September 10, 1995
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. What is the money for? Did you cash your check already?
PETE SAMPRAS: I am ready.
Q. Rankings aside, you are No. 1?
PETE SAMPRAS: You know, it depends how you look at it. I mean, Andre has been a lot more consistent than I have this year. He has won a lot more titles, but, you know, I feel if you win two of the Majors, there should be a strong possibility you should be No. 1, but like I said, he has been a lot more consistent; won more titles. My year has been a little up and down, but, you know, it is the computer, you know, I can't -- I can't rig it.
Q. What do you think your chances are of catching him in the points by the end of the year or whenever?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know. I haven't seen the points. I am at this point going to go home and enjoy this and I got a Davis Cup Tie in another week or so, and so, I hopefully I can end the year strong, but he has been a lot more consistent as far as his results.
Q. Would you take the U.S. Open and Wimbledon over his titles?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes, I would.
Q. When you play Andre in a big match, do you not just feel like it is for this title, but you are sort of playing for the title, you know, that there is always more at stake than just, you know, the circumstances; there is that feeling --
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, you know, walking on the court today, I could really feel the electricity -- the electricity just went out (audience laughter) Would you believe that?
Q. You are good, Pete.
PETE SAMPRAS: And, you know, looking forward to the new stadium, aren't we? Yeah, it is different. When Andre and I play each other, I find that he is the one guy I can go out and play good tennis; he can still beat me and I can't say that about a lot of the guys on the Tour. He has the best return of serve in the game and, you know, walking out today I feel like I needed to be at my best, and that is really the bottom line when I play Andre, if I am not at my best, the way he has played this summer this year, you know, I felt that I was always under a little bit of pressure today. I was up two sets and a break and I just-- I really didn't feel at that point that I had him, you know, and -- but it is always different. This is a rivalry that I hope gets more and more popular. I think it is, getting to the final here and playing pretty good tennis. So, you know, got a lot of respect for him.
Q. You would have been disappointed if he lost yesterday, wouldn't you?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it would have been a different match playing Boris, but, you know, when you have a chance to win the U.S. Open title you want to beat the best player in the world, and he is -- as far as in my mind one of the best players in the world.
Q. Have you at any time in the last two weeks thought about how you left here last year; you were in pain; it was a really tough loss, and can you contrast that with how you are going to leave here today?
PETE SAMPRAS: I tried to put what happened last year behind me. It was a tough, tough situation not being in shape; came out here and really was so unprepared that I didn't have any energy, and this year, I had a good summer, but not a great summer. I was in good shape. I felt that I could hopefully raise my level as the two weeks went on and I did that. I really did. I mean, yesterday and today was my best tennis and I just kind of picked the right time. That is what it takes sometimes.
Q. What is the most gratifying part of this one?
PETE SAMPRAS: Beating Andre. I mean, you know, would have -- it is always -- it would have been different if I would have played Boris and beaten him. I would have been just as happy, but it is always a little bit different when I can beat Andre 1 and 2 in the world, both American, and, you know, to beat him makes me feel a little better than if I had beaten someone else.
Q. Let us just say for the fun of it you are the editor of a leading sports magazine. Would you put the men's champion of the U.S. Open considering all he has gone through this year and what he has accomplished athletically, would you put him on the cover or Deion Sanders and why?
PETE SAMPRAS: Who is Deion Sanders? (audience laughter)
Q. Nike client.
PETE SAMPRAS: I really didn't understand the question.
Q. Do you think you deserve to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated?
PETE SAMPRAS: I won my third Wimbledon and I didn't get on there, so hopefully now I will get on there.
Q. Steffi won her fourth. Pete, how did you feel about the set point first set, after the set point in the first set?
PETE SAMPRAS: Probably one of the best points I have ever been a part of. I mean, even if I would have lost it, it would have felt a lot worse, that is for sure. We are both running each other around and I just flicked off a good backhand. I was pretty winded after that, regained my composure and played a pretty good first game. That was a huge point. I certainly hope that makes the play of the day.
Q. How many times, Pete, did you think you had won that point before you actually won it two or three times when you'd actually thought you had hit a winner?
PETE SAMPRAS: On that set point?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I felt, you know, not really. I mean, I felt he is quick. I mean, and I felt if I could just keep him moving; keep him moving, I could get a short ball and come in, but I never really felt I had a winner until I hit that backhand. But it was an unbelievable point, and, you know, thank God I won it.
Q. Pete, Paul was just in here. He talked about how many great all-around gifts you have; how many things you can do. Is there anything that you in your own mind would like more of, or wish to have to a greater degree?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think I am extremely happy the way I served and my volleys, but I still feel like I can return a little bit better. I still feel like I can improve. I really believe that. I can be a little bit more solid from the backcourt. I mean, I don't think there will be a day where I am satisfied with my tennis. I always want to get better, and that is -- that is what gets me up in the morning to practice is trying to get even better and playing someone like Andre, you know, he has beaten me a couple of times, three times this year; he forces you to try and change some things, chip and charge a little bit, serve and volley, my second serve and try to add a little bit more to my game, so, that --
Q. Did you cut yourself when you belly flopped?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. Oh, I see.
PETE SAMPRAS: Right here.
