September 11, 1993
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. What is your appraisal of Sampras's game?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: What is what?
RICHARD FINN: He wants to know what you think of Sampras in case you are going to play Sampras.
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Oh. He is going to be tough. I mean, he is very good player. He is the top player. So it is going to be tough.
Q. Are you surprised to still be here?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yes and no. I mean, today I played very well. I am not surprised because I know for this tournament, I mean, I am in good shape, so I am not surprised. I got-- I beat Courier and after I got a good draw, so I tried to just do it.
Q. Masur had said earlier that sometimes it is hardest to play a guy that you know you can beat or should beat. You played awfully well early. Was it easy to be --
CEDRIC PIOLINE: No, it was very tough today because it is true, somewhere I have to beat Masur because his ranking is less than mine, and I beat Courier and everybody wait, I am winning, so it was very difficult today.
Q. What was the key to getting off to a good start the first set?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: I made a very good warm up in the locker room, and the difference is last time I didn't -- I was not -- I get no -- I was very cool, very loose and I play very well from there, good start.
Q. Wally said that a final is different than any other match. Do you see it the same way, and what are the challenges facing you if it is Pete Sampras? What would be the challenge of facing him?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: I cannot answer. It is my first Grand Slam final, so it would be difficult to say.
Q. How about the-- as far as the challenger, facing Sampras, is his serve the toughest you might have faced?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: He is playing very well. Good serve, good forehand, good backhand, good volley, good smash, good legs, good mental, so he is a good player. We will see tomorrow.
Q. Is Henri Dumont going to be back for the final?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: I have to call him.
Q. You are going to ask him to come back?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yeah, but now he is working good like this, so I don't know.
Q. Have you heard from any of the other French players at all, Noah, Leconte, any of them contacted you?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: No. Only a good friend of mine, Thierry Champion, but that is the only one.
Q. Do you have any sense of the reaction back home, about your run in this tournament?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: I don't want to think about that. I mean, I just keep playing until tomorrow. It is the last day. It is a long tournament. So after I am going to Bucharest, so I don't -- it is a quick stay at home and that is it.
Q. Do you have any sense of what the French people are, how they are reacting to you going so far in this tournament?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yeah, I mean-- I hope they are happy for me and for the France. It is -- how much 61 year about? So it is -- I mean, the last French in the Grand Slam final was Henri Leconte in Roland Garros, so it is a long way. Now it is me and I hope they are happy in France.
Q. Can you remember the last time you played such good tennis for such a long period of time?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Today?
Q. I mean, I am talking about the tournament, when you played tennis this well as you --
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yeah, I played in Monte Carlo, it was very good week, but it is different because it was claycourt. It is different.
Q. Today in the match in the first and the fourth set, you were--
CEDRIC PIOLINE: First and what?
Q. First and the fourth set. -- you were totally in command. But in the second and third, it appeared that you were struggling to get through. Could you tell us in your own words what was the problem?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yeah.
Q. Was he playing better?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yeah. Second and third set he was playing good. I mean, very good serve. He always would volley inside. It was very tough for me because I have to make the shot -- the right shot every time, so maybe I was thinking about winning, you know, because 6-1, it was pretty easy, and after I was not thinking about my match, but about winning, so that is why maybe he played better and I play a little bit less.
Q. Did you feel extra good in that fourth set? He was very impressed by the fourth set?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yeah, I mean, since the end of the third set, I said to me, go and take every ball you can hit and try to make a winner. I mean, after I played very, very well and I think he was a little bit tired; missed couple of volleys and I really played well at the end.
Q. I think you grew up on claycourt in France. Could you please -- would this be kind of a new favorite court for you, especially thinking of your serve?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yeah, I knew I could play very well on this surface. I played well in Lyon. It was synthetic.
Q. Monaco, of course?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: I can play good on every surface. It is very good.
Q. Are you more concerned with tomorrow being able to keep up with Sampras physically and athletically or being able to handle the situation of a Grand Slam final, mentally?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Maybe I am going to play Volkov.
Q. You mentioned that you will think about the match and not about winning. Has that been a problem for you in your career?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Not really. But today it is a special day, because it is semifinal to go -- to go to the final and it is difficult sometimes to keep concentrate and just on tennis.
Q. Do you feel that your level of play is staying up there where it was against Courier, or getting better?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yeah, and I think today-- I mean, maybe Masur is a different player, but I think he is playing less than Courier and I played very good today. I mean, it was a very consistent match, because I don't know how much unforced error I did, but not too much; I hit a lot of winners so it was good.
Q. Do you like New York and could you tell us a little bit about how you have been spending your non-tennis time here?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yeah, I like New York. It is a crazy city. It is moving around, moving all the time. You can eat at every time of the night or of the day. So it is -- I mean, it is nice. For during my day off I just take some rest; go to shopping, go to good restaurant, Italian restaurants and that is it.
Q. Have you found any good French restaurants or have you tried --
CEDRIC PIOLINE: No, I haven't tried, just Italian.
Q. Cedric, most players who haven't gotten this far in a Grand Slam tournament tend to get very nervous in a semifinal match. But you haven't been tight at all. How do you manage to do that?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: I think the match I was very nervous was the last one against Medvedev. For this one, I was very cool. I mean, I was very good in my -- was very good. I hope it is going to continue.
Q. Do you do anything special mentally to prepare yourself that way?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yeah. Yeah, I talk a lot with my coach by phone and I talk a lot.
Q. I understand you won the French junior championship?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Final. That was a final.
Q. Oh, in the final?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yes.
Q. What tournaments have you won?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: I won challenger in France and some satellite, but no big tournaments.
Q. Have you had a regular practice partner or have you played with a lot of different people during this tournament and if so who?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: A lot of different and for the last days I played with some juniors because there is no more big players.
Q. Anyone you can name, for instance, who you practiced with?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: I don't remember his name. It is a junior.
Q. Cedric, you come to this big moment. You have never won a tournament. Here you are again in your opinion, why haven't you been able to take that next step; what will you do tomorrow that is different?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: I didn't make so much final, I mean, it is my second -- third, so -- but one day you have to start to win, so maybe tomorrow.
Q. Would you feel satisfied with this result or do you feel like you really want to win it all and you won't be satisfied unless you won?
CEDRIC PIOLINE: I can not make a report today because it is one more match. We'll see.
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