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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

1997 NEWSWEEK CHAMPIONS CUP
Indian Wells, CA

 

March 11, 1997

 

M. PHILIPPPOUSSIS/A. Agassi

7-6, 7-6

An interview with:

 

ANDRE AGASSI

 

GREG SHARKO: First question for Andre.

 

Q. Do you feel that your match tough or do you think that played a factor today for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think so. I think any two tiebreak, set, match, you got a few points to decide it. I definitely can call on a few moments when I had been in that position a few more times, I could have possibly won it 7-6, 6-2; stretched it out in the second and closed it out. But, it wasn't there today.

 

Q. How difficult is his serve to handle Andre?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is not difficult if you can get your racket on it. (laughter). But, it is a big serve. It is certainly the best part of his game. But, presents problems if somebody can hold consistently. I had my looks at breakpoints, though, I don't -- I certainly would be optimistic returning it again. But, I just have to be willing to do the right things when you do get your opportunities and that is what it boils down to. I had Love-40 once 15-40 once breakpoints another time and it was like -- that is when it requires you to just be match tough and make sure you play the right shot. Even if you miss it and a couple of those points, I didn't play the right shot; even if I had made it, I think, afterwards, I would have said, well, it went my way, but I didn't play the right shot there.

 

Q. Is it not being match-tough that caused your a poor start to this season or your long layoff?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think both. I think it is one in the same. It is not -- I haven't anticipated it being an easy road, by any means. I certainly don't think it is going to get any easier. But, got to start somewhere.

 

Q. When you have admittedly the best return of serve in the game playing against the best server in the game, would there be something wrong at game point to alter your stance and move back and give yourself a better look?

ANDRE AGASSI: You give yourself more time by backing up, but you also expose a longer area of court to cover. Backing up is good under certain conditions. Which I did. I was standing a bit further back than I would normally against anybody. Just because an extra second helps, but the second you start going further back, then all of a sudden his 118s start beating you by a mile. I rather have his 135 beat me.

 

Q. Andre, has your layoff done the trick in terms of rekindling your appetite, the grind?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it is definitely what it is about. It is definitely about the intensity inside each point and the desire to want to win every point. And, that is certainly what I have very quickly assessed as the center of the core of my game. And, you know, I am not just out there for the hell of it. I want to -- I am excited to play. I want to see the improvements in my game and I think that a slow start would be expected, but I can make improvements pretty quick. There is no question if I get a few a matches like this, you know, I can keep rolling, so I don't -- I don't really want to make more of it than necessary. I need more matches. My desire is definitely there.

 

Q. How long would it be before you maybe start to get a little worried about your form?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. What is there to worry? I just got to be willing to accept where I am and keep getting better. I will start worrying if I don't feel like I am making improvements.

 

Q. Matches is the key to it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Definitely. I mean, unfortunately, I think too many people say win or lose if you are playing well or not. I think that is the case when you are at your best, when you are playing the end of a tournament, somebody is playing better than you can win, but where you are at -- where I am right now, sometimes a few shots beat yourself. So, I am not really worried about my game. I feel like I am making obviously big improvements, trust me. If you really want my honest answer, that is it. I appreciate your concern, though. (laughter).

 

Q. Andre, at this stage in your career why not play a little bit of doubles just to get some more match-play?

ANDRE AGASSI: That is just more tennis-play. That is not more match-play.

 

Q. Well, they are matches. I know that they are doubles matches rather than singles matches, but you are still competing?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, but once you are focused on two shots, you are focused on getting the return down and cracking the next ball. That is not what I need in my match-play. For singles, I need to get back to the discipline of grinding somebody. It is tough to -- unless I hit lob over the net; man he runs it down; I lob over the net; man again, he runs it down; then the points are very quick. It is not about -- it can help you for specific areas, like, shots, it can help you on your return, and your serve; help on your volleys. And, I think it is great for that. But you got to get out there and play singles matches to stand the chance of winning those crucial situations.

 

Q. When I last saw you in Munich, when we asked about when you were going to come back, you kind of left it a bit open-ended. So when was it that you -- was it sort of mid-January or something when you decided right enough of a break, I am now going to start working?

ANDRE AGASSI: I started my training straight from Munich, but the first week of it getting yourself back into the -- getting your body familiar with what it's about to go through and after Christmas I was working hard. I had a little setback with my ankle in January, and didn't allow me to be ready for the Davis Cup which turned out to be a good thing because we won down there. And, then I had a lot of excitement and intensity to just be practicing hard a few weeks; got ready for San Jose; lost to a guy who is making me play one- two-ball ball tennis and when you are not match sharp or playing sharp, it is an easy one to get away. Obviously I had problems with my ankle in Memphis and couldn't even stand on it for a week; not to mention start playing for two. And, I had about two days to hit the ball before Scottsdale, probably shouldn't have played there because of where it was. But I wanted the matches and practiced my butt off and I felt like I played pretty well today. I am not -- I mean, for where I am, I know I can play a lot better, but, you know, it is definitely a step up, definitely a step up.

