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Écrit par Jerome   



March 27, 2000

A. AGASSI/A. Pavel

6-4, 6-3

An interview with:


ATP: Questions for Andre.

Q. A lapse of the concentration at the start of the second set?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I don't think it was concentration. It's tough conditions out there. The wind was moving so much. While I won the first set, I don't think either of us felt like it was necessarily a high quality of tennis. I kind of started the second with the same mentality, just try to keep the ball in the court, squeak this out somehow in two sets. I didn't execute a couple shots, and he got the break. I just had to get back to work after that.

Q. After the last couple of upset tournaments, do you feel as though you're getting into the groove a little bit now?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think so. I think it can only get better with each match. It was a long layoff for me after Zimbabwe. I didn't even get a chance to hit a ball for close to a month. That's too difficult these days to expect to step out there. To a large degree, I was expecting a few tournaments. You know, I hope can I stay alive here long enough that I can really feel like I'm playing really well here.

Q. Did that actual adventure take a lot more out of you than even you considered at the time, going from Australia, Zimbabwe, all the emotions?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, yeah, it certainly is that way in hindsight. I think it was more physical than it was really draining for me. I was hurt coming back. I couldn't play for a while. That's a problem. I couldn't do everything I wanted to do to keep my advantage with my game, with the way I was striking the ball. Kind of like I had to go back to square one on the court and start feeling the ball again, because the last time I remembered hitting the ball was a month earlier at 5500 feet altitude. It's taken me a few weeks. With the windy conditions, it will take me longer too.

Q. You don't have any regrets of going to Zimbabwe after Australia?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, no. Australian Open was what I was really preparing for, and Davis Cup. While there was a cost to be paid, I feel like it was worth it.

Q. What's it going to mean to you to go out on the court at the Forum as part of an All-Star team with John on the bench in Los Angeles?

ANDRE AGASSI: It will be great. The last time we were on the same team together was '92. We played and won it in Fort Worth. It's going to be exciting. I'm looking forward to playing with Pete. I think it's going to be great excitement for America and their interest in the Davis Cup. I'm excited to see how they respond to it here.

Q. What do you think will be a greater distraction, the drums they played in Harare or the cell phones in the forum?

ANDRE AGASSI: I didn't hear any drums in Zimbabwe. I was busy concentrating. Hopefully I won't hear any cell phones either.

Q. Are you glad that Pat is showing signs of getting over his injury now? Last night his movement was fabulous.

ANDRE AGASSI: That's good. It's good to hear. I didn't see it last night. It is nice to know he's feeling better. His standard of tennis raises everybody's. I think he's been great for the game. He has a lot more tennis in him. For him to get healthy, I think it would be great for him, great for the game. I hope he's playing well.

Q. He's also saying that ten years has taken its toll on him. He feels his body is saying it might be close to the time when he has to slow down, maybe even finish. Can you understand why he might be feeling that way after a long haul, he's injured now, that's hard for him to come to terms with?

ANDRE AGASSI: It gets easier in the 14th year, tell him. 14th year it gets a lot easier. It takes a toll on you, there's no question about it. While everybody has great expectations and interest in how the new schedule will impact the game of tennis, there is a very significant cost that's involved. A lot of the players have played a lot. There's the same amount of tournaments in a much shorter period of time. When you add Davis Cup and the Olympics, it's a brutal, brutal, brutal year. Pat is a very physical player. You know, he doesn't ever go out there and take it lightly on his body. His body's always paying the price. That speaks volumes for him as a competitor. If he just stays healthy, I think he's plenty athlete enough to get through it.

Q. Do you have to make any concessions to age at this point or are you still feeling really fresh? Pete is talking about his back. Pat is talking about maybe giving up. I'm wondering if you feel anything at all?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, thank God I don't feel anything physically. I'm healthy, I feel pretty strong. But I think experience is teaching me what to really focus on and how to go about peaking for what it is you want to accomplish. It's not easy to go week after week of complete intensity. You know, like the NASDAQ, you're going to have a couple down days. Overall, you can't be a doubter.

Q. Speaking of the NASDAQ, the USTA was $10 million in debt this year, largely because of huge losses supposedly on the stock market. How can you imagine losing $3 or $6 million in the stock market?

ANDRE AGASSI: How can imagine that?

Q. Yes.

ANDRE AGASSI: Do something stupid. I don't know. I don't know. I'm not a high-risk kind of guy.

Q. Do you feel like you've actually figured it out and you really sort of know exactly when to peak and have it all figured out, or you're still in the process?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's a real moving target. It's never about figuring it out. It's about keeping things in perspective, not being hard on yourself if by chance you aren't feeling so great. I wouldn't say I have anything figured out. I will say, though, that I've gotten better at knowing how to prioritize certain things, knowing what to be concerned about, what not to be. It's a high wire act. It's a balancing act. You don't want to play too much; you don't want to play too well, too early. By the same token, if you fall short of kind of where you want to be, you can really go into some of the bigger tournaments without the same confidence that you might be looking for. It's not an easy balancing act.

Q. As time goes by, you change. The field is changing. Certain players go up-and-down. It is a moving target.

ANDRE AGASSI: It's a moving target. You know, again, it's difficult to just commit to playing hard for a few weeks, recovering, resting, preparing, playing hard for a few weeks. It doesn't work that way. A lot of new guys coming up, a lot of young guys. Everybody's pushing each other out there.

Q. Are the ones to look forward to still the matches against people like Rafter on center court here, big occasions.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it is.

Q. You get yourself up for those ones more than for today's match, or that is not the case?

ANDRE AGASSI: I can't say actually you get up for it more. I think the level of respect for somebody's potential and capabilities maybe create those extra bit of nerves that might tend to make you focus and play a little bit better a little bit earlier. But there's a lot of great matches in the Round of 16. The Round of 16, you're talking about in a lot of cases the top 16 players in the world, great match-ups. Not just me and Rafter. Look in the draw, you'll see a lot of great match-ups. That's what's making it so interesting these days. That's why it feels so good to win a tournament like this. You're talking about the best players in the world.

Q. Later this summer, Martina Navratilova is going to be inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame. Couple days ago, a European woman with an absolutely awesome forehand was abducted into the Ericsson Hall of Fame. We're asking people who they think the best player of all time on the women's side is. Who do you think between those two?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I would hesitate to answer this if I wasn't asked long before I even met Steffi. The bottom line is, maybe excluding going back to Margaret Court, she's dominated on all surfaces. Her Slams speak for themselves. It's not easy to dominate. While Martina can win on all surfaces, I feel there was a definite dominance by Steff in each tournament, which is a phenomenal accomplishment. Again, with that quote, I hope you make mention that I've said it for five years.

Q. Do you think Steffi's record of at least four wins at the four Slams is one of the most incredible records in tennis?

ANDRE AGASSI: A helluva lot better than mine. It's incredible. It's incredible.

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