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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

1996 GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE ATP CHAMPIONSHIP
CINCINNATI, OHIO

August 7, 1996

A. AGASSI/M. Larsson

6-3, 2-6, 6-4

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

GREG SHARKO: With that win today, Andre has now beaten his last 13 Swedish opponents he has played dating back to last year. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER)

ANDRE AGASSI: Dating back to when?

GREG SHARKO: Of Philly.

ANDRE AGASSI: That is what I was going to say. So many so many Swedes? That is nothing personal. It is just business out there.

Q. How did the heat factor in your game today?

ANDRE AGASSI: Wasn't too hot. Humid. Need a lot of fluids. Make sure you are drinking a lot and running less than your opponent.

Q. What happened in the second set?

ANDRE AGASSI: Like I said, didn't feel too bad about my tennis at all, quite the contrary. I felt like I was playing real well. In the second I had easy holds the whole match. I don't think he got to 30 until the game that he actually broke me. And that game, the first serve of the game, I hit a good wide serve; he got his racket out clean winner back crosscourt on the line and it was like he was off to the races that game again. Then he picked up his service holds, I think throughout the rest of the match, and at 5-2 he played two great points. I missed an easy volley at Love-30; then broke him for the set. So I felt like I needed to kind of step up early in the third and we just -- it was back to the easy hold games for me which is a good sign.

Q. This is your first match since Atlanta. Did you feel any sort of let-down or are you used to it, the fact that you win a Grand Slam; you got to go on to a next tournament?

ANDRE AGASSI: I kind of feel like in most cases it would be a let-down and you got to kind of get your way back into it, but I haven't played a lot of tennis this year, so it is has kind of been nice to keep that momentum, I really feel a bit excited actually and I find myself extremely motivated and just -- I feel myself getting better every day, I like that.

Q. You have had lot of pressure coming back to Cincinnati since you were the champion; that we are expecting something of you?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I mean, it is nice to win here. It is a tough tournament to win; great field, 9 out of the top 10 this year so to win a tournament like this, what you did last year, what you are seeded, just one match at a time, I am not really thinking about the fact that I won it at all.

Q. Much was made last summer of opportunities to meet Pete head-to-head. Only happened once this year, but you are going into two straight tournaments where it could loom. Do you find that -- I mean, obviously you are taking it a match at a time, but do you look for those opportunities and it obviously means you are both playing well --

ANDRE AGASSI: I can count a lot of guys on my hands that I need to worry about than Pete this year. I have had a lot of losses and those losses aren't ones that I really feel like -- I felt like I should have got through a lot of those matches. So to think about Pete is not something that I did -- I am doing the same thing this year as I did last year. I do not think about him at all unless I go to sleep and he is the guy that I am playing tomorrow. He is the guy to beat, in my opinion, if you want to claim that you are playing the best tennis, so, in that sense, I always hope to meet him.

Q. Did the net thing bother you there at 3-All in the third you look like you wanted to (Inaudible.)

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, he kept putting it back on the side of the net where if the ball hit it, the net would just swipe it out and it happened twice. It is like, you know, put it on the other side. You don't have to be Sherlock to figure that one out. Just put it on the other side and the net wouldn't slam into it.

Q. Did you tell him that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I told him, but you know 15,000 people were staring at him, he was all worked up.

Q. Did you not want to slow it down at that point, two points (inaudible)?

ANDRE AGASSI: I ended up breaking him that game, but he had a first serve coming, so it not like-- he was, in a sense, pretty lucky to get another shot at that first serve because it hit the tape. We were both regrouped and ready to play. It wasn't -- he actually missed a pretty easy forehand volley on that point, which, you know, maybe he was thinking about the net - I don't know.

Q. Anything you found in your game in Atlanta that maybe was lacking throughout the year?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is a combination of a lot of things. Combination of matchplay; getting the matches in; getting through those close ones so that you can get your confidence and your game down to such a precision. Today we had a long point at 15-All, he hit a lie loop that was bouncing pretty deep and he was off the court. I took a high loop that is going to bounce and go clearly over my head, on the rise, inside my right shoulder, inside out a few inches from the line for a winner; you miss that shot, 15-30, he might break you and the match boils down to a few key shots and if you are not zoned in, so you need the matchplay to keep sharp. I think also my footwork, I have worked a lot on my moving. I am moving much better than I had been all year. And just the grit, the grind of it, the desire to want to break your opponent down as opposed to just win the match.

Q. You talked about how you were feeling fresh and eager now. Can you remember the last time you really felt as good as you do now?

ANDRE AGASSI: It has been awhile, hasn't it? (LAUGHTER) I would say -- I would have to go back to -- at some point over last summer, you know, I mean, I felt like I really couldn't lose, to be quite honest. It was at a place in my game that was quite a confident level.

Q. People talk a lot about the Open and how it had taken a lot out of you last year. Did you feel that or did it take a couple of months had you to sort of look back at it (inaudible)?

ANDRE AGASSI: It wasn't just the Open. It was all the tennis I played, Washington, Montreal, Cincy, New Haven, the Open I didn't lose a match until the Finals at the Open. That is a lot of matches in a short period of time.

Q. Did you feel it immediately?

ANDRE AGASSI: It came down hard. It was like after the Open, I mean, I just absolutely just came down hard. I just -- I felt tired. I felt drained. I felt -- then I had to rally back up a week later for Davis Cup; that is where I injured myself, so it was just a bit of burnout, but also a bit of misfortune.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ANDRE AGASSI: That certainly explains the start of the year and then I started getting my game together, if you remember, in Key Biscayne, that was on a hard court place that I am really comfortable getting my game together on and then we went straight to the clay and, you know, I have just -- as I really was close -- if I had one more tournament on hard court, one more big event, you know, if it happened a week earlier and I could have won Palm Springs, Key Biscayne, I think maybe my confidence -- I would have had enough matches to get me through that clay season. Then I would have got through the five-setter at the French; then maybe carried on to the quarters, semis, who knows. Then I wouldn't have had to worry about the tennis not played before Wimbledon, but instead I have three weeks, four weeks before Wimbledon starts. Now I got to get my game together again only to get back out there on grass and I never quite found my rhythm. I could have done that at Wimbledon. I could have gotten through the first round; started believing in myself; getting my confidence together again, but it wasn't to be. I lost early there. And then the next thing I had was the Olympics, so I just practiced five times as much as I normally would, even through the good tennis that I have played, I have certain things that I don't ask myself to do. I always do quality; not quantity when I practice. And I was spending a lot of time on the court, ten days before Washington; played Washington; took my lump there. And fortunately I worked through a few close matches in the Olympics; just been something that I had to persevere through and nothing that I have been too concerned about, just concerned enough to deal with it.

 
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