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Écrit par Jerome   




April 21, 1998


A. AGASSI/T. Martin

6-2, 6-1


An interview with:




Q. Was there anything you were not pleased about?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not today, no. Today felt great. I certainly did everything that I needed to do against a player who plays like Todd does. I responded well to his big shots, moved well, served well, returned well. Just played well.


Q. Do you suggest me get the shroud to play like today?

ANDRE AGASSI: (No response.)


Q. You're here for the duration? Are you going to play anything in the States before the Italian?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm not playing in the States. I play next week in Munich. I have some wildcards held in Hamburg and Rome.


Q. So you could be here for a very long stretch?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes, it's possible. I guess it's possible, certainly.


Q. Andre, considering it was your first match on European clay since Roland Garros in '96, given what he'd done last week, were you surprised how well it went and how easy it was?

ANDRE AGASSI: You're always surprised when you can win a match 6-2, 6-1 anywhere these days. But I did everything pretty well. I mean, Todd's game on clay is very aggressive. It's certainly more of a one dimensional kind of attack. That gives a lot of Europeans problems. He can serve-volley against Berasategui. With me, I knew if I was playing well, I felt like, regardless of how many times I played on clay in the last year, I'd be able to play well against him. For it to go that well, it was certainly enjoyed.


Q. How long would you normally think it takes you to acclimatize to this stuff?

ANDRE AGASSI: The most important aspect of playing on clay for me is to be fit and be hitting my shots well, that I can hit 8 to 12 good shots a point. It requires that. So really in the past when I've done the best, I haven't needed that much time. But at this stage of the ballgame, you know, I'm going to need a few tournaments, to say the least.


Q. Now comes Pete and the match everybody was looking for. How do you feel about it? How do you feel about the chance that you may knock Pete from the No. 1 spot?

ANDRE AGASSI: Pete isn't in No. 1.


Q. Not yet. But it could affect his No. 1 chances.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, everybody has to worry for themselves out there. I'm not too concerned with his spot. I'm concerned with continuing to play better. I'm going to have to play a bit more versatile against Pete because he moves a little bit better than Todd. He doesn't hit the ball as flat. We're probably going to have longer rallies. I'm going to have to be playing well. I'm looking forward to it. I feel like I can rise to the occasion.


Q. How do you explain such a comeback this year after three months?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, once you fall down in the rankings and you haven't played in a while, it takes twice as much work to come back. It's a lot of hard work.


Q. Just hard work, or mentally are you tougher than last year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, hand-in-hand. When you work hard, you know, you believe in yourself more.


Q. Andre, nowadays the European clay is much faster than it was five, six years ago. How do you explain you're having better results in general six years ago when you played Roland Garros the next time than now? Then was much slower, today is more similar to cement, which is your favorite surface.

ANDRE AGASSI: I think a lot depends on the weather, too. If it's raining a lot, it plays a lot heavier. I think, generally speaking, I was one of the first guys to come along and hit big off both sides. So when you go back six, eight years, very few guys could hit the ball hard off both sides. I think now there's guys who can hit the ball better off both sides, so it's not as easy to stay on the offense. I have to even improve more. That's why it's more difficult. But I believe I can do it again, I really do. But it requires to play a lot and to remember all my shots. I forget how many times you can hit ten different shots in one point.


Q. How different is Pete on clay going to be Pete on cement or Pete on carpet?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it's going to be different for both of us. We're both used to playing each other on quicker courts where we very much know each other's game. You know, it's not the best surface for him certainly. He hits a lot of spin on his backhand, and he moves well still on the clay. He still can hold serve. You know, he's obviously a problem on the surface. I think you're going to see a lot more rallies, which, hopefully, if I'm hitting the ball well, the baseline rallies can favor me. It's going to have to go that way for me to win.


Q. Boris Becker on Sunday night was saying that he sees you as having a real shot at being No. 1 by the end of the year. Do you think that's realistic?

ANDRE AGASSI: I certainly appreciate that. I believe it's possible, sure. I mean, I could win some big tournaments. But a lot has to happen. I mean, there's a lot of tennis to be played this year, a tremendous amount. The ability for me to be able to go from where I am now to that next level is the key. If I can make that move and do well on the clay, then all of a sudden I'm playing the hard courts with a lot of confidence, playing even better on the hard courts, could be a great summer for me, too. Then you're into the indoors with a nice look at the basket. It's possible. There's a lot of guys who are contending for it now. I think everybody waits with interest as to how it's all going to come down.


Q. Andre, it's often said that irrespective of other success that comes along the way, people who play well on clay are also well prepared for the move onto grass. At this stage, would you say you're a good outside bet for Wimbledon, a worthwhile outside bet, let's put it that way?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm a shot-making kind of player. You know, I can make that adjustment quite effectively. Every time I've played Wimbledon, I always feel like I can beat guys who play from the back and I can beat serve and volleyers. If you feel like you can handle all the situations, at least in your own mind you have that kind of confidence, it's reasonable to say. I go into that tournament thinking I can win it, no question. It's been a few years now since I've really been contending for the Slams. Now I'm getting back to a place where it's becoming much more of a realistic goal. How I respond to that at this stage of the ballgame, you know, will determine a lot. But I'm definitely going into this Wimbledon with a lot better chance than I've had in the recent few years.

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