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19-09-2006

UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION

1995 U.S. OPEN
FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK

September 9, 1995

A. AGASSI /B. Becker

7-6 (4), 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4

AN INTERVIEW WITH

ANDRE AGASSI

Q. What is the reason for the short handshake?

ANDRE AGASSI: Honestly, I will tell you I have shown nothing but respect toward Boris my entire career. He beat me the first three times we played. I never talked about anything, but what a great champion he was. I beat him eight times in a row, I never said anything, but what a great champion he is. Only incidents I have ever said anything to him -- were directed at Nick. After he beat me this year at Wimbledon, he said some things that bothered me on a very personal level. It is hard for me to respect anybody who is going to beat me and say so many things that are not only wrong, but meant to hurt. I don't understand that and I don't respect it. It is real simple, I respect his tennis play But once a match is over, you know, it ends there.

Q. Because of that, how big was this for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, you got to separate business and, you know, personal and it was -- I mean, he played a great couple of games to break me back in the third. He deserved to win that third set with the way he raised his level of play. And we played -- it was a great match all the way around. There is no other way of looking at that match, except it was great tennis. If you lose a match like that, you feel bad in one sense because it is a heartbreak. You have to tip your hat, say you got outplayed.

Q. Next to last points, what you saw in your eyes, that serve came at you late, the shot back for the winner...

ANDRE AGASSI: I was just trying to stay aggressive. You know, you get to a close of a match, you don't want to get tentative. I was just doing my best to stay offensive and I felt like, you know, the ball just kind of came in to me. He was serving big the whole match and I got a good look at it is which was kind of strange because I felt on that wide one, if he missed it, he wasn't missing it into me. He was missing it out. So it kind of came into my wheelhouse; I just swung at it, and it happened, I hit a good shot.

Q. How did it feel?

ANDRE AGASSI: It felt, you know, I hit it -- you just get chills all over.

Q. Are you happy it's going to be you and Pete now?

ANDRE AGASSI: I am happy to be in the finals on Sunday, you know, I am happy to be in the finals, U.S. Open. And I think Pete kind of makes it extra special, no question.

Q. Have you looked forward to that at all because both of you guys said you had another match to play, but was it always in the back of your mind giving all the interest....

ANDRE AGASSI: I am telling you, we don't say it to just take the pressure off of us. We don't think about each other because there is a lot of guys that can beat you out there, I mean... period. So now that it is Saturday night, I am playing Pete tomorrow, you know, I am definitely going to get a few winks less sleep.

Q. When you said the comments that Boris had said after Wimbledon, was that about the scheduling or...

ANDRE AGASSI: No. No. No. That is all fine. I don't -- Boris has always had strong opinions, quite honestly, one of the many things that I respected about him. You know, he feels Nike this, Nike that; that that is all well and good. He was very clear about that. Everybody has a right to an opinion. It was more the two-page article that is just -- just unyielded so many comments about players not liking me, me not hanging out in the locker room; me not practicing with the guys. I couldn't understand it. Because I take a lot of pride in how I handle myself off the court and I certainly don't want to speak for anybody else, but I go to sleep at night feeling like, you know, I am respected and liked. But beyond what he was saying, it just -- I couldn't understand why it was, you know, directed like that, and, you know, if he will come up to me and explain maybe he vented; maybe he didn't want -- I would be fine with that too, but, you know, there is no such thing from him. So it is tough.

Q. You don't understand why he did it?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I don't understand. I guess I don't need to understand, you know.

Q. You think Boris is at a point where he can't sustain his game at that level like he played in the third set into the fourth?

ANDRE AGASSI: He sustained his level great the whole match. I mean, if he had held serve; we'd play another tiebreak; he wins the tiebreaker; we are 5-6 in the fifth set, you know, I had to close him out. I had to win it. He wasn't going to give it to me.

Q. Did you feel like you stepped up your serve there in the fourth set; started to get more first serves in?

ANDRE AGASSI: Late in the third I missed a few crucial first serves. I felt like I served real well for the first, second sets and entire fourth set. If you can do that, then that puts more pressure on the guy to hold.

