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August 9, 2013

Pete Sampras


THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ I guess if you can talk about how you're feeling coming into the match tonight and what it means to be back in Canada, being in front of your Canadian tennis fans.
PETE SAMPRAS:テつ I'm excited to be back.テつ I was here I think last year playing Raonic at the Air Canada Centre, and that was exciting, great crowd.テつ Played against a young Canadian.テつ And to play tonight, it's fun for me.テつ Obviously expectations aren't too high with how much I play, but it's good to be back in Canada.テつ I'm excited to play tonight and tomorrow night.テつ Hopefully my body stays healthy, and I just hope the fans enjoy the tennis.
These days it's sort of ‑‑ I'm not sure how I'm going to play.テつ I just hope I can get off to a decent start and play decent.

Q.テつ You mentioned you were here to play Milos, I think it was maybe a year and a half ago, at the Air Canada Centre.テつ What are your impressions about the development of his career?テつ He hasn't yet had that big breakthrough at a slam level, although this week he made the semis in Montreal.テつ Do you see him as a guy who is going to be a legitimate threat at some point?
PETE SAMPRAS:テつ I think he's a threat already.テつ I think he's got a huge game, monster serve, willing to come in and do some things and get to the net.
You know, it is tough to break through.テつ He's up against Djokovic and Murray and Roger and four great players, and it takes time.テつ It's not going to happen overnight, but he does have a big game, and he does have a game that could get hot at a major and potentially win one.
It's progression.テつ It doesn't happen overnight.テつ I didn't really figure this game out until I was 22, 23, when everything was settled in.テつ I was physically and mentally great, knew where I stood in the game, and it just takes time.
I know Milos does the right things, he works hard, he wants to win, wants to do well.テつ Just gotta to be patient.テつ It's not going to happen overnight.

Q.テつ Just wondering if you can quickly talk about the state of tennis in the U.S. right now.テつ John Isner lost this week.テつ He'll probably drop out of the top 20, will be the first time in 40 years that an American hasn't been in the top 20.テつ What's wrong with tennis in the States?
PETE SAMPRAS:テつ I don't have a great answer for you.テつ People ask me all the time what's wrong with American tennis.テつ I don't know why.テつ It's looking a little slim.
I know John has been struggling a little bit, but he seems to win a lot of matches.テつ He can't break through in a major, seems like.テつ Mardy is having some issues he's trying to work out.テつ You know, we're in decent shape, but obviously we want our guys to be ranked No. 1 or like we were in the '90s.
I don't know why.テつ I just think the world has got a little better.テつ Maybe the U.S. we have got a little complacent in this country‑‑ or the U.S.テつ We're not in the U.S. at the moment.
But I don't know.テつ I really don't know why.テつ I just think a lot of these other countries, their best athletes are playing tennis.テつ Our best athletes are playing other sports other than tennis.
What happened in the '90s with me and Andre and Jim was rare.テつ It was a rare time where everything clicked, and now people are wondering where the next, you know, Andre is or Pete or whatever.
It doesn't happen every 10 years.テつ It's just where we're at, and I just hope that we can get a crew of young kids coming up that are hungry that want to do well.テつ But other than that‑‑ I mean, I'm all the over the place, but I just don't have a great answer for you.

Q.テつ What's surprising you in the sport of tennis today?
PETE SAMPRAS:テつ Surprising me?テつ You know, not much.テつ Really, I just look at what Murray has been able to do the last year.テつ He's progressed into this great player, you know.テつ Mentally has gotten a lot better, you know.テつ It was a great Wimbledon victory for him.
I think seeing Roger struggling a little bit is surprising, but he's been so good for so long.テつ I think he's dealing with some confidence issues, some physical issues.
Nadal, again, huge fan of his, dealing with some knee issues.
The game is very strong.テつ Nothing is really surprising me.テつ I just think these top four guys are so much better than the rest that, you know, it would be nice to see someone else sort of breakthrough.テつ Maybe Del Potro or Milos or Tsonga, somebody who can break through that big wall.

Q.テつ You just touched on this playing the likes of Jim and Andre in the '90s.テつ You faced Andre in the Rogers Cup or what it was known in then in '95, and you guys were going back and forth the whole year.テつ Do you remember that match at all?

