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1996 U.S. OPEN

September 4, 1996

A. AGASSI/T. Muster

6-2, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2


An interview with:



Q. Andre, seems like you haven't put together a Grand Slam match like that since Becker last year; really seemed at a very high level. Is that how you feel?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, I came into the Slam with a lot of confidence; certainly more than I went into the last three Slams with. I feel like my game was getting better as I was going along. Certainly when you get to the quarterfinals, it is time to raise it and play real well at the right time.

Q. That was your best match of the tournament, yes?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, absolutely.

Q. Did winning in Atlanta help put you on a winning trail here?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think that was part of a lot of things that helped me get through a few tough ones there; get some confidence going, and --

Q. Two days ago he made some remarks about -- derogatory remarks about your coach, Brad Gilbert. Are you aware of those remarks and was that a factor in any way in the match today?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I am really only responsible for half the situation and half the court and that is all I try to worry about. I mean, I know about the remarks and quite honestly, I wish there was more respect there Brad has been retired for three years, I just think, you know, just let it go, you know, it is not -- it is really worth commenting on.

Q. He said he really respects you a lot as a tennis player. Do you feel the same way about him?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, there is no question. I mean, it is nice to feel the respect. Next time I wish he would look me in the eye when you shake hands. I feel like we had a battle out there. But I definitely respect him as a tennis player. He grinds out match after match. He punches in the clock every time he steps on the court and he never loses for lack of effort and there is a lot to respect about that.

Q. You played Jimmy Connors on this court and in many other venues. His coach said that Muster had the guts of Jimmy Connors. Do you think -- could you comment on that? Is that accurate?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think if you had to point out guys that are not going -- that are not going to give up, certainly Connors would come to mind and certainly Muster would come to mind and Chang would come to mind. There is a few guys that have that kind of intensity match after match. I think Muster has that intensity.

Q. The way the first two games went, 17 minutes to play the first two, what was going through your mind as far as what was going to unfold there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Just it was just a war. Get ready for a battle here.

Q. Did you expect that all the way through?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, absolutely.

Q. Did the rain delay, however brief, help you at all?

ANDRE AGASSI: I got Love-40 on the serve, but I hit some good shots to do that, so it is never easy to really stop for a few minutes then have to be the one serving, so it probably did lend itself to a good, you know, jump-start there.

Q. He seemed to be content with the counterpunch off your serve, playing you about five feet from the baseline. Does that sort of light up your eyes to see him back there that far?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, he is back that far in every return. His game is not meant to take anything on the rise unless he is hitting his forehand and he is in complete control of the point. There were a couple of times he got around my second and stepped into the court and hit the forehand. But it is not high percentage for him to play inside the baseline because then if you get it to his backhand that is an awkward shot really for any one-hander to hit unless they are chipping and charging.

Q. He said the only player that can beat you right now is somebody that serves you ace after ace after ace. Are you feeling that way and is there anybody that you fear at this point?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, it is all a question of where your game is that day. I mean, you are talking about a level so precise that if I show up Saturday and I am a notch down and Chang all of a sudden goes from not really playing a lot of top ranked players to, you know, really pumped up to finally get a look at another top ranked player and he steps it up, it could be a whole different story. So I mean, hindsight is 20/20, but the point is you got to wait to see what happens. I mean, if I am hitting like this, I am confident against anybody, certainly.

Q. Andre, was there some kind of running commentary between your coach, Brad and Thomas in this match or friends of yours and Thomas? He was mentioning some guys were acting like a bunch of idiots. He is seemed to intimate that it wasn't just a normal group of fans. Can you shed any light on that? Was something else going on?

ANDRE AGASSI: I know that I have some enthusiastic supporters, but certainly all of them hold themselves to a standard that would respect, you know, the athletes out there. That --

Q. Andre, his comment was "they were breaking my balls."

ANDRE AGASSI: Breaking my what?

Q. "My balls." (audience laughter)

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I can't hear from that side of court. That would certainly surprise me.

Q. After this week, the Center Court will no longer be the prime show-court here. Of all your matches, do you have either a favorite match or sweetest moment in all your matches out there over the years?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I would have to say probably one of my strongest memories was the 1989 quarterfinals against Connors. Last year semifinals against Boris. And of course, the Championship, serving for the U.S. Open was a feeling I will never forget, and put together a good game and winning this Championship was -- I will never forget that. I will never forget the long walks out to the court too. I will miss them too.

Q. You alluded to with Michael Chang's matchup with you. What are his strengths on the hard courts?

ANDRE AGASSI: Michael's strength as a tennis player is he starts with his speed. There is really not a sport you can name that speed isn't a strong weapon. And he has that. He also has 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 game plans that he will go to if he needs to, you know, so he can come at you with a lot of different looks. He can go out there and I have played him at times when he is just kicking his first serve and looking to hurt me on the first shot. I have played him other times where he serves 17 aces. I have played him other times where he just stays back and counterpunches and looks for me to make mistakes. I have played him other times where he takes the short ball and tries to get in as soon as possible. He is just a pain in the ass to be quite honest (audience laughter).

Q. Were you any more juiced up for this match than you normally would be?

ANDRE AGASSI: I was pumped for this match because of the level of tennis that I was expecting. There is no question that we both were coming up fired up to be in the Super Saturday and I knew with his style of play and my style of play that it was going to be important to be nothing but mentally committed to running for every ball and really playing a high level of tennis.

Q. You talk about that walk out from the locker room. What is that like for you? Is there anything like it in tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. There is not. To me, you know, I get the feeling -- I know what a fighter goes through when they are making the long walk to the ring, you know, it is that type of feeling, crowds line you and security keeps their hands from, you know, reaching in, the lights are on and game face is on. It is quite a feeling.

Q. Does it pump you up?

ANDRE AGASSI: Definitely.

Q. How do you see Stefan's chances?

ANDRE AGASSI: Don't count out Stefan, really.

Q. Doubt count him out?

ANDRE AGASSI: Don't count him out, right. He is definitely playing against a top level player who can hit fireballs, with the matchup, if he gets his racket on a few first serves comes flying in, you know, he can work it. He is a veteran. He knows how to win big points and it is not like Goran is going to try to weak him down. Goran is going to try to go through him because that is his game. I think Stefan could potentially answer. I mean, I think he is definitely, by no means, a favorite, but I wouldn't be so quick to think that he is just going to go out there and 2, 3 done.

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