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November 13, 1995

Pete Sampras


Q. How is it for you to have family and your girlfriend and trainer travel on the Tour when you are travelling around; what is it like for you?

PETE SAMPRAS: It is very important. You look over to the side of the court and to have the trainer, it is nice to have that support behind you and off the court it is nice to go out to dinner and certainly I really feel pretty far from home, so it is pretty important.

Q. Do you feel more comfortable on the Tour with the family and friends?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, it makes it a little bit easy to travel.

Q. ATP Finals now six times here in Frankfurt. You are also here the first time the second time third time. What do you know about the city?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, unfortunately I don't know a lot. It is pretty much back to the hotel and the court. It is not a whole lot of time for other things. Tennis is the main priority, so that is really about it.

Q. Most famous man from Frankfurt, the most famous man, do you have an idol?

PETE SAMPRAS: I have no idea.

Q. Do you know Goethe?


Q. Very famous German poet.

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I don't.

Q. Who are you here with?

PETE SAMPRAS: I am with Paul Annacone and he has been working with me ever since Tim took ill, so if I am going to work on something specific I will work with Paul, so it is just kind of an added thing I bring along.

Q. Do you think former player on the Tour, do you have the idea that they are the better coaches when they played tennis on the Tour?

PETE SAMPRAS: When you have someone like Paul or Tim, someone that has played the Tour, he knows what is going on out there, and it is not like someone that hasn't been out there and certainly those guys are good players themselves. They weren't great players, but they certainly know a lot about the game. They have helped me in a lot of ways. Paul has certainly been a huge impact for me this year. He got my mind back to where it should be after my problems with Tim. Definitely need someone out there.

Q. Does the coach have to play on a high level to be a good coach?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, not at all. A lot of the great coaches, great players, aren't good coaches. Someone like Bill Russell, great basketball player. He wasn't a very good coach and Paul and Tim were good players; they weren't in the top five, but they know the game. They know how to interpret the game. They know what I like; what I don't like, so it worked out well.

Q. You need more help psychologically?

PETE SAMPRAS: Sure, I mean, that is a lot of it, mentally, to be ready each day and certainly things in my game as far as technical stuff, my serve, and my shots that they see, that I can't see, it is all pretty important.

Q. Andre Agassi, do you miss him here?

PETE SAMPRAS: Certainly him not being here, the event loses quite a bit. With the No. 1 ranking being pretty much up for grabs; him not being here is a big blow to tennis and especially here in Frankfurt. He played a lot of tennis over the summer; had a great Open and his body just wore down a little bit and he hasn't gotten over his injury.

Q. Some players are here for the first time; one of them is Thomas Enqvist --

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, he is one of the best players that I have played this year. He had matchpoint against me in Montreal. I feel that he has got some of the best groundies I have played. He had a great solid year and obviously a tough player.

Q. Do you have a special relationship to your racket, a special relationship?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it is -- it is not that deep, but it is an extension of my arm, I guess, I don't know. I mean, I treat them with a lot of care. String them very tight, so they wear out. Definitely important when I play with them. Been playing with them for ten years, so it has been pretty good for me.

Q. You can say it is a friend of yours?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yes, absolutely.

Q. Pete, obvious question: Andre missing, it is a blow to the tournament. Does it take anything away from the whole week from your point of view as well or not?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, not really. I am so concentrated on what I am playing; on what I am doing, certainly you see the results; you watch it on TV, and him not playing here definitely loses quite a bit with the raking at stake and how popular he is, it is a pretty big blow to tennis, in general, but if he is here, not here, I have always been to myself and doing kind of my own schedule.

Q. Once the thing starts, you forget that sort of thing?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, you can't avoid it because you are watching the tennis and you certainly -- you are aware of how everyone else is doing, but, you know--

Q. It is not as if it gives you a bit of a let-down before the thing starts?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I am ready to go. Regardless if he was here, you know, obviously he is not here.

Q. What about Davis Cup?

PETE SAMPRAS: I'd certainly like him to be ready to go on the clay. It is certainly not my best surface and Jim proved himself to be a really good clay court player winning the French twice. I was prepared to play doubles, but with Andre's fitness in question, you know, I don't think Tom really knows what to do at this point. I think we are all going to go there and just play it by ear as far as who is playing singles and doubles, and Andre's health is still in question because I, you know--

Q. Have you heard specifically how far he is from recovery?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know.

Q. You haven't spoken to him at all or any of his people?

PETE SAMPRAS: We did our Nike spot together in L.A. last week, and we really didn't talk much about his injury. It is just obviously still bothering him.

