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Écrit par Jerome   




March 9, 1998


ANDRE AGASSI/T. Woodbridge

7-6(3), 6-4

An interview with:



MIKI SINGH: Andre Agassi a straight-set winner today over Todd Woodbridge. It's his 11th straight match win, which includes two titles, one in San Jose about a month ago, and just yesterday winning the title in Scottsdale. In the second round he'll face Sergi Bruguera. First question?


Q. Was that your plane that flew over during the first set?



Q. Did you find that disconcerting, Andre?

ANDRE AGASSI: The plane?


Q. Yes.



Q. Are you finding anything disconcerting these days, Andre?

ANDRE AGASSI: Being away from my wife as much as I am. But outside that --


Q. How is married life treating you?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's good.


Q. What made the difference today, Andre?

ANDRE AGASSI: Today was what I kind of consider a little bit of a tough day at work. You know, off a long weekend, playing two matches on Saturday, one on Sunday. To play today was, I think, important for the rest of the week for me. Tomorrow I can use to really kind of size up the conditions and elements and pick up my level for the rest of the week. The difference today just kind of turned out to be just toughing it out really; not much more to it. I don't feel like it was a great match on either my part or Todd's. You know, just kind of got a little bit lucky there at the end, 40-Love game, hit a couple good shots. But, you know, he kind of lost that last game. There, match was suddenly over.


Q. What do you think about a schedule that has you playing the third match on center court a day after you just won a tournament in another town?

ANDRE AGASSI: That's all right. I mean, they don't ever do that. My side of the draw was playing today. First-round match. I let them know that I wouldn't mind playing today. It would be fine with me to show up here and play. Again, it's just kind of a situation that lends itself to a better week, if you can get through it. I knew I would have to go out there today and get through it.


Q. It wasn't a case of trying to keep the momentum going from last week?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. Because you always want a little time to get adjusted to everything. It wasn't about me showing up here and playing great. It was about me showing up and getting the job done. I felt like, you know, I could do that today. I want to be playing. Don't have any reason not to.


Q. Do you get any satisfaction about the cynics who said, "Andre can't come back," or is this just for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I never really took it too personally, some of the things that have been said or believed on other people's parts. I kind of have been making this effort. My focus has been motivated by my own desire to do something that's important to me. I mean, there's still more tennis in me. I'm going to go in there and get it.


Q. How do you prepare yourself for a big game? Do you have some rituals?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. Just a good meal really, good warm-up and a good meal.


Q. What do you like for a meal? What's your preference?

ANDRE AGASSI: Depends. Just something easy to digest, a little pasta or something.


Q. The ATP is going to experiment a little bit with this two-minute coaching in between sets. I think maybe in Atlanta they're thinking about it. What is your impression of that? Is it good? Is it bad for the game?

ANDRE AGASSI: Is that the format?


Q. It's going to be two minutes after the first set and two minutes after the second set if there's going to be a third set.

ANDRE AGASSI: I've got to be honest, I've heard all different sides of it. I would have been somewhat against a coach just sitting out there on the court. But I am all for coaching in the game for one very important reason, which I think has kept tennis from hitting another level of interest in the sport fan's life. There's a lot more to a reacting game. There's a lot more thinking going on out there. I think it would be a big miss if there's two minutes of coaching and they don't like the coach. I think the people at home on TV matches need to know what he's being told. I think the coaches need to have press conferences and answer for the things they said. I'm serious.


Q. Will you voice this opinion? You are now?

ANDRE AGASSI: Take it up with the player's council.


Q. What about the fact that players speak in different languages, French, Czech?

ANDRE AGASSI: Let the TV cameras worry about that. They need to be on record for what they said. Coaching is a part of the game. Don't kid yourself. It's a big part of the game. I know there are a lot of good players who can lose matches. Certainly language barriers would be a bit of concern, but if the network wants it, get an interpreter. Know who is playing. If there's a Czech guy playing, get somebody there who is speaking Czech.


Q. Everybody knows singles and everything, saying, "Hey, this happens, let's at least let it happen"?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know what actually motivated the Tour to kind of experiment with this. I know I've always supported it. Again, my belief is that there's only so much coaching you can do from the side. I mean, if you tell somebody to toss the ball higher, tell somebody to move their feet, but those are very generic things. I'm talking about strategies, adjustments, game plans to game plans, strengths to weaknesses, you know, that sort of thing. Again, I think it would be a big miss if the coaches, you know, on TV matches aren't in a position to actually speak out as to what they're saying. The average fan needs to know what's being said. Else it kind of defeats the purpose, takes a mano-a-mano sport and makes a whatever you call it.