Q.テつ Can you just share with us those memories and that season?
PETE SAMPRAS:テつ It was a big turning point that summer where I believe I won Wimbledon that year and came here, or Montreal, lost to him, and he went on a 28‑match winning streak or something ridiculous.テつ I had a decent summer.
We played in the final of the US Open, and, you know, I managed to squeak out that match, that final.テつ That was a breaking point for Andre.テつ For the next year or two, he just lost his way.
So I do remember that final he beat me, and I think he was the favorite going into that final a little bit.テつ We played a great set point in the first set, I won it, and then it just seemed our careers went in different directions.テつ I like grew from that and won some more majors.テつ He dropped off out of the top 100 and was a bit lost.
It was a big summer.テつ He got me pretty good in Montreal, but obviously he'd rather have the Open than that one.テつ It was a big summer.

Q.テつ There has been a lot of discussion recently about the kind of the average age of the ATP top 100 being so much higher.テつ These days it's in the upper 20s.テつ People have attributed it to racquet technology or maybe injury treatment getting better.テつ Do you have a take on that?
PETE SAMPRAS:テつ I don't, really.テつ So you're saying everyone in the top 100 is a little bit older?

Q.テつ Average age of the players.
PETE SAMPRAS:テつ I don't know.テつ Maybe it's physically tougher and it's harder for an 18‑, 19‑year‑old to break through.
I wasn't aware of that.テつ Maybe just technology maybe.テつ You'd probably know better than I do.テつ I'm not in touch with sort of the rest of the crew.テつ Sorry.

Q.テつ So give us your take on Federer attempting to switch to a 98 racquet.テつ You didn't do it at the end of your career.テつ Didn't matter.テつ You ended up winning the US Open your last match, but he's making a big attempt here.テつ Do you think it could make a substantial difference or just a tiny bit?
PETE SAMPRAS:テつ Um, it just comes down to confidence.テつ When Roger's playing well, he can play with a broomstick.テつ He's that good.
I think a bigger racquet can help in certain areas, maybe on the high backhand.テつ That's the shot I feel like it's helped me.テつ Maybe a little bit more pop on the serve.テつ But, you know, it's more racquet, it's more power.テつ Roger's forehand is such his bread and butter and if he's thinking twice about it, that's not a good thing.
I think it's worth trying.テつ I'm not sure if‑‑ I mean, maybe you know, is he sticking with it?

Q.テつ I think he's playing with it this way in Cincinnati, but he's still playing with the prototype.
PETE SAMPRAS:テつ So it's going to take some time.テつ I mean, he needs to win some tough matches and just feel like‑‑ you know, if people are asking him, he's thinking about it.テつ I think it's worth trying, and I hope it helps him.
I don't think Roger ‑‑he's lost a few matches.テつ I don't think he needs to panic and feel like he needs to change everything.テつ He's still a great player and always will be.テつ Just to try something a few weeks here would be fine.テつ I will be curious to see if he plays with it at the Open.
You know, it's just mental, you know, gets in your head.テつ Look at McIlroy and his clubs.テつ I mean, it takes one slight little thing to get you off kilter, and I just hope Roger just, if he sticks with this racquet, can win some tough matches.テつ Once he does that, he will be fine.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We have some questions from Montreal.

Q.テつ As the former seven‑time Wimbledon champion, what do you think of the current champion Andy Murray?
PETE SAMPRAS:テつ I think he's turned into a great player.テつ He's always been a good hitter of the ball, been a great mover.テつ I think mentally he's a bit better now.テつ He recovers from some sort of bad situations in a match.
Now he feels like he belongs, like he's up there with Roger, up there with Rafa.テつ He's on his way to doing great things.テつ He's got a good chance at the US Open up here.
So we'll see.テつ He's a great player.テつ He's figured it out.

Q.テつ At this year's US Open it will be the first time Andy Murray will be defending champion.テつ How different do you think that will be for him, and how do you think he will handle it?
PETE SAMPRAS:テつ I think he'll handle it fine.テつ I think it's a little bit different when you're the man to beat.テつ You get used to that.
But as long as he's playing well and he's healthy, he's going to be, you know, there at the end.テつ I'm not worried about his game.テつ I just think he's just gotten better.テつ And it just takes time.テつ I see him being there in the last weekend.

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