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Écrit par Jerome   


June 27, 2000

2-6, 6-3, 6-0, 4-0 (ret.)

An interview with:


MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. It's never good to see a trainer come out on a tennis court. Were you relieved when the trainer came out, finally it's not for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I mean, I don't like seeing them come out at all. But it's nice to have the comfort of knowing we have some great trainers who can help you make an important decision at a very important time. Taylor had to make a difficult decision out there today. Whether it's the right one or not really only he can answer. I've been on that side of it. It's not fun.

Q. How much of that first set was you getting used to the court, getting back into playing, as opposed to him playing really well?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think it was probably very little the former and a lot of the latter. I mean, if you really dissect that first set, I made him play to hold serve every game. 30-All, I'm making him play low volleys. He was hitting some good, deep volleys, not even letting me get a look at getting a pass. The game he broke, he hit a couple wins, good chip deep inside the line which I couldn't do much with. Then at 2-5, I was still thinking, "I want to see if he can really close out this set." He really stepped it up, unleashed on a couple other shots. I feel really good about the way I kind of started. Outside of the way it was going, I felt like I was hitting the ball well, seeing the ball well. I just had to stay with it, keep making him play. Eventually he started breaking down on his volleys, I started returning real well. Momentum went my way.

Q. Did you get a sense you were getting a glimpse of a potentially good American player in the future?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's always hard to say. Taylor has a big game. No question about it. There's a lot you need to succeed out there. You serve 140 miles an hour, it's quite an incredible feat. If you don't have the quickness to get in close behind that, you're going to be hitting a lot of volleys behind the service line. I kind of felt like he would have probably done a bit better to take a little off that first, get in a little tighter, force me to really hit some low returns. Those are the little things that you learn as you kind of go on or don't, depending on which way you go. But he certainly has good athletic ability and a powerful game. He has a lot of room for improvement, which is a good sign.

Q. How do you think his game would compare with someone like Roddick?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, hard to say. You know, I mean, I know on a slower surface, a higher-bouncing surface, Roddick moves a lot better, but Taylor has more pop in his game. It's a little tough for me to say. I'd have to play him. To go out there and play Taylor for the first time on grass and watch him bang serves, play a great first set, and then for me to actually start playing really well, I didn't get a good feel for how he adjusts to the situation. That's a difficult situation out there for your first time.

Q. The first member of your generation took the plunge and retired a couple weeks ago, without a great deal of fanfare. Can you sum up his career in your eyes, what he brought to the game, his contribution (Jim Courier)?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think countries tend to have real leaders, you know, that kind of break new ground, then they tend to bring along some real talent behind them that believe they can do it. I think Jim did that. While I was the first one to come onto the scene, while Michael was the first one to win a Slam, Jim was the first one to really step up and dominate. I think once he did that, Pete believed he could do that. That kind of led the way for all of us to accomplish the things we have. He brought a great sense of physicality to the game and punched the clock in a way that kind of raises the whole standard of tennis.

Q. What is your most memorable match against Jim?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, unfortunately I'd have to say the finals of the French. You know, that probably stands out the most. We've had some great battles. The three times we played at the French were great battles. The first time when he beat me in '89, on Court 1, I mean, it was some real good tennis out there. Then the following year I played him and beat him in the Round of 16. Tough physical four-set match. It was real good tennis. Then the match that he beat me. Probably the three matches there in Paris, starting off with the championship.

Q. Jim recently said that after the early and middle years of your rivalry, which was real tough, you had a kind of rapport, especially last year when he called you before the quarters at the French. He said that sort of completed the circle. Do you share those thoughts? Do you see that as the evolution of your relationship?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I mean, I think it's really twofold. I think it's competitors definitely coming full circle. Starting out as children, dreaming the same dreams, working hard together, becoming intense rivals, and then kind of ending with a lot of reflection and great memories. Then I think the other side of it is just the development of two human beings. Just as you get older and you start prioritizing your life, you start seeing where tennis fits in, its true value, where that lies. One of the things that I have to say about Jim is he was always a great competitor, but he definitely, as his career went on, had the ability to leave it on the court. That's a reflection of him getting older, and me the same. You're just talking about two players who accomplished a lot starting together, ending together basically, I mean, then two kids growing up and learning some of the great lessons of life together as well. It was quite special for me, too.

