September 6, 1994
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. When did you start to feel bad?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, basically in the third set, I just felt my recovery with the points was getting a little bit longer and longer. Played a hard point, took me couple points to get over it and I just felt like I'm not in great shape right now and I acknowledge the fact that I've taken five weeks off and not really played many matches and I just hit the wall today. I didn't have anything left and, lost four, five games I was just going on the adrenaline from the crowd and that helped me out, but I got blisters on my feet. My feet are raw --
Q. Both feet?
PETE SAMPRAS: Both feet. Are just -- just sore and the whole body is sore. I mean, I didn't -- kind of just caught up with me, and today I just didn't have anything left. Basically, from the fourth and fifth. I was just trying to get through it somehow and, you know, it's very simple, I'm just not in great shape and in order to win a Slam, you've got to be in good shape and I, you know, had five weeks off and was doing the bike and lifting, but it is not the same as playing long points and it just took its toll.
Q. Could any of this have been the result of relatively easy matches before this in this tournament?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, even when I -- after I played Vacek, I was sore. I just -- I'm not used to the pounding on the hardcourts and I knew going in to today's match it was going to be a lot of long rallies and I just -- as I said, each game I was getting worse and worse shape where I just wasn't recovering like I usually do. You know, I just -- just not in great shape.
Q. Did you have a fear that something like this could happen taking all that time off?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think so. I mean, it wasn't a particularly hot day.
Q. I mean the tournament in general?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I knew I might be stiff after my first couple rounds and I didn't think it was going to the point where I was exhausted and that's where I was today, I was just exhausted, you know, you got to give him credit, he made me move around quite a bit and, you know, it's just disappointing. I wish I was in better shape and --
Q. Did you think about giving up something the match?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, I was going to go the distance.
Q. Pete, during the five weeks you took off, what were you able to do while at the same time trying not to aggravate anything?
PETE SAMPRAS: I was just doing the bike, bike and lifting that's all I could do. About four weeks and I was hitting a little bit, but nothing like I normally do. So, you know, doing the bike isn't the same as going out there and playing all the points.
Q. How long do you think you'll be off now?
PETE SAMPRAS: At this point I'm really -- haven't given much thought about the Davis Cup and Sweden, just have to take the next couple days off and physically get over this, get the soreness out of me.
Q. There was-- through the disappointment, are you proud of the way, as you said, you went the distance?
PETE SAMPRAS: I thought I fought pretty hard and I wasn't going to give up. I wasn't going to retire and let him not earn it, and -- you know, I thought I fought hard and I want to thank the crowd for really getting behind me and, you know, I'm able to break him and, you know, I had some chances, but, if you don't have your shape, you don't have anything.
Q. One of the doctors said they thought if you had won today you could have continued?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes, with a day off tomorrow and about 20 hours of massage, maybe.
Q. Have you ever felt worse on a court?
PETE SAMPRAS: I was thinking there in the match when I was playing Jim in Wimbledon, it was a hot day and, again, I was pretty exhausted and fortunately at Wimbledon you play these quick points, whereas here, I was probably in worse shape today than I've ever been in a match.
Q. Pete, did the surface make it impossible for you to pull it out on your serve?
PETE SAMPRAS: That's what was keeping me in the match was my serve, holding pretty easily just trying to get the first serve in and basically just kind of going for it and I just felt the longer the rally went, the worst chance I had at winning the point and winning the match. And, you know, looking back, maybe I should just have gone for more on his second serves and come in more, make the points shorter, but, you know, I just felt that was the most comfortable thing for me to do, stay back.
Q. Did you get dizzy or lightheaded?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, just tired. My back was stiffening up and that's when I know when I'm not in great shape, my back gets stiff and if you don't have your fitness, you don't have the energy to really give 100% and I was trying and I ate food, I'm not dehydrated, I'm just not in great shape, it's simple.
Q. Like the match against Courier?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I had food poisoning.
Q. Were you having stomach cramps here?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. You were bending over --
PETE SAMPRAS: I was just trying to catch some wind, just couldn't get any oxygen down.
Q. When you say you weren't going to retire and let him earn it, is that for him or for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: It's just the pride. I don't want -- I want him, if he's going to beat me, he's going to have to go the distance and I wasn't even thinking about retiring.
Q. What about the last serve, I mean, it was right in the spot where he could get the perfect shot over?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, he's got one of the better backhands on the tour and I just felt I needed to, come in and, you know, hit a three quarter speed serve and put the pressure on him that he -- but he came in with a good shot.
Q. With him struggling with the serve there all through the last part, were you able to even think in terms of hoping to keep it going and --
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, fortunately it was U.S. Open, tiebreaker in the fifth set, I'm not a big fan, but that would have helped me out. I just felt the last four games I felt okay because the adrenaline was extremely high and I was just kind of trying to get through it.
