November 15, 1993
Q. You had a tough semi final in Antwerp and then you played a tremendous final. Was this a chance you saw to grab the No. 1 spot definitely for the end of the year?
PETE SAMPRAS: I did not know going into the final that I was going to be No. 1. I didn't know that but as it turns out, I find out from the tournament direct on the court that I became No. 1. Obviously, that kind of released some of the pressure for this week. And that was my goal on the European swing and I did it.
Q. Most of the top 10 players feel like they are in a marathon. Has it been like to that for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: It has been a tough year, I mean as far as playing a lot, that is fine. That is my job. It has been a great year. In my mind I won the two biggest tournaments, the race between Jim and I definitely, you know, was great, great for the game and-- but kind of relieves a bit of pressure off me this week, regardless of what happens here, I am No. 1 and that is-- that was my goal.
Q. Does that take anything away further, the fact that you are No. 1 and you can remain number one during the week?
PETE SAMPRAS: I definitely want to end this year winning here on a positive note. I have won here in 91 and it is a great paycheck, which is nice, and I don't think it takes anything away. I mean, sure, it would be great for the event if I am Jim and I played Sunday for the No. 1 ranking. As it turned out, that is not going to happen. But it is important to me.
Q. Would you say you don't fear anybody at the moment the way you have been playing this year?
PETE SAMPRAS: The one guy that has been giving me some trouble is Goran. He is the one guy I feel that can really serve me off the court. He is in my group. I definitely would like to get back at him. His record, I believe, is 4 and 1 around there, and he is one guy that is giving me a problem, but as far as anyone else, I don't really mind playing.
Q. You played eight finals. You won eight times. It's a good record for a player that has been said to be mentally weak sometimes?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I hear times when I am playing that my-- doesn't look like my heart is into it. But I feel it is-- every time I walk out on the court, and 8 finals and winning all 8 of them, it is pretty good record.
Q. Are you a big point player, I mean, when the pressure is there that you can--
PETE SAMPRAS: I think I am a pretty good pressure player. I think when it comes down to crunch time, I think I respond pretty well. I mean, obviously I don't win every big point, but this year I have done that pretty well.
Q. What do you think about your chances at Roland Garros?
PETE SAMPRAS: Obviously, my mind-- my biggest challenge is to win at Roland Garros. Expectations aren't really that high for me there, but I feel like I can win there. I have played pretty well there the last couple of years. I feel like I am more one level behind Bruguera and the Courier. I mean, I just feel like I need a little bit more to my game on the clay to win there.
Q. What is the difference, patience?
PETE SAMPRAS: Patience, bit more consistency from the backcourt; mentally, you have got to be very strong. That is one thing those guys have that I really don't have. Just the way my personality is and the way I play, but you know, I will be there for the next ten years, so hopefully one year I will get the breaks.
Q. Pete, are you playing the Qatar Open for next year?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes.
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes.
Q. How do you plan to stay motivated, I mean, some players that whenever they have a soft stop; then they have a fall-back, except for Courier; all the guys before, Lendl is getting old and so on, but all the others, they dropped whack how do you plan --
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, the reason for that?
Q. How do you plan --
PETE SAMPRAS: How do I plan to stay on top?
PETE SAMPRAS: A lot of hard work and a lot of good tennis. I mean, that is really the bottom line.
Q. To stay motivated?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't really have any problems staying motivated. It is one thing to be No. 1. It is another to stay on top. In order to stay on top, you have to be motivated and willing to work out everyday and not be satisfied with where I am in the rankings and just, you know, keep on enjoying it and not put too much pressure on myself. Obviously, there is a bit of pressure and I'd like to stay on top as long as I can.
