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August 29, 1995

Pete Sampras


Q. How are your feet?

PETE SAMPRAS: A lot better than last year; that is for sure. Pretty good. Felt like I hit the ball pretty well. Great start to win my match pretty convincingly. This is the way it goes, yeah, played pretty well.

Q. Who would you rather meet in the next match Yzaga or Frana?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, Frana is kind of a slashy lefty from Argentina and we all know what happened last year against Yzaga. Either way, I feel like I am prepared. I feel like I am in a lot better shape this year versus last year. Last year I was coming in here without playing any matches and really, you know, took its toll when I played Yzaga; whereas, this year, I had a good summer; not a great summer. I feel like I am in better shape. Hopefully, I can play a little bit better on Friday.

Q. Is that a high-five you gave a fan after that point in that last game?

PETE SAMPRAS: I was trying to, but he was -- he wasn't too energetic, I guess.

Q. Was that just getting caught up in the spirit of the tournament?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it is just a point, and the crowd really responded well so I just-- I saw what Hale Erwin did at the U.S. Open, I think, three, four years ago, he was giving high-fives, so I might as well give it a try.

Q. That actually went through your mind?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. No. No. I try not to think about golf when I am playing.

Q. Pete, you have been all over the tube this summer with commercials; with Andre, the Nike commercials and with Courier and one pizza commercial with John. Talk to me; what is going on with all these commercials? Do you enjoy it? Do you have any funny stories coming out of them?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, the most enjoyable commercial was doing the Nike commercial in San Francisco. That was a blast to do versus the pizza commercial. I was inside, I had -- I was saying some lines and I am not the best actor in the world, so it took me a couple of takes. That was the longer day and the RCA commercial was pretty quick, so, you know, after, you know, winning my third Wimbledon kind of -- Pizza Hut really wanted to do something with John, really try to just kind of blend our personalities together, him being kind of a hostile guy, and I being the more conservative, I think it came out pretty well.

Q. You were out there all day in San Francisco. What happened on the street? Was it fun being out there all day people with storming buses?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, it was fun. I mean, it was outside. It was about maybe six, seven hundred extras there, interacting with them, having a good time. I mean, the whole -- the area was really buzzing and they just closed a couple of streets down. We just -- what you saw in the commercial is what we did. We had a cab; put down a net and there you have it. So it was kind of a wild commercial, I mean, there are seven cameras going on at the same time, helicopter shot. Something I wasn't really used to. So it was -- that was also pretty fun.

Q. Also an ad campaign right now, you can see it in Nike campaign with you and Andre, with very confident phrases. Do you really -- can you identify with all of these?

PETE SAMPRAS: I really don't understand your question.

Q. No, there are some phrases like, for example, "tennis is in my blood, cut me open and you will find little furry hemoglobins." Do you like that?

PETE SAMPRAS: Are you speaking English or German? I really don't understand what you are saying.

Q. There is an ad campaign right now from Nike and there is a picture with you and underneath there is your comment: "Tennis is in my blood. Cut me open and you will find little furry yellow hemoglobins."


Q. Do you like that?


MARY CARILLO: That is not a direct quote?

PETE SAMPRAS: That is not a direct quote, no. I wouldn't -- I wouldn't think of something so creative. I don't know where they got that. I don't know.

Q. Are you comfortable with the conclusion that everyone has drawn that it is Agassi and Sampras in the final?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, everyone is assuming that; expecting that, and it is really the last thing on my mind. I mean, this rivalry has been talked about and the hype has been extreme, and, you know, sure, it would be great to get to the final playing anyone, sure it would be special playing Andre, but that is the last thing on my mind. There is a lot of tennis yet to be played until we get to next Sunday, so this is a good start for me, but the rivalry just seems like it is a little bit out of hand now. We have played each other four times and, you know, it is not like, you know, Martina and Chris where you knew they would get to go the final every week and every Grand Slam; whereas, I go out and play my next match, I am not prepared; I am not focused, these guys are out to beat us. They are not just going to hand over the final to Andre and Pete. That is not going to happen in the men's game anyway. So, you know, there is a lot of tennis yet to be played.

Q. Are you comfortable with him?

PETE SAMPRAS: I mean, the sparks that the McEnroe/Borg/Connors rivalry threw off was kind of exciting in itself.

Q. It seems to be whatever rivalry this is, there is much too much peace between the two of you; you should hate each other.

PETE SAMPRAS: There is no reason why we should hate each other. I mean, it just goes to show, you can still be 1, 2 in the world or whatever and Andre is not the enemy. We get along just fine off the court. There is a lot of mutual respect we have for one another and we just leave it on the court. We are not going to take any cheap shots in the media. We just go out and play. I have known him for so many years and being, you know, a member of the Davis Cup team with him, I mean, versus guys 10, 15 years ago, they really wouldn't talk to each other, Andre and I are in the lockerroom; we get along just fine. We are friends to a certain point; we are not hanging out having dinner. We have to keep our space somewhat distant, because of the position we are in, but it is fine, I mean, he is not the enemy.

Q. John McEnroe isn't rubbing off on you in those commercials; you are not really taking direction.

PETE SAMPRAS: I think they are using that as a joke.

