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September 4, 1992
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. Pete, can we get your general thoughts about the match
and how it went and if you were pleased with the way you played
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I was playing somebody I never played before.
Never seen him play at the start. I started having-- I was a
little bit sluggish. Not really sure what to expect out there
playing somebody I never played before. But as the match went
on, I thought I played a little better and better. I had a pretty
solid performance today. I played a little bit better than I
did in my first round. All and all, I think things are going
in a right direction.
Q. Why are you doing so well this year? You have won three
straight tournaments. You are doing well here. What do you attribute
that to, if anything?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, just-- I think I made a very strong effort
on playing on the clay court, this year more than last year.
Last year, it was basically a disaster on the clay at the French
Open. It was a surface that I want to improve on. The fact that
I played pretty well, did pretty well at the French Open, it carried
over on the hard court. I had a couple of holes in my game last
year, which I think I filled up. My return service is a little
bit better. I think I am just a little bit, you know, little
bit more mature on the court, a little bit smarter. I did have
a tendency to have some bad concentration levels. All and all,
clay court tennis, I attribute myself playing better especially
on the hard court. I am a little bit more solid off the ground
and just, I think, it was clay court tennis, you know, end of
the year I will play six, seven events. That is more than I have
ever played. So--
Q. Also you hadn't been injured?
PETE SAMPRAS: That is true. I haven't had any aches or pains
in the last, you know, year or so.
Q. Can it be said that you are playing in the zone, or the
last couple of weeks or how would you say you have been playing
the last couple of--
PETE SAMPRAS: Cincinnati, I started off a bit slow. I played
a couple of three setters; down match point. Ran 16 matches --
results playing on clay; playing the Olympics. As each match went
on, especially the semi and final in Cincinnati and Indianapolis
playing extremely well against Courier in the finals, I was just
very confident; in the groove; had a good rhythm. I was kind
of concerned that I was maybe playing too well before the U.S.
Open. That was concerning me, but I mean, I played my first round
pretty well, and even better today. So, you know, it has been
a very solid year. I haven't been injured all year, except when
I was in Australia, that was in January. All and all, it has
been a pretty solid year for me.
Q. Are you still waiting?
PETE SAMPRAS: Like I don't think I am in the zone my first couple
of rounds. I think, I was playing pretty solid. There is still
a little room for improvement as far as my tennis, you know, I
played pretty well today. I didn't play great. I think each
match, I will get a little better; a little bit more solid off
the backcourt. Obviously, you are a little bit more nervous playing
in the Grand Slam. I feel especially this one. I put a lot of
emphasis on this tournament, especially -- so I don't think I
am in the zone by any means. I think I am playing good tennis
Q. Pete, you beat Boris Becker a couple weeks ago. I assume
there must have been a time, maybe a few years ago, when playing
somebody like him could be daunting; where now you have the upper
hand over him.
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, that is a good question. You know, going
into that match in the semi, I kind of expected myself to win,
you know, it was more or less, I felt -- the favorite more or
less, when I played him in the past, he has always been kind of
the favorite, 1, 2, 3 in the world and he has dropped to number
9. He has had some injury problems and his year hasn't really
that great. I think when it comes to this tournament, you know,
I heard he lost the first set out there. I think he will come
around as each match goes on. It is a little bit different, you
know, playing anyone today. I feel like I am not the favorite,
but I am expecting more of myself than I was, say, couple years
ago when I played Boris. Which is kind of strange a little bit.
I am not really, you know, there is only one player that really
has given me a hard time. That is Chang. He is 5 and 1 against
me. I really don't mind playing anyone on the tour. Except Chang.
Q. Pete, you talked about the debate going on in tennis
now about the power, debate about the power game just a little
bit from your point of view?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I mean, I have heard a number of people
talk about it, Connors, in particular, Drysdale, and I really
don't understand it. I have been using the same racket I have
been using all my life. It is not the technology, I don't believe.
The top ten, everybody, 6' 2", 6' 3", Becker, Edberg,
Courier, we are all over 6 feet. We are pretty strong guys hitting
the ball extremely hard. I don't think it is the rackets. I
have been using the same racket all my life. I am just a little
bit bigger and stronger than I was, say, at 17. But, I mean,
if you look at the top ten, there is not one guy that uses a wide
body, and so, obviously, the game is very fast. I think times
have changed from ten years ago, you know, guys are just so much
bigger and stronger and there are more guys, I mean, look down
the ranking, so many big guys out there. I think that is why
you see a serve 120 miles an hour everyday.
