September 7, 1996
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. Could you tell us about your match against Corretja?
PETE SAMPRAS: My stomach was hurting me. I almost had enough. And I never really agreed
with playing a tiebreaker in the fifth set, but this is the one time I agree with. I
couldn't have played it out, I don't think. Down a matchpoint, he hit forehand down the
line, went cross-court; I picked it off. Ironic part was that he really didn't give me a
point. Throughout the match he missed some shots, but he was so tough and so tough to
control the point. Ironic point, matchpoint he gave it to me, and that is weird.
Q. Can you talk about the second serve ace, please?
PETE SAMPRAS: I didn't want to play the point. I didn't really feel like moving,
playing a groundstroke rally, because it was too much and I just went for it and he really
stepped over to the left throughout the whole match and, you know, I just hit a great
Q. Were you setting it up with the first one?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, I just wanted to get it -- get it over with.
Q. Was it simply a question of stomach cramps or was it dehydration?
PETE SAMPRAS: It was dehydration. In the third and fourth sets, I was starting to drink
a little bit of Pepsi, which wasn't the smartest thing to do. I felt like I needed a kind
of caffeine to get me going, and then I just, it was just dehydration, very humid that
day. At 1 o'clock and 7 o'clock, I hadn't eaten all day really. Maybe I should have had a
banana or something, but in the heat of the moment, I was just drinking water and Pepsi
and I just ran out of gas and there you have it.
Q. If you didn't really care whether you won or lost, was there something in your head
that said, okay, that is it, I am just walking off now?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, I was going to finish. Whatever happened, happened.
Q. Before the match you felt all right?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes.
Q. How did you go about getting ready for this one? Yesterday, what did you do? What
did you eat? Get some rest or --
PETE SAMPRAS: I got a couple of liters of I.V. in me to kind of, you know, kind of get
some nutrients in me, and I had a day off yesterday, so, I just had a very light hit. I
got a massage and I got some good food in me and I got to do whatever I could to recover
physically and today I felt, all things considered, pretty good. It wasn't a very hot day.
It was windy. I felt pretty strong out there. I would have much rather won in three sets,
but I didn't, so...
Q. Are you surprised in lieu of the last game, that you are sitting here ready to go
defend your title tomorrow?
PETE SAMPRAS: Today?
Q. In what happened in the last match and now here you are --
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it is hard. I mean, this is a strange game, and this whole last
three, four months has been very emotional at times, and yesterday's match was -- a couple
of days ago the match was just, you know, just some heart. I just felt like I didn't want
to give up. I just wanted to win or lose, just shake his hand and say he was too good if I
lost. But now that it is over now, you know, yesterday I just wanted to put it behind me,
and get ready for Goran. That is the way you have to treat a tournament like this, and I
am happy with the way I played today and served well, and tomorrow I have to get ready for
Q. Have you ever felt that bad on the tennis court?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. Nothing close?
PETE SAMPRAS: Nothing close. I felt -- I just felt my stomach; everything was hurting.
I never felt physically that bad.
Q. Do you still feel handicapped physically today?
PETE SAMPRAS: Today I feel fine.
Q. Could you go for five sets easily today?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I mean, it wasn't that hot out there. Like I said, it was very
cool, and the other day against Corretja, it was a warm day. I was losing a lot of fluids,
and, you know, points were very quick out there. Not that we had a lot of long rallies, it
wasn't going to be a problem if it went five.
Q. Considering how bad you felt, are you really surprised how quickly you seemed to
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, like I said, the I.V. really helped. It is amazing what those
things will do. It got me - get some energy, and, you know, I feel like I recovered pretty
good. I mean, I had the day off yesterday which helps, a little bit, but once you get out
and start playing and warm-up and break a sweat, it is really not a problem.
Q. Pete, it has been such a difficult year for you. What would it mean to you
personally to cap the year off with a Grand Slam victory tomorrow?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, this is my last chance to win a major. The way the year has been
going, it hasn't been a bad year, but I always measured how I do at these tournaments and
I have my last chance against Michael, so, you know, it is crunch time I mean, you got to
put what happened against Corretja behind me, and this is it. You got to use every ounce
of energy I have got and go out and play.