Q. What about the commercial?

PETE SAMPRAS: I can't tell you. If I tell you, I will have to kill you. No, it is a pretty good spot. I am looking forward to seeing it.

Q. You have suffered quite a few defeats this season, but you seem, certainly since the French, to have beaten at the right moments. Do you approach the bigger tournaments differently like Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the French indoor, Paris indoor, done well in all these three really big ones, do you approach it differently?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think I approach the Majors differently than the other tournaments without a question. I go in there in a whole different frame of mind than going into an ATP Tour event. I just feel that this is where -- where I measure my year is how I do at the Majors, and I just get up for it, and mentally, physically, you are ready to go. I am not saying I don't prepare well for the other tournaments, but it is different when you walk into a major that first round. You are ready to go three out of five. It is just a different pressure.

Q. How do you prepare for this? Do you regard this on the same level as the Majors?

PETE SAMPRAS: This one here?

Q. Yeah.

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it is kind of the ATP's major. I don't consider it in the same class as a Wimbledon or a U.S. Open. But you have got all the top players here. It is, you know, a very big event in Europe. I wish the states would cover it more, but I don't put this quite in the same level as a Wimbledon.

Q. Does that mean then you don't approach it in quite a determined a fashion or -- do you put it on that high of a level to produce your best?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I know I got to be at my best. Because you don't really have any easy matches here playing someone in the top 8 in the world. If you don't come ready to play, you are not going to win. Versus some other tournaments you have an easy couple of rounds or something, you are into it, but it is sometimes a struggle to get up for each match.

Q. The fact, though, that you have got a second chance; in fact you have never won all five, have you all five rounds?

PETE SAMPRAS: To be undefeated?

Q. Yes.

PETE SAMPRAS: I do not think I have.

Q. It does give you a second chance--

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I am ready to go. I am prepared and I am going to go into tomorrow's match ready to go; ready to go three sets; whatever it takes win.

Q. Behind the four Grand Slams you would put this No. 5?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I'd say I'd put it up there. If you look at the Lipton, it looks like it is pretty prestigious and getting popular. I look at Frankfurt as probably the fifth major.

Q. Did you bring that suit over with you?

PETE SAMPRAS: I got it from the tournament.

Q. You can keep it?


Q. You are going to wear it?

PETE SAMPRAS: It is going -- I am going to crumple it up in my suitcase.

Q. What about Thomas, after Essen and everything like that?


Q. Yes.

PETE SAMPRAS: What about him?

Q. Well, has he proven that he can play indoors?

PETE SAMPRAS: Oh, yeah, without a question. He pretty much breezed through the tournament; beat me and has proven that he is not only a clay court player, which he is the best in the world at that. He can play well indoor, you know, he is not going to win every major, win every big indoor tournament, but he has definitely improved. I mean, I can see a difference in the way he is serving; coming in a little bit more. I think he has accepted the fact that he has got to do something else than just to stay back. So just goes to show, it is good to see someone that is primarily known as a clay courter to try to improve on the other surfaces. I mean, obviously, grass is a different story, but, you know, he has proven he has gotten better.

Q. Do you think that is going to give him a new belief in his ability to perform?

PETE SAMPRAS: Probably. Pretty much handily beat everyone. When you win tournaments, beating the top guys, you kind of believe in yourself that you can beat the top guys and so I am sure that gave him a lot of confidence.

Q. How does the surface compare here and to Essen and also the balls?

PETE SAMPRAS: The balls are the same and the court it is a green set court, but it pretty much is the same speed; a court that you can stay back and --

Q. One that gives him a good chance?

PETE SAMPRAS: Absolutely. Gives you a little bit more time to hit. But certainly, you know, it is indoor and it is still pretty quick, but he is a hell of a player.

Q. Does Becker, indoors, in Germany, still shape up as the main threat?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I think Becker, indoors, anyway, especially in Germany -- I find him most difficult to beat indoor. In Germany, he is going to have his fans behind him; he is going to be tough to beat without a question.

