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September 7, 1995

Pete Sampras


Q. Pete, your contemporaries yesterday got up two sets and then let it slip a little bit. When you got up two sets today, you just cranked it up, put him away. What does that say about you?

PETE SAMPRAS: I am not really paying too much attention to the other guys. You know, after I won the first two, you know, there is no reason to fool around at this point in the tournament and take things for granted. Just try to stay on top of him. The last set was the best set I played all week. I really started to pick up my serve. My whole game kind of just came behind it. So you know, you don't want to relax at that point, just want to stay on top of these guys and not let them back into the match.

Q. You take every match seriously, I know that. But, you know, today, quarterfinals, you are going into the semis. Is there a change? Do you sort of pick up everything a little bit?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. I mean, I'd say from the first round today's match, you know, you are going out as focused as possible giving 120%. I mean, it doesn't really matter which round it is. This is the U.S. Open. Like I said, if you don't go out focused ready to play these guys are going to beat you. I thought I did a pretty good job of concentrating, considering the conditions. It was brutal. It was so windy and so it was a good one to get through.

Q. You want to play, Jim in the next match just renew an old thing in a big arena all that, that might be a little harder for you?

PETE SAMPRAS: Either way, it is going to be --

Q. I knew you were going to say that?

PETE SAMPRAS: -- a brutal match.

Q. Don't you want to play Jim just for the war of it?

PETE SAMPRAS: I had some pretty good wars with Michael also. I have been rivals with him since I have been playing this game. But either way, I feel like, you know, it is a pretty straightforward match. I have played those guys a number of times. I think it is going to be a pretty good match tonight, but either way I feel like I am ready to go.

Q. What happens to your body after a week and a half on hard court and do you change your resting procedures as the tournament winds down?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. No, not really. Having the proper foods and get a lot of sleep and just when I am off, when I am out of Flushing Meadow, go home and relax, don't really go to any sporting events, even though I enjoyed watching the Cowboys kick a little ass against the Giants, and that is really it.

Q. What about your body, I mean, did you ever feel a bit in your legs after a --

PETE SAMPRAS: Not really. I feel like I am pretty fit. There is always something a little sore every now and again, but at this point in the tournament, you can't worry about something is bothering you. You have to go out and not worry about it, just play your tennis.

Q. Why did you have such physical troubles last year and not this year?

PETE SAMPRAS: Last year, I got -- I hurt my ankle after Wimbledon and playing the Davis Cup in Holland and I didn't play the whole summer and I came here just not in great shape; not in great tennis shape and I paid the price against Yzaga, but this year I thought I had a pretty good summer, not a great summer, but I feel like a lot more prepared this year than I was last year.

Q. After 21 ace on a day when the weather is terrible and the last one you serve is faster than the first one you served, do you come off the court 6-0 winner in the third, do you start feeling like this, you know, you are doing the best that you could possibly do; I am a little bit invincible; I am going to roll right through this thing; do you start feeling that?

PETE SAMPRAS: Unfortunately every match from this point on gets a little tougher, and --, you know, playing Jim or Michael, they are a level or two above playing someone like Byron, but I feel like I am playing well and if I am playing well, I think I am pretty tough to beat and my whole game just revolves around my serve. If I am serving well that kind of lets the rest of my game be a lot more confident and I can hit my groundies a little cleaner. Once I got through that first set, I started to relax a little bit and started to hit the ball a little better.

Q. In the scenario making the final do you root for Becker to make it because the way Andre has been playing so well or do you want to play Andre just to say hey, everybody, I can beat him? You should root for Becker.

PETE SAMPRAS: If I happen to win my match on Saturday, I will answer that question.

Q. Back when you and Jim and Michael were juniors, did you ever envision that all three of you guys would have this type of career so quickly in just a short period of time?

PETE SAMPRAS: Not really. I really didn't know what to expect, you know, Michael and I kind of grew up in the same neighborhood; played each other many, many times since we were eight years old and it is so ironic that he won the French Open youngest ever and I won here in '90 and it is just kind of ironic how everything just kind of worked out. And so, you know, I got a lot of respect for both those guys Jim and Michael. I didn't know really what to expect when I was 14, 15, just trying to worry about what I am doing and hopefully being a top player.

Q. Do you remember the first time you played Michael?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I played him in Poway, California near San Diego.

Q. What was it?

PETE SAMPRAS: It was a junior tournament, I think boy's 10s or 12s.

Q. And?

PETE SAMPRAS: And I beat him.

