in. You need to serve well against Boris. He returns too well off the second serve. So, it is a tough ballgame out there. It really is. Tough playing him. It is mentally draining. You know, you feel like you had him; then I let it slip away and the crowd gets into it and it is very tough.
Q. How would you compare playing him in Frankfurt and playing him here, same or tougher with more fans?
PETE SAMPRAS: I would say it is a little bit tougher. The fans are -- little bit more people here. I would say it is a little bit louder. You can feel it. Frankfurt was, you know, still very difficult, Stuttgart, I mean, I am getting a little bit tired of playing Boris here in Germany. Maybe I can play him at the U.S. Open next year. It is just tough. He is one of the best indoor players; best players, period, that I have played in my career. You just add on the fact that he is playing in his home country makes things a little bit more difficult.
Q. Have they have been fair enough the crowd?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I think they have been pretty fair. Couple of people talking in the middle of the point. I have always felt the people here in Germany, when I have played Boris, were pretty fair. They are not rude. It is not fun. It is definitely not fun. But, pretty good crowd.
Q. You said that the court suited his game very well. Is it faster than Frankfurt?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. The court is definitely a little bit quicker than Frankfurt. Just watching the tennis this week, a lot of aces; a lot of big serves, that is indoor tennis, but, it could be slowed down a little bit. I like it out here. Good court for me, but I think for the fans and people watching at home, I think the serve is dominating a little bit too much. A lot of aces and to slow it down a little bit is something that I would be in favor of.
Q. Are you at all surprised considering what kind of layoff he had that he has been able to hit the level that he has hit so quickly last month or so?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. His layoff wasn't that long. Wasn't like six months. It was two, three months and you get him back in the indoor surface, you know, he is in a pretty good groove. I am not that surprised. He really seems to really play well this time of year. Seemed like he is pretty fresh mentally and physically, and he is very tough to beat here.
Q. When is the last time somebody beat you three times in a row? I know he hasn't yet, but when is the last time that's ever happened?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know. I don't keep those stats in my mind.
Q. Pete, what did you feel when you go down the stairs to the court? Boris said he was very excited with the music?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't blame him (audience laughter). I am sure he is very excited. It's a good atmosphere even though it is tough conditions. This is what the game is all about. You are playing in front of a big crowd. Even though it is tough to play for me, the electricity and atmosphere was awesome. That is what the ATP Finals and that is what tennis in Germany is all about and especially when Boris is playing. So walking out it was like two heavyweights going at it. And, I think the fans were treated to some good tennis. Unfortunately, I was the loser. But, it is not over yet.
Q. You did win the first six points in a row. Was it your strategy to calm him down from the very first moment on?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it was important to get off to a good start and, you know, I did get off to a pretty good start. Would have been nice to have broken him; try to get the crowd out of the match from the first game on. But, he held on serve and worked his way into the match pretty well. And, once the crowd got into it, it makes it pretty tough. But, it is always important to -- when you are playing someone in their home country, to get off to a good start. But, we both started off pretty well.
Q. Expect a rematch on Sunday?
PETE SAMPRAS: Hopefully I am here. We will see. I don't know what the other guys -- I am sure I have to win tomorrow, obviously, and, you know, we will see -- I don't know the details of the format and whatever. But, hopefully I can be around and play him in the final. It is a long way away. But, what I am thinking about now is learning from this loss and, you know, I will be disappointed tonight, but when I wake up tomorrow it is a new day. And I play Kafelnikov. And, just go out and try to win. Whatever happens, happens.
Q. What do you think about the fact that Enqvist can qualify?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think it is fine. I think, you know, he is the 9th guy. He was paid to come here and to be the alternate. Now he has got a chance. The way he has played recently, he is going to be tough to beat. That is the rules that are in place here. If he makes it, that is too good. I mean, I don't know really what else to say. I have played -- I have played pretty well this week and hopefully I have a chance to maybe play over the weekend. But, he was -- that is why he was here. That is why he was an alternate in case somebody gets injured or sick and that is what happened.
Q. Is the problem of the ringing of telephones getting worse and should --
PETE SAMPRAS: It is annoying. I wish -- middle of a point you hear a phone go off, it is a little bit annoying. People should just turn it off.
Q. Looks like it is getting worse?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, it is a -- yeah, I wish they would just turn it off. You know, it is a little bit distracting. So, maybe they can just ban them or something like that. I don't know. Ban then, get rid of them. Security. We need security.
Q. He get a birthday tomorrow, Boris. Do you have any present for him?
PETE SAMPRAS: I have no present. I gave him the presented to. (audience laughter)
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