November 14, 1994
Q. You won in Antwerp. How does it feel now? Do you feel physically okay?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I really haven't felt any extra pains since I have been in Europe and it gave me some confidence going into this week. I feel more comfortable on the court. The court here is playing a lot slower than compared to Antwerp. It was a bit too fast, so I feel fit and ready to go.
Q. Andre was talking last week about rivalry in tennis. How do you feel about that? Do you think that it is necessary?
PETE SAMPRAS: Absolutely. That is one thing that I think tennis has been missing for the past couple of years and I think rivalries is what really sells sports - if it is the Lakers and Celtics or the Yankees and Dodgers; that is what people really take a keen interest in. Andre and I are so different with our personalities and our life; sometimes and I think it results as a very good matchup and we play differently; we act differently and so I am looking forward to it. I mean, he definitely brings out the best in me. I think vice versa; so hopefully it is something that will last awhile.
Q. Are you happy with your year so far?
PETE SAMPRAS: It has been a very good year, but the scary thing is that it really could have been a lot better. I mean, the first six months was just about perfect. Then the nagging injuries really took its toll. It was a great year, but it could have been a lot better like I said, with two major titles in nine tournaments, I can't ask for a better year, but I could have had some more titles and an Open victory, but I will have to wait 'til next year.
Q. Pete, I read an agency the other week -- the agency was saying that you would like to take holidays, but you can't?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well --
Q. Is that correct or they were saying. . .
PETE SAMPRAS: I think the question they asked me was as far as the Tour and the off-season, as far as -- there is really really no off-season on the Tour since I am playing here and in a couple of weeks I come back from Munich, so I only have about three or four weeks to get ready for Australia. That is not really a lot of time.
Q. What about to decide when the season is off?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think like other sports in the states, there is like three or four months off where you can rest and work on your game, whereas the way it is set up now, is that even if I don't play Munich, I only have about five, six weeks.
Q. What happened to the beard?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know. I just -- it was starting to irritate me. I started sweating a little bit and it was pinching me and I decided to look a bit more respectable.
Q. No more that meaner look?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. Well -- I guess I will try to be Mr. Nice guy this week.
Q. How is it being back in Frankfurt?
PETE SAMPRAS: It feels pretty good. I have always enjoyed Frankfurt and I seem to play pretty well here. I think playing other top guys is going to result in a lot of really good tennis, so I am looking forward to that, and so I am happy I am here. I am healthy which is great, so I am looking forward to a good week.
Q. How could you value this tournament compared to others to the Grand Slam tournaments?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think you can put this event in a Grand Slam category. I think it is a huge event. It is a lot of points and prize money, but if you asked me a question if I'd rather win the Open or Frankfurt, I think I will take the Open because it is so much more prestigious; been around a lot longer, but I definitely want to end the year as far as I can and I couldn't think of a better way than to win here.
Q. You have the first day off. Did you expect -- did you wish to have it off?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, it was just the way the draw was made.
Q. Your first opponent is Stefan Edberg?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes.
Q. Can you say something?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I played him a number of times. I have played him here a couple of times. We both play very similar and, you know, Stefan's year hasn't been, you know, what it usually is. He is still very dangerous; given me a lot of trouble. I always have trouble against guys that are coming in and coming in. That is what Stefan does really well, so I think the -- it is really going to come down to my returns. If I return well, I like my chances.
Q. Totally different groups. It is just the way of the event; do you think the same?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is the way the draw came out, like in any -- like the French Open was very strong on top and very weak on the bottom, but here I think it would be nice to have some contracts of styles like myself playing Chang or Agassi, but it is just the way the draw goes and there is nothing really that we can all do about it. We will sit and watch.
Q. It is the fifth time here in Frankfurt. There were four different winners before. Do you think this time one of the four--
PETE SAMPRAS: I think myself-- hopefully myself. Becker is one of the favorites. Andre, the way he has been playing the last couple of months is going to be tough to beat and Michael who also won-- was hoping for an injury, but we will see what happens.
Q. Are you physically 100%?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. All over?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. What about Tim?
PETE SAMPRAS: Tim, he is doing better too. All he has is a little scar and he is doing fine.