Q. Wilander said the same thing. I heard Wilander say the same thing, Lendl, McEnroe?
PETE SAMPRAS: Staying on top?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is tough. You are even more of a target being No. 1. And it is, you know, Wilander had some personal problems and last guy to really do it was Lendl. His game is so much stronger than anyone else; that he just dominated. I don't know if that is going to happen to me. There are a lot of tough guys out there and the last guy to really dominate was Lendl and I don't know if it is going to happen again. But I could be that guy.
Q. Is there more pressure and more confidence going on court when you know that you are No. 1; you are the best player in the world?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, does it give me more confidence? I think winning tournaments gives me more confidence than being No. 1. Winning last week in Antwerp; going in here, I feel pretty good about my tennis, but I do feel that-- I do feel pretty good about myself. I feel like to be the best in your profession -- there has only been 11 guys to do that on the ATP Tour, and it is great.
Q. Pete, where does that rank for you, though, in terms of just accomplishments that you have had in your career being-- knowing that you are in the record books as No. 1; that is where it's going to be?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is one of my better achievements. Obviously, the Slams are, you know, both very important. I mean, when I heard I was number 1 yesterday, I mean, I was really happy, definitely ends my year on a very good note. But it doesn't compare to the way I felt after winning the Wimbledon or the Open. That, really, I felt -- lasted two, three weeks. After that I was really on cloud nine, but No. 1, that is great.
Q. A little cloud today still or is it in the books and out of your mind a little bit now?
PETE SAMPRAS: Today, I mean, it really has gone out of my mind.
PETE SAMPRAS: I am trying to concentrate on Frankfurt and not be, you know, not have a let-down after a good week last week, but you know, maybe when I get home after Frankfurt I will, you know, kind of reflect on the year and just be proud of myself and the work I have done to achieve No. 1.
Q. You said last year when you came here last year you didn't deserve it because you didn't win the Slams; whole different situation now?
PETE SAMPRAS: That was a pretty about subject, the ranking system; stuff like that. I felt if I would have won a Slam, it would have looked better. If I would have won the Open against Stefan, it would have justified me being No. 1. Where as Jim won two of the Slams and I think he deserved it, and this year, in my mind, I won the two biggest ones and, you know, it is-- I feel like I deserve it.
Q. You said Goran was the only player you are afraid of here. What do you feel about taking him on first?
PETE SAMPRAS: On Wednesday? I am not afraid of him, but he is one guy that has beaten me more than I have beaten him. He has got the better record. He is the one guy that can serve me off the court. I mean, he is, in my mind, the bigger server in the game, but if I could get it back; make him play some shots, like I really didn't do in Paris, you know, hopefully I can -- I will get back at him.
Q. What is it like for you to play lefties in general? Goran mentioned that he feels like he has more confidence because he knows he is a lefty and got the big serve feels like he can hurt you more than someone who is a righty. Is it a problem tactically for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: I have had problems against lefties.
Q. Forget, Leconte and himself?
PETE SAMPRAS: That is true. Lefties are just different. They definitely have a bit of an advantage on the serve and I don't know my record on lefties, but it is probably pretty even. It would be an interesting stat for me to find out, but it is just a different way to return serve. Just a whole different type of player. I am so used to playing righties, but Leconte and I have had pretty good results; against Volkov and McEnroe and Connors a couple of times, but I mean that is probably a pretty even stat.
Q. Is it Goran's quality of service that gets you as opposed to him being a lefty that gets you?
PETE SAMPRAS: He really has every corner of both boxes. He can serve one out wide on both sides and one up the middle. That is where it is tough. He hits it hard on the line. There are serves that are just unreturnable. And you just have to accept it and go to the next point and at times that I have played Goran, I have kind of gotten a little down on myself because I am just getting aced two, three times a game and it is a bit frustrating, but hopefully this week that will change.
Q. There is no one winning service games more than you in 90% of your service games. You have got a few more aces than Goran.
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I have played a couple of more matches.
Q. Pete, there is a lot of talk-- they had a seminar this morning about just trying to improve the game a little bit for the fans; that kind of stuff. Do you guys talk about that sort of-- the spectacle of tennis and where it is at now?
