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Écrit par Jerome   


Flushing Meadows, New York

August 31, 1997

A. AGASSI/M. Woodforde

6-2, 6-2, 6-4

An interview with:


Q. Andre, when you play this well, like you have this week, it leaves the rest of us wondering why you cannot or will not commit yourself to playing like this your entire year?

ANDRE AGASSI: You have to answer me why the hell you're wearing a shirt like that first (laughter). Answer it. That's a messed up shirt (laughter).

Q. You're calling my shirt messed up?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I think one of the things that has been most difficult for so many to understand and it's been so difficult for me to balance and somehow get a grip on. The fact is, I'm extreme in what I do, and priorities are ones of which, when something shifts, my intensity does with it. It's hard for me to do something 80 percent and maintain No. 4 in the world, you know. It's a lot easier for me to get intense and enjoy what I do, make it something that everybody else can share in as well. I wish in many respects that I could, you know, balance more at the same time. But part of me says it's not the way I do things. You know, another part of me says, "I'll continue to work on it." As of right now, I've gone through two-year stretches. I've managed to take it from one-year stretches to two years. You know, in the beginning of '80 to '89, 3 in the world to 11 in the world. Back to 4 in the world, back to 13 in the world. You know, then I stretched it to a couple years. I'm trying to give all to everything in my life. And it doesn't seem to do anything but drain you. So I've responded to it real simply by focusing my attention intensely at different times. It's not as simple as saying now I'm trying. It's not as simple as that. I wish it was.

Q. How long will this last?

ANDRE AGASSI: Got out of two-week cycles. Maybe I'll stretch it out a few more months.

Q. What made you think, "I'm going to give tennis 100 percent"?

ANDRE AGASSI: I just think that, you know, you get to a point where you start to realize, okay, I'm either going to make a decision with this, because this isn't fun for me either, you know. I just made a decision to work at it. You know, to start enjoying my work, getting into my work and doing it. It's easy to pay respects to that after three solid wins, but it's something that even without the wins I'd have to come back and do again tomorrow and the next day, whether it's in front of 20,000 or on the practice court. It has to be a commitment that transcends the hype of whether I'm back or I'm not. But more than anything, it's just not wanting to do anything in a mediocre fashion. It's not easy for me. If I've ever given that impression, I've misrepresented myself because it's been tough on me.

Q. You've had some very tight matches against him lately. This was almost a walk. Is it because you thrive on a stadium like this, crowd like this, event like this?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I think, you know, that's part of it. But, you know, no. I think there are strong technicalities going on out there inside the lines of the game. I mean, you can make a 100 in the world player look like a Top-10 Player if you play his best shot all the time. Mark feeds off his ability to work on your pace. He can literally be a surgeon out there if you just keep whacking the ball back to him. I don't feel hesitant to mention this, simply because I think he's a really good player. If he added up to his game, he'd even be stronger. But when you don't give him the pace, when you keep it out of his wheelhouse, he has to generate his own. He can't get away with just chipping if you've got to generate pace. Plus, that opens up the moments when I can strike, too. It's all about learning from your losses and figuring out what you can do differently. It's a perfect example of why they play this tournament, because you're never quite sure when somebody's learned something, when somebody's made an adjustment. It helped today that I could bring his game down a little bit, as well as play well.

Q. Given that you lost to him two weeks ago, you beat him so soundly today, is this your biggest step forward in your comeback as you approach the second week of this tournament?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I'm in a whole different place now. Now it's not about comeback, it's about going out there and winning matches. That's what I feel. So I would say Corretja over there in Indianapolis was a nice step forward for me. But I could just, you know, aim with margin and hit big and control points on the hardcourts. When I played Woodforde on that windy day, my shots weren't as clean, wasn't as decisive or didn't have the confidence; I had to leave margin for room. He was making me do a lot of work. It wasn't a comfortable match. What's good about today is I think it just continues reflecting where my game is. That's certainly something I'm familiar with in a Grand Slam tournament.

Q. Did you play better than you thought you would after one week of the Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I don't think realistically I could have hoped to be getting my game to come together right now. I said after Indy, I wish I had one more tournament. That one more tournament I felt like would have given me an opportunity to feel better in the early matches. I was still going out there in the first round going, "I've got to work through a few here to believe my game exists." I feel like I did that in the first set of my second round match.

Q. Andre, could you take a moment and reflect on the terrible news of the day, what are your thoughts about it?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I can't imagine expressing anything that not everybody on this planet feels. It's a tragedy, I mean an absolute tragedy. It's a loss for the world. I mean, if civilization doesn't learn from this, it will absolutely be very telling as to where we're headed. It's just a complete debacle, what goes on out there in the lives of so many people in the public eye. For her to -- for Princess Di -- for being such a wonderful representative of perseverance, I think she reflected so much, especially to the American people. She got us feeling like, "Wow, there's something good happening over there. We can identify and relate and be proud." For it to be -- for her life to be taken in the same vein and torture in which she lived is a complete shame.

Q. Did you know her and did you ask for the moment of silence? I see you're wearing a ribbon.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I did not know her. The moment of silence was something that they brought to the players. But certainly something that everybody was hoping for anyhow.

Q. At Wimbledon, Brad Gilbert said that he needed to sit down with you because when you started out a few years ago, you were both agreed that if either of you ever lost a passion for what you do, you would be -- did you ever sit down and have that conversation with him?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I think we were communicative the whole time. I wasn't throwing him any curves anytime I stepped out on the court. He knew where I was. He knew the things I was struggling with, the things I was trying to work through, the things I was committed to. It boiled down to one question: Are you committed? Do you still want this? And the answer has been clear the whole time: Yeah, I'm going down this road.

Q. Andre, with you and Brooke both being very public people, paparazzi seem to kind of go after you, to some extent the way they tracked Diana, if they did die eluding them, have you ever been in a position where you were trying to elude and putting yourself in danger?

ANDRE AGASSI: Don't pick your feet (laughter).

Q. Excuse me?

ANDRE AGASSI: I was telling this gentleman not to pick his feet unless he wants to sit in the second row. You have to be on your game when you step in here (laughter).

Q. I called for the trainer, but he didn't come.

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, honestly, this isn't a hindsight statement; it's something that I have refused to do in certain situations where we had the option or certainly the desire to want to run and make it some kind of chase. In all honesty, Brooke and myself have remained very responsible to not allowing people to take our heart, to take our life, to take our plans that evening and change them. If I didn't feel like breaking the speed limit, I wasn't going to. If I was speeding, it was just because I was doing it. It was something I've always pretty much, now looking back at the tragedy last night, I thank God that that's not been a temptation for me to do that. But I can certainly understand the feelings that go along with that.

Q. Andre, how do you feel the pressure of the paparazzi?

ANDRE AGASSI: How do I feel what?

Q. The pressure of the paparazzi, the photographers that always are trying to get something.

ANDRE AGASSI: It's wrong. It's like in some sense we say that there's a market for it. Then you say, there's still responsibility. Whether there's a market for it, they shouldn't do it. There shouldn't be a market for it. Either way, you know, you unfortunately have good people in this world, and you've got shit people, and they're shit people. There's no question about it. They put the dollar ahead of any sense of ethics, any sense of morals. They have no problem taking advantage out of people's weaknesses and people's pains. Certainly this is a situation where we have an opportunity now to maybe make a step forward and do something about it. If there's nothing that is done, if nothing changes, it's sad, it's even a sadder day.

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