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Écrit par Jerome   




April 20, 1998



1-6, 6-4, 6-1


An interview with:






Q. How was Turin?

ANDRE AGASSI: It was wonderful, wonderful.


Q. Did you expect something like that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I knew what to expect. But you can't quite describe actually being there. It was beautiful.


Q. How did you decide to go?

ANDRE AGASSI: I heard, read in the magazine, Time magazine, that the shroud would be there. I asked how far were we, wanted to go.


Q. How is the word in English for that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Shroud, shroud of Turin.


Q. Mr. Korda, why didn't you go, too? You are not a good Catholic as Mr. Agassi?

PETR KORDA: I was working on the dirt. I was working on the clay.


Q. So when did you decide to play the doubles together?

PETR KORDA: I was trying to convince him already in Key Biscayne.

ANDRE AGASSI: Palm Springs.

PETR KORDA: I'm sorry, Palm Springs.

ANDRE AGASSI: Then forgot. All of a sudden said what about the wildcard for doubles? I said, "Oh, yeah, I'll play, sure, no problem." I thought maybe I wouldn't play doubles because my anniversary was yesterday, I thought my wife would be here with me. She's not here, so I take Petr Korda instead of her (laughter).


Q. Is it the same?

ANDRE AGASSI: She feels a little better, a little better.


Q. So you had fun on the court?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes, always enjoyable to play with Petr. Makes such great shots. Doubles is good. Good to get a chance to see the court, to see the conditions, hit some serves, some returns, some volleys. It's enjoyable.


Q. Why don't you do it more often then?

ANDRE AGASSI: Because, you know, most of the time it can interfere with your single's goals, you know. Here it's a different case because I haven't played the clay in a while. I'm over here. To get in one match is always good. A few times it works out very well. It's difficult in bigger tournaments because you don't want to spend your time at the courts, thinking about doubles.


Q. Petr, did you recover after winning the Australian Open?

PETR KORDA: I'm fully recovered. I feel fine right now. I feel full of energy. I had a very good break after Key Biscayne. It was very important and I just put a little work, playing a little bit golf, enjoying my family which after Australia, I didn't travel for five weeks. It was very difficult time for me to be without family for five weeks. Right now I feel fantastic, enjoying tennis. The best thing that can happen to me.


Q. Petr, you seem to be able to convince famous champions to play doubles with you, Stefan Edberg, Andre Agassi now. Is there an attitude that you developed recently?

PETR KORDA: I don't want to say we grew up together. I think that's -- he's coming from our age group. I'm a little bit older, but he start on the circuit much earlier than I was here. You know, I'm not trying to convince them. I think I'm the person trying to have fun. I think if it work to other guys, I like to spend and share the time on the court with them.


Q. Andre, we read on the paper today the trip you had yesterday to Turin. Was it correct? I read you went by helicopter, Rolls Royce?

ANDRE AGASSI: It was Gino's car. It was his personal car. He was the chauffeur. He almost killed us, too (laughter).


Q. How?

ANDRE AGASSI: Right through the red light. Everybody had to stop. We screamed.


Q. Is it right you parked in the wrong place?

ANDRE AGASSI: I didn't drive. I just said, I don't speak the language, nothing. They sit and take me by the leash like this (indicating).


Q. He's right that you wanted to see it twice? We read that you were there in front of the shroud for two minutes, then you wanted to go back?

ANDRE AGASSI: Three minutes each time. A hundred minutes isn't enough time to be there. The most that they would offer, I was willing to stay.


Q. Is this anything to do with your past experience when you were saying that you were always reading the Bible? I remember when you started. I don't know if you read it still.

ANDRE AGASSI: Of course, I do. It's very important to me.


Q. Whole thing?

ANDRE AGASSI: All the time. All the time.


Q. I also read that you skipped all the line, because yesterday there were 35,000 visitors, only yesterday. How could you get straight? Was it again Gino?

ANDRE AGASSI: Gino. Everybody's very friendly to me. I didn't say a word. They took me here, there. All of a sudden I was looking at it. I was very, very thankful.


Q. So you did it Italian style, skipping the line. Andre, you didn't have time to watch the Barcelona final with Todd Martin?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I got to see some, sure. They played it late, after I knew the result, watched it.


