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Old 03-24-2005, 12:38 AM   #1
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Sampras burst upon the scene with his 1990 U.S. Open final victory over Agassi, igniting their rivalry. Sampras upset Lendl and John McEnroe in the quarters and semis on his way to becoming the youngest-ever men's champ at 19. (By Peter Morgan, AP)

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Old 03-24-2005, 07:46 PM   #2
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Old 03-24-2005, 07:52 PM   #3
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Old 03-26-2005, 07:08 PM   #4
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Upset Time

Teen ace Pete Sampras an unlikely U.S Open champion
Posted: Wednesday July 28, 1999

The 1990 U.S. Open was the coronation of Pete Sampras, who has ever since reigned supreme over the tennis world. Rick Stewart/Allsport

By Alexander Wolff



He takes three balls from the ball boy and examines each. The briefest frown may cross his face before he throws the fuzziest one back, as if it were an undersized bass. That frown is all the emotion you're likely to get from Pete Sampras, the youngest man ever to win the U.S. Open and the first American to prevail since 1984. He keeps two balls, thrusts one into his pocket, hoists the baldest one -- ''I like the fuzz thin,'' he says, ''because the thinner ones go through the air quicker'' -- rocks, cocks and powders it toward some poor soul obliged to do something with it.

One hundred times, over the length of the tournament, the best tennis players in the world, including Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl and a rejuvenated John McEnroe, could do nothing with the serve of Sampras, 19 years old, seeded 12th and now all-three-network-morning-shows famous. ''I've got a heater and a changeup,'' he says like some phenom just up from Triple A. Sampras is so welcome to U.S. tennis precisely because he splits the difference between the pious Michael Chang and the ostentatious Agassi. His style is classic serve- and-volley, and someday this Southern California kid of Greek ancestry will win Wimbledon. But Sampras will be forever linked with the U.S. Open, just as Boris Becker and Mats Wilander are identified with the tournaments that midwifed them, Wimbledon and the French Open, respectively.

Tennyson, anyone? In Sunday's final, Agassi watched cannon to the left of him, cannon to the right of him, as Sampras thundered and volleyed. Agassi could not make reply; he could not reason why. ''Why are you so slow?'' he muttered to himself between points. There was an answer in the numbers that the announcer up in the Flushing Meadow press box calls ''sadistics.'' Sampras hit 13 aces in the match. Agassi not only never had a break point in the first two sets, but he also never even forced a deuce game on Sampras's serve, which hovered around 120 mph during the final. The final arithmetic -- 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 -- had a grim progression to it.

Sampras's father stayed home too. For all their son's reserve, Soterios (Sam) and Georgia Sampras, who reside in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., are so emotional that they can't even watch him live on TV, preferring instead to view the matches on tape, with the outcome already known. Not that Pete believes in on- site support. He has a coach, Joe Brandi, but his spiritual mentor is none other than his victim in the quarterfinals, Lendl. Last December, to prepare for the Masters, Lendl invited Sampras to his Greenwich, Conn., home to be a workout and hitting partner. Sampras sampled the ascetic life-style -- rigorous training, plenty of sleep, eat-to-win diet -- that had turned Lendl into the best player in the world. Between the end of last year and the start of the U.S. Open, Sampras rose steadily from No. 81 to No. 12. Still, he had no premonition of what he would do at the tournament. Indeed, after an easy third-round defeat of Jakob Hlasek, Sampras summarized his chances thus: ''Maybe in a couple of years, but I don't think it's realistic right now.''

Only after he had upset Lendl 6-4, 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 did Sampras feel he could take the prize. In the final he seized breaks early in the first two sets, and by the third, Agassi's spirit was broken. Sampras went up 4-2 in the clinching set by breaking Agassi at love, and wherever he was, Robby Benson must have been bracing himself for the prospect of people stopping him in the street and saying, ''Hey, aren't you Pete Sampras?''

Sampras had learned from his opponent's semifinal. ''Agassi hit it in the corner for three hours,'' Becker had said after losing 6-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. But Sampras realized that Becker had let Agassi do so.