PETE SAMPRAS: With the other guys?
Q. Just talk about, the game like is it rock and roll enough or exciting enough?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't really talk about it with the other players. I talk about it with my agent and my coach.
Q. What do you think about that?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think -- I can just say from the American public, that the American public really don't know too much about the tour, and about how the ranking works and basically they only care about the Grand Slams, and whereas, in Europe, I think tennis is much bigger. And it is very popular. It is popular in the states, but it is not anywhere near the degree of the NBA or anything like that. It has got a long way to go. I don't really have the answer. I mean, as far as my personality, it is pretty much, you know, I try to be classical, traditional. It seems like in the past, the McEnroe and Connors era really kind of sold a lot of tickets, Nastase, people kind of liked watching controversy, watching those guys. Courier and I and Chang and Agassi, we basically just go out and it is business as usual. It is my office out there and I am not there to be a stand up comedian. And those guys definitely add a bit of flare. That is why Agassi is great for the game because he gets tennis on the front page of papers. And because, you know, he is controversial, what he is wearing, that is -- people like that. But you are not really going to get that kind of-- I am not going to really get that type of response.
Q. For yourself?
PETE SAMPRAS: For myself and I really don't want it. I want to keep, my you know, private life private and I can still go out. I kind of have the best of both worlds. I can go out to a mall or a movie. I will be bothered occasionally but it wouldn't be to the degree of Agassi or Becker in Germany.
Q. Are you a bit tired, Pete? You have had a hell of a schedule. What is the thinking behind five straight weeks, seems a little bit over the top?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, it has been out of the limits of what tennis I really want to play. I wanted to go back to Lyon and obviously, Stockholm and Paris are 11 designations I have to play and tournaments I want to play and I wasn't really sure what to do before the week of Frankfurt - either go home or play an exhibition, and as it turned out, I didn't play that well in Stockholm. I played okay in Paris. It worked out well. I played in Antwerp, but it is mentally a bit tiring, I mean, to get up and practice everyday. I mean, I haven't had a day off in some time now. But I feel pretty good. I will have a day off and play Goran on Wednesday, so I should be all right. But it is -- I am not planning on doing this next year. I plan on maybe playing maybe three weeks at a time rather than, you know, I went five.
Q. Long trip, second long trip until Europe?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, it is difficult. It is like the Europeans being in the states, they don't dread the time, but it is not as convenient and, you know, the European swing I had over the summer is long, I mean, I am here for 9, 10 weeks. That is a bit tiring. And this trip, it has been pretty good. I have won a couple of matches. That makes the time go by pretty quick. I am enjoying it. Frankfurt is a great week. They treat the players great, but I am enjoying -- I am going to enjoy my time off when the year is all finished.
Q. After this you just go home and fly back for the Grand Slam Cup?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, that is it.
Q. Pete, what about your introduction for the match between you and Ivanisevic, what will you say before this match?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, you will probably see a lot of big serving; not a whole lot of long points. You know, it is going to be, you know, as fast as the court is playing, it is going to be; pretty much a hit and miss type of tennis. The match will probably be determined on a couple of points here and there, and it -- that is the way it always is with Goran. He is kind of a hit and miss player. If I could get his serve back and make him play some shots, we will see what happens. But he has given me some problems in the past.
Q. Do you feel sorry that you opened the door for Frankfurt for him?
PETE SAMPRAS: It was definitely talked about the Saturday before I played Pioline - was if Pioline beats me, he is in. I really was only concentrating on trying to win the event and whoever ends up being the last person, that is fine; ends up being Goran, I mean, Merry Christmas, Goran, early Christmas present.
Q. Thank you very much. Croatia was for you in that match.
PETE SAMPRAS: Oh really.
Q. Against Pioline.
PETE SAMPRAS: Oh, I am sure.
