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19-09-2006

UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION

1995 U.S. OPEN
FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK

September 10, 1995

P. SAMPRAS /A. Agassi

6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5

AN INTERVIEW WITH

ANDRE AGASSI

Q. Andre, did you feel like you had your normal fire out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, what it is, I mean, it has been, I really haven't quite felt that way the whole tournament excluding maybe my last match. I just think it has been a long summer and couple of days off before I played Boris really helped me a lot and to come back and play today, I mean, in the first set, after that long, long set point we had, it was like, I mean, I felt my legs just -- it was way too early in the match to be feeling the way I was feeling. You know, you can't, you know, not try, when you play the summer tournaments and that is the price, sometimes, to pay to win a lot of matches. I guess I was lacking a little strength, a little pep in my step, so to speak.

Q. Pete talked about that prior to coming here, that that had happened to him one year, coming into the Open after the summer. I was kind of wondering if maybe you might be saying just what he was saying?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think next summer, I think I am going to lose a little bit. 26 and 1 and I'd give up all 26 to have that one back.

Q. Could you assess your play inside the service line today?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it was tough conditions today. I don't think it was -- really lended itself to great tennis. It was just a question of making as few errors as possible, while respecting the fact that if you don't do enough with the ball, the other guy is going to hurt you. It was kind of tough circumstances. I had an opportunity there in the first set, breakpoint and he hit a big serve up the middle. I connected well and I hit the tape and didn't go for me. So then, all of a sudden he had that break at the end of the first, which he was already up a set. Handled me in the second, got up an early break, but I just-- I wasn't feeling it. I just wanted to lay it all out there and do my best to fight as hard as possible, and managed to pick up my level a little bit, but I didn't come near his serve in the fourth set, that was a problem. I needed to at least make him feel the pressure. But he ran through one game, I think with four straight aces.

Q. Can you be more specific inside the service line, you played inside the service line today --

ANDRE AGASSI: Inside the service line?

Q. Yes.

ANDRE AGASSI: You mean, when I came to the net?

Q. The wild forehand volley late in the first set touched --

ANDRE AGASSI: I think that that was a duece point at 4-5. I mean, the ball is moving around a lot. I mean, that ball got up and I was in the middle of the court. It was kind of a little bit awkward for me. I didn't expect him to kind of hit a good defensive shot. It started moving around, and I just second guessed it a little bit. I think I was also giving respect to his running forehands. He likes to cover that shot and hit it big, so I just missed it. Made an error there, and that was it.

Q. Considering the way you came in here last year, can you feel pretty proud of the way the last year has gone right up until and including today?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, you know, I always believe in counting your blessings. I certainly feel like I have a lot of them. This year has been tremendous to me in a lot of ways. I mean, the run that I have been on this summer turned out to be too good to be true. But, it has meant a lot to me to add this consistency to my game. It has meant a lot to me to challenge the best players in the world and to beat them. And it means a lot to me to be out here and fighting for the title and, you know, it hurts not to win it.

Q. You don't feel you are still the best player in the world?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, Pete has won two Slams, so I will have to say that come December 31, he is going to feel better about the year than I did. By the same token, I would play him for 100 bucks right now. So it is just the way it works.

Q. Andre, did playing the late match affect you today, do you think?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yesterday?

Q. Yeah, playing the semifinal.

ANDRE AGASSI: More than just playing the late match yesterday. I think, quite honest, the whole summer has affected me. A few hours isn't going to do you much better or much worse. I just think more than the time that I got off the court last night, I had two days off before I played Boris and, you know, I was even telling Johnny Mac, in the lockerroom, before I played Boris, "I feel like I got a little step back again." And guys aren't getting away with that chip, when I am stepping in and I am really moving my feet. And, you know, I had a tough match with him yesterday. So, you know, I just -- just didn't quite have that little extra that I, you know, knew I needed.

