September 9, 1992
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. How does it feel to have easy match for a change?
PETE SAMPRAS: Feels goods. I thought I played really well.
Better than my last two matches. You know, I think he kind of
helped me out a little bit today. I won the first set, got up
a break. In the second set, seemed like he just packed it in
a little bit there, and kind of helped me out. Third set, he
really didn't compete that well, and I thought today I was hitting
the ball really well from the back court and served pretty well.
All and all, I thought it was a good day for me.
Q. Pete, when do you think he actually stopped playing the
PETE SAMPRAS: He was up a break in the first. I wasn't really
playing all that great. Won that first set, then I got up a break
up 3-1, 4-1, game, he kind of just nonchalantly missed a couple
of easy volleys. He packed it in a little bit. It's a match
where you have to be careful, because he can easily come back
and hit a couple of good shots. It's a match where you have to
keep your concentration and not let up. It is pretty tough when
you are playing some guy who is not competing that hard. You
have to maintain that concentration; do what you to have do.
That is what I did.
Q. Can you understand somebody doing that in the quarterfinals
of an Open?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, you know, it was really weird. I mean,
quarterfinals of an Open is a very big match for myself and for
him. I think maybe it was the heat, maybe, got to him, maybe
he just got a little bit frustrated out there, but, you know,
he is a very streaky player. He can play two great sets and lose
it. But I was little bit surprised, a big match, I mean, semi-finals
of the Open is a very good achievement, especially, a guy like
him. So it was a little strange to me.
Q. Since the winner is next for you Pete, will you watch
Courier/Agassi tonight, and if it goes forever, again, will you
stay with it or will you go to sleep, like a lot of people? Will
you watch Courier, Agassi tonight?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I am sure I will.
Q. If it goes to 1:00 in the morning, like that match last
night, will you stick with it or--
PETE SAMPRAS: No, I mean, if it's too late, I am sure I will
go to sleep. I have played Jim and Andre a number of times.
That match is more or less a pick. I really don't have any particular
person that is going to win that tournament -- I mean, win that
match. They both play very similar games, but I played them a
number of times and vice versa, so, you know, I'm going to go
out and do what I have do.
Q. Did you watch any of last night?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes, I saw little bit of the Lendl/Becker match.
Q. Did you go to the end?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. I saw the end. I had a hard time sleeping.
Q. Do you think it is necessary to play that late? To take
for-- a match to take that long? Is there-- is that some kind
of a flaw in the system when it takes five hours?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. It is not a flaw. They started at 7:30,
a night match, and they played a long five set match, five hours,
and you got to do what you got to do. You know, they finish at
1:00, I am sure Ivan, you know, will recover very easily. He
has a day off today, which is good. So I don't think there is
a flaw in the system at all.
Q. What about the spectators?
PETE SAMPRAS: What about the spectators?
Q. If you go to a baseball game that goes that long, it
is a drag?
PETE SAMPRAS: Then you can leave. I mean, a long baseball game,
15 innings-- I mean, you can be more than happy to leave, or a
true tennis fan is going to stay and watch to the end.
Q. You have been here-- first couple of games, first game
or couple of games, you missed a couple of easy shots or things
that you could have put away, all of a sudden you just put it
all back together. Did you say something to yourself or did a
different feeling come back?
PETE SAMPRAS: 2-1, I played a really loose game; missed a couple
of easy volleys. Then, you know, it was a pretty tough, you know,
day for tennis. It was bit windy out there. The wind was kind
of blowing in one direction the whole time. I just played a little
bit better and better. First set was key, he kind of packed it
in, like I said before, just started hitting the ball a little
bit better and cleaner and deeper. I think maybe he just got
a little bit frustrated with the heat, whatnot, I played a pretty
tentative game at 2-1, but I bounced back very nicely.
Q. Have you lost at little respect for him as a competitor,
because he seemed to pack it in, or because you don't know the
situation he just let--
PETE SAMPRAS: I respect him. He obviously is a very dangerous
player and you know, must be a good player to be beat Gilbert
yesterday or two days ago, but a match like this, big opportunity.