Q. What about you and Boris being in the same group?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I remember last year the groups were so one sided. Now, it seems like it is pretty even. I don't see one group stronger than the other. I think they are both pretty level.

Q. How hard is it to play against Boris with the crowd right behind him? Does that get to you at times?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think it can definitely change the course of a match. When you are playing Boris in Germany they get behind him; he is pumped up. You don't have anyone rooting for you except your coach and your trainer, so it is just a difficult atmosphere. I mean, obviously the Davis Cup Tie I was present at in Lyon definitely had a major effect. A crowd can really kind of turn the tables in a match.

Q. Do you think the relation between the ITF and ATP has become a little better? Now you have doubled the points at the Grand Slams.

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I have always felt that the Majors should get a little bit more when it comes to points. That has obviously happened for next year. I am pretty happy with the Tour and the ITF. Yeah, they don't get along great, but I think they understand the situation. The Davis Cup schedule is a little bit more -- we can play a little bit more --

Q. It's a good thing?

PETE SAMPRAS: I mean, it is the way it is, the schedule, the Davis Cup Ties are very tough to commit to every time. The week after Lipton, week after Australia, I mean, those are weeks that you like to take off, but that is the week that the ATP gives the ITF. So that is one complaint I have.

Q. And physically you are okay?

PETE SAMPRAS: I am physically ready to go.

Q. And Tim?

PETE SAMPRAS: Tim is doing well.

Q. But you can't say he is doing well....

PETE SAMPRAS: Sure, he is doing well under the circumstances. He is in good spirits.

Q. That is the main thing?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, that is the main thing to get through it.

Q. How about the ranking system, the thoughts changing it maybe to a race starting in January, and just adding up points until Frankfurt or Hanover for next year?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think it would be a lot easier for everyone in this room to understand and the fans to understand. The way it is now with defending points, people really don't understand that, and it would be easier to have it that way, have a race, but to pull it off, I am talking to Mark and bunch of ATP guys, it is very tough to do. I mean, how do you do it? Only problem I have -- I feel every time you walk out on to the court it should count. That is just not the case right now. If you win, you should be compensated. If you lose, you should be hurt and the best of -- I just find that you can lose first round in a lot of tournaments and still have a pretty high ranking. I think you should be hurt, so that is the way I have always felt about it.

Q. Every tournament basically should be counted?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, under my mind, but on the other hand, you got tournaments in Beijing, you know, all-around the world, which is good to get tennis around the world, so tennis has become much more global, but I think from a standpoint of each match I think it should count.

Q. At times, I think, two years ago you found it hard like coming over to Europe in the autumn and playing for two or three weeks in a row; how has that changed compared to now?

PETE SAMPRAS: Two months --

Q. You play three weeks again?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, the toughest part for me of the year is when I am in Rome all the way through Wimbledon. That is two months. That is -- I don't care where you are, if you are away from home for two months, you miss it. That is the toughest time for me - is that time. So -- but I feel like I need to play on clay before the French and to play the Queens before Wimbledon. I just feel it is the best thing for my tennis.

Q. Are you going to do the same routine as last year when you start -- you start in Estoril?

PETE SAMPRAS: This year I started in Barcelona. Next year I am, for sure, in Rome and the World Team Cup and Monte Carlo is up in the air, so it hasn't been finalized yet.

Q. What is the feeling of going to Hanover? Have you heard anything about playing there?

PETE SAMPRAS: All I heard is Expo 2000. That is one of the main reasons why it is going there. I have never been there and we will see -- because this event is a great event; the way they treat the players; the facilities here. Hopefully, they can duplicate that in Hanover.

Q. The Expo 2000, people are going to set up -- apparently ATP has such high hopes; it is going to be fulfilled sort of worldwide ....

PETE SAMPRAS: I hope it comes off well and, you know, unfortunate part for me being from the States is that people don't know much about the event here - in Frankfurt now; you move it to Hanover. There is really not -- there is really no continuity and people don't understand it. They don't know from Paris to Hanover to Frankfurt. In a way, being from the states, it's a bit disappointing. It is huge. Is Germany this is a huge event.

