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August 16, 1996

Pete Sampras


GREG SHARKO: With the win today, Pete advances to his 17th ATP Tour semifinal of the season. He improves his match record to 43 and 8. First question for Pete.

Q. He Never faced a breakpoint. He said that is key; that you never gave him an opening.

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I thought my service games, I was playing very, very solid. I served a lot better than I did yesterday. I figured if I get my first serve going, I think I am pretty tough to break. He seems like his game is pretty solid. I have never seen him play; never played him, obviously. He seems like he handled himself quite well; wasn't intimidated. But if I am serving well, like I was today, I feel like I am pretty tough to break.

Q. Apparently in Nick's book he says that he thinks Tommy Haas has more potential than Andre. Do you think even at his age that you could even measure that?

PETE SAMPRAS: It is hard to say. I mean, Tommy, I believe, is only 18. You know, he has got so many more years to improve his game and to get stronger; improve his serve and just be a better player. He seemed like he has got the tools to do that. You know, it is -- Andre is someone that is very rare the way he plays, and the way he hits the ball. Hits the ball very early and got the best return of serve probably ever and so it is hard to compare the two. We will see what Tommy is doing when he is 25 if he is in the top ten or top five, but seems like he has got a pretty good foundation of how he wants to play. Work on his serve a little bit, and he has got a good future.

Q. You mentioned not having seen him play. When did you start hearing about hearing him?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, he beat Furlan pretty easy 2 and 1. You don't see that very often. And beating Woodforde who had a matchpoint against me last week, very crafty touring pro going out and this guy has been playing real well. He won three matches, I believe, four matches, and you know, you got to be ready. Even though I have never seen him play, I still had a pretty good idea of what it was going to be out there. He was going to stay back. He has a much better backhand than forehands, so I had a pretty good idea what it was going to be like.

Q. Before this week, had you heard of his name as an up-and-coming?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I worked out a little bit at Bollettieri. I remember him as a little kid growing up; a lot of talk about him being from Germany and comparing him to Boris, and a Bollettieri student, so there is always going to be some talk when it is a Nick Bollettieri student.

Q. Is that like the worst thing you can do for somebody coming up if they are coming from a country like that, that he is compared to Boris and Thomas Enqvist, they always say the next Stefan and the next -- I mean, is that like a hinderance, do you think, to a player?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's hard for me to say because I have never really grown up compared to anyone. But, you know, for a guy like him, you know, he has been spending a lot of his time in the states, so I really don't know what it is like for him, but I am sure that is something that is talked about in the German papers and stuff. But like I said, I don't know. I really don't.

Q. You are obviously right now in a totally different class than someone like Tommy, but did the thought cross your mind, gee, this kid may not know enough to be intimidated and could be real dangerous?

PETE SAMPRAS: That is always a worry that you go out playing someone with nothing to lose. Maybe he will go out and play great tennis and, but, you know, I really don't have thoughts like that when I walk out. I feel like if I play my game, I am tough to beat, and he is going to have to play a hell of a match to beat me, and, you know, he -- you know, I really didn't feel threatened on my serves - service games, so I felt like I was pretty much in control of the match.

Q. Are you as sharp now as you have been since --

PETE SAMPRAS: I feel I am pretty sharp. Like I said, if my serve is like it was today, I feel like I can be that much better from the backcourt, and -- but the game has slowly and surely gotten better this week. I really struggled my first day here, and seems like I am in a pretty good groove out there, and seems like I have always played pretty well here.

Q. Do you think that maybe that Don Johnson match is almost a hump for you to have gotten over?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know. It was just a match that was just -- you just wanted to get through. It was absolutely no rhythm, and tough player to play. He didn't give you any rhythm, so it was -- I don't want to call it a hump to get over, I just managed to win the match. It wasn't pretty.

Q. Looking forward to getting a little -- getting a measure of revenge tomorrow on Ulihrach?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, not my first match. On the clay, World Team Cup was against him and he ended up beating me. Not really. Kind of look forward to playing Krajicek more than anyone right now. That is revenge.

GREG SHARKO: Anything else for Pete?

End of FastScripts...

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