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March 13, 1996

Pete Sampras


Q. Does the fact that you aren't going to play today, is that beneficial?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, in some ways, you know, it is a nice relaxing day, but in other ways I really feel like I am not really into the tournament. I haven't played a match for the week and so I play someone tomorrow that has played two matches who is kind of in a lot of good matchplay, and I have been practicing pretty well, but it is different when you practice versus playing, so I just got to get off to a good start and play some good tennis. I don't get too many defaults. This is my second default in the seven years on the Tour, so it doesn't happen that often.

Q. The ankle didn't need the extra day?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I was ready to go.

Q. What do you think of the setup here; how things are going so far this week with the men and women playing together?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it is a little bit inconvenient, to tell you the truth. I haven't really practiced too much if. There aren't really that many practice courts available. I have been hitting over at the Stouffers, so I'd say it is a little bit congested. It is not quite as convenient as it has been, I think this site, just isn't big enough for two events. I know Charlie is trying to build a new place, so, you know, it is a little inconvenient, but, you know, hopefully as the week goes on, it will clear out.

Q. Anymore thoughts on No. 1? Like every week it is different. Now is that good for the game, or what?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it is good for the game that it has been talked about and written about and it brings some new excitement to the game. It can change hands week by week as far as the ranking is concerned. It all comes down to the end of the year; that is when you add them all up and it is a true indication of who had the best year. It will be interesting with Muster now 1 and I am 2 and it could change hands, like I said, so, it will make it into pretty exciting week-by-week ranking, I guess.

Q. How is the ankle?


Q. Are you 100%?


Q. Pete, you have been critical of the fact that Muster has built his ranking on clay courts wins. Do you have any idea what would be the best format to determine who is No. 1?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it comes down to the end of the year. I mean, that is what I think we all have to understand is the way the ranking system is set up is kind of confusing in a way where you have to defend points, this and that, and I just wish there is a ranking system that is a little bit easier to understand for everyone in room and people at home. He had a phenomenal year last year; obviously, the best clay court player in the world to come back from a career threatening injury and to do what he has done is pretty unbelievable, but, you know, it comes down to the end of the year -- that is -- I can say it once; I can say it a thousand times, that is really the bottom line.

Q. What do you have to do to compete with someone like Muster at the French Open?

PETE SAMPRAS: I need to be in great shape physically and be able to go the distance. That is someone that is so fit himself. I need to play the type of match where I need to be coming in; being aggressive and to try to use my strengths and not be so passive as I was last year. I was staying back a little bit too much, and I just think it takes a little bit of luck, because he is by far, the best one we have on the Tour as far as clay is concerned, but I just need things to go my way and play aggressive tennis.

Q. Many ranking systems in American sports, as I am sure you are aware, are decided by the press, college football, college basketball. How would you feel about the press deciding--

PETE SAMPRAS: That is fine with me. Have a voting pool, I don't know. Seems like I am not really the one to -- I don't know the right system. No matter what you get, you are not going to have a perfect system. I know the Tour has tried using people from MIT and CalTech to try to figure out the best system. If they can't, I don't know who can, so we will leave it up to you guys.

Q. The Tour added extra points, extra value to the Grand Slam events. Do you think that they should be weighted even more so than they are now?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think it is pretty good. I think they stepped up and seems like -- I have always felt the Grand Slams should get more and they have and really that is the way I think it should be. Your ranking should be a reflection of how you do at the Majors and so I am really behind that.

Q. What are your Davis Cup plans this year? Are you available for Prague?

PETE SAMPRAS: I have decided not to play in the second round. Available for the rounds after that.

Q. Has he picked his team yet?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know.

Q. How much have you decided to play coming into the clay court season before the French this year?

PETE SAMPRAS: This year I am just playing in Rome and World Team Cup and that is it. That is the schedule I have always had until last year where I played in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and Hamburg and Rome it seemed to backfire on me a little bit. I decided to go back on what I used to do and so we will see. That is what I am doing.

Q. What kind of response have had you from the milk add?

PETE SAMPRAS: Not a lot. I haven't really -- as far as -- what do you mean?

Q. Just feedback on the pose; on the cut lines below, just kind of humor it has... I just thought you might have?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. Not really.

Q. It is a little different.


Q. How long did it take to you film the commercial with Agassi, the point that goes on for ever?


Q. Is that your favorite? It is a very popular commercial. Is it a favorite of yours?

PETE SAMPRAS: I tend to like the gorilla tennis, the with us on the streets was so unique. I am happy with this one, but I feel like maybe the other one was just a little bit better.

End of FastScripts.....

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