Pete Eases Through the Second Round
October 17, 2001
Pete Sampras advances to the 3rd round at the Tennis Masters Series in
Stuttgart, Germany by defeating Stefan Koubek 6-3, 7-6(5). This is Pete's
first match after losing to Lleyton Hewitt at the US Open final.
A good result in this tournament is necessary so Pete can qualify for the
season ending Masters Cup in Sydney where the top eight players will be
competing. Pete is currently in the seventh position, tied with Sebastian
There was a controversial line call at 4-4 in the second set tiebreak.
Pete threw down his racket and argued long with the umpire. It was eventually
overruled but when the point was replayed, it went to Koubek. However, Pete
won the next three points, using the first match point when Koubek's backhand
ended in the next.
Pete served 12 aces and never faced a breakpoint during the match.
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2001 Tennis Masters - Stuttgart (Round 2)
Pete Sampras defeats Stefan Koubek
MODERATOR: Questions for Pete.
Q. You got a little agitated a couple times today, fired up.
PETE SAMPRAS: Pretty disgusted at some of these line calls. I mean, I
normally don't show too much emotion, but when it's something so blatantly
obvious, you know, I wasn't too happy about it.
It's part the speed of the ball. But, I mean, I must say a few of the
lines were ridiculous, you know, some of the line calls.
The head umpire just didn't have much control of the match. You know,
you don't have much confidence in going for the line, to be honest with
Q. Do you think that he realized that, and that's why he didn't issue
a code violation when you put the ball out?
PETE SAMPRAS: I don't know why. Usually you do when you hit a ball off
the court, it's a given. He knew I was agitated. I rarely have done that
over my career. You know, being that upset, the reputation definitely helps
to save a few bucks (smiling).
Q. I assume you have had a code violation, but I can't remember when.
PETE SAMPRAS: I think I've only had one maybe, if that. I don't even know.
Q. Can't remember having one?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. How have you been in the kind of intervening few weeks? Quite a horrendous
and memorable time. Some of the things going on have been unbelievable.
How have you managed to cope with what's been happening, get yourself back
into the thought of coming back onto a tennis court again?
PETE SAMPRAS: Just coming back from The Open, pretty disappointed with
what happened in the final. I woke up Tuesday morning, and I could honestly
care less about what happened. For the next two, three days, you're just
sitting at home, watching the news. You know, you're shocked. You have an
unbelievable wave of emotion.
It took me a while just to leave the house. I was just kind of -- didn't
really feel like doing anything for quite a while.
You know, after a certain amount of time, you need to do something, go
for a walk outside, see the world, don't let it consume you too much.
But initially, it was very sad.
Q. Was there any reluctance on your part to get on an airplane, come
across the ocean? Some of your countrymen aren't too keen on the idea.
PETE SAMPRAS: Definitely, I thought twice about it. Honestly, I wasn't
sure if I should come. At the end of the day, I felt it was best to come,
you know, feel safe here, and traveling.
So I can understand people staying home. I mean, you want to be with your
family at a time like this. But you can't let it, you know, affect you.
You have to play your sport and do the normal things.
Q. This being said, how does it feel being back on the tennis court and
in a tournament?
PETE SAMPRAS: It feels pretty good. You know, I thought I played pretty
good today. You know, there's always a little bit of rust. Haven't played
in quite a while. I've never been crazy about having byes. I always like
to work my way into shape.
You know, played pretty solid, served well, feel like can I play a little
bit better as the week goes on - and I'm going to have to.
A good start. You know, a good, solid day. Hopefully I can build from
playing pretty well and play even better tomorrow.
Q. Did you know anyone in the towers?
PETE SAMPRAS: No.
Q. You managed to get out on the Monday, get home?
PETE SAMPRAS: Sunday night I left.
Q. Given that you had come over here, obviously are playing Basel next
week, and Paris, you're obviously determined to qualify for the Sydney Masters
PETE SAMPRAS: That's why I'm here, is to try to qualify. It would be nice
to make it and play against the best players in the world in such a huge
event. Definitely got some work ahead of me to try to make it. There's a
couple guys that are on the bubble, and I'm one of them. That's why I'm
Q. Is there a sort of little extra motivation because of what's happened
at Wimbledon and the US Open this year, there's something that you want
to aim for to finish the year with something big?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah.
Q. Had you won one of those two, perhaps you might not have wanted to
PETE SAMPRAS: That's true. I mean, I probably wouldn't be here if I would
have made Sydney by now. But I want to make it, I want to play against those
But, you know, it's kind of a dilemma. I feel like I play better as I
play more. Not playing at all in the fall last year I think didn't help
at the beginning of the year this year.
But, sure, it would be great to make it and do well there and end it on
somewhat of a positive note. I definitely built a little bit of momentum
at The Open. Even though I didn't win there, I felt like I got through a
pretty tough draw.
Q. Would you like the courts to be a bit faster here?
PETE SAMPRAS: No. I think the combination of the court and the balls is
a good speed. You can still serve and volley on both serves. It's not too
slow. I mean, I think it's a good speed.
Q. Has what's happened at all do you think changed your attitude to playing
sport, getting out there, being an American in a sport? Has your attitude
to that changed at all? Do you feel as though you want to get out more and
do something, be positive, get yourself going, get out there and do something
positive for America?
PETE SAMPRAS: Initially, I kind of resented sports, kind of put sports
in perspective, how we make such a big deal out of sports. When it comes
down to it, it's a game. That situation on the 11th kind of put everything
You know, as time goes on, yeah, I'm proud to be an American. I think
once we're up against some adversity, I think Americans really stick together.
You know, things are different. I think all of us, especially the Americans,
something kind of - how can I say it? - Something is missing. Definitely
things aren't the same. What can you say? Just still in shock.
Q. Is the feeling getting through now in America that, "We've got
to carry on, otherwise we're giving in to what has happened"?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah. Obviously, watching the news, listening to the President,
he wants everyone to get back to work, get back to normal things; don't
let it consume you where you don't want to travel, get on an airplane.
Sure, the initial reaction is you want to stay with your family. As time
goes on, you want to get back to normal life and get back to your job, get
back to traveling, get back to doing what I do, and that's playing.
Q. Has Bridgette not come because you didn't want her to come?
PETE SAMPRAS: She's not here. No, nothing to do with that. More she's
at home taking care of her career a little bit, working on that.
Q. Don't answer if this you don't want to. A lot has been made about
you being a golf fan. The Ryder Cup not being played, do you have any thoughts
PETE SAMPRAS: I wasn't surprised that it was canceled. I mean, with all
the buildup, the traveling, everyone going over, yeah, I think it was a
smart decision. I think it was too soon to have The Ryder Cup. I'm not surprised.
I think it was a smart decision from the Golf World.
It's a bit rhetorical to even mention about playing it. I think it just
took some time. The NFL canceled, Major League Baseball, and Ryder Cup was
part of that.
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