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March 15, 1996

Pete Sampras


JOE LYNCH: With so many people, if you don't mind, raising your hands so we get a chance to get to everybody. First question.

Q. You didn't seem to be able to get your groundstrokes working consistently at any time in the match.

PETE SAMPRAS: That is a good observation. I don't know what happened, to tell you the truth. Seemed like my shots, especially from the backcourt, they were just flying on me. I don't know if it was the dry altitude but seemed like throughout the whole match, I really didn't feel like I was comfortable, even though I won the second set, I had -- really didn't feel like I could really swing out and swing hard and the ball, you know, would feel like I had some good control, but I have never missed many forehands. I was really spraying them on both, backhands and forehand, and the serve was okay, but really just struggling and had a bad day, and you know, he has always played me pretty tough, Paul has. He has beaten me a couple of times and he is very consistent, but the match, I feel like I should win if I play well. If you are not going to play well, you are not going to win - I don't care who you are playing. I just didn't play well, plain and simple. The only person to blame is myself.

Q. Pete, what is it about Haarhuis's game that gives you so much trouble?

PETE SAMPRAS: He hits the ball with a lot of top and it kicks up high on this court and up to my backhand. He has got some heavy groundstrokes. He serves pretty well. He has a good all-around court game. He comes in and someone that if you let him dictate, he is going to dictate and I did that a little bit too much, played a little safe on some big points, but he always has given some top players trouble and I am certainly one of them.

Q. How difficult is it to start your tournament in the quarterfinals?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it wasn't difficult at all. I mean, I played a match yesterday and I was, more or less, used to the conditions, but, you know, really didn't have any affect today.

Q. You seemed to have trouble returning his serve too?

PETE SAMPRAS: I just had trouble with the whole day. I mean, every aspect of my game. The ball really kicks up high on this court and with it is so dry here, it was -- you know, it was kicking up high and I was missing a lot, and just didn't really feel like I could take a good crack at the ball. I felt like I was tentative and being a little bit safe and the ball was flying on me a little bit more than usual, and -- but just wasn't a good day.

Q. Can you go to a Plan B. against a guy like this or do you just feel like you are going be victimized out there?

PETE SAMPRAS: When you are in a match situation you want to maybe try some new things; you always to resort what feels comfortable out there. I just felt it is the way I always played; just kind of hit the return early; maybe looking back, I could have done a little bit more with his second serve; maybe chip and charge; maybe give him a new look. Like I said, you always resort to what is comfortable, and, you know, just learn from these losses that maybe, you know, when you are down in the third set maybe try something different, but it takes a little time, but it was just a tough day for me.

Q. It is hard to resort to what is comfortable when nothing is comfortable, I guess.

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, you are right. It is not a great feeling when you feel like it is just not there. Just, you know, I was overhitting and just missing, missing easy balls that I normally don't miss, and I don't know why. I just was -- timing wasn't there. Just didn't feel too comfortable out there. Eventually it is going to catch up to you when you don't play well. And I won the second set and I just didn't feel it. I didn't feel like I usually do, and these days happen. You just at this point, just have to bounce back and, you know, get back to the drawing board and have a good Lipton.

Q. There are reports out that you won't be playing Davis Cup against Czechoslovakia. After such a tremendous effort last year, are you going to be taking the whole year off from Davis Cup; can you comment about that?

PETE SAMPRAS: I have decided not to play the second round, but I would be available if needed in the last two rounds.

Q. I guess, Michael and Andre aren't playing either from what the reports we get; any comment about some of the top Americans bowing out from second round match?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think we have to understand that as far as the timing of the second round, it is impossible. The week after Lipton, it's going to be over in Europe; I go over to Asia. You hope one guy was hopefully going to step up and Todd has always done that, but I did it last year and I paid the price in some ways, and decided, you know, not to do it this year.

Q. San Jose, you played such a great final. Not including today, have you had a match like that since?

PETE SAMPRAS: That was some of the best tennis I played in a couple of years. I was basically in the zone for the most part and, you know, you wish you wake up everyday feeling like that, but unfortunately you have days like today where your wake up and it just wasn't there. So C'est la vie.

Q. Was your ankle giving you any concern?


Q. Same question?

JOE LYNCH: That would be a double "no." It looks like that takes care of it.

End of FastScripts........

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