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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

1996 THE LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS
Key Biscayne, FL

 

March 27, 1996

 

A. AGASSI/M. Joyce

6-4, 6-1

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH

 

ANDRE AGASSI

 

JOE LYNCH: Andre Agassi into the semifinals and a strong candidate for "CNN Play of the Day" after that match. First question for Andre.

 

Q. Would you say that you had a degree of fun out there as well as everybody watching you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I was highly competitive, so those was one of those matches and times I enjoyed myself most times I was really focused and kind of in the momentum of it.

 

Q. Can you talk us through the shot?

ANDRE AGASSI: The shot, well, that point kind of turned around on me. I thought I was in a good position to end it, next thing I know I was on the defense chasing down something that I basically had no way of even hoping to get my racket on it. Really there was no other option. I don't usually choose that shot unless it is the last alternative and it was, and I just picked my shot and went for it.

 

Q. How many times have you hit that shot in a competitive tour situation?

ANDRE AGASSI: Gone for it or actually made it?

 

Q. No, actually made it.

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I've gotten them back in the court a number of times, maybe a dozen times where I've ended up losing the point because the guys hit net or something like this. Actually the best one I've ever hit was a match point against Shane in Cincinnati it was after a long point and I rifled it like a bullet up the line and everyone thought it was good and it apparently had just missed, but that was my most memorable -- even though I missed it, I thought that was my best hit.

 

Q. Where do you learn a shot like that; did you pick it up as a kid or start fooling around with it as a teenager?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think you try it, you know, I think Yannick made that shot famous. I think every since he did it a lot of kids have tried to do it. It is a lot more difficult, I think, really than it looks. It is not easy to win the point off of it certainly, but if you are chasing a ball away from the court and your back is towards the court and the ball is about this high off the ground there aren't too many options.

 

Q. There are some pitfalls; aren't there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Certainly if you whiffed it wouldn't be good. I can't see B.G. ever trying that shot.

 

Q. Why not?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't think it is in his nature. It is like diving, you know, he doesn't like doing that either.

 

Q. So does a shot like that give you a boost after you hit it?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, at that stage of the match I was pretty much in control of it, so I don't think it really had any impact on the match. It, you know, it definitely is -- those are -- shots like that make it hard to retire, that type of thing. Down the road you think back at moments like that and you think, "Wow, pretty exciting."

 

Q. You think that breaks somebody's spirit when you hit a shot?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it pisses them off more than anything.

 

Q. Andre, I don't know if you have been asked about this, but the Olympics which, I think, in terms of play, what will that mean to you outside the tennis, maybe the socialization part of it, or --

ANDRE AGASSI: I anticipate it to be really the greatest two weeks of my life, I mean, as far as being an athlete, professional athlete goes. I mean, to be one of thousands of athletes all coming together for one common purpose, to win, you know, a medal is quite an arena, quite an honor.

 

Q. Have you been an Olympic fan; did you watch the Dream Team and stuff like that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, sure, sure, my whole life.

 

Q. Do you expect to and want to take part in the opening ceremonies, the parade and that sort of thing?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah, I want to experience the whole thing.

 

Q. When are you going to make a decision about The Village, whether or not you are going to stay in The Village?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, quite honestly, I take one week at a time here and I just haven't really worked it all out yet with -- I trust my brother and managers to handle the setup and to look into it and to see what's ideal for my preparation and so I'm sure that's going to be priority in the next few weeks when I have time to deal with it.

 

Q. Would an Olympic gold medal be up there with the Wimbledon title and the US Open title?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes, absolutely every bit as much. It happens every four years and you're lucky if you even get to participate. Just to get a medal to me, just a medal, silver, bronze, would be every bit as much as a Grand Slam win.

 

Q. After winning the Lipton last year, do you hold this tournament and Miami dear in your heart?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes, I have always loved this city and this tournament to me is the funniest, most enjoyable stop on the tour as far as off the court goes, especially. I mean, the crowd even at night, it is the only arena outside the U.S. Open where you will find that kind of excitement and energy.

 

Q. Andre, next month you will play in Spain, in Barcelona. What do you remember about your last games in Barcelona?

ANDRE AGASSI: Barcelona (lisped)? (Laughter) It is, you know, it's -- I just remember it being very, very difficult. It is a first clay tournament for me and a bit difficult to get into your game and your confidence level, but, you know, I enjoy the city. I think it is a great city. They work on my house, I like that, you know, I don't have to think about going home until 4:00 in the morning, not having dinner till 11:00, so it is kind of nice.

 

Q. Where else are you planning on playing?

ANDRE AGASSI: Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Hamburg.

 

Q. Are you surprised not to play Jim in the semis? What do you think of Boetsch?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is tough to be too surprised nowadays. I feel like every player is so tough to beat, if you look at what Michael has managed to accomplish is pretty, you know, he is a dangerous player now, I think with just a little bit of the right -- if he can find the right coaching and the right direction I think he can be a guy to pull off upsets like that himself as well as Vince Spadea who this week is, I guess, working with Seguso, which is nice to see, and, you know, I kind of feel like nowadays just things can happen. I think Jim should have won that match, you know, he had a lot of chances and serve for the first set, but it just happens, you know, it happens. Jim is a tough enough guy to rise to the occasion on a lot of occasions, but I guess it just wasn't his day today.