Q. Davis Cup coming up, how are you using this to prepare, if you are, and are you going to be back and work in the states on clay?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I am planning on taking a little time off after here; going to see my folks for Thanksgiving, so I don't plan on doing a whole lot of clay court practice, so I am going to get into Moscow on Sunday and just spend the whole week practicing. That is really how I am going to prepare. You can't look at this event and, you know, because it's a different surface and whatever, so I will just prepare when I am there. I really don't see myself, you know, playing on clay after this event, just taking it easy.

Q. If Andre is hurt, how do you think the lineup will be?

PETE SAMPRAS: I have no idea. I would think that -- I don't think Tom even those. I will assume Jim will play and I will be playing singles and doubles -- I don't know what is going to happen, really. I think we are just going to go there and just see what happens. And see how Andre's injury is doing and certainly those two guys are a little bit better than me on clay, so -- but at this point, with Andre's injury still up in the air, I don't know what is going to happen.

Q. Any concerns about going there? I am sure you have heard stories about how close it was and the crowd and that whole thing, any concerns at all?

PETE SAMPRAS: The crowd, really, I hope won't affect me. I will never forget the first one I did play in Lyon, first one -- the court is what I am more concerned about because I heard from talking to Boris a little bit earlier, they really slowed it down they use heavy balls; put a lot of weight on there. That is not good for my game, so I am pretty concerned about that. Like I said, I will be there pretty early, and just get used to it and just see what happens.

Q. Are you coming to the Qatar Open this year?


Q. Why?

PETE SAMPRAS: It doesn't really work with my schedule because I don't have a lot of time off after Davis Cup. It is only a couple of weeks and Qatar is the 1st of the year, so all I am planning on doing is playing an exhibition before the Australian and that is it, so it is a very long trip for me right after Christmas; just a tough time to start playing again.

Q. What do you expect for this year with Boris?

PETE SAMPRAS: Pretty much the same type of match. He is going to have his fans behind him and he is, in my mind, the toughest player for me to beat indoor, and let alone with all his German fans behind him, he is going to be tough to beat. But I have played him a number of times and certainly know what to expect, so I feel pretty good. We had a good match in Paris a couple of weeks ago, so, I feel pretty good.

Q. What do you think about Thomas Muster?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, he has had a phenomenal year; especially on the clay; to be as consistent as that is unbelievable and he has proven that he can play well. He won Essen; beat me there. So he has improved on his indoor game, so he has had a great year. I mean, what can you say? He has won the French. He has won a number of tournaments, so he has had a lot of heart and determination, and, you know, it is good to see someone that really was out of the game after his knee injury; getting hit by the car, and to come back the way he has is pretty unbelievable.

Q. Any quality which you like to have from Thomas Muster?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, you know, if I would gain a quality, I might lose something. Certainly, you'd like to be in the shape he is in and to be so mentally tough, but that is just way our personalities are, they are different. Different players and different personalities.

Q. Who do you think deserves to be No. 1, guys that win 12 tournaments or guys that--

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it is a tough question to answer because I mean, I have measured my year on how I do at the Majors, and the Majors are the most important tournaments we have and in some ways I feel it has been a pretty good year.

Q. You can expect a fight from the Russians as they did against the Germans; can you?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's going to be a tough as a Tie as you can find. I am sure they are going to put a very slow court down. They have the fans behind them. They are very capable of winning it. But so are we. We are a pretty good team. They beat the Germans which is a pretty good upset, so we will see what happens.

Q. Pete, latter part of the year, the game lost two very famous players, Bobby Riggs, Pancho Gonzalez. Can you reflect on Riggs or Gonzalez, any reflections on either of those two players?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I didn't know Bobby Riggs at all. And I knew Pancho very little, just enough to say hello. I am much more familiar with Pancho, the way he played and I read a lot about him. Certainly, he was considered one of the best of all time and had a big serve and very intense guy, very tough on the court. But unfortunately I didn't get a chance to really know him. You think of Bobby Riggs, you think of all of the gambling he would do. He would bet on his matches. He was a huge gambler on the golf course, and that is the first thing that comes to my mind. Obviously, a great player. He has won -- I believe he has won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, so -- just a character, obviously, the match in Houston, the battle of the sexes.

Q. What about Pancho?

PETE SAMPRAS: His serve and the way he funneled the court and he had a very good long career. I think he played very well through his forties, so, you know, didn't get to know him on a personal level.

Q. In which direction are you working technically?

PETE SAMPRAS: Technically, certain I improve on some things. I am not really changing a major shot in my game. It is just being mentally ready and going out and playing good tennis.

