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Écrit par Jerome   



September 30, 1999

T. HAAS/A. Agassi
6-0, 7-6, 6-4

An interview with:


ITF: Questions for Andre.

Q. That first set sort of went past you before anyone really noticed. Was this mainly due to the fact that you haven't played since the US Open and had probably a lot of other things on your mind?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, it's always tough, your first match after a few weeks away, especially after a long summer. You know, I mean, plus, too, only being here a couple days, the ball is moving rather quick. I was really having a hard time picking it up. It took me, you know, about a good 45, 50 minutes of playing out there before I started getting a little bit more comfortable with the pace. But he played well. I mean, he served big on some crucial points. I felt like I could have got the momentum in the second set, a number of breakpoints. He came up with some big shots. You know, I gave myself a chance. But you got to play well to beat a guy like Tommy.

Q. That first set reminded you in any way your match with Pioline here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, the score certainly did, didn't it? No, I mean, I was missing a lot of shots. I mean, he hit a couple good shots. All he really had to do was keep the ball in the court, and I wasn't so clean on my timing for a while. I knew if I could just settle down and make some shots, at least I would make him have to play well to beat me. And he managed to play well in the third, real well.

Q. How much have you seen of your tennis racquet in the time between The Open final and here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not a whole lot. I mean, I started playing about -- I took a good, solid week off, started hitting some balls. Good thing in Vegas, there's altitude, so it was actually not bad getting ready for here. More than anything, it's being over here enough time to be ready. I would have been better off with a Friday start, at least for the start. I managed to give myself a chance, which felt good, considering how it started.

Q. Did you feel a kind of empty?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm sorry?

Q. Did you feel a kind of empty?

ANDRE AGASSI: Did I feel a kind of what?

Q. Empty.

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't understand.

Q. As in no strength.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I felt a little flat, no question, in the first set. But then I thought the tennis got pretty good.

Q. What are your plans now, playing plans? Staying over here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I'll stay certainly for a few days. Got some good players here. Got to get over to Basel, get ready for Basel.

Q. After he broke you in the third set like for 4-3, did you feel tired then?

ANDRE AGASSI: I did. I did. I felt tired, which was a surprise. You know, I felt so sharp the whole summer. You know, again, the first match after a lot of intense tennis is difficult. Then there's a lot of nervous energy at the risk of losing 0-0. I really was concerned about that. I just wanted to get into it. So I spent probably a little bit more energy than I needed to in the second set. Served for it at 5-4. Then we started having a few more rallies. But, you know, he hit some good shots. He was just a little too good there at the end.

Q. Do you think he had an advantage by having played yesterday? Do you think you might have taken him a bit too easily? Were you looking past him to the next round?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no, no, no. I don't take anybody easily, ever. It helps to get the match in. I mean, the air is light here, so the ball gets away from you. The tendency is to pull back a little bit. The more you don't execute your shots, the quicker the ball will fly on you. You have to make sure you're executing. Sometimes you can get tentative when you don't want to hit it too big because it's easy to miss here. It took me a while to find my rhythm. But when I did, I mean, I was, you know, in the third set. I had a chance. But he played well towards the end. Just broke me down.

Q. Whatever we have been asking for, everybody would like to know a little bit something about you and Steffi, especially here in Germany. Before I remember you were saying you had to focus mostly in tennis, and it was very difficult to concentrate in tennis if you had other problems. How is it now? All these people talking and talking about you and Steffi and everything else, is it difficult?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, you come here to play tennis. It's not ideal. You know, it doesn't affect you on the court. You try to focus on what you're doing. It's more difficult than if there wasn't so much attention, definitely.

Q. Do you feel more pressure, especially being in Germany?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. There's enough pressure just trying to beat these guys, you know. Just got to work hard to try to win. If you don't play your best, it's easy to lose against the best players.

Q. Are you learning German, by any chance?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. Doesn't come too easily.

Q. Some German papers have been printing stories that you want to have a baby and all this stuff. We'd like to have a word from the horse's mouth, if we could. Is there any truth to any of these German newspaper reports that you're interested in getting married and having children?

ANDRE AGASSI: I have no plans, no.

Q. You had an awful lot of attention about your private life for a number of years.


Q. Does it get any easier or does it get harder?

ANDRE AGASSI: That's a good question. I think, you know, you learn to separate it a little bit easier. I think it somehow gets a little bit easier. You never quite get comfortable with it. You get more used to it, though.

Q. Any reason why Steffi Graf wasn't here today? Anything you want to say about that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not really, no.

Q. To come back on the tennis, last year you said that the rest of the year is important, but that the -- after the Grand Slam, there is some kind of relaxation after that. Do you still feel the same this year? Starting with Basel, do you focus again on the indoor season?

ANDRE AGASSI: Of course I'm going to focus. It's important to me, I would like to finish the year No. 1. That's something I've never done before, which is going to require me to play well this fall. While I wish I would have won today to even play another round or two matches against good players, I have to just, you know, practice and get ready. I'm not too concerned about my game. I just need to get out there and play.

