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March 13, 1995

Pete Sampras


GREG SHARKO: Pete is the first repeat winner since Becker in '87 and '88. He now increases his lead on the ATP Tour rankings 372 to 470. Questions for Pete.

Q. Does that make you feel more comfortable?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I am happy I defended my title and really beating the best this week, Todd, Stefan who has been playing the best tennis as of late, and to beat him in straight sets, I really had to be at my best if there is one shot that did it for me was my serve. I kind of live and died by it and served a lot of huge serves at 15-30, 30-All. So that was really the difference. I thought we both made a number of errors from the backcourt. He didn't steam quite as sharp as he normally does just missing by a little bit and that was really the difference.

Q. Did you intend not to serve and volley that much; didn't look like you were coming in that much?

PETE SAMPRAS: I was serve and volleying every first serve. He returns too well for me to serve and volley on my second, but every first, you have to come in; just take advantage of it. I just served pretty smart, mixed it up, and came up pretty good.

Q. Has been a difficult year off the court with the coaching changes and all. Is this a sign that maybe you are slipping in a new situation?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, there were a couple of weeks after the Australian, where everybody was kind of in limbo, wasn't really sure what was going to happen, how serious the situation was and Paul really stepped up and was trying to make this whole situation as easy for me and Tim as possible, and it looks like Tim is not going to be able to travel for the rest of the year so I am going to be traveling with Paul, and, you know, I know everything and that is what I need to know. What was the future. So, you know, this is really sweet to defend here and beat Andre. I really have to be at my best. This is a true indication that I had a good week and hopefully I can continue this -- have some time off and play well at Lipton.

Q. Pete, you are very generous toward Andre and praising him for having won the last two Slams and how well he plays - on and on. Do you think that coupled with your general on-court demeanor that it is easy to underestimate how important it is for you to be No. 1 and people tend to think that maybe you don't care so much?

PETE SAMPRAS: That I don't care?

Q. Yeah.

PETE SAMPRAS: I definitely care very much. There is no doubt about it. I see Andre who has won the last two major titles and that is a pretty good indication in my mind if you win the Majors, you deserve it, that is the most important tournaments of the year. I am not saying I am going to give it over that easily, but we will see what transpires in the next three, four months, but it is a better indication in my mind who is No. 1 at the end of the year. That is really the most important thing to me and obviously the Majors are the most important thing, but Andre, he is in my mind, the one guy that I feel even if I play well, he can still beat me, where when I play the other guys, -- he is just something -- because he can return my serve as well as anyone. I got a lot of respect for him. So it is a rivalry, I hope, that can build up over the next five, six years, and with our games being really different and our personalities, it is really a great matchup.

Q. How is working with Paul as a coach different from working with Tim?

PETE SAMPRAS: There is not that much difference. Paul and Tim talk every now and again about stuff I need to work on and it is a team effort. It is not like Paul is moving in on my relationship with Tim and I -- he is just trying to make the situation as easy for everyone as possible. They both have the same basic ideas. They feel like I need to be more aggressive and use my athletic ability. Because Paul was a very good player himself; came in a lot, and so it has worked out pretty well. Obviously this week is a good indication that things are looking very good.

Q. Did you do anything to prevent the nosebleeds?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I did put a little vaseline on my nose. Whatever works, huh? But, you know, it is so dry here that I can feel burning and I just have to lube it up.

Q. You just said that you and Andre have such different personalities. How would you talk about his and yours as players?

PETE SAMPRAS: As players? Well, I think he is a little bit more emotional. You kind of know how he is feeling. He plays pretty differently. He is pretty -- maybe a little bit more temperamental than -- I am pretty much at an even level of intensity; don't show a lot of emotion. It is just a rivalry I hope can be built up. We are just, you know, different people. It is not bad or anything. We just had a different upbringing, so I think it is going to be, obviously, good for the game and it feels good to be a part of that.

Q. Was there ever one point tonight where you stopped and said, wow, I am in a zone, do you ever do that?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I feel like I really wasn't in the zone.

Q. Why?

PETE SAMPRAS: I didn't feel I was. I felt maybe on my serve I was really on a good rhythm, but, you know, I felt like I was making a couple of errors. I wish I didn't make, and we both just from the backcourt, I don't know how it looked -- I don't know what it looked like on TV, but I felt like I was a little bit off; especially in the beginning, maybe just a little bit nervous, both of us, so I don't think I was in a zone. I just thought I played pretty solid. All week I played really solid and, you know, closed out the matches that I had to and serving for the matches and ended it on a big ace wide to the backhand; that was kind of the icing on the cake.

Q. Kind of sending a message, if you want it, you are going to have to come and take it?

PETE SAMPRAS: It is different when I play Andre. It is kind of like two heavyweights going at it. To play someone else, probably would be a little different because Andre is definitely threatening the ranking and everything, so it was a good win for me. It really was. Good for my confidence. Good to get my first victory of the year. Hopefully, I can just carry this confidence all the way through next week in the clay court season and obviously the French Open is definitely in my sight and so we will see what happens.

Q. Could you talk about the French, are you going to really aim -- is that your prime goal for the year and how are you going to prepare?

PETE SAMPRAS: Much differently than the last three, four years. I go to Asia this year. I am playing a couple of events in Barcelona -- obviously, the Davis Cup, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Rome, so I will be on the clay for about two months. That is a lot different than the past. I am just hoping that talking to Tim about my schedule last year for this year, we wanted to try to truly play well at the French and so I will just -- just playing well on clay; that is really the difference.

Q. Would you be willing to sacrifice some sharpness say, for instance, for getting ready for Wimbledon to do better at the French?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't understand your question.

Q. Well, they are kind of close together as far as being prepared for one --

PETE SAMPRAS: Everyone is in the same boat. Everyone plays the French; has two weeks to play on the grass for Wimbledon, and it has worked pretty well for me the last couple of years and so hopefully I can do it three times in a row, but -- no, I don't think it will have any bearing on my performance at Wimbledon. I certainly hope it doesn't.

Q. Was there any difference about playing the final on Monday?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. Not really.

Q. Pete, probably not going to play the first match at Lipton till the weekend. Will you not pick up a racket for three, four days or what will be your schedule for this coming week?

PETE SAMPRAS: This coming week I will take tomorrow off, obviously; fly home to Tampa and then maybe hit some very lightly on Wednesday and Thursday. It is not like I have a lot of time, but I have a little time; have a nice easy hit; break a sweat; that is kind of my plan.

GREG SHARKO: Anything else?

End of FastScripts.......

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