Q. We had the impression that your backhand was better than before in Paris?

PETE SAMPRAS: It is all instinct. It is all - boom - quick decision. It is not like I am working on my crosscourt backhand, no. It is just the way I decided to hit at that split second. Not a whole lot of thinking.

Q. You are not working especially for Roland Garros, technically?

PETE SAMPRAS: I am still trying to figure that out. I mean, I am not thinking about it now, but sure, once the the clay comes around, I am going to have to figure out some sort of way to play well. I have played well and I believe I can do it. It is just a matter of using my whole game and using the whole court, and it is just difficult for me.

Q. It is not a problem of tactics for you; it is mental?

PETE SAMPRAS: It is more mental and -- no, it is just the way my game is. My serve isn't quite as effective and it is -- I have to struggle a little bit more, to move, to move at net. It is all those different variables that really produce a pretty tough, tough match for me.

Q. Next olympic games, it is very important for you to take the gold medal?

PETE SAMPRAS: Sure, it would be nice to have one. It is right after Wimbledon, so I will be curious to see how I go into it. It is interesting, you know, people talk about the Olympics, as far as seeing all the other events, but if I am going there to win, I am pretty much doing my own thing and not seeing other events, it is tennis, tennis, tennis, but I am sure when it comes around, I will be doing some sight-seeing of some different sports, so.....

Q. Which do you prefer next to win, the Olympics games or U.S. Open?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think I'd rather win the U.S. Open.

Q. And Roland Garros?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, well, I don't want to put one over the other. Obviously the French is the one I don't have, so that would be the one that certainly if I had my pick right now, it would be that.

Q. What about the prize money at the Australian Open for the women.....(inaudible). Your opinion on that?

PETE SAMPRAS: I have heard that. Are you asking me a question?

Q. What is your opinion?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think if Tennis Australia said it pretty nice, the girls, they don't generate the revenue, TV ratings, and the crowd support then they feel that they shouldn't get equal prize money. I mean, they, in a way -- I play three out of five sets, you know, they play two out of three sets, so they are not on the court as long, but I would be curious to see what happens. I think it will be interesting to see if they play or not.

Q. Like Roland Garros they had women playing the quarterfinal on court number one. Do you think that is going to continue or getting more dramatic?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I don't know. I mean, I played my quarterfinal at Wimbledon at court one. It is just the way the scheduling is.

Q. They often have the women's quarterfinals on one day and they they do men's quarterfinals on center; all the women player on the other one.....

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I guess people would much rather see the men. I know I would.

Q. Are you going to see the women during a tournament?


Q. Never?


Q. Do you know who won the Grand Slam in women?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, sure. I mean, obviously sure, I mean, I will watch Seles play to see how she is going to come back. I won't go out of my way to watch.

Q. Never?


Q. And on TV?

PETE SAMPRAS: You know, usually I am doing this, when the ladies are playing, switching the channel.

Q. Was it relaxation last week on the golf course at home or did you start getting ready for this one?

PETE SAMPRAS: Got home on Monday. I started hitting a couple of balls on Wednesday. And filmed a Nike commercial Thursday and Friday; left Saturday, so I didn't have a lot of time off, but hit a couple of balls and got here on Sunday and practicing last couple of days, so I feel like I am ready to go.

Q. How was your week, Pete?

PETE SAMPRAS: It was long. I mean, well, it was long. I did the Nike spot for two days which was a long day, but it was short in the way that I was only gone for five days through Saturday.

Q. When did you do it Saturday, Sunday?

PETE SAMPRAS: Thursday -- wait, Thursday Friday; left Saturday; got here Sunday.

Q. Where?


Q. Pete, statistically maybe not as many titles as other years, but in a way, this would be your most satisfying year to date on the Tour?

PETE SAMPRAS: I can look back to this year and obviously be very happy with the two Majors I have won, but even more importantly the fact that, especially after the French, and the way the year was going with the situation with Tim, I was able to bounce back from being pretty low. And in a way that almost means more to me than having a great year and winning 10 tournaments, but this year was a strange year; great year, but so many off-court things happening. Tennis wasn't really the main part; especially after the Australian Open. I think we have all come to terms with the situation with Tim and he is doing well and he is fighting hard. So I feel a lot better about it since we know what is going on.