Q. You and Michael played 17 times. What do you think of when you think of matchups in
PETE SAMPRAS: I played Michael since -- in the juniors since we were 7 and 8. We have
had a rivalry for a lot of years. I have had my share of wins. He has beaten me before. It
is a good matchup. He will be staying back a lot. Counterpunching, coming in some. I will
be coming in, and hopefully serve well. It is a straightforward match. Just go out and
Q. With various physical problems keep cropping up, are you working as hard the last
couple of years as, say, you did say in '93, '92 when you really kind of turned around
your conditioning and that sort of thing, has there been a drop off?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think so. I just think I have played a lot of tennis, a lot of
long matches; especially at the French and, you know, in the heat of the battles, a lot of
nervous energy, you know, I feel, physically, I am in pretty good shape. After this year
is over I have some time to do some training - take four, five weeks to get in really good
Q. We do this every time you face Chang, but the first match you played together, do
you remember it at all?
PETE SAMPRAS: Playing junior tournament in Powa - that is in California, near San
Diego, and I ended up beating him, but we have played each other probably 20 times in the
juniors since we are both from the L.A. area and we just grinded it out, and I had
two-hand backhand, pretty big battle.
Q. He was taller than you then? (Audience laughter).
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, he was. He was.
Q. You have had so many dramatic matches in your career, Yzaga, Courier in Australia,
Moscow, certainly the French, just the other day. Have you thought about these string of
dramatic matches and what that means to you and that you have been able to come through so
many of them?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think there are times in the past five, six years I think people
have kind of questioned my heart and my desire and I think throughout the past six months
to a year, I have battled through some tough moments, on and off the court and fought hard
and I think people see that I do care and I do want to win and that I do have a heart, so
if -- that is one thing that I have never really questioned. I think people see me play,
they see me kind of being pretty lackadaisical. That is really not the case. The matches I
have won and like you mention is just an indication that I have and I refuse to lose and
there you have it.
Q. In terms of matches, where would you put the Corretja match?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think the way I felt that was probably the worst I felt. In
Moscow I cramped up against matchpoint against Chesnokov, but Corretja I was done. I was
done. If it was a boxing match, I think the ref would have called it. But thank God we are
Q. How tough was today's match for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it was a completely different match than Corretja. With Goran it's
like riding a roller-coaster. You are not sure what he is doing to do. He hits a lot of
aces; misses a lot of shots, but he can pull off a lot of shots. You have to hang with
him. Hopefully get second serves in. I was flustered after I lost that third set
tiebreaker; played a couple of tight points and before I knew it, we were in the fourth
set. I got a little lucky break. That is all it took.
Q. Any reason for showing more heart, for fighting more, or was it just --
PETE SAMPRAS: What?
Q. That people thought you wouldn't have heart enough to fight. Was it just a prejudice
or really something changing? Was it a wrong opinion?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I just think losing to Edberg in the '92 final really hurt me a lot
and how important the Majors are and fortunately people don't remember who comes in second
and that match woke me up to really, really hate to lose. I wouldn't say that five, six
years ago, but now that I have won quite a number of Majors the more I want to win them.
So here I am having another chance tomorrow.
Q. Can you just expand on that tiebreaker? I mean, some of those matchpoints, the
doublefault and whatever, I mean, how did you keep yourself positive going into that
fourth set after losing those opportunities?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I had a hard time looking at anything positive after losing that
tiebreaker. I just kind of was thinking in the first three, four games of the fourth, like
how stupid I played them. I just went for some big serves, the matchpoints I got real
conservative on a groundstroke rally, and I just tried to regain my composure and tried to
look at, I am still up a set; I am playing pretty well; just keep holding serve and
hopefully have a chance to break. On the break point, hit that serve 128. I barely got it
back and missed the shot, and that is just the way it always is when I play Goran - comes
down to a point here and there.
Q. Can you remember any sporting event that you looked at the way people are looking at
your performance against Corretja yesterday?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is hard to say. I don't know. I don't know. You know, I remember the
marathon guy trying to make the Olympics was vomiting, qualified for the Olympics. I don't
Q. Can you imagine how he might have felt like after a match ball doublefault?
PETE SAMPRAS: Oh, I don't want to think about it.
Q. Time has a way of changing things and years ago Jimmy was really critical of your
among, now the monkey is off my back quote. Now that you are a good bit it older, do you
understand a little bit of more what Jimmy was saying or do you?
PETE SAMPRAS: At the time I said something -- I said some things I probably shouldn't
have said after defending try to defends in '91 I said that it was -- the pressure was
off, but reality of it is that I learned over the years that, you know, I hate to lose and
I do whatever I can to win and if it is ugly, it is ugly, just as long as I win the last
point. I think over time I learned a lot about myself and maturity and going out and
playing hard and that is really the difference with when I was 19 to now, I am 25.
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