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August 6, 1996

Pete Sampras


Q. Do you feel good being back in the circuit?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. I thought I played pretty well considering you practice and practice and practice, but it is so much different when you get out and play in front of people in a match situation, but I thought I played real well; served real well, and it is a good start for me.

Q. Do you think it was a good test?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, it is a good test. Like I said, playing someone like Jakob who has given me problems in the past; has got a big serve. I have been spending a lot of time in Tampa just practicing just getting back in shape and to go out and beat him 3 and 4, I kind of went out not really sure what to expect; how I was going to play and the nerves were there, and so it was pretty good.

Q. Did you feel rusty in any areas?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, not really. The serve wasn't that consistent, but I can't complain. I served real well. Returned pretty well. I mean, all and all, I was pretty happy with my game.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I pulled out of the Olympics and that was it.

Q. Did you change your training around because you had the long break in between and did you do anything differently?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I just spent a lot of time outside in the heat. The heat kind of got to me last year here and a little bit in the summer and I made a point that I was going to, you know, be out in the heat and get used to this humidity because it is pretty hot here. Even though I played at night, it was still very humid. I don't think I changed a lot of my training. It was just being outside more and practicing a little bit more and doing a little bit more running and that was my intention.

Q. Did you take any actual, like, days off in a row that you weren't hitting or on the court or --

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I was pretty much hitting everyday. I mean, after Wimbledon I had some time off; didn't play any tennis, but for the past three weeks, I have been two weeks, more or less, been playing just about everyday - maybe a day off here and there.

Q. How difficult is it to come back; enough to win the tournament (inaudible)?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think I kind of answered that already. You know, like I say, you practice and practice and if you get in a match situation, it is different. It is kind of like riding a bike, you are not going to forget how to ride a bike. It is -- you know, I thought I handled it pretty well.

Q. Pretty pain-free with the injury that you had?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I am fine.

Q. Did you have to do any time off for that?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I took about five, six days after I hurt my Achilles; just got some treatment and rest and that was the reason I pulled out of the Olympics, so that was disappointing, but I am over that now.

Q. How exactly did you do it?

PETE SAMPRAS: I was in Tahoe and I was going for some runs kind of in the mountains there and kind of felt my Achilles a little bit and it kind of got worse and worse to the point where I felt I wasn't going to be ready for the Olympics; it was best to get this thing healed up and my doctors figured that it was best that I take some time off to get this taken care of and have a good summer and a good Open.

JOE LYNCH: Part of the training was celebrity Golf Challenge, long drive contest, 332 down the middle, good training. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER)

PETE SAMPRAS: Good training for the mind.

Q. Didn't bother your Achilles at all?


JOE LYNCH: That was before that, anyway.

Q. Is that an accurate statistic?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, it was an altitude of about 6000 feet. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) You don't have to write that.

Q. What did you win for that?

PETE SAMPRAS: A set of Taylor Made irons and woods, bubble burners. I got, I think, my 9th set of clubs now. I am not joking. And I bought two of them.

Q. You can always blame the clubs, I used the wrong set again?

PETE SAMPRAS: Absolutely.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Pete?

Q. Have you been enjoying your time in Cincinnati so far? How long have you been here?

PETE SAMPRAS: I got here Saturday; went to the beach last night did some rides in the water and that has really been it, pretty. Much not a lot of time to do other things. You know, come to the site and practice and go back to the hotel that is -- it is pretty much the same, so, you know, tennis is the priority here, so…..

Q. Do you feel more refreshed now that you have taken sometime off?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, mentally I felt the European Tour was disappointing and I am over that now and to have so much time off, you know, you kind of get that hunger back that you want to go back and get back on the road and start playing competitive and I have that. I am eager to play and the U.S. Open is certainly on the back of my mind right now.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Pete?

End of FastScripts….

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