September 6, 1993
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. Was Michael Chang lying when he said he actually was bigger than you at one point in your careers when you were seven years old?
PETE SAMPRAS: You mean taller?
PETE SAMPRAS: He might have been. I was a short, little guy when I was younger. Then I started to grow when I was about 15, 16. Then I outgrew him.
Q. Did you recall that match he said you played, I guess when he was seven?
PETE SAMPRAS: I was seven or eight. We played in Poway right next to San Diego.
Q. Can you spell that?
PETE SAMPRAS: You don't know your cities?
Q. Poway escaped me.
PETE SAMPRAS: Near San Diego. And I played him my whole life.
Q. You won that match in three sets?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think so.
Q. He doesn't want to remember. Pete, do you welcome any kind of match with Enqvist as preparation for one with Michael Chang?
PETE SAMPRAS: I wasn't going out there to get some practice. I was going out there trying to win. It is going to be a pretty similar match playing Chang, couple of days or on Wednesday, and obviously, hardcourt is his best surface; had a lot of good success against me in the past and, you know, should be interesting match. I am going to have to put a lot of pressure on him. Attack his second serve and stay solid. Today I didn't feel like I was that sharp today from the backcourt and I am going to have to play a bit better on Wednesday, but it is a good match to get under my belt.
Q. How has he had success against you in the past? What has he done?
PETE SAMPRAS: I haven't played him in awhile, one thing he does real well, returns my serve real well. Probably has the best passing shots in the game, if not one of the best. I feel like when I play him sometimes I overhit, you know, he is so quick that I would hit a little bit -- I have to keep it simple. Put the pressure on him. And, you know, if he can pass me and return my serve in three sets, it is too good, but hopefully that won't happen.
Q. Michael said that when you guys were quite young that we probably wouldn't recognize you; that you were a different type player, two-handed backhand, so forth. How about him, has he been about the same all these years, same type of player?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, he has been the same type of player, when he was seven when I played him in Poway 'till today, but he is coming in a bit more. I mean, he realized that in order to stay in the top 10 you have to come in, and his serve has gotten better but he has made a lot of improvement in his game.
Q. You say you think hardcourt is probably his best surface. You probably would think it is clay. You think it is hardcourt?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think it is hardcourt. I mean, even though he won his first Slam on the clay, I think hardcourt has had his best results.
Q. Having played him, "your whole life," do you want to see him again?
PETE SAMPRAS: I will see him for the next ten years. You know I am going to be playing Courier, Agassi, Chang, Wheaton and Washington for a lot of years to come.
Q. Also one of the things you have to consider when you play Chang is the likelihood that it is going to be a long match too?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. How does that suit you?
PETE SAMPRAS: Pretty good. He is going to run for every ball. He is not going to give any free points away. That is one thing you have to be prepared for when you play Michael, is that he is not going to give you any free points. I just have to stay patient with him and wait for the opportunity to come in and put the pressure on him. I feel pretty fit and give it my best shot.
Q. Do you pay attention to the rest of the draw because Courier was asked that he said he doesn't look at it; he doesn't want to know. How do you react to that?
PETE SAMPRAS: I really don't look ahead. Basically I just look at my next opponent and what I am going to do and just stay focused. I am not looking at who I am going to play in the semi. I just can't -- you know, you can't do that.
Q. Do you look at what other players--
PETE SAMPRAS: I know who is still in the tournament. You see them in the locker room. I know Brad is still here. He is talking all the time.
Q. Buy his book?
PETE SAMPRAS: I haven't. I am waiting for him to give me a free one.
Q. Don't wait. Speaking of Brad, the other day he said that Chang was the toughest fighter in the game. Do you agree with that? What are your thoughts about it?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think he has got a lot of guts. I mean, he definitely came through. Some matches are pretty amazing. Chang and, I think, Courier, mentally, are the toughest guys on the tour.
Q. Obviously I mean, among the general public, everybody looks at the Grand Slams and who is No. 1, but among the players is Chang you know, regarded as admired more than, say, other players because of the way he hangs in?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think he has got a lot of respect from the guys. Obviously, you know, he is 5'8", 5'9", and he is-- his determination and guts have really you know, been pretty amazing. And he has improved, his serve has improved. He has come in more. It is good that he realized that is what he is going to have to do to stay in the top 10. He has to mix it up, but he has made a lot of good gains in the last couple of years.
Q. Knowing that Michael never stops going after a ball, he is going to chase down everything. Does that change your approach, you know when you go into a match against somebody like that?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I mean, you have to -- the point is never over with Michael until the ball bounces twice or someone hits an error. You have to be prepared that every ball is going to come back. He is going to try for every ball. That is what I am going to expect. I am sure that is what is going to happen.
Q. Pete, speaking of Brad, he said in Cincinnati that he didn't think any player under six feet would ever win another Grand Slam.
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think Brad knows everything. Chang came pretty close to beating Edberg here and you know, I would -- who knows, but if there is one guy that can do it, Chang can. But I don't know if I agree 100%. You never know what is going to happen on any given day.
Q. Players often talk about how like they never you know, really have a chance to socialize or know each other; come and go in different stops; just pass each other. You have this long history with Chang, is that something that you appreciate that you have something that goes all the way back for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is pretty amazing where we have come from and now where we are. He is the youngest French Open winner. I am the youngest U.S. Open winner. It is kind of amazing to see where we came from, and playing junior tournaments in California to winning Grand Slams titles, that is pretty interesting memories like that to go back to.
Q. Do you ever talk about it with each other about the success?
PETE SAMPRAS: Not really.
Q. Can you even estimate how many times you might have played him?
PETE SAMPRAS: I would have to say, I don't know, 15, 20 times.
Q. Is there one match that sticks out?
PETE SAMPRAS: I remember he beat me 1-1-1 in the French that sticks out pretty hard.
Q. You guys played doubles together at some point?
PETE SAMPRAS: We played when we first turned pro maybe we played a couple of tournaments, but not on a regular basis. Not like when I was playing with him.
Q. Have you had a change in the patience level when you were young and playing baseline, I suppose you were very patient then. Then you became more of an attacking player. Now recently you have become again very patient.
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I mean, that is my success on the-- claycourt has really held out my grass court game and my hardcourt game, and today I didn't really feel like I hit the ball that well. For the last couple of years, I feel like I am pretty patient. I am not hitting the shots that I was, say, 3-4 years ago, so you know, you just have to wait for your opportunity, to come in or whatever, and it is one thing I am working on. I think success on the clay court has really helped out as far as my mind, as far as my fitness and just have to wait for the opportunity to come in or I am just playing a bit smarter today than I was, say, say couple years ago.
Q. Pete how are the shins?
PETE SAMPRAS: Fine.
Q. The hard courts haven't hurt them?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I had a tough schedule, but I played quite a number of matches but the shins are really good here.
Q. The shoes, is that the thing?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is no problem.
Q. Thanks Pete.