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Sampras Loses to mirnyi

October 19, 2001

Pete Sampras was outplayed in the quarterfinals of the Tennis Masters at Stuttgart and lost to qualifier Max Mirnyi of Belarus 6-4, 6-2 in a match that lasted only 66 minutes.

The match was close in the first set until Pete double faulted at set point. Mirnyi then confidently moved on top, managing an early break and another one in the final game, wrapping it up with a blistering return winner on the first match point.

Mirnyi, who has not yet won any ATP singles title defeated top ranked Gustavo Kuerten and Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic enroute to the quarterfinals against Pete.

Sampras blamed his sore arm partly for the loss. "I had the dead arm… I just couldn't serve. It wasn't fun."

"Not to take anything away from Max, he really played well. When you can't serve, it definitely takes a little bit out of my game,'' Sampras said. ``But he played great. He really played the bigger points a little better, returned well, definitely played a little bit better than I did.

"He's very tough to pass and I was forced into some bad errors because he's got that long reach.''

In his post match interview, Pete hinted he might bring his miserable season to an end. "I'm not quite sure what I'm going do." He is undecided whether to accept the wild card offered to him by the organizers of next week's Swiss indoor tournament in Basle.

If he decides to skip Switzerland, he will head back home and will most likely not return to Europe for the Tennis Masters in Paris starting on Oct. 29. This would mean that he could not qualify for the season ending Masters Cup in Sydney. Pete has qualified for this event since 1990. It would also mean that Pete will close the year without winning a tournament for the first time since 1989.


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2001 Tennis Masters - Stuttgart (QF)
Post-Match Interview

Pete Sampras loses to Max Mirnyi
4-6, 2-6

MODERATOR: Questions for Pete.

Q. You seemed rather subdued out there today. Were you feeling unwell or was it just a question of being tired?

PETE SAMPRAS: I felt fine. Just everything was about my arm. I had the dead arm today. You know, it was pretty sore all week. I served pretty hard last night late. Today, it wasn't that fun.

Not to take anything away from Max, he really played well. You know, when you can't serve, it definitely takes a little bit out of my game. But he played great. He really played the bigger points a little better than I did, returned well. Definitely just played a little bit better than I did.

Q. Was it the weight of the balls or just sheer fatigue?

PETE SAMPRAS: No, not the ball. Just I think it's a combination of the ball and my racquet. You know, I string my racquets very tight, about 75 pounds, with gut. You know, I serve pretty hard most of the time. It's just a fatigue. Having taken a couple weeks after The Open, you get back into serving here. Once I got here, it was progressively not getting better.

I got through it yesterday, and today I kind of just was dead. It's not that much fun to kind of go out and, you know, have that feeling. But it is, you know, something I've had over my career, this problem. Especially this time of year with the balls and everything out there, the way I string my racquets, it doesn't help.

Q. Not having played for five or six weeks, that makes it even worse.

PETE SAMPRAS: It does make it worse. But I've been through weeks here in Europe that I've played a lot, and it doesn't seem to get better. You know, you can take the antiinflammatories, and nothing seems to be knocking it out.

But, sure, when you take that time off, you don't serve for two, three weeks, you go out and serve hard, it's definitely giving me some questions. I think I might try to talk to a pitching coach, you know, to see how those guys do it.

It progressively comes around and bites me every now and again, especially this time of year.

Q. He not only serves well; he has fairly big, broad wingspan, as well.

PETE SAMPRAS: Very tough to pass. I felt I was forced into some bad errors because he's got that long reach. You know, he's a great mover up there. For a guy that big, he really covers the net well, very tough to pass out there.

Q. Will this change your plans at all? Will you take a card at Basel and try to play through this?

PETE SAMPRAS: I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I'm going to think about it tonight, make a decision on what the best thing to do is at this point.

Q. If you don't take a wildcard into Basel, obviously an airplane back to the States?


Q. Would you stay there then?

PETE SAMPRAS: (Nodding head.)

Q. You wouldn't come back for Paris?

PETE SAMPRAS: I wouldn't come back.


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