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August 15, 1996

Pete Sampras


GREG SHARKO: Pete advances to the quarterfinals here for the 7th time in his many appearances. He is now 22 and 4 lifetime here at the RCA Championships. He be playing Tommy Haas for the first time in the quarterfinals tomorrow. And earlier Tommy was saying that you guys were maybe going to hit down there until he had to go off to a Challenger, but you guys have never hit or anything before.

PETE SAMPRAS: No. I live in Tampa. He works out at Bollettieri's. It is about an hour drive. We were trying to hook up and hit, but it never happened. But we will get the chance tomorrow.

Q. What is his game like, Pete?

PETE SAMPRAS: I have never seen him play. I am sure my coach Paul Annacone went out and scouted him and see what he likes and doesn't like. It is a little difficult playing someone you have never seen play and getting used to it. I believe he went through the qualifying and to beat players that he has beaten here, he is obviously in good form. I feel like I am in good form; playing pretty well tonight, a little easier than the other nights, so I am pretty happy about that.

Q. He might be the sentimental favorite tomorrow to a lot of fans, kind of a wildcard getting this far playing the No. 1 ranked player in the world. Does that put a little more pressure on you?

PETE SAMPRAS: I have played matches like this many times over the years. Just go out and play another match. Go out and play my game, that is all I can really -- sum it up very easily like that. But I am sure he is going to have nothing to lose and like I said, he beat Woodforde today. Woodforde is a very good player, so he is playing well.

Q. Considering the depth, everybody is talking about it on the men's tour today, how amazing is it is that a guy comes out; plays his first tournament and is here in the quarterfinals?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, that is -- it doesn't surprise me that much. These guys are hitting the ball so big and serving so big. They go out with absolutely, you know, with nothing to lose and it is easy to play like that. Easy to play with, you know, kind of shooting from the hip and, you know, with the ranking system there is today, you can afford to do that play as much as you want, go out and tee off and hopefully win.

Q. What was the most pleasing part of your performance tonight?

PETE SAMPRAS: I thought I just hit the ball well. Returned all right. Didn't really serve that great. But I don't think Marcos played quite as well as he normally does. I just played pretty solid.

Q. 18 out of 46 first serves. Do you now try to analyze why your percentage wasn't higher?

PETE SAMPRAS: It was just some nights, some days that, you know, I didn't have it. I didn't have my fast ball. It was, you know-- fortunately, I hit the ball pretty well. Maybe my toss was moving all over the place, I don't know. I just have so see what Paul saw with my serve. Maybe I was bringing my head down. There are so many things that can happen in the serve. You can do something wrong. I was missing them, maybe trying to serve a little bit too hard. It just wasn't there tonight. Hopefully it will be there tomorrow.

Q. Do you watch the radar indicator to see how fast you are serving?

PETE SAMPRAS: I tend to. Especially what kind of speed he is serving at and, you know, kind of see if I hit a big serve, if it is coming in pretty quick, 120 or something, so it is pretty difficult to return if you are serving that big.

Q. Kind of nice to know that you can win a match when you don't have your fast ball in?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. Rely on -- I'd much rather serve well and make things a little bit easier, but when times are a little bit tough on my serve, I feel like I have confidence in my backcourt game to out-rally these guys and hope as the match goes on the serve can come around and it never really did tonight. It was a little bit spotty. Just have to, you know, work on it a little bit tomorrow; not a lot and hopefully serving better.

Q. After you lost the first game things went pretty well from there. Did you refocus or bear down, for lack of a better expression, after that first game?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I don't think I refocused. I felt I was ready to go. I just played a loose game. Had a game point; missed a forehand, you know, little bit, you know, takes a little while to get used to playing out there even though I played other nights here, so, you know, just kind of, you know, it is only one game even though it is a break, I felt like, you know, still very early in the match and there is no reason to panic, just go out and play some solid tennis.

Q. Any comment on the Agassi situation?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it is -- it is really disappointing for the event, I mean, to not have him here, you know, hurts the TV; hurts the sponsors; hurts the tournament. You don't like to see things like that happen. He said some things he shouldn't have said and he paid the price. We all kind of react differently to bad line calls or not playing well, and he just maybe went a little bit too far and that was it.

Q. Do you feel it was something waiting to happen with him?

PETE SAMPRAS: I have played Andre where he has lost his cool a couple of times and has been on the edge of -- has been on the edge. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) And last night, I just think he just went a little bit too far and, you know, it is surprising. I mean, seemed like he was in control of the match - wasn't like he was close to losing. I mean, the way things were going, you know, no reason for him to do that, but that is the way it goes.

Q. Based on what you observed from the range of opponents over the years, do you think that the ATP code of conduct is enforced inconsistently?

PETE SAMPRAS: Inconsistently as far as guys getting points and --

Q. Yeah, or some things and not others, or --

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I don't know if I can comment because I have never gotten a warning.

Q. Not you personally, but from opponents over the years.

PETE SAMPRAS: I haven't -- no. Not really. I mean, I think, you know, the Tour does a pretty good job of controlling the matches with the umpires and it is just an unfortunate thing. I mean, you don't like to see things like that happen him going out on being defaulted by the umpire, I mean, it is unfortunate.

Q. Pete, were you watching it when it happened?


Q. No, on television.

PETE SAMPRAS: I watched it on the news. Funniest thing was when that dog was pissin in the flowers (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) That just sums it up (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) That was funny.

Q. Don't tell the RCA folks that.

PETE SAMPRAS: Got a lot of publicity out of it.

Q. Given Andre's his roller-coaster year, do you see this having an adverse effect for him at the Open, the default?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I don't think so. By the time the Open comes around, it would have been a couple of weeks and seems like after the Olympics and Cincinatti, his game is back to where it should be and playing very well, so I don't think it will have any affect.

GREG SHARKO: Thanks everyone.

End of FastScripts...

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