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Ericsson Open - Round 3
Post Match Interview

Pete SAMPRAS defeated A. Vinciguerra
5-7, 7-6, 6-4

March 26, 2000

MIKI SINGH: Questions.

Q. When did you start to become ill or did you go in ill?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I'd been on some medication for my back that obviously didn't sit too well, and I just got sick.

Q. It came on you?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yes, it came on me.

Q. When?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, when I did it, when I threw up (laughter). Good time for it to come on. But I actually felt a little better once it got out of my system. I played all right.

He definitely made me work exceptionally hard today. I mean, he really, you know, made me do a lot of running, a lot more than I would have liked to have done. But I got through it. You know, it wasn't the best of tennis. I managed to squeak it out.

Q. At what point did you actually throw up?

PETE SAMPRAS: At 4-3 in the third.

Q. You played your best tennis in the third set.

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I make it a habit to make sure I throw up (laughter). I'm 2-0 in those matches. It's all a ploy.

Q. Were you feeling fine when you went on the court?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I felt fine. Just kind of came on in the third set. You know, it wasn't a big deal. It's something that I've become pretty good at, throwing up (laughter).

Q. Did you flash back at all? Did you think, "Here I go again"?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I was in much worse condition when it happened at The Open. Today I felt fine. You know, after I threw up, I felt fine. I was struggling quite a bit against Corretja. Today I just felt I needed to just hang in there for a couple more service games and I'd get off the court.

Q. Was there something in the first set or so that you missed so many volleys or balls inside the service line? Was there something not quite right with you at the outset of the match?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's always difficult playing someone that I've never seen play, to kind of feel his game out a little bit. I got off to a very bad start, losing my first service game. I really struggled to find my form throughout the match. Especially in the first set, I was pressing a little bit. He's a very quick guy. I was overhitting at times.

By the time the second set came around, I settled down a little bit, played a bit better. Played a good breaker, and played pretty well in the third.

Have to give him credit. He didn't miss too many first serves. He made me, you know, stay back. I had a hard time coming in against him. You know, it was a hard-fought match. I competed well and got through it.

Q. Where do you think he rates among the up-and-coming teenagers of the game?

PETE SAMPRAS: His wheels and his competitiveness are his strengths. He's got a good game. I mean, he's got a good forehand. I was serving big, I thought, and he was hitting some great returns. His wheels, he's about as quick as anyone I've played.

He's a smart player, he's a crafty player. He doesn't overhit much. He takes a little bit off that first serve, gets it in, and kind of works his way into getting to the net or doing his strength, which is kind of being a counter-puncher.

Q. Would all that add up to stardom, another big Swede player?

PETE SAMPRAS: Sure, it's possible. I mean, he's beat some good players here. He came close to beating me. I think a match like this will give him confidence. He'll go from here. I don't know exactly what he's ranked now. I see him getting better and better. He's a young kid that certainly has the game. It's just a matter of putting it all together.

He came out today, wasn't intimidated by any means. He came out swinging away. He's going to have a good future.

Q. When you're sitting back in your easy chair in a few years, turning down offers for the over 35's, who are the ones that will be winning the titles?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, that's a good question. I look at someone like Philippoussis, who has the biggest game out of any of the young guys coming up. He's not young young. I look at his game. I look at Tim's game. That's going to be around for many years. Lleyton Hewitt, who is a very good counter-puncher, competes well, will always be consistent.

It's hard to pinpoint one guy that's going to dominate. When it's all said and done, when I'm 40 and looking back, I think the game will be dominated by a lot of the Europeans and South Americans, a few English guys (laughter).

Q. Can you name them?

PETE SAMPRAS: There's only two.

Q. Do you know something we don't know?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah (laughter).

Q. Speaking of Jaime Delgado?

PETE SAMPRAS: You said it, I didn't.

Q. Any Americans you can see?

PETE SAMPRAS: I haven't seen Roddick play. Certainly with Gimelstob and Gambill, they're good players that are going to get better. It's hard to say if they're going to be at the top of the game or winning Grand Slams. I think it is looking a little thin after the generation we've had with myself and Andre and Jim and Michael.

Like I said, a look at a lot of the South Americans, Europeans, a couple Australians that will be in the top of the game pretty soon.

Q. As you were struggling in Indian Wells a little while back, you said, "I still have to tell myself who I am." How do your accomplishments in tennis build yourself up, can you talk about that comment?

PETE SAMPRAS: I do still have a tendency to get down on myself. I'm hard on myself when I play. When I'm missing shots, I'm a perfectionist sometimes. If things aren't going well, I can be hard on myself.

