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March 11, 1995

Pete Sampras


GREG SHARKO: Pete now assures himself remaining No. 1 next week going into the Lipton Championships.

Q. Is that a relief?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, not really. I mean, if you need to take a picture.

Q. Yes.

PETE SAMPRAS: Go ahead. Let us stop the whole thing and take the picture. Go ahead.

Q. I will take a picture.

PETE SAMPRAS: If he over takes me, which he could in the next three, four weeks, whatever, I could accept that. He has won the last two major tournaments and the way the ranking system is working out he could overtake me. I can live with that, but it is a long year. There is a lot of tennis yet to be played. No. 1 at the end of the year is really the occasion in my mind of is who is the best for the year.

Q. From the sounds of it, you've accepted the fact that there is a very strong possibility and you don't seem that upset or concerned if the ranking does change hands?

PETE SAMPRAS: Just looking at the whole -- the next three, four months, I have won a lot of events, and he really didn't play a lot last year, so not playing the whole summer, for me, really hurt me as far as my ranking is concerned, but if it happens, you know, it is not end of the world; life goes on. Sure, I'd rather be No. 1, but it is much more important for me to be No. 1 at end of the year, so that is my overall goal.

Q. Talking about the ranking system, do you have any preference? They are going to make changes, they say, next week.

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think the only gripe I have, I feel like every time you walk out on the court it should count and with the ranking system they have now, that is not the case. I think it is very tough for you guys and for the fans to really understand it. I think if they had some sort of race where everyone started at zero; then just basically played the whole year and who had the most points wins, because it is so tough to understand defending points. They were talking about the devisor-- I really like to see it change to the point where every time you win, it should help and if you lose you should be hurt. That is what I tell them.

Q. But if it happens as you say with the race starting from zero at the beginning, how are you going to go through determining seedings and all that?

PETE SAMPRAS: I haven't the slightest idea. I really don't know. I mean, there is so many -- you are not going to find a perfect system. You are going to have a couple of blemishes here and there, but it is so much easier for the people to understand. People know that the Chicago Bulls are five games behind New York or whatever. And the way the tennis ranking is it is so tough to understand it, so -- I mean, there is so many different people working on it. I know the ATP got guys from MIT working on it and they can't figure it out. I think there needs to be a change. I think every time you walk out on the court it should count; that is not just the case right now.

Q. Pete, do you think there should be a minimum number of tournaments that each player has to play every year; do you agree with 14?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, that is fine. I like to play. I have no problem committing to the tournaments I play. Obviously, I am playing the Majors, so there is no problem in my mind. I play in the neighborhood of 19, 20 tournaments. I have no problem with the schedule. I like to see maybe an off-season. There is no real off-season like all the other sports have, but, you know...

Q. You said that you weren't playing really great tennis the other day. Today it just looked like everything is together; playing really well?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think under the conditions I thought I played pretty well. It was very gusty and the wind was swirling around the court and you really -- we both had a hard time getting a rhythm out there. I just handled it may be just a little bit better than Todd and under the conditions, I thought I played pretty well, served pretty well to win, so I feel pretty good. My progress, I think, as the week goes on is getting a little bit better and better. Hopefully I can even play better tomorrow with Edberg because he is in good form, so it should be a good one.

Q. Would your win over Edberg at the Newsweek last year have any bearing on tomorrow's match at all?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think so. I mean, I think, you know, we have played each other a dozen times and, you know, we know what each player is going to do. It is just a matter of if he wakes up feeling better and plays better, that is really the bottom line.

Q. Pete, just on the ranking's point, would you favor a higher percentage of points going to the Grand Slams than there is now? I mean, somebody who wins Frankfurt, in all essence, gain more points than they would by winning a Grand Slam.

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, what I will say is that I feel the Majors are the most important tournaments of the year and I think that your ranking should be a reflection on how you do at the Majors. But on the other hand, in Frankfurt, I don't know what the point is, but you don't get bonus points in Frankfurt where, obviously, in the Majors you get bonus points for beating the guys in the top 10. I just feel, you know, they have definitely stepped up the points, but I feel like your ranking should be an indication of how you do at the Majors and I think there is some cases that that really is not the case.

Q. Pete, are you really eager to meet Andre in the final here, would you really -- would that be your first preference?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it is definitely -- he is two matches away and I am one match away; I am sure it would be great for the game and great for our rivalry that has been talked about a lot, but we will see what happens over the next day or two.

Q. Pete, is you are wildly considered to have the best forehand in the game. Can you name a couple of players that have forehands that you fear?

PETE SAMPRAS: Courier and Agassi having the two heaviest forehands. Marc Rosset has got a real good forehand.

Q. Kafelnikov maybe?

PETE SAMPRAS: Pretty good, Kafelnikov, I still I think those three have the best forehands in the world.

End of FastScripts!

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