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ATP Tour


Indian Wells, CA

March 14, 1996

A. AGASSI/T. Martin

7-6(9), 2-6, 7-6(1)




GREG SHARKO: 11 and 3 on the season advanced to his fifth quarterfinal here at the Newsweek Champions Cup. Questions, please.

Q. What did Todd do that made it so difficult today, Andre?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think he just really played great all the way around. I felt like he served extremely well and he served well on big points. Perfect example of that was 15-40 he had in the last 5-6, the last service game of the match where he came up with literally four large serves all over 114, 115, 116 and he was really being aggressive off the ground and making a lot of shots. Any time a guy who can hit that big is hitting that big up the line that well, you got your hands full and he has a great return too so. I have always felt a lot of pressure against him on my second serve.

Q. He played so well in the second set; then he got that break on you. If you wouldn't have broken him back, do you think that match would have just gone away from you?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, there was still a lot of tennis to be played in that third. Maybe his confidence would have made him start hitting some big shots; anything could have happened, but I didn't really feel like mentally I was going anywhere. I just-- I mean, I think there was a stage in the middle of the second where I could have possibly mixed it up a little bit more as opposed to continuously going for my shots because I missed a couple of them in a row when he got the break. But in the third set, I get like -- he just played a big game at Love-1. It was an awkward time with the sun too, you know, and when we switched sides, he struggled a little bit with it too. He missed two volleys off some pretty good returns, but I think a lot of times when you toss the ball and it is around the sun and your coming to hit the volley, you are seeing about six balls, versus the one that I am hitting.

Q. He just mentioned he served big in that one game. Do you look up there at the speed gun and see that 114 or 116, do you do that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sure. You know, it is important. I think that if somebody is serving me wide, for example, and winning a lot of the points, I need to know if it is my fault or if he is just doing something really good. I think that if somebody gets way with a 95 mile an hour wide serve, then you are doing something wrong. If they get away with a 97, 99, it was pretty effective serve and 2 to 4 miles an hour makes that kind of a difference on a big wide one - on the deuce court, at least.

Q. He said in the third set tiebreaker he thought maybe he started going too much for aces and kind of hitting the ball right where, you know, in your hitting area, more or less; is that pretty accurate?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, it is tough for me to really assess what he was doing. I definitely felt like I was in a groove. I mean, I was -- ran off a lot of shots there in a row, some big shots, and I think he only made like two errors in the breaker where he just missed two shots and I really just picked up the level and then happened to make it. Similar to what he did in the second set.

Q. How do you keep your composure when it is so difficult to win the first set; then he wins the second one so easily?

ANDRE AGASSI: I kind of surprised myself a little bit today. I'd wouldn't know how to answer that. I usually don't.

Q. Andre, did the Davis Cup semifinals when Martin filled in for you cross your mind at all today?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. No. Todd is a real good guy whose support for the Davis Cup, I completely respect and admire. And what he did there in Vegas was a heck of an effort not knowing until the morning of, that he was going to have to play. So it is nice to have a guy like that support for the Davis Cup team, and I only think about it in a good light.

Q. I noticed at about 1-5 or 2-5 or 1-5 of the second set you were getting beat. Looked like you had a service game where you just concentrated on stepping up your serve.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I hit five first serves in a row there.

Q. Yes. Is that your kind of still playing the second set, but going -- getting yourself up a notch for the third; is that the --

ANDRE AGASSI: The one thing I didn't want to do, I didn't want to lose my serve and have him start serving in the third. It is a lot easier to break serve if you are up 2-1 versus breaking serving at 2-All or trying to hold serve at 1-2, so I wanted to be the one serving the third set, and the least I felt like I should have done is hold serve there and if I get the break; then hold serve one more time to 5-4, but not to just give away my serve and I got down Love-30 that game, and I came up with five first serves in a row. We played a couple of deuce points and I think I found my rhythm there and that seemed to help out in the long run of the match.

Q. You want him serving from behind in the third?

ANDRE AGASSI: I prefer going into the deciding set serving first. I think that is a standard feeling because it is a lot easier to be down a break 3-2 than to be down a break 4-1.

