September 2, 1993
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. Pete, he looked like a pretty decent player. What do you think?
PETE SAMPRAS: I thought he was very dangerous player. The guy served huge. I was having a hard time reading his serve and even if you miss his first serve, his second serve was really kicking. I wasn't quite sure if I should slice it. I managed to hit a couple of good once in the tiebreak in the last set. That is a type of match where it is good to get by. Very dangerous player. It doesn't have that much of a backcourt game. It doesn't matter, he can chip and charge. He put a lot of pressure on me. Served 24, 25 aces, and you know, tough player. Very dangerous.
Q. Would you rather play a guy like that or baseline guy?
PETE SAMPRAS: Playing someone like Santoro, my first match, sure, you play someone from the baseline that you can get good rhythm; either way, you have to try your best. But this summer for me, I have lost to a couple of serve and volleyers. This gives me a little bit more confidence going on into the tournament.
Q. Do you feel that the present caliber of your game is good enough to win this tournament?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, sure. Why not. I mean, that is why I am here, to hopefully win this thing and, but I played okay today. I had a couple of lapses. You have to give him credit. He serve and volleyed really nicely. Good match to get under my belt. My chances are as good as anyone else's, Courier, Edberg, Becker, I mean it is a pretty open tournament.
Q. You are in the third round now, Boris Becker has yet to really play his first round match. What kind of a disadvantage is that for him, do you think, in terms of scheduling, and do you feel a little bit for the guy?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think it is-- if he is going to win the tournament, he has to play 7 matches in 11 days that. That is pretty tough, three out of five back-to-back. If he plays today against Cherkasov, it could be a tough match and coming back, I am sure he is going to have to play tomorrow. That is tough. It is very unfortunate scheduling. Unfortunate that it did rain yesterday, but I don't know, I don't understand why they really do that, play the first round in the first three days, but it is definitely-- sure, I feel for him a little bit. I mean, you know, it is on this hardcourt stuff. It is tough. I mean, it is a very tough schedule for him.
Q. Since Wimbledon, Pete, has changed your life a great deal or your sort of psyche approach to the game?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. Hasn't really changed any part of my life, you know, basically I feel the same on the court, off the court. It had been a little bit of a let-down throughout the summer, but I put that out of my mind today and for these two weeks, and hopefully I can really peak here.
Q. Was it difficult the first tournament after Wimbledon to get pumped up? Did you feel like why am I doing this it is not as important?
PETE SAMPRAS: I didn't feel why am I doing this. I had three weeks off. I was fresh and ready to play. And I just throughout this summer was not getting the breaks I was last year at this time. I lost 3 straight matches 7-6 in the third. Those are matches that possibly I would have won last year. I feel like I was hitting the ball pretty well. I was into it. I was motivated I wanted to win every week, but that is -- it is tough to do. But you know, basically I have to forget about those past losses and concentrate on this tournament.
Q. Coming in here because it is a Grand Slam, it is big, do you have to tone yourself down or is that not a problem?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is not a problem. I had some good grass-- I played 4 straight weeks which I think was a bit of a mistake. But you know, this is it. I mean, this is the last Slam of the year. This is where it all boils down.
Q. From time to time you have been ill on-court. You have been fatigued. Have you done anything, any kind of regimen to try to shape yourself up so that won't happen again?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, couple of times I can think of being sick was playing the final here last year, had a stomach virus, I was getting a bit fatigued playing Jim. I think that was a lot of nervous energy. But I feel I am pretty fit, and I worked with Pat Etcheberry who also worked with Courier on my fitness and conditioning and he has really made an impact on my tennis. I feel fit, you know, I don't feel-- I feel healthy, that is the main thing right now.
Q. How is your shoulder, Pete?
PETE SAMPRAS: Fine.
Q. You set-off to Wimbledon eventually after Wimbledon that you might get a bit cheesed off --
PETE SAMPRAS: What do you mean cheesed off?
Q. Frustrated, in, you know, the morning after Wimbledon that is what you said, you thought that after 3-4 days, you haven't picked up a racket; you would be getting cheesed off or frustrated. Did that happen in the end that you didn't actually-- that you didn't pick up a racket for three weeks or how soon after Wimbledon did you start playing?
PETE SAMPRAS: Friday, Saturday, that is when I started practicing.
Q. So two weeks off apart from that was just --
PETE SAMPRAS: I took about five, six days off, after Wimbledon; started practicing that weekend. I basically practiced for about two straight weeks before my summer trip. So I felt keen and motivated to have a good summer. I mean, that is really the part of the year where I really played really well. But just didn't get the breaks I was last year, but you know, sure I was a little frustrated came close 3 matches, but it is the way the cookie crumbles.
Q. The matches you lost this year, three sets, would do you think you'd win those had it been best of five, or does it matter; that you were not playing well that day?
PETE SAMPRAS: A little bit of both. I feel the better player will end up winning three out of five. 2 out of 3 playing someone like a big serve and volleyer like today, couple of bad breaks and you know, lose a couple of big points in the tiebreaker, you basically just roll the dice, and three out of five set match, I think the better player will win.
Q. Now that Agassi is out of the draw, does it make your live a little easier? Did you watch his match?
PETE SAMPRAS: I saw a little bit of his match. Obviously I was a bit surprised. I am not really too concerned about it. Obviously you guys make a much bigger deal out of the whole thing than I do. That is your job.