When things aren't going well, you just have to remember who you are, the fact that whoever I'm playing, it's a big win for him, so he's going to be nervous. These are the type of things I think about when I play. I take a lot of pride out there. I do whatever I can to win.

Like today, I didn't play great, but you just kind of find a way, remember I still have a great serve, I can still volley and hopefully win some of these matches.

Q. What you've done in the game is still a very active resource for you?

PETE SAMPRAS: Oh, yeah. I'm still trying to prove myself. That's the attitude I have, even today. Even though I've won what I've won, my philosophy has always been, you know, I didn't play well in Palm Springs, I'm here in Miami to play well, to try to win here. I don't care how many Wimbledons I've won, I'm still trying to get better and improve.

Q. Did you get to the stage of needing to remind yourself who you are today after the first set?

PETE SAMPRAS: At that point I was just kind of -- not really. I just felt I needed to kind of tighten up my game a little bit. I felt I was playing a little bit loose, just to tighten it up a little bit. I just needed to find my game a little bit today.

I don't think I was telling myself anything; just to hang in there and hopefully get my game going at the right time.

Q. The key point in the third set, the breaker, backhand winner to his forehand side, did you feel like he was going to be leaning to the backhand side?

PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I felt that was a shot I had been missing all day, and I got one to go in. He kind of leaves that side open because he likes to run around the backhand to hit a forehand.

I hit it pretty good. He was nowhere near it. Good time to hit it.

Q. You're playing a slightly different lefty in the next round. You have a good record against Greg, just the Paris match.

PETE SAMPRAS: And Scottsdale.

Q. How do you feel about playing him?

PETE SAMPRAS: I feel good. It will be a different match than today. Greg has one of the bigger serves in the world. Whenever you face Greg, it's kind of a crapshoot. He serves that big that he can kind of overwhelm you with his power.

But the conditions here aren't that fast. I mean, I'm going to have some time to get ahold of his serve, hopefully make him play. Ut he's, you know, one of the better serve-and-volleyers we have in the game. He won't be easy to beat.

Q. Are you feeling zapped on energy right now or within the last year? Do you make a conscious effort to take your time after a point to get back to the service line?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I think I have a tendency when I'm not playing well, that's when I really rush things, when I don't take my time. I'm just making an effort when things aren't going well to take my time and get ready when I'm ready to play. That's kind of why I do take my time. I do tend to play fast.

Q. Is it as much mental maybe as physical?

PETE SAMPRAS: Oh, yeah. It's both. I mean, it's nice on a humid day like today, you want to make sure you're ready to go for the point, mentally just make sure I'm ready to play.

Q. Looking ahead, what do you think it will be like going out there to play Davis Cup for Johnny Mack?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it should be interesting. We've had our miscommunications so far this year. I think we kind of cleared the air, which needed to have happened.

I'm looking forward to it. I think John will do a great job. I think he knows me well enough to know that our personalities are a little bit different. I think it will be fun. Playing in LA, it should be a good tie, should be a fun tie. I'm looking forward to playing.

I'm sure through the week, we'll feel each other out a little bit. I'm not a screamer out there. I'm pretty low-key. Through the captains I've played for over the years, they don't say much over the changeover. Certainly John is a lot more expressive. I'm sure we'll sit and talk about it before I play. I'm sure it will be fine.

Q. Is it reassuring to you that if by chance you lose it out there emotionally, John will be there to calm you down?

PETE SAMPRAS: It should be the other way around, I think I'm going to calm him down (laughter).

I don't plan on losing my emotions out there. Hopefully it won't be an issue. If it happens, I'm sure he will calm me down.

Q. Is it your back that's stopping you climbing up for your smash specialties at the moment? Are you tentative about it?

PETE SAMPRAS: I'm not tentative. It hasn't been there. The shot hasn't been there, so I have yet to hit it. If it happens in my next match, sure, I'd love to do it. So far it hasn't been there yet.

Q. If you have a reaction to your medication, are you going to go off the medication?


Q. Are you going to substitute for it?

PETE SAMPRAS: I have to find something. I have to take something for my back. I've just been taking some stuff that didn't sit too well.

Q. Is it a pain killer?

PETE SAMPRAS: It's an antiinflammatory.

Q. Is it a money issue that you're mulling over with Orlando?


Q. What is it?

PETE SAMPRAS: Just trying to figure out if I'm going to play Monte-Carlo -- I'm not sure on what I want to do yet. Money is my last issue when it comes to preparing for majors.

As of right now, I don't know what I'm going to do. I would love to play Monte-Carlo, but it's not enough time for me to get ready after Davis Cup. Orlando is my only other choice. I'll just probably end up playing that, but it's nothing financial.

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