Q. Have you worked with him all the time, or. . .
PETE SAMPRAS: I am with him -- our contract is basically about 26, 27 weeks of the year and I'd say 20 of those he is with me at tournaments and the other time he is down training working on my game, so it has been a great relationship, and Tim and I get along. I respect him. We communicate real well. I think those are the ingredients you need for a really good player/coach relationship.
Q. For next year did you take your decision for Davis Cup? Do you know if you are going to play the first round of Davis Cup?
PETE SAMPRAS: I haven't made any firm decisions, but what I will tell you is that the timing of the first and second round really doesn't work with my schedule to play a Davis Cup tie the week after the Australian. It is something that I am not too sure what I am going to do and I will decide that, probably when the year is over.
Q. Pete, did you doubt before winning in Antwerp or was it difficult for you this time?
PETE SAMPRAS: Winning in Antwerp? No, the previous -- the guys I lost to in Stockholm and Paris ended up winning the tournament, so I was playing against guys on top of their game and one thing I needed because the summer was -- I didn't play any matches during the summer, I needed to play some matches, I think. Antwerp is good preparation. I won there last year and got to the final here, so I don't think there are any doubts in the back of my mind because I still have the confidence that I am tough to beat if I am playing well, and Antwerp was a good week. I didn't play great. But I played well enough to win.
Q. It is true that you trained at 10 o'clock last night?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I felt I did last -- I got in about 9:30 and hit some balls last night because I feel that the court here is much different than it is in Antwerp and the balls are different, so I think I need to hit a lot of balls to get used to the timing of the court, because Antwerp is so much quicker; whereas, here, I think is a really nice medium-paced court which I think will result in better tennis.
Q. If you compare it to the surface in Stockholm and Paris, this one is fastest?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. No. Stockholm was the fastest and then Paris was the slowest and this is right in the middle. So I think it is good. It is the same court as last year and so it should be good tennis.
Q. Next year you are going to play more clay tournaments?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. This season, when did you take this decision?
PETE SAMPRAS: I talked it over with Tim and we kind of just talked about next year and my schedule and the goals I want to try to get and I think the French Open is something that I definitely want to accomplish winning there, so I feel I need to play more on clay. So for the past couple of years I have gone to Asia; whereas, next year I am going to be being in Barcelona and Monte Carlo, so I will be a month and a half before the French, so I think the preparation will hopefully work for me.
Q. Pete, are you surprised how successful Andre has been of late; how well he has been playing?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. I mean, I think we all knew that Andre has much talent as anyone. And he just basically just put it altogether in the past three, four months he is fit; he is moving well, and he is playing well. He is one of the tougher guys to beat on the Tour, so I think we all knew that he had the talent and he has obviously put it altogether recently.
Q. Do you think there is any particular reason why now?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think Brad has helped him in a lot of ways; got him practicing more and stuff like that, and Andre has always been a tough guy to beat. I mean, even for anyone, he has just been a bit up and down with his career and recently has been showing a lot of consistency, so hopefully our rivalry] Can turn into something pretty special. I am looking forward to that.
Q. Are you feeling really fit now?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. It has been a good few months?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, it has been a good year, but scary thing is, it really could have been a lot better. I didn't play at all during the summer and losing that match in the U.S. Open for not being in shape putting more salt to the wound if you know what I mean, I just try to put that whole experience behind me and put it behind me and try -- hopefully I can play well here.
Q. Last couple of weeks, we have been watching on Sky it was as if you were trying to get ready for here?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, I was trying to win those points, but I mean, Frankfurt is obviously a huge event. I will definitely want to play well here, and the guys I lost to in Stockholm and Paris, they both won the tournament, so I was playing with guys that were on the their game.... Antwerp gave me some confidence. Always nice to be in the winner's circle again.
Q. Where do you put this just after the Grand Slam?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think you got to put this after the Grand Slams. I don't think you can put it quite as the same as the U.S. Open.
Q. The players do regard this as American playoff?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. Who is responsible for that beard?
PETE SAMPRAS: Delaina was. She wanted me to grow a goatee and I did for a little while; then I cut it off. I started growing it again. I figure something different; why not.
Q. What have you decided? What is the fate?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is off. I am going to keep it off. I shaved it about an hour ago.
Q. Tell us about Tim. We saw some horrendous pictures of him.
PETE SAMPRAS: He is doing a lot better. He had a bit of an accident.