Q. And now that Andre is not here, looks like you are going to wrap up the year-end with the spot No. 1 spot which you have always said has been a goal of yours?

PETE SAMPRAS: End of the year, that is where you want to be No. 1. And -- but if it didn't happen, I can look back at this year and with two Majors, I can be pretty happy with that. It is the icing on the cake if I can do it. I need to play well here. And, you know, you'd much rather be No. 1 than No. 2.

Q. Your form going into Frankfurt, must be very happy with that, great indoor start?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I feel good. I mean, I had a good week in Paris and beat some good players and had a couple of days off; went home; kind of got the battery recharged up, got here and played in time for practice. I feel like I am playing well; fit and ready to go.

Q. Seemed to have landed yourself in the serve and volleyer's group again. How do you rate your group? Who do you think will give you the biggest problems?

PETE SAMPRAS: All of them. Especially Boris I find one of the toughest guys for me to beat indoor. He is going to have his fans behind him. He beat me here last year. It will be a tough, tough match and Kafelnikov.... It is not what it was last year, Ivanisevic, Edberg, Becker and myself, I was -- that was rough, and I was able to barely get through that.

Q. I suppose the big key to it might be getting off to a great start tomorrow against Kafelnikov?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, getting off to a good start; get that first win and one thing is nice about this event, if you don't win, there is always a chance to come back. Is it not like you are going out there and if you lose you are going home. So I feel ready to go.

Q. That makes it almost doubly hard; got the best 8 in the world here and each has a second chance?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, in a tournament or a Slam there is always a match or two you can get by pretty easily, but here the top 8 guys, they are having a great year and you need to be ready.

Q. The year is coming to sort of three mountain tops one after the other. I just -- do you have a feeling that one is more important than another?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I feel they are all very important. This was an important one for the ranking. Certainly when I hop on that flight to go to Moscow, that is going to be rough. I have to play singles with Andre's injury. Munich might be just the one that is kind of an exhibition, little extra Christmas money, but Frankfurt and Davis Cup, certainly, the top 2.

Q. Do the players feel that this is truly the World Championships?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, you got all the guys here.

Q. Where does it come again in your evaluation alongside the 4 Grand Slams?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I'd say it is our fifth major. It is tough to put it in the same page as the Wimbledon or U.S. Open, but it is our year-ending tournament; got all the top guys playing here. Best players in the world. So in a way, it is kind of a Grand Slam quality, but Wimbledon has been around for a lot longer, so.....

Q. Would it be difficult to go from here to Moscow to get up for this and then come down and then get up again?

PETE SAMPRAS: Fortunately there is a week off; I am going to go home. I am going to fly home. I have to. I don't fancy practicing in Europe on the clay. I go home and spend Thanksgiving with my family; just relax and I get into Moscow on Sunday and have a good week of practice and I think we are all just playing it by ear who is going to play singles or doubles.

Q. I was surprised that from what you said just now that there is hesitation that you are going to play singles because it is clay?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, that is the main reason, it is clay. And Jim is a little bit more suited todato the clay court game and Andre certainly is a little bit more solid than me on clay, so I think if you just wanted me to play doubles that I would be willing to do that.

Q. You wouldn't feel slighted?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, really busting my butt going over to Palermo to win that match and it would be a shame to not be a part of winning the whole thing. It is going to be tough beating those guys. With Andre's injury in question, it really -- I really don't know what is going to happen.

Q. What is the latest on him? Is he fairly fit or nearly fit?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I just saw him. We just did a Nike spot the other day and, you know, obviously it is still bothering him. To what level --

Q. It is a pulled chest muscle?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't really know the details of it. But he will give it his best shot to get him back into shape to play the final. It's obviously pretty serious if he pulled out of Paris and pulled out of here. He could have had a great opportunity to get back to No. 1, so just goes to show, he really played a lot of tennis over the summer. Lost the final to me; I am sure, mentally, he was disappointed. Physically, he just got worn down. All these guys are stuff. You can't -- there is no let up here. You got to be ready to go each day.

