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Écrit par Jerome   


August 10, 1996

A. AGASSI/T. Muster

6-4, 6-1

An interview with:


GREG SHARKO: With the win today Andre improves his lifetime here to 16 and 14; winning his nine 9 matches here and he also improved his win streak to 10 which is his longest since last summer. Okay, first question.

Q. Do you feel like you are pretty good?

ANDRE AGASSI: Did I feel like I am playing pretty good? Yeah, certainly. Felt real good.

Q. He did not make a big thing about it, but he said maybe there was a bit of extra motivation after what you developed with him earlier in the year about the ranking.

ANDRE AGASSI: I would have looked bad? I don't understand. Why.

Q. You criticized him earlier in the year.


Q. About the ranking.

ANDRE AGASSI: Right, what did I say?

Q. Maybe you thought you had a point to prove. You beat him today. You had extra motivation.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I think my motivation is real simple. He is No. 2 in the world and he has been playing some good tennis, so I want to go out there and prove that I can win the match, no matter who I am playing.

Q. You talked about subtleties yesterday. Was there much subtlety out there today?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, a lot needs to be subtle to be that -- to be that focused and I mean, I was working him left and right and maybe sometimes five, six, seven shots before he you got the one ball you were waiting for, so you have to wait that long to get your shot, you got to be -- you got to make sure you are moving well. You got to make sure you are executing all your shots well. Got make sure you have got variety. All the things need to be clicking or else it is a long day.

Q. Is Thomas the type of player that you have to be focused against more than almost anyone else?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I would probably rank Chang higher than that as far as somebody you need to stay on top of and you need to stay focused. I think Chang has a way of getting back into matches. You know, Thomas is a great front runner. When he gets on top of you, he can really bear you and make you feel like you have got a long ways to come back and win the match, but once you get on top of him, I don't feel like he is then like a Chang who at any moment can turn the whole match around.

Q. Was there a turning point to this match - maybe going back to the very first break - but was there something else in your mind?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I think it was a very straight straight forward match. We both were trying to take initiative in the points; both trying to control the points; both trying to break the other one down and it was just a question of who was going to do it. If I was going to let him get away with him pushing me off the baseline or if he was going to allow me to push him off the baseline and I managed to get the better end of it.

Q. Had you planned that many drop shots?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't like when anyone is 50 feet behind the baseline and just making you hit it harder and harder to end the point, so it is a nice change of pace. It certainly was not a shot that I was counting on to win points, but it is definitely one used to set up my bigger shots. He has to have that in his mind, if I making a few of those -- when a guy is that far back an average drop shot would usually get the point, at least in your favor, if not get you to win it.

Q. Are you surprised he never came in and never forced you to use that shot?

ANDRE AGASSI: Came to net? No, that doesn't surprise me.

Q. No, came in a little bit closer --

ANDRE AGASSI: How many times did I hit it? Six times.

Q. Maybe more.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, maybe six times. And I am thinking that I hit a lot more huge forehands that were pushing him back so if he came forward, the rest of my game would have opened up even bigger. So he needed to cover, you know, what part of my game I do the best, which is taking that ball early and just cracking it hard and so has to respect that as well. There is a lot of things to respect about opponents when you are out there and you just got to know -- in a sense you have got to get in their head and know what they are thinking sometimes, if maybe your game isn't handling the offense.

Q. When he has had success against you, what was different?


Q. I was off yesterday, so I wasn't here, but I watched part of your match on TV. It was the last part. Earlier the question was what was the turning point. Was the turning point maybe yesterday in the middle of the third set because you played -- starting with maybe when it was 3-3 or 4-3 or something like that, you had a hell of a run including today. It started almost when you yelled shut-up at somebody. I asked some of the guys here yesterday if that came up --

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no, I didn't yell shut-up. Kafelnikov yelled shet-up.

Q. Oh, that was him? Because the camera was so far away we couldn't tell, but we heard somebody yell shetup.

ANDRE AGASSI: I yelled "are you hear to watch the scoreboard or watch the match?" Because they were bitchin about the scoreboard being off, the score was wrong, so we spent two points while people were yelling, "what is the score?" (LAUGHTER).

Q. You really made a run, didn't you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, like I have been saying all along to get through these matches is key. If I would say there was a turning point, I would say it was the practice before the finals of the Olympics. It was like I felt my game elevate. I brought it to a new level in the finals. I came here and worked through some matches again and played a lot better against Kafelnikov and like I said, after my match yesterday, now I am in the proper place to really elevate my game and that is what happens. And tomorrow could even be stronger. This is a back -- I am back in a place with my game again where I feel like everyday I am getting better and better which is a nice feeling.