Q. You are so self-confident right at the moment. Are you doing something mentally different, preparation or are you preparing yourself mentally; are you practicing something, that kind of --
PETE SAMPRAS: No. Nothing really. I am not doing anything different than I have been doing the last three years. Practice pretty hard. I think maybe my practice has been more serious. That is one thing Tim and I really worked on was rather than playing three hours, work my ass off for an hour and a half and work that time and get off the court and my quality of practice is better. That is one thing that last couple of years I have been doing much more of. And as it turned out, the harder you practice, the better off you are going to be in the match.
Q. But you never have this hard practicing, motivation problems, after having such a successful year?
PETE SAMPRAS: There are times where I don't want to practice. I mean, I will take the day off and not do anything to do with tennis and that is important to have my time off, but I still feel pretty motivated. I mean, after my two Grand Slams, I was still working hard and wanted to have a good European swing and I have been playing pretty well. So in order to stay No. 1, you got to be motivated. You got to be wanting to stay there. The day you are satisfied, you are not going to go-- the only place you are going to go is down.
Q. Been able to do more than 4,000 points here. That is incredible.
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, the more you win, the more points you get.
Q. You have beaten the prize money record this year?
PETE SAMPRAS: Everything is just happening for me; isn't it?
Q. And the aces record.
PETE SAMPRAS: And the aces. Maybe I will have a drink tonight, I don't know.
Q. You had one yesterday?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, no, I don't drink.
Q. Do you have a tactical goal for next year, I mean, improving something, specifically in your game, something that has to be improved?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, there is always room for improvement. You can't be satisfied with my game. Just my return of serve can be a bit better; especially against lefties, and you know, the clay is definitely the-- a surface I want to play on and do well at the French Open. It is definitely going to be a big challenge for me to win Roland Garros one year, and you know, that is a major goal.
Q. This attitude of, let us say, a nice player, a decent player, is it something you grew up with or-- do you have to change? I refer to Bjorn Borg who was at times, before 16 years, very nasty guy; then turned into a very cool player. Do you have to change anything on that?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I have always been-- I mean, I threw my occasional tantrum when I was younger, throwing rackets, but that only happened when I was very young when I became 15, 16, and I have been acting the same on the court 'till today. Pretty much, pretty level, you know, type of intensity, not really losing my cool about a line call. I seem to handle it pretty well. And that is the only way I can play well. Once I lose my cool or get upset, or something flusters me, I don't play as well. And you know, I just go out there and try to win, that is -- that is about it. I mean, it makes no sense to use any extra energy questioning line calls or anything like that.
Q. But you got upset at Wimbledon. You shouted at the public; didn't you, that was something new. We have never seen this from Pete Sampras before.
PETE SAMPRAS: Well --
Q. You remember that?
PETE SAMPRAS: I wanted to-- they said it was boring so I wanted to add a little bit of excitement to the tournament.
Q. How would you rate this tournament in comparison to the Grand Slam tournaments?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think it is-- obviously doesn't have the prestige of the Wimbledon or U.S. Open, but it is very important to play well here and like I said, end my year on a very positive note and obviously if you win this event, you know, beating all the top guys, it is important.
Q. Especially that you have won twice?
PETE SAMPRAS: Sure, but there are different degrees of titles and this is up there.
Q. Pete, would have been-- everybody must have asked you already. It would have been more important for you to play this Masters without being No. 1, for sure?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I wanted-- I think it would have been nice for the event if the No. 1 came down to Jim and I on the final Sunday, but I guess we don't have to worry about that, do we?
Q. No. Just for yourself, is it more now a push -- I mean, you have less pressure, or it could have pushed you at the end, that you had to do it here?
PETE SAMPRAS: I feel a little relief. I mean, after winning in Antwerp and confirming it, I feel a bit relieved. I wanted to end the year No. 1. That was my major goal coming on this European swing and I feel a bit relieved, but on the other hand, it would have been nice for the event, but you know, that is the way it goes.
