September 22, 1995
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
Q. How many rackets did you have left?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I broke, I think, five and as soon as it broke, I just give them to the stringer who was sitting right next to the court and he just strings them up and brings them out. So I wasn't in any problem with rackets. I was just breaking them because I am stringing my rackets at about 36 kilos which is about 80 pounds with really thin gauge. Reason why I am doing that because with the altitude, the ball just carries a little bit further. Thank God I was winning most of those points I was breaking the strings on except for the matchpoint end of the match is not really the way I wanted to end it. All and all, I think I played pretty well, and, you know, got the team off to a good start.
Q. Describe what it is like having Tim here.
PETE SAMPRAS: It was great to have him here. He came in yesterday. We had a bit of gambling yesterday. He had some fun. He hasn't seen me play live since Australia. So it was really great to hear him call me "Pistol" during the changeovers - kind of reminded me of the old times, and, you know, he is doing great. He looks great. You know, he is just so pumped to really be out travelling a little bit, hanging around the locker room; being with the boys. That is the type of personality he has. He is a very out outgoing guy. He likes to be involved and to have him here was really special for me.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about the atmosphere here in Vegas; it is kind of different from the usual United States Davis Cup atmosphere. Are you liking it and is the team enjoying it?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, the team -- I remember a lot of ties in the states that you play in stadium that is about 17,000 and it is half full and the atmosphere isn't really that great, but here in Vegas, you had 13,000 fans. It was packed. They are really into the match. And it was just a pleasure to play in front of them. I mean, it is nice to have some support. Because sometimes the American crowd are -- more and more it is entertainment rather than beating the guy in straight sets, but today it is seemed they got behind me and supported me and that felt really good.
Q. Pete, there is an another international match going on the Ryder Cup. Reading John Feinstein's book he was talking about Davis Love playing for the first time his knees shaking; he couldn't believe it. Is there something to equate with that playing for Davis Cup? What is it about playing for your country that makes it -- does it make you more nervous than to play the U.S. Open?
PETE SAMPRAS: It was -- it was -- first time I played when I was really, really nervous when I played the final in Lyon, I was so out of my element and I played extremely tight tennis. But now that I have played half a dozen times, you kind of get used to it. You just play it like another tennis match. The Ryder Cup is only once every two years. Davis Cup is four times a year. So you just kind of get used it to. So you are playing for yourself. You are playing for your country and your teammates and you just don't want to let anyone down. So you just have to go out and just treat it like another tennis match.
Q. Pete, can you recap the match for us from the set -- from the first two sets where you seemed to be in control to the third and then how you finished him off, can you recap it for us?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, things were going so smoothly two sets and a break, I was serving a very high percentage and he broke me right off the bat at 2-1. I didn't think I really played a bad game. He hit a couple of huge returns and, you know, boom, he broke me back, but the second time I got broken in the third, I really let down and the doublefault really -- that was the first kind of lapse I had in the match, but, you know, just talking to Tom in the changeover, I am still up a set, I am hitting the ball pretty well; and to get my percentage of first serves a little bit higher, and I did that, and I was holding serve easier and then he played a really poor game. I think he doublefaulted two, three times; I broke him, but then I served it out pretty well.
Q. Pete, was the match -- did you expect Enqvist to do better?
PETE SAMPRAS: You know, you are not sure what to expect. He hasn't played a ton of Davis Cup Ties, but, you know, people talk about experience. I don't buy that. He is a good player. He has got a big serve and he backs it up with some big groundies. I think he had a little problem with the altitude. The ball was flying on him a little bit. But I don't think he was nervous at all. I think he was playing fine. So, you know, I didn't find him, you know, he is still hitting out, hitting the ball pretty well. Just missing a little bit.
Q. The ball was doing -- from the stands it seemed like the ball was doing lots of funny things, flying at one point, slowing down after a bounce. It was hard to get a beat on what was happening. Can you comment on that?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, first of all, it was the altitude. We are at 2,200 feet and when the new balls come out it really is fast. It is tough to return and then after it was 5, 6 games, they really fluff up because the court is real grainy and there is bad hops; balls you probably saw in the match, some skids, some bounced up high, but the altitude is the main concern that I had this week. Just control of my serve, control of my groundies. It was just something I am not used to. So it was just a little bit different today.
Q. Pete, fourth set when it is on serve for 7 games, any concern at that point-- fourth set, your fourth set, you are on serve through 7 games. Any concern at that point that, you know, it may be getting away from you maybe?
PETE SAMPRAS: Not really. I still felt I was serving well, you know, I was hoping for a chance to break him. Hopefully, I could have a couple of good points on his serve. It wasn't that I felt the match was slipping. If I would have lost the fourth I might have said, wow, things are getting a little bit hairy now and I just, you know, buckled down a little bit. Like I said, he played a tight game and I served it out okay, but, you know, if I would have lost the fourth, that was the time I might have been a little bit concerned.
Q. Pete, in an individual sport, what is it like being a member of the team?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it is some things that I have never really been a part of growing up. I was on the high school team, but, you know, throughout the year everyone is doing their own things, individual sports and four times a year, you know, the guys get together; they eat together; they do everything together, and it is just kind of a different week. You are rooting for the guys and, where, on the Tour, you are worrying about yourself and are to yourself. It is a great atmosphere here in Vegas and to have Andre on my team instead of him returning my serve is certainly nice.
Q. Has Andre had you over the house for a barbecue?
PETE SAMPRAS: That is a good question -- yeah, he did.
Q. Pete, on a scale of 1 to 10, - a 10 being the highest or the best, how would you rate your play today?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think for the first two and a half sets it was probably about eight or nine and it dropped down to a three at the end of the third and I played pretty well the fourth. It is tough to really put a number. I thought I played pretty solid.
Q. Pete, I know that Tom is the captain of the team, but who is the leader amongst the guys; who would you consider the leader?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think anyone is really the leader. We are all on the same team and there is no one calling the shots or anything like that. So, you know, I guess no leader; we are all --
Q. Who does the most talking at dinner when you guys are out?
PETE SAMPRAS: I have been at the black jack table most of the time; haven't really been to dinner.
Q. Are you winning or losing?
PETE SAMPRAS: I am up a little bit. Tom is always one to talk a little bit. But, you know, there is no real guy that is organizing practice -- Tom is the one that is organizing the things and he is the captain of this team.
Q. Pete, in the beginning of the match you won the toss and you chose to serve. He then chose the side that permitted you to serve with the sun in your back. Did that surprise you a little bit?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, the sun really wasn't a factor at the beginning of the match because it was, you know, it is not 2 o'clock where it is right on your toss. I mean, 11 o'clock, it is pretty much not an issue.
Q. When was it finalized that Tim was going to come?
PETE SAMPRAS: He was planning this trip for the past couple of months, so, you know, he was ready to come, and I am glad he is here. You can see the glow in his face and he is pumped to be here, and he is with the boys and we are having a good time.
Q. Pete, on your first two matchpoints you hit doublefaults. What was your thought about that and have you ever done that before and how did you recover from that?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I have doublefaulted many times. Well, the first one I didn't really felt like I choked. I went for it; hit it a little long. Second one I broke my string; then I was getting a new racket. I was like, wow, I don't want to lose my serve and start back up the hill again, but I hit a couple of good serves to close it out.
Q. Pete, have you ever won two points in a row when your racket has been broken?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't remember. Did I?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, I don't think I have.
Q. New statistic we are going to --
PETE SAMPRAS: Put it in your magazine.
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