''Becker had a bad game plan,'' said Sampras. ''He tried to outslug Andre. He should have come to the net as soon as possible.''

Only five years ago Sampras was just another counterpunching junior with a two- fisted backhand. After he did poorly in the 1985 Easter Bowl junior tournament, his coach at the time, Dr. Peter Fischer, prevailed upon him to change his game. Sampras went to a one-handed backhand, improved his serve by studying tapes of Rod Laver and began rushing the net. Over the short term the switch seemed rash; he lost to players he had beaten easily, and his ranking plummeted. But the trade-off was meant to pay dividends later on. As Sampras grew into his body, the tumblers of his serve-and-volley game began falling into place. It was Agassi's misfortune to get whacked in the face as the safe door swung open. After reaching the finals of the only two Grand Slam events he played this year, drawing one guy (Andres Gomez) who seemed too old to beat him and another (Sampras) who appeared to be too young, Andre was oh-fer.

''For whatever I do the rest of my career,'' Sampras told the crowd as he accepted his trophy on Sunday evening, ''I'll always be a U.S. Open champion.''

To some, image may be everything. But Sampras -- with his feet on the ground, an ace in the air and a “NO I'M NOT” T-shirt in his future -- has proved that reality counts for something too.

Issue Date: Issue date: September 17, 1990
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Old 04-02-2005, 07:26 PM   #5
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Float Like a Butterfly, Serve Like a Bazooka
Laid-back Pete Sampras blasts his way into tennis history
by Andrew Abrahams, Cindy Dampier (on Amelia Island) and Tom Cunneff (in Los Angeles)



September 24, 1990 -- In a small, one-bedroom condo on Amelia Island, a posh resort off the northeastern coast of Florida, Pete Sampras grabs a golf club and takes some practice swings. The olive-skinned 19-year-old appears skinnier and gawkier than he did two days before, when he demolished Andre Agassi in the men's final of the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadow, N.Y. Sampras is describing the phone call he made to his parents in exclusive Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., after walking off the stadium court. This was before they got around to changing their phone number, before their answering machine broke. ''They were more stunned than anything,'' says Sampras. ''They said, 'Congratulations, you worked hard and you deserve it. Now enjoy the next couple of weeks and then get back to work.' ''

That sense of dedication instilled by his parents quietly created tennis's newest star. With a seismic-quality serve clocked at 120 mph and an unflinching calm at the net, Sampras dispatched Ivan Lendl in the quarters, John McEnroe in the semis and took the Day-Glo out of Agassi, winning 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to become the youngest men's champion in the Open's 110-year history.

While Agassi represents the brash, cocksure new breed of young players, Sampras is a throwback to the 1960s, when elegant serve-and-volleyers like Australia's Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall dominated the game. ''I've always looked up to people like Laver, and I changed my game to play like those guys,'' says Sampras, whose ranking has gone from 81st to sixth in less than a year.

Sampras also absorbed some of the personal reserve of the earlier era's players. ''He looks like he grew up playing with a wooden racket,'' says Mary Carillo, a CBS tennis analyst. ''You can tell his values are steeped in the past. He's anti-entourage; he wears whites on the court. People say, 'Where did this guy come from?' He came from the '60s, that's where.'' Even Sampras' taste in music is anachronistic: He prefers the mellower tones of Cat Stevens and the Eagles to the hipper trends of rap or heavy metal.

But Pete's greatest source of inspiration comes from his Greek-American family. His brother, Gus, 22, is often the only person who travels with him and, as his financial adviser, must now think about prudently investing Sampras' $1 million earnings and any subsequent endorsement money. His parents, Soterios, 53, an engineer for the Defense Department, and Georgia, a housewife, encouraged Pete through the long years of junior tennis in California but now find it too nerve-racking to watch him play. (They went to Presumed Innocent during Pete's semifinal win over John McEnroe and cruised a Long Beach shopping mall during the finals.) Sampras' older sister, Stella, 21, plays for the UCLA varsity tennis team and plans to turn pro, and his younger sister, Marion, 16, swings a racket for Palos Verdes High.

