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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

1998 DAVIS CUP

ATLANTA, GEORGIA

 

RUSSIA vs. USA

(FIRST ROUND)

 

April 4, 1998

 

A. AGASSI/M. Safin

6-3, 6-3, 6-3

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

and

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON

 

PAGE CROSLAND: I want to make a correction, Andre, including today's, singles record is 25-4. We'll take the first question.

 

Q. Andre, how did you find your opponent Safin as a player?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's a tough environment to really assess somebody's game. It's not easy to step out there your first time in Davis Cup, you know, not to mention the fact that he hasn't played much on the professional level, let alone such an intense arena. It's not easy. I'm going to hold back what I have to say about his game. I felt like he certainly made a lot of errors today. The way he played, he had no chance.

 

Q. Does he have a chance against Courier?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, every day is a new day. You always got to see what you take from these experiences. You know, I put my money on rock, that's for sure.

 

Q. You tied Bill Tilden's record, Davis Cup singles record. How does that feel?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's a great accomplishment. I'm very proud of it. Davis Cup has meant a lot to me. I've given a lot to it. To have the record like that is an accomplishment. I'm very proud of it.

 

Q. Andre, your impressions of Kafelnikov, playing him?

ANDRE AGASSI: I wasn't really impressed with the way he was playing today. It was tough conditions, though. I've seen him play much better tennis before. I certainly have seen Jim play much better tennis before. They both started off a little nervous, then it started picking up. It just slipped away at the end for Jim. I was a little disappointed with the way that one ended. I'll be ready to go.

 

Q. Kafelnikov said he would not play doubles if the match is 1-1, which it is. Do you believe him?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm not out here to believe him or not. I'm out here to beat him. Whatever he feels he needs to do, you know, let him do it. I don't know how tired he is. I don't know if he's in that great of shape or what. I certainly think their best shot in the doubles is to have him play. Whether he will or not, you know, they'll have to assess as a team.

 

Q. Do you know what's going to happen in terms of will the singles be played tomorrow? Do you prefer whether it's played tomorrow or Monday?

ANDRE AGASSI: They're all I guess huddled together, trying to make that call now. I mean, I prefer to play, just based on the fact that Sunday is the last day of the tie, we should be playing. Obviously, the weather was problems, guys who aren't playing the doubles. If we didn't have such a good doubles team, I'd go play doubles and say let's play singles now.

 

Q. Tom, Jim was very disappointed in the loss. As the captain sitting on the sideline, you selected him. Did he play up to your expectations?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Well, he competed well. He had a chance to win. That's really all you can give yourself. Kafelnikov is a Top 6 or 7 player in the world, has been for the last three years. I thought Jim competed well. He gave himself an opportunity to win, up two sets to one, breakpoints in the fourth set.

ANDRE AGASSI: Piece of paper flew on the court.

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: You know, broke back in the fifth after he was down a break. He had chances again. He had his opportunities, and that's what you play for. You play for the opportunity to win. He gave himself that. I think he performed well. He just didn't take advantage of his chances. I think maybe it was just a little lack of confidence.

 

Q. I judge from your reaction you expect Kafelnikov will be playing doubles tomorrow?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: So far, it looks like they have a two-man team. I don't know, maybe the captain will play.

 

Q. Your impressions on the doubles tomorrow, if Kafelnikov plays?

ANDRE AGASSI: Tom doesn't do impressions (laughter).

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Kafelnikov is Top 10 in doubles as well, just won the French Open. Richey and Todd, they both play very good doubles. You know, Kafelnikov is a shot-maker. Safin is very inexperienced. Probably like to make him play a lot of balls. You know, they're dangerous. Anybody that can serve like that is always going to be dangerous in singles, doubles or triples.

 

Q. Andre, the last time you played a Davis Cup tie, what do you remember about that? Were you surprised even yourself how far you've managed to raise your confidence level playing such a short period of time?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I mean, I can honestly say I didn't really expect it to happen this quickly. I was prepared for a very long road. It's a daily battle, though, to keep getting better. It's been that attitude that has helped me come this far so soon. So I continue to look at it that way. You know, I want to play better each time I play, assess what I'm not doing well today and do it better tomorrow. That's been the game plan. One day at a time has produced sometimes better results, and even one day better. You always count your blessings when you can get more than one day better in one day. It feels like that's what I've been doing.

 

Q. The way you've come back in these last six months, that is almost as big an accomplishment as anything you've done?

ANDRE AGASSI: It certainly has been my biggest obstacle, my biggest challenge I've had in this game. You know, I questioned how well I could play again. I questioned where things would end up. I had to make sure I was willing to lay it on the line, to be willing to try hard for little results. I'm proud of what I managed accomplish because it's taken a lot of hard work. Accomplish. I try to look at tomorrow versus yesterday. Again, that's what's gotten me this far.

 

Q. It looks to me like you're playing like you did years ago when you were No. 1 in the world. I mean, you're on that road. What do you think that you're not doing that you have to get better at?

ANDRE AGASSI: When I was No. 1, shots are -- I'm hitting my shots as well, might even be serving a little bit better. When I was No. 1 in the world, I could take, you know, a 3-4 service game, break, hold, then all of a sudden be up 6-3, 3-0. I had a great ability to stretch the lead and really hammer somebody. Lately, I've been, you know, on the verge of really beating up some people, then letting them kind of back into the match. That's the element that makes you win 6-4, 7-6, versus 3 and 2.

PAGE CROSLAND: Any other questions?

 

Q. Tom, what is your perspective on how far he's come in six months?

CAPTAIN GULLIKSON: Well, I think, first of all, the guy's got phenomenal talent. He's kind of exhibited that time and time again in Grand Slam tournaments and Davis Cup. Really, it's all about commitment and focus. When Andre gets locked in on something, when he really commits to it, he really focuses, he can pretty much do anything he wants. I could see him winning Grand Slam titles again. There's no question in my mind. He's one of the few guys in the world who can say, "Okay, it's time to tee it up," and really focus in on something, and really make it happen. He's got a lot of great tennis in front of him, I think.

PAGE CROSLAND: Any other questions?

 
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