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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION

1997 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Flushing Meadows, New York

September 2, 1997

P. RAFTER/A. Agassi

6-3, 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

Q. Do you feel this match brought out the best in you, at least, this year?

ANDRE AGASSI: I kind of size it up totally the opposite of that. I didn't feel I played well until the match was well -- you know-- till I was well behind. Started turnaround late in the second and then had a look in the second set and he made two volleys, an overhead shot with a broken string. And he played a good breaker. He was definitely playing well, no question. But, I just felt like at that point the match boiled down to one game and that was 3-4 in the fourth set. He wasn't moving. He wasn't really doing a whole lot and I hit a doublefault, two unforced errors, and made him play one good point to break me. That is just a long way to fight back from just to hand it over. And I just wished I would have made him earn that a little bit more.

Q. Looking back, do you think it was almost too much to expect for you to be at the top of your game having played so few matches during the year? And how would you appraise what you did here at the Open given that?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, in consideration of the way the year has been, I definitely made some steps forward to put myself in position to feel like I was only going to start playing better. And there is no question. But it is hard to feel good about a whole lot when I felt like I should have won that match, or at least I wish I would have served -- I mean, my serve was horrendous today. That was one thing I did so much better these last two matches that I wasn't on to my return. He was serving well, though, and getting in tight. So, I wasn't as concerned about my return. I was really frustrated with my serve. So, I am more disappointed than I am thrilled about anything.

Q. Disappointment with Pete going down, sort of opening up for anybody?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't care who is in the Finals. That is a whole different side. You have got to play every match like it is the Finals and try to do this seven times. I mean, no question, Pete has been playing the best tennis this year, but obviously wasn't playing better than Korda. So you have got to beat these guys, man, you have got to beat them. And, the draw isn't open when he loses. And the draw isn't, you know, you should still go out and play if he is still in the tournament.

Q. How do you think you are going to reflect on this Open for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Like this, (looks up) (laughter) Don't make me smile. I am pissed off. (laughter).

Q. How many more events do you think you need before you can really feel that you are going to be confident again with your game?

ANDRE AGASSI: I feel like I am right there if I was -- I mean, I am right there. I am playing a guy who is playing really well. I am a little off my game and legitimately felt like I could have won that match. To say "should have" is saying a lot, because he played well at the right times and I didn't. And I held serve 4-All. He was feeling it, physically, you could tell. He was starting to cramp and he was starting to not move and it was starting to open up. Betty Crocker was waiting for me there, but....

Q. Will you continue to play? I mean, are you going to play within the next month or so?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't know in the tennis level, what is on the agenda. To be honest, my mind has been set here. I really don't know what I am doing truly. But, be assured that it will be in the best interest of my game plan to come back, play well next year.

Q. How much does your run here, the atmosphere here, being back, night match, the whole stew of the US Open, how much of that makes you realize you have made the right decision? How good did it feel to do what you did here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Made my decision.

Q. Just to be back and giving your commitment?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah. No, this is what it is about right here. And the US Open is thrilling enough for this to be the only reason to work hard the whole year. I mean, that is how great it is playing here. But beyond that, I am out there on the court again making improvements, feeling good, and enjoying myself and getting better. So, I must say that, you know, it has been the right direction, but it was a beautiful opportunity.

Q. Bodidl was on the sidelines tonight. Was it a help or a hinderance? Bo was quite vocal?

ANDRE AGASSI: He is all good. He is just like all the other New Yorkers out there.

Q. Does the fact that Sampras was out almost heighten the disappointment because of that opportunity? When you were referring to opportunity a moment ago, was that part of what you were referring to?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. Just opportunity meaning, you know, today I could have gone into the quarters and played Larsson, I mean, I would -- from here I would start expecting myself to win the matches and getting out there and playing to do so. So long ways away from the finals and thinking about Pete. Just can't do that.

Q. You know exactly what it takes to win here. Do you think Rafter can win this thing?

ANDRE AGASSI: No.

Q. Why?

ANDRE AGASSI: He is going to have -- Larsson is going to present a lot of problems for him just to start with just based on the fact that he is 6 foot 6 and takes good clean swings on the return and knows how to hold. He can serve big. That is going to present problems for him. Then if he gets through, he is probably looking at Chang and Chang can get to a lot of balls. Actually, that is a much better matchup than maybe Larsson would be. And, then on the other side, you have got a couple of huge servers still left. And, I mean, Krajicek and Rusedski are two fireballs that can come through at any time. Bjorkman has been playing great and returns exceptionally well and has a good hold game too. There are still a lot of guys that can beat each other here. So I wouldn't favor Rafter. But he is playing really well.

Q. You said you weren't happy with the way you started. It was a slow start. It didn't come around easily. The way he was playing, he seemed to have his serve taking you out wide on the court, then he would come back with an easy volley winner. Did that contribute to your difficulty in getting back to your game?

ANDRE AGASSI: You noticed that, huh? Well, I will start off by saying it was Love-1, 30-All, and I doublefaulted twice. Then I broke back and still was missing a lot -- check the first serve percentage, the first set, you know, it was -- I couldn't have been in the 40s even and I was trying to make them. It wasn't like I was going for huge serves. So, I really think that, you know, my game was much lower in the first and he was solid. He did what he needed to do to get the set lead. And then he stretched that into a good lead into the second. I picked it up it, caught him a little off guard and got back into the set and had a look of winning it. But, he tightened it up again and won the breaker and then. You know, it boiled down to that 3-4 game in the fourth, so it wasn't a whole lot to separate the match. But, you got to credit him for doing what he needed to do because he is coming back day after tomorrow.

Q. Considering everything, is it possible you almost set the bar a little bit too high for yourself? Is that -- I mean, not playing that much earlier in the year you set the bar pretty high coming into here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, not by choice. Not by choice. You just -- you deal with -- you play out the hand you are dealt and it has been a rough, rough year for me and in many respects, certainly my wrist and other aspects and, you know, I am just -- you just try to play it out the best you can. That is all I try to do.

Q. You are going to lose a few points. Will that factor into your decision to play less, play more?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I mean, it is clear that when my game is together I am not worried about much except the person I am playing against and ATP Ranking is not something that I think much about, never have.

 
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