Q. On a glass table?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, broke his septum part of his nose; had surgery done and I'd say 20 stitches on his face, so he is all healed up. He is fine.
Q. He is here?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes.
Q. So everything is going well?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. Healthy.
Q. How about all the injuries?
PETE SAMPRAS: Healthy, and playing pretty good. I played pretty good week of tennis in Antwerp, but I didn't play great and I am healthy. I am ready to go this week, so. . .
Q. You feel not the same as before in the time of Wimbledon or. . .
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think. . .
Q. Close to it?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is really hard to say. Wimbledon was a completely different surface.
Q. But I mean, in total?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I felt as far as my physical or. .
PETE SAMPRAS: I feel I am not playing with any pain anywhere in my body, so that is the most important thing. And as far as my confidence, it is definitely there. I feel like I can win the event. I am obviously in a very tough section; playing 3 guys in a row that, you know, are some of the greatest players to play, so it will a good effort just to get to the semi.
Q. Everybody is saying that how funny it is to see Agassi come back and you also said. Do you really feel that it is fun to see somebody like him coming back and to be a danger for you for your No. 1 spot? Can you appreciate it?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is good for the game. I think in the past couple of years I think a rivalry really hasn't been there and I think Andre and I can turn it into something pretty special because our games are so different; our personalities and lifestyle and I think we all knew that Andre has as much talent as anyone. It is just a matter of putting it altogether. I think Brad has helped him out with that at the Open and he has played well in Europe, so, sure, I'd love to have a much bigger lead from 1 and 2, but Andre is a great talent; great for the game and I am looking forward to playing him again.
Q. It is possible for you when you are No. 1 like you are, you were so far away from the others to get be bored by that; you need some incentive?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, I don't need any motivation. Motivation is just trying to stay on top. If you lose that desire of motivation, then the only place I can go is down and obviously I don't want that to happen, so...
Q. You are in the group where you are head-to-head with Becker, Ivanisevic and Edberg, right?
PETE SAMPRAS: I guess I won't be here on the weekend.
Q. It is some motivation for you or something you feel?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it is the same that I think it would have been better for the event if it would have been a couple of guys playing that really has a contrast in style; if I was playing a Chang or basically anyone in the other group, it is fun to watch a contrast in style of play. That is just the way the draw works sometimes and nothing, obviously, we can do about it now, so like I said, I think to get through the semi wouldn't be easy.
Q. Did you practice at all here?
PETE SAMPRAS: Last night.
Q. How are the conditions here?
PETE SAMPRAS: Much better compared to Antwerp. I feel it is much slower. And it is much slower, the court. They are using the same balls as in Paris and I think the game needs to be slowed down a little bit because playing in Stockholm and Antwerp, it is just too fast. I don't think -- it is probably not fun to watch and it is really not fun to play, to tell you the truth. This court, I think you can see a guy playing well from the backcourt and coming in, so I think it is more fair.
Q. Quite the same as in Paris or faster?
PETE SAMPRAS: I'd say it is very similar. Very similar. Maybe a little bit quicker, but very little.
Q. Pete, is it slower than last year?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is the same court.
Q. Some people seem to say it is slower, the balls are heavier?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think the balls, they puff up a little more, so that will make it a little slower. Which I think is good. Balls do make a difference. The court is the same.
Q. Surface is quite the same?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is the same court.
Q. You prefer a little slower?
PETE SAMPRAS: I prefer -- I don't mind playing on anything except maybe the red stuff. I prefer playing on a slower court than a faster court. That is the kind -- wouldn't you agree Mary, rather play on a slower court.
MARY CARILLO: Yes.
PETE SAMPRAS: Thanks. Nice, honest, fair surface; it is better for everyone.
Q. Pete, did you vote last week?
PETE SAMPRAS: Oh, no.
Q. You were here?
PETE SAMPRAS: You mean Republican/Democrat thing? No, but I was pretty happy with the outcome.
Q. I thought you would be.
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. But Florida is still -- Childs won.
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. As long as Clinton goes down, I will be happy. I don't mean that in a mean way.
Q. No, I understand.
PETE SAMPRAS: Don't quote me on that.