Q. We noticed Steffi watching from the stands today. Did that give you a bit of a psychological boost?

ANDRE AGASSI: I wasn't looking up. I was very focused on the ball.

Q. You must have known she was there.

ANDRE AGASSI: She's full of surprises.

Q. Will you be dissecting the match with her this evening?

ANDRE AGASSI: Dissecting the match? My work is done with that match.

Q. How about discussing the next one then?

ANDRE AGASSI: Who is it? Martin or Jonsson. Tough second round. I feel like it's a big match for me. If I can get through this first week, it's going to put me in a great position to elevate my game. If I'm playing Martin, especially that's a brutal second round.

Q. How are you feeling overall about the tournament? Are you pumped up as in other years, properly focused?

ANDRE AGASSI: I'm definitely focused. I'm definitely excited to be here, to be playing. But I also feel like I need some good things to happen. I feel like I'm doing everything right right now to put myself in position. But you also need things to kind of go your way at the right time, starting with my next match. But I'll be in position for things to come around quickly if that does happen.

Q. You recently said that one of your strengths and your weaknesses was an ability to look ahead. Knowing there's this huge Davis Cup match after Wimbledon, do you have that totally out of your mind? Does it come in? How does it play?

ANDRE AGASSI: 'Da Nile' is not only a river in Egypt. I'm in complete denial about it, just thinking about this, and that's it. You can't. It's too much to take on. They're both important. The French, Wimbledon, Davis Cup. I mean, it's a very difficult time of the year to take it as a whole. It really is one day at a time.

Q. Have you spoken at all to John here? Has he given you any thoughts about the tournament here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I spoke to him briefly. But, no, nothing.

Q. The injury that you sustained at Queen's, is it completely healed?

ANDRE AGASSI: A hundred percent.

Q. Feelings about the Spaniards pulling out, whether there was gamesmanship involved, practising on clay instead of grass, which might be important to them for Davis Cup?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I would be surprised for anyone to conclude that Davis Cup is more important than a Grand Slam at the time. They're all important. I can certainly put them on the same plane. But to pull out of one for Davis Cup is not something that I think was going on there. For me, it's about picking your battles in life, choosing how you're going to fight them. In both cases, I couldn't disagree more with their position on it. I don't believe that's a battle that should be fought and I don't believe -- definitely don't believe it should be fought in that way.

Q. Do you think all tournaments should base on the result of performance on surface and adjust for that factor?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I think that would be good. There's a lot of tournaments that you have a lot of -- there's certain surfaces where you have a lot of tournaments to really base your performance. I mean, I would have no problem with it. I would have no problem with going to clay and be seeded according to what my performance was that year or the year before. Grass especially is a unique enough surface that you need to take a lot of consideration. Disagreeing with it is one thing, but pulling out is another.

Q. Do you think it's disrespectful? Do you think it's foolish? Pete said it was childish.

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I've had to learn some pretty tough lessons in my life. For me to label what they did in pulling out would be a tough thing for me to do. I can say that it's a loss for them more than the tournament. That would be the case if anybody pulled out. It would be the case if Pete pulled out for any particular issue. Wimbledon is more important than any individual player. Their loss is really what it boils down to.

Q. To be candid, was it a loss for you early in your career when you didn't play the one year?

ANDRE AGASSI: A few years I didn't play. I definitely said that for a while now. Some of my greatest regrets are the years I didn't play here.

Q. German press was reporting a lot you and Steffi Graf are going to marry this year. Is this going to happen?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, watch the news over there because, you know, they follow us around and they know everything. Tune into the news and read the papers.

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