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December 10, 1994

Pete Sampras


Q. Pete, when you lost those four matchpoints in the fifth set, did your mind go back a year ago when you lost four matchpoints in the fifth set?

PETE SAMPRAS: In fact, I have -- that was the first thing I thought was the nightmare I had when I played Petr Korda. I had five matchpoints and really it was wandering through my mind again today because I had my chances. I had my matchpoints, and I just was thinking, maybe it wasn't meant to be to get to the final here, and I just got a bit of luck today compared to last year. And today's tennis is just basically hit-and-miss tennis. He served 40 aces, so very tough to break, so I am happy I got through and hopefully I can recover tonight and play just as well tomorrow.

Q. When did you start playing that jump smash, whatever you call it?

PETE SAMPRAS: What do you mean?

Q. When you jump high and smash it overhead.

PETE SAMPRAS: I have always done that, yeah. It is up there, and I get some pretty good -- pretty good leaping ability from playing basketball when I was young.

Q. Pete, you shared a lot of emotion at the end of the match almost didn't get the smile off your face, was it really a case of relief that you had won the match; what went through your mind?

PETE SAMPRAS: That is exactly what it was, relief of winning the match and finally getting -- once you are so close, you can just taste victory, and I just wasn't playing those matchpoints aggressive enough and I -- he didn't really play the match point that I won aggressive. He hit a pretty soft volley and, you know, it just -- it happened so quickly; that next thing you know you won. Because being up 40-Love against Goran, you are still not favored to win the game, so it was a bit of relief, and I am very excited, and so I feel fortunate that I am through it.

Q. How do you feel physically?

PETE SAMPRAS: Pretty good. I feel pretty good. I feel like I can, you know, have -- my match tomorrow is at 3:00 o'clock, so I have some time to sleep in and get a massage tonight and have a good meal, so I feel pretty good. It is the last match of the year for me, so I feel like I can just go out there and give it everything I have.

Q. Did you ever play better volleys?

PETE SAMPRAS: I volleyed pretty well. I mean, I have volleyed exceptionally well at Wimbledon when I played him in the final, and my volleying has gotten better, so -- but it is what I expect from myself.

Q. Do you still work on your volley?


Q. How?

PETE SAMPRAS: Just practice?

Q. Pete, you said before the match two days ago that you had to be very careful on your first serve; to put your first serve in because his return on your second serve could be very dangerous, so you thought about that during the whole match or not?

PETE SAMPRAS: I felt what I was most comfortable with was stepping up to the line and trying to hit an ace because the court is playing so fast. But I really didn't serve well today, but the court is fast enough where I can serve and volley on my second serve and Goran, you know, returns in streaks. He returned two, three good ones and he can "Chang" (sic) a few, and so that was my main concern, get to the net. I don't want to be staying back on my serve because couple of bad bounces and a couple of unlucky shots, I could have gotten broken. And I did in the first set. So I need to serve better tomorrow because I didn't serve very well today.

Q. You seemed to be like pretty in control of the match after the third set, and then what happened in the fourth?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think he finally just -- he relaxed and I don't think he was tanking, by any means. He relaxed and started serving huge, and I had no plays on his service games. He must have held at love, three, four times that set. If he serves that high, probably 60 percent, it is impossible to break him. Only way I am going to break him if I get some cracks at his second serve like I did in the last game of the match because when he played -- when you play Goran you have to be as patient as possible. You realize he is going to hit those two, three aces a game, and if he can do that the whole match, then that is too good. I can accept that, but when you get those second serve opportunities, you really have to win those points because if you don't then you are in trouble.

Q. Pete, have you got any good news from Tim?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, he is doing fine.

Q. Pete, how can you say you didn't serve well when you didn't give him a breakpoint for three sets, practically?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, my first serve percentage, didn't feel like it was that high, so I think I expected myself to serve better than that.

Q. You know you lost only five points on your serve in the second set and seven points on your serve in the third?

PETE SAMPRAS: I guess that is good.

Q. Pete, is it difficult at all during the match to take your mind off Tim?

PETE SAMPRAS: I thought about him some today, but I was more concerned about trying to return his serve and so -- that is it.

Q. He wasn't returning bad today?

PETE SAMPRAS: He returned quite well.

Q. Do you think that maybe your volleys made a difference?

PETE SAMPRAS: I thought I volleyed pretty well. The thing on this court is that you just have to make your volleys because it is so tough to pass out there because of the altitude, it is tough to pass and -- but he returns well. Because when he is serving that big, he can give himself a lot opportunities on the return; just to go for winners because he knows he is not going to get broken. That is what makes Goran very dangerous, is -- when he is serving that well, it makes his other -- rest of his game that much better.

Q. Looking to the final both opponents have got huge serves. Was this match in some way good preparation for whoever you play in the final with the serving?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think tomorrow I will be able to see the ball a little better. Goran's got the biggest serve in the game by far and tomorrow I will play a righty and those guys play very similar. They have good all-around court games. Magnus has improved a lot this year, and so I don't think it was any great preparation, you know, I feel that I'd much rather playing a righty than lefty. I have had problems playing lefties, so I feel pretty good and so we will see what happens.

Q. In TENNIS Tiriac said that you came to him asking him to represent you; is that true?

PETE SAMPRAS: Not exactly. I have talked to Ion and just to talk, really.

End of FastScripts....

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