Wednesday, August 11, 1999

Feud at top on hold


Sampras, Rafter talk

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — The so-called Patrick Rafter-Pete Sampras “feud” is on hold.

        After a bit of verbal sparring two weeks ago through the media, Rafter called Sampras on the phone.

        “We had a chat, and he was great,” said Rafter, who defeated Sampras in the 1998 Great American Insurance ATP Championship final. “He could've gone off the handle and said, "I can't believe Pat said that, he's not a very nice person.' But he handled it pretty well.”

        Rafter had said: “We are out there busting our guts and he doesn't show a lot of respect at the end of the day ... I get an incredible amount of enjoyment from being on top of him and pretty well just annoying him.”

        Sampras responded: “If he's got a problem with me and doesn't like the way I act on the court and I don't respect my opponents, I have no problem sitting and talking with him.”

        The two have “sorted our differences out,” said Rafter, adding he isn't even sure there is a rivalry because Sampras holds an 8-4 series lead. However, Rafter has won three straight.

        “It'd be great to be part of a historic rivalry, but I'm probably not consistently good enough,” Rafter said. “I haven't proven myself to be a consistently good enough player for four or five years.”

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