Q. No, I won't. What do you think about Stefan Edberg this year?
PETE SAMPRAS: Stefan had a bit of an up-and-down year, but I think he has given me problems in the past. I don't like guys that come in a lot. He comes in on both his serves and my second serve; a lot depends on my return and his return and that will determine who will win. And the other guys, obviously, I have played them and I have a losing record against everyone, so I am not off to a good start.
Q. Goran Ivanisevic?
PETE SAMPRAS: Goran, got the biggest shot in the game in the serve. He gets it going basically unreturnable and -- but I beat him here last year in one of my better matches, so it can be done, and it is very similar kind of match with Stefan; return of serve is going to be a big part of it.
Q. Already spoken in Paris about Boris, but one question about the many players they say that if he is playing very good, he has an unbeatable face; they told us sometimes that you see in his face that this time he is in very good shape. Do you feel that way with Becker?
PETE SAMPRAS: I guess you can kind of see it in his eye. If he is focused and diving for the balls then he is into it. He is going to be very tough to beat, but he is beatable. I beat him here a couple of years ago in front of his home crowd, so I am looking forward to that.
Q. Every sportsman, they have a little bit -- they are a little bit superstitious. Goran Ivanisevic told us that in Tokyo he eat everyday at 12:15 exactly one cake for winning the match and he is doing it all the week. Are you also a little superstitious?
PETE SAMPRAS: Not really. I really don't.
Q. You watch soccer?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, that is for sure, I don't watch soccer. I don't know. I don't have any superstition.
Q. What do you say about the coaches? Goran first told us it is more friend than a coach. What do you like very much with your coach and what you don't like with him?
PETE SAMPRAS: The reason I like Tim is that he is kind of a no B.S. Guy. He will tell me what he is feeling. He is not one of those guys that is just going to say you are playing great just to make me feel great if I am not. The reason we have coaches-- I really can't see if my toss is getting lower or if it is getting too far to the left. He can see that; where I can't, and he is always good at scouting and seeing different areas of other guys' games that might be a bit of a weakness. I think you need to respect your coach; need to communicate and that is one thing Tim and I have been doing the last three years; that is why it has been working.
Q. He has something you don't like, something special; what is boring with him?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I mean, no one has ever said Tim is quiet. He can definitely talk. In fact, I think I think he can talk under water, so he can drive me a bit nuts with his stories. I have heard them around 30 times this year. Other than that, he is fun to be around.
Q. You are here for the fifth time?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. Do you know Apple wine?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. It is a special drink. You have to try it.
PETE SAMPRAS: I will try it.
Q. Thanks a lot. If there was any rule that would you like to be changed in 1995, which one would you ask for?
PETE SAMPRAS: As far as the game?
PETE SAMPRAS: Nothing.
Q. Nothing at all?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. Points? Serve? Net? Everything? Rackets? Balls?
PETE SAMPRAS: I am pretty happy with the way things are right now. I think maybe they can slow the court down a little bit at certain cities. At certain places like Stockholm. I mean, it is too fast to enjoy playing and watching.
Q. Do you think or do you feel there is a change that people acknowledge you much more as an all-around sportsman?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think people have always kind of respected my tennis, and the way I conduct myself, you know, as far as popularity, I think somebody like Andre Agassi who shows a lot more emotion and is a bit more flamboyant; a bit more popular, to be honest with you, that is fine with me. I need to play my tennis. I don't need any distractions off the court. I just need to keep things as simple as possible. That is what works for me. Every sportsmen has a different way of approaching their sport and the way I do it is the way I am most comfortable, so it is always been working recently.
Q. Speaking about the championships, could it be an advantage for you now to have had this break that you didn't plan to do, but maybe other players are burned out by now in a way and you are fresh?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I would have loved to have played during the summer. I mean, that was the most frustrating time in my career because everything was going so well, but I have played three straight weeks so I am pretty fresh, but I mean, I wouldn't mind having a couple of days off, but unfortunately I played on Wednesday, so I feel like I am fit and ready to go and everyone else, I am sure, is ready to go. I was the only guy that played last week which hopefully will work to my advantage, so we will see what happens this week.