Q. Do you know the score?

PETE SAMPRAS: I remember I beat him in three sets and he hasn't changed since the first day I played him. I mean,--

Q. Same height? Sorry. That was low. We are tired.

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't want to you quote me on that one, but --

Q. What do you remember the first time you saw him and stuff?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I don't remember a great deal of the first match, but I played him all the way through the juniors. He plays the same way, I mean, he grinds from the backcourt. He had great wheels; really picked up his serve quite a bit over the past couple of years, he has got some of the best guts I have ever seen on the Tour, really fights hard and that is the one thing he depends on is his fighting ability.

Q. What about Courier, your first recollection of the first time you played him?

PETE SAMPRAS: You know, I think first time I played Jim was in Kalamazoo in the 16s; maybe 18s. He beat me in three sets. It was like a 6-0, 1-6, 6-1 match. It was a little bit strange, but I think it was the 16s or the 18s. I don't really have a great memory of my junior career.

Q. Was it the finals?

PETE SAMPRAS: Quarters. That was the year that Michael beat Jim and then he won a match here, I don't know, what was that '88?

Q. '87.


Q. You had the backhand double handed then?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, it was one.

Q. Courier changed since then?


Q. His game, yes, he is the same guy?

PETE SAMPRAS: His game hasn't changed, you know, he stays back and hits the big serve and backs it up with some big groundies. So his game really hasn't changed too much.

Q. Has yours?

PETE SAMPRAS: When I played him? A little bit. I was just starting to serve and volley at that point and trying to develop some sort of net game and some type of serve. But my game is pretty much the same as it was back then.

Q. Pete, Boris has had some critical remarks to make about one of your benefactors, Nike, and Andre has had some rejoinders to make about that. I am wondering if you want to weigh in on some of those Boris Becker comments about Nike?

PETE SAMPRAS: What did he say?

Q. He just said that Nike has an undue amount of control over certain tennis events like Wimbledon?

PETE SAMPRAS: Oh, yeah, I think I did see some comments. You know, of all places Wimbledon is not going to have any impact by Nike or any company. I mean, I think he was complaining about the scheduling or something like that. I don't know -- I don't know much about it. I think it was a little bit farfetched. I never really thought about it. I mean, I think, you know, Wimbledon has their own schedule and their own scheduling committee that they are going to put the players they want to put on center court and court 1, so it really doesn't matter. I mean, I remember in '94 when I came back as defending champion I was put on court 14, so, I mean, you know, that is nonsense.

Q. Pete, do you remember when everybody was talking about you when you were even saying it yourself "I am not boring; everybody thinks I am boring and I don't have to prove myself." Do you think that some of these commercials you have been doing the Pizza Hut and the Nike, do you think that has gone a long way to change the image of Pete Sampras?

PETE SAMPRAS: I really don't know. I think the Pizza Hut commercial was, I think, came off pretty well, and -- but I am still the same. I am still, you know, I have done a couple of commercials, but my whole attitude towards the game and my attitude on the court is the same, and I just go out there and try to win and just let my racket do the talking, but, you know, as far as marketing, I have done a couple of more things this year, and I don't want to do too many things. I still like to go out and be left alone for the most part. But it has been pretty good, the Nike ads with Andre, had a lot of good response, and -- but, you know, I am pretty happy the way things have been.

Q. Did it take much for them to talk you into it? Were you hesitent to say, gosh, I am not really sure I want to do this or was it pretty easy --

PETE SAMPRAS: As far as what do you mean?

Q. Any of them, I mean, the idea that people coming to you and saying, gosh, we want you to do this and that?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, because I am prepared to start doing some other things, commercials and after Wimbledon, the pizza guys asked me if I wanted to do something, and I saw the script of me and John and I thought it would be pretty fun to do and kind of showed a lighter side to me and the Nike one really was a pleasure to do. It was a fun one to pull off, but I think I have had enough commercials for a while.

Q. When you were on the TV and you see those commercials come up, don't you got to laugh at them?

PETE SAMPRAS: Sometimes, yeah. I am not a very good actor.

Q. After you won Wimbledon the first time I think you told us that you took the subway out there, and --


Q. You didn't take the subway out there? Never?

PETE SAMPRAS: I have taken the Tube, but not to Wimbledon.

Q. Well, have you ever taken the subway here in New York?


Q. You know, the other day someone was asking you about goblins in your blood, little white fuzzy things on posters in the train, New York is a great place to have a tournament because everybody has something to do; after I beat him; then you have tennis in your blood and they are very -- a little forceful little ads across the subways. I am wondering, you said you didn't know about the hemoglobins. I am wondering if you know what is making you say -- on these poster ads by Nike do you give your approval for them or they just come up with the ad campaign and do what they want?


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