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Écrit par Jerome   

ATP Tour World Championship
Hannover, Germany

November 25, 1998

5-7, 6-3, 2-1 (ret.)

An interview with:


Q. Were you playing in pain, Andre, all the way through the match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, definitely, you know. Definitely was painful even this morning in my warm-up. I needed to give it a go, because if it just maintained, I could somehow at least try to keep the points short. But I hit a swinging volley I think like at 2-All in the first set, and when I twisted, it just was like somebody stuck a knife in me. Then I had kind of a hard time leaning forward in my traditional return of serve stance. As the match progressed, more things were becoming difficult. Pretty soon, it got quite pointless.

Q. So what now, Andre? Is that it? Are you going to wait and see how you are tomorrow?

ANDRE AGASSI: I guess I should pretty much give it every shot possible. You know, I'll see how it recovers from here, make the decision probably tonight.

Q. If you'd won that second set and therefore won the match, would you have taken that win and tried to carry on?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I don't know. I'm sure I wouldn't be in much better shape than I am now. I think it would still require decisions to be made. So I couldn't answer that. I certainly would be $100,000 richer. That would be it.

Q. Brad said last night it was up to you, how you felt, and the doctor. What did the doctor say to you this morning?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, he assured me that certainly we've done everything that can be done to get me ready. But there's no telling, you know, how it was going to feel. We knew it wasn't going to go away, but we had hopes that it wouldn't get worse.

Q. Do you know exactly what it is? Is it a tear or pull or what?

ANDRE AGASSI: Apparently it's a constriction, a spasm, in the back. The fact that it's tightened up, it constricts my ability on the front side, like underneath my rib cage, so that it's constantly pulling and hard to breathe, hard to jolt, you know, move up-and-down, or lean forward, or rotate. It's a constriction that limits what you can do without a pretty good amount of pain.

Q. Have you had anything like this before?

ANDRE AGASSI: Close. I mean, I've had some similar feelings, but entirely different where I damaged a rib one time, and it felt kind of the same way.

Q. Have they said what in an ideal world you would need to do to put it right?

ANDRE AGASSI: It could relax at any time. Apparently, I could reach for something and it's possible that it would just relax and be gone. But it's also possible it will take a few weeks maybe. Who knows?

Q. Did you get any medicines?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I had like five injections yesterday, as well as a lot of treatment, antiinflammatories, muscle relaxers, all the good legal stuff.

Q. When you say it might take a few weeks to recover, does that mean playing a couple extra matches may endanger Australia?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, the reason why your back spasms like that is to protect it. There's a certain safety in not making it worse. Still, if it's a problem, it's a problem. Today, it kept gradually getting more difficult, more fatigued, more constricted. I don't think Australia will be in jeopardy regardless. I'm also a professional who has a hard time going out there and not being able to do what it is I do. And I'm realistic about my chances if I can't do a few things.

Q. As of the way you stand, would you be surprised if you wouldn't play tomorrow?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'd probably be more surprised if I did.

Q. After the way you worked recently to get to Hannover, it must come as a severe disappointment to have this happen to you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I mean, the year has been great for me in many respects. The great tournaments have been pretty disappointing. I've worked really hard and had to grind week after week to get myself in position, struggled when I got in position. It's a luxury now that I've earned myself for next year, to prepare for just the big ones, and hopefully have a better result.

Q. When you lose a match in an ordinary tournament, you're out of the tournament. Does it actually make a difference that there's another professional hanging on to see whether you pull out, in terms of your decision?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I've got to make the decision based on me entirely if I give myself a chance or not. I mean, the first concern is more damage, you know, further injury. The next concern is respect for the tournament, you know, to not go out there and stink it up, so to speak. You know, I'll just have to hope it relaxes. You know, it's good that they have a reserve. I mean, it's good for the tournament.

Q. Pete has made comments about the fact that the interest showed by the American press is almost nonexistent. Do you want to comment on that?


Q. The interest shown by the American press is almost nonexistent.

ANDRE AGASSI: Interest to what?

Q. The tournament.

ANDRE AGASSI: To this tournament?

Q. Yes.

ANDRE AGASSI: I haven't looked around the room (laughter). Yeah, I don't see too many.

Q. He's the only one.

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh. Yeah, that's disappointing (laughter). Sorry. I mean, I don't know what else to say.

Q. Does the injury make a particular shot difficult or every shot difficult?

ANDRE AGASSI: Two things were the most difficult out there. It was when I returned serve, when I lean over, then I have to, you know, kind of flex to carry myself. I couldn't lean forward on my return. When I would serve at the end there, I would start coming down. When you finish your serve, you land hard, you know, your body goes down, you have to push back up. That started becoming rather difficult, and any shot that requires you to really rotate, running to the forehand and hitting it cross-court, or running to the backhand and hitting it cross-court, where you go this way and have to turn (indicating). Basically, the only thing that didn't bother me was when I was in position and I didn't have to really turn on a shot. I could hit an inside out forehand. It's difficult. It's your trunk. It's the center of your body. It's a little thing, but very significant.

Q. How exactly did you do it? You fell when you were hitting with Alex the other day?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I went to stop, and my foot skipped a little bit, so then I was prepared to fall. But then all of a sudden it stuck on the court. So right before I fell, I jolted, almost like if you were to step in a hole without seeing it. Your whole body kind of reacts to it (indicating). Then I fell, made it worse, landed on my back. I knew right away.

Q. Immediate, stabbing pain?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I had to shake it off first. I didn't feel like I was injured until I hit a few balls. Then my body was protecting itself. It just locked up.

Q. Have you set any goals for next year?

ANDRE AGASSI: The Grand Slams, I want to win. I'd like to start off winning Australia.

Q. Will you be telling the tournament tonight or will you wait till tomorrow?

ANDRE AGASSI: Probably I'll tell the tournament this evening. I think I'll know this evening. When you sleep and wake up, it's even more stiff sometimes. If it doesn't release tonight, there's probably not much chance.

Q. Do you know if your injury is connected to your long struggle to come back to the Top 10? You've played a lot of tournaments, a lot of pressure on you.

ANDRE AGASSI: No. My injury was due to my accident in practice. A lot of times you don't have the luxury of knowing how you hurt something. But it was very clear. I fell down.

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