Q. What did you think about Todd's game?

ANDRE AGASSI: Fabulous, fabulous effort. For him to win there, was a fabulous effort. You know, it's not easy for a player of his game to win on clay. He's shown that he can. A guy like him to win on clay now makes him even better for the hard court, indoors. I'm happy for him. He's been a long time injured. He's been playing well, but struggling a little bit. Now to see him start playing better, it's nice to see.


Q. The fact that you have to play him tomorrow?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's disappointing. The only three Americans in the draw one, two, three.


Q. They went in order.

ANDRE AGASSI: Tarango qualified, too, so four Americans. It's difficult to play a guy like Todd. He's beaten great players before. He's beaten the best. He knows how to win. It's a problem. That's what I'm here for. I'm here to try to beat everybody. If I have to play him, might as well start off difficult.


Q. Who is the favorite tomorrow? Two years ago you were for sure. Now?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's tough to say. I'm on my way back, too. It's nice that I'm playing well again. It's the first time on clay now in a couple years. But I'm excited to be here in Monte-Carlo. I'm excited to play. I hope to win. I haven't done too well here in the past. Who is the favorite? We see tomorrow. I feel very good about the way I'm playing.


Q. Petr, are you thinking about becoming No. 1 in this tournament, since Rios is not here? Every time you have a chance in the past month, you were close, then you couldn't make it.

PETR KORDA: I've been struggling after Australia with my back. I just didn't put enough work on my practice. When I was reaching some points in the matches, I was unprepared. Like I didn't last long. But I feel fine right now. I have my career ranking is highest, No. 2. Obviously, I was the player always trying to improve. I can only improve to one ranking, which is to No. 1. I'm going to try to do the best I can. If this happen, it's going to be fantastic achievement. But I have to put a lot of work together. I think I still have a shot because I'm not defending anything. I grew up on the clay. I think I can play some good tennis. But obviously, I always had very slow start on the clay. Hopefully, it's not my case this year.


Q. Petr, at this stage, if you have a pick, a surface where to play an important match, which would you select?

PETR KORDA: I'm picking clay. I don't want to have any excuses. We have clay, that's on the program, this tournament, I'm playing. If it happen on clay this time, you know, it had to happen.

ANDRE AGASSI: You're crazy, man. Indoors.

PETR KORDA: Why should I? It's better to take the tougher one (laughter). If I go indoor, I know it would be fine. I know how to play indoor. I can play on grass. It's always what my father always told me, "Only different court is grass, everything depends how you going to get your timing together." I think he was right always.


Q. Going back to religious matters, I saw that you're not probably going to Rome. There is the Vatican and the Pope. You have no interest to meet them?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm very interested, but I can meet him maybe hopefully after my career. Right now I'm thinking about the French Open.


Q. Rome is not a good preparation?

ANDRE AGASSI: It depends. I like some training time always going into Paris. I feel like if I'm fit, if I'm willing to work hard for five sets, then my game is much better. Even if I'm hitting the ball well and I'm not feeling a hundred percent fit or rested, then it's difficult for me. According to how well I do the next few weeks, that will determine what the best preparation is for me. That's the beauty to be ranked outside the Top 100 last year, I didn't have to commit. Now I can play it by ear and make a good decision.


Q. So you can think about asking for a wildcard?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'll have them hold a wildcard now.


Q. It's not 100 percent no?

ANDRE AGASSI: Definitely not.


Q. Is what, 50 or more?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I don't know.


Q. 49?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's only a problem if you play an Italian there.


Q. You don't have many, so don't worry.

ANDRE AGASSI: I find them, though. They find me (laughter).


Q. One comment on Rios, No. 1? Is it something you would have ever expected? You knew it could happen?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I couldn't have predicted it certainly. I mean, never seemed to me like he was No. 1 potential. But he's proved me wrong, and many other people. Not feeling so healthy now, it's a very critical time, leading to the French Open and the Grand Slam. Hopefully he'll be healthy and we can see at the end of the year where things fall. Until the Grand Slams are played, who's No. 1 is not so important. It's nice to achieve it. He was happy to do so. If Petr does it, I'm sure he'll be thrilled for it. What matters is to win the matches and at the end of the year what's the case. The Grand Slams is always the most important.


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