 

Q. What do you know about Boetsch? You played him once in the French.

ANDRE AGASSI: That's right. Boy, that was a long time ago. What year was that, '90?

JOE LYNCH: '90.

ANDRE AGASSI: We were both a lot younger then, he is a very talented player. He is dangerous on both sides, moves well and really does all parts of the game well it seemed. I just have to kind of work over the game plan a little bit with Brad and go out there with the intensity I had tonight and control the points and I should be all right.

 

Q. Andre, there was a recent article about sportsmanship in tennis and it said that sportsmanship (inaudible) golf is almost non-existent in tennis; would you agree or disagree with that?

ANDRE AGASSI: You are saying that it is or is not?

 

Q. Well, the article says there "is not". You were listed in a small group of players that are considered to be sportsmanlike players. Would you agree sportsmanship is practically nonexistent?

ANDRE AGASSI: I wouldn't say it is nonexistent, no, because I think, you know, I am pleasantly surprised frequently, but, you know, I do think you do tend to have a lot of surprises from a negative standpoint as well. But, I mean, Pete and I being No. 1 and 2 for a year, you know, we are doing just fine with each other, which was, I think, healthy and a nice change of pace for not only the game, but for sports to show that you can be rivals, yet leave it on the court. I think there are guys that really reflect good sportsmanship, but I think likewise there are some that don't.

 

Q. Dennis Rodman says that he doesn't care what people think and he doesn't care if it has a negative impact on the game how he behaves, how important is that to you, how important is the idea of sportsmanship. Do you think that is personally important and what about how it reflects on the sport of tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, ultimately I have to have my accountability to guide into myself, that's how I look into it. It is not easy to have the weight of the world on you as well, but sometimes we are in that position and you can't really run from it and you can't act like it is not there and you can't live in denial about the impact that you do have and, you know. I think everybody struggles with it, even from a Dennis Rodman, you know, to the other extreme of somebody who, you know, Cal Ripkin. You got class acts and you got God that have a lot of controversy, but there is always a certain amount of struggle you go through because you are human, but -- so to me my first accountability is to God and to myself and to the standards that I try to live up to that I have declared in my own life. I understand there is responsibility, but by the same token it is difficult and it is ultimately going to be a letdown to any person who looks to another human being for that kind of role model.

 

Q. Well, a couple of years ago you had a chance in the finals here to say, please don't make me play, umpire, go ahead and make your decision and make it final. You just took it upon yourself to say, "Give Pete all the time he needs and I will go out there and play him," so I just take it that it is something that is important to you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, again, I -- even though there are a lot of people that benefit from that decision, like the network and the 15,000 people here, you know, that's not what made me make the decision. I don't make decisions based on what people think. If that's the case I would be changing my mind a million times a day. But that decision was based on one thing, which is if I was in that position, what would I want somebody to do for me? And also if I can't win this tournament by beating everybody, then I don't deserve to win the tournament. I don't need the prize money that bad and I don't need the points that bad to where it really doesn't reflect anything. If I win the tournament by default, it doesn't reflect anything but that I got to the finals but got a default. And certainly if I can't beat Pete sick then I certainly don't deserve to win it.

 

Q. Will Pete and you be doing any commercials this year again?

ANDRE AGASSI: Probably. Nothing on the table at the moment.

JOE LYNCH: Anything more for Andre?

 

Q. You were talking about scheduling and Pete was talking about scheduling and the toll it takes on your body. Would you say something about the discipline it takes? Pete was talking about being too tired to squat down, I won't go into it, but, you know, he was just talking about those days when the tour really takes its affect. What about the discipline of getting up and your body just doesn't want to do it? Is that something that a coach helps you with? Is it something that you carry around inside you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, there is a lot of discipline involved. To be quite honestly there is a lot of discipline in making your schedule, too. It is really easy to get sidetracked either by going to the tournaments that you want to play at but don't quite work well on your schedule or staying away from tournaments that you know isn't ultimately best for you but they provide an opportunity for your ranking, or something like this. There is discipline there and there is discipline in stepping out on the court and knowing when to force yourself and when to cut yourself some slack and it is not easy. It is -- you don't have anybody else out there with you to pass the ball, so when you are cutting yourself a little slack, it's all you and the pressure gets kind of overwhelming at times. It takes discipline to stay strong inside yourself and to stick to your path and the road that you choose as far as, you know, when you are going to declare yourself to come with everything you've got and when you are going to really not be so hard on yourself, so, you know, I find that that's probably the most difficult thing about our sport, is just the endless amount of events and how different the reality is for me and Pete, say, who will get to the quarters, or semis, or finals, or win these tournaments versus somebody else who may be having a week off. If I lose here, I don't have anything planned in my schedule for the week, so it is a nice vacation, you know, and that's difficult because you don't get to have that too often.

 

Q. Are there days you want to get up and train and you just can't do it?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, sometimes resting is training. You know, sometimes resting is preparation, so if I feel that way, there is a hell of a chance that my rest is going to be the most important thing. Again, there is no off season, so there is no chance to really wind down and then build up for hopefully what will be a strong season. Instead it is just a constant grind for about 10 or 12 years, then you get out of the game and do your best not to resent it.

JOE LYNCH: Thanks. We will be right back with Michael Joyce.

 
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