Q. Mats Wilander was in here yesterday, Pete, he was talking about after he became No. 1; that he-- how he lost his motivation and the thought of playing tennis was boring to him. Do you ever get days like that or can you identify with what he was feeling at that time?
PETE SAMPRAS: Not -- you know, not really. Like I said, after Wimbledon I was really motivated. I mean, I wanted to have a good summer and I just didn't, like I said, play that well. But I could understand where he is coming from. He is won 3 Slams and it is tough week in, week out to get 100% up for it. But you know, really hasn't concerned or bothered me ever since I became No. 1. I enjoy playing. And I am sure I will for a lot of years to come.
Q. Some players have complained about the humidity this week. How has it affected you, if it has?
PETE SAMPRAS: Today wasn't very humid at all. Obviously it was a little humid because of the rain last night. But I played Tuesday night. It was very humid but it wasn't really that hot. It seemed like the weekend is going to pretty cool pretty nice, but when I came here over the weekend, it was very hot, and I was obviously very concerned; have to drink a lot of fluids and just replenish all the dehydration that you lose, but you know, it is going to be a nice weekend I hear.
Q. Pete, you said in your last press conference that you need another Slam when you broke down your game when you were younger. I got the impression that part of it was to get to Wimbledon. Did Wimbledon basically certify you as a professional in your mind? I know you had a great run here three years ago, but how important was that?
PETE SAMPRAS: I was huge. It really was. I was very satisfied, and like I said, if I would have went down there and lost to Jim on grass, his worst surface, it would have took me sometime to get over it. I don't know how I would have dealt with it. Mentally I had to come here and play well, but fortunately I don't have to worry about that. But you know, I was more nervous for that match than any match I have played in my career, including all the Davis Cup matches, and it was huge. I mean, it was the biggest match I have played.
Q. Do you now-- I mean, just having that, do you just feel more at ease, more comfortable, I mean, less of a feeling that you have to prove yourself; that, I mean, how does it change you; does this sort of settle you?
PETE SAMPRAS: It kind of takes the monkey off my back a little bit. Won here in 90. There was a couple of years where I was coming close to winning it. I came close last year losing to Stefan; lost to Goran last year at Wimbledon. I was getting a little bit frustrated. I was still patient and realized I am still young; got a lot of time ahead of me. But the Wimbledon victory was very satisfying and it was very big for me mentally.
Q. How many monkeys are there around you? I just walked in.
PETE SAMPRAS: You are definitely one, Bud. All that hair on your face.
Q. Does the drop in rankings to No. 2 make any difference?
PETE SAMPRAS: The bottom line here is winning major titles and when I became No. 1, in March, I was really happy and, but you can't compare it to the way I felt after winning Wimbledon. That was -- the difference is huge; it was -- it is something that I want to get back by the end of the year. I was a little disappointed. Winning the major titles, that is the bottom line here.
Q. Do you think there will be more satisfaction regaining No. 1 than taking No. 1 the first time?
PETE SAMPRAS: Not really. I don't -- you know, December 31, that is where it counts, but you know, if I win Wimbledon and I was ranked number 3, I would have been just as happy.
Q. You have to face a Frenchman now. You have not had very good results against them. Any feeling about it?
PETE SAMPRAS: Thank you for reminding me. I played Boetsch, I played him I played him at Wimbledon last year and you know, very flashy player; very talented player. I am going to have to play a little bit better than I did today, so he obviously is playing well and it is a dangerous match to play, but I like my chance.
Q. Andre has the celebrity and sort of huge fame that doesn't really have much to do with major titles as much as being a zen master. Do you use him in any way of what you don't want to be, in the sense of --
PETE SAMPRAS: You are not a big Andre fan, are you?
Q. Well -- let us let it sit there.
PETE SAMPRAS: You know --
Q. You guys have two very different approaches, is what I mean.
PETE SAMPRAS: I think a lot of guys have different approaches to the game than Andre. You know, he has so many outside distractions. Where I really don't. Everywhere he goes, he is mobbed, and maybe he causes that kind of aura. Maybe he likes it, I don't know, but it is -- my main goal is to try to win tennis matches and that is really it. And Andre, it has been a pretty tough year, but he will bounce back. He has got as much talent as anyone on the tour. It is tough when you got all these outside distractions and maybe he causes it, you know, with his -- I don't know. I mean, I really.
Q. You have been able to avoid it. Is that a conscious thing? Is that something you have actually not wanted to have anything to do with -- you just focus on tennis?
PETE SAMPRAS: That is exactly what I try to do. Play my tennis and sign my autographs and do what I have to do. That is truly it. I am not trying to be a much of a hot dog out there. Just go out there and get the job done. That is the attitude I have. That is the attitude Courier has. That is the attitude that a lot of the top players have. Winning tennis matches is the best feeling in the world. That is really it.
Q. So if you were to win say a Wimbledon and an Open, like in any year, and still not be No. 1, that would be the thing getting back to the major titles?
PETE SAMPRAS: Major titles, that is it. I mean, like I said, I became No. 1 in Tokyo, and you know, I felt really good. I was really happy. I achieved a goal that I set for myself earlier in the year. But it doesn't compare to how I felt after winning Wimbledon. I mean, that is in the history books, and you know, you look at someone like McEnroe's career and the fact that you know, he won his 3 U.S. Open and 4 Wimbledon, I think that stands out more than anything else.
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