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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION

1996 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Flushing Meadows, New York

August 29, 1996

A. AGASSI/L. Paes

3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-0

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

Q. Andre, what were you thinking about at one set down, Love-4 in the second set?

ANDRE AGASSI: Luscious hooters (laughter). It's an Al Bundy joke. I was thinking, "What the hell am I going to do?" He was playing out-of-this world tennis. It felt like I was doing everything I could do the first set. I didn't feel like I donated my serve. I felt like he played a great game to break me. I was on his serve for most of the set, had a couple deuce games, a couple 15-30s. I just couldn't quite break him because of the shots he was coming up with. Then in the second, I think that he even got his confidence when he closed out that first set, his confidence raised, went for first shots, came up with spectacular ones. Really I was just dodging bullets at that point, not knowing how to just -- I was trying to slow it down, change it up. I had to elevate my game, hitting bigger, take more chances. He was hitting a lot of low balls, a lot of fast shots, with the wind swirling around, wasn't easy to pick up. Wasn't like I could hit it to his backhand, slice it, hit it up the line, run for it. When he was slicing, it was moving. I was doing everything I could just not to make errors.

Q. So what changed?

ANDRE AGASSI: I just stepped it up a little bit. I mean, I didn't feel like I was playing that badly really. I started driving through my shots a bit more, taking a few more chances. I think he came down a little bit. Certainly it was impossible really for anyone to play much better than he was playing. I knew that he would come down a little bit if I could just use the opportunity to step it up. I just really wasn't expecting to be able to pull back in the second, actually win the second. It just turned around. From that point I started getting a little stronger, he came down a little bit. Physically he looked a little tired, wasn't moving as explosively.

Q. What specific things did you try at that point, specific things you tried to do?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I was trying to come in a little bit. He was hitting screaming, on-the-full-run passing shots by me. I was trying to make him hit low volleys. He was hitting drop volley winners off my returns. I was trying to get him away from the net by lobbing, having a shot at a pass, but throwing up a lob. He was hitting backhands and forehand overheads for put-aways. I just felt like every time I made a selection for a shot, he had an answer for it.

Q. Once you won the fifth game of the second set, could you sense how much -- immediately sense how much that took out of him?

ANDRE AGASSI: To go 1-4, it wasn't that big of a deal. He's still two breaks. What happened after that became what was a big deal. It wasn't like, "Okay, after that game, now the match is under my control." He's up 6-3, 4-1, serving. I knew at that point I was only going to get stronger. My only hope was keeping ahead so he knew how long of a road he had in order to put me away. It just turned around rather quickly.

Q. Ever have a match like that before where you were flat on your back, got up and just raced through the rest of the match to win it?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, it has happened. This is probably as extreme as you get to be down 6-3, 4-Love, then to win the next 18 of 19 games. Never would have thought at 6-3, 4-Love that was it, he was only going to get one more game.

Q. At 4-Love, did you feel the second set was lost?

ANDRE AGASSI: I felt like it would have been a difficult effort. My chances weren't good of winning the second certainly, just based on the fact I hadn't broken his serve yet. That wasn't going to stop me from trying to break his serve because that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to break his serve and let him know that every game I'm thinking about winning.

Q. What prompted you to seek out the supervisor?

ANDRE AGASSI: I felt like on a couple of his forehands early, his grunt extended well beyond his shot. He would get pumped up and grunt really loud. You have the tendency to feel like the shot is bigger than it is. I feel that crosses, you know, a professional line inside the game, that you just want to make sure that's not the case. If his shot is too good, it's too good because it's too good, not because all of a sudden you jumped on your heels because he's still grunting as you're trying to get your racquet on the ball.

Q. What did you say?

ANDRE AGASSI: The supervisor watched and he agreed with it. To not grunt and then all of a sudden have an exorbitant, extended kind of Tarzan yell was a little bit too much. Leander is a great entertainer out there. I think he has a flair for the game. He knows when he senses blood, and he goes for it. All of a sudden he gets that shot, that's fine, all inside the lines, just don't do it.

Q. You got it corrected, I take it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah.

Q. At what point was that when you talked to the supervisor?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. Early in the second, I think. In my own mind, I was thinking about the possibility of being down two sets, but still committed to pulling it out, certainly making him play that type of tennis to beat me. I had visions of being at dinner tonight going, "What the hell happened out there?"

Q. Is Brooke here?

ANDRE AGASSI: No.

Q. Have you bought any new toys lately, you had the four-wheel drive? Any new items you picked up?

ANDRE AGASSI: No.

Q. Nothing new?

ANDRE AGASSI: No.

Q. Have you played many points better than that one in the third game of the first set, after you went over and shook his hand? What was that?

ANDRE AGASSI: I play a better point when I hit a first serve and see my opponent miss it (laughter).

Q. Andre, have you requested not to have Loconto do any of your matches here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Dana, no.

Q. Would it bother you if he did one?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I wasn't bothered by anything in Indy outside the fact that I felt like they went from warning to default. I've walked that line in the past. All of a sudden I went over the line and it wasn't with something that quite honestly I felt justified it. Had they just told me that we can just say, "Default." I wish it would have had the direct contact with me to say that. I don't look at it as Dana's issue. Certainly called the supervisor out there pretty quick. I'm guessing he got together and had a big powwow of some sort. That's part of the game. If I cross the line, that's fine. I wish somebody had told me before it happened. Now I know, so now I know.

Q. Is it fair to say that you just don't see players like Paes with this style?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. Honestly, I'm a big fan of Leander. I enjoy watching him. I enjoy playing against him. I think he -- I'd like to see him get his game together on a consistent level, because I think he can only add to this sport. I think he's talented enough to.

Q. Andre, was that point in the third game of the first set the most entertaining point for the entertainment value of the whole match?

ANDRE AGASSI: I would probably have to say so. It really -- it was 15-30 at 2-All, 1-All maybe. I could have gone up two breakpoints. I think had it been at set point, then that point is kind of over the top, one of those memories that kind of go in your mind. We had another good one late in the match at a crucial point for me to go up to break him for the second set. It was definitely an exciting point. When you're in it, you're not thinking about anything but where is the ball, "How do I get there as quickly as possible?" When it's all kind of said and done, you realize that you covered the court six times over and lost the damn point (laughter).

Q. On balance, if you look at this match on balance, the way you hit the ball, the way you struck the ball in this match, is the quality of play that you had today good enough to win a final at the US Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, it's the second round. No. If I played this way in the final, there's a heck of a chance it would be against Pete or somebody of that nature, and I probably wouldn't have won the match.

Q. I'm not talking about the way he hit, but the way you hit the ball today.

ANDRE AGASSI: Right. But that's the whole idea of a Grand Slam. You do what you've got to do to win the match. You step it up as you go. I mean, when I step up to return Pete's serve, it's a whole different mind set. When you get the early ball second point of the match, you know what you have to do and so you willingly go for it knowing that if you do less, you're going to lose anyhow. You just step it up as you go. If you're asking me am I comfort with where my game is at today? Absolutely. To be down 6-3, 4-Love, no disgrace with the way he's playing.

 
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