 

Q. You mentioned Davis Cup. What about the next Tie, are you decided yet on that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Probably ask Gully if you want to do it formally, but I am going to play. Sorry, Gully. (laughter).

 

Q. Andre, why do you think your father was driven to produce a tennis champion?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you might want to ask him. He will answer it better. I think he just loved the game. I think he was a boxer and didn't want his son playing a contact sport (laughter) And he got fascinated with the game when he was about 25 years old. And, he is still convincing more than anybody.

 

Q. Do you find -- you see guys like Sampras and Edberg who are kind of relentless in their commitment. Do you kind of find that hard to identify with and nothing really, what happened to Pete in the last 18 months, seems to kind of derail him. Can you identify with that or is that just not going to be you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, first of all, you got to look at the physical differences. I mean, the tangible differences. Pete can play a bad set and then play one good game at 5-All and beat somebody 7-5 just because he happens to hold serve. With me, if I play a bad set, there is a hell after chance I am losing the set. So it requires more intensity on those moments or days when I might not be at my best. But, that is not to minimize his accomplishment. I think what he and Eddy have managed to accomplish is phenomenal. I can identify with that level of tennis, but I think year in year out, doing it, is something that is admirable. I only have respect for it. I don't -- I don't know other areas of their life well enough to respect them. I know that their tennis requires a lot of respect.

 

Q. Your preparation will be different or similar for the French Open this year?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think where I am right now is just again back to the matches. I feel like it is just really matches; that is what I need to do. If I don't get the matches in, then I won't be ready for any tournament; certainly the big ones. But, I got to get to the grind-mentality; got to be able to work myself into the ground knowing that I am doing things right; I am working my opponent harder. And, if I can manage to have that during the clay season, you know, I can certainly present obstacles for a lot of guys. So that is what I am shooting for, just to the physical presence of just working myself in order to accomplish my strength of my game, which is breaking somebody down.

 

Q. Last couple of Frenches were so different because of the weather. Is there any, you know -- would you rather have it hot and dry and fast or rainy and humid and slow like two years ago as opposed to last year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Really all depends who you are playing. I think if you play, you know, one of the Spanish boys you are going to hope it is quicker. All of a sudden it is quicker and you are playing Philippoussis; you are going to say "I wish it was heavier today." It all depends who you are playing.

 

Q. Do you feel you can go either way on that with your game and your versatility?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, my record speaks for itself. I have had a few success there. I have had a few failures there. So, I mean, we will have to wait and see on that one.

 

Q. What is your favorite place to play and least favorite place to play?

ANDRE AGASSI: You mean actually on the court or you mean the city or --

 

Q. Court and site court or site?

ANDRE AGASSI: Court and?

 

Q. No, "or" site.

ANDRE AGASSI: I'd have to say my favorite stops are -- I really look forward to these stretch of tournaments. Certainly, if I had to list them in order Key Biscayne and Scottsdale.

 

Q. What about least favorite?

ANDRE AGASSI: Least favorite, Hamburg is pretty tough; lots of snow there.

 

Q. Are you planning a long buildup in European clay to Roland Garros or not this year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, I have Hamburg and Barcelona and I am going to be over at the French early playing hopefully an event there before Paris, but I can't -- I don't know when you ask that if you mean if I am going to be there for a 3-month stretch or 2-month stretch. No, I am not going to do that. I know myself well enough to know what I have to do to be at my best. And, I got to do it right on the court. I got to do it right off the court. If I am doing one of those wrong, it all breaks down, so those tournaments should be good if I am doing it right out there.

 

Q. What is it like at those Hollywood functions like the Golden Globes; is it fun?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is fun just because of an opportunity to see my girl achieve a lot of goals. Outside that, I just as soon as order in a pizza.

 

Q. Nobody else really kind of caught your eye?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, sometimes a cagey lady will walk by with a nice looking dress on. Outside that, no (laughter). That part of my life is very clear. I enjoy supporting Brooke and everything that she values, so that is why I enjoy being there.

 

Q. How about that cafe in Vegas, is there going to be a chain of those?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, that is the third one. That is already opened.

 

Q. Anymore like planet Hollywood?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, we should be so lucky to achieve that. I think, you know, the success of it will happen if it is successful. Next one will open up in Australia.

 

Q. Does your Gold Medal mean more to you than your Wimbledon title and what did you do with the Gold Medal?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it is tough to separate the two. Because of what they represent. I mean, accomplishing the pinnacle in your sport versus being a gold Medalist, you know, they are really two entirely separate things. One has to do with tennis and one feels like it has nothing to do with tennis. If there was a fire in my use and I could only grab one thing I would grab the Gold Medal, I think. It is up in my house.

 
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