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November 18, 1992

Pete Sampras


Q. Pete, you really seemed to enjoy playing Stefan; when you get together, you bring the best out of each other; is that right?

PETE SAMPRAS: I enjoy playing him?

Q. Yes.

PETE SAMPRAS: We play very similar games, unfortunately didn't get the big win with him at the finals at the Open, but I won a little bit of revenge today. We just-- it's just a matter couple of points here and there. Fortunately, I got those points today. It was a match where I was in pretty good control for the first set and a half, and then he hit a couple of good shots to break me. All of a sudden we are all tied up, and then the third set I had a couple of breakpoints, just felt like I was getting closer, closer. He was hanging in there. I felt his slipping away a little bit, had a couple of match points, and I felt like he was going to squeak it out. It is weird, you know, there are some things that goes in a player's mind you can't control sometimes, but fortunately, I put a couple of good shots together when I broke him at 6-5.

Q. I mean, do you think back to the U.S. Open and how he had managed to scramble out of so many matches?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, there are things -- especially in my head-- that I thought of the Open. I got off to a good start, won the first 6-3, felt myself kind of not closing him out, but kind of, you know, being in control of the match, then I let it slip away at the U.S. Open, and then he won the second, third and fourth set. I kind of felt that a little happened today. Fortunately, I got that third set today, but, you know, it is just one of those things that, you know, there are a lot of different thoughts that go into my head, and some negative, some positive, but you can't help it, but think of flashbacks when there are times when you felt you should have beaten him, say at the finals of the U.S. Open. You have to block that out of your head and work to the next point.

Q. Pete, the second half of the year always seems to be your better one. Do you know the reason why?

PETE SAMPRAS: I have no explanation. You know, the first three, four months of this year were really there was just mediocre. I started off the year in Australia hurting my arm, didn't play that event. Then I played okay all the way through, you know, the French Open. Then I made a breakthrough at Wimbledon, and it has been a pretty solid year ever since then and I don't have any explanation. I just -- maybe I am just playing more, maybe I am just a little bit more fit. I really don't know why.

Q. You lost to Henri in Paris last time you played before this.


Q. What did you do between then and here? Did you go back home?

PETE SAMPRAS: I went home. I went home for a week and kind of played some golf; had a little bit of fun. Just went home to Florida and just kind of kicked back for a little bit, kind of got out of Europe and back to homeland and got my batteries all recharged up again. I think that was a really smart decision. I was thinking of staying in Paris practicing and it would have been the worst thing I could do. I decided to go home, and so far it worked well.

Q. Why would it have been the worst thing you could have done?

PETE SAMPRAS: Just to be around the tournament, I feel like I should be playing. I played probably one of the worse matches I played in a long time against Leconte. If I would have stayed around there and moped around I would have felt sorry for myself. I got on the next plane; went home. Spent a week home; got my mind off of tennis a little bit; played a little bit of golf. It worked out well. I was with my coach Tim Gullikson. We worked on a couple of things and it seems like it is paying off.

Q. How important has Gullikson been for you this year?

PETE SAMPRAS: He has been a very big impact on my tennis, especially on big impact on my tennis, especially on the clay court. The reasons why I hired him was to improve my grass court game which was a surface that I really kind of suffered on, last couple of years of Wimbledon I kind of made a breakthrough; came pretty close to get into the finals playing Agassi. It is just a whole different mentality. For instance, on the clay, just hanging in there and mentally being strong, and you know, he has improved my return of serve, improved-- my volleys have gotten a little bit better. I think a little bit more all-around, ever since I have been with him. First three, four months took a little bit of awhile to get the feel for each other. I didn't play all that great, but now, things are going really well. I hope to have a long relationship with him.

Q. What about the fitness part of it? Has he had impact there as well?

PETE SAMPRAS: At this moment we just-- we work on the court. He doesn't know too much about fitness if you just look at him.

Q. I am sure he will appreciate that.

PETE SAMPRAS: We are really good friends. As far as fitness I work with Pat Etchenberry who works with a number of players, Courier and Capriati a little bit and just work with them on fitness. I basically work with Tim on the court. He is a pretty technical type of coach and that was something I felt like I needed. It wasn't a big adjustment but little things to help me here and there and I think it has worked out pretty well so far.

