interview with Pete Sampras, David Bolzonello and Jurgen Dess
28 January 2000
PETE SAMPRAS: The only thing I really have to say is that I've hurt my hip and I'm not going to be able to go to Zimbabwe. They did an MRI this morning and there was a pretty substantial tear and that's pretty much all I wanted to say, you know. It happened yesterday and I just want to say that I'm not able to go to Zimbabwe.
Q. Did it happen on that jump smash?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, it happened earlier on in the match.
Q. Do you know how long you're likely to be out, Pete?
PETE SAMPRAS: The doctors are saying three or four weeks.
Q. Is it in any way related to the problem with your back you had last year?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. Doctor, do you think that Pete damaged it further by continuing on?
DAVID BOLZONELLO: That's difficult to say. I mean, his performance suggested that that's not the case. I think he certainly stiffened up overnight with some bleeding from the tear. I think Pete's the best judge of that. I suspect, being the professional he is, if he thought he was getting worse, he'd have certainly got some treatment on court and made a decision there and then.
Q. Have you communicated your absence to the captain?
PETE SAMPRAS: Mmm.
Q. What was his reaction?
PETE SAMPRAS: I'll let you draw your own conclusions on that. I just told him what happened; told him I had a test done and I wasn't going to be able to go for about three or four weeks. He was at dinner and it probably wasn't really the best news he heard. I'm sure he's disappointed, like I am. I'm the one that's obviously very disappointed, being hurt and not able to go.
Q. Still game for LA?
PETE SAMPRAS: For what?
Q. For LA, the match round, if it comes to it?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yes, I should be, if things work out okay.
Q. How do you kind of get over this, Pete? Is it rest? Is it just simply that or is there anything you can do in the meantime to try and alleviate the situation?
PETE SAMPRAS: Right now it is rest. I mean, the trainer and the doctor can give you a little bit more specific an answer. It's sore and it's going to take some time. It's not going to be overnight. It's going to take a couple of weeks before I'm able to start doing some things and, you know, I've had my share of treatments over the past six months and this will be a different area, but I'll be back.
Q. How much of a factor was the injury in the match last night?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, Andre, he beat me and he's in the finals and it certainly
didn't help with my moving, but I'm not taking anything away from how he
played. He played great. He's got a good chance of winning the whole thing.
But I didn't come here today to talk about really the match yesterday, just
more to announce I'm not able to play in Zimbabwe
and I probably won't be able to play for the next three or four weeks.
Q. Pete, despite that, what kind of movement was it that you made that created the injury?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it was a point that I was doing a lot of running and it was - I knew when I did it and I kind of played through it for the rest of the match and you know when you do things to your body, and I knew once I played this tough point and I did a lot of scrambling and I felt it go.
Q. Is it fair to say that had you won the match you would have had to default from the final?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it's a hypothetical. I'm struggling to walk normally at the moment, but we have one guy in the final and it's not me, obviously.
Q. Doctor, how much is the cold a factor in an injury like this?
PETE SAMPRAS: It's a big factor. I know - it was quite cool out there. Go ahead, you can answer it.
Q. I'll ask you, Pete?
DAVID BOLZONELLO: It was early in the match and it may have been a factor. In the fourth game, about 20 minutes into play then, I guess, with the warm-up. My experience in Australian Rules, which is played in winter, it's not an uncommon injury but it's by no means a frequent injury. So I think it's a factor but I wouldn't say it's the cause of the injury.
Q. Pete, I think Todd Martin has ruled himself out this time. Did you have a talk with John about who could be a second singles player because you can't play?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. Do you have any idea who might play?
PETE SAMPRAS: No idea.
Q. How similar is this to the injury you had in Indianapolis?
PETE SAMPRAS: That was my left side but that was just a small little twinge. This one was a pretty substantial tear, 30 per cent tear, which - and I knew when I woke up last night and when I woke up this morning that something was going to show up and it did.
Q. You said there was a tear. A tear of what? What was torn?
DAVID BOLZONELLO: Pete's MRI shows that he's torn the fibres of the muscle called the ilio-psoas, which is a major hip flexor, comes off the lower part of the spine and inserts under the thigh bones. It is a very big strong muscle and the tear is at the level of the musculo-tendonis junction where the muscle becomes the tendon and, as Pete said, there is about 30 per cent of the fibres have been damaged on cross-section and there's been some bleeding, there's a lot of bleeding around that as well. Blood is a very painful substance when it's not in the blood vessel, so there's a lot of pain goes with that.
Q. You said that you've had some experience with Australian Rules players of a similar injury. Can you give us any idea how long it took them from that?
DAVID BOLZONELLO: With appropriate care and good rehab generally we're saying three to four weeks. I mean, maybe a few days either side of that, but Pete's organising his care back in Los Angeles. As he said, he will have some rest in the beginning and then begin generally a sort of stretching program and then when pain free strengthening the muscle. The important thing is to get himself strong again and probably a bit stronger than he was before so it doesn't happen again. The danger is if you retear, if you play before you're properly rehabilitated and retear, then each time that the scar tissue that's laid down is not as healthy and as well organised, then you're at risk of ongoing problems. So it's very important for Pete to get it right the first time and to spend the time to get it right.
Q. Pete, was the discomfort at any stage last night - were you contemplating retiring? I mean, was it such?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, it was - wasn't - really crossed my mind.
Q. How hard has this sport become on - the physical element this sport now? Is it much, much harder than it was, say, four or five years ago?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, for me I've had two substantial injuries these past six months; my back and now my hip. I don't know if it's a result of too much tennis. I mean, I'm not getting younger out here, but it is a lot of tennis, but I've had my break in the last year and, you know, that's why your scheduling of your tournaments is important, not to play too much, but these injuries are substantial and you definitely take a step back and look at what you have to be better and learn and go out in these matches and be more warmed-up and the fact that I wasn't in a good sweat and I went out there and that's when I did it, but, you know, I'm sensitive about even coming here and talking to you guys because I'm not taking anything away from the final. I'm just stating that I'm not going to Zimbabwe and that's pretty much all I really wanted to say.