Q. I am sorry for the private question. Have you got a steady girlfriend?


Q. Other than Wimbledon, you really haven't had a great summer. How would you assess your game right now? Are you playing well enough to go seven matches?

PETE SAMPRAS: I feel like I am. Didn't have a great summer, but it was a good summer. I feel like I am fit, ready to go. U.S. Open time is a time where you just let it all hang out. I mean, you don't have -- can't worry about the humidity, the noise, the airplanes, the smell. You just go out and play the tennis. That is what I am prepared to do and just do whatever it takes to try to win, so, I feel like I have done it before; there is no reason why I can't do it again.

Q. Did last year here serve as a bit of an inspiration for you or do you kind of chalk it up to "I wasn't as physically fit as I should have been," or it was an anomaly?

PETE SAMPRAS: You know, you can't look at the past and, you know, think what happened last year. You just have to move on and, sure, it was a tough experience playing someone that you weren't really at your best physically; you just have to put that behind you and move on and that is really the attitude I am having here.

Q. How difficult is it to be prepared and focused given how tough New York is?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't find New York that tough. The crowd is a little bit louder than most places. Same for both guys, so I don't really have any problem here. This is my 6th year, I believe, so I have gotten used to the grounds and I am staying on The Island which is nice. I am not a big city person, so it has been a pretty good week.

Q. What does your fastball do to an opponent? Are you aware of what his reaction is when you bust in your best serve even when you don't ace it?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, usually I try to -- when I start out at a match, I really try to throw in the heat 125, 128 to really kind of -- not overwhelm him, but kind of back him off a little bit and then once I kind of have that serve down the middle, the big heater, I go out wide and keep him guessing. One thing I have a tendency to do is be a little predictable with my serves; trying to mix them up. Not hitting my serve 128 all the time; hitting the kicker 90 miles an hour. Bottom line is winning the point every time.

Q. Is he handcuffed when you hit your best serve in, that he can't get the racket out on your ball?

PETE SAMPRAS: Today's match?

Q. Any time. Almost looks like will you jam your hitter; he gets wood on the ball...

PETE SAMPRAS: He gets wood?

Q. The handle or the tip of the racket because he can't handle the velocity.

PETE SAMPRAS: It is pretty similar to being a pitcher. I am not going to throw the fast ball every time. I am going to jam him inside with the slider -- I am talking baseball now -- throw out wide, and, you know, use all my serves. That is what makes a great server, is picking your spots and hitting all the corners.

Q. Do you ever hit a shot in practice and say "I can use that against Agassi?"

PETE SAMPRAS: I really don't know.

Q. Do you put one away and say, "I can use that against Andre?"

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, no, I mean, no, I can't say there is really a shot in practice --. Something that I have gotten burned on in the past is I think I stay back a little bit too much; get into some groundstroke exchanges, I usually come up on the short end and the next time I play him, if I play him here, or down the road, I am going to use my chip and charge a little bit and the times I played him he hit shots that I never seen anybody hit. He is the best player I think I have played in my career. There is a lot of respect there. I feel like I need to be at my best to beat him because he is oozing with confidence this summer and played extremely well today, so, you know, he is a great player.

Q. Jeff Tarango said earlier today after his loss that his career might come down to inviting you and Jim Courier over to his backyard to play tennis. Have you had an opportunity to speak with him since the incident at Wimbledon and would you go to his backyard to play tennis and are you supportive of him in any way?

PETE SAMPRAS: I am not very supportive of what he did. You don't -- I like Jeff. He has been a friend of mine for a lot of years, but one thing you don't do as far as an athlete or especially a tennis player at Wimbledon, you don't walk off the court. He just went over the line and said some things he shouldn't have said after the match, and you know, it has been a little bit strange. I mean, you know, it is just so disappointing and so embarrassing for the game and for him, especially. He is getting fined a ton of money and he can't afford those fines. I still get along with him pretty well. He is really -- he really paid the price. It really was -- looked extremely poor for tennis, what he did. So if I could go back to his backyard, I don't know about that. I mean, I probably would, because I have known him for a lot of years, but definitely didn't agree with his actions at Wimbledon.

Q. Did you agree or disagree with what he said?

PETE SAMPRAS: About what?

Q. I mean, you disagreed with the way he did something, but with his issue, agree with the issue?

PETE SAMPRAS: You know, no, I don't agree with what he said. You don't accuse someone if you don't know the facts. He just was -- got into a situation that he was trying to kind of salvage his -- why he walked off the court and you just don't do that. You try to play this game with some respect and some class and he really didn't show that at all. He should have just went up and got his point penalty and just started to play tennis and he just went over the line and paid the price.

Q. How is Tim doing?


Q. Is he likely to be here?


Q. Pete, are you comfortable at No. 2?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I am pretty happy.

Q. So there is nothing knawing at you to be No. 1?

PETE SAMPRAS: Sure, I'd rather be No. 1. That is rhetorical, you know, the way Andre played this summer, he is going to be extremely tough to catch. I haven't seen the point lead, but I am sure he has a pretty substantial lead. Only thing I am concentrating on right now is trying to play well here and try to win here. If I could win two Majors this year, that would, in my mind, be the best year I have ever had. Thank you.

End of FastScripts...

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