Sampras Progresses to 3rd Round
June 29, 2001
Anyone who thought they detected signs of vulnerability in Pete Sampras
during his 5 setter against Brit Barry Cowan would have needed to think
again, after the Champion's impressive dismissal of Sargis Sargsian in straight
sets. The score-line of 6-4 6-4 7-5 does not show a demolition of his opponent,
but the seven times victor on the hallowed lawns of Wimbledon knows how
vital it is to conserve his energy for the matches which lie ahead.
Always in command, Sampras did not trouble to break serve early in any
of the three sets, upping his game just enough to ensure capturing each
of them. In fact the third set looked as if it could go to a tie-break,
but Sampras avoided this at the crucial time and now marches on to the 4th
Proof that the hitherto introverted Sampras is really relaxed and at home
now at his favourite tournament was illustrated by an incident with a ball
boy which had the crowd in stitches. Suddenly the American was flat on the
grass and lay there motionless for a few seconds. An injury to threaten
his record-breaking attempt at an 8th Championship? He sat up, grinned broadly
and summoned a ball boy over to him. The onlookers were then treated to
the comical sight of Sampras inviting the youngster to retrieve the ball,
which had somehow become lodged up his shorts! This was declined with a
giggle, and the Champ jumped up, acknowledging the laughter of the crowd
with a broad smile.
The out-classing of Sargsian saw Sampras equalling Rod Laver's record
of 31 successive wins at Wimbledon. On current form, who is to say that
this record will not shortly be broken.
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Wimbledon - Round 3
Pete Sampras defeats S. Sargsian
6-4, 6-4, 7-5
June 29, 2001
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. No break points to face today. Does this mean you're back on track
playing your ball?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I didn't really feel like I was off track. But it
was nice to close it out today in straight. You know, it was a similar type
of feel when I was up a couple sets against Cowan and we got into that breaker.
It was nice to close it out at 6-5 and win it in straight. I feel like my
form is pretty good. I'm playing pretty well, so... You know, it's been
a pretty good first week. Today I got it going a little bit more than a
couple days ago. I hope I can build from here and raise it a little next
Q.Somebody's going to ask you this about the ball and the conversation
with the ball boy. Rolled up your pants. You were laughing. The kid seemed
very shy about what was going on.
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, I said it was all his, he can pick up the ball if
he wants. He declined. I guess he didn't want to go up my shorts. But that
never happened to me, really, ending up in that location (smiling).
Q. Do you worry that maybe some people might have taken that to be a little
bit off-colour on your part?
PETE SAMPRAS: Sure, yeah, yeah. You know, it was a funny moment. Didn't
want to let it slip away. Take advantage of that, that personality that
I have (smiling).
Q. Speaking of that, what do you attribute to you maintaining your character
and your demeanor in your career up to this point? Especially your last
year, you haven't done maybe as well in the majors, yet your character out
there,your personality still seems to be the same. Anything you attribute
PETE SAMPRAS: It's just my nature as a person. Just if you know my parents
at all, they're very introverted people; they don't show a lot of emotion.
You know, more of the mold of, say, a Borg or an Edberg, kind of keep things
to yourself. That's the way I've always been. You know, everything that
I'm trying to do, I'm digging deep and I really don't show it outwardly
with whatever it may be. There are certain moments in a match where there
are some tense moments and I will show emotion. As far as losing my cool,
I've always kind of kept that in check. I've never let my emotions take
over and let it affect me, because ever since I was a junior growing up,
I had a temper. You know, I was a young little spoiled brat, threw my racquet
occasionally. My parents definitely, you know, didn't want to see that and
were strict on me. Just kind of I learned at a young age to, you know, not
lose your cool. And that's just kind of how it's been over the course of
Q. Is that as much your parents' influence? At any moment of watching
a former match, did you have any idols that you identified with them and
how they handled it?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, just they-those guys definitely just went out and
played their tennis. I've always looked up to that. Everyone had a different
personality, a different way of looking at their game, as far as expressingthemselves.
I've always, you know, done it my way. It's what I'm comfortable with, going
out there and just playing the tennis that I can play and not getting caught
up in the outside activities of the game. Just kind of let my racquet do
the talking. That's the way those guys did it. That's the way I've done
it over the course of my career. You know, you need different types of personalities
out there. You have someone like Goran, who's a lot more expressive than
I am, where I'm a little more, you know, laid back, just go out and play.
Q.Jennifer was in here earlier talking about how excited she was to be
playing with her brother here. Have you ever thought about dragging Stella
out to play any of the Grand Slams?
PETE SAMPRAS: I'm sorry? Mixed doubles?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. Maybe one day. Maybe when I'm in my last few years out.
She's not playing much, she's coaching. So you never know.
Q.At a Grand Slam, taking a day off, playing, taking a day off, seems
like a nice way to keep the momentum going and gives you a rest at the same
time. Does two days off have any effect whatsoever?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't think it's a huge effect. You get into a rhythm
with just one day off. Two days, it's-you have a chance to rest from a tough
match a couple days ago and you get into a rhythm out there and, you know,
I'll just have to go out and practice hard. That's all you can try to do.
You know, just make sure I'm sharp and hitting the ball well. But like it
starts over on Monday, after two days off. You have to build up. You know,
as far as your game. But it's important to have a good weekend to practice.
Q.Do you then increase the intensity of your Sunday or Saturday workout?
PETE SAMPRAS: I might hit a little bit more. You know, usually on a day
off I'll hit about 45 minutes. Tomorrow I might hit a little bit longer,
maybe an hour, play a set or something. Then Sunday I'll take it easy and
get ready forMonday.