Q. How do you live with this situation to be always No. 1 to be the man to beat? How do you live with it, the pressure?

PETE SAMPRAS: I wake up in the morning have breakfast; have lunch in the afternoon; have dinner and go to bed. What do you think about that answer? No, I mean, there is really no, you know, just it is --

Q. As usual?

PETE SAMPRAS: Just the usual. I have gotten used to it. Every time you go out, those guys are out to beat you. I prepare well. You practice hard and you go out there and play. I mean, I don't really think too much about it. I just let my ranking do the talking and that is my philosophy.

Q. At this moment of the season, you feel yourself, you are in which shape?

PETE SAMPRAS: Tenniswise, I feel I am hitting well. Paris was a good confidence booster coming into here, so I feel good ready to go. Physically, I don't know how, because the points are pretty quick.

Q. (inaudible)?

PETE SAMPRAS: I am one of the favorites here. Boris is one of the favorites. I mean, there is.

Q. Vice versa, I think?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I mean, sure. But that is the way it is. Every tournament I play. I am expected to win. I expect myself to win.

Q. Are you surprised about Muster No. 2?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. He has had a phenomenal year; especially on the clay and has proven he can play indoor winning in Essen and won the French Open. He has had a remarkable season.

Q. Do you think he is better than Berasategui last year?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I do. Do I think Muster is better than Berasategui?

Q. Yeah.

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, he is.

Q. There was one point, Pete, at the end of the first set against Jim in Paris that was seemed to be on the line. You were very close to that one. You are such a fair player. Normally Jim could have expected you to correct the linesman, but you probably tend to not to do it because it is not your job anyway.

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, it isn't my job. The guys on the lines make the mistakes. It is just to play the calls. If it is an obvious one that was a foot in, you know, I would give it to him, but if it is --

Q. It was not that obvious?

PETE SAMPRAS: I am not really sure which point he was talking about. He came to me at the net and said what about the serve. I don't remember, I said, Jim, I really -- there is are so many tough calls I thought I got bad line calls. You can't single out one call.

Q. That is what he was asking about at the net?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. That is the way it goes in the big city.

Q. Davis Cup, has the team been named?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know. Has it?

Q. No. I don't know.

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think so. Hopefully I am on it.

Q. How important is it for you to win the Grand Slam?

PETE SAMPRAS: All in one year?

Q. Well, let us say first to win Roland Garros and so you --

PETE SAMPRAS: Do I have --

Q. If you win Roland Garros you will have a personal Grand Slam?


Q. So let us talk one by one, personal and then all by one?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well. It's obviously -- the French is the biggest challenge for me. If I had a choice of picking which one I would like to win, it would be the French because it's the one I haven't won, so it is just a tough one for me. I have gotten better, but I am still a little bit away from winning it. Hopefully next year I can get a little lucky with the draw and hopefully I will be playing great tennis and one year I will hope to come through with a win. I mean, that is how I look at it. To do it all in one year --

Q. Wishful thinking?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't want to say it is impossible, but it is very, very tough to do. To win one Grand Slam in a year is tough to do. To win two is a phenomenal year. To win four is very tough. But not impossible.

Q. I appreciate that. You know this question. Who will stop you this year?


Q. Yeah.

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, hopefully not the guys in my group. You know, I mean, I think Boris is one of the favorites to win here. Playing here in Germany. I am one of the favorites, Jim-- I mean, all these guys are capable of winning it. I play at one o'clock against Kafelnikov, pretty tough start. I need to be ready to go. Had a tough five-setter against him in Australia, so he is capable of playing some good tennis, so I will just have to be prepared and ready to go.

Q. You don't mention Thomas Muster?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, certainly he has proven he can play well indoor winning in Essen. He beat me. He is capable of winning it. You know, he is kind of a player that has depth in his game; a little bit coming in a little bit more. Certainly a little bit more versatility in his game, but, you know, he had a phenomenal year. He is capable of winning it, sure, if he played like he did in Essen he can do it.

Q. Are you missing Agassi here or not?

PETE SAMPRAS: Certainly everyone does.

Q. But you personally?

PETE SAMPRAS: It is a big blow. It is a challenge whenever I play him. It is different than playing anyone else because I have got a lot of respect for him and it goes the other way. One guy I feel like I can play good tennis and he can still beat me because he is -- sometimes he is too good and he is the one guy, he can take my best shot away with his return of serve; just got a lot of respect for his game and it's a big blow to the Tour and big blow to the event with the ranking really up for grabs; so it is just a big, big blow, I think, to everyone.

End of FastScripts….

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