Q. So No. 1 at the end of the year, you have been. No. 1-- you won Wimbledon. You won U.S. Open. What is the next real big goal that you have up in your mind?
PETE SAMPRAS: To stay No. 1. To maintain my Grand Slam performance and my performance with the ATP tournaments; have a good healthy solid year like I did this year and really peak at the Grand Slams. That is where I really want to play my best tennis and this year, I did a great job of that. Next year, I am going to have to do the same thing to maintain where I am at this moment; looking forward to that. I will work just as hard and prepare like I have had in the past.
Q. Pete, you said you are feeling a bit of relief. Do you think that relief might take the edge off this week for you? Could you have been a little bit sharper if it still was down to the wire?
PETE SAMPRAS: I am taking this very seriously. I am not, you know, going to have a let-down after winning Antwerp and guarantee the No. 1 ranking. You just can't go into matches like that. These guys are too good and if you let up a little bit, they are going to be all over you, and I am not going to let up one bit.
Q. Pete, what special relationship with the Aussi heroes like Laver and Rosewall --
PETE SAMPRAS: What is my relationship with them?
Q. Yeah, because you are so young. You were not born.
PETE SAMPRAS: I was not born but I did see them play quite a bit when I was younger. The Lavers and the Rosewalls, you know, more than the tennis ability was their attitude on the court, really classy guys, and-- you just ruined my concentration. GULLIKSON: That is why I came over here.
PETE SAMPRAS: And what was the question?
Q. About Laver?
PETE SAMPRAS: I have spent a little time with Laver at the Italian Open. I spent some time with Laver, Rosewall, Emerson, you know, those guys are classy guys and that is something I try to be, is classy and those guys have it.
Q. Those guys were your hero when you were really young?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I mean, that was-- those were the guys even more so than the McEnroe and Connors. Obviously I have respect those guys for their games but Rosewalls and Lavers, those were special people.
Q. It never came up to your mind when you were in Antwerp that it would have been probably better to lose in the final I mean, is that --
PETE SAMPRAS: To lose? I don't want to lose.
Q. But because of the points, because of Ivanisevic, to have Ivanisevic, some players have done it in the past?
PETE SAMPRAS: I am not one of those players. I don't go out and try to lose.
Q. But did you know that to beat Ivanisevic, to beat-- to win the final would have been a problem for you to have Ivanisevic in your same group?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I was trying to win the event. I wasn't worried, like I said, who was the last spot. Whoever is the last spot, it is great for them. I am not going to give away matches for the sake of doing well here. That is not making it.
Q. Pete, it has been a great year. If you had to pick just one moment from that year, what would it be?
PETE SAMPRAS: Beating Jim in the final at Wimbledon. That was a huge, huge victory for me. As far as goals were concerned as far as mentally, I mean, was close to winning some Slams the year before and I just-- I needed something else besides that 90 Open; just to prove to people that it wasn't a fluke and I do win under pressure. And I just went from there and was basically the last guy standing at the U.S. Open and that basically was there for me to grab and I took it. I was you know -- took advantage of it.
Q. Wimbledon was --
PETE SAMPRAS: Wimbledon, it stands out, I mean, as far as huge. I mean, I was more nervous for that match than any match that I have-- even more than Davis Cup matches. It was-- it would have set me back, you know, if I would have lost to Jim in the final. I would have to get back on that horse again and get ready for the Open; it would have been tough. But we just wouldn't have to worry about that.
Q. These nerves, do you lose them starting the game's first points, first set?
PETE SAMPRAS: Once you get out and start playing against Jim I was fine. I guess there was much more nervous energy than I thought because the last set and a half I was very fatigued, and very tired and was having a hard time playing points because I was tired; it was a hot day, but you know, I managed to put a couple of points on the court. That was it.
Q. And at the U.S. Open?
PETE SAMPRAS: It was a pretty unlucky circumstance for me when I got food poisoning the night before.
