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August 9, 1996

Thomas Enqvist


GREG SHARKO: This is Thomas's first win over Sampras. He was 0 and 6 prior to today. And the first time in his career he defeated a world No. 1 ranked player. He reached the semifinals for the first time on an ATP Tour tournament since April when he went on to win New Delhi. And first two top wins of the year as well, beating Krajicek last night and beating Sampras. First question for Thomas.

Q. How do you feel?

THOMAS ENQVIST: Unbelievable. To beat Sampras, I don't know how to explain it. I see him as the best player ever, so I am so excited. Obviously he didn't play, I mean, a good match, but it doesn't matter. I played well and I served really well. I was going for my shots and made him -- I put pressure on him all the time and he looked a little bit tired and stiff from yesterday's long match. I think I just played a very good match. I served so.

Q. When you came out did you feel that you were going to win? Never beating him in a big tournament, did you feel that you had a good chance?

THOMAS ENQVIST: Well, you know, I have been close one time before. I had matchpoint last year in Montreal, but I know that I have to play really well and Pete maybe don't have his best day, but before you go out on the court and once you are out on the court, you don't really think about who is on the other side of the net. You just try to win every tournament and try to play your game. So once you are out there, you don't think about too much who you play. It is more, you know, you are into the game.

Q. Can you talk about why you are playing so much better at this point of the year than you were earlier?

THOMAS ENQVIST: Well, I usually play a little bit worse when I play on clay and grass and the clay and grass court season is from May until July. That is when I usually don't play that good. Usually I play better when I start to play on hard court again and so far so good.

Q. Why do you suppose that is?

THOMAS ENQVIST: Hard court is my best surface, I think, and I like to play on hard court and indoor and usually I play good in the beginning in the end of the year, like I said, when clay court and grass court season, I usually have a down period, but I am going to try work on my game so I can play good on that surface too.

Q. Did you not learn the game on clay?

THOMAS ENQVIST: Well, it is tough to say. If you start losing a little bit, also you lose a little bit of confidence. I feel I am playing so much better when I have a lot of matches in my body and when you start losing, you don't get that many matches, I mean, everybody is so good, sometimes you can even play -- I mean, a very good match and still lose, that is what happened this year.

Q. When you were younger, did you learn the game on clay?

THOMAS ENQVIST: Yeah. And I should have a good game on clay because I like to stay from the baseline. I had done some good matches on clay. I won the tournaments on clay last year, so I mean, I know I can play good on clay too, it is just that I usually play better on hard court.

Q. When you were younger, you know, you were playing on clay, did you change your game so that you would need a bigger serve or that just happened?

THOMAS ENQVIST: Well, that just happened, I think.

Q. When did you realize that Pete was not obviously on his game and it would be a good opportunity for you?

THOMAS ENQVIST: Well, you know, when you are out there, you are really trying to win and I mean, you know that it is enough to give him maybe a break back or a couple of points and he is in it again. Pete has such a high standard so you can't think about that - maybe he is off today or maybe he is tired, or whatever. You just have to concentrate on your game and I know that I have to play really well to win, otherwise I am going to lose.

Q. Did you have a time when you had more confidence in your serve than right now?

THOMAS ENQVIST: No, you know, when you feel like you are hitting a lot of aces, it looks like he couldn't read a little bit where I was putting it, then you get a lot of confidence from that. I think I served really well yesterday too, so I think I see the ball good.

Q. Why do you think he is the best player ever?

THOMAS ENQVIST: I mean, he has been winning almost everything too, and I think, you know, play standardwise, I think he is the best player. I have been playing a lot of players; I feel when you play him, when he is playing good, that I mean, it is impossible to play better almost.

Q. What did you think about the first matchpoint against him and it got away from you?

THOMAS ENQVIST: I was, you know, a little bit tight obviously when you have a matchpoint and you are serving, you start to realize that you might win.

Q. Did you think back to Montreal, oh, no, not again?

THOMAS ENQVIST: No. This time I had two breaks up so I was a little bit more relaxed. I just, you know, was a little bit tight like you usually sometimes are at the end of the matches. This time I didn't -- I did a very good return game.

Q. Your final shot was pretty good shot. Were you just trying to (Inaudible.)

THOMAS ENQVIST: I hit good return very well from the forehand today, I was going for it and it went in.

Q. Talk about Chang or Ivanisevic tomorrow. Which one gives you more trouble?

THOMAS ENQVIST: Recordwise it is good because I have 4-Love against Ivanisevic and 3-Love against Chang, so, but, I mean, they are unbelievable good players, so I really have to play really well to have a chance to win. They are going to have a good match tonight and doesn't matter who I play, I know I have to I have to play really good because then I am not having a shot.

Q. How do you prepare your game now as to where it was last year when you obviously (Inaudible.)

THOMAS ENQVIST: Hopefully I have been improving, I think. I feel like I am the better tennis player this year than I was last year, but like I said, I haven't been playing that many matches like I did last year and hopefully I can continue to play good this summer and get a lot of matches in my body and hopefully I can do well.

Q. Last year you played well here, you played well Indianapolis then struggled at the U.S. Open. What does this mean, this win today, how will that help you for the U.S. Open?

THOMAS ENQVIST: I mean, it is good to play good -- I learned a lot from playing Krajicek and playing Sampras today. Now I am going to play a good play tomorrow too, to play 3 top 10 guys during one week, that is exactly what I need to get the tempo up. Every time you play them, you learn from them and, you know, it is good for me to play the best players in the world.

Q. What did you learn from playing Krajicek?

THOMAS ENQVIST: Well, you know, he is a serve and volleyer. He has a huge serve and it is hard to put the finger on what I learned, but it is good for me, tenniswise to play the best players and for everybody to play the best players.

Q. Beating a No. 1 player, is that a big hurdle in your mind more than anything than anything else?

THOMAS ENQVIST: Yeah, to beat Sampras -- after I lost that match in Montreal I have been feeling he is just too good; he plays too fast; seems like he could raise his level every time I came close and he won -- that is the guy I think I -- anybody, else I feel like I have a good chance against them. Just to beat him once is unbelievable feeling.

Q. How much pressure is there back home in Sweden for you to kind of fill the shoes of Stefan, since he is leaving,; talking about more when he was the top player, do you feel that at all or not at all?

THOMAS ENQVIST: I think they started off to try to compare me to both Stefan and Mats and Borg, but I mean, I am not even close to, I mean, to their standard and I mean, I don't want to be compared with them because that is not fair, I think. I mean, I am better to try to improve my game and see how far I can go. I know that I have a good game and if I work hard I might do well.

Q. There might not be, but is there kind of an unnatural -- people expect another Swede of those three players caliber like we should be producing number ones all the time --

THOMAS ENQVIST: You know, we got a little bit spoiled back in Sweden when they won so much tournaments and they were No. 1. In Sweden, it is nothing to win a normal ATP tournament, maybe go to a semifinal, I mean, if you are not or in the final in a Grand Slam or win it, they compare you with the other guys, but I mean, that is the way it is because we had so many good players and we still have, I think -- I think -- I mean, it is definitely good for Swedish tennis. I think we have a lot of good players coming up too.

GREG SHARKO: Anything else for Thomas?

End of FastScripts…

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