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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

EUROCARD OPEN 1997
Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle Stuttgart, Germany

October 20, 1997

T. MARTIN/A. Agassi
6-4, 6-4

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

Q. Considering you must be a bit rusty, how did you feel you were hitting the ball, apart from the results apart, what did you think?

ANDRE AGASSI: Things are off. My shots were a little off. And, whenever I am struggling with the pace of my rally shots, I am -- I take certain cuts and they are too big; then I take other cuts and the guy gets the offense on me. And, I haven't quite hit that balance. But, the past few weeks, I have been working hard and practicing a lot and I really -- I can't afford to not take two weeks' worth of gain from these tournaments. If I start expecting too much, I don't even get that out of it.

Q. Obviously we haven't seen you since the Open. What has happened since then? When did you start working? You are going to -- you were going to play Vienna at one time?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. It was, a good three weeks, I'd say, and that has been about it. It has been a schedule filled of just getting my commitments and things that I have planned for the end of this year and host my foundation event, bringing it altogether in September, and I took a solid few weeks after the Open and did a lot of charity work; repaying favors for that. And, I have just been finishing up a lot of business. And, I get ready for a full season next year.

Q. How much did your foundation raise this year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Right around $3 million.

Q. That was based in Vegas, was it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes.

Q. Regardless of what happens in Paris next week - which will be the end of the season - you are going to be working through the close of the season to get ready for Australia?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah. That is it for me. I mean, siesta is over there, got my full schedule next year and it started three weeks ago.

Q. Where were you hoping to start?

ANDRE AGASSI: The week before Australia?

Q. Sydney or in Doha?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. No, a tournament that -- Kooyong, and Australia. I mean, the beauty of it is that one of the only benefits of being ranked so low is the designation factor, it leaves room for me to play my schedule by ear. And, if I am not doing as well, play more, and if I am planning my events according to where I know I am going to be at my best, and, so, I am looking forward to it. I got to count my blessings in that respect. I am out there feeling nothing, but committed to getting better. And that is nice.

Q. When you see your name outside the hundreds, what effect does it have on you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't. I don't look at that. Try not to think about it. I just try to remember that if I get my game together, it doesn't matter who I am playing, I present worlds of problems and that is what it is about. Every time we step on the court, whatever you are ranked, you have got to prove it that day anyhow.

Q. Was there any times during this year where you wondered whether it was worth trying to make the effort to come back?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. No, it is worth it because it is not about anything but a personal desire of mine. I mean, I don't -- a lot of times my career was filled with doing stuff for other reasons, but this is important to me. I need to do it for myself. I really want to play. I want to play hard.

Q. How long do you think it is going to take you to get back to your best?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think with hard work, this fall, my footwork, and losing a little bit of weight, get a little bit stronger, I am thinking a couple of months in the next year, I could be literally playing great tennis.

Q. Goran has been talking the last few weeks. He had a motivational crisis a bit this year and he said he found it very dispiriting when you see so many good, young players coming through and that can actually damage your motivation. All these really hungry, young guys. Have you had any similar feelings to that? You are up there as a target to be shot at?

ANDRE AGASSI: I am not up there anymore. But, I would say that the young guys that are coming up now are inspiring the game to get better, there is no question. You just got to check your desires there, find out what it is that you want. Do you want to win matches; or do you want to be the best player out there? If you really have your mind set right you will get better. But, you do find yourself enjoying playing the guys you are more familiar with just because you don't know their games and it is back to the grind of matchups and all of a sudden, you are playing people where your career record is 0-0 and 0-1 and 1-0 and it is like -- it takes a while to figure somebody's game. It is nice when you are playing Chang or Todd Martin or Courier, guys you have seen for years. But, you have got to beat the best; and right now a lot of young guys are up there.

Q. How closely have you been following what is going on in other tournaments in these last six weeks since we last spoke?

ANDRE AGASSI: Fairly closely. I try not to pay too much attention in areas where I find I may get a little discouraged. But, in other ways, I have been wanting to keep up on it just to keep that platform of awareness when I step into the next event.

Q. When was the last time you felt this desire to really go at it, just before the Olympics?

ANDRE AGASSI: Excluding that brief time for the Olympics, you know, the summer of 1995 getting ready for the Open.

Q. Obviously you got married this year which is a big thing - I am as well aware - with the commitment. What is it going to take for you to get it back to where you want to be? Have you talked to Brooke about being away from home and is she right behind you for you to get up back to where you want?