Sampras is a self-conscious young man with a quick, booming laugh. A high school dropout -- he turned pro after his junior year -- Pete has no girlfriend and is shy to a fault, maybe even a double fault. ''He's quiet almost to the point of dull,'' says ex-coach Dr. Peter Fischer. But all that may change now that Sampras has been thrust into the limelight.

It didn't take long for the Open triumph to transform other aspects of Sampras' life. On Sunday night, according to agent Ivan Blumberg, Pete was so excited he ''didn't sleep a minute, not a minute.'' Perhaps it's just as well, considering how early he would have had to get up to do all three network morning news shows. By noon he was on a plane for Florida, where he was due to play an exhibition.

Two days after his victory, the new champion is planning to relax and work on his golf game. (He is a 16-handicapper.) He knows his win at the Open makes him the man to beat now. ''It's a lot of pressure, but I think I'm mature enough and capable of living up to that responsibility,'' Pete says with aplomb. Meanwhile, he's going to indulge in a little old-fashioned glory- basking. ''I'm just going to try to let this sink in,'' says Sampras, taking a smooth swing with his sand wedge. ''I'm on a high right now.''

Article supplied by Amanda Lonnick

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Old 04-05-2005, 10:25 PM   #6
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Old 04-09-2005, 07:49 PM   #7
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Old 04-12-2005, 09:44 PM   #8
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:21 PM   #9
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Old 04-16-2005, 08:00 PM   #10
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Old 04-16-2005, 08:13 PM   #11
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US Open 1993: In essence, Sampras won the tournament in the quarterfinals. He took on his old nemesis Michael Chang in a sparkling battle under lights. At this point Chang was ahead 6-2 in the rivalry, and early in the encounter, Sampras was precariously perched at 6-7, 6-6. But he made his move to level the match in the tie-break, then soared to another level, comprehensively dismissing Chang 6-7 (0), 7-6 (2), 6-1, 6-1 - winning 20 of 25 points in the first five games of the fourth and final set. The 1972 Open champion Ilie Nastase said, "The last two sets were the best I have ever seen anyone play on hard courts." Sampras glided to the title without losing another set.
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Old 04-23-2005, 07:49 PM   #12
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UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION
1993 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Flushing Meadows, New York, NY
September 12, 1993

P. SAMPRAS/ C. Pioline
6-4, 6-4, 6-3

AN INTERVIEW WITH PETE SAMPRAS



Q. Pete, is it kind of lost in the shuffle that you are going to be No. 1 again; is that that big a deal to you compared to this?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think winning a Grand Slam is more important than anything. I know, I became No. 1 winning yesterday, but if I would have lost today I wouldn't have been happy. But you know, it feels good to get it back, with the Grand Slams, that is more important in my mind.

Q. Can you sense how nervous he was; was there a feeling out there?

PETE SAMPRAS: I could tell I got to a good start, got off to several breaks, got on top of him pretty quickly. I actually thought he might be swinging away. I thought he was going to hit some great shots. I managed to get an early break. Then I served really well in the first couple of sets. He was a bit tight, which I think is to be expected.

Q. Pete, does this kind of cement your reputation now as being the best player in the game at this moment?

PETE SAMPRAS: You tell me. I don't know. I mean, it has, you know, been a great year, the Wimbledon victory was really big for me and now I won the 2 biggest tournaments in the world. 93 is going to go down as my best year so far. But there is a lot of competition out there and hopefully I can keep this ranking all the way through the end of this year.

Q. When the first few serves 128, 127 miles per hour, was that more trying to send him a message or was that just your adrenaline?

PETE SAMPRAS: It was both. The wind was really in one direction. I wanted to you know, first start of the match, smoke them by him even if I miss; kind of send him a message that I am going to hit it pretty hard. That is what I did.

Q. Can you anticipate enjoying this more than you did in 90? I don't think we are going to hear you come here next year and say the monkey is off your back. Can you talk about the feeling?

PETE SAMPRAS: You know, in 90, the victory here almost kind of happened too fast and too easy, where I really didn't have any time really to think about what is exactly happening. Throughout these two weeks I have been thinking about this moment of winning my second year U.S. Open. I can appreciate it much more, 93 versus 90. I am just going to go home and just enjoy the victory.

