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Stuttgart, Germany

October 28, 1998

A. AGASSI/A. Pavel
6-1, 6-7(4), 6-3

An interview with:


Q. That was difficult to adapt to a new court, new circumstances? This court is quite slow; isn't it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it is. All the indoor courts so far this year have played pretty similar. So it wasn't too difficult to get used to it. I think it helped to play the doubles too, and get a little look before it started.

Q. They have found the right even pace now, or has it possibly gone a little too far away from the serve and volleys?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I mean, you can still serve and volley, trust me. If Krajicek stays back tomorrow, then I will say, okay, it is too slow. But I don't think he is going to do that.

Q. Andre, just a year ago in Stuttgart after losing to Todd Martin, you told us that you were going back home and you had to work. Did you expect at that time, a year after, that you would be No. 5 in the world?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't think it would have been easy to expect this, no. It has been a good year in many ways, and in some ways, disappointing with the Grand Slams. But I knew it would take me the whole year to get myself back to being in good position again. But I wasn't expecting to have succeeded this quickly, no.

Q. Correct me if I am wrong, but you went from here to play those challengers in Vegas and Burbank. What recollections do you have of those two weeks or what have you gained from those two weeks?

ANDRE AGASSI: They were great weeks. They really were. I really enjoyed them. Strong memories there. Vegas - playing in Las Vegas I get a lot of support and during a very difficult time and in Burbank it was during Thanksgiving, there was a certain element of real kind of getting back to the old gym during a time of year where I am used to relaxing, I was working. So I felt good memories, very good memories of it.

Q. To what extent have you so far started thinking about next year and building your program again with the obviously Grand Slams in mind next year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, that is what it boils down to for me next year are the Grand Slams. It is the most important and position with your ranking. It is obviously a very important part of that. The end of this year is crucial to the ranking and it is also crucial to your confidence and to making improvements that will help you for the upcoming year.

Q. Have you decided where, for instance, you will play before Australia?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't think I have made any concrete plans. I wouldn't need much, but a little bit. And that is good news.

Q. With the Berasategui loss at the Australian, was that the most disappointing match you had this year?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. No not at all. I wasn't even expecting myself to do that well in Australia. You have got to remember I hadn't competed on that level, I mean, before then the biggest crowd I was in front of was maybe 500 people, you know, it was very nerve-wracking to be competing at that level again and three out of five sets - as hard as you train, you are never ready for the mental and physical wear and tear of a three out of five set match. He raised his game and beat them in the last three sets and I never -- it was disappointing of course, but it wasn't the most disappointing. It was very early on and I was staying very positive.

Q. In retrospect it was a very doable tournament to win, don't you think?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I mean, Rios was playing unbelievable to the finals and I wasn't ready to be competing on that level in hindsight.

Q. What about this time? Different outlook when you go into Melbourne?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, sure. Completely different program now - three out of five sets in the heat with the way I am playing, I am looking forward to playing there. I am going there with the intention to win.

Q. Was there one moment or one match in this comeback period when you knew deep down, yourself: I am over the hump, now I can go forward?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you are talking about so many different levels along the way. I feel like every single stage has been so crucial that I have that match that makes me believe for the next level. I would have to say the real belief about beating the best guys is just now coming around, literally, as recent as a few weeks. The indoors is a good environment for the person that hits a clean ball. If you are playing aggressively and controlling the points indoors, it does a lot for your confidence. This whole year, when it came time to winning big matches, I got a lot more conservative. I didn't get aggressive and that is not a good sign for me. Now I am starting to play aggressive even if the match gets close. It is what I need to do to be at the top again.

Q. You are No. 5 and you have a chance to finish the year at No. 1. If you would succeed, would it be the best achievement of your career?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I think it is certainly difficult to go from 140 to No. 1, but, you know, I am not as interested in No. 1 right now as much as proving that I can be there. I want to win big tournaments. That is the most important thing to me. I have had a lot of close matches this year where if I had won those matches, you know, who knows where I would be right now. So I think it would be nice if I could win these next two tournaments, but I am very realistic about how I need to approach my game right now and it is one match at a time and it would be a great accomplishment. But I'd rather win Australia.

Q. Right after you hit that ball in disgust today, there was somebody next to me who said: That was the first time a player gave an umpire a warning. What was the exchange between you guys?

ANDRE AGASSI: I hit the ball out. Then I just asked him why he wasn't giving me a warning. He said: I didn't see what you did. I said: I just hit the ball into the roof. He says: Well, I didn't see. I said: Let me assure you, I hit it real hard. He said: Well, I have to see it. I said: Okay, glad you weren't watching.

Q. You and Boris playing doubles, how was it playing for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: It was a great time. I wish we had done better. But I have always wanted to play doubles with Boris. I think him and McEnroe are probably the best doubles players that have ever played the game and I give him that kind of credit. Certainly was a good experience and very memorable for me. I enjoyed it very much.

Q. Was it arranged at Oktoberfest October?

ANDRE AGASSI: Only after the first beer; not the third.

Q. How is your relation to Boris now?

ANDRE AGASSI: Strictly plutonic.

Q. You used to have some quarrels between you and Boris. Is that over now?

ANDRE AGASSI: We spent most of our career with great admiration for each other and we had a difficult moment in 1995, but, you know, you choose your wife and you have difficult moments with your wife, so we have been competing together for twelve years and we had a difficult moment. But it is way behind us.

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