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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

1999 GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE ATP CHAMPIONSHIP
CINCINNATI, OHIO

August 13, 1999

A. AGASSI/G. Kuerten

6-2, 7-6(10)

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

ANDRE AGASSI: I tend to believe that tiebreakers are 50/50 no matter who is playing. It always seems like anything can go in either direction. However, what you have to kind of analyze after a tiebreaker is how did you play the big points. Did you execute? Did you feel good about the chance that you took? Did you take the right shot and did you execute it well? I feel pretty good with the way I have been playing, no question, I think that does reflect just confidence and focus.

Q. Was he frustrated or angry?

ANDRE AGASSI: I can only judge from it what I saw. He looked rather angry. Close one to lose. You are either just settling in for an incredibly difficult match or the match slipped by. So I was fortunate at the end of the second there.

Q. You are down early in the second set.

ANDRE AGASSI: It is just as easy to get frustrated that you allowed yourself to kind of dig a hole in the second because part of me felt like if I had just played better to start the second, I might have been able to go with the momentum and finish it off rather quickly. So you have to refocus and get intense all over again; get back to work; knowing full well that you can just as easily lose the second. So that is frustrating. But there is no other choice you have out there. You got to keep working.

Q. Was there a turning point maybe in the tiebreaker?

ANDRE AGASSI: A lot of turning points. 5-All he smacked my second serve and I barely picked it up off my feet on the baseline and hit the tape and crawled over. Then he slams an ace to go 6-All. I mean, that could have been the set right there. Then I had a chance to close him out. And didn't. Got a little tentative on a couple of shots. But all and all it was -- could have gone either way, no question.

Q. When a ball hits the tape like that one did, and sort of dribbles over, do you think to yourself, well, kind of my day?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, because you can only assess that after the day is over after your work is done. I mean, I have seen the development of matches take a number of different turns and twists. You learn to keep working and to assess the calls and the luck afterwards. So I was just thinking: Win this point.

Q. Talk about tomorrow.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I mean, what -- I don't know what to say about it. It is going to be good.

Q. What can you take from the last two matches? Do anything differently? Anything that you learn each time?

ANDRE AGASSI: You get to a certain level with certain players where it is not even about what you do. It is about just how well you do it. With Pete it is that way. There is no surprises in either of our games. We both know what we count on in big situations. It's a question of who is going to do it better. I am certainly motivated to get the better of him tomorrow. So we will have to make sure that we are each playing our best in order to pull off the win.

Q. Given that you guys have played a lot, there have been stretches where you didn't play at all for quite a long time. Do you think it helps you to have played him a lot recently, a lot more than at certain points -- you play a lot say in the last month. Does that help you at all?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not anymore than it helps him. That is the great thinking about elements in tennis, you get two people that have to deal with the same elements and so it is about how each of them deal with it and for me, I like the fact that I have played him. I can't say it is an advantage, but I do like the fact that we have played just because I enjoy it so much and it brings out the best in my game and it will tomorrow. But to say it is an advantage for either of us, can't say that. It is all about what happens tomorrow.

Q. What about Pete's game?

ANDRE AGASSI: Beyond having a serve that he can hit four corners with a number of varies of spins as well as pace, the guy is an explosive mover. He can cover the forehand; run better than anybody in the game. He can take -- he can go from defense to offense in a matter of a split second before you even anticipated the point. So many times you are in position to win a point; next thing you know you actually find yourself on the defense. He can play from every part of the court. He can stay back and rally with the best of them and wait for his opportunity to either hit a winner from the backcourt like he is a baseliner or to chip and come in like he is, you know, Pat Rafter. So he can take on a lot of faces out there and you never know which one he is going to bring to which big point. Not to mention he has great hands at net.

Q. Top four players in the world who are in the semifinals. What does that mean to you?

ANDRE AGASSI: It means get ready for New York because I think a few guys are really stepping up deservedly to claim their position going into the Open. It is great to see because you are talking about a few guys that have managed to separate themselves from the rest through the years. Pete speaks for him himself. Rafter back-to-back opens and Kafelnikov winning on, you know, two different surfaces, Slams, and myself. So it is four guys who have managed in the last decade to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, so going into the Open, it only lends for more drama and higher quality of tennis.

Q. Richard was saying that he thinks that he is so unbelieveably mentally tough. How do you prepare yourself against Pete with mental toughness?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, Pete is one of the guys that actually makes it easy to be focused because you really have no choice. There is no, I mean, the ability to assess how strong somebody is mentally is purely based on how they deal with variety of situations and whether they should beat somebody, whether they are behind, whether they are ahead and with Pete it doesn't matter if you are up, if you are down, you just have to play well on every point to expect to win it. Against him I always feel mentally ready. He has a game that lends for -- for periods of time of genius. Pete doesn't go out there and chip away at you. He waits for his opportunity and then he strikes with conviction.

Q. (inaudible)

ANDRE AGASSI: When somebody beats you, you don't feel it as -- it doesn't affect you as much because it is when you could have done something else and you don't and with Pete, usually the case is that if he beats you, he beats you and so it is not necessarily the case, but it is most of the time.

Q. What was your reaction hearing about Steffi Graf retiring?

ANDRE AGASSI: Real strong mixed emotions. It is certainly a loss for tennis because in my opinion she is the best lady that has ever played, dominated on every surface and on the other side of it is a sense of happiness for the next chapter in her life which I am sure she is looking forward to. We all have to go through it and to watch somebody who handles herself as professionally as she does go through it first, it is nice. So it is mixed emotion. I just hopes she is revolved about.

Q. How well do you know her personally?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not as well as -- not very well.

 
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