Q. What are you most proud of in this performance; not today necessarily, but over the two week period?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think winning my matches pretty convincingly. I think I only dropped 2 sets and I am pretty happy that I beat the guys, you know, beating Chang was a very big step for me. The way I played the last couple of sets, I mean, he has given me a lot of problems in the past and to get by him at a big Grand Slam, that is one victory that kind of sticks out in my mind right now.

Q. Was the final in this tournament a whole easier than you expected?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I didn't really expect, you know, kind of taking it one match a time. My summer wasn't really that great. I felt my tennis was okay when I came in here, but the way things worked out, a lot of the top seeds went down early and I just took advantage of the draw.

Q. How much more comfortable are you now with being No. 1 and winning Grand Slams than in 1990, and what was the process you went through to get to the point where you are now?

PETE SAMPRAS: 1990, my game wasn't really quite developed when I won here. I just had two hot weeks and for the next 6 to 8 months I really kind of struggled off and on the court. I kind of got through that little slump. Just keeping enjoying the tennis, keep it simple and, you know, peak at the Grand Slams. That is what I have done this year. You know, did well at the French and Australian, so my year, you know, can't get any better than this.

Q. When you serve that well, do you think that you are unbeatable?

PETE SAMPRAS: I think when I am serving well, I can really take more chances on his serve. If I can send him a message, I am hitting 2, 3 aces a game I can be a little bit more carefree and loose on his service games, and my groundstrokes game has really improved the last couple of years, due to my claycourt success, and serving well, everything else is working well.

Q. When the other top seeds went out, Courier going out, does that tell you anything about yourself; is there any kind of explanation as to why they did and what it said to you why they went out?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, the depth of tennis today is very deep, you know. Pioline, I saw him beat Courier. He looked awful tough. I mean, lot of upsets, you know, these days versus ten years ago. You can kind of expect, you know, McEnroe, Connors, Lendl, Borg in the semis, whereas today it is a different story. There are so many guys out there that are so dangerous, I think that is a good reason why you see a lot of upsets.

Q. Did that tell you a way to avoid it or that you'd better tone your concentration --

PETE SAMPRAS: I- wasn't- worried about the other guys in the draw. Just concerned about my matches and what I was going to do to prepare and stay focused. Last two weeks I did a pretty good job of that.

Q. This is two-part. Did you realize what you said out there, does anything cross your mind when it came out of your mouth?

PETE SAMPRAS: What is that?

Q. "I am trying my ass off here." Also, what I want to say about that, yesterday, Steffi told us no matter how many times she is in that position, she is really nervous speaking to huge groups of people. Can you relate to what she said, because you also are higher than some players, other people on the tour?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, a man's biggest fear is getting up in front of people to talk. And it is, you know, I am not used to it. I am getting better and the more you do it, the better you get at it.

Q. Did you mean to say that?

PETE SAMPRAS: That just kind of slipped out. Sorry.

Q. Pete, how are you going to celebrate at all when you get back to Tampa; any particular place in your house where you are collecting these trophies now?

PETE SAMPRAS: I got this one space in my cabinet that my U.S. Open trophy 90 and 93 Wimbledon are standing and I'll put it right there right next to it. But, you know, I am going to go down to Florida for a couple of days, I got a couple of one-night exhibitions over in the west coast, see my family a little bit. So it should be fun.

Q. Cabinet in Florida or California?

PETE SAMPRAS: In Florida.

Q. Is it more difficult in a tournament of this magnitude to play somebody who you have only played twice and is it the sort of an unknown rather than when you know Courier's game so well, did that make it more of a challenging--

PETE SAMPRAS: You know, I was expected to win today. Playing, you know, Jim, I played him so many times. Playing Cedric, I have only played him a couple of times. And you know, he has really made a lot of good improvements in his game and he is a more solid player than he was a couple of years ago when I played him. You know, didn't know really what to expect if he was going to come up real tight or come out just swinging away. As a result, he came out a little tight and I got off to an early break.

Q. You said winning the last time made you struggle with your life. What is the comparison, if there is, between then and now in terms of life?

