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November 19, 1994

Pete Sampras


Q. How much were you picking up of Andre's dialogue with Rudi?

PETE SAMPRAS: I just heard just about everything. He just lost his cool a little bit and obviously wasn't happy with a couple of the overrules, and also losing the second set, he was unhappy with that.

Q. Were you conscious that it was drifting towards you, that the momentum shifted towards you at that point?

PETE SAMPRAS: After the second I knew that if I could stay on top of him, because I could tell that he was steaming inside and I broke him right off the bat, and that really kind of made the difference. He never was really the same in the third set compared to the first couple of sets. He wasn't moving as well, and you could just sense that he was a bit deflated. I just took advantage of that.

Q. Did you feel the beginning of the second set he was a bit slower than the third?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I thought the first he was just too -- good serving, very high percentage, I got off at a really shaky start, lost my serve. I just told myself, if he is going to beat me, he is going to have to play just as well in the second, and it came down to a couple of shots in the tiebreaker. I hit that one really good backhand down the line that I didn't think I was going to get. I just stuck my racket out and it was a huge point. And then I could really see the difference compared to the first two sets in the third set, I could see that he wasn't moving as well and wasn't quite as sharp.

Q. I watched you play a lot of matches, never saw you jump that high, ever. Have you ever done that?

PETE SAMPRAS: Not too often. That was the right time to do it, though.

Q. Was that a big point?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it was 5-3 to go 6-3 and one more point; that ties everything up, so I lose that point it is 4-All, so that -- I am sorry, 5-4, so that is a huge point. Biggest point of the match, possibly.

Q. Pete, don't you think also the 4-1 game when you broke, you hit three terrific winners all with long rallies, don't you think that was a very crucial part of the match when you broke 3-1; you won the last three points on winners, they were all after long rallies.

PETE SAMPRAS: In the second?

Q. In the second.

PETE SAMPRAS: When I was 3-1 up?

Q. When you went 3-1 up with those three winners. Took him 3-1.

PETE SAMPRAS: I broke for 3-1?

Q. Yeah.

PETE SAMPRAS: That just kind of -- I raised my level, and that was a huge game. That kind of told him that I wasn't going to quit; that I was going to hang in there and make him earn it. Unfortunately, I didn't play a good game; didn't get any first serves. At 3-1 he broke me right back. And those winners were -- I had to hit those winners; that is how well he was playing. I had to raise my level kind of to a new level in order to, you know, really win the match.

Q. Was it difficult to adapt to a baseliner after playing serve and volleyers?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, little bit. I knew Andre was going to come in here really grooved. He played Chang, Bruguera and Berasategui; I knew he was going to be grooved. Maybe it took me a little while -- maybe that is why maybe I got off to a slow start. But I was pretty much prepared whoever I was going to play.

Q. Assuming it's Becker tomorrow, any thoughts?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, first of all, I will have to thank him if he didn't win his match yesterday, I am flying home today. And if I am going to come through and beat him, I need to return better. I didn't return at all when I played him on Wednesday. I need to make him play a lot more and make him volley and hopefully try to get off to a good start and get the crowd out of it. That is tough to say. I am going to have to play better than I did on Wednesday.

Q. If it is Sergi?

PETE SAMPRAS: If it's Sergi, it will be a very similar match to my match today. Doesn't have quite the power from the backcourt, and I got to use the court to my advantage and if I serve like I did in the last couple of sets and hit my groundies and make him play a lot of shots, then, you know, I like my chances.

Q. You have been going up and down in your returns. You returned very well against Stefan. What is going on really? It's not that quite solid all the time yet?

PETE SAMPRAS: My return?

Q. Yeah, today was tough for you.

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, because I knew I had -- I had the pressure of Andre. If I didn't hit a good return, he was going to be all over me, so when I play Stefan I know he is coming in and Stefan's serve can be a bit predictable, so you can kind of get ready; whereas, Andre, I think, is serving a lot better; mixing it around to my body; out wide to my forehand. I never really got a good rhythm on my return, so I was, obviously, good enough to come through. I need to return better if I am -- if I play Boris to beat him.