Q. Almost nobody speaks about players like Berasategui or even Bruguera and Michael Chang here thinking about who would be in the finals. Do you think from their point of view, it might be a bit unfair to only play the seasons final on fast courts?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, absolutely. Berasategui got to the finals in the French. Chang, probably his best surface is outdoor on hard court and Bruguera is a clay court player, so, but I mean, that is only place you can put an event in Europe at this time of year is indoor because it is obviously too cold out there. It is unfair. Sure, it is unfair for those guys, I mean, but this is the way the Masters and ATP Finals has always been, indoors.
Q. But there are different kinds of surfaces for example that are much slower than this one?
PETE SAMPRAS: I hit last the couple of days and I'd say it is a little bit quicker, but not a lot. I think this court is a court that you can serve and volley and stay back and both be very effective, so I think it is fair. I think it is a fair surface.
Q. Speaking with fairness, I think also the German players don't mind to have these championships every year here in Germany?
PETE SAMPRAS: I wouldn't mind them being in Tampa, Florida where I live, but it is one thing that is good that the Tour does a great job running the event. It is packed every night and one thing about the Masters, when they had it at the Garden, it wasn't sold out. It is nice to play in front of 9,000 screaming Germans; hopefully rooting for you and not against you, like if you are playing Boris, it is fun.
Q. Anything special about this place here in Frankfurt?
PETE SAMPRAS: Atmosphere is great and it is always nice to play in front of the German fans which I think really know the game quite well. Obviously, Boris and Michael have made tennis much more popular versus playing in front of a thousand people in a place isn't, you know -- you have done it before, but it is nice to play with the atmosphere like it has been in the previous five years I have been here.
Q. Is it disturbing playing against a crowd, a German player or is it even maybe motivating?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know it is motivating. It can make a difference. And -- but I had beaten Boris here in front of his home crowd a couple of years ago so I know it can be done and it is just basically just one against one. The crowd can help out a player, but, you know, I don't think it is really going to be a big deal. It is not like Davis Cup, but I am sure it will be loud.
Q. Did it influence last year the German crowd?
PETE SAMPRAS: The German crowd seems to be-- when I played Boris seems like it is much more loud than when I played Michael here a couple of times. You can definitely hear them, but it is not quite the same.
Q. Your explanation for this difference?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, you probably know the answer better than I could. Boris is much more popular, I am sure, in Germany. He gotten tennis very popular here and I am not saying Michael hasn't, but Boris was the first one, and I think that is the reason.
Q. You had a ten o'clock court booked. Did you use it?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. Is that usual?
PETE SAMPRAS: Unusual, but the circumstances are that I feel like I need to get used to the court because the court in Antwerp was very fast and different balls and the court here is much slower so I felt like I needed to hit a lot of balls and that is why when Tim told me if I get -- if I feel okay, hit some balls. I only hit for like 45 minutes just to get used to the surroundings and so it is not like I have been here since Friday like Chang has. He is pretty much ready to go where I think I need an extra day.
Q. How do you feel?
PETE SAMPRAS: Good. I feel better. I feel like I have more time to hit the ball because the court is slower; ball bounces up a little higher. I think it is going to be good tennis.
Q. Goran said combination between the surface and the balls are little bit slower than the previous years here. Do you think so?
PETE SAMPRAS: I know the court is the same. The balls are different. It is a Penn ball and they fluff up a bit more, and so that will slow it down a little bit.
Q. Do you think that goes as an advantage for you because guys like Goran and Boris can really. . .
PETE SAMPRAS: You can put a basketball in Goran's hand and he will still hit an ace. I don't care what you put in his hand, he can still do it. I don't think it is any advantage or disadvantage. I think it is pretty much the same for everyone. It might help out the baseliners a little bit more, but I think the two sections are very different. Baseliners playing against each other and serve and volleyers all playing against each other.
Q. If you look at the head-to-heads, the career head-to-heads between you and the other players of your group, you are always down; is that kind of scary for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I guess I am not off to a good start so -- no, it is not scary, but Goran had beaten me a number of times, but I think I have got the big one at Wimbledon this year and Boris, I think our record -- maybe has one or two more wins against me and Stefan and I are pretty even, so it is nothing to be scared about.
Q. Are you healthy?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. It is good; isn't it. It is better than not being healthy.
Q. Which do you think was the biggest surprise in tennis this year?
PETE SAMPRAS: The biggest surprise as far as the players or the Grand Slam.
