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Champion Sampras Alerts New Balls of Losing Focus
Heavy Schedule Worries Sampras

January 9, 2001

Melbourne, Australia - A warning has been sent out by Pete Sampras to the New Balls in the men's game of tennis, that if they are not careful they could lose focus in their tennis.

Sampras took two months off after his loss to Safin in the US Open, and his marriage to Bridgette Wilson September 30th. He said, had he continued the exhausting tournament schedule, he would not have been able to play the Australian Open.

His and Agassi's absence allowed Safin to become the leader of the New Balls in the men's game.

New Balls Kuertin finished as #1, Safin #2 at year end, and Juan Carlos Ferrero from Spain helped his Davis Cup team beat out Australia.

Sampras believes the tournament schedule is way too brutal. Players his age have a harder time with their physical game. And had he played all fall, he would not have been able to play in the Australian Open.

Fortunately, it looks like the ATP is starting to look at the schedules and consider the players more.

Sampras feels lucky to have had the career he has had, considering the brutal schedule he has had to play.

Sampras believes that the New Balls like Safin and Ferrero need to be careful so they can have long healthy careers.

After the rest that Sampras had, he is raring to prove his presence in the Grand Slams. He believes the rest was great for him.

Unlike normal people, Pete was able to spend time at home and not worry about going to his job every day.

And as always, Sampras wants to win.

Without worrying about breaking Emerson's record, he is feeling happy. He is hopeful to win the Australian Open. His thoughts are about playing well at the Grand Slams and continuing to be successful.


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Tennis' Old Guard Hanging on

January 9, 2001

At the end of the year 2000, two players were competing to close the year as number one. They weren't Sampras and Agassi this year, it was Kuerten and Safin going for the number one. Kuertin came out the winner, but can he stay number one or will one of the seasoned players pass him by the end of the year?

As much as it seems like the young players are charging ahead, the old players have no plans on retiring. Agassi winning the Australian Open and Sampras winning Wimbledon proves that.

Various injuries sidelined Sampras last year, but, he was still able to win the Ericsson Master Series in Miami and his 7th Wimbledon and broke Roy Emerson's Grand Slam record. Plus, with all that Sampras had to think about last year, he still was able to get to the US Open finals, where he lost to Marat Safin.

Sampras ended last year at number 3 and Agassi at number 6 in the Champions Race. Both are threats to the new players that have come along. Physically ready, Sampras looks forward to going into the 2001 Australian Open as the man to beat.


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Sampras to Ease Load

January 9, 2001

AFTER 12 years on the international tennis tour and with his goal of winning a record 13th grand slam singles title now achieved, Pete Sampras is ready to take it easy.

The world No.1, who is in Melbourne to tune up for the Australian Open in the Colonial Classic at Kooyong this week, said his desire was as strong as ever, but it would be used more selectively.

"I won't play a ton of events," Sampras said. "But I'll play enough - the Slams and some of the other important events."

The 29-year-old also gave another clue as to why he might want to slow down."I just got married so I've been spending a lot of time indoors," he said.Sampras said the Colonial Classic, a round-robin exhibition tournament, was the ideal preparation for next week's Australian Open, which is played on exactly the same surface under almost identical conditions.

The Colonial assures him of three matches and he can play them at whatever pace he chooses.Sampras took last autumn off after losing to Russia's Marat Safin in the US Open final, only returning for the season-ending Masters Cup in Lisbon, where he reached the semi-finals.

"I needed to give myself time to rest, train and get ready for Australia," he said. "I've been playing a heavy schedule for nine or 10 years, you can get burned out. It's important to have your time off."I want to win majors, the hunger's still there, I'm still motivated, I hope to enjoy the next three or five years or however long I decide to play."

The Colonial Classic begins at Kooyong tomorrow.

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Sampras Ambition Remains Intact Ahead of Australian Open

January 9, 2001

MELBOURNE - Pete Sampras, winner of the most men's singles grand slam titles in tennis history, said on Tuesday that his desire for success still burns brightly.

The American surpassed Roy Emerson's record of major honours when he secured his 13th career grand slam crown with his seventh victory at Wimbledon last year. Sampras, 29, is preparing for the Australian Open after competing in just one tournament -- the Masters Cup in December -- since losing the final of the US Open to Russian Marat Safin in September.

His voluntary absence gave rise to questions over his future commitment to tennis. "As you get older, it becomes more difficult to compete at the same rate," said the world number three, who is one of eight entrants in the invitational Colonial Classic at Kooyong, wich begins on Wednesday.

"That's why I had a lot of time off towards the end of last year. I got married, did things that normal people do, woke up in the same bed for a change and I think it did me a lot of good.

"These days, it's about peaking four times a year. The pressure is off because nobody is talking about the record any more, but I still want to win. There is not a problem with motivation. I have trained very hard through December and I feel in good shape."


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