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August 31, 1993

Pete Sampras


Q. Pete, could it have been any easier in-- tell us, of the first round getting your night match over with right away, and just playing three sets?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, well, you know playing Fabrice, he's not-- he doesn't have a huge serve, it is a type of match you can get a good rhythm and play pretty smart, it is a good match for me. First round of Grand Slam is the most difficult match, I believe, in tennis, because you get to feel the surroundings and the court, and throughout the match, I thought I was hitting the ball really well. And hopefully, I can maintain this level throughout the week and-- but it is a good match for me. He didn't play quite as well as he usually does and he'd much rather play me on the claycourt, but I thought I played pretty solid tonight.

Q. How would you compare the confidence you have now coming off the Wimbledon victory compared to two years ago when you came in here as the defending champ?

PETE SAMPRAS: I came in here two years ago; I wasn't used to the situation and I played pretty well, but, you know, I had my chances to possibly repeat, and the Wimbledon final, the Wimbledon title, was really big for me. I mean, if I would have lost that, it would have set me back for some time, and last year I came close to winning here and last year Wimbledon. I came pretty close, but the Wimbledon victory, it was huge. Especially mentally, and obviously for my career, it's great, and you know, kind of takes that monkey off my back a little bit now that I got that title and it really feels great.

Q. Do you-- on Sunday, a lot of people were asking you about the possible match up in round of 16 with Andre. Are you a little surprised at this juncture, you already know you won't be facing him?

PETE SAMPRAS: Obviously, I heard the draw because of-- because of you guys, but, you know, I wasn't really -- obviously, I knew he was in my section. I wasn't really looking that far ahead. The first couple matches of the Grand Slam you have to take your time and not look ahead. The worst thing you can do is look ahead. Go and play the quarters and semis. It is not very smart but I was surprised he lost yesterday-- I'm sorry, today, and he's a top player. I played him a couple times and he seems like he made some good gains in the last couple years and I was a bit surprised.

Q. Before you play in a major, do you want to not know how other people did; I mean, do you feel that it disrupted your focus to know that an Agassi lost before you played?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I basically, you know, don't really worry about what everyone else is doing just. Basically try to concentrate on what I'm doing and stay focused and go out there and do my best and not worry what Jim is doing and what Andre is doing. And you can't live other peoples lives. You look around and you have to maintain a focus and just maintain a level of concentration. Just go out and play well and that's what I did tonight. And, you know, I'm just concentrating on my next match on Thursday and that's what you have to do. You can't look around. You know, there's so much hoopla. Especially at a Grand Slam. You have to make it simple and concentrate on your matches.

Q. But it wouldn't have served as-- to make you any more focused on the fact that anyone can lose in the first round and that so many upsets do occur?

PETE SAMPRAS: Like I said, the first round of a Grand Slam, top players feel pretty vulnerable a little bit. You know, you're not-- my summer really hasn't been that great and to go out there and play like I did tonight, I feel pretty good about it. But a three out of five set match it's a long match, and I feel the better player is going to win the longer the match goes, and-- but, you know, I hit the ball really well tonight.

Q. So you go into it more with a confidence rather than a concern that if you don't --

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, confidence, and sure, a little concern, you know, first match, and you know, maybe you're a bit-- you know, uncertain, but just a little bit. But I've been practicing really hard the last couple days, and I'm hitting the ball well and I just didn't get the breaks like I was last year during the summer. I lost a lot of close matches, but I feel good. I feel like I'm hitting the ball really well.

Q. You said that winning Wimbledon helped you, especially mentally?


Q. What do you mean?

PETE SAMPRAS: I felt what happened here last year was very disappointing and it took me a while to get over that loss to Edberg. Came close to Wimbledon last year. Lost in the semi, and it was-- I needed a Grand Slam. I needed a major title, especially after the 1990 Open. I needed something else, you know, I needed to achieve another Grand Slam title. If I would have lost that final to Jim, I don't know how I would have handled it as far as this tournament, but things worked out for me and I won it and, you know, I feel really happy about that.

Q. Were you ever worried that you weren't going to win another Grand Slam; did that ever cross your mind?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, I mean, I'm very young. I'm 22 now and I have many Grand Slams in the future. You know, I wasn't too worried about it.

Q. You just talked about all the hoopla here and everything; do you think you simplified things for yourself because you don't come here with a big entourage and everybody around you and --

PETE SAMPRAS: I stay at Long Island in a nice hotel and come in and out. I don't spend too much time here at the site. I play my match and my days off I go practice and go back and just make it nice and simple, because the U.S. Open is very hectic. You know, there's so many things going on. So many people. I try to keep it as simple as possible and play my tennis.

Q. How-- does it make you feel very secure-- I mean, so secure that you going to play better any match that's coming? How do you make it more confident now; what is the basis of that?

PETE SAMPRAS: I don't understand your question.

Q. How do you make it so confident to play the next games?

PETE SAMPRAS: Win my next match?

Q. Yes. Maybe, why do you feel confident now?

PETE SAMPRAS: I feel confident-- I mean, I played pretty well tonight and the summer, you know, it went okay for me, but-- it was a good match for me to win tonight. Fabrice is a pretty solid player and I feel like I hit the ball really well.

Q. Can you compare yourself now to the-- to yourself when you won here?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, when I won here, I just had two unbelievable weeks that just happened. You know, almost happened too fast, in a way. Maybe too easy. And now I'm a much more complete player. I really filled some holes in my game. My game really wasn't quite developed when I won in 1990 and today I feel I'm a better player, more consistent player.

Q. You mean here too?


Q. What areas did you develop -- you said you're more consistent, you filled holes?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think my success on the claycourt has really paid dividends on my grass court game and hardcourt game. They are much more solid from the back court, and concentration is pretty good and in 1990 it was just basically a zone from the core of finals on, and now it's just-- I feel like I can rally from the back court with the best of serve and volley and so I feel like my chances are good whenever I play.

End of FastScripts....

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