I was a bit surprised he kind of packed it in a little bit.
But I will take it.
Q. Did you come into the match today still maybe a little
bit worried or nervous that you might not be over whatever it
was that you were having problems with the last couple of days?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I think I showed that a little bit in the
beginning getting down early break at 2-1; not really too confident
out there, but as the match wore on and on, I start hitting the
ball a little bit better. Kind of got out of that little rut
that I was in the last couple of matches. Then as the match went
on and I start getting bigger lead, I started playing much better.
Q. Is this some kind of match that makes you feel like you
are really out of it and got to get it out of your system?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I don't know if it was the butterflies,
I kind of got that out of my system. I am playing the tennis
I am capable of playing, I was hitting the ball really clean today,
returned pretty well. My groundies I felt confident, and served
okay. It was a very good day for me.
Q. Courier was saying that earlier in the week that it is
a mystery to him, basically, he doesn't know how he is going to
play when he comes out. I know you have had some difficult matches
here. Do you have any idea when you come out on a day or is it
always unclear until the game gets going?
PETE SAMPRAS: Exactly. You don't know what is going to happen;
you don't know how you are going to feel, the wind, the sun, how
hot it is. Not every day is the same on this tour. In tennis,
you got to hope for the best; hopefully you will get the breaks,
and because you know, sometimes you just -- go out there; you
are not sure what is going to happen. You kind of hope for the
best, and try your hardest.
Q. To be a champion, is that the guy who adjusts by, what,
the second set or the third set to get through all of that; not
knowing how you are going to feel? What separates the guys who
get bounced out early and the guys who can overcome that?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't understand the question. I am sorry.
Q. You say you never know how you will feel. But the guy
who gets to the end of the tournament somehow figures it out.
I mean, does that just happen during the match?
PETE SAMPRAS: It happens during the match sometimes. Like today
I started off extremely slow, missed a bunch of bad shots, and
as the match wore -- gets on and on, you start hitting the ball
a little bit better, a bit comfortable. Early match nerves can,
you know, is pretty tough to deal with, you know, a little bit
of luck is involved. I could have been ousted against Martin
being down break in the fifth. I feel pretty fortunate. So,
you know, just have to hope for the best. Like I said, you are
not really sure you are going to play especially on a day like
this, a little bit windy, pretty warm, and just got to try your
Q. Two years ago, did you adjust to those factors, as well
PETE SAMPRAS: Two years ago, match against Martin would be probably
a match I would have lost. I think the match with Martin and
Forget, I really competed well. I didn't pack it in. Like two
years ago I might have gotten frustrated and kind of -- not thrown
in the towel, but not really been intense and so, you know, maybe
it was the clay court kind of helped me out a little bit throughout
this year, but I think I kind of got that bad tennis out of my
system, but that kind of, you know, dull playing, I was doing
out there. Today I felt much more confident.
Q. Is it a matter of finding out what shots are working
for you that I can't use the backhands the same way today; I better
hit -- or the way he is playing you, that determines what starts
to work for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think what starts to work for me and not
work is my serve. You know, I feel like if I am serving well,
I can be a little bit more loose on his service games, if I am
not serving well, then I basically, have to resort to playing
the backcourt, that is something that I -- that I hope doesn't
happen. But I-- my serve kind of determines how I am going to
Q. You have been to this situation already this year semi-finals;
you have been late quarters at the French. How important is it
to win on Saturday for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: It is huge. It is very important. This is my
last chance of the year to try to win a Grand Slam. That is what
I basically tried to gear my year to, and I will give it my best
shot. Obviously, my opponents are going to be playing very good
tennis, Courier or Agassi, so this is very big for me. This is
a big tournament. And the Wimbledon loss was obviously very disappointing
to Ivanisevic, so I am going to try to get this win.