Q. To come back to Steffi, you know each other for such a long time. How can you explain suddenly that you discover each other?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't know if I can explain it.

Q. Last year you went to the finals against Marcelo Rios. What was different in terms of preparation because you showed your best tennis last year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, every match is different. You know, let alone every year. Last year I played the first round and had a quick match, a lot of confidence. You know, this year I came out here, played against a guy who was playing well. If you expect me to win every time I play, then you expect a heck of a lot more than I do. I just want to go out there and make sure I give myself a chance and work hard. I was lucky that I had a chance today.

Q. Going back to the end of your final in New York. Brad was saying some months after you completed winning all four Slams, he was convinced that you wanted nothing more than to be able to repeat that at some stage. Have you started talking about a possible attack on the Slams next year with him? What's your buildup to the Australian going to be, for instance?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think every year the Slams are important. You can talk about how you'd like to win them all again, but it's not easy to do. After the World Championships, I'll spend a solid time training, working hard and even getting fitter and sharper with my game because that's going to be a key advantage in Australia, it's important to be physically ready. A lot of times it's difficult at the end of a long year. Guys don't start very well. I want to make sure I can rest and prepare and be physically and mentally ready. I would like to win them all again. I mean, so would a lot of players.

Q. I saw photos of yourself practicing in Key Biscayne with Steffi. Did you ever practice with other girls in all this many years or that was an exceptional thing?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I've practiced with a couple before.

Q. Like who?

ANDRE AGASSI: Before Wimbledon, I practiced with Amanda Coetzer. Who else did I hit with? I hit with a couple of them. Just don't remember them (laughter).

Q. But you remember Steffi?

ANDRE AGASSI: (No response.)

Q. Tommy has beaten you twice. Is there anything special he has over you? Does he have your number? He buzzed you in a match.

ANDRE AGASSI: What does that mean, buzzed me?

Q. With an F-16. He also said he was hoping Steffi would be here. He seemed to have no respect for you.

ANDRE AGASSI: If he can beat me, God bless him. He did today. Not too concerned about it. I mean, he's a good player, who, I'm going to have to play well to beat him.

Q. When were you last as light as you are now?

ANDRE AGASSI: I've been this light pretty much the whole year, I guess maybe starting from March. Then back in the beginning of '94 maybe after my wrist surgery, I spent a lot of time training physically, but wasn't quite as strong as I am now, but I was as light.

Q. You've been quoted in the press as saying how happy and content you are since you and Steffi have been together. How has she changed your life?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't remember that quote.

Q. Speculation has been that you're saying you're very happy and fulfilled at the moment. I'm wondering how has she changed your life since you've been together?

ANDRE AGASSI: I've just enjoyed my time with her. It's not any different than anybody you enjoy spending time with.

Q. Next year there's also like the Olympics again, the situation in your Davis Cup team seems to have changed. Can you comment on those goals? Is it just the Slams?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, no. I mean, I'm excited about the Davis Cup. I'm excited about John being the captain. I'm looking forward to experiencing, hopefully, a great team. But, you know, Olympics is awesome, too. It's going to be a full year next year between Davis Cup and the Olympics and the Grand Slams. There's a lot of important tennis to be played. All of it has great importance.

Q. How long can you maintain your form? You have had ups-and-downs in your career. Now you are very much up. Are you afraid of another down?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. You know, I'm older now, more aware of what I'm looking for. I certainly don't have the energy to go down again. To me, it's physical. If I'm physically as strong as ever, if not stronger, than I have no concerns. As long as you're more fit, age won't have any factor, except being an advantage with your experience. I've just got to make sure I'm fit and moving well.

Q. You just said that you're going to stay in Munich for a couple of days. Is Steffi coming and are you guys going together to Cologne on Saturday?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I mean, that's her business, what she's doing.

Q. Since you was there, who in your opinion won the match?

ANDRE AGASSI: De La Hoya won that fight.

Q. You think so?

ANDRE AGASSI: That's my opinion.

Q. I call it Trinidad.

ANDRE AGASSI: Then you start showing the scores. Both fighters came out in the last two rounds. One says, "If I stay on my feet I win," the other said, "If I knock him out, I win." If you thought Trinidad won, then you thought something different than even Trinidad thought. Took him a solid 12 seconds to put up his arms after the fight anyhow. I mean, granted, De La Hoya shouldn't have ran from him. I don't believe in that ever. I don't think he did enough to win the fight. Seven, three and two.

Q. You seem to be on top of your game now. Do you ever think about what you might be doing, when you're going to step down?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no, no. I don't even leave room to think about that now. That's hopefully a long ways away.

Q. When you were in Roland Garros, you said the win of Steffi inspired you a lot. Then you said also for a lot of reasons, I remember that. Which were those reasons?

ANDRE AGASSI: That's for me to know and you to figure out.

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