Q. Is that a match that you can enjoy while you are on-court, or was it just a bit too close for comfort at times?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, quite honestly, I think today was a match that I did get to enjoy twice. I enjoyed it when I was out there and certainly the victory is a great feeling. It was just such good tennis I felt like, and so few of the points were decided by errors, and when you got guys like me and Todd who hit with our kind of aggressiveness, that means there is some really good tennis going on out there. So I was pleased with it. Like I said afterwards, it was tough to have a loser today. I felt like we both played disservingly enough to win.

Q. After the long rain delay there yesterday was it difficult coming back the start of the day; finishing at night?

ANDRE AGASSI: Real difficult. Didn't get a warm-up there before the match after taking three and a half hours off and it is always tough to come out playing well. It is a little easier for the underdog. I think any time you start throwing in variables into the match, it becomes an equalizer just like they say, wind is an equalizer, I mean, perfect conditions favor the better player, and I think that any time you start throwing in rain delays and you start throwing in wind, and overrules from the umpires, it is always going to have a neutral -- it is going to neutralize to a large degree the separation and abilities. I felt like I was rolling over the guy yesterday, the rain delay, he had nothing to lose when he came out, so even though he didn't get to hit either, he was pretty loose and meanwhile, I am just trying to put the match away, so I am not having to deal with another rain delay and being here 'til midnight.

Q. Had none of that affected you today?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. That match was over with. It was nice to get it over with. And today was great conditions, and I was ready to play. When a match has 2 tiebreaks there is a mental edge for the player who won the first one. That is going to vary according to who it is you are playing against. I think Todd is a very disciplined tennis player. He mixes up his serve as well if not better than anybody on the Tour, always hitting different spots. Utilizing the body serves as well as wide, so he is always thinking out there. He is a tough mental player. So like the third set tiebreaker reflected, it wasn't a question of anybody going off. It was question of, you know, me stepping it up and hitting some good shots and getting on a good run. I mean, 1-All in the tiebreaker he hit a big serve into my forehand body and I just crossed court winner off the return and that -- in this case, no, it is not an advantage, but there are guys where, you know, that don't play good tiebreakers if they don't lose a close tiebreaker that is going to affect their confidence level in the next one.

Q. When you make a shot like that, Andre, that forehand winner, do you kind of get the feeling, let us go, I am ready now, you know, get a little bit more eager to --

ANDRE AGASSI: I think you want to ride the momentum of it. You feel confident when you hit a shot like that and you want to get to the next point with definitely a game plan, but also with that momentum, so you are excited to get that point going, and you are not scared to take that chance if you have it, at 2-1, though, he played a really good point. I hit a good approach to his backhand and he just fired it up to the line; that was arguably in. I mean, I was right on the line and I mean, had they called it good, I would have wanted to complain about it, but it was just too close, and I got the call to go 3-1, so it helps, sometimes that momentum you can't explain it, but it definitely is a factor.

Q. You said afterwards that he is capable of running off six games in a stretch. Was that a concern of yours from him keeping him reaching that?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is very -- it is high focus tennis against Todd, I mean, it is intense because he not only has a great serving game, he also has a great return game. And any time a guy like that can get a break on you, like when he broke me the next thing, you know, he is serving two aces in the next game and two unreturnables or one unreturnable and a winner, and then he is returning now at 1-3 and his return is even going to get better, so he is going to take bigger chances, so when he does go on a spirit of a lot of great shots, it does escalate pretty quickly, and you can find yourself behind the 8 ball rather quickly.

Q. What are your thoughts about possibly playing Michael Chang?

ANDRE AGASSI: Look forward to it. We always have some great matches, and I think that it's just great for the game to have this kind of field. I mean, Todd is playing a lot better than his ranking, certainly, and to be playing Todd in my second match is not easy, and playing Michael in the quarters versus the semis or finals is not easy. So it is going to be fun.

Q. Right now, are you trying to make any adjustments in your game to get ready for the French or trying to get through the hard court season?

ANDRE AGASSI: Little too hard far away to worry about the French in the sense we are playing on hard court, so I am not going to start changing my game because it is not going to do any good. So when I get on the clay, then I will worry about it.

Q. Andre, later this year, I am going to be getting married. Do you have any advice on how to prepare for a wedding?

ANDRE AGASSI: How to prepare for it? You are on your own on that one.

Q. Just one tip or two.

ANDRE AGASSI: How to prepare for it?

Q. Yeah.

ANDRE AGASSI: You mean, psychologically?

Q. Yeah.

ANDRE AGASSI: Make sure you really want to do it...
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