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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

2000 FORO ITALICO

ROME, ITALY

May 10, 2000

A. AGASSI/ G. Gaudio
6-1, 6-4

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

Q. Andre, you seem to be playing pretty well the guy who was in the semifinal in Monte Carlo, that means that you are already finding your rhythm on clay. Are you surprised about that or is normal?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it's -- I think it's quickly to play this well, you know, I played well today in the second match. To play like this was certainly more than I was expecting, and I think playing a guy like Gaudio, who moves well and hits with a lot of spin, you know, I felt like I needed to be aggressive, really pick my shots, work hard physically. But, you know, I've been playing well. I've been hitting the ball pretty clean now for a while, and it's nice that you can come around in a match.

Q. What about the next match now against Hrbaty?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's certainly going to be difficult. I think Dominik has been playing now real well for a few weeks. He's found the form that he had last year in Paris again on the clay, and I think the most difficult surface to play against him on is clay. It will be a very physical match, you know, like every -- the two times we've played there was a lot of hard shots, and we both try to control the points and, you know, it should be another great step.

Q. Gaudio seemed to have his best shot in his backhand. Why did you play so much to his backhand?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I felt like as long as I was in control of the point, it didn't matter which side. I thought he moved very well to his forehand, so if I'd go to the forehand, I felt like he could exploit a little bit the court and the angles with his quickness. Early in the match I hit one good shot to his forehand and I was really surprised, he got there in plenty of time and he went sharp cross-court. I felt like as long as I could hit the ball offensively, it was just a matter of time before I got the one ball I wanted. Sometimes it takes two matches against the same player to know exactly how to play him. But for the first time, I felt very comfortable there.

Q. Andre, there is such good young talent around at the moment. How kind of pleasing is it to still be up ahead, leading the Champions Race at this stage of the year?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it's always a challenge every time you're on the court. Really, it doesn't occur to me where I'm positioned in the race. I feel there's a constant need to always get better especially with younger players starting to play so well. Every time I win, I feel, you know, like it was an accomplishment. It always is. I mean, it would just take being a little bit off today and I think it would have been an incredibly difficult match. But in the big picture, I feel good that I step on the court knowing that if I play my game, I can win. That's important to me at this stage.

Q. There are many players which are very good players but are not very much loved from the public. You are strong and you are loved, and do you know why, in your opinion?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not really. (Laughter.) I mean, for me, I make it very important that you understand how much I appreciate the public. It's very important for our sport. And so what I can say is that I, you know, I love to play in front of people, too. So it's enjoyable for me. I mean, I'm sure you could go ask somebody else; don't ask me.

Q. A player of your same age just decided to quit tennis and is Jim Courier, a friend of yours I think. Your first reaction? What keeps you moving on, and I mean he says that sometimes he really couldn't care less if he was losing or fighting and winning or whatever. What is the motivation for you to keep going? Just the fun of it or something else?

ANDRE AGASSI: For me, it's truly a question of understanding if I still have my best tennis ahead of me. You know, I think there are areas that I feel like I can still get better; I feel like I still have the opportunity to get better. And I think that that helps with the desire. You know, plus my career has been different than Jim's, you know, Jim has worked hard every single day, every single year of his whole career, you know. For me, 1997, I played twelve times. It wasn't much. You can argue I didn't even play those twelve. So I've tried to live a large part of my life during my career, and I think Jim said it best when I heard his quote, what he talked about, now it's time for his life because it's always been tennis first. And I can understand that. But for me, it hasn't always been tennis first, so I think I'm a little fresher.

Q. Just a follow-up question. When you say there is space to improve or to do better, what terms? I mean technically or making records, winning tournaments or --

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I mean my game. I mean specifically my game, to be stronger, to hit the ball bigger, more consistently. I think I still have another level.

Q. Tennis is a sport where people don't talk very much about doping. There was only one case. What is your opinion? Should people talk about it, or there is no problem about it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I think the reason why there's not much talk is because it's -- we're very actively tested. You know, I think it's a sport where certain enhancers would help tremendously because it's a very physical sport. But it seems to me impossible to abuse any drugs at all and to get away with it. There's no off-season, you don't know when you're going to be tested. Last year I was tested, like, I think eleven, twelve times. So there's no talk because I don't think there's really anything to talk about.

Dernière mise à jour : ( 19-09-2006 )
 
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