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September 7, 1996

Pete Sampras


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 serve.

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?


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?


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 Chang.

Q. Have you ever felt that bad on the tennis court?


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 have recovered?

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 those matches?

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 play.

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 shape.

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 not boxing.

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 --


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 know.

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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