Q. Notice any tactical differences in the matches -- the three previous matches you and Pete have played this year?

ANDRE AGASSI: In each one?

Q. Well, from match to match, noticed any tactical differences --

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I think we know each other's game so well; know each other strengths so well, that I know how to avoid his strengths and he knows how to avoid mine. The question is will he execute it and will I -- or will I execute it. So the only differences I noticed is not in game plans, but in execution of how you are playing that day. I mean, some days he is serving bigger. Some days he is moving better. Some days I am returning and seeing the ball better. There is a lot of variables that determine, but it is very rare that at this level of tennis and when you play a guy so much, you know, that there are any surprises.

Q. What were you doing to keep him from getting to the net as much as he might like?

ANDRE AGASSI: Boris?

Q. The quality of your serve return?

ANDRE AGASSI: Boris.

Q. Right.

ANDRE AGASSI: I felt like he was coming to net, you know, a lot and I felt like he was playing, you know, I just-- I had to make sure that I was hitting the ball deep and hitting it offensive to keep him away from the net. But that is not to say that he is not going to win a lot of points from the backcourt. He is a strong baseliner. I think he is an underrated baseliner. His movement might be a little suspect; outside that, if the ball is in his wheelhouse, he is going to hurt you. So you never quite feel like you are in control of the point.

Q. Andre, what makes your matches with Pete draw so much interest, is it the contrasting styles?

ANDRE AGASSI: Contrasting styles in play as well as personality. Contrasting in the fact that I mean, he has the best serve in the game and my opinion, you know, if I am returning well, I am the only one that can stop him if he is serving huge, you know. So it is just interesting. I think you get to see all kind of tennis out there which is one part of it. And I think the other part of it is, is that we have just said separate personalities, I mean, real different. He seems to be a lot more low key, especially on the court than I am, and, you know, I think off the court he is kind of fooling you guys a little bit. He loosens up.

Q. Do you think Pete is playing with the same confidence he did before Gully took ill?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it is tough to say how much that has truly affected him. I know how much it has affected him on a personal level. But as far as his tennis, you know, you know, Paul has been doing a great job, I think, and -- I think too that Pete is a big match player, and maybe the weight of his coach being ill has affected him day-to-day, but, you know, I think in a certain sense, he draws a lot of strength from it too, so when you get to an end of the tournament likes this, he is playing some great tennis; you are going to see his best. Nothing shy of it, I am sure.

Q. It is an advantage from Pete that he has got some more hours to relax?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think it is an advantage for anybody that plays earlier in the day. I have been here, you know, few different times in the semis, and it is tough. I played here in the day once -- one time I played Boris in 1990. I played early in the day. Pete played McEnroe late at night, so it was a little bit of advantages for me, but it didn't seem to mean a whole lot come Sunday. You just try to get the match over with. Get back, relax, and start thinking about tomorrow.

Q. After your match with Boris in Wimbledon how important was it for you to beat him and put him away like you did today?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I am not going to make anymore of it than it is. I always feel like Boris is a guy that if I do beat him, I feel good about it. If he beats me, you know, like he did, he came back from 6-2, 4-1, that is -- there is a lot to respect about that effort. Just like tonight coming back in the third; a lot to respect about it. So I mean, you just lay it on the line with him and you hope it is enough to get the job done. And last time it wasn't and today it was.

Q. You will still be ranked No. 1 regardless of what happened in this, but if Pete wins it he will have two Grand Slams; you will have one. Who in your mind will be No. 1 in that instance?

ANDRE AGASSI: I have to say that if he wins this tournament he has had a better year than me if he wins tomorrow. He won two Slams. And that is just the way it is. I think, with the way my year has gone, day-in/day-out I have had a better year, but the way we truly feel about it is win as many Grand Slams as possible. So, you know, it is a big match tomorrow on a lot of levels, and looking forward to it.

ANDRE CHRISTOPHER: Thanks, folks.

 
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