Q. Boris said yesterday you came to the lockerroom before the match against Edberg and wished him good luck; is that right?

PETE SAMPRAS: No joke. He told the truth.

Q. How long?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I just knocked on his door and wished him good luck. Only way I could not have qualified and be playing today was that if Edberg won in three sets. That means Edberg and Boris are in. And when Boris was down a break in the third, I was thinking of my flight home and he came back and showed a lot of heart, and, you know, it was good that I got a break, I finally got a break. Fortunately I got the break that I needed.

Q. Where did you watch the match?

PETE SAMPRAS: In my lockerroom.

Q. You watched the whole thing?

PETE SAMPRAS: Oh, yeah, I was definitely into it. I was just with Tim, obviously, making a lot of noise when he won.

Q. Talk about motivation, what did he have to tell you when you were down a set to go deep down in yourself to find the energy to fight back?

PETE SAMPRAS: I guess it is playing Andre; really wanting to win kind of -- our rivalry is something that I hope turns into something pretty special one day and I did not want to lose to him twice in a matter of three weeks so I didn't want to quit. I wanted to make him earn it. That is what I did. And I just got the breaks, really. I really could have lost that match in straight sets. I just showed a bit of heart out there and didn't quit.

Q. He seemed like he was putting you under pressure, so much depth on his groundstrokes; anyone else can do that?

PETE SAMPRAS: No one else. I know in the back of my mind, if I am not serving well, I have to stay back because he has the best return of serve by far in the game. He was just cracking returns and it he is hitting his backhands so heavy, I felt like he was coming in and I was backing up, and I need to serve well if I am going to beat Andre. If I don't serve; then it is a long day for me.

Q. You also seemed to have some difficulties to attack his second serve. You didn't come --

PETE SAMPRAS: I felt like I can out-rally Andre. I am not going to beat him staying at the backcourt, but he hits a second serve with a lot of pace. He has got a big kick serve and tough serve to come in on. I think he knew that I might do that today - to come in on his second serve; that is why he was hitting a bit harder than he normally does.

Q. You might see him in the Australian Open final; do you think?

PETE SAMPRAS: I haven't really thought about that. It is a possibility, sure. I mean, he is definitely is one of the guys that I say I have the most fear right now because, you know, as confident as he is and as well as he is moving, he is really tough to beat because I think he hits the ball heavier than anyone I have ever played.

Q. Andre said that he can become No. 1 because he has improved his mental attitude. The fact that he cracked up there when he was under real pressure, do you have think that is his most difficult problem at the moment to make a serious challenge to your play?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I don't think so. I just think that the circumstances were, you know, pretty much went in my favor today. I got the breaks. I got the calls. That is just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. But Andre has been always -- at least, at times I have seen him play very focused; doesn't seem like he loses his cool. Today he lost his cool a little bit. I tried to keep things in perspective and if I get some bad line calls, I try to shut them out and he just kind of let them linger in the back of his head that might have cost him the match.

Q. Which ones?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know which one because he overruled a couple of them.

Q. 15-All ball, 5-6?

PETE SAMPRAS: It is hard to say. I don't know. Obviously umpire saw a clear mistake and he overruled it. That is really not in my control. I just play the calls.

Q. Pete, when do you return to Europe next year; is Barcelona the first tournament?


Q. Where does this match rank in Sampras/Agassi history?

PETE SAMPRAS: I thought that the level of tennis was as high as I have ever played and I think he might say the same. I thought we both played really well. And a good chance that we will play like that again in the future which I think the game really needs right now, a good rivalry. I think Andre and I, with our personalities being so different and our games being so different, is something that I am looking forward to.

End of FastScripts....

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