American Pete Sampras defended his decision not to play the Davis Cup tie against the Czech Republic in Prague over Easter weekend. The Americans, without any of their big names players, were beaten 3-2 by the Czechs in the quarter-finals of the World Group. Sampras, however, defended his decision to stay away saying: 'Like in the past I wasn't planning on playing the first two rounds. 'It is pretty much impossible to commit to every match and Tom [Gullikson] understands. That would be too much tennis for me to handle, especially if it is the same year as the Olympics. 'But maybe if the Davis Cup is played once every two years, I can see myself being more committed.' The shock American defeat has given world number two Sampras an unexpected extra two weeks holiday this year. Sampras, who did not go to Prague in favour of having a rest ahead of the Salem Open and next week's Tokyo Open, had originally committed himself for the Davis Cup semi-finals and final. But the United States - without their best players like Sampras, Andre Agassi and Michael Chang - crashed out of the tournament when MaliVai Washington was beaten 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 by Petr Korda in the decisive match. 'I feel bad that the US has lost. I feel bad for the players, for Mal losing those two matches, and for captain Tom,' said Sampras, top seed for the Salem Open. 'These things happen and we can only hope to bounce back next year.' Sampras, who holds the distinction of finishing as number one in the world for the last three years, would overhaul Thomas Muster of Austria and regain the top spot on the ATP rankings with a victory in Hong Kong. But he shrugged off the notion that the prospect of regaining the number one ranking would give him additional pressure. 'It would be nice to get back on top but it really comes down to the end of the year when they add up all the points because that gives a true indication who has the best year when it's over,' said the 1993 Salem champion. 'The attitude I have is to go out there and try to win and it would be nice to win here again. I've played one of my best matches on this court against [Jim] Courier a few years ago and it feels good to be back. 'Hopefully I can have a good week especially after the disappointment at the Lipton when I was a set up, playing extremely good tennis all week, and lost to Goran [Ivanisevic].' Although strongly fancied to pick up his second Hong Kong title, Sampras can expect stiff opposition from two-time defending champion and world number four Michael Chang.