Q.You obviously had a tough match with Andy Roddick in Florida. As an
American that's loved tennis for so long, what are your thoughts on his
emergence as this star in the making? What impact do you think it will have
on American tennis?
PETE SAMPRAS: I think it's going to be a huge impact. The more I see Andy
play, the more I'm impressed. He really is, for someone to be so young to
be out on the stage he was with Johansson, today he played a good player
in Goran, I think he's handled himself well. He's played well. He has the
tools. Whenever I see a young guy coming up, I look at a weapon. There's
no question with the serve he's got, that's the shot that's going to make
him a great player. And he's got a bright future. Really is going to be
a potential Grand Slam winner one day. 18, he's just going to learn over
the next number of years and just get better and better. He's got a very
Q.Did you watch the match last night?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, little bit.
Q.What are your impressions of Taylor?
PETE SAMPRAS: I practiced with Taylor. His serve's huge. He's got a lot
of energy - if anything, too much energy. Really just needs to, you know,
hold back a little bit at certain times. But there's raw talent there that,
you know, hejust has to just maybe calm down just a touch. But that's his
personality, and he's got the tools. I mean, he's got a huge serve, he returns
pretty well. Really also has got a good future. He's got that big weapon,
you know, serving 140. That's a nice shot to have.
Q.Back to talking about your two days off before playing again. Could
you share your perspective on what it's like now for you after ten years
being here? Has anything changed in these years of what you might do when
youentered into this final run now?
PETE SAMPRAS: No, there really-there's nothing different, really. Same
ol', same ol'. Depends on where you are in the draw. I've had one day off
on the Sunday and, you know, just varies from the draw to draw from eachyear.
Has a little bit of an effect but not really enough to really, you know,
set you off.
Q.Your perspective then going into this final week versus entering into
that first week?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, the court's playing a little bit different, chewed
up a little bit, couple bad bounces. You know, when you come Monday, you
just raise it a level. You know, you know your opponents are going to get
better and better. I play Federer, who's a talented player. It's a second
week of a Slam where you just raise it a notch and hopefully you can do
Q.Last year obviously you were going for No. 13; put a lot of pressure
on yourself. Put a lot of pressure on yourself to be No. 1 and break that
record as well. Is it different now, all those things are gone in terms
of the pressure you put on yourself? Lighten up on yourself?
PETE SAMPRAS: If anything, I'm a little more relaxed coming in this year.
But it's still a Slam, and this is what we all play for. And there's still
pressure just being here and playing here. But, you know, last year I was-thought
about the record a lot and, you know, I'm glad I've done that, and I'm notresting
on what I've done. I'm trying to add on to it, and that's the pressure I'm
putting on myself, just trying to do it again here. There's always pressure.
It's just the nature of what we do. You're gonna feel it out there. But
it's not quite as severe as last year.
Q.What about Federer? He's considered one of the real promising talents.
What are your sort of apprehensions about playing him?
PETE SAMPRAS: I have practiced with him one time; never played him. He's
got a good all-around court game. Doesn't have many holes in his game. Serves
and volleys well; returns quite well. He's got a good one-handed backhand.
Saw him play a little bit against Bjorkman. Just is a solid player that's
gonna be tough to beat.
Q.When you really get into the zone with your athleticism, your racquet
skills, can you try and possibly put into words the feelings, the emotions
when you're right there at the peak of your game and everything's just flowing?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, it's a good feeling when things are clicking. When
you're serving well and you're moving well and seeing the ball well, it
makes the game fun. You're not always going to play well every day. You
saw thata couple days ago. It's a matter of getting through those tough
matches.But, you know, this surface is the athlete. I mean, the athlete
usually does well here. My movement, I think, is something that is underrated.
But when the game's there and you're clicking on all cylinders, it's fun
Q.When that track begins to get beat up on the way to the net in the second
week, maybe a little bit of dirt is showing through, does it also make the
footing a little bit better so the volleyers who have to do quick reactinghave
sure footing up there?
PETE SAMPRAS: If you look at the court, it's really not that chewed up
in the net area. There aren't that many serve and volleyers here. But the
more play on the court, it roughens up. It's not quite as green. It's a
little bit easier to move at net versus the first day I played Clavet, I
was struggling with my footwork. As the tournament goes on, it's easier
to serve and volley, easier to change directions. Second week, like I move,
you know, I can move better, a lot more aggressively than I can in the first.
Q.You mentioned earlier about the record last year, how much that meant
to you, and also about Borg's demeanor. How important would this year equal
in the five-in-a-row? How big a thing is that for you?
PETE SAMPRAS: I haven't thought about it much. I didn't even really know
about it until someone mentioned it when I was at Queen's. Five in a row,
those are things in the game you don't really focus on, you don't-you can't
really plan on, you know, winning five in a row as a youngster growing up.
It's just kind of evolved into something that I have a chance to do it.
But it's not really a big focus of mine versus last year that the record
certainly was a big focus.But, you know, seven out of eight, I'll take that,
those numbers. Five in a row, it's tough to do.
Q.Looking back over the last year, have you just one explanation, or maybe
a few, why you haven't won a title for a year.
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, combination of not playing that well and just haven't
really got into a rhythm out there at certain points of this year. You know,
last year was difficult because I did well at The Open and got pretty much
buzz-sawed against Safin. I've been in contention at a lot of tournaments.
I just haven't closed it out. A tough final against Agassi in Palm Springs.
I haven't really got into a rhythm in quite a while. Hopefully that can
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