Q. In tennis?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think Berasategui getting into the finals of the French, that wasn't a prediction that a lot of guys thought was going to happen. And Andre winning the Open, I mean, it didn't surprise me but I think it surprised a lot of people, but I knew that he always had the capability of winning Majors and so I guess that is about it.
Q. What do you think about they didn't do any doping in U.S. Open this year. I mean, is it possible that sport so important like tennis doesn't do any doping in a tournament like that?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, we do a lot of doping, but the U.S. Open -- I don't know. I have no problem doing it. I really don't have the answer why they don't do it. Maybe it is an ITF.
Q. Do you think they have to do something for doping in the future?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think -- I don't think players use drugs. I know they don't use drugs, but it is obviously good to be safe than sorry. Maybe that is a question you should ask the USTA, but I have no problem with it.
Q. I want to ask you one thing. You look ahead to 95; take men's tennis as a whole. If there is one change you'd like to see made to improve men's tennis, what would it be?
PETE SAMPRAS: Only one I can say?
Q. You can say as many as you'd like but one that stands out. Could be anything.
PETE SAMPRAS: I think that tennis needs an off-season, I mean, that is the one thing I have had -- there is really no off-season. I wish that the -- some events on the Tour, I wish they could slow the surface down a little bit. It is too fast.
Q. Bruguera said the same thing.
PETE SAMPRAS: I know he is going to say that. He'd rather have every surface on clay.
Q. Talking about the off season. From when to when, Pete?
PETE SAMPRAS: I would say maybe Frankfurt would end a month ago. We could have, you know, 2 1/2 months off to do a number of things, to rest, to have a bit of a normal life; to work on things in your game, because tennis is really the only sport that doesn't have an off-season. Does golf have an off-season?
Q. Well... A little bit.
PETE SAMPRAS: I think if all the top players can agree to that and which I think they will, I think maybe one day that could happen.
Q. But that is not going to improve the ability of the players. I mean, you are all at the top of your game. It would reduce injuries, primarily?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I wouldn't play as much. I would have more time to rest; to train more; to get in good shape, and so I mean, that is the way I'd see it. I don't think that is going to happen.
Q. It is pressure of money that stops this from happening?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, tournaments directors have tournaments and so. . .
Q. What else, Pete?
PETE SAMPRAS: To change the game?
Q. You said it. You said you have a lot of them.
PETE SAMPRAS: I think the Tour is going to change the ranking system and I think it is good. I think they are going to do -- I think that every time you walk out onto the court, it should count and the system they have right now, that is not the case. You could have 25 events, 30 events like a lot of guys do and losing the first round of 13 or 14 and not be affected. I think you should be affected. I think-- I don't know the details, but they are going to go to maybe a bit of an average system, but. .
Q. What about those that don't win on the court every time saying hang on now, you should take our performances because we are not as good as you.
PETE SAMPRAS: That is too bad. I don't know. I mean, -- but I just think every time. . .
Q. It is frustrating for the top players. I can see that.
PETE SAMPRAS: It should count. Sometimes you feel like you are playing lesser ranked guys that really have nothing to lose; they hit two first serves; if they lose, they go off to the next tournament and they are not affected. I don't think that is good for the game.
Q. Pete, can you tell something about the Agassi personality. I mean, you are surprised sometimes about what he does on the court or out of the court. Today he was the only one without a shirt?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think his suit didn't fit him, so... His suit didn't fit him so he wouldn't wear it.
Q. What do you think?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, compared to my lifestyle, it is very different. He has a private jet and he has fancy sports cars and I am much more reserved.
Q. Why don't you have a private jet?
PETE SAMPRAS: Because I don't need one.
Q. Because you have as many engagements and--
PETE SAMPRAS: I have no problem flying commercial.
Q. Point taken.
PETE SAMPRAS: It is pretty expensive. I mean, I can certainly afford it, but that it is just a lifestyle, so I don't -- maybe one day.
Q. What about the position with the Davis Cup. Do you feel you are all ready to get heavily involved?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. Why is it -- forgive me, Americans seem to be the only people possibly with the exception of Boris that have this thing about not playing Davis Cup. Why is that?