Q. Andre, when you don't come near his serve as you said in the fourth set. What is he doing? Is it the power? Is he confusing you where he is putting it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sometimes -- I mean, it is a deceptive serve, no question. But if you are hitting 123 on the line, it doesn't matter if you know where it is going or not. But more than his first serve, I felt like with the wind conditions, like you saw him hitting a few crucial doublefaults. I didn't feel like I could swing freely at his second serve. I mean, on the side that had the wind on our back, like six service games in a row when he was serving into the wind, he missed the first serve; put his second serve in the court and I hit the backhand return that just floated long. I hit the forehand return that floated long, so if I am getting to his second serve, I can make him think a little bit and it is not so easy to come up with the big aces. But I wasn't doing that as well as I normally could. I think that he served extremely well, too. I mean, he came up with some big first serves on some crucial breakpoints.

Q. You know, even though Pete has won two Grand Slams, if it came down to you and Pete in the Final in Frankfurt and you won it, would it change how you feel about who is No. 1?

ANDRE AGASSI: It doesn't change the fact that I wish I had the U.S. Open. I mean...

Q. Be the last match of the year?

ANDRE AGASSI: If you want to ultimately know who is No. 1, you got to -- me and Pete have 9 and 10 record now. So he has beaten me once more than I have beaten him. So that says more than, you know, than you think it does. We are right there with each other, and one day here, one day there. And it is just -- you just hope that when it comes down to the big match, it can go your way and it did once this year. I mean, I guess my bigger disappointment than winning this, was not getting a shot at him at Wimbledon, you know. That would have been nice.

Q. Did you feel that a step -- when you got up, did you feel sluggish, that step slow?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, you feel the aftermath, you know, I mean, I am sure Pete did too.

Q. Does that serve work in your head all the while, in addition to on the court, do you know that he has got that weapon and you have got to deal with it all the time?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it is like in golf. There is a lot of ways to make par. There is a lot of ways to hold serve in this game. You know, and don't get me wrong, I'd prefer hitting four aces, but, you know, my strategy and my commitment to the gameplan doesn't waiver and I don't worry anymore than the second that that ball is coming over the net. Because if I am returning well, and he is missing a few first serves, I got news for you, don't look like he is that great of a server. Looks like he is a guy who can serve well, but is a little off. So you got to, you know, it is discouraging when his strength is going real well, but likewise, with anybody's strength.

Q. Andre, do you think you are a little mentally tired as well, from having to sustain this level of excellence all the way around, up to this tournament?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I probably don't have a clear perspective on the sum toll the summer has taken just simply because this has been so important to me. If this tournament wasn't quite so important, I think maybe I would have allowed myself to have a better perspective on how I am really feeling, but I just kind of been -- just fighting my way through from the start, really. And, you know, I have proven a lot to myself, that when I am maybe, not feeling my best, I can still beat a lot of the guys. That is always a nice feeling. But I think over the course of the next week, I will be able to answer your question. Yeah, that I am a little mentally tired, but right now, just disappointed.

Q. How does the set point of the first set compare to some of the really big -- other big points you have played in your career?

ANDRE AGASSI: That one sucked. That point really sucked.

Q. Andre, biggest point you have lost in your career?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, just the first set. I mean, I have had some crucial points before, but, you know, it is, you know-- I am not going to say that that one point didn't make a difference. I mean, it got him the first set;, but I ended up getting back into it. Bottom line was he was on his game a little bit more than I was and, you know, unless I had really raised my level to where I was just like in Montreal when I played him and he beat me the first set and I just handled him the second and third, I would have felt like I cheated him out of the match, so played well today and I thought maybe I could, you know, sneak my way into a fifth and then roll the dice a little bit, but it didn't happen.

Q. A couple maybe three times in that set point that you thought you had won the point, the crowd certainly did?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. You know, you think it was good enough to win, but you are also expecting it to come back. Was there a fine line? There you are feeling like you hit a good shot. I think that is what makes Pete such a great player - his explosiveness. He knows how to seize opportunities; he -- even though I ran him 12 corners at that point, he wanted that point and he knew that was going to have a big impact in his confidence and he worked hard for it and he got it. I mean, ironic part about it, he was against the wind at that point. So, you know, that would lend to helping me, but because I had the wind on my back, you are scared to really hit the ball too big with the wind in his face; he was really hitting big on each shot, so I just kind of felt like, you know, the point went back and forth a few times.