Q. Andre, last fall people were saying, "Poor Andre, he's all done." Now all of a sudden you're back and you're playing seemingly as well as ever. Seems like it's been a very quick turnaround. Could you talk a little bit about what went into it?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's just been nothing short of hard work. I mean, I wish I could tell you that something -- something that would kind of capsulize it. From start to finish, it's been getting back into shape first, stepping down to the Challengers so I could get some matches, then going one step further at a time. You know, it's nothing short of hard work. It wasn't easy to get back into shape. Wasn't easy to go play Challengers.


Q. What did you do to get back in shape?

ANDRE AGASSI: Played a lot of tennis, a lot of weights, stopped taking it out on the knife and fork.


Q. Was there a lot of thought on your part before you went back and played the Challengers?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I didn't do it because it was something -- didn't make me feel good to have to change my own score there on the changeovers (laughter). There was a lot of thought. It was an easy decision, but I definitely put a lot of thought into the plan. The plan was to go back to Challengers.


Q. Andre, we saw that you enjoyed the way things were going down in Australia, obviously these last couple of results. The last time that you enjoyed tennis as much would have been as far back as the Olympics?

ANDRE AGASSI: Never, never, no. If you remember there, I was struggling on the court. I was getting angry with myself. This is new to me. This is new. I'm out there not just focused but looking forward to it.


Q. Was there never a point in the past when you had pleasure from it?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, no. I had pleasure beating guys, don't get me wrong. But I'm talking about if I wasn't beating guys, I was getting pissed off. Now it's like, you know, win or lose, I feel a very focused intensity that feels like it's going to carry me through further than I've ever been.


Q. Does Brooke have something to do with that?



Q. Having trained so hard for so many months, coming back from so low in the rankings, in your standards, is the satisfaction of winning that much bigger as compared to before?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think anytime you go a long time anticipating something, the more you enjoy it, the more you appreciate it. I've anticipated that feeling again of just being on the court and hitting my shots. I'm just talking inside my own abilities, feeling like I'm moving well, I'm reading the ball, picking it up. I have shots that guys can't hit, I have things that are weapons. I've been looking forward to that feeling for a long time. Now that it's here, yeah, it does -- that does make it better.


Q. What's responsible for that focus and intensity? Maturity?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, it was a decision, you know, calculated decision to make the steps necessary to get back to a place where, you know, I could step on the court and feel good about myself. Again, I think life boils down to big decisions and little decisions. A few big ones throughout your life and a lot of little ones every day. I've answered some big ones, and I'm continuing to address every one that comes my way every day. Just going to work and getting better.


Q. Can you remember if there was any specific moment that changed things for you? Was it a gradual thing?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it was definitely an accumulation of much. More than anything, it was kind of two years of not quite being at my best and realizing that there are a lot of young guys now, guys that grew up watching me, you know, ball boy for me maybe. Then saying, "I don't want to do this if this is how I'm going to do it anymore." It was the marking period of the end of the year. I'm going to take this time to get ready and give it a shot. I'm going to give it a shot, but I can't do this anymore. It just got old. It just got old.


Q. Back to today's match for a second. He served an ace on the first point of the match, and you then won nine points in a row. At that point, did you think it was going to be a pretty easy day?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I was actually uncomfortable the whole match out there. I've come from a smaller court where the ball was traveling, you know, with a certain projection. The depth perception was real tough for me out there. I wasn't picking up the ball as easily. I felt like he was hitting 114 miles an hour serves that I was lunging at. I wasn't comfortable even from the start as far as, you know, the standard that I have been playing. But I just managed to work through it.


Q. Was the surface that much different?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. Surface was the same, pretty much. Altitude is actually a step down from Scottsdale. Scottsdale was a little higher. It allowed me to be able to hit my shots more. But, you know, when you play in a place where you're hitting your shots in a certain way, then you can hit them bigger, sometimes it's tough to pull the trigger, not to mention the size of the court. The lines are the same, but the court itself is big. Sometimes you can lose feeling as to where you are in the court, you know. It's a little unsettling. I wasn't quite even sure how quick the court was going to play. The ball was traveling real quick today.


Q. Sorry if you were asked this earlier, but did you ask to be scheduled for today? If so, why? Getting rid of the Aussies quickly?

ANDRE AGASSI: I certainly have no ability to manipulate a schedule as much as sticking with the way the schedule is unfolding. I'm a first round match. I thought, "I could have today off, get ready, then play six days in a row if all goes well." I'd rather come here, tough out the first one, have a day off, play five in a row. It felt in the long-term it was a better decision.

MIKI SINGH: Any other questions for Andre? Thanks.

ANDRE AGASSI: Thank you.

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