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November 17, 1994

Pete Sampras


Q. You were surprised about the first set?

PETE SAMPRAS: The fact that he won the first set?

Q. Yes. He played very good tennis.

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I was up a break; got off to a great start and before I knew it, it was -- he won four straight games up 5-3, and combination of I kind of let him back into the set and he started returning better; hitting his forehand a lot better. When Stefan can hit his forehand return well, he is tough to ace and tough to beat. So, I just told myself to hang in there and not panic. And sure, I was a bit frustrated after being up a break, but whenever I play Stefan, it always comes down to a couple of points, and I got those points today. It came down to a tiebreaker. And once the tiebreaker comes into play, it is kind of hit-and-miss tennis out there, and I made him hit a couple of volleys and that is all that really was the -- that was about the match right there.

Q. But it was quite a finish on your part, 5-6 down, serving to stay in the match and suddenly it all seemed to -- all the serve was perfect; getting all the powers there?

PETE SAMPRAS: Right. It is always tough when I am always down a game. When I am playing against Stefan, he is coming in on every second serve and I felt like I was always under pressure, and so I was happy I was holding pretty easily. I was up 30-Love. Then, like you said, from 6-5 on, I served really well in the tiebreaker and just raised my level just a little bit. Obviously enough to win. So it was good.

Q. Was there a point when you thought this isn't going to be my tournament?

PETE SAMPRAS: After I lost the first, I was thinking just a frustrated week. I was struggling and playing guys that were just playing too good and I just told myself to just to have a bit more fun out there because I was really getting down on myself. I am sure you guys can see that, and I was feeling that way, I just told myself to hang in there and hopefully get a break; that is what happened, and I kind of got my spirits up. I was kind of walking like I really wanted to be there, so as a result, I start playing better.

Q. You don't usually do that when you are down; you don't usually show externally what you are feeling like that. How come do you think it happened here?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know. I just feel that it is frustrating because my game really isn't there and it really was for the last set and a half, as I was playing like I normally do because by beating -- getting beat my Stefan -- I mean, by Boris yesterday, I was a bit overwhelmed; didn't play well, so the confidence going into today's match wasn't really there and I had to find it somehow. And fortunately, I found it in the middle of the second set and that kind of made a turning point for me.

Q. Was it all the more difficult to find a couple of extraordinary points which he won, very dramatic points and fantastic points, did that sort of help you think perhaps this isn't going to be my day?

PETE SAMPRAS: Got two sets to win, and sure, he basically outplayed me in the first set and I just told myself not to panic and that he played too good; if he is going to play that well in the second, I am not going to make it here to the weekend. So, I just told myself to have a bit more fun and try to stay positive because everything in the first set -- I was just getting a bit upset with myself and I normally don't do that. I just started playing better.

Q. Is the decision in the match to have more fun something new for you or is that sort of a mental approach you had before?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I just -- I just was upset with the way I played yesterday and being beaten by Boris twice - I am not too happy with that; and going into today's match, I was feeling pretty good, but I am not a good player after losing. I am not used to that. After losing you are playing; this is the only event that you have that, so Tim and I talked about it; we just tried to put the loss behind me yesterday and the way I am playing behind me and trying to think of this kind of like a new tournament so that is -- it took me a set and a half to realize that.

Q. Because of what you have been through in the last few months, does this thing mean more to you than it normally would; to finish the year --

PETE SAMPRAS: That is important to me. The year was going just about perfect for the first four, five months and for that to be halted enough to defending my Wimbledon title and having a nagging injury, that was very frustrating and I just told myself on this European trip to put the whole summer and U.S. Open behind me; really try to finish the year strong; that is why this win kind of keeps me in the running. I can still win my match tomorrow; not make the semi, which is too bad. So it is important to finish strong, but regardless if I don't make the semi, I can look back at this year and be very happy with two major titles and a lot of nice titles under my belt, so it is a good year, but the scary thing is that it really could have been a lot better.

Q. How do you reckon your chances against Goran?

PETE SAMPRAS: I feel pretty good. I beat Goran here last year in a tough three-setter. Obviously, I have to get his serve back and stay solid on my service games and so I feel pretty good. I am sure he is a bit -- I saw him play yesterday. I am sure he was a bit dejected losing to Boris and having to come back the next day and play Stefan; I am sure with his day off he will play better tomorrow.

Q. You like round robin?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, after losing the first day, yeah, I do like round Robin.

I think it is good. I think the event is good. I think to see all the different combinations, I am -- I mean, sure, I would have loved to be in an easier group, but that is kind of the way the draw works. But I like it. I think playing Goran tomorrow; the final at Wimbledon, and you have -- which is a big match. I like it.

Q. What is your opinion about the fact that Stich could have played instead of Berasategui being in the race for the semifinal?

PETE SAMPRAS: I haven't thought about their group. But it is not -- really not in my control; nor my decision on the other guys, and Berasategui, he qualified; that is really the bottom line. I mean, I am sure it would have been great for the event if Michael somehow made it; if he played a little bit better the last couple of tournaments, but...

Q. But that Stich could have played instead of Berasategui because Berasategui was injured after the first day; could have been put in for the second match?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think Berasategui knew, you know, he seemed -- I saw him play Chang. He was just outplayed. Seemed like he was hitting the ball fine; didn't seem like his thumb was really bothering him, so I think he made the right decision.

Q. What did you vote when you were pooled about that, the rule change, do you remember that?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't even know. There are so many things I am voting for, Republican or Democrat, so... I am trying to remember what I voted.

Q. They pooled you guys back in Tokyo, Michael said.

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I think -- I don't know. I am trying to think -- I think if someone is hurt and Michael were to come back and play and won his two matches, I think he probably should be eligible to play. So I think I did vote for the fact that an alternate can make the semi.

Q. Looks like you and Stefan always aim to produce this kind of matches. Is there something special when you -- it is always such dramatic matches.

PETE SAMPRAS: It is always nice to play Stefan because we are just going to play tennis out there because he is a class act. We are just going to play and the better man wins. There is no antics or gamesmanship out there. And it always comes down to a couple of points. We are going to hold serve the majority of the time. And just -- it wasn't surprising to me that the match came down to a tiebreaker in the third set, and it really could have gone either way, and fortunately, for me, it went my way.

Q. Pete, Edberg's backhand and volley were terrific as usual. What kind of holes do you see in his game that you can finally attack and when it really comes down to crunch time.

PETE SAMPRAS: I think his forehand is absolutely the weaker side. If I am going to lose to Stefan, he is going to hit some forehand passers and forehand returns; that is the weaker side. When it comes down to a 30-All point or big points, I am going to go out wide to his forehand, so that is really the game plan.

End of FastScripts....

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