Q. Did you feel like a great chance had gone at the end of the third set that maybe he was ready to go and now all of a sudden you are in the fourth set, and --
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, when I was up a break in the third, I was holding my serve pretty easily, and I just felt, especially that -- one way with the wind going that way, I just hit a couple of -- hit a couple of bad doubles, really bad doubles. And then he started to get some confidence. He won the third set and the crowd started really getting behind him. I was -- still felt I was up a set and he had a long weighed to go to beat me. And -- but it would have been nicer to hold on there and maybe get another break in the third, but he is a tough guy to put away. I mean, you need to play a high level for three straight sets; that is tough to do sometimes. I maintained that for a couple of sets, but I just got a little bit tight at that point; maybe saw the trophy in my hand, but you know, he came up with some good stuff.
Q. Pete, in the fourth set, in the first game, you had a breakpoint; you missed the forehand quite easily. What you did you say to yourself, gosh, maybe I am going to lose, maybe something is happening; the match can turn; around; were you afraid a bit?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, that was a great opportunity to lose the third, come back and break him first game in the fourth. I had a pretty easy shot and -- but, you know, you can't worry about what happened in the last point. Just have to move ahead, and hopefully stay on my serve and I served -- I was surprised myself how well I served today. Because the conditions were so windy that my ball toss was going all over the place that was the one shot that kind of saved me today, my serve.
Q. Did you ever hit an all ace game against him?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. How do you hit an all ace game any day against anybody? How difficult is that? Is it difficult even for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is just -- you just get in a great groove. It is like throwing three strikes or striking out two people. You know, you just -- everything just clicks, and you starting to feel that you can, you know, toss it up there and hit the line and that is what I have to do against Andre. If I don't hit a great serve he is going to make me volley and so, you know, got a little bit lucky and snapped off a couple of good aces.
Q. Andre said he woke up this morning feeling a little sluggish; that he played sort of a step slow. Could you sense that and how did you wake up feeling this morning?
PETE SAMPRAS: I felt pretty good. I think the fact that I played first yesterday and he played second, he got done at 9 o'clock, I think, you know, he has had a long summer and maybe was a little bit fatigued at the end. I felt pretty good. I felt this is a great opportunity and no time for excuses as far as being sore or tired. You just need to suck it up and do whatever you can.
Q. Andre also said that when he will look back, they may not necessarily really remember who has been ranked No. 1, but people will always remember the Slams. Is that how you see it?
PETE SAMPRAS: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, when you look back at the greatest players of all time we look at the number of Slams they have won and the ranking is something everyone just takes for granted as far as McEnroe being No. 1 or Connors being No. 1. In my mind, the major titles is the most important thing, in my year and the fact that I have won two, really ends my year on a great note.
Q. Now, Pete you have won seven Slam titles now, I think you are four behind Borg and maybe five behind Emerson. Do you think about that and is getting the most Slam titles a goal of yours; breaking the all-time record?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is something I haven't really thought about breaking the record. I just see myself preparing the best I can for Majors mentally and physically getting ready and it is not really like a goal I put on my chalk board; I am going to break Emerson's record. I still feel that the French is the one thing that is missing and that is a pretty tough challenge for me to win there, so that -- you know, something I haven't thought about as far as the record.
Q. Ever come up to your mind the final at the U.S. Open final five years ago?
PETE SAMPRAS: Not really.
Q. Would you like Wimbledon to introduce Super Saturday, Pete?
PETE SAMPRAS: Super Saturday is great for the fans and the TV, but as far as the players are concerned, I think it is very difficult to play back-to-back three, five set matches. Andre got done late last night, and to have a day off in between, you know, the tennis might have looked -- might have been a little better, so I kind of like that day off in between. Super Saturday is, you know, he got done at 9 o'clock and he played today at 4; you don't have a lot of time to recover. I think think that is tough on the body; especially on this court, but I like to see Wimbledon stay as it is.
Q. This tournament seems wholly unlike you, loud, raucous, all those kind of things. When you come here do you try to assume a different mindset, say, for a different tournament so you can get through all of the --
PETE SAMPRAS: Not really.
Q. -- environment?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, the environment is --, you know, I am not changing my attitude or the way I am playing because of the crowd. I mean, I am just going out and trying to play good tennis and trying to win and I will show some emotion, when it is 5-4, set point I will be playing that great point, you know, I just prepare as well as I can and hopefully come out ahead.
Q. Is there a feeling of exhilaration out there, maybe there is no time for it when you think, here we are, the two greatest players in the world, the whole world is watching us, does that enter into it when you are out there?
PETE SAMPRAS: Not really. It is me against him. And, you know, you don't think about the crowd, or the TV, or who is watching at home. You just --
Q. You could be on a court alone, nobody...
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, you are so zoned and focused in on the match in what you are trying to do; there is no time to think about who is watching and whatever.
Q. Andre said he would play you again tomorrow for $100. Would you play him tomorrow?
PETE SAMPRAS: Absolutely.
Q. Didn't you look up there? There was one interruption when Arnold Schwarznegger arrived. Did you realize that?
PETE SAMPRAS: I realized that.
Q. Did you know who it was or anything?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, yeah, well, I was ready to serve; the crowd was doing something and...
Q. Is that distracting?
PETE SAMPRAS: A little bit. A little bit. I saw -- I hit an ace up the middle and I saw
John F. Kennedy Jr. - honest to God. I said, "God, he looked a little familiar."
Q. Does that put any kind of new perspective when you realize people of this magnitude are present and have you raised tennis to such a level that now these guys are here?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. Doesn't mean anything to you?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. Really doesn't.
Q. When did you see Arnold?
PETE SAMPRAS: I was ready to serve; the crowd was doing something. I looked over and there he was, "the Terminator."
Q. What was with the shirt today?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is too long.
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