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March 16, 1994

Pete Sampras


Q. Petr says you were playing pretty average today.

PETE SAMPRAS: Pretty average?

Q. He then said you had a high average.

PETE SAMPRAS: What does that mean about the way he played?

Q. That is what the question was.

PETE SAMPRAS: I thought I played pretty well. I thought Petr didn't play at all in the first set. He was making errors left and right and I just was basically just keeping the ball on the court. When, you know, when you play Petr, he is eventually going to have a good spirit. He is kind of a hot and cold player. He hits some unbelievable shots. If I could of held him, it might have been straight sets. Petr always gives me some trouble in the past. Third set, we had that long break and I just told myself, I am not going to let this slip away. And I got off to a good start, and once I had the second break, that was about it. And he just -- against Petr, you just have to hang in there because only way he is going to beat you if he is on. I mean, he is an on and off type of player. Just hang in there and hopefully he will go off.

Q. He says only way he is going to beat you is if you are off.

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I felt my serve, first serve percentage wasn't really on today. I don't know what it was, but I didn't feel like I was getting a lot in. There are times I played Petr, I basically played pretty solid and kind of let him decide how the match is going to go and because you just want to be pretty controlled when you play him. Keep the ball nice and deep and hopefully he will go for some low percentage shots. That's the way he plays. And that was my game plan. I think I returned a little better today than I did when I played him last week.

Q. What did you do to get that better return? Did you-- what did you change around?

PETE SAMPRAS: I moved over a little bit more when I played him in Palm Springs, I was returning like I would a righty. Kind of gave him the wide backing, that is a lefty's best serve. I was speaking to Tim yesterday and we just concentrated on moving over a little more; kind of take- away that can opener serve. Obviously it worked out to my advantage.

Q. How different is the feeling of playing out there in the new stadium than the way it was before here?

PETE SAMPRAS: Pretty much the same, same court obviously. The same, maybe the atmosphere is a little different, because, you know, I feel pretty much the same.

Q. And the noise factor, there are not all these people traveling through?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, that is great. Seems like there is not too much movement among the stands and the people. It is just a great court; one of the best courts I have played on.

Q. The background?

PETE SAMPRAS: Background is fine. I mean, obviously on any Center Court, the return of serve-- when the ball tosses you are going to see some people, and you just get used to that. But I think the stadium-- I think everyone is happy with the players' lounge, the dining room, the lockerroom facilities. It is really a whole different feeling this year, than last year. Last year it was very congested, whereas, I don't hear too many players complaining about it.

Q. Did you have any misgivings about losing that second set? Were you angry at yourself or anything?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I was a little disappointed. I mean, I just let him back in the match. I let him get a read on my serve; let him dictate the play. First set, that wasn't the case. I played a bad shot on breakpoint; got a bit impatient; all of a sudden it is one set all, and you can it-- I was frustrated, but I managed to compose myself and realize it is still a set a piece and he is going to have to win this third set to beat me, and I just played much more solid and started returning a little better in the third, and so good one to get through.

Q. Pete, in the same way that obviously you are dominating on the men's side, you know about what Steffi is doing on the women's side. What do you think it would take to beat Steffi Graf at this time? Might it take playing you?

PETE SAMPRAS: Good question. You are asking me how someone is going to beat Steffi Graf?

Q. Yes.

PETE SAMPRAS: I never thought I'd answer that in a press conference. We are getting desperate; aren't we? I don't know. I really don't care. I mean, I am not really following the women's game. I just know Steffi is winning every match in about 45 minutes, so, I mean how would I play her? I'd attack her backhand. I would hit these high big kickers like Edberg; rush into the net; put a lot of pressure on her; chip and charge.

Q. Is the only shot maybe put her on the Men's Tour; enter on the men's draw?

PETE SAMPRAS: Maybe you should ask her. I mean, obviously with Seles out, I mean she is dominating the game beautifully, so, I mean, I will tell you I will think about it tonight and I will get back to you tomorrow. I will think it over dinner how to beat Steffi.

Q. Pete, the rivalry that you and Courier have with each other, let's say you are to meet him in the next round, do both of you get up to another level when you have to face each other?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think so. I think whenever you play another top guy, you know, Jim and I have had some good matches in the past and it is a little different playing Jim than someone else because I know his game so well and vice versa, and it is a rivalry that probably last for a lot of years as long as we stay on top of the game. Our personalities are different, the way we play is different. It leads up to a good matchup.

Q. Would it be moving to a different level with Goran the same way? I mean, is there any difference?

PETE SAMPRAS: Just different games, you know, obviously he is a great player. Got the biggest serve in the game, one of the biggest serves. It's a completely different match playing Courier or Goran.

Q. But would you still have to lift your game better than today?

PETE SAMPRAS: Absolutely. Sure I am going to have to play a little bit better today than I did today to win.

Q. Do you think it is possible to ever play Jim the way you did in Australia again?

PETE SAMPRAS: Sure, it is possible. Obviously I played really, really solid against Jim and I am not going to say I am going to do it again on Friday if I play him. My kind of game plan is to do what I have always done against him in the past and that is serve him-- really mix up my serves; rally with him from the backcourt; put the pressure on him, and hopefully I could have a good day. If I do have an off day, Jim is just going to walk right in.

Q. Thanks, Pete.

End of FastScripts....

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