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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

THE LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS - 1998

KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA

 

March 27, 1998

 

A. AGASSI/A. Corretja

6-4, 6-2

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

 

MIKI SINGH: Andre Agassi is a 6-4, 6-2 winner tonight over Alex Corretja. He's reached his third final of the year, having already won San Jose and Scottsdale. It's his fifth career Lipton final. He'll be going for his fourth title here on Sunday against Marcelo Rios. First question.

 

Q. What do you do for an encore?

ANDRE AGASSI: Sunday. Encore comes Sunday hopefully.

 

Q. 1995 U.S. Open, same opponent, variation of the same shot. Is it cosmic or what?

ANDRE AGASSI: It was a good shot, if that's what you mean.

 

Q. Was the match easier than you expected?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I wouldn't -- you can't really say it's an easy match. You have to work hard to make any match appear easy. It was a lot of hard work early on. You know, I was focused, hitting my shots well. He hung in there, made me work until the end. It was a good match all the way around. I didn't think it was easy at all.

 

Q. I know this is just like a week or two, and you have big designs beyond this week, but how well are you playing compared to other times in the past?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm speculating until I win the tournament. You know, I want to get out there and just beat the top guys, you know. Rios has been playing well, been playing the best tennis so far, at least the most consistent. If I go out there and handle him, then I'll say everything is right where it needs to be.

 

Q. Would you get a phone call from Pete for beating Rios?

ANDRE AGASSI: Beating who?

 

Q. Beating Rios.

ANDRE AGASSI: Will I get one?

 

Q. Yes.

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't think, to be quite honest, Pete is too concerned about it. It's a long year. Pete can score on any surface pretty well. I'm thinking at the end of the year, that will be the most important. There's a lot of emphasis on right now, I understand that, because it's opportunity for Rios to be No. 1. I'm concerned with being No. 1, too. We all are. We're all going out there to win.

 

Q. Do you think it will be harder to control points against Rios the way you did against Corretja?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. Corretja, you know, doesn't hit over his backhand. I can get him to start chipping a lot of backhands. Rios can hit over both sides. I would only imagine it's going to be tougher. Until I play somebody, I can't say. I'm going to go out there, lay it on the line, see what he does with it.

 

Q. Does anybody scare you, when you're feeling good about yourself? Some guys will be a little bit worried about a guy who has a huge serve or a guy who is like real consistent.

ANDRE AGASSI: When I'm playing well, I have the ability to handle baseliners as well as serve and volleyers, no question. I can return well, I can pick up a ball early. But ultimately it boils down to a few points in a match, especially against big servers. Big servers always present more of a variable because you can play one loose game and find yourself one set all into the third set, down breakpoint. But when I'm playing baseliners, I'm playing well, every point is about establishing yourself, then I'm pretty confident.

 

Q. Can you describe the joy you feel when you hit a shot like that, next to the last shot of the match?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, you can't describe it. It's nice, you know. Believe it or not, that moment is very long. You're running back to a shot where you know you're in a world of trouble, and you already have in your mind what you're going to do. It's about just executing it. Then I guess you finally get there and you execute it. It feels very good.

 

Q. Andre, four years ago, New York Times wrote that Rios is the Agassi from Chile. How is to play against your clone (laughter)?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm not sure if you just insulted me or gave me a compliment there. I don't have long hair anymore, man. You know, he hits the ball well. He takes it early. He hits the ball well. He has a good feel with his hands. I'm excited to play him. I want to go out there, I want to see it.

 

Q. What does the dimension of not having played him bring to it?

ANDRE AGASSI: You're going to have to prove it to me. That's the element it brings. We're both going to go out there and have to prove to the other one that it's our day.

 

Q. Have y'all hit or ever got out on the court at all with each other?

ANDRE AGASSI: No.

 

Q. Not even once?

ANDRE AGASSI: No.

 

Q. Does his serve worry you, from what you've seen of it at all?

ANDRE AGASSI: He has a very efficient serve, you know. He likes to utilize it, a lot like I do. It's not an overwhelming serve. But he definitely uses it to fit his style of play. He uses it well. I'm not worried about him until he gives me something to be worried about. I've got to be thinking about my game.

 

Q. Have you ever had trouble with somebody who relies on placement a little bit more than power, you know, given your speed and the quality of your returns?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, ultimately, what's going to determine it is who's going to control the points, and if he can handle my pace and be precision with it, God bless the man.

 

Q. Talking about joy, I have a feeling that the joy of playing tennis and your confidence is even greater than in your best times. You go out.

ANDRE AGASSI: Are you done?

 

Q. Yes.

ANDRE AGASSI: I think the one thing that's different now, beyond the assessment if I'm playing better or not, I'm certainly enjoying it more. I'm feeling it all out there. When it starts going good, I'm definitely going to run with it. When I struggle, I won't struggle as much. In a lot of ways, I'm better. In a lot of ways, it's more exciting to play, it's more exciting to watch. But, you know, I'm looking forward to the rest of the year and everything. It's all good. It's been a lot of hard work.

 

Q. Have the two of you ever met or had a locker room conversation, been to an ATP event together?

ANDRE AGASSI: Who is that?

 

Q. You and Rios.

ANDRE AGASSI: No. He's not the most communicative kind of guy.

 

Q. Other than that, do you have feelings about the guy? Do you have any further description of what you think he's like?

ANDRE AGASSI: He missed a spot there with his haircut (indicating) (laughter). I see the guys saying hello to him. He minds his business, goes about his thing. Then I read everybody here doesn't like him. That's it. I wake up in the morning looking forward to what they're going to say about Rios next. Other than that, we go about our business. He's never been anything but respectful to me, very nice, very cordial. That's all you can ask for. Anything beyond that is certainly appreciated, but not expected.

MIKI SINGH: Any other questions for Andre?

 

Q. Brad given away all of his old T-shirts?

ANDRE AGASSI: What are you talking about? This is mine.

 

Q. You never went to Foothill College.

ANDRE AGASSI: It's my shirt, though. Did you ever play for US Tennis there (laughter)?

 

Q. Touche. Do you like this tournament here in Miami?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, very much. It's a great event. I think it's the most enjoyable Super 9 tournament for me. It's always been that way. It's nice on the court, off the court as well.

 

Q. Andre, perhaps the toughest match did you have until now was against Costa?

ANDRE AGASSI: The toughest match or the best player sometimes are two different things. It was difficult that night for me. I wasn't picking up the ball well. I played two guys who hit the ball very flat, then all of a sudden I was playing a guy that hits a lot of topspin and stands way behind the baseline. It took me a while to focus and to find my range. It was the most difficult to date.

 
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