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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

XXVI OLYMPIC GAMES
ATLANTA, GEORGIA

August 1, 1996

ANDRE AGASSI/L. Paes
7-6(5), 6-3

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH

ANDRE AGASSI

Q. Were you under pressure at any time?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think it got pretty tight there in the first set. It could have gone either way. I was down a couple of set points, managed to hold serve, and win a close tiebreaker. That could impact the match, there. But there's still a lot of tennis to be played after that and I played a good game to break late in the second.

Q. Andre, just assess your game right now, the state of your game.

ANDRE AGASSI: It's not really that easy for me to do outside just tell you the way I feel out there. I feel pretty good. I feel pretty confident. I feel like I'm playing aggressively when I should, sizing up the court well, and working the point, getting back to breaking somebody down from the baseline. I think my work ethic out there, the discipline inside each point has improved this week and I feel pretty good, I have to say. I've managed to make some strides forward.

Q. Andre, what does it mean to you to play for a gold medal?

ANDRE AGASSI: This is, to me, a huge match on Saturday. It's as big of a match as playing any Grand Slam final, in my career, from here on in, certainly.

Q. Andre, how do you read Leander's performance?

ANDRE AGASSI: Very strange. (Laughter.) Very strange.

Q. Why?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think he hit like maybe 25 drop shots, two of them were off my first serve in the first game. That's strange. But he's had a good tournament.

Q. The first set, was that as difficult a match as you've played?

ANDRE AGASSI: Just because he plays strange doesn't mean it's not good, it's just strange.

Q. Did that give you a little bit of a guessing game throughout?

ANDRE AGASSI: I stopped guessing and I started using the simple philosophy, I think it's ridiculous and I was going to plan on him doing it. Then I felt like I had most of it covered. 30-All, the guy is going to hit a drop shot 10 feet from behind the baseline and start running forward. It's a tough game to play, because he never gives you a rhythm. If he's serving well, he can hold serve and he's a good athlete and when he gets to the net he can react and make some soft hands up there.

Q. You came in thinking again you wanted to get your first serve in and sacrifice a little pace?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I didn't think my serve was going to be too much of a factor in a positive way, outside just set up my game. I didn't want to come out and start feeling like I should win some free points off the serve. I don't think I play that way. I think as I go through a match when I hit the big kick and I break a guy down physically from the baseline then all of a sudden my 107, 109 becomes really effective. I don't think he really returned a serve that I picked up the pace on. I'm trying to get myself back into that kind of disciplined mentality when I'm out there and not try to avoid a long point by going for a big serve, that's not my game and I can't expect to be at the end of an event playing that way.

Q. Andre, what's your history with Bruguera?

ANDRE AGASSI: We've played maybe seven times. We've had -- he's beaten me 2 to 3 times on clay and I've gotten him on the hard courts and the indoor, I think once in Toronto, 4-6, 5 and 1 or something. Then in Paris 4 and 4. World Championships we had a tough match and the last round of the round robin. And then I beat him in New Haven, 4 and 2. So I've had the better of him on the hard courts but certainly every match has been highly competitive.

Q. Do you think he's played well enough this week that the issue of what surface you're on really won't come into play?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, it comes into play highly. I'm glad we're on hard courts. If we're on clay then I'm stressing a little bit. He's definitely -- definitely his best surface is clay. And the hard court, to say it favors me, doesn't mean that I'm going to go out there and win the match, it just means that on hard court it's much more comfortable for me than for him. And it certainly is going to be one of those matches who's willing to grind out the other one more. That's what it boils down to.

Q. How close is he to where he was at the French?

ANDRE AGASSI: Tough to say without playing him. I feel really on clay he's a threat. I think this year he was a threat to win the tournament. He lost in a tough five sets to Pete. If he gets through that match, he could go all the way. There's no question about that. So really a guy who's been at the top, who's won Slams, at any time can play that level of tennis. So you've always got to be ready for it.

Q. Andre, given your father's Olympic background, what will it mean to your family when you bring home the medal?

ANDRE AGASSI: It would be unbelievable to win a gold medal. I couldn't put into words what it would mean for the United States; just to see that number of how many medals won go up and know you were a part of it. But really it just boils down to going out there and giving it everything you have. I think that's what these games represent.

Q. To your dad what will it mean, do you think?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know, I can only guess. I only imagine that would probably be the greatest accomplishment I could have in this sport, besides winning every match I play. He might prefer that. (Laughter.)