Q. Are you a little concerned the way the schedule works this year you will be playing three weeks in a row?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I mean,, it is nice for me to be out there playing this way again. It is nice to push the standard of tennis when you are out there. It is nice to feel yourself getting better and it is nice to look forward to big tournaments. It is like the first time this year where I am going into a Grand Slam event really feeling like I am not only playing really well, but I am also fresh and ready, so I am not really too concerned about having too much tennis. I really haven't played enough all year to feel the toll of that.

Q. As significant as the gold medal was to you, do you ever fight the possibility of a let-down (inaudible)?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I didn't because I felt like winning the gold medal was certainly a pinnacle in a lot of ways, but it was also the start for me in a lot of ways, and coming here, I really wanted to carry that momentum. You know when I am dedicated and focused and intense about my game, I keep getting better and better as the matches -- as the tournament goes on and that is what I wanted to do.

Q. Can you talk about the differences just in your mental approach and your focus, like you are this week as opposed to a tournament where say you find your mind wandering. At a tournament like this, do you spend more time thinking about tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it is a by-product certainly of when you get back to that place of really believing that you can get better, you know, that when I step on the court to practice, I really go out there expecting to be a better tennis player when I walk off and when you feel that exhilaration of that -- which is what Brad has brought to my game really making something happen, you know, we are not out here to just spend a lot of time. We are out here to work on something and get something better. You find yourself thinking about a lot of things, about other matches and about how this guy matches into this guy's game and you go to sleep at night dreaming about Thomas Muster.

Q. Did you?


Q. Last night?

ANDRE AGASSI: He wasn't necessarily in my dreams. He was there before I fell asleep - let us put it that way. But, you know, you do, because you look forward to it. You look forward to getting out there and competing. If your mind is wandering the biggest part -- the difference today is you don't hit that 7th, 8th 9th ball that ends up exploiting an opening where you put the shot away and make the person fear you. You end up missing the shot earlier; then the guy feels like, well, all I have to do is work hard and I am going to win this, then you are dealing with a much tougher battle, so being that intense and focused is certainly the key to that level of tennis.

Q. Thomas said the intensity and the focus is just because the Open is coming up and how much of it is reaching personal goals or anything else?

ANDRE AGASSI: It would be tough to say exactly what it is and because I don't think it is just one or two things. I think it has been a combination of a lot of things. After last fall I didn't play and then I wasn't as prepared or confident going into Australian Open. I had a lot of five-setters and finally got my game around at Key Biscayne went to the clay and didn't -- you know, wasn't confident on that to begin with, and didn't play enough matches. Lost early in the French. Didn't play a tournament before England. Went to the grass. Didn't find my rhythm there. Then I -- I kept persevering, kept working hard and committed myself to getting over this obstacle and to get my game sharp again and to continue it; not to let it get away. And I have finally done it. I think if you miss September, October, November, December, you know, you miss four months. You got to look at least four to six months before you are going to be back to where you were. Every month you miss is every month you need. Maybe even more.

Q. Thomas was in here and he said to beat you have to kill him with power, either with serve or by playing faster than him which is almost impossible. Is there another way?

ANDRE AGASSI: You can be good looking and wearing a skirt on the other side, that would have a shot. When I am playing well, it is certainly a tough game to beat, but there are a lot of guys out there that way. I think in Thomas' game and in his own right he earns that respect as well.

Q. Andre, many of the players that are up at the same level as yourself who do you get the most satisfaction from with a win against a Sampras because of the rivalry, or from the last 18 months? Is it Muster? Is it Chang? Who do you feel most satisfying over with a win?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think probably the most satisfying win for me is Pete and then probably Chang. I mean, those, I think, are the two guys that in my mind deserve a lot of respect for their games and their competitiveness, but I think Pete foremost just based on the fact that when I am on the other side of the net I know I am going to see his best tennis, I just know it. I mean, it is one thing for Pete just to get beat and it is another thing for him to step out on the court against me and get beat. Those could be two separate levels of tennis going on there and when I am playing Pete he is absolutely, nine out of ten times, at the top of his game and so that win is extremely satisfying just based on the fact that he is the best player in the world. I mean, he has proved it now for a few years. Chang, on the other hand, because it requires so much persistence and similar to today's match, it requires that discipline, that focus, that commitment, and you have to -- in another way, you have to dig down pretty deep too when you walk off the court, you know, you feel pretty good about it.

Q. So conversely, a loss to Pete and Chang is all the more disappointing?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I think quite the opposite. When you lose to a guy like Pete or guy like Michael, a lot of times you feel like you were beat, with Pete especially, with Michael, -- Michael likes to get to guys by them getting them to beat themselves, which is a whole aspect of the game that I think the public doesn't appreciate enough.

Q. What about Enqvist and him playing tomorrow?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is about time for his game to start coming around again. It has been awhile since he fell to the face of the earth, but it is nice to see him hitting the ball the way that I have seen him do it in the past. He is a good all court player. From the ground he hits big, serves big, a good hold game, has good break game. And he is a guy that, you know, you have to take it to him. You just can't wait for the match to come to you.

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