PETE SAMPRAS: Davis Cup in the United States isn't that big. People don't follow it. People don't understand it, and for me, the schedule of Davis Cup is absolutely atrocious. To play a Davis Cup Tie at the first -- the week directly after the Australian is bad and second Tie is week after Lipton, and that is too much tennis, I mean, with my health problems the past three, four months, it is really up in the air. I am sure I will think about it and probably give a decision to the captain when this year is over.
Q. If America didn't have the strength and depth that it had, in other words, any old person coming in and playing winning anyway, would you change your views about it?
PETE SAMPRAS: That is a good question, but I would change my views about it.
Q. Would you play it if there weren't people who could step in and beat most countries?
PETE SAMPRAS: If it worked with my schedule, yeah, I would play.
Q. First time you met Agassi, do you remember where?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I played him -- he lived in Vegas; I lived in L.A.. He drove and his family drove to L.A. and I played him, I think, I must have been about 9 or 10 and he was maybe a little bit -- maybe a year older.
Q. Do you remember what you felt about him?
PETE SAMPRAS: He used to hit-- he use the Wilson extra racket. He used to hit a lot of drop shots and spin shots and kind of hot dog shots.
Q. Who won the match?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't remember. And kind of toy with you.
Q. Who won the match, Pete?
PETE SAMPRAS: God, I don't remember. I really don't remember.
Q. After that, what is the feeling you are between you and him? Is it a good feeling? Do you feel more close?
PETE SAMPRAS: I got to know Andre better at the Davis Cup where you kind of spend a lot of time together, but like myself and Andre, you know, you don't see too many guys in the top five, top 10 going out to dinner. I will practice with them. I will hang out with them a little bit, but that is really about it.
Q. Your happiest moment this year?
PETE SAMPRAS: I'd say winning Wimbledon again.
Q. And the worst one?
PETE SAMPRAS: Being injured and the U.S. Open.
Q. What will your ideal schedule be for the year?
PETE SAMPRAS: Probably maybe have a Grand Slam every couple of months because it is -- I am over in Europe for two months; over from Rome all the way through Wimbledon and the French and Wimbledon are so close together, I wish there was more time off in between.
Q. I mean, number of tournaments, what would it be?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't have a number, but I think there should be less tournaments. I think there are too many tournaments on the Tour that the public and the press can't follow. There is a tournament every week and sometimes three or four events.
Q. The last player who was able to start the year and finish the year like No. 1 was in 87, Lendl. What is your feeling to do the same?
PETE SAMPRAS: Obviously, it feels good.
Q. Yeah, but I mean, is something strange because last past last years they have a lot of changing, No. 1 and Becker and Edberg, Courier and now, you feel you are dominating --
PETE SAMPRAS: I think if I am healthy and I am playing my tennis, I think I am very tough to beat and for the first four, five months I think I was very tough to beat and the scary thing is that it was a good year, but it really could have been a lot better. I could have won a couple of more titles during the summer; could have played better at the U.S. Open, so I really could have had 11, 12 titles and maybe a U.S. Open, but obviously we can't do anything about that now, so the year could have been better.
Q. Can you make some introduction to the match against Ivanisevic?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, what do you want to know?
Q. If you were a TV reporter what will you say before the match Sampras Ivanisevic?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I might ask how am I going to get Goran's serve back and how do I feel playing against him, and the answers are it is very tough to get his serve back and I like my chances. I beat him a couple of times this year at Wimbledon and beat him here last year, so it is a match that is going to be very hard hitting and not a lot of service breaks, so it will be a tough match.
Q. Comparing the final in Wimbledon, you are stronger or not here comparing with the final in Wimbledon?
PETE SAMPRAS: I haven't played him since so I really don't know.
Q. You are feeling stronger?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I feel fine. I am healthy and no problem with my body, so that is the most important thing.
Q. Do you feel that Berasategui is qualified for the Masters; do you think it is fair?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, he got to the finals of the French. He has won a lot of titles. I am sure he'd rather have the ATP Finals be on clay, but he is in the top 8. He deserves to be in --
Q. Do you think, Pete, if you didn't do well here, would that in any way diminish, I mean, they call this the World Championships would that in anyway diminish your status as world champion?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, I mean, I could be happy with my year. I have won two Majors, which is the most important thing in tennis. I have won a lot of nice titles and if I don't play well here, it will be disappointing, sure, but I can always look back at my year 94 and think it is a great year that could have been better if I didn't get hurt and so the Grand Slams, that is I will say it a thousand times is the most important thing in my mind.