Q. Which is the difference to stay in Europe or to stay in USA?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, U.S. -- you know, obviously staying in the states is much more convenient. It is easier to get around. The language, stuff like that. But each time I had come to Europe, I handle it a little bit better. I am in Europe a lot. I am in Europe three and a half months of the year. That is a pretty long time. So each time I come here, I seem to enjoy it a little bit more and more, but I just have to -- I am going to be here for the next dozen years in Europe and I just have to cope with it. But I mean, being here for 6-7 weeks, that is a long time.
Q. You talk about a dozen years, which means you think you are still there?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think I plan on playing 'till at least 30, I mean, as far as my health is concerned, see how that is, but I plan on playing as long as I am enjoying it; as long as I am playing well.
Q. Pete, you have reached this plateau at quite a tender age. I mean, how on earth do you keep the motivation going for next year? I mean, two years ago you said I want to win this. I want to win that. You have won most of those things now; not all of them, but most of them. How on earth are you going to keep this going?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, that is a good question. You know, keep on working hard. Not being satisfied with where I am in the rankings No. 1 is great, but in order to stay there I am going to have to work just as hard. Obviously, the Grand Slams, I want to win as many as those suckers as I can, and that is really the bottom line. As far as motivation, if I lose any motivation, only place I can go is down. I can't be satisfied with the accomplishments I have achieved. I just can't be satisfied. I just have to deep on going forward, like the Michael Jordan of basketball; he wants to win another NBA championship. That is what I want to do. Just win as many U.S. Opens and Wimbledons and stay No. 1, and in order to stay there, you got to keep on working hard and playing good tennis.
Q. I am writing a story about sports psychologists. Do you have one?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. Do you have a view about whether they are good or bad for the mind?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think for certain people it might work. But for me, I have never considered using a sports psychologist.
Q. Why not?
PETE SAMPRAS: I just -- I think I am doing pretty well so far. I just -- I haven't really thought about it. No one has approached me.
Q. It is very trendy at the moment in sports to do that.
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, but --
Q. Depends on the person?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, if a person feels like he needs it and he is playing well and he is winning, I mean, more power to him, but you know, if I -- something happens to me where I might need it, if it is going to make me win tennis matches, I will do it. But I haven't come to that day.
Q. May you explain what it means to be No. 1? Which is the feeling to win more tournaments, to win two tournaments and Grand Slams, what means?
PETE SAMPRAS: What means more?
PETE SAMPRAS: I say winning two Slams outweigh --
Q. Yourself, I mean, what means to be the No. 1?
PETE SAMPRAS: It means a lot of things.
Q. First one in your mind.
PETE SAMPRAS: To be No. 1?
Q. To be more strong, to be more what?
PETE SAMPRAS: To feel good about yourself. To feel like hard work and time I have put into my tennis has paid off. Looking back at my Junior career where I started, I have come a long way and there are times when I didn't want to work hard and didn't want too do some things, you know, I did and you know, the harder you work, the luckier you get.
Q. Do you feel that the criticism that you took a few months ago about the ranking system and your worthiness or otherwise, being the way you are, that you have now proved that?
PETE SAMPRAS: There was definitely controversy with the ranking system, and just, you know, kind of put it out of everyone's head, you know, winning Wimbledon basically did it for me. And winning the Open, I mean, it kind of, you know, proved that the ranking system is working, but, you know, because up to that point, I really didn't feel deep down that I really deserved it, the No. 1 ranking if I didn't win a Slam after the 90 Open; if I didn't win a couple of Slams. I deserved it to a point, but I felt like you need to win a Slam, at least one, and then Jim won two last year and he really deserved to be No. 1, and winning Wimbledon, obviously, I felt like I deserve it and the U.S. Open.