ANDRE AGASSI: The only American who I am aware of that works harder than Brooke is the President of the United States. I mean, this girl just -- she doesn't stop. She is like the damn Energizer Bunny. She works and work and it is very important to her to do everything she does well and to do it with everything she has and to do well. Quite honestly, I think I have been nothing short of frustrating for her recently on that level. So, her support has been actually motivating.

Q. So she is going to be right behind you in your bid to get back there? She wants to see you do it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah, she really, quite honestly, as fairytale as it may sound, she wants whatever I want for myself and right now she knows what it is.

Q. Is the team still Brad and Gil?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, absolutely. It is not -- I know the common theme is to start questioning a lot of things, but I have never been one to really do that. I question the fundamentals of everything and everything is where it needs to be. It is lacking in one area and that has been the commitment and the time and the effort on the court. And that doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure that out. It is one of the things that I have always appreciated about Gil and now with the history with Brad is that they believe in my ability and the commitment factor will be there as long as we determine that is what we want. And, yeah, that is the same.

Q. You say you can't expect too much now when you play. You just want to play your shots and not too worried about much else. But isn't there a danger that if you keep losing on that it is going to sap your enthusiasm?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I can't -- I can't continue to lose if I am playing. I can't -- it is not possible. I just -- I am going to win some matches, I am going to, if I get the work in. Since the Open I haven't had it and I am kind of quickly back to where I was right before the Open. And the indoor season is a very -- I mean, there is no element out there. Guys who are at the best are really at their best and guys who aren't, it is exploited. You can see it. You can see the movement. You can see it in your shot selection. You can see it in the execution of your shots and I am not quite there. It is not disheartening to me because I know what goes into it, especially at tournaments where the best draw you are going to get is someone ranked in the top 40.

Q. Top field is tough?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it's a tough field. That is what I mean, by expecting too much -- if I expect too much, I don't make Todd Martin serve out the match. As little positive as it may be, he served out the match, hit lines, and served well.

Q. Certainly this year, particularly, the last few months, people obviously are particularly interested in the Greg Rusedski. He took a lot of encouragement from, I think it was last February, San Jose, when he beat Michael Chang; then you back-to-back. He was particularly enthusiastic about the way he was able to play his groundstrokes against you which he never thought he probably would be able to do at this stage. Is Rusedski one of the guys you sort of have in mind when you talk about the younger players coming through?

ANDRE AGASSI: In talking about the strategies of the game there is one real simple philosophy that applies with Rusedski: If you don't lose your serve, it is hard to lose. And that is quite obviously the extent of that. I am not trying to minimize his game to just his serve, but come on, I mean, the guy -- if the guy had my serve, it would be a whole different ballgame. If I had his serve -- I have had some dreams before -- but you have got to lose your serve to lose. I mean, long before he was winning matches, he was coming in the locker room very dejected after losing 7-6, 7-6, 7-6 in the third. I mean, the guy doesn't lose his serve. He just had a hard time keeping the ball on the court. Now he keeps the ball on the court. He is moving well and, you know, Brian Teacher had him working real hard which paid off, which was, you know, I think very positive for his game.

Q. How many more years we will be seeing Andre Agassi on the tennis court?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I mean, I have just taken everything, you know, step by step. But I certainly anticipate at least the next couple of years a full season play beyond any shadow of any doubt. I mean, it is hard to, you know, I have been around long enough to say anything you talked about over the course of the next week is speculation, but I am excited about this stage of it all, certainly.

Q. There has been a lot of talk while you have been away that the top 10 has become a bit -- obviously you have got to be a great player to get into the top 10, but currently the whole men's game is a bit faceless. I mean, you have lived through McEnroe/ Connors and all that kind of thing. Do you share that sense that there has bit of a lack of sparkle going out at the top the game?

ANDRE AGASSI: I quite honestly feel so much of it just has to do with the public's familiarity with the faces, with the names. I mean, I think in a lot of ways, Rafter, after beating me winning the Open, was a good thing. But he brought a lot life back to tennis Down Under. You saw an increase in tennis ball sales. I mean, like -- I mean, just he has created a lot of interest. I think he is somebody if he can continue the success on a significant level will become very quickly familiar to a lot of people and there will be another face up there that people can identify with or pull for. I think more than anything it is about the attractiveness in the games. You get less of that these days, not specific with the top 10 -- just I mean, you got guys who are just playing very explosive tennis and I think the general consensus is that is not enjoyable to watch. However, when time passes and they get familiar with seeing, you know, guys like Philippoussis or Rusedski or, you know, Rafter who are just big athletic powerful players, you know, they are going to most likely look forward to certain matchups, but right now, there is a bit of a transition excluding Pete and Chang.

 
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