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Écrit par Jerome   



March 28, 2000

A. AGASSI/P. Rafter

6-4, 6-4

An interview with:


ATP: Questions. Andre returns to the head of the Champion's Race. Meets the winner of Rios and Henman. Questions, please.

Q. Has your mindset changed or your attitude changed when you're facing a breakpoint?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, ideally, no. I mean, I think that every point is a question of what am I trying to accomplish here? I think the more crucial the point is, the more you have to rely on what it is you're trying to do. I wouldn't say it changes.

Q. So today, facing six breakpoints in the eighth game, you just play it like another point?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I wouldn't say like any other point, because there are points where they're less crucial and you can afford to kind of use those points to keep an opponent honest by doing different things. For me, I want to make sure that I play every big point on my terms, you know, that I hit the shot I'm looking for, whoever it is I'm playing against.

Q. Eighth game was an important game, went back and forth. Was that the key, as you look at it, winning that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it certainly made life a lot easier, holding serve there. We'd still be out there battling right now, most likely. You know, it was a difficult game. I mean, the first opportunity for him to get breakpoint came on an overrule. I always struggle with overrules. Then there was a number of breakpoints he had where I actually felt like I got a couple good calls, and there's no overrules. There's another game point I had where I felt like he missed the shot and there was no overrule. Once the overrule happens, you start looking for it. It interferes with the match. It was a difficult game physically and mentally. There were some tough calls. But the game was very physical. It took a lot out of both of us. It was a good game to win.

Q. Is it tougher to play someone like Rafter, a serve and volleyer, in blustery conditions, or more difficult for him to play you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think Patrick is a real good wind player because he takes a lot of pace off the ball, which means the wind is going to grab a hold of it more. You're trying to strike the ball cleanly, when it kind of has no pace and it's moving around. It makes it less crucial for him to do something because he's going to kind of pec and paw at the ball until he gets his opportunity anyhow. If it's clean conditions, that allows you to dictate, at least a player like myself. But in windy conditions, you know, you're always aware of the risk you are taking if you start playing too close to the lines. I think his serve becomes more effective, too, because he has such good racquet speed, that his 106, 108 miles an hour serve is really difficult to return in the wind for a couple reasons. First of all, it has a lot of juice on it, a lot of spin. Secondly, he's getting in behind it quicker, tougher to get it down. I think parts of his game become, believe it or not, even more difficult to deal with.

Q. A dropshot on breakpoint, does that say where your confidence is now?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I should just slap myself for hitting that shot.

Q. Why?

ANDRE AGASSI: Because it's not a shot you want to play. I mean, there was a strong wind in my face. It was a very tiring point, we had, the point before. I kind of bailed out with that shot. I happened to win it.

Q. An impetuous thing?

ANDRE AGASSI: He was playing so far behind the baseline, you know, there's a certain logic to it. But it was kind of just a bad decision off the cuff there. I mean, it turned out to be a good decision, but I don't want to do that again. I'd rather hit my shot on breakpoint down.

Q. In a game like the eighth game, does a player have to be even more in that mental mode of one-point-at-a-time than in other games where things aren't intense?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, that's a big game. Whenever the ref gets involved like that, it always lends for a little frustration or lack of focus. It's important for both players to kind of bear down at that point. I mean, that was his opportunity to get back in the match; and that was my opportunity to kind of put the nail in the coffin. So whatever it is you're working on accomplishing out there, you've got to make sure that you do it that game. I mean, that turned into certainly the crux of the match there.

Q. Is he as tough as he was two years ago or do you still sense that he's coming back; he's not quite there?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I think one of the most important parts to Pat's game is his movement. And to me, I was really pleasantly surprised to see how well he moved. It's nice to see him looking very comfortable out there with his movement. Today is a tough day to judge how good his shoulder feels because, you know, even 100% healthy, he's going to take a lot off that first serve and get more spin on it because of the windy conditions. So I couldn't quite tell what he was or wasn't lacking on his serve. I also felt like maybe just not playing the matches lately, that physically he was probably feeling worse than he normally does. So, you know, there's still some steps for him to take, but I've got to say that he still has a presence out there like he knows how to win. It will come around for him soon.

Q. Do you feel that your conditioning had a lot to do with your win, especially in the later games?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it always helps to be strong. You know, I mean, it was a very physical match for four and four. We played 1 hour, 40 minutes. That's not an easy match. That's a very demanding match, physically demanding. It's nice to get that challenge and to move on through it because it certainly gives you a lot of confidence and it allowed me to even work harder on my next match.

Q. Can you briefly talk about Rios and Henman?

ANDRE AGASSI: What do you want to know?

Q. Just talk generally about the two of them as opponents.

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, two different style players. You know, one is left-handed; one is right-handed (laughter). Match-ups are everything in sports. That's why you have to show up and play; you can't phone in your result. I look forward to playing either of them. I think it would certainly be two different styles of play. I mean, Henman likes to take a lot of pace off the ball, put pressure on you by coming in. Rios likes to control the point from the ground by taking it early with his forehand and his backhand.

Q. Patrick Rafter made some candid comments to an Australian daily about the wear and tear of the grind, how the traveling just is taking a toll mentally. I imagine you can relate to that. How do you combat that yourself?

ANDRE AGASSI: There's no secret to it. I mean, you certainly can make it worse on yourself by not doing a few of the right things in your preparations. But it's never easy; never will be. You know, it's all over the globe; it's week after week. It does take its toll.

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