Q. Is that good for the game, from your point of view?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think people are still watching this game.
A lot depends on the fan. If the fan wants to watch Ivanisevic
serve 125 miles an hour, he is going to watch Goran. If he wants
to watch some longer rallies, he will watch Chang. I think tennis
is still pretty popular. They are still watching. I played Cincy
and Indy, it was sold out, semi and finals. I think people are
still very interested in the sport.
Q. After winning the championship here couple of years ago
you talked about the pressure of being the champ. Is there any
handing over from that now that you are playing and doing well?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think last year I put a little bit too much
pressure on myself to do well here. The defending champion I
got to the quarters; played pretty well. I think it showed, the
pressure got to me when I played Courier in the quarter-finals.
It is, you know, I am still pretty young, and I have never really
have been in that situation before coming back as the defending
champion, especially in a Grand Slam. So it was something that
is over and it is in the past. I have to learn from, that hopefully,
not do it again.
Q. You have used the word solid a couple of times. It has
been a solid year. Is it still-- are you still waiting for that
to make it more than a solid year, and can it happen here or does
it have to happen--
PETE SAMPRAS: It is going to hopefully happen here. It has
been a solid year as far as my results in Grand Slams. Did pretty
well at the French. Did very well at Wimbledon, but I am not
satisfied, you know, I feel like -- I mean, the French is a surface
that is tough -- as well as Courier was playing, he was untouchable,
but at Wimbledon, losing to Goran, that was a very big disappointment
to me. Because obviously, it is a surface that I improved on.
I am not satisfied just getting to the semis, I want to win as
many as titles; as many Grand Slams as I can. This is basically
the last chance for me this year, to give it my best shot and
hopefully I will play a little bit better as the weeks go on,
and that is it, really. I am just, you know, I am having a more
solid of a year versus last year. Wimbledon wasn't good, and the
French wasn't all that great, so this year has been more solid.
I haven't had too many injuries all year. All and all, it has
been pretty good.
Q. Would you turn it in for one big win; forget about the
PETE SAMPRAS: Oh, yeah. I mean, for sure. If -- I would take
this event, you know, let's see, how am I going to say this?
I mean, you know, it is hard to say. I mean, I am not saying
to trade off the first round defeat in Wimbledon to win the Open.
I don't want -- kind of a tough thing to say. I mean, what was
your question again? I am confused.
Q. I mean, you have said solid, solid. Would you trade
in for being solid a couple of losses, if you are going to win
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes. I mean, I would -- well, I mean, it is
-- it has been a good year. But winning a Grand Slam, that is
what I think people most remember. Even though Agassi hasn't
had you know, a solid -- I mean, especially in the beginning part.
He could look at 1992 and that is a great year for him because
he won Wimbledon, and he always will be a Wimbledon champion.
In that respect, the Grand Slams, I feel, is what people remember.
Q. Pete, you will probably play doubles with McEnroe for
Davis Cup. What kind of a team do you think you will be and how
effective will you be against Edberg and Jarryd?
PETE SAMPRAS: If we play together, which I think we probably
will. I have never played with John. We have to go to Minnesota
and have a solid week of practice. Hope for the best. I kind
of know what to expect. Never been in this situation as far as
just playing doubles because I haven't played too much doubles
all year. When I have, I haven't really been too successful.
I am playing with probably the greatest doubles player of all
time, McEnroe, hopefully our games will kind of click. He is
more of a touch finesse player. I am a little bit more power,
so hopefully that combination will work.
Q. Have you played Todd Martin?
PETE SAMPRAS: I have never played him, but I have practiced
with him in the past. He is with the USTA development, and you
know, I basically know what to expect. I played him before.
He is obviously playing very well. Taking Courier 6 and 6 in
the semis in Indy winning his first two rounds, obviously he is
playing good tennis. It is a match where he is going to have nothing
to lose and I will go out and give it my best shot. It's a player
unlike today, I never played or saw Martin Damm play; where I
have seen Martin play and I have practiced with him in the past.
Q. What do you expect?
PETE SAMPRAS: A tall guy, hits very solid from the backcourt.
Returns quite well. Pretty good all-around, you know, court
game. It is a match where I am definitely going to have to play
well, so you know, it will be a good test.
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