Q. They are not going to mess about the schedule, are they? Have they said to you that you are playing Goran on Wednesday?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, well, yeah, we are the only two guys that haven't --
Q. I know sometimes they have messed about with the schedule. You are definitely playing him on Wednesday?
PETE SAMPRAS: I believe so, yes. I am not 100%. Probably 90%.
Q. Did you hear about the Forum today that the ATP Tour had?
PETE SAMPRAS: I heard about it.
Q. I mean a lot of people were expressing concern about tennis and the mens tour, because of the TV ratings going down slightly; racket sales; tennis clothing sales, everything to do with the industry; they are concerned about. They have talked about lots of things. We had Luke Jensen talking about rock and role tennis, laser shows, music to introduce the players; sort of pumping it all up, and letting crowds express themselves more; all the rest of it. A lot of people are thinking it is probably more fundamental than that; that it has got to be the tennis itself; people come to watch the tennis. Now, the other side of it, people say there aren't the same personalities in the game that there used to be. You can't truly have one without the other. You have got to have the good player to go with the personality. Do you think it may be because of the depth of competition, for one thing; it maybe getting harder because of the concentration involved in all the matches, and also do you think, I mean, you admire the Australians, but do you think because of Nastase, Connors, McEnroe, the whole perception of tennis has changed since that and that the Lavers and Rosewalls, might have similar problems that you have today with people saying, well, look, these guys just play tennis, where is all the excitement?
PETE SAMPRAS: You want me to answer that as far as me?
Q. Your views on it.
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think that I look at it as that controversy sells tickets. It makes ratings go up and Connors, McEnroe, Nastase, those guys were very controversial, what they are going to do on the court; what they are going to say if McEnroe is going to break a racket. That sells tickets, and the personalities of the guys today really aren't like that. If you look at the top guys, especially the Americans, the Courier, Agassi, myself and Chang, we really just go out there and do our business and try to win. We are not going to talk to the crowd and-- but Agassi has obviously been much more outspoken about a lot of things than the rest of us. That is good for the game. It puts tennis on the front page of the sports page. That is good for the game and it is good exposure, but as far as me -- as far as myself, I really can't, you know, change the way I am on the court for anybody or anything. My main concern is trying to win and I am just not comfortable talking to the crowd or expressing my emotions to the umpire getting upset, and you know, when people come to watch me play, they are just going to see me play and let my racket do the talking. Same thing with Courier and Chang, and that is basically the best I can answer that. But you know, I think Jim and I are -- I mean, it kind of puts me in a tough -- I really don't know what to say.
Q. Can you see -- you are the top man in the game now, and you are saying you want to play until you are 30 as long as you are healthy and enjoying it. I mean, do you have the sort of fears, I mean-- I know financially you are secure and everything else, but do you look at the game and say, well, maybe we have got to be careful here, that the ratings go down or do you feel more confident about it than, say, some of the people that we have been listening today, sort of administrators?
PETE SAMPRAS: I feel pretty confident about the Tour. I feel like they are promoting it really well. I think the young -- we are all real young guys at the top. We are 21, 22 years old, and we are just kind of getting into the limelight of tennis, and you know, tennis, I feel will just get bigger and bigger the older we get and the more, you know, Agassi and Courier matches we get and myself and Courier, that is great for the game. Like I said, I think Agassi is great for the game. We need someone that truly has a lot of personality on and off the court. And you know, like the Australians, they just went out there and tried to win and they didn't try to rub it into anyone's face. They were just class people and class players, and that is something I try to emulate, and it is tough for me to change.
Q. But do you think that the game-- that the people watching the game maybe have changed, because of the Connors, McEnroe, that their ideas have changed about the game --
PETE SAMPRAS: Well --
Q. -- Just because of that whole experience?
PETE SAMPRAS: When people come up to me, one thing they will comment is my attitude on the court, you know, they say, you know, it is so nice to see a nice guy winning, but on the other hand, a lot of people like watching the McEnroe and the Connors, seeing them explode, the people, you know, come to watch that, but it is kind of, like I said, pretty tough, you know, the stand I am taking --
Q. You can only speak for yourself basically?
PETE SAMPRAS: Sure.
