August 16, 1998
Q. Was it out, Pete?
PETE SAMPRAS: Which one?
Q. Last one.
PETE SAMPRAS: What can you do at this point? Some tough calls. I felt I just got unlucky today, you know. Plain and simple, I had my chances. But it's tough to get overruled on a match point like that, very surprising. I think he made a bad decision. But it's over with now, nothing really much I can do about it.
Q. What did he say to you, if anything?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, he talked big on the line. I'm like, "Okay." I mean, it's a tough -- it takes, you know, big balls to do that. So, I mean, he just overruled it. That's not why I lost the match, but it certainly ended it on a very bad note. I felt I had my chances through the match. Had a breakpoint there. I thought he hit a double-fault on a serve out wide.
Q. Second set?
PETE SAMPRAS: Second set. You know, but I had some breakpoints. I just got unlucky. Patrick kind of hung in there and played pretty well at the right moments. That was pretty much it.
Q. At the latter opinion, the linesman said (inaudible)?
PETE SAMPRAS: I have no idea.
Q. You said that wasn't where you lost the match. Where do you think you lost it?
PETE SAMPRAS: Probably just my return let me down a little bit, especially on some big points, breakpoints I had, Love-30 points. He was hitting that kick serve out to my backhand; it was giving me some problems. You know, he hung in there and volleyed pretty well when he had to. It's a strange game out there. Felt like I had the match pretty much under control. Breaker came around, the crowd got behind him obviously. He hung in there and gutsed it out. That's what it takes sometimes. You know, just got a little unlucky there. You know, just have to accept it and move on somehow.
Q. You were playing so well the first set. Did his being such a hot guy help him to sort of blow that off and come back and play better in the second set?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think he's got the type of game, if I'm on my game, if I'm returning well, things can go pretty smoothly. And I knew he was going to start serving better. I knew he was going to start playing better in the second set. And he did. He kind of raised his level because he had to. He's got a game that's very consistent. He's got the good serve, backs it up with good volleys, he competes well, he moves well. You know, I had some chances. You know, just one point is really the difference. If I could have converted on one breakpoint, you know, I think things probably would have gone my way. But he got the right point, and just a tough way to lose.
Q. You won less than half the points that you came to the net. What was he doing so well to keep you from succeeding?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think he just, as the match went on, he kind of started reading my serve pretty well, picking it off, hit some good returns. You know, I'm going to try to come in against him as much as possible. You know, you hope you're going to be a little more successful than winning half the points. But, you know, he hit some good shots when he had to. You know, ended up winning this match, you know, it's a tough one to lose. Felt like I was playing well enough to win here.
Q. Is that as aggravated as you've been at the end of a match in a while?
PETE SAMPRAS: Uh-huh, yeah.
Q. Do you remember when you've been more?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, you mean aggravated at myself and not playing well, sure. But I was really upset. You know, I was really just -- felt it was a bad decision on his part. And I definitely let him know. I never lose control. I never feel -- unless it's completely obvious. For me to kind of unload on him, he definitely knew he made a mistake, because I never do that. But like I said, it's just a stuff way to end it, you know. Tough way to end that match.
Q. First time in your career that you didn't shake the chair's hand?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think he was the same guy that did my match in Australia against Kucera. He made some tough overrules. You know, I had a hard time shaking his hand there. In the heat of battle, you feel like you're so pissed, and I was, I really just kind of couldn't believe he did it. You know, it's the heat of the moment. You just kind of -- I just really was upset, you know. I'm hardly ever like that. It just tells you how bad I thought his decision was.
Q. So did you shake his hand in Australia?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. We asked Patrick yesterday what he felt maybe the difference was between you at No. 2 and him at No. 3. What do you think the difference or gap is between you two?
PETE SAMPRAS: Ten Grand Slams. As far as our games -- I was being a smart-ass there (laughter). You know, playing Patrick is a little bit like playing Edberg a little bit. He's got the good kick serve. We play so similar, we both play real attacking tennis. Attacking players have always given me trouble. His serve, you know, he serves smart, he serves into the body, serves out wide. You know, a couple points is really the difference. Over the past six, seven matches I've played Patrick, I've always gotten that one point, I've always capitalized on the breakpoint. I certainly thought I had the match won, 4-All breakpoint. I thought he hit the double-fault. But sometimes it takes a little luck to win a match like this. He certainly got it today.
Q. What do you think he was doing in the second set?
PETE SAMPRAS: Every player is going to play better. Losing the first 6-1, you know they're going to come back and start to relax a little bit. You know, I knew he was going to start serving better, playing better. I just got into a great roll in the first set. Pretty much it was over with a couple swings of the racquet. The second I knew he was going to buckle down and start to play a little bit better. That was certainly the case.
Q. You said you rarely ever do what you did at the end of the match, not shake hands with the guy, make your point clear. Will you regret that later?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. I was upset. You know, you guys think I'm some sort of robot out there that I feel nothing. But I certainly -- it's certainly not the case. No, I'm not going to regret it. I mean, I felt good after I did it. You know, I felt like, okay, I made my point, released a little steam. Off to New Haven I go tonight.
Q. Would you have felt bad if you didn't do it? Would you have later said, "I wish I would have said what I thought"?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, you guys, it's not a big deal. I just kind of told him what I felt. It's not a big deal. I mean, it was just -- I was kind of caught off guard a little bit when he pulled that off. But, you know, he made a decision. You know, there you have it. We can analyze it all day, but at the end of the day, I didn't win this match. That's it.
Q. Can you talk about your progress from last week to this week, what you need to do before the US Open?
PETE SAMPRAS: I feel like I'm hitting the ball fine. I feel physically much better. I think last week, my first tournament on hard court in over three, four months, playing back-to-back, Haas and then Andre, I definitely came up the next morning a little bit sore. Not used to the hard court. This week I played really well. I have no complaint with the way I'm playing. Certainly felt coming into this match, I felt I liked my chances. And my game's there. You know, I feel, like I said, I'm in pretty good shape. Have a good week next week, take some time off before The Open. It would have been nice to win. Obviously a big match for the ranking, trying to end the year No. 1. I've had pretty good results against Patrick over the past couple years. But you just have to accept this and move on.
Q. So you'll play New Haven, then take off?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes.
Q. Do you think McEnroe would have let him out of the chair at the end?
PETE SAMPRAS: You would have had to call the ambulance.
Q. Has your foot bothered you since surgery at all?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. Yeah, it bothered me afterwards, but not since I've been playing.
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