PETE SAMPRAS: 90 I won the Open and immediately I was recognized all around the world, and at that point I really wasn't used to it. I didn't really enjoy it, but I realized, you know, it is the way it is going to be. It is part of the job, more success, more times you win, the difficulty is going to be off the court. I have just accepted that.

Q. Did it play with your head, Pete, at all, and how did you get over it, I mean, what got you around that struggle and moving on?

PETE SAMPRAS: I just kind of, you know, kept on going at it. Hanging in there. I was going through some tough losses, but managed just to-- I believe in myself and I believed in my game and as it worked out, I got back to it.

Q. Pete, you had that moment in the third set second game where you went on the line call on the serve, then you doublefaulted. What did you say to yourself--

PETE SAMPRAS: That happened couple of times I got off to an early break in the second and the third, I just-- I was rushing it. I believe I was rushing a little bit too much and thinking about, you know, thinking about winning it instead of thinking about the point I was playing, and that was a mistake and I just got a little bit tight there and start rushing a bit. But I managed to get through that.

Q. Was there ever-- it never seemed like he challenged you in terms of bringing you to a point where he could turn the match in his favor. You always seemed to be in control of it from the start. Did you always have that feeling that there-- was there ever a point where you thought that he could get back in it?

PETE SAMPRAS: When I -- when I got out to an early break in the second he broke me straight back. I was-- I let him back in the match just by some careless errors. Just not three-set-- 3 out of 5 set match you cannot play well every game. There were sometimes when the crowd got a little bit behind him, he started playing a bit better, but I managed to play the big points real well. And he, you know, got a little bit tight on the breakpoints, he had hit some doublefaults, which helped me out. Match point he obviously doublefaulted.

Q. What was the feeling when you saw that doublefault on match point? It is suddenly over abruptly; what is that like?

PETE SAMPRAS: I knew because the wind was blowing in that one direction. I knew it is tough to really hit second serves; it hit the tape. I had a pretty good feeling it was going to go out because of the wind. It would have been much nicer to win it the point before, couple of points before when I hit that great volley, but it felt great, it is a great feeling.

Q. Obviously, Cedric's biggest moment. Were you surprised that he came out there and chose to serve and not take the chance of receiving it and getting into the match; that kind of hurt him?

PETE SAMPRAS: I wasn't surprised. He had 2 great weeks and he is confident. I mean, if I was in his position; if I won the toss, I would have started serving. As it turned out, he doublefaulted and missed pretty a easy volley on breakpoint and maybe if he had to do it over again he might receive.

Q. You said in 90 if I remember when you broke down your game, and you know, went for the one-hand that you basically-- you would look at films of Rosewall and Laver; you really looked up to them. You now move basically into their company. You are now a 3 time champion. How does it feel to be in that kind of company now?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, if I can do -- maintain this for ten years; then I will be in their company. But you know, I have 3 Grand Slams titles; 2 biggest ones in the world, and you know my goal one day is to be in the same set as Laver and Rosewall. Those guys were class acts. That is something that I try to present when I play. But you know, it feels pretty good right now.

Q. You have won a few Grand Slams now. Based on your experience, how long does the exultation last before the real world starts seeping back in; how long can you really enjoy this before you go --

PETE SAMPRAS: My schedule is -- as it turned out I have four, five weeks off before I go to the European swing. After the Wimbledon victory, after about two weeks I knew it was back to business and getting ready for the hard courts. Now I have been a lot of time off and, you know, I am just going obviously to take sometime off and get back to playing again.

Q. The last time, you talked about all this intrusion on your life. What was that all about and was that a position where you had say is it really worth it?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, it was really worth it. It really-- I don't like losing. I don't like not playing well and you know, just -- just being recognized, I wasn't comfortable with that. I pretty much don't like to be the center of attention and immediately in 90 after I won it here was, you know, from one extreme to the next and, you know, took me a while to get used to that but I managed to get through it.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how Tim has helped you become what you are and comfortable with everything that goes along with it?