Q. Will the silver medal be a disappointment, have you set your heart on gold?

ANDRE AGASSI: If the silver medal is a disappointment, you're an asshole. That's ridiculous. Silver medal is as great an honor as any athlete can hope to have. To have a medal, period, is something every athlete comes here for. And you go out there not to win it, you go out there to pour your heart and soul into it. And when it's all said and done, you accept a beautiful reward, regardless if it's gold or silver. Certainly the gold is a greater accomplishment, but a silver is a wonderful thing.

Q. Looking back on it, did you expect to be here before the tournament started?

ANDRE AGASSI: I really don't come into any event expecting to win it or to be in the finals, but I do come into an event believing that I can. And I believe as well as I have throughout this year that if I just can work into a tournament I can get my game back. I'm pretty extreme in every aspect of life, and certainly with my career, and when I get that momentum I become a much different player than when I'm fighting that momentum the other way.

Q. You have not played very many matches since the Lipton, how is your condition, getting better every match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes, I had a very good match, last one. The day off was plenty to be prepared today. The next one will be 3 out of 5 against somebody who plays a lot of balls. And I have a day off, I feel fine physically, I should be more than ready to -- more than prepared.

Q. Andre, has there been anything special about the Olympic experience or have you been able to divorce yourself from your game a little bit to enjoy yourself?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I would say it's been pretty much a focused goal to win these matches, at least to prepare myself as much as possible to win it. So I haven't allowed myself the luxury really of getting to appreciate all that's here in Atlanta.

Q. You haven't seen any other events?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I sure have not. I haven't made it into town. And when things haven't been going so well and you finally start doing things right, it's tough to -- you don't want to get sidetracked with anything.

Q. Would you go to the closing ceremonies, march in?

ANDRE AGASSI: As of right now I haven't made any plans. I might be playing in Cincin, I don't know what the schedule is going to be over there. Certainly being a part of the -- of standing up on that podium to receive the medal is the thing I've been looking forward to most.

Q. Do you think the good results help to make tennis a real Olympic sport?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's not real?

Q. Well, many top players didn't come here. But you did.

ANDRE AGASSI: I'll let you feel my medal day after tomorrow, you can tell me how real it feels.

Q. Given what you say about a silver medal, do you consider that the hard work is done for you, anything beyond this is just a little more?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no, every match I address the same way -- you strive to get closer to what you hope to be the ultimate prize. And Saturday is what it boils down to. So the hard work is -- I've only got myself in position to dig deeper and work harder. The question in reference to the silver was what is the appreciation value and if it would be a disappointment to have a silver medal.

Q. Andre, the crowd was very much again in your corner. Has that made a difference and how does this crowd compare to other tennis crowds?

ANDRE AGASSI: It was like I was talking about with Mary on the interview afterwards, the crowd is the best crowd we've seen in any tennis arena here in the United States, Davis Cup, U.S. Open at night, it's as active and energetic. I think this town has been really craving a big event. It's a huge tennis town. People love their tennis here and they finally got the greatest event they could ever hope for. And I think you're seeing it. You're seeing a heck of a lot of support. I'd like to put all these -- get all these people here in the stadium to travel around and cheer for the Davis Cup team.

Q. Andre, you say you've gotten a momentum going now. How would you compare to how you were feeling now as to how you were on a roll in the 1995 season, say?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, having won five matches here, I feel as good as I did when I won my first five on the last roll. Everything continues, everything feels like it's moving. I feel like I'm getting tougher to beat every match. I feel like I'm getting my focus more together. I'm starting to compete a lot more strategically out there and I don't feel like I'm giving my opponent a lot of room to breathe. And I think that builds on itself. As of right now it's tough to say exactly how to compare it. But certainly this could send me into a new groove that you only get to experience a few times. I feel pretty confident at the moment, and this is a great place to start.

Q. Andre, your comments on the court the other day drew quite a bit of controversy in here the other day. Was that on your mind at all? You were very quiet today. The only thing you said I assume was congratulations to Leander after the match.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I'm just a moody kind of guy, really. (Laughter.) I'm glad those situations don't carry over to the next match, starting with a point penalty or something. By the same token, regardless of the attention that gets put on it you never go out there with a plan of getting pissed off or somehow handling yourself in a way that you're not proud of. As I play these matches I think I'm getting more focused on the game and less insecure about my tennis and less distracted about it.

 
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