Sampras loses to Safin at the WTC
May 22, 2001
At the World Team Cup in Dusselfdorf, Germany, Pete Sampras lost to Marat Safin 7-6 (7-0), 7-5.
Pete had a slow start in both sets. In the first set, he had to recover from a 1-4 deficit to set up the tiebreak. Unfortunately, he lost the tiebreak 0-7 because of double faults and forehand errors.
In the second set, Pete's troubles continue as Safin was able to take an early break. "I need to a bit more careful on clay. You can't afford to have 10-minute lapses on clay."
Still Pete remains confident. "It's all just part of the process."
"The biggest battle on clay is the movement, things like sliding to the ball. You can't cover as much ground, it's hard for those who grew up on hard courts like I did in California," Sampras said. "You can work on a few things out there and I add things to my game on clay...It's all about fine-tuning now, I think it's kind of coming around this week,"
Pete also used the match to experiment on new approaches and drop shots. "I guess I surprised myself with the drop shots. I won't use them a lot. It's such an instinct for me to hit it but on clay it's not just about instinct, it's about strategy."
"It's trying to find a way to get on the offensive. I can do it on a hard court but on clay it's more difficult. Getting control of the point on clay is most difficult of all," he said.
When Pete was asked whether he prefer an eighth Wimbledon title or a first title at Roland Garros, Sampras quipped that he would gladly take both. "But at this stage of my career I'd take the French."