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Sampras on the March Again

May 16, 2000

HAMBURG, Germany - In his first match for over a month, since a thigh injury forced him out of the Davis Cup tie in Los Angeles against the Czech Republic, Pete Sampras moved into the second round of the Tennis Masters Series in Hamburg. Seeded No.1, Sampras appeared a little rusty against fellow American Chris Woodruff. He played eight double faults but, with three breaks of his opponent’s service, needed only two sets to overcome Woodruff 6-4, 7-6 (7-5). This was his first win in Hamburg since he reached the Semi Finals in1995, giving him a successful start to his claycourt season. It also marked the start of Sampras’ preparations for another assault on the only Grand Slam missing from his impressive collection - the French Open - later this month. He said after the match:

“It’s a good match to get through. Maybe it was the result of playing not that many matches in the past four or five weeks. Hopefully I can go on like this and play a little better tomorrow.”

Winner of a remarkable 12 Grand Slams, it must irk Sampras that the French Open continues to elude him. Renowned for his attacking style of play, perhaps he lacks the patience necessary to take maximum points on the slow clay surface. He explained how he is planning to change his usual tactics.

“My goal for the French this year is to try and let go of the pressure that I put on myself to do well there. Just let it happen and not force it to happen as I have done over the last couple of years.”

Those who enjoy watching Sampras when he’s in winning mode will hope this new strategy may bring him back to the kind of form he showed at Roland Garros in 1996, when, in his best effort to date, he reached the Semi-Finals.

Source: TMS, Hamburg


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