Q. What is your relationship with your ancestors, talking about Europe, you are going to visit Greece or --
PETE SAMPRAS: I plan on visiting Greece one year, but it is-- with my schedule, as hectic as it is, I really haven't planned a trip there yet.
Q. You still have family living there?
PETE SAMPRAS: My mother was born and raised in Greece and all of her sisters and brothers are in the states.
Q. Which means you feel American?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. Talked about Courier, Agassi, they are marketed by Nike. We read it was wired that you are going to be a Nike team member one day-- I mean, you are going to be marketed also. Do you have any --
PETE SAMPRAS: I really can't comment on that.
Q. You can't? There is no date on it? I mean, no specific --
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. It isn't true?
PETE SAMPRAS: I am not saying it is not true. I am just saying I am not going to pursue this discussion.
Q. Pete, you did you make up your mind and have you spoken with Tom Gullikson about the Davis Cup?
PETE SAMPRAS: I spoke to Tom in Paris and basically told him that I am going to make a decision as far as the Indian tie probably in Australia or after.
Q. After Australia?
PETE SAMPRAS: Right. We will see.
Q. And Courier or something Agassi?
PETE SAMPRAS: Agassi is obviously banned from the first time and Courier has decided to play.
Q. Did you have actual problems at the beginning coming to Europe with European style, with food, perhaps as Goran has problems in the U.S. Open?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, it is not Europe. It is being away from home for two months.
Q. Have the same thing in Australia?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I am only there for three weeks. I mean, two months -- I am really here for a long time. You know, that is, you know, it is tough. I mean, you go -- I just find it more difficult than, say, some other guys.
Q. So travelling is most difficult part of your job, you mean?
PETE SAMPRAS: Traveling is not fun, not fun.
Q. You don't like it?
PETE SAMPRAS: Flying for 10 hours on a plane; getting jet lag; getting up at four in the morning.
Q. You are flying first class.
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, that is true, but-- you always got to bring that in. But staying in hotels and it is tiring, I mean, losing your bags. You guys really don't see what really we have to go through.
Q. Antwerp is a tremendous city. You were there; you haven't seen anything?
PETE SAMPRAS: I was playing everyday. I don't have time to do other things. I was playing everyday and practicing, and you know, it was too cold.
Q. You live in Florida, of course. Would you like to make up for that after your career?
PETE SAMPRAS: What is that?
Q. Travel around again?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. The next dozen years I will be doing enough travelling.
Q. Would you agree with me that it is very possible you'd meet Goran twice during this week?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, anything can happen. I mean, it has happened -- I don't think that has ever happened to me that I have played two guys twice, but it might happen. I don't know. We will see how they play.
Q. You were expecting to win this tournament because you are No. 1. But the reason seems -- the reason seems to be a lot of confidence to win. You think this tournament, you feel like it is a big mountain to climb and you have to go --
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't find it much of a mountain to climb. I won here a couple of years ago. It is definitely very important to me, but regardless of what happens here, I can look at my year and in 93 hold my head up high. It has been a great year and obviously to win here, would be a very positive note, but it is not a big mountain to climb. I enjoy my tennis and that is really it.
Q. So you don't feel too much pressure?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. Who do you expects to be the toughest in the tournament?
PETE SAMPRAS: Everyone in the event-- everyone has got weapons, Goran with his serve, Stefan with his serve and volley, Goran at this time is really hot. He has won a couple of tournaments, and Courier is fresh. He hasn't played in a couple of weeks, so you know, four, five guys -- Chang is going to be tough. These are the best players in the world.
Q. Afterewards, what are you going to do?
PETE SAMPRAS: I go home.
PETE SAMPRAS: Go home for a little bit.
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