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Fresh from another title, Sampras talks Wimbledon
Posted: Monday July 05, 1999 06:28 PM
With his victory Sunday over fellow-American Andre Agassi at Centre Court, Pete Sampras has now won Wimbledon six out of the last seven years. Shortly after the conslusion of the finals match, Graham Miller of Britain's Independent Television News (ITN) had a chance to talk with Sampras at the All-England Lawn and Tennis Club about his latest Grand Slam title.
Graham Miller: Pete, congratulations. Six wins in seven years. That's a remarkable record.
Pete Sampras: Thanks. I really appreciate that. It really hasn't sunken in yet. Having just gotten off the court a couple of hours ago, I'm, still spinning. I couldn't have played any better. I played about as well as I could. Under the circumstances, with the nerves and playing Andre who's had a great year makes it extra special. It gets tougher and tougher to win here. It was a strange Wimbledon for me with all the rain delays and (Mark) Philippoussis getting hurt. You need a little bit of good fortune to win here and I got that against Philppoussis. Now it's time to sit back and smell the roses and enjoy it. In some ways I've raised the bar so high that people expect me to win every year and it's not easy. It's not easy to win Wimbledon and today I had to play at a level that was very, very high.
GM: It was a comprehensive victory. Do you think you've ever played better than that on grass?
PS: I don't think so. I look at the finals I've played through the years and this is probably the best I've ever played and Andre forces me to do that. I have a lot of respect for his game and his return and I need to be at my best. Sometimes my game can click and I can't think of a better time for it to click than today. It's a great feeling, it really is. It's hard to explain. You know, six times? Wow. I never, ever thought this would happen in my career. It's been a great run.
GM: Not a bad way to celebrate American Independence Day.
PS: It was great for American tennis with Lindsay (Davenport) winning, playing Andre, Fourth of July. I mean it was great, great matchups, it was great for tennis in the U.S. I have a lot of respect for Andre. We've been through a lot together, playing him through the Juniors and through the years. To beat him is a little extra special. To play well, under the circumstances is not easy. This is our biggest tournament. You walk out there breathing heavy, you got the nerves kicking in. Everything kind of clicked from pretty much the middle of the first set to the rest of the match.
GC: Steffi Graf announced her retirement but you've got the motivation to come back year after year.
PS: It gets more difficult. I've been playing this game about 10 years now and if there's one tournament I'm always going to play it's this one. This is our biggest event, it's our Super Bowl and I feel like when I start slowing down and play a little bit less, this is one place I will always come to. That's why Boris Becker came back this year. There's something about this place and the court and the atmosphere here. There's no court like this anywhere in the world. All these feelings I feel about this tournament is the reason why I play so well.
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