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Écrit par Jerome   


Flushing Meadows, New York

August 26, 1996

A. AGASSI/M. Hadad

6-3, 6-3, 6-2

An interview with:


Q. Pretty easy night for you? Pretty good start?

ANDRE AGASSI: I could think of worse things that could have happened tonight. Felt pretty good. Got off to a good start. I stayed on top of him and managed to break away in the end. All around, I'm very pleased.

Q. That was an easy game?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. It's never easy. I mean, a few points here and there changes a lot. He's a streaky kind of crafty player. You're never quite sure exactly if you have the momentum or not. You just try to stay on top of him and put him away. I did that.

Q. You said before that over two weeks of a Slam that conserving energy in the first week is important to pace yourself throughout the fortnight. Did you do that and how do you feel overall as far as energy?

ANDRE AGASSI: In reference to pacing yourself, most of the time it's more mentally than it is physically. If you're squeaking by some tough four or five setters early, you're just dodging bullets and it's a question of what you're going to get hit. It's tough to shake off some long matches and turn around and pick up your game and have easier ones. It's a lot more practical to have your easy matches and then peak at the right time and tough out the right guys. I feel like tonight I went out there and took care of business from start to finish. Based on that, I couldn't be more pleased about the position that it puts me in going into the second match.

Q. Andre, because you won this tournament as an unseeded player, is it hard for you to get up in this whole furor about the little adjustments in the rankings and seedings that so many players are upset about?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I mean, I just try not to get caught up in it at all really. You have to beat seven guys, you know. I wouldn't -- I don't worry about really where I'm seeded. I got the better end of the deal, so to say much more than that might lead one to believe that I just like the fact that it worked out for me. From 9 to 6, ranking versus seeding. By the same token, I was a little disappointed with the ATP choosing this as their platform and choosing this as their fight to fight. I mean, Grand Slams have been doing this for years. The ATP has used the US Open for a platform to announce many things, including start of their Tour. Then for them -- for the USTA to make an admitted mistake and for them to prey upon it, try to somehow take advantage of the situation here in their backyard is disappointing. I can't be a part of that.

Q. Do you think there's anything wrong with sort of the big picture of this, to sort of see you and Sampras, the kind of things that Wimbledon does, stuff the public might want to see? Is there anything really wrong with that kind of thinking?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, you could always argue that it's something that they're doing for the sake of the public, for the sake of the tournament, what have you. Hopefully, I'll try to give the benefit of the doubt, the seedings are based on where they think I should be seeded, you know. I think the ATP Tour ranking is your best 14, so if you pile up one half of the year with great results, might not be reflective of how you're playing this year. Really there's arguments on both sides, and the Grand Slams have been around a lot longer than the ATP. I tend to just go out there and play my tennis.

Q. Do you have some sympathy for Kafelnikov in a situation he felt he was in?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, in one sense I feel bad for Yevgeny. I think he's -- I personally feel like he's a better player than 7 in the world, no question, and should be seeded higher than maybe 7, where I think he was going to be seeded. Hopefully his pull out is because he's injured. I was certainly would not want to think would hurt himself like this to make some kind of point. I know he's young and all, but I think he's a talented enough player to come in here and possibly do real well. I don't understand really, when you talk about only having a few years in this game, to miss out on an opportunity to play in the Open. It's not something that I would really choose for myself.

Q. Do you feel it's unfair for players to bring out your name in the issue rather than discuss what was done by the USTA, the seedings and the draw? Seems like your name has come up with a lot of players.

ANDRE AGASSI: It's tough. It happened a lot with me and Muster, for example. If I highlight Muster as an example, it's easy for one to perceive as if my issue was Muster, when it might not be. The same way if my name comes up in the issue, it might lend one to believe that the issue is about me, when it probably has nothing to do with that. You know, if the issue is about the ranking system and the relevancy of the ATP's ranking system in the Grand Slam tournaments, the ATP is just simply asking for respect. They're asking for something that they're not giving because they're using their backyard to prey upon a mistake that at least the USTA had really the ability to reconsider and admit.

Q. Over 50 players attended that press conference yesterday. Do you feel out of step then with the majority of the players?

ANDRE AGASSI: At some stage -- six years ago when I went to bat for the ATP, I've been down that road. They used me to stand up and support and make the Tour happen. My weight was more than just one player. Then somehow when it comes to any changes that I disagree with, my weight is only one vote. I've gone to bat for the ATP, and it's kicked me in the ass in more than a few ways. I'm just thinking about my tennis, to be quite honest.

Q. Do some players get preferential treatment depending on where the country is from and where the tournament is? Michael Stich pretty much said that earlier today, as far as seedings and rankings go.

ANDRE AGASSI: Again, I would hope that the seedings are based on where they think they should be. I mean, it's hard for me to speak from any really significant platform because, you know, like I've heard mentioned, maybe my situation has been the specific example used. I don't want to come across as if I'm somehow defending what they chose to do with me specifically. I mean, do I feel like I can come into this tournament and win it? Yeah, I do. I also feel like my summer has shown that I am somewhat of a factor. But the issue isn't about really me and what they chose to do with me, it's about the bigger picture here. Quite honestly, I would hope that countries give more support to the players that are from that country in the sense of wildcards. You know, you see England do it, you see Paris do it, you see Australia do it, you see the USTA do it. I don't think that anyone should go beyond favoritism to the point where it's unfair. If they do that or not, it's tough for me to think that they do. I feel like the Grand Slams have seeded the way they've wanted to for a long time. I just am still dumbfounded at why all of a sudden the ATP is choosing this fight.

Q. Andre, to change the topic a little bit. Stefan Edberg is third on tomorrow morning. This is his last Grand Slam. This time last year we were talking about Cal Ripken's streak about to be broken, compared to that context. Just as he prepares to say good-bye, not necessarily tomorrow, but at this Open, can you reflect on both his longevity and as an individual what he's brought to the game?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think Stefan Edberg is a professional that every young person, every athlete strive to emulate. I think he reflects discipline, commitment, ability, talent. He gives back to the game. He only adds to the game. Really his image and his person is impeccable.

Q. Andre, the Olympics, what was it like for you to compete, win in Atlanta? Has it recharged your season?

ANDRE AGASSI: It certainly turned around a very difficult year for me, to win a gold medal. It's one of the few accomplishments that you walk home and say, "Nothing changes the fact that I have a gold medal." There's only one way to go do it: go get one. To me, the gold is not just made the year, it's elevated my career. It's been certainly on a smaller scale a good platform for me to turn some things around. In the next week, I played pretty well and certainly was continuing to play well. I think tonight shows that I'm still playing well.

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