Q. Your next dream?
PETE SAMPRAS: I guess my next dream would be winning the French.
Q. Do you think about winning all the 4 grand slams the same year?
PETE SAMPRAS: I haven't ruled it out completely, but I think it is something very tough to do in today's game. I think there are too many great players and I think -- I am not saying it is impossible, but I think the French is going to be a big obstacle for me. I am just hoping to win that one year, so I don't think a Grand Slam is a realistic thing I see in the future. But you never know.
Q. Who do you respect the most for the Grand Slams at this point? Do you see Andre as your nearest challenger on clay at this point?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think there are a lot of guys. I think for instance for the Australian, Andre is going down. I mean, you have got to look at all the Americans, Chang Courier, Martin, Stich, I mean, Andre is not the only guy. There are so many guys that are tough to beat that when Andre and I -- it is definitely a rivalry that I think can hopefully develop more and more because our games are so different and our personalities, I think, that is good for tennis.
Q. Do you enjoy this rivalry?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, when I played him in Paris it was -- you definitely get pumped up and ready to go; not saying you don't get pumped up playing another top guy, but I think it is something the game has been missing the past couple of years, so I am looking forward to it. Hopefully it will last awhile. Hopefully it will last five or six years kind of like the Borg and McEnroe rivalry was and so I think that is what the sport needs.
Q. If we start hyping it up, you won't complain?
PETE SAMPRAS: I will leave that up to you guys.
Q. The way he has come up in the rankings, does that --
PETE SAMPRAS: It is kind of the way the points have turned up. I mean, Goran and Michael have lost points and Andre didn't have a good U.S. Open and didn't really play last fall because of his injuries so he gained a lot of points and then he just rose straight to the top that. It is just kind of the way the rankings goes sometimes.
Q. Do you think his game is going to go well in Australia; he should do well on that surface?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. The ball bounces up pretty high there, so he will-- obviously he will not feel -- the heat -- it is hotter than anyplace I have ever played so that will be different. It will take a little while to get used to the court, but I am sure he will be fine.
Q. Do you think that clay could be an obsession for you like it was for McEnroe or Becker?
PETE SAMPRAS: Or Lendl on grass? I don't think it will be obsession. I think it is something that is a challenge that is going to tough to win the French. I think I can play well on clay. It is just a matter of maybe getting more experience. I feel I am a bit behind the Brugueras and the Couriers. I feel I have to believe in myself when I am playing those guys that I can beat those guys; that is the only way I can win the French. That is the one major that I want to win right now more than anything, to be honest with you. If I can get all four in my career, I would be very happy.
Q. Do you think, Pete, the one or two of the less generous things that were said about you at Wimbledon - people talk about the off-court things, do you think if Andre comes up that in some way that will be the clash --
PETE SAMPRAS: You can stop harassing me.
Q. You know, it is nothing personal?
PETE SAMPRAS: He is turning bright red.
Q. Do you think that is going to take the hjeat off you a bit?
PETE SAMPRAS: Absolutely, when Andre stays in Wimbledon that is great for everyone. All the attention is towards him. I remember this year when he did lose and then Boris with all his controversy with his gamesmanship, I mean, he had to deal with it for a while, so it is kind of a distraction sometimes. I try to not have any distractions. I try to keep things as simple as possible.
Q. It will put you in perspective. That is what I mean, people will put you in a more -- in a real perspective because they are not looking for everyone to act like a clown --
PETE SAMPRAS: I think the press was trying to find something in me or trying to create something that wasn't there.
Q. But a rivalry will --
PETE SAMPRAS: Will help.
Q. -- will take that away?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes.
Q. That is what I am saying.
Q. Do you think you have learned something from Agassi yourself?
PETE SAMPRAS: Not really.
PETE SAMPRAS: Well --
Q. Of his personality?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, I am pretty happy with the way I am on the court.
Q. Why do you think Ivanisevic is not there and to become No. 1; what do you think he needs?
PETE SAMPRAS: A couple of points at Wimbledon he could have been the Wimbledon champion and maybe changed his -- that would have been huge, but he came up short twice now and, you know, I think consistency is something that he has got to play well every week and every week and I think he is doing better at that, but I think he can be better.
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