Q. From an emotional standpoint, was it difficult to duplicate the same atmosphere or the same mental energy as you had in the last year's final because of all that happened last year in the building up, building up, did you feel there was a different atmosphere today for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, different inside my own head and body, way different. I was feeling the toll of a lot of things. Today I felt -- like, last year I was pretty fresh going into the finals, which is always nice. And, you know, it is one thing when you wake up in the morning and you can't wait to get on court and it is another thing when you wake up in the morning; you are trying to get yourself to the place you know you need to be. And it is always difficult. You just -- the best you can hope for is get there before the match and that your opponent is trying to do the same thing. It is one-on-one out there, man, there ain't no hiding. I can't pass that ball, you know, it is difficult.

Q. Pete seemed very chatty after the match. Can you tell us what he was talking about?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, no, just mentioned about -- talked about the conditions of the court, a little rough today, and he asked how I was doing physically, and, you know, said you had a long summer, I said, yeah, been a lot, and then that was it, really.

Q. You said that he would trade that winning streak for a win today. Is that because the others were building to this moment, can you elaborate on what you said earlier?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I just think when your career is all and said and done, you want the Slams. You know, I know what it is like to be No. 1 and I know what it is like to win tournaments being No. 1. You want to win the Slams. Like I said a long time ago, being No. 1 is great, after the first hour, it doesn't make a bit of difference because you still got every guy on the tournament trying to beat you. You want to peak for these events. You want to win the U.S. Open. You want to win the French and Wimbledon and I have lost here in the finals a couple of times and I will never forget it. I have won here once. I will never forget it. So these are memorable days, you know, you just -- these are the ones you remember. Those are the ones you want.

Q. Do you genuinely enjoy what this rivalry has become and because you like Pete?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I definitely like Pete, but I have to say, you know, that it is really difficult going into a tournament and people expecting you to play, you know, that is -- that is a little difficult. You got to truly force yourself to not think about it, so, you know, as you convince everybody that Pete is not on your mind; you are trying to convince yourself the same thing because you know there are guys that can beat you. But I do enjoy the fact that there is somebody out there that I worry about, you know, that if I play my best tennis, I still worry about, that is nice. You know, you feel like it --, you know, that kind of intensity you don't get, you know, there is -- and you feel it on the ins and outs of every point. You feel the respect for his game and what he is capable of doing and you feel it, forcing you to come up with shots; forcing you to hit, you know, huge forehands from behind the baseline at 15-All when normally you will think, oh, I will work it and see what happens here and then just if I need to. So I have enjoyed it very much.

Q. Andre, is it harder going into a tournament now when people expect you to make a final as opposed to like last year when few were giving you a chance?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I think with my personality, I struggle with the latter of what you just asked. To me, people not giving me a chance, you know, you know, because I have always spent a lot of part of my career trying to convince myself that I can do it, so having to convince other people too is a lot for me to handle. So for my personality, no, because I don't get carried away with it. I know what I need to do, and I have done it enough now, and I have a lot of respect for the guys that I play against, so I am never taking it lightly, and it hasn't become an issue.

Q. Schedule for rest of the year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Got Davis Cup and then Lyon, Essen, Paris. That is how it goes?

Q. Have you proved Andre Agassi at this point, would you say, that the aspersions that were cast on you for a lot of years are gone now and I am what I am?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, I have accomplished enough to know that I can accomplish more and I feel good with a lot of the hurdles that I have gotten over. I mean, I have had a second birth, I have had a second -- I have had a second shot at this. That is a lot more than I have could have ever thought I was going to get, you know, I mean, a year ago I wasn't seeded here and nobody gave a damn, and I didn't blame them. A year later, you guys are asking me why I lost. I kind of like that. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER).

Q. Andre, how tough is it to come back to play Davis Cup in ten days?

ANDRE AGASSI: It will be tough, but no different than anything I have gone through this year already. I mean, just another important week, you know.

Q. Andre, what did you do in the third set to get back into it? What changed?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it is always tough to close out a match against a difficult opponent. I felt like Pete still had to close me out even though he is up a couple of sets in the break, I wasn't on planning on going anywhere. I was just trying to find a window of opportunity somewhere to get into the match, and he hit a couple of doublefaults and that allowed me the possibility to break when I got the break, I think that just elevated my intensity and sucked out every last bit of anything that was inside of me.

PAGE CROSLAND: Thank you very much Andre.

ANDRE AGASSI: Thank you.

 
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