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March 26, 1995

Pete Sampras


Q. Did you feel you played cautiously at the end?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I kind of played cautiously in the middle of the second set. I had him Love-40 and really wasn't quite aggressive on those points. Basically, I just kind of waited for Andre to miss and he is just too good. He is not going to make errors. And -- but when it came down to the breaker, I did get a little cautious; he really kept me deep. He didn't really give me an opportunity to come in and do what I wanted to do. He really served pretty well in the breaker and really just came down to a couple of points and he got them today. So it is disappointing, and I just have to get back on that horse; get ready for the third, I guess.

Q. Second half of the match on service returns, you are sitting back about three feet behind the baseline trying to topspin him deep with not too much pace on it; what is your thinking on that strategy?

PETE SAMPRAS: I just wanted to try to keep the ball in play; keep it high and wait for my opportunity to come in. You know, I don't want to make lots of errors and try to press it. I wanted to make him play, hit the high topspin shot. I don't think he particularly enjoys the high shot, but he seemed to handle it pretty well.

Q. Is that a strategy change you made during the match or game plan?

PETE SAMPRAS: You just kind of feel it out as you are playing, you know, whatever works, and that is what I decided to do, and obviously it didn't workout for me at the end.

Q. First set, it looked like you were a step above. Did you slow down your serve for Agassi?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think it was a combination of both. I was playing really well in the first; in the middle of the second and he just basically steamrolled me for about three, four games, before I knew it was one set-all. Even though he just, I think, won 19 points in a row, it is still one set-all. He is going to have to maintain that level to beat me, and unfortunately I had some chances there in the third and some long deuce games. But I think looking back, it just came down to one or two points and he got them today.

Q. Can you explain your problems with tiebreakers?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know. I really can't explain it. I wish I could win some more of them. Tiebreakers usually come down to a couple of points. I am just not getting the breaks and I am 1 and 8, I think, now and that is usually one of my strengths last year; I had a winning record. And this year it is just, I don't know, I am just maybe not playing them that well. It is something that I am not having a mental problem with. It is just -- I am just not winning them.

Q. How troublesome was the wind today?

PETE SAMPRAS: Swirly. I had just as much trouble with the sun. The sun was right there. You really had to move the ball around on the serve. I didn't serve well enough to beat him. I didn't feel on -- my first serve percentage, felt like it was pretty low. The wind on that stadium kind of swirls around. It is not like it goes in one direction where you can adapt. It was a little bit of a factor, but not really the turning point of anything.

Q. So much of this match you were having trouble focusing in your forehand down the line for winners. Was it the wind that was wiggling the ball at the last minute?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, just missing them. I was going for it and I was made some, missed some. That is kinds of the way I play. Just kind of go for it.

Q. The wind was a factor?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think much. It was a little bit windy, but it wasn't unbearable.

Q. Talking about chances looking back. Do you think that those three breakpoints at 2-2 would be the actually turning point?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think so in the second set turned the whole match around. If I could have converted there and just kept them that momentum hopefully serve a little bit better at that point, but I didn't, I just was not aggressive enough on those breakpoints and waited for him to miss; he is not going to miss and from there he broke me at love. That was the second set, but I was disappointed, but it is still one set-all; there is another set to play, basically you just have to look ahead and not worry about what happened the previous 4 games.

Q. After a match like this, are you even more excited about playing Andre?

PETE SAMPRAS: We definitely hopefully can get tennis more popular and hopefully I can make him a better player. He can make me a better player and with, you know, our personalities being a little different our games, I think it is something that is really great for the game and I am happy to be a part of it. To have a match like this really could have gone either way great for the game; the fans really enjoyed it. That makes me feel good. Sure, I am a little disappointed and just have to hop on the plane over to Palermo; give it my best shot this weekend.

Q. What, in your mind, is the biggest difference between your two personalities?

PETE SAMPRAS: I am much more reserved and conservative and Andre is (pause) not.

(audience laughter).

Q. Since so much of your game is predicated on your serve and particularly your first serve, when you don't do that well as happened today, does it make a little frustrating for you to find some other weapon to attack him with?

PETE SAMPRAS: It makes it very tough to play Andre when you are not serving well. You got to -- on my second -- serve and volley on my second serve, I can, but I am not going to win a lot of points that way. I just figured, stay back and hopefully beat him from the backcourt. I can't do that for a whole match. He does that as well as anyone. I just-- I needed to serve better and that was the one shot that let me down a little bit, but, you know, anyway, I still had some chances and, you know, like I say, could have gone either way.

Q. The Italian team has been there practicing for two weeks on clay. Do you think you have enough time to get ready for clay court?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I am going to get their Monday late and basically have Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday to get ready, and have never really been in this situation before, and I will let you know on Friday if I do have enough time. But they have definitely been there and used to the time change. I have to get used to the court and the jet lag; all that stuff, and hopefully, the bottom line, is coming out with a victory anyway we can get it.

Q. As the points are pointing up in this 19 point streak, what are your thought processes what are you thinking about?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, just thinking -- nothing you can think about. Just have to try something different or take your time a little bit more, but, you know, after he broke me, he just raised his level an extra notch. I just kind of slowly gradually went down and -- but that was the turning point at 3-2, Love-40 game when I had three breakpoints, that was the momentum switch.

Q. Did that shake your confidence?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. I pretty much held on serve all the way through the tiebreaker; didn't really shake my confidence.

Q. Does the fact he is playing so well, is that a bit like reassuring as you are about to stride in a battle alongside him; make you feel a bit better about the match?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I mean, what can I say? I lost another tough tiebreaker in the third and I could have been easily the winner here.

Q. I mean, with a view to next week.

PETE SAMPRAS: What was your question?

Q. Well, the fact that he is playing so well and you know, for the first time experience, how well he is playing, does that make you feel a bit better more confident about --

PETE SAMPRAS: Sure, I mean, absolutely. He is a great teammate to have in Davis Cup. He has played some great tennis and, yeah, I like our chances even though we are not going to have a ton a time to prepare. Andre is one of the best clay courters in the world. I am getting better. Hopefully, we can come through with a victory. We have a solid doubles team. I am kind of looking forward to it.

Q. As far as you know unless somebody takes a wildcard, do you next have the opportunity to meet Andre at the French Open; is that the next possible?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think he is going to Asia. I am over in Europe, so I don't know if he is playing -- he might be playing Rome. I don't know what he is doing, but the French is definitely in our cites.

GREG SHARKO: Anything else for Pete? Thanks...

End of FastScripts....

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