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March 21, 1995

Pete Sampras


PETE SAMPRAS: Thank you.

Q. Can you comment on that; how does it feel?

PETE SAMPRAS: It feels -- I don't know how it feels. It feels pretty relieving, I guess, you know, just hopefully I can stay on top, but you know, obviously, I have won a lot of tournaments this time last year so I have a lot to defend and if Andre overtakes me, then, you know, if it happens, it happens. I hope it doesn't, but it is much more important to me to be the No. 1 at the end of the year and that is a true indication of who had the best year, so that is my goal.

Q. Pete, Andre said two days ago that when he arrived in the stadium and he knew that you won the match, he felt more motivated to win his own match. When you won, did you feel the same thing?

PETE SAMPRAS: Not really. It is something I don't think about when I am going out and playing. I just think about the job at hand in trying to win and doing everything I can to win and what Andre does, that is -- I just have to concentrate on what I am doing in preparing the best for my match.

Q. Speaking about today's match, is it just the kind of match you like to be having, a good opponent, but not one that really makes you feel to lose --

PETE SAMPRAS: My next opponent, Medvedev, they both play pretty similar games, so tonight I got an opportunity to hit a lot of groundstrokes and really grind it out, and, you know, even though it was two and three, it was much closer than that. He is a pretty good player and the conditions, I felt were very, very heavy and the balls were getting quite big, so it is a good match to get through and I hit some groundies and I have a day off tomorrow so I am looking forward to playing on Thursday.

Q. Wilander is in the quarters. Your thoughts on that and maybe about the possibility of playing him in the semis.

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, we are one match away. Obviously, I have played him before and if we get there, then I will think about it some more. But he is having fun out there. When you have fun and you are enjoying your tennis, you are going to play good tennis, so if it happens, I will be ready.

Q. I know you have a little bit of a sense of history of the game; would that make it a little neater thing to be able to play him?

PETE SAMPRAS: If I was playing Laver, maybe that would feel -- I would have some serious butterflies, but, you know, if I play him, it is just another match. You can't worry about who you are playing. He was a great champion when he was playing a lot and he is still hitting the ball pretty well. I just have to go out there and try to beat him if I play him.

Q. Do you admire what he has done? A lot of people have been unsuccessful in coming back.

PETE SAMPRAS: I mean, he has come back with the attitude -- I just think he loves to compete. He loves playing and he is playing well. So once you are winning, he is going to come into tomorrow's match, or whenever he plays, pretty confident and so it is good to see him playing again. He is a great player to watch, real smooth and so, you know, I have watched him play a little bit today on ESPN, so we will have to see what happens.

Q. How unique -- you don't see his style of play on the Tour, really, anymore......

PETE SAMPRAS: He still has got -- you still got some baseliners that are pretty good, Agassi, Chang and Courier; maybe those guys hit the ball a little harder, but he is a classic counterpuncher. He doesn't miss much. He is in great shape, and returns real well. He is your typical Swede, so he is a tough guy to beat. You need to be hitting the ball well to beat him.

Q. Pete, there have been some preliminary discussions about the idea along the lines of having a complete change in the ranking system inasmuch as it might go from January 'til December; then stop completely; then start again everyone on equal terms the following January. Any thoughts on that?

PETE SAMPRAS: It sounds like a really good idea to have a race and it would be a lot easier for everyone in this room to understand it and for the fans to understand it, but the actual details of trying to pull it off is pretty much impossible. I think the ATP has ruled it out. So, you know, I know they are talking over the next couple of weeks about possibly changing it, and, you know, I am for a change and I think every time you play should count, but the race, you know, just a lot easier to understand, because I don't think a lot of the fans understand exactly how it works, and -- but to actually pull it off, it is not possible.

JOE LYNCH: Tough to be No. 1 for 100 consecutive weeks, too.

PETE SAMPRAS: That is right.

JOE LYNCH: You would have to win like Doha; Adelaide, you get that time zone -- I am sorry.

Q. Thank you, Joe.

PETE SAMPRAS: Why don't you ask Joe the questions.

Q. If it was practical -- I mean, if it was eventually found to be practical, you would think it was worthwhile to seriously look at?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Because it just seems, you know, look at the NBA standings, people understand the Bulls are five games behind New York or whatever, and maybe it can make a real exciting end of the year for the race, but I mean, how -- I don't know how you would do it. Maybe you --

Q. Just have to wipe out the December 31 --

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, but then how are you going to do the entries and how, you know, how are you going to do that? I mean, if the guys from MIT can't figure it out, then I am certainly not going to be able to figure it out.

Q. Do you think maybe they should have that race, but the aspect of seedings and entries and all that is another system that is just for the ATP and for them to sort out for seedings, things like that, on a year-to-date basis?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I have heard one proposal to have your year-end ranking count for the next six months, I think, and which I really don't agree with because if you lose or have a bad first three or four months, your ranking should drop. You might stay the same, but I guess the bottom line out here is to try to win and let the ranking take care of itself.

Q. What about the next match, Medvedev.

PETE SAMPRAS: What are you reaching for the sky there?

Q. Yeah. This is the speaker.

PETE SAMPRAS: He is a good counterpuncher; a big kid and serves real well; pretty similar to playing Karbacher; maybe a little bit more consistent than Karbacher. He has got a good return; does everything pretty. Well, I am going to have to play well to beat him.

Q. You are entering the clay court season earlier this year.

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, seems this --- as soon as this is over, I am over to Palermo and going to be on clay all the way to the French.

Q. Do you realize that you are risking your No. 1 more than you would ...

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I can accept that. I'd give up my No. 1 ranking to win the French Open.

Q. Pete, do you think the ranking system, the way it is, is okay or do you have a personal preference of how you'd like to see it change?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think the ranking system today has its pros and cons. It is great. You got a lot of the guys in the top 10 playing a lot of tennis, but on the other hand, I have always said this: I think every time you walk on the court it should count. That is just not the case right now. And I don't think it looks good from a P. R. standpoint. I think every time you play, you know, you win, you should be you -- should be rewarded. If you lose, you should be put down. So to have a ranking system where some matches don't count, I don't agree with.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Pete? See you in a couple of days.


End of FastScripts.....

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