PETE SAMPRAS: He had a huge impact on my results and me playing better. I mean, the claycourt success I have had, you know, he really emphasized playing well on clay and you know mentally staying in there and you know, Tim, he was a smart player when he played in his day and that is something that I was lacking, my shot selection was a bit suspect and he kind of sharpened me up a little bit. He has made me think a little bit more what I am trying to do out there. As a result you know, things have really worked out well. I am sure our relationship will continue for a lot of years.

Q. Early in the year when you became No. 1, there was a lot of commentary about, yeah, he is No. 1 on the computer, but hasn't won a Slam recently. Did you hear that and was that a motivating factor in any way for you?

PETE SAMPRAS: I heard that. But it-- was it motivating? You know, I am not going to say that one thing really motivated me, the talk in the press, but -- I really don't understand the question. Can you rephrase it?

Q. Just did that spur you on? Did that make you --

PETE SAMPRAS: Not particularly. I mean, that is not one thing that I was thinking about out there.

Q. Pete, you mentioned Laver and Rosewall a lot as guys you emulated and still emulate. Are there any American guys growing up that you pointed to and say I want to grow up like them? Is it a personality thing?

PETE SAMPRAS: Connors and McEnroe obviously, I looked up to them. But the coach that I was working with Pete Fischer really liked the way and liked the way the guys acted, the Australian guys and you know, I try and, like I said, conduct myself in a classy manner. That is one thing that they did and so there wasn't really an American that I really idolized. Sure, I respected McEnroe's talent and Connors' intensity, but the Aussies, those guys were great guys.

Q. Do you like today's tennis?

PETE SAMPRAS: I like today's tennis. I was just mentioning that you know, look at this draw. I mean, all the upsets. It is tough to win every Slam. I mean, it is-- I had, you know, two, 4 really good weeks at Wimbledon and the Open. And it is, you know, it is tough.

Q. Why tougher now, that is what I mean? Is it the --

PETE SAMPRAS: Not the schedule,.

Q.-- depth of the schedule?

PETE SAMPRAS: Just the depth in tennis period. All the top guys schedule to do well at the grand Slams and Novacek beating Edberg and Becker losing to Larsson. Those guys are ranked 30, 40, 50 in the world. You just didn't see that ten years ago.

Q. Is the schedule so long that nobody can keep that kind of concentration; you don't have an off season; there is no time to put your head back together?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, the one part of the schedule where it is tough, I believe, is coming from the French and having two weeks until Wimbledon. And that amazes me how Borg did it. But as far as you have Australia, January, and the French and Wimbledon are tough to win back-to-back and the Open, I think, you have about 6-7 weeks to really peak, but those two in the middle are the tough, especially the surfaces, you know it is tough to win those back-to-back.

Q. How many tournaments will you play this year?

PETE SAMPRAS: I will probably play around 20.

Q. You maintain a certain standard of conduct. You have a certain way you want to project yourself as a class act. Yet periodically things pop up in the media; writers say Sampras is boring or the Open isn't exciting without a Connors or McEnroe; do you find that ironic or is that a price you have to pay to maintain the standard?

PETE SAMPRAS: Kind of puts me in a tough position. I can't change my attitude on the court for the fans or for the press. I just have to do what I have to do to; win tennis matches and the way I conduct myself is the way it is always going to be. I was taught and trained at a young age to play and act a certain way. And I am sorry that it wasn't exciting for you guys to write about.

Q. But are you really sorry?

PETE SAMPRAS: I am not really sorry.

Q. Did you feel at any point that this summer that you would overschedule yourself, but in looking back, do you feel that it was the right thing to do, getting yourself ready for this tournament?

PETE SAMPRAS: I wasn't -- I felt playing 4 straight weeks was a bit of a mistake. But as it turned out, I really didn't play all that great. I don't know what my ranking was, but it wasn't winning every week, so I came in here pretty mentally fresh and physically fresh. I wasn't playing a whole lot of tennis even though I was scheduled to play. I just wasn't winning week in, week out, and as it turned out, it worked pretty well for me.

