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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION

1995 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Flushing Meadows, New York

September 2, 1995

A. AGASSI/S. Edberg

6-4, 6-3, 6-1

AN INTERVIEW WITH

ANDRE AGASSI

Q. What was the difference to the way you played today compared to Thursday?

ANDRE AGASSI: Probably about 40% better, I would say. I mean, you have to be. It is one thing when you play a guy like Corretja who is making 15, 20 balls a point. If your game is a little off, there is opportunities; there is ways to get yourself back into the match. You know, you could even use experience to do it, really. When you play a guy like Edberg, you are going to be on the fact that his style of play -- just the fact that he has been a champion, he has won here a couple of times, he believes he can win and he is going to make you hit a target. If you don't come out sharp, come out ready to play your best tennis, the games can go by pretty quickly. A guy like Stefan is not going to let you out of it if he gets an opportunity.

Q. Three straight service return winners to end the second set. Could you go over those for us?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, the second set kind of got started off -- a little shaky start there. I think Stefan kind of raised his game. He made a nice little run there at 5-1 in the first set to come back to 5-4, nearly broke me to go 5-All. So I really think he kind of stepped it up a level, and I had that kind of ugly looking hole at 5-4 in the first set and he raised his game a little bit and I didn't quite answer it early. Then when he got up 3-0, it is really easy when you see him serving on the other side of the net to realize this match could be tied up. You could be in a dog fight if you don't answer the call here, so I just felt like from, you know, 3-0 in the second, I just started going full steam ahead and things went well for me. I mean, 30-All, he is serving at 3-1, hit a forehand volley, clipped the tape and jumped up. And normally he is not missing that. I ended up breaking him that game at 2-3. I am serving down breakpoint; hitting three huge first serves to win that game to go 3-All. 3-All, he was serving game point. I ended up breaking him. So, I mean, there is the difference between me serving 4-3 or me losing the set 6-1, so you've got to play well and you've got to have a little go your way too.

Q. Back on those final three points of the second set --

ANDRE AGASSI: I just stepped it up. I started serving that ball into my wheel house (sic). I mean, that was a no-no, just kind of came a little bit too close.

Q. What about his game, has it changed from your perspective compared to three or four years ago when he was winning a lot more and, you know, what has diminished about his game?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think you first have to kind of understand how little seperates somebody ranked in the top of the world and somebody ranked, you know, 20, 30 in the world. I mean, the difference is so minimal and most of the time the difference is up in the head, you know. So I think that when somebody has an accomplished a career like Stefan, it is time to just kind of back off a little bit and realize that, you know, hey, maybe the guy's priorities aren't quite the same. If he loses one ounce of motivation, you know, that is enough to justify his ranking. I mean, it is no big deal. He can still put together great matches. He hasn't lost so much on any level that he couldn't turn it around and compete with the best of them again. It is just a question of if you are going to or not, and, you know, that has to come from way down deep. And, you know, if I had some beautiful children like he has, I am not sure I would be thinking about tennis a whole lot.

Q. Andre, a year ago you were in a similar situation ranking-wise, unseeded coming here yet everyone was talking about you. Is that the big difference, maybe age and children, or, you know, what were you able to do to dig deep and pull it out and change --

ANDRE AGASSI: I think what I have been through in my career is quite unique in the sense that it's really been up and down and I have been around ten years now and it has been weird because I'm 25, so it is kind of -- I have had No. 3 in the world, 18, fell out, I mean, up and down, up and down, left and right, and it has just been, you know, some rough going for me as far as pressures that I think I had on myself for a lot of years. And one of the things that I guess I feared the most, like I am sure most athletes do, is that possible regret that you never really tapped into what you were actually capable of doing. I mean, regardless if your best is top 100 in the world, there is still only 99 people on the planet that can beat you. That is a pretty big accomplishment. You want to be able to do the most you can to go to sleep at night; feeling good about it. I don't think that was really something I could have ever said, and I have gotten over a lot of hurdles in my life in a lot of different ways. So it has just always been important to me and I think I have just been very persistent and I think I have just haven't given up on it. The wrist surgery kind of gave me some time to rethink a lot of things and understand the importance of the game and my love for the game, and I just got dedicated. And, you know, I think you need a lot of hard work. You need a lot of luck.

Q. Do you think Stefan is beyond that point at this point?

ANDRE AGASSI: I can't get inside his head. I think as far as his game goes, you know, he can still play if he can still, you know, work on it and do what he has done before, get right back up to the top. I mean, tough to say how high you can go. I mean, who knows. But there is no reason why he can't beat some top players if he -- if the game became his top priority again.

Q. As you get ready for this match does the fact that -- despite the fact that he has had problems this year, that he has won here in the past, does that play a role in your preparation?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I am a firm believer in that yesterday has no relevance to tomorrow, you know, and regardless what he has played like, he is still Edberg; he is still the guy that can put together some of the best tennis in the world. I got to be respectful of that enough to step on the court and know that I have to play my best. And so, you know, whether he has been playing great tennis or not, I really think you address the match the same way; just simply because what he has accomplished throughout his career and what he is capable of doing.

