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November 14, 1995

Pete Sampras


Q. Is that the way you wanted to start off?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. Yeah. It was a great start to the tournament, you know, I started off playing good tennis. You walk out there; at times you are not really used to the court and the conditions, but I played here so many years that I was ready to go from the first point on and the match really could have been a lot closer than the score appears because he had breakpoints and first set, second set. If he converts on one of those, the match could turn around, but it is a start you look forward to. Straight sets, played pretty well. Happy with my serve and my games. Hopefully, I can continue this play tomorrow.

Q. Pete, this being the World Championship, will you consider yourself the world champion purely on the strength of winning this tournament which calls itself the World Championship?

PETE SAMPRAS: It is a tough question to answer because, you know, I have always measured my year on how I do at the Majors and, you know, the fact that I have won two of them, you know, I feel that it is an extremely good year, but if you look at Thomas's year, he has been a lot more consistent and Andre. They have both been a lot more consistent with a lot more titles and matches, but like I said, the Majors, that is what it all boils down to, so it is kind of up to everyone mind in here who is No. 1 and 2, but I am not 2 this year, I can look back at this year, and have two Majors and that is the most important thing to me is doing well at those tournaments and so hopefully I can stay No. 1 this year and play well here and that would be the icing on the cake.

Q. When you finally come to retire, will it be a question looking back and thinking I won that many Grand Slams, or will you also look back and think I finished four, five years as No. 1, would that be important to you or will it just be the number of Grand Slams?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think the Grand Slams, by far, that is the one thing I will always look back and if it was 7 or 9 or 10, that is the main thing that I will look back and the fact that you are No. 1 in 1995, that is great. But the fact that I won the Open and Wimbledon, is even that much better, so I think that is what we all look back when you look at the Lavers and the McEnroes and Connors - how many Majors they won, and everyone kind of took for granted their ranking was No. 1 in '73 or '74. It was, you know, Don Budge won a Grand Slam and Laver won two and that is what we all remember.

Q. Do you think Thomas Muster has a realistic chance to be No. 1? Do you feel any pressure from his side or...

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, no, not really. I mean, he has had a great year; especially on the clay. He, by far, is the best clay court player we have and has proved that he can play well on the indoor court winning in Essen. He has had a phenomenal year. We will see what happens this week. Hopefully, I can stay on top, but that would be great. I mean, he is doing well.

Q. Winter would be the best time for Muster and No. 1. He has to defend many points --

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, maybe he could possibly do it. I mean, the way the ranking system is and defending points, but you always look at the end of the year and that is -- accumulation of all the points and that is the bottom line who is No. 1 at the end of the year. It is great to be No. 1 in January, February, but when the end of the year is done then, you know, that is the time where you want to be ranked pretty high.

Q. Do you do any calculation like what happens in Australia, what could happen, who has to defend points?


Q. Just play your tournaments and win?

PETE SAMPRAS: That is the bottom line. You just answered my question.

Q. Pretty special today. Do you think that the way you did beat him today will have any bearing whatsoever on what will happen in Moscow in a couple of week's time?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, because it is a completely different ballgame. It is going to be on clay. He is going to have his fans behind him. The court definitely helps out my game being indoor and it is on Green Set and on clay will be a completely different ballgame. I mean, he plays well indoor, but on clay he is that much better. Got to the semis of the French. We all know that clay is not my best surface, so he certainly has the ingredients in the game to beat me. So hopefully, you know, we will see what happens there, I mean, we also have some pretty good players on our team, Courier and Agassi hopefully he can get healthy and play, so we will see what happens over the next couple of weeks.

Q. You said last year that you were going to work hard on your clay game and maybe go further in Paris and so forth and after last spring. Now what?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I am not planning on playing as much on the clay this year. I played the clay since the Lipton; that was 2 1/2 months before the French this year. Next year, I am not going to play quite as much. You know, I tried something different. Tried to play a little bit more. It obviously didn't work at the French, so, you know, I am not going to play quite so much next year. Just going to go back to my own schedule and I look at the French as a big challenge, as the one that I haven't won and certainly I hope to get lucky one year and win.

Q. Do you know exactly what your clay schedule will be, Monte Carlo?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, for sure Rome, and World Team Cup. And possibly Monte Carlo. I don't know yet.

Q. Do you know who you play next here?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. I don't.

Q. Pete, if you were an outsider and you were looking at yourself play, what weaknesss would you see?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't see anything really (laughter) -- I don't know. It's a tough question to answer. Certainly, I don't feel like I have a lot of holes in my game, but there are shots that I feel like I can hit better. I feel like I can always return better and volley better. Kind of a tough question to answer.

End of FastScripts....

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