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September 8, 1993

Pete Sampras


Q. Pete, you had that feeling the last two sets, you felt like you kind of stepped it up a little bit?

PETE SAMPRAS: I had to. You know, the first set and a half, you know, wasn't taking the match to Michael. He was taking the match to me. He was coming in. I was the one that - I was staying back. That is not just not my style of game. I had to, you know, serve a bit better in the third and fourth. Last two sets were probably the best two sets I probably played in a very long time. He played tough. He came ready to play. I came -- but tentative. My success against Michael hasn't been that great in the past mentally. This is a good match for me to get through. And hopefully I can play as well as on Saturday as I did tonight.

Q. How long a time?

PETE SAMPRAS: Say again.

Q. How long a time-- you said that last two sets you played were the best you have played in a long time.

PETE SAMPRAS: I have to look back at my Wimbledon victory. I played some good tennis there. But last couple of sets, I was really solid and focused and, you know, just played really well.

Q. I think it was your next to last service game; you just missed on your first serve with an ace, you sort of walked up to the net, looked like you were staring down the lines, you went back and maybe made an inch adjustment and aced it. Were you trying to send a message to the linesman?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. When you are hot and you are up 4-Love in the fourth and things are going well, you know, just tell myself just to go for it. That was you know, hit it as well as I can hit it; right on the line. You have a problem, sir?

Q. No.

PETE SAMPRAS: I just want to finish. There is some big points there. First game in the fourth, I doublefaulted twice Love-30. I managed to come back that game. Michael just started pressing a little bit; missing some errors he naturally wouldn't miss. Just went from there.

Q. Thank you for calling me, sir. Did you have problems with somebody in the stands?


Q. Because you kept turning back and glaring at somebody or so it seemed?


Q. The last American in the singles, man or woman. Is that, I don't know, pressure, or --

PETE SAMPRAS: Not really thinking about it. I am not really thinking about the last American. I am just concentrating on playing Volkov or Muster, and, you know, I am not too concerned about that. May main concern is playing as well as I did tonight and hopefully things work out for me.

Q. I know that obviously everybody is tough today. But I mean most people just think the draw is like wide open for you. Does that make pressure, or make you a little nervous, maybe?

PETE SAMPRAS: No. You know, my main concern was Mike Chang. You know, I wasn't looking to playing Volkov or Muster. I was just focused to play Michael. I come out for the most part ready to play. I can't be looking ahead in the draw. You just have-- you have to take it one match a time, and I played as well as I could in the last couple of sets.

Q. Pete, Michael said that if he was to offer any like words of advice, he'd say just kind of stay focused the rest of the tournament. You said mainly this was a big match for you. Do you feel mentally you are there?

PETE SAMPRAS: Playing well mentally; I am very confident. I wasn't playing that well in the beginning. I just -- I didn't let that get, you know, me down, and I it got down a break early in the second and came back served for the first set. I just told myself to hang in there and even if I lost the second set, you know, obviously, to come back would have been tough, but I wasn't giving up. This is the U.S. Open here and it is the last Grand Slam of the year.

Q. Pete, have you ever been shut out in a tiebreak?

PETE SAMPRAS: Not that I can remember, but I just played a very poor breaker; he hit some good shots. He was really attacking my second serve which was-- which just caught me off guard a little bit, but it has been awhile since I have lost a bagel in a breaker.

Q. Do you feel, Pete, that you could raise your level of the game any time during the match?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, sometimes, I mean, with the top players, they are playing well, but there are certain times where you can raise your level of tennis and that is what I did. I saw Michael was a little down on himself in the third and I just started playing a bit better and better as the match wore on.

Q. Pete, why so many seeds out at this tournament? Why this year? I mean, it is always a tough tournament. They are all saying the conditions, the heat, the noise, but it is like that every year. Every year the seeds --

PETE SAMPRAS: It is very surprising. Three out of five set match, the better players should win. And the depth of the men's game is tough. Cedric Pioline made a great match yesterday. There is nothing really Courier could do. There are just so many guys out there that are ranked 20 to 50 you don't see them going out there against a two or three player in the world and giving up. Tennis is definitely, in the men's game especially, is very strong.

Q. What does it feel like when you were on a role like that and you are winning all those games and not giving up any points, do you even think about what it feels like, do you want to hurry up grab the next one?

PETE SAMPRAS: When I am playing my best tennis I basically don't think. I just react and don't really think about what I am doing, that sounds a little bit weird, but you know, I just go for it. Was up a break there. I just told my self to keep doing what you are doing. I just did it. Was focused and I felt really good.

Q. I mean sometimes you seem even as the winners are landing you are pointing for the towel, is that, let us just get on with it?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. Let us go to the next point or stay focused. I can feel it in the way I was walking last couple of sets, the way I was carrying myself. I don't know what it looked like on TV but my eyes started-- I could feel I was focus and intense and once you are on a roll like that, you got to keep doing it.

Q. What do you think it looks like?

PETE SAMPRAS: I have no idea.

Q. Do you talk to yourself at that time?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I say first serve, you they, I wasn't serving that well. I just told myself to stay focused and don't let up. I remember Morgan Masur match up 5-Love in the fifth and Chang is the type of guy who is not going to give up. He was trying as hard in the last game as he was in the first game. He hit some good serves at 5-1 and went from there to win.

Q. Is that a big difference in your game from when you won here in 1990 is that you don't fall apart if your serve is not there, you know how to kind of work around that one?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think my patience has gotten better. Missing the first serves I am able to stay back with Michael. Obviously I am not going to win playing that way, but I feel like you know, hit the ball deep and penetrating and wait for my opportunity to come in and you know, whereas three years ago I was very green and very impatient. Kind of went for the big shot too early and tonight I was really patient and wait for may opportunity and get to the net.

Q. Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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