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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

XXVI OLYMPIC GAMES
ATLANTA, GEORGIA

August 3, 1996

ANDRE AGASSI/S. Bruguera
6-2, 6-3, 6-1

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH

ANDRE AGASSI

Q. Andre, the last American male to win Men's Singles was Vincent Richards back in 1924, how does it feel to be in the record book?

ANDRE AGASSI: Quite amazing. To me this is the greatest accomplishment I've ever had in this sport.

Q. Why is it better than anything else?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think to win a Grand Slam in the sport of tennis is the biggest thing you can accomplish inside your sport. But I think that the Olympics is the biggest thing you can do in all the sports. It's a small part of an amazing, amazing moment. It's a small part of an event that's once in a lifetime. To win a gold medal is what it's all about. If you can't come here and give everything to win the medal for your country, then I think you're really missing out. I'll keep this over all of them.

Q. Andre, did you feel like you were going to be this sharp?

ANDRE AGASSI: I did, actually. Yesterday was really the first day in practice I think that my game -- I've got to say, even though he won't like it, I beat Brad 6-0 yesterday. It's the first time I've done that in about 8, 9 months. This is really as good of tennis as I can play. In every aspect of the game I was there. And that's a standard that I've gotten most of my opponents used to. And that's the one that I haven't lived up to in a while.

Q. Andre, is there a reason why you had not played that well around the world coming into this tournament and then played really well today?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think I was really getting my game together back in Key Biscayne, on the hard courts, as I started believing in my tennis again. I think the clay put a few more question marks, struggled there, and didn't play a warm-up tournament before Wimbledon and just hit a lot of balls. And that's not going to get it done in match play. I could have worked myself through Wimbledon, maybe, and got my game together matchwise, but the time off that I had after Wimbledon I trained hard for the preparation of the heat, the conditions, got back on the hard courts, which is a great place for me to be playing. And I persevered through a few tough matches here. I think those are very significant variables that lead to getting your game a step further. If you can't get over the hump and win that 7-6, 7-6 first round or come back from a set and a break, or come back with one of the guys serving for it, those are the times that you get over those hurdles and then there's no stopping me. And that's what happened. I just got my confidence back. I've been working hard and I'm just persevering again. I've been through this before, so it's nothing new to me. But certainly the emotion of playing for your country helped me dig deeper than I might have if it wasn't for the Olympics.

Q. Do you find it disappointing that more of your fellow male pros didn't feel like playing here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I do feel that it's disappointing. Just due to the fact that it deserves a bit more respect or attention. But it didn't change my desire to be here or certainly my desire to try to win it.

Q. Andre, what did it mean to win the Olympic medal with your father in the stands and him being an Olympian?

ANDRE AGASSI: It was a surprise for me to have him here. I didn't know he was coming. And I don't think he wanted to let me know he was going to be here, which is probably just as well. But it was certainly -- being a second generation Olympian participant has added to the experience, certainly. And after the match it gave him a chance to get closer to the gold than he ever got, so, that's also nice.

Q. What did you say to him or what did he say to you when you hugged?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't remember. Just a memorable embrace that we'll have forever.

Q. Andre, you say you're motivated by playing for your country, but there have been times when you've chosen not to play in the Davis Cup, what's the reason for that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Is that after the six years I dedicated to it or when was that?

Q. There have been times when you haven't.

ANDRE AGASSI: I've given a lot to Davis Cup.

Q. Andre, did you find yourself really getting into the whole Olympic atmosphere environment?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know exactly how you mean that. Do you mean in reference to --

Q. Relating to other athletes.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I certainly was in a different perspective watching the Olympics as I've done for the past couple weeks, but I will be the first to admit that my focus has been to give the United States the best chance possible to win a medal and my preparation has been all along those lines, ones that I believe in. The way I choose to spend my evenings, hasn't been to, unfortunately, go into Atlanta and get to see some of the things that I would have liked to, but it all worked out and to me just standing on a podium was going to be the best experience I could leave here with.

Q. How would you describe that emotion on the medal stand?

ANDRE AGASSI: The anthem, hearing the anthem was literally the greatest accomplishment I've had in this game. I will never forget what this game gave to me today.

Q. Andre, how does this get you on track for the U.S. Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: The way I'm playing today I didn't care who was there, I was going to win today. This level of tennis is what I can do day after day, it's what I expect for myself and it's what frustrates me so much when I'm not there. And certainly this is a clear example of what I can do with my game, if I just can get my confidence in the right place, get my work ethic in a place that it needs to be to continue it. When you're winning these matches you're getting all the practice you need. For a year and a half I didn't really need to spend as much time on the practice court, even though I did, it was just short quality time. When you're not winning these matches you can't make up for missing out on those matches. So this is definitely the right step to doing this day after day now. I'm back to feeling I don't care who I'm playing. It's nice. To keep it going is going to be easier than getting it started.

Q. Andre, you mentioned how much you enjoyed playing in the Olympics, would you look forward to another experience in four years?

ANDRE AGASSI: Four years from now the country calls on me, that's where I'll be.

Q. Andre, over the years has your father ever talked at all about the Olympics when he was a part of them in '48 and '52 or not?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not too much about his experience. But he definitely has expressed a lot of pride in the possible accomplishment of me being able to participate in the Olympics. And obviously the potential medaling is something we've talked about ever since it looked like I was going to be the one that was going to be on the team.

Q. Are you going to go to the Closing Ceremonies?

ANDRE AGASSI: I haven't thought past the gold medal match yet.

Q. What exactly did your dad tell you about this or what were your conversations like leading up to the Olympics, just his excitement?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes. Just it's a once in a lifetime. Something he's never forgotten, something that certainly, now, I'll never forget. But he's careful about making winning the gold more important than the experience of being here. So it wasn't much said as far as words beyond that.

Q. Andre, Tim said you did not have a sloppy point the entire match. Was that kind of intensity something you felt right before you started?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes. I ran for every ball. I was going to leave everything I had out there. That's the kind of intensity that makes guys want to get off the court after the first 25 minutes of the match.

Q. Was the delay at all bothersome, given the importance of the match to you?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, really had nothing planned on my schedule today. (Laughter.)

 
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