Q. Does this take the -- Fourth set tiebreaker you got a mini break up to get up 2-0 and didn't hit a first serve the rest of the tiebreaker --
PETE SAMPRAS: The serve wasn't there all day from the first game on to the whole match. The serve-- wasn't using it to my advantage and didn't serve well.
Q. Does this sort of take any of the luster or shine off of what has been a great year for you, to lose in this championships like this?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, absolutely. On the other hand I can look back at this year and once you win a Grand Slam title, it is a good year and if you win two it is a great year and you know, I'm so disappointed being out the whole summer and not preparing well, and that kind of just haltered a great year being injured and it is not that fun. I'll get over this, I mean, I'm wanted to come down and talk to you guys and tell you guys how I'm feeling, that's important to me.
Q. You thanked the crowd. Do you think this is as well as you've ever connected with the crowd because of how much they appreciated how you fought?
PETE SAMPRAS: I hope so I hope -- I hope they appreciated that I was trying to do everything I could, even though I was pretty much exhausted and I appreciate that. I mean, really it got me going, especially in the last three or four games I felt -- I was feeling okay and the crowd was I was sum.
Q. How tough was it to set up to hit your backhand?
PETE SAMPRAS: I just fell the more he was moving me the more sore I was getting. It was -- my feet are just really raw. It's just all the skin is coming off and my feet aren't used to the pounding of the hardcourt, and it's just -- you know I'll have to go from here and get over this experience.
Q. Couple times -- was it more so than any other Grand Slam final that you felt more pumped up because of the situation and everything?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, I didn't hear the beginning of the question.
Q. You were talking couple times about the adrenaline and how that was really keeping you through. You felt that more so today?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes, I was felt when I was down a break in the fifth and the crowd really makes a noise and you got a little tired and missed some shots and it was nice to have everyone behind me. I think they appreciated that I was giving everything I had and not feeling all that great and, so, I wish I could have pulled out a win for them.
Q. The original condition that caused all this the tendonitis; where is that?
PETE SAMPRAS: That's fine. My ankle feels fine.
Q. Held up throughout the whole thing after all?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes.
Q. -- were you thinking to yourself, "They don't know I'm actually feeling worse and worse"?
PETE SAMPRAS: I didn't realize how I was feeling until I got into the situation to push hard and work hard and that's when I was thinking, on the changeovers I'm just not recovering and I need to recover and I didn't think about it once until I actually was tired. Yeah.
Q. Did you first call the trainer out for your feet?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, my feet -- my skin was coming off my feet and in order to get injury time you've got to show blood and I didn't have any blood. It's true. You've got to show blood and I was just -- it was real raw and just not enough time to tape it up, so I decided not to tape it.
Q. Pete, 3-0 in the fourth set, did you feel safe?
PETE SAMPRAS: I just -- he was giving it to me. He was really missing a lot of shots, wasn't making me move as much and just making errors and then he just tightened up his game a little bit and moved me around even more and broke me back and there you have it.
Q. Pete, have you ever been thinking about your first round match against Kafelnikov?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, I didn't think about it.
Q. Can't compare?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. The skin is peeling at the bottom?
Q. Pete, you're exhausted, your feet are burning, going into the fifth set, why didn't you go for a winner on almost every shot to --
PETE SAMPRAS: I felt -- it was weird, I felt like I could still outrally him when we got into a groundstroke rally. I thought I could outrally him and looking back now, I would have attacked his second serve a little more, make the points shorter that way, but, you know, just made a decision that I felt most comfortable with and it might have cost me the match.
Q. Do you consider your year over? The four Slams are done --
PETE SAMPRAS: This is the last major and it's disappointing to lose like this, but I got -- I got Davis Cup for the rest of the year and couple events in Europe and ATP finals, but the way I'm feeling right now, I feel like I could not pick up a racket for the next four months.
Q. How about the way Andre is playing?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think he's got a really good shot to win it.
Q. Do you pick him?
PETE SAMPRAS: The way he's playing, I think he's got as good a chance as anyone.
Q. Pete, are you ruling out Davis Cup against --
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know.
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know.
Q. Will you watch the final on television or will you just not care?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know. I haven't really thought about it. I've been in most of the Grand Slam finals. So, I don't know, probably not. I feel like I should be there. I probably won't watch it.
Q. Would you have to say this guy held up pretty well the way the fans were for you --
PETE SAMPRAS: You have to give him credit, yeah, he played well, the crowd was against him and he -- huge match point, you have to give him credit. He's a consistent player and he's good.
Q. Is there any sort of irony or anything to the fact that he's the first player that beat -- you lost to him here --
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, first round. I guess you could call that bit of irony.
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