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Écrit par Jerome   


1999 U.S. OPEN
Flushing Meadows, New York City

September 4, 1999

A. AGASSI/J. Gimelstob

6-1, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

An interview with:


USTA: Questions for Andre.

Q. Were you a little irked with yourself there in the second set? It looked like you were not real pleased some of the time.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I was a little disappointed with how I lost my serve. I double-faulted twice and missed a forehand rally shot. But that can happen. You know, I was feeling the pressure of him on the second serve. I thought he had a good presence out there. He was standing in tight. He was taking some good cuts at it. Then I thought he served really well in the second, too. I mean, I had a couple looks to break back, had breakpoint at 4-3. He hit a good, deep second. Could have missed the line, but it was a good second. I hit a big return deep up the middle. He kind of fought it off and hit a clean winner off of it. You know, the set kind of snuck away. He got the break and he took care of his serve well in the second. I didn't feel too bad about that.

Q. Can you give an overall appraisal of your game today?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I did what I needed to do. Felt pretty good.

Q. Rafter drops out, Sampras drops out, everybody says, "It's Agassi's tournament, he has to play seven matches, but that's it." How do you react to things like that?

ANDRE AGASSI: I got to be honest, I think that anybody that says that doesn't quite know the game of tennis, possibly even sports, you know. Because we all know if we could phone in the results on the highest seed left, but you can't; you've got to go out there and play. All these guys are tough. I mean, they all can beat you. I'm certainly aware of that.

Q. Who do you see as the people coming through then that are left, Kuerten, Krajicek?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, yeah, it's tough to say. Krajicek is always a factor. Kafelnikov is playing well. Rios, if he gets his game together and his confidence picks up, I mean he's a problem. Clement is going to be a problem. I'm not concerned with the rest of the tournament.

Q. Were you surprised at all that Justin didn't just toss it in, that he gave a good fight at the end, compared to some others that might have just walked away from it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I wouldn't say anybody walks away from it. Sometimes I can stretch a lead. That's a different program. I almost did it twice in the fourth set. I had 15-40, then I have 30-40. That could have been a 6-1 set. He's out there as a professional trying hard. He always punches in the clock. He has great energy on the court, has a good game. That's not a surprise to me at all.

Q. Are you upset that he hit the ball into the stands?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, yeah. It's like tennis, you've got to keep the same balls in play or else you have different paces of ball. They're going to throw in a new one and he's going to serve it 130 miles an hour. I don't like that.

Q. Did he request that the blimp be moved?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know. I don't know. I thought he was struggling with it. I only know a couple of people in New York who get that blimp moved, and it's not Justin.

Q. Did you hear about the (inaudible) that made three victims? Is that a concern for you as a player?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not any more than 20,000 other people sitting in the arena. It's a problem.

Q. How come you asked him to walk off with you at the end? You went over to his chair and said, "Come on, we'll walk off together."

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, it's center court. I kind of always felt like that was proper protocol, especially after a good match.

Q. There was a noticeable change in your appearance out on the practice court this afternoon, lack of body hair. What's the logic behind that? Psychological thing or purely to keep cool?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, it's not to keep cool. Just got tired of being hairy.

Q. Kafelnikov said that there are only three people left in the draw who could win it: you, Kafelnikov and Krajicek. Do you agree?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I don't agree with that. I think anybody who is still in the tournament is a problem.

Q. What's the difference of playing Clement instead of Kiefer?

ANDRE AGASSI: I knew Clement was going to present problems to Kiefer because he can run down enough balls, and maybe Kiefer could miss, something could happen like this. You know, both of them present different kinds of problems. I think Kiefer has more firepower, but Clement is a tremendous competitor who moves incredibly well. I certainly earned respect for him in the second round of Paris. I have no intention of taking that one lightly.

Q. What do you think of Justin's theatrics? He's so emotional on the court.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, he has a lot of energy. I don't know if I would choose to spend my energy like that, because I think you can direct it a bit more efficiently. I think sometimes when he gets tired on the court, it has a lot to do with how much energy he's spending out there, sometimes even between the point. But it is, you know, good for the game because it shows a real spirit out there. I like seeing it.

Q. What was going through your mind after you dropped the second set and it was even in the first few games of the third?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I thought he went through a great stretch where he was serving really well, playing some big points really effectively. I knew if I just stayed at it that I would have to force him to continually do that. Then if he did for two more sets, then it's too good today. My goal at that point was to continue taking care of my serve and keep executing my shots, feel like I was going to get the better of him sooner than later. But if he continued that level, I had only a few looks at his serve in that second set. That's always a problem when you got a guy who can hold serve like that.

Q. What, if anything, are you doing differently now than other times in your career when you've played at this level?

ANDRE AGASSI: What are the things I'm doing differently?

Q. Is there anything in your game or approach different?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think you always get better. You always learn when to step up certain shots, when to come in, when to serve big, when to make sure you make your first serve. You get better as you get older. I can't say anything specifically that I'm too aware of.

Q. Jennifer Capriati said that your French Open and your ability to get back to No. 1 was a lot of inspiration for her to realize she wanted to be really interested in tennis again and do well. Is that something that you are pleased about, doesn't matter to you?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no, it matters a lot. I think anytime you can be an inspiration to somebody, it's a huge compliment. It's nice to see. She's a sweet girl who has a lot more talent left in her.

Q. Do you think there are any Americans in Justin's age group that can even approach the level that you, Pete and Courier attained at some point?

ANDRE AGASSI: You mean anybody their early 20s?

Q. Yes.


Q. Why do you think that is? Seems to be a void in that next generation.

ANDRE AGASSI: You're talking about some of the best players in the game of tennis. That's a pretty rough standard.

Q. Do you think it's fair, everybody looked at Justin, Jan-Michael, looking for the next Andre or next Pete, that they put that much pressure on those guys, and have since the minute they played one decent match, that they should kind of leave them alone?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, it's always nice to hope. But, I mean, I don't know how much it really affects the guys. I mean, you know, they're not confused as to what they need to do to get better and where they fit in. I think it is unfair when they do lose some close matches to question, you know, them on any other level outside just the fact that they're out there trying to make a living. We had a pretty incredible run of American players. You can't expect to always have that. We had a lot of Grand Slam titles between us.

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