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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

THE LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS - 1998

KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA

 

March 22, 1998

 

A. AGASSI/V. Spadea

6-4, 7-5

 

An interview with

ANDRE AGASSI

 

GREG SHARKO: Andre improves his ATP best record to 21 and 3 on the season. He has now won 15 of 16 matches in the U.S. He will take on the winner of Cedric Pioline and Alberto Costa.

 

Q. Did you have some trouble on second serves?

ANDRE AGASSI: Hitting them or returning them?

 

Q. Returning them.

ANDRE AGASSI: Did you think I was missing them or wasn't doing enough?

 

Q. You were missing them, certainly. You were trying to do a lot with them.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, yeah. I unloaded A few times. I was actually surprised that his serve -- the second serve was like it was in the '60s.

 

Q. Yeah.

ANDRE AGASSI: And sometimes, you know, you expect -- like I knew the second serve hurt him on the second, but I wasn't expecting it to be that slow. And so it leaves you in kind of a precarious position. Then you have to really commit if you want to hurt him on it and step inside the court. And I just -- you know, I didn't make that adjustment. I felt like my feet got a little stuck there. I guess it was just a little disbelief that he was hitting them that slow. But managed to get it done at the right time.

 

Q. Why did you change shoes?

ANDRE AGASSI: The bottom of my other shoe, we had a long point, it slid and wore out the rubber there and it tore open.

 

Q. Is Nike having that bad a year (laughter)?

ANDRE AGASSI: These are great shoes. (laughter).

 

Q. Andre, was it a pretty thin margin out there or were you comfortable?

ANDRE AGASSI: I felt like he was hitting the ball real well. I was just kind of playing solid. I feel like I certainly could have, you know, stepped up and tried to take it to him a little bit more there. I had the opportunity to early in the second set, but I think to his credit, he was hustling hard and playing well. It is not -- even though I am playing well these days, you can't expect just to "routine" guys. The idea is to win matches when you are not playing, you know, great tennis. I was just playing solid inside myself and 6-4, 7-5, move on, and I am pleased.

 

Q. Were you a little surprised because it is often said, I mean, the biggest match of his life last round, and usually a guy has a let-down, and yet he seemed pretty into it today.

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah. No, no, he is -- he's been around the Tour a while. Classic journeyman who literally gets through it and plays better against better players. I think Vince sometimes might not play well when he is playing guys that he should beat. But he is playing Rafter, I knew that was a tough matchup for Rafter because Rafter didn't have a great return, and Vince has, you know, a good return. So, it is tough. Rafter is going to have to hold. And just certain matchups are tougher than others. Today was going to be a question of who was going to take control of the point. And Vince came out there knowing that he was going to have to pull the trigger on some shots, and he was playing well.

 

Q. Andre, you are on record saying that you knew as long as will kept working hard enough things will come and develop. How far do you think you are now along that line?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think what I need to do is win a big one. I need to win this tournament. And I can say that winning one tournament of big stature, beating some top guys, that I will go on feeling like I am right on the verge and better than I have ever been.

 

Q. Were you having any trouble with one linesperson?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. Maybe Norm. Norm was struggling a little bit out there today, I think. There was a few tight ones, but, you know.

 

Q. You did have some conversations with the umpire?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I was -- you know, I was shocked at a few of the calls. It is nothing short of, you know, just what happens out there. I remain respectful.

 

Q. You had a few bones with the baseline -- (Inaudible.) -- few times?

ANDRE AGASSI: Again, it is like I just disagree with the format altogether. I mean, there is one person sitting in the middle of the court up high, you know, shouldn't overrule. Just shouldn't, because even if you think you see it clearly, there is just too many close calls to put yourself in that position. And, you know, there is some bad ones that he didn't rule. All of a sudden, first one he overruled I felt was off the back of the line.

 

Q. You picked up a lot of easy points off your wide serve on the deuce side. Is that just because you are running on a hot streak right now or is that something that you have picked up on in the course of your comeback?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I mean, it depends on who you are playing. Vince has a much better backhand than his forehand, not to mention he doesn't move that well. So if you can stretch him off the court, hit a good shot to the open court, you are in great position.

 

Q. How hard was all the weight loss?

ANDRE AGASSI: Only as difficult as it was important. And it was very important to me. So it wasn't a problem. It was just -- you know, just a question of the clock, setting up your plan that works with the timeframe to be ready for Australia without burning yourself out or putting yourself in a position where you cannot succeed, because you are asking yourself to do too much too soon. So the plan had to work for me. After I set the plan up, it was just a question of implementing it, and I didn't struggle with that one at all.

