He sat in the locker room early in the afternoon, the same place where Alex Corretja wept after losing to Sampras in the quarterfinals, where Goran Ivanisevic smashed and kicked his racket after buckling to him in the semis, where Chang would later come to pull himself together after the final. But Sampras was alone now, watching football, remembering. When the rain interrupted his match, Sampras moved to the same cramped room he had collapsed in after beating Corretja. He talked through the nearly three-hour wait with his coach and trainer. Finally, he walked onto the court with Chang and, one hour and 59 minutes later, walked off with a big piece of his life back.
"Tim's still with me," Sampras said late Sunday night, "but Tom made a good point. I can play for myself now."