Q. A lot of college basketball coaches like their teams to lose before the NCAA tournament. Do you equate that to when you lost, I guess it was in Montreal, does it help you refocus yourself and if you had won those weeks, do you think that it would have been tougher for you to come in here keeping that level up than having lost?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, what happened in Montreal I had a bit of a let-down after the Wimbledon. In Cincy and Indy I tried my best; just didn't get the breaks. Maybe that was a blessing, maybe you know I got all my bad luck and bad tennis behind me, and really you know, peaked well here and you know, I am not going to schedule my next year like I did this year. I am just playing two tournaments and take a week off and play 2 more and so I can see where those coaches are coming from. Obviously I like to win every week, but I rather win these two weeks.

Q. You said earlier that when you came-- when you won Wimbledon it was a real break through. "I needed a major," you said and basically you -- as a champion, what does this win do for you?

PETE SAMPRAS: This feels just as good. It feels you know, kind of tough to talk about. Call me in a couple of days. I will tell you what it is like. Wimbledon victory was really big for me because if I would have gone down there I wouldn't know how I would have rebounded for this tournament, but as it turned out, I won there, but you know it has been a great year. I need some time off.

Q. Last year, you came close here and you got sick and I guess it affected your performance in the final. Did you do anything this year, you know, like cautious the way you played or whatever, to make sure you wouldn't get sick?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.

Q. Like what?

PETE SAMPRAS: I didn't eat at Flushing Meadow all two weeks. What I was doing was getting good New York delis sandwiches and eating turkey sandwiches for two straight weeks and didn't eat here at all.

Q. Pete, you talked about the depth of the men's game and all the outstanding players, but yet during this match a lot of guys kind of watching football games and checking scores. If tennis has dropped in popularity, is there anything that you guys can do to get the public's imagination back?

PETE SAMPRAS: Maybe shave my chest, I don't know.

Q. Since you bring that up, some of the other guys have tried things like that. Is that bad for tennis? Where is the grey area here?

PETE SAMPRAS: What can I say? What can I say? You know, the personality of the guys today are aren't quite as outspoken as the McEnroe Connors days and I am the complete opposite. And if that is a negative, then what can I say or do?

Q. Do you think American players coming into a Grand Slam, especially a final, are relieved of some of the pressure about the nationality. Like this guy is playing you and he is going to be the first Frenchman since the 4 musketeers and you guys were like a bunch of-- you are all in the same age group; do you feel that you don't have to deal with the same way of winning for your country as you know, Gaby and the win here in 90 was the first South American in God knows when; is that something you don't have to deal with or does it way on your mind at all?

PETE SAMPRAS: As far as playing here versus playing Wimbledon?

Q. Like being the last American left for X number of stages in the Open and I mean, does the nationality issue even cross your mind in a Grand Slam and is it different for the none Americans?

PETE SAMPRAS: Not really. That is the longest question I have heard.

Q. Pete, I know you are hitting some heavy top spin out there, and serves. I don't think I have seen anybody break two strings in a row?

PETE SAMPRAS: The first one I broke I have been using that racket for couple of sets and the second one, a couple of -- I hit and it just snapped.

Q. Anything like that twice before?

PETE SAMPRAS: To me it has happened before.

Q. Two successive swings?

PETE SAMPRAS: Sure.

Q. Did you have a lot of rackets left in the bag?

PETE SAMPRAS: I brought out five.

Q. Pete, you have won Wimbledon and here this year. Can you win a Grand Slam?

PETE SAMPRAS: Can I win a Grand Slam? All in one year?

Q. Yes.

PETE SAMPRAS: I am not going to out rule it. I am not going to -- that is a tough question. Sure, I'd love to do it. I mean, if there is one tournament that is tougher for me is the French Open, and you know, I played pretty well there last couple of years, but winning a Grand Slam is-- you need to be obviously a great player and you need to have a bit of luck and you know, it is tough. I mean, I haven't really thought about it too much.

Q. Lendl always chased Wimbledon. Is it important for you to win in all 4 eventually over the life of your career?

PETE SAMPRAS: That is a big thing for me to win on clay.

Q. Pete, what are you planning, anything special with the $530,000?

PETE SAMPRAS: It is always that question here, isn't there? No. Not really.

Q. Thank you.
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Old 04-28-2005, 10:27 PM   #15
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