 

Q. It is going to be Halle on the way to Wimbledon this year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Don't know yet. Don't know. Much depends on, you know, the French Open too. If I need rest for a full two weeks, that would be nice.

 

Q. But if it was a choice between Halle and Queens, would it be Halle or is that not sorted out either?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, that would not be sorted out either.

 

Q. Talk about this tournament, switching to clay. That has come up from the ATP people. What are your thoughts on that?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I don't like that.

 

Q. Why?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is hard court. Hard court is nice. We are here in the States. What are they going to, play green clay?

 

Q. I don't know.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I mean -- Americans can't build red clay. I have never seen a good one anywhere in the States. And green clay is, in my opinion, not really a surface. I mean, even serve and volleys can play on green clay, and you can hit through the court and it actually it is actually more of a hinderance to baseliners, like the Spanish players, who like to run down balls. It is tough to run down balls on green clay because it is real slippery and it still actually plays pretty quick. So I think that would be a step down. And, this is a beautiful court and we have, you know, Palm Springs, Key Biscayne back-to-back; that would be terrible to go hard court to clay. There is plenty of time to get ready for the French.

 

Q. Andre, it looks like the WTA are rejecting the ATP Tour's idea of having mixed tournaments men and women, adding to them. They think they probably are better at the moment going their own way. What is your thinking on that?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I mean, I don't know. It is tough to say. I think there are some upsides and some downsides. I thought Palm Springs worked pretty smoothly. But, they did start a little bit differently; didn't they?

 

Q. Yeah.

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I would have to think about that before I just popped off.

 

Q. Do you have a preference? Do you enjoy the women's more when they are there or it doesn't really affect you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know, the women's when Steffi is playing.

 

Q. Seles, Kournikova match tonight -- (Inaudible.) -- I guess, who do you like?

ANDRE AGASSI: I haven't seen Monica play and I know she is going through a tremendous amount right now. So, hopefully, you know, that it would -- the match will be reflective of how good Monica has been. And if that is not the case, it will be sad to watch a young person become even more of a star because they beat somebody who is far from their best. So, hopefully Monica will play well. Then I'd love to see that. I don't know, I haven't seen her play.

 

Q. Are you familiar with the Horskoff (ph) drug controversy? And if you are, do you have any opinions on how that thing has unfolded?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I am not familiar with that at all. I am not.

 

Q. Andre, Davis Cup is not on your mind right now, but are you aware that you would be able to break Bill Tilden's record in Atlanta and would that be a motivation for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I think to be in the record books on any level is a step in the right direction. It would be -- Davis Cup is a great part of my career that I would actually look forward to in accomplishing something on an all-time level. But, you know, I've got to win a couple of matches to do that, and in the next tie. Can't win a couple of matches if I go there and lose. So, it is -- again, it is like talking about the finals when you are playing first round. You can't do it.

 

Q. Would you be willing to play doubles as well as singles in Atlanta?

ANDRE AGASSI: I would be willing to cook dinner and make margaritas for everybody ( laughter).

 

Q. Were you a little disappointed that Tom didn't go with your suggestion on Gambill or in lieu of his losing here the first round?

ANDRE AGASSI: Honestly, at this point in time the team has been picked and I am proud of the team, and that is it. It is time to go get the job done. The decision has been made. And I was very clear going into it what I thought. I played Gambill three weeks in a row, but, you know, Jim is a veteran, he has been out there. He is going to go out there and, you know, be dependable and you know what you are going to get with him. I still think we will get the job done.

 

Q. Andre, in today's match did everything go about the way you expected it to or were there any surprises for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it was a little colder today, so my racket tension was a little bit tighter than I would have preferred. When it is hotter, you are looser. So I wasn't getting as much length on some of my shots; having to swing pretty big to get some decent depth. So that was a little bit of adjustment.

 

Q. Did you get any surprises from your opponent that you didn't know about?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I mean -- no. I have played him a couple of times. He is pretty -- he is predictable when you play these guys like I am. I mean, I don't go out there -- some days go better than others. He played well today. I was expecting him to.

 

Q. Is this one of your favorite tournaments?

ANDRE AGASSI: This is a great tournament. I look forward to this tournament every year, definitely.

GREG SHARKO: Anything else?

 
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