Q. Anyway if you were to lose on Saturday would you look
back at this year as a waste, a failure, anything like that, because
of how close you have come and not being able to push it that
one more step?
PETE SAMPRAS: I am sure I will be very disappointed, but I have
to look at the situation where my results, last year on the clay
and the grass was not very good, and this year, I really, really
improved on some surfaces that really gave me some trouble. On
clay season, though, I didn't win the French; I was happy with
the way I played. This coming match on Saturday is very big.
So I have to give it my best shot and hope for the best.
Q. Pete, do you get a sense that finally at this tournament
and this year, the American tennis, the younger guys who are finally
out of the shadow of Connors and McEnroe that you guys are now
going to have to carry the game in the United States both on and
off the court?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't -- I don't feel any responsibilities to
that, that I have to carry the game. I think the game is very
exciting to watch. I think American tennis is very strong. You
know as far as you know, holding the torch from Connors or McEnroe
I just -- I -- it is not that complicated. I just go out and
played my tennis. As far as what people think about me, you know,
it really doesn't matter to me. I just -- I don't really understand.
Q. Well, tonight, for instance, Courier and Agassi are playing
a match. There is a lot of excitement about it; maybe it is the
next Connecticut and McEnroe. Do you look forward to having that
sort of rivalry with one of these other American players that
a whole tournament is focused in, zeros in on?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I mean I have always had a very good rivalry
with Michael Chang. Personally, I played him all my life; always
had goods matches with Courier and Agassi but Courier and Agassi
is a very good rivalry because they basically grew up in the same
Bollettieri system and it is a very big match for both of them.
Q. Do you think the fans are going to find as much enjoyment
out of these new rivalries since most of it is strictly just tennis
words in the old days there was more personality coming out, there
was anger, there was a lot more going on out there, than just
two guys hitting a tennis ball?
PETE SAMPRAS: Right. I think the Courier- -I am sorry, the
Connors and the McEnroe, and the Lends, I don't think personally
they really liked each other, especially at the top of their games
when in their mid twenties, where, myself, I get along fine with
Agassi, Chang, and Courier. We are good friends. Obviously, we
are not that close, but you know, there is nothing personal out
there, by any means. I don't hate anyone. I just go out there
and play tennis. That is all I try to do.
Q. Going into the semis how would you compare the way you
are playing this year compared to two years ago?
PETE SAMPRAS: Last year, I beat Lendl in the quarters, and at
this point, you know, a lot of things were going on in my mind,
two years ago, and it all happened really fast. Whereas, I am
going to have two days rest and to think about how big this match
is and hopefully things will work out for me.
Q. Is there any advantage to winning easily when possibly
Courier and Agassi may beat their brains out against each other?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think it is good for me. I have had two tough
five setters. My body -- my feet are a little bit sore. As far
as my body, I think it is good two days off; rest a little bit;
get ready for Saturday.
Q. Do you hope those two guys play forever tonight?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, until Sunday morning. I mean, like I said,
there are two days off Thursday and Friday. If they played until
1:00 in five hours, I am sure as good a shape as Courier and Agassi
are in, they will be good for Saturday.
Q. You didn't like the way you left last year; what you
said afterwards about the responsibilities and you regret what
you said. Do you come in here really trying to redeem yourself
from last year in more ways than one, trying to-- regarding tennis
as well as how you handled yourself afterwards?
PETE SAMPRAS: Like last year, I think it put a lot of pressure
on myself at the Open. I think that affected my tennis a little
bit in the quarters. Against Courier. This year I am some kinds
of-- coming in; playing very good tennis, you know, in Cincinnati
and Indianapolis; I am going to give it my best shot. Last year,
I have saved some things, after I lost couple of days after I
didn't feel -- I felt I possibly could have defended my title,
but you know, it was a situation-- I just wasn't used to coming
back, 19 years old, and something-- maybe I was a little bit too
young to handle. But now 21, I feel pretty good.
Q. Thank you very much.
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