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September 2, 1994

Pete Sampras


Q. Last year he took a set off of you and your ankle was healthy?

PETER SAMPRAS: My ankle is pretty healthy right now. It's really improved over the week and when you get the adrenaline going, playing in front of a packed house, you really can't think about it and, you know, today I thought I played pretty well. I didn't play great by any means he -- my break points, I don't know how many I had and I just converted all three of them -- or four and I'm going to have to return better if I want to continue. And hopefully I will play well against Smith.

Q. Is everything going even -- maybe even better than you thought, coming in with all the apprehension and everything before the tournament?

PETER SAMPRAS: Yeah, I mean, things are looking good, I feel like I'm playing well, my rhythm on my serve is there and I'm competing well. I'm fresh. And it's obviously a long layover. And maybe it's come to my advantage. I can say that now winning first two rounds and playing pretty well and hope I can go from here and play on Sunday.

Q. Do you look at it as a break not having to play a seeded player until Sunday?

PETER SAMPRAS: They're all dangerous, seeded or unseeded. Look at the upsets. Somebody ranked 50 or 70 is capable of beating the top two or three players in the world and it's dangerous, you can't take anything for granted, can't let up a little bit because these guys obviously not seeded are hungry to hopefully get seeded one of these days. So, it's dangerous.

Q. What kind of thought process goes through when you have those breakpoints against you, you seem to fire up something stronger?

PETER SAMPRAS: Seemed like today-- he is one of the quickest players I've ever played against. He -- I play quick and he plays even quicker and it seemed like on all those returns I was rushed. He tossed it up and hit it and I was flatfooted and just didn't get any returns and didn't make them play. That's what you have to do on the break points. You know, he was just playing so quick. I couldn't get any sort of rhythm.

Q. Has he always played that quickly?

PETER SAMPRAS: Today seemed like he played quicker than usual. I played him three times before and that's maybe a reason why I didn't return that well, especially on the big points.

Q. How about the ones he had on you; he had I think five or six?


Q. What goes through -- you seem --

PETER SAMPRAS: I just, you know, I have to use my serve to my advantage and rely on it very heavily and it's important to get that first one in and, you know, serving 5-4 for the match, 30-40, hit a good serve, good volley and that's, you know, I kind of live and die by my serve and that's the shot that's going to get me out of trouble.

Q. There was a report in the press box that you had developed a blister on your second toe on your right foot.

PETER SAMPRAS: That's true. My big toenail was cutting into my toe and it was bleeding a little bit. And I could feel it on my serve, so I just got it taped up. Obviously you guys probably saw that.

Q. But you don't have a blister?

PETER SAMPRAS: No, I just cut my toe with my nail.

Q. How close is your ankle to being fully healed?

PETER SAMPRAS: I mean, it's -- when I wake up in the morning every time I -- every time I have a hard practice or match like I did in the first round it is a little stiff. And, you know, I still feel a hit bit, but once you get out and start playing, you really can't think about it, and that's what I'm trying to do. I won't say it's 100% because I still feel it occasionally.

Q. When you're out there playing there are no twinges or--

PETER SAMPRAS: I can't think about it, I just have to run to the ball as quickly as I can and try to not think about it.

Q. Are you surprising the rest of the guys by the way you've come off a long layoff and how strongly you've started?

PETER SAMPRAS: I don't know if I've surprised any guys. I think the guys knew I could still play and even though it was a long layover -- longest layover in my career that I was still going to be dangerous and tough to beat and I just -- I was concerned coming in here, felt a bit vulnerable and if I could get through my first round, it really didn't put me in a lot of danger. I could really get into my match competition.

Q. Do you feel vulnerable anymore?

PETER SAMPRAS: Not really. I feel like I'm in a good rhythm, practicing well, taking a day off tomorrow, the ankle could heal and these days off are really important, so I just go from here and play better.

Q. It doesn't seem as if you you're surprised yourself; are you?

PETER SAMPRAS: Not really. I mean, I feel that even though I took four weeks off, I really didn't pick up a racket. Occasionally, I picked up the racket-- the practice the week before was pretty good, but practicing is so much different than playing a match, and like I said, I got off to a good start on my first round and continue to get better and better. So things are looking good.

Q. I would imagine mentally you feel very fresh?

PETER SAMPRAS: Well, obviously, if anything, I was excited to play. It's been such a long time. It felt good to compete again.

Q. You had the Wilson logo on your racket; does that mean you signed with Wilson?

PETER SAMPRAS: Uh-hum, yeah.

Q. Pete, in your free time, are there other sports you enjoy playing just for fun?

PETER SAMPRAS: During a tournament?

Q. No, just, you know, when you're off by yourself.

PETER SAMPRAS: I got a basketball court at home, play basketball. I play golf, live on the golf course, safest stuff.

Q. Rumor has it you can drive a golf ball 300 feet and dunk a basketball?

PETER SAMPRAS: I can hit a long way, I just don't know where it's going. 300 yards. John Daly knows, it could go anywhere and I just used to be able to dunk -- I can jump 680.

Q. 360?

PETER SAMPRAS: 680, 360, whatever it is.

End of FastScripts...

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