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Écrit par Jerome   

Stuttgart, Germany

October 27, 1999

A. AGASSI/M. Philippoussis
6-2, 6-4

An interview with:


ATP: Ladies and Gentlemen, Andre is No. 1 in The Race to Hannover. He's already qualified for the World Championships. He's No. 1 in the world, and trying to break the monopoly that Europeans seem to have on the Eurocard Open. Who would like to ask the first question, please?

Q. Form looks very good. How content are you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I certainly can't complain. It seems like every match in a tournament like this is very intense right from the first round. Mark's a dangerous player who I had to be sharp. I was seeing the ball well and moving well. I was taking care of my serve. I felt really good.

Q. How fresh mentally do you feel at this stage of the year? It's almost the end of a long season.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it feels pretty long. You know, I mean, what's there to be tired about really? As far as I'm concerned, it's been an incredible year. It's given me a lot of motivation to keep trying to get better. I feel pretty good. It's never easy this time of year, but I feel real good.

Q. Was it quite good to have a big-hitting player on the other side of the net?

ANDRE AGASSI: Assuming you win, it's always good. If you lose, then you wish that you never saw him (laughter). I feel good that I'm hitting the ball clean and that I'm on to the next one.

Q. David was talking about breaking the European domination of this event. In your earlier years on the Tour, you didn't seem to like Europe very much. Are you more at home this side of the Atlantic now?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, yeah. I have a much greater appreciation for many things now. Different cultures, environments, experiences are certainly one of a few of many things that I'm enjoying. This is big-time tennis. To be quite honest, it doesn't really matter where we are when you have these kinds of players here.

Q. What do you expect from The Championships in Hannover?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, so much is left to be decided. It's tough to have too much of a feel for it. But for me, these two tournaments are important, as for many players. You know, I want to play a real good indoor season. I haven't had that in a few years. I think Hannover will be a good opportunity to end the year with a lot of confidence.

Q. You're the US Open tennis champion. Payne Stewart was the US Open golf champion. Do you have any comment as to what happened about another?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, it's just a great tragedy. I mean, we all fear , we all fear that our moments here are our last ones. Just to be doing something as normal as traveling from one place to another is a terrible, terrible thing to happen. Prayers are with his family.

Q. Did you know him?


Q. In view of the amount of flying you do on sort of private jets, was that an even bigger sort of shock for you in a way?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think that it certainly makes you aware of how fragile life can be. It's a very personal way that the tragedy happened. That someone who travels as much as we do, you can certainly identify with the fear of it, you know. But, you know, it's like, God rest his soul, Vitas. All he was doing was going to sleep. To go that way just doesn't seem right.

Q. Compared to Munich, do you think the attention of the media and the crowd is going slowly back to normal, or is it still hysterical?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't understand.

Q. Do you think the attention of all the media guys is slowly going back to the normal way it was before you met Steffi?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, yeah. I don't know if it will be normal ever (laughter). But I think it's probably a little bit less. I don't know. I try not to think about it too much.

Q. Have you ever enjoyed your tennis as much as you appear to be doing now?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no. It's a great feeling for me to play these years of my career with the kind of feeling I'm having. I've worked hard to get here.

Q. What makes it fun out on the court?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, just that I'm embracing the competition of it, pushing myself to get better, having the experience to realize that it's really not all that important in the scope of things.

Q. How hard is Steffi's forehand still?

ANDRE AGASSI: Harder than Brad's (laughter). I assure you, it's bigger than Brad's.

Q. Any likelihood of you playing mixed in the Australian?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no. Got to separate business and pleasure, you know (laughter).

Q. Do you think that tennis needs more characters like you or, for example, Marcelo Rios, who bring a bit of color?

ANDRE AGASSI: First of all, what does "character" mean? Because you just called me a character. Secondly, are you comparing me to Marcelo Rios (laughter)? You answer one, and I'll finish answering it. I think the most important thing for sports are rivalries; people that bring out the best in each other that the public knows and are very familiar with. Second to that are personalities that bring people into the sport. What kind of personalities do that, your opinion is as good as mine. But, yeah, that is important to have interest brought by other players.

Q. Talking about rivalries, have you heard anything about Pete?

ANDRE AGASSI: I have not, outside of what we've heard in the news, which is he's expected to play next week.

Q. Generally it's goals that keep you going. If you had to choose one goal, one main goal that keeps you going today, what would it be? Pleasure of playing?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I would have to say just the pleasure of playing, no question, is my greatest motivation. Goals, you know, are different. I enjoy playing. Regardless of where my level is, as long as I feel like I can get better tomorrow, I'm inspired to try to do that. But winning the big ones, you know, there's no feeling like it. Winning one twice was something I had never done. It felt incredible in its own way. I'm looking forward to getting to know what it feels like to win more.

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