Q. He said stepping out there with the big crowd felt almost like a semifinal or a final. Did it feel like later in the tournament just because of the setting?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I am not used to seeing him in a third round - unless he is scouting out one of my matches or something, but yeah, it was kind of strange. It did feel like -- I mean, even early in the match, the crowd was really into it. That really does give you a feeling like there is lots on the line there, but so it is tough circumstances. Nobody can quite identify with what you go through being out there, but you just got to do your best there, I guess.

Q. Without delving into your personal life, do you look forward to the day of hitting tennis balls with your son or daughter, thought about things like that?

ANDRE AGASSI: If they want to hit tennis balls, yes. But if not, they don't --

Q. Just playing with kids, do you look forward to that day?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, that is definitely a chapter in my life that I am excited about. But I don't -- I got to close this one first, at least, for the most part.

Q. (inaudible) are you a better player hitting a target at the service (inaudible)

ANDRE AGASSI: Depends what day you catch me on. Some days when some guys pressure me I respond big. Other days when some guys are way behind the baseline, I break them down. So I have a lot of options with my groundstroke game. It is a strength in my game, so it is a question of how well I am focusing my arsenal, so to speak, on my opponent's weakness. And I feel like really any play from the ground, I expect myself to win.

Q. What was it like today with them inside the service line?

ANDRE AGASSI: I just had to keep them off the net as long as possible. He is not going to try to stay too long on the baseline too long against me. I knew it was the same chance of him staying on the baseline and his same chance of me serve and volleying. It is not what he is going to do. I am make sure that I dictate the play once he was on the baseline and not let him believe that he can have hope if he decided to stay back.

Q. You say you are your dedicated or you got dedicated. Are you saying that beforehand you took your talent for granted or, you know, you didn't work at your talent at the tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know if that is fair to summarize it like that, simply because, you know, there is so many variables that are involved, you know, I mean, I always appreciated my talent very much so, but I also was you know, went away to the academy when I was thirteen years old and I was playing four, five hours a day everyday and you learn to believe that winning is everything when you are there, and when I got out and I turned professional, you think somehow you bought yourself a little time to be normal. Somehow, okay, I don't have to live like somebody in a military camp. I can, you know, just have somewhat of a childhood and you are 18 years old, all of a sudden; instead of having pressures in a smaller arena, you have got huge pressures in a big arena, and you have grown up in front of the world and that brings its own set of problems, and, you know, so I mean, I have been through a lot on a lot of different levels. But I will say, me not being disciplined with my tennis was not a reflection of me taking my game for granted as much as it was me trying to survive and understand a childhood that I quite wasn't sure that I could really place.

Q. Andre, players are always talking about not about staying focused; not looking ahead, things like that. With all the attention paid to the rivalry; with Nike playing up the rivalry with you guys on the cover of magazines, you and Pete, are you able to not -- do you think about playing Pete or if not, how do you stay --

ANDRE AGASSI: Like I have said before, you know, I mean, I have played over 70 matches or so this year. I have played Pete four times, so to think about him more than the four times that I have played him is a waste of energy. I think Nike has done a lot for tennis in a lot of ways. This is definitely a rivalry that has really impacted the sport and I think they have to a degree helped push that. By the same token, you got to understand that as players, we have a certain respect for the details of our game that most of you don't get to see, you know. We take every match very seriously. We take every meal very seriously. We take every minute of rest that we get very seriously, based on one thing; that is the next guy that we are playing. So quite honestly, you know, when you ask me to think about Pete, I can give you a lot of great thoughts about how I look forward to playing him and I can -- how much, you know, I feel like he brings out in my game, but that is completely separate from what it is that I am thinking about at the moment. I mean, Jared Palmer is much more important to me now than Pete Sampras.

Q. Stefan said that the advice he would give to his teammates coming to Las Vegas for the first time was to bring a lot of money. As a long time resident; someone who knows all the ins and outs of Vegas what advice would you give the Swedish players?

ANDRE AGASSI: I will give the Swedes a lot of money if they promise to stay up in the casino all night. I will purchase the whole thing.

Q. Which game should they play?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I have to say, probably your best odds in the house, probably poker if you know what you are doing.

Q. Have you learned a little bit?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't play poker. I have enough competition in my life, you know, I don't -- I don't do that.

Q. Andre, you have looked very fresh today. How did you relax between last match and this one?

ANDRE AGASSI: I felt fine. After my last match, Corretja was pretty tired, but I felt pretty good physically and I could have definitely played more and a day and a half off is a lot of time -- enough time to come out here and be 100%.

Q. Andre, you won 11 straight games in some matches. It might seem that you are romping a long. This didn't seem like that kind of match -- like every game seemed to be some question for a long time. Was there a point when you knew or you could feel that in that 11 game streak that you will just...

ANDRE AGASSI: Quite honestly, you are not even aware that you have been on an 11 game streak. You are taking one game at a time. Again, the second set with a difference of maybe three different points could have been 6-1 in his favor, so I kind of feel you take one game at a time when it is all and said and done, you could look back and say, wow, I had a good streak there, but, you know, I broke him three different times from him serving 30-Love, I mean, that is not going to happen a lot, so every game was very serious to me. Even serving it out at 5-1, last thing I wanted was for him to hold and have me have to have one more shot to serve it out. That just gives somebody belief that if they just can rally a bit more, maybe they can get back into it.

 
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