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March 13, 1994

Pete Sampras


Q. When you would play somebody that is not going to give you too much trouble in an early round, do you find it difficult sometimes controlling, keeping focused throughout the match, do you hesitate a little bit somewhere along the way?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, if I don't take it seriously and lose my concentration it will be a tough match. Somebody like Diego who has got a pretty big serve, kind of a dangerous player but I understood going the match if I stay on top of him and play a solid match it should go my way. But I don't find it difficult because if I lose my concentration and take things for granted, the only thing that can happen is he will give me trouble, and fortunately, I just played a really solid match today.

Q. First two or three days of this tournament in recent years, Pete, we occupied a lot of players asking what complaints they have got; how different is it this year?

PETE SAMPRAS: It is a great stadium. The facilities here, locker room, training room everything is just a couple steps above, the players' lounge and the dining room has a lot more room, and I don't see too many players complaining this year.

Q. Does that make the way-- sort of a general feel in the way people play?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's different, I think everyone is kind of not as cramped. There's still a lot of people around, but the years before, it just seemed very congested, kind of like a Grand Slam and, you know, it doesn't really put me in a bad mood. It maybe it affects some guys, but this year it's just, you know, walking around the stadium and the facilities, it's great. I think I-- you know, feel happy for the Buchholz brothers who last year went through a tough time and this year seems like the weather is cooperating and everybody is happy.

Q. What about the stadium court for playing on as a tennis theater?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's nice, it's great. I think it's great to have the lights sticking out. I've never seen anything like that, so it's nice to see different stadiums and, you know, compared to the stadium they've had previously, it's great. I mean, it's much more intimate and it is a better court.

Q. How much off your best do you think you are?

PETE SAMPRAS: Say again?

Q. How off your best do you think you are now?

PETE SAMPRAS: You mean playing today?

Q. Yes.

PETE SAMPRAS: I think I played well. I mean, you know, the left-handed players gave me trouble in the past and I concentrate on my returns stepping over a little more to give-- you know that can opener that lefties like to hit and I just, you know, played a solid match. I really didn't see any flaws in my game today.

Q. How much a better player are you this year here than you were this time last year here?

PETE SAMPRAS: You know, last year here I was basically I didn't win a Slam since the 90 Open, and coming here this year, I was much more confident as a player and as a person, kind of more prepared to handle what happens when you play well, and winning the Wimbledon final last year against Jim kind of took a lot of pressure off me and winning the Open, basically the year-- last year was just about perfect and winning Australia kind of got me off to a great start this year and so this year, you know, things are just better. I mean things are just-- I'm playing well and I'm happy and I'm still enjoying my tennis and that's really important to me.

Q. How are you going to prepare for the French Open this year?

PETE SAMPRAS: I'm planning on playing this event and then playing Osaka in Tokyo and then taking four weeks off before I go to Rome and then the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf, so more or less the same schedule I've had in the past couple of years. The only thing that is different is I'm taking a couple weeks off and training and getting in really good shape to hopefully play well at the French.

Q. Do you have any thoughts about-- like at the French, the draw of European claycourt specialists? What goes through your mind before a match?

PETE SAMPRAS: I feel when I walk out on clay with claycourt guys I feel a bit more vulnerable than I do on the indoor or hardcourt. I feel the guys come out when they play against me they feel they have a pretty good chance, because obviously it is not my best surface, but I think in the last couple of years I had some pretty good games and I'm playing better and it's just a whole mental-- whole new mental game for me. I just have to be willing to stay out there for however long it takes, and when I first went to the French I wasn't really willing to do that and-- but I still feel I'm a little bit behind the curves and weak area on the clay, but I think winning the French is going to be a huge challenge for me.

Q. Thanks, Pete.

End of FastScripts....

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