Q. That great point that you played midway through the first set, back and forth?


Q. Does that -- does that tell you anything -- is that an important point in the course of a match? Does it kind of set a tone one way or the other, if you win a point like that?

PETE SAMPRAS: If you would refresh my memory, do you know what the score was there? If it was 40-Love that wasn't the biggest point of the match. 4-2 or something like that.

Q. Yeah, first set.

PETE SAMPRAS: That kind of-- I kind of got a little bit lucky there. That was kind of the way the match was going for me. I was getting the breaks in the first set. Second set, I had a couple of chances; had a couple of breakpoints here and there. He kind of squeaked his way back into the match breaking me. That was a very fun point to play. Obviously the crowd appreciated it. That was kind of an indication which way the match was going in the first set.

Q. Does it seem ironic at all - you never thought you deserved to be number one because you hadn't run won a Grand Slam. Courier winning today makes it not a possibility. How does that strike you?

PETE SAMPRAS: I mean, I came close, but unfortunately, it didn't work out for me. It is something I would like to achieve. Just have to look forward to next year hopefully have a good weekend, good match against Korda tomorrow and hopefully I will make the semifinals. I think my chances look pretty good. He deserves it. He has worked very hard winning the French and Australian.

Q. I am not sure he has got it either, he or Stefan?

PETE SAMPRAS: A lot depends on how Stefan does tomorrow against Boris. I think Jim -- obviously I didn't seep the points recently, but I think he is looking pretty much in control.

Q. Pete, do you think about defending your title here?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I mean, it didn't really go through my mind. I have to go out there and try to play like any other tennis match. I have kind of been through it before coming back in '91 as the U.S. Open champion, and that is something that you have to get used to. And you can't really worry reabout it or anything like that. You have to go out there and play my tennis and so far I have done a pretty good job of it.

Q. Do you know the reason why you like this tournament especially; it is very easy for you to play here in Frankfurt?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I have always played very well in Germany.

Q. What is the reason?

PETE SAMPRAS: Maybe it's just the food. I don't know. The Wienerschnitzel. I don't know, I am very used to the court, winning here last year and the conditions. I am just pretty comfortable playing out there. And you know, I don't know -- there are always-- for every players there are certain places where you play well. This is one of them for me.

Q. You were really pumped after this match?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I mean this was a match that -- in a way I really did -- I had match points, at 4-5; him serving, I felt that slipping away I kind of just calm down a little bit; played a couple of good points to break him for the match. This match was a big match for me. I mean, I definitely want to get that monkey off my back against Stefan because you know, the U.S. Open loss was very disappointing and I still think about it even today. I didn't want that to happen again today so I was pretty pumped when I won.

Q. You play him again this week?

PETE SAMPRAS: We will see.

Q. Do you enjoy playing Stefan? Do you feel like you get good matches?

PETE SAMPRAS: We seemed to always have very good matches; pretty good serve and volley tennis. It seems to always go three sets; seemed like I always off get off to a good start. He comes back. We fight it out 'till the end. I have always had good matches against Stefan. I have a lot of respect for him, the way he plays and acts on the court. I am sure I will play him many more times in the future.

Q. We have two different views on the surface, Becker said that it is pretty slow, and Courier said that it is pretty fast. So what will you say?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think it is pretty medium. I think the court -- it is-- obviously indoor court is going to play a lot quicker than outdoor court. I think it is a court where you can stay back, but I think a serve and volleyer will beat the baseliner because-- Ivanisevic beating Chang, just a little bit faster than it would be on outdoor hardcourt. I think it's pretty medium to tell you the truth. I don't think it is really fast like something like Stockholm, but I don't think it is that slow. Served some aces and win a lot of points at the net, so I think it's a pretty medium surface.

Q. What do you think about the match Becker, Edberg on Friday? You have beaten both of them.

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, Stefan knows what Boris is going to do and Boris knows what Stefan is going to do. It is just a matter of who does it better tomorrow or whenever they play on Friday. It is kind of a pick, especially they have always had good matches in the past. It is whoever wakes up feeling better that day is going to win.

Q. Thanks, Pete.

End of FastScripts....

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