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Écrit par Jerome   


June 30 2000

6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 2-6, 10-8

An interview with:


MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Andre.

Q. Don't tell us that was just another day at the office.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I couldn't say that with a straight face.

Q. What happened, Andre? Why do you think that came to pass?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I think what makes grass so interesting is it doesn't really take a whole lot in each set to really get the momentum. You know, I had it the first set. The second set I had to struggle to hold. He went through a real long patch of serving, I mean, wonderfully. You know, I think holding serve easy so many times in a row allowed him to play very loosely in the second set. After getting the early break, he was very comfortable going for his shots today. I mean, he came out firing on all cylinders. He was returning my serve not only well, but very deep. He hits the ball so hard and flat, if he's hitting it deep off your return, you're trying to pick it up and control it. You don't want it to get away from you. You don't want to hit another short one because he either can slam it or get in. Todd just has a very effective game that can make a lot of adjustments. You know, I needed a little help from him at 5-2 down. I mean, I was very lucky to get back into that match.

Q. Was this particularly meaningful, considering that the crop of great Americans are getting older now? Do you get the impression that there's a certain timetable on matches like this, confrontations like this with guys you've played with for so many years?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think that's all secondary to the fact that we're both here to win. I mean, whoever you're playing, you're trying hard to win, got your hopes set long-term in this tournament. Whoever you have to play, you have to take care of business. I don't think it's so much a factor of who you play. You know, if anything, I think that's actually quite a luxury to have so much familiar ground between two players. You look back over the years, you know, as just certainly another episode. But, no, it's just highly competitive.

Q. Can you take us through last night when the rain started to come down, Alan Mills came out the first time, then you slipped, play was called. What happened there specifically?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I started really noticing the rain pick up starting to serve in the third set. I knew once that game started, that there really wasn't a chance to stop at that point. I did the worst thing you can possibly do: I told myself, "Just don't lose your serve." I fought through a deuce game. It was starting to get a little slippery. The way Todd hits the ball is a big problem if the court is a little slippery because, you know, he's not going to slip because he doesn't rely on his movement. But if he hits one big ball, you've got to respond to it. If it's a little wet, it's much more of a factor playing against a guy like Todd than really most other players. So I was trying to get through that game as far as holding serve. After the game was over, I just -- I didn't want it to continue because I felt like everything was now not in my favour. I was worried about injury. I was worried about doing what I did in Queen's. I asked the umpire, if he's going to let it drizzle, how long he's going to wait. He called Alan out. Alan felt like the ground wasn't wet enough. That surprised me because, I mean, it was drizzling. Usually doesn't take a whole lot here. So I kind of just expressed to him that I have real concerns, I mean, of what happened to me in Queen's, all the stuff, I could go out there and get injured. I said to him, "That's going to be on your shoulders. That's what you're telling me?" He said, "It has to rain like this for a while before we stop it." Sure enough, four points later, slid out. All of a sudden he decided to stop it. That was a point of frustration because I felt like it should have happened earlier or not happened, one or the other. But he has a tough decision to make out there. It's not easy to make that call. I know he wanted to wait till the games were even. You know, I phoned him up this morning and told him, you know, that I apologized for certainly raising my tone. At that particular moment, I was very frustrated and concerned, you know, based on what happened in Queen's.

Q. As you were laying there, were you checking all your body parts to make sure everything was functioning? You laid there for at least a couple seconds.

ANDRE AGASSI: I did. I was just laying there trying to stall, hoping it would rain more (laughter). I went over and towelled off, just worked it like a veteran. That's all.

Q. You double-faulted on breakpoint to go down 5-2 in the fifth set, spraying the ball over at that point. What is your frame of mind as he takes the ball to try to serve it out?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, it's hard not to feel like you're really against the wall. Then at that point you're just thinking, "Just make the guy earn it." I wanted him to serve it out once he got the break. Again, he played so well to put himself in that position. The reason why I was missing some second serves is because I couldn't afford to hit a 96-mile-an-hour second serve. He was just hammering it and getting in. Sometimes he wouldn't even need to get in. He was just making me miss the first ball just by the depth and the aggressiveness of his return. So he forced me to have to serve better, especially on the second. That made me press on the first. Then it made me stay aggressive on the second. I knew the only way to get through the match was to find my range, but to keep bringing it. Once I lost my serve the second time, I really didn't think there was a whole lot of hope left. You know, if anything, you want a five-set match to be ended by somebody winning it, you know, not just missing. I just told myself to "Just get the ball in play. If somehow you can break him here, at least you'll make him deal with the pressure of having to serve it out." From there on, it just unfolded.

Q. He went for that big second serve at 30-All in that eighth game that kind of gave you the breakpoint, double-faulted. Do you think that's gutsy or was a little crazy to go for so much?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I didn't think he was crazy when he missed that. I thought something was wrong with him when he was making those for five sets. You know, you take chances, and you've got to know when to. He's up 5-2. You know, you've got to walk that line between staying offensive, but not playing too risky. You know, he took a shot and hit a bad serve. I don't blame him there. I mean, he forced me to do that, as well. He has a lot of respect for my return. You can see that in how well the hits the corners, how much thought he puts behind his serving spots. He's a good thinker out there on the court, and he's always making little adjustments that probably the average fan couldn't appreciate. But being on the other side of the net, you know, he was having me on my heels a lot with his second. I didn't know if he was going to hit the big kick. I didn't know if he was going to slide it wide. I didn't know if he was going to go to the body. I didn't know if he was going to serve-volley. He can hit all those serves and come in or hit all those serves and stay back and have a great first shot. It was a lot of pressure on me to try to get into the point where I wasn't behind, I would take neutral. Once you feel that way, you know a guy is establishing himself out there on the court. That's what he was doing.

Q. Is there anything about your character that makes you particularly good at this, coming back from deep, where a lot of guys just can't do it?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I think it happens a lot. I think it does happen a lot. It's twofold. You know, you certainly have to have the mentality of executing your game when you don't feel like there's a lot of hope. By the same token, you also need a lot of luck. Sometimes, some days, they come together.

Q. In the light of that instant, that injury last night, it's been noted that a lot of the big-draw matches have been played quite late at Wimbledon. Do you have anything to say about that?

ANDRE AGASSI: About what?

Q. The fact that some of the big-draw matches have been played quite late on in the day, later on into the evening. You said yourself that you were worried last night about injury, as it started to rain, get dark. Do you think this should be happening or not?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I don't really consider any player having any particular rights over any other player. I think, generally speaking, 2:00 is relatively a late starting time in any tournament, especially a tournament that seems to have a lot of concerns for how the weather holds. But somebody has to play third. Whatever thought process goes into making that schedule I'm sure is one of a lot of years of experience.

Q. As the match was shifting to the momentum in your favour, Todd said he was thinking a little bit about his loss to MaliVai when he was up 5-1. Are you thinking also that he's vulnerable in situations like that, that you have to make him earn it, there's a way out for you sometimes?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think it is possible for players to develop certain reputations where you can count on certain weaknesses. I wouldn't put the label "choking" on The Todd. While that was a certain opportunity that he definitely let go of, you know, it takes a lot more than one time before you feel like that's actually a weakness of a certain player. So at 5-2, while I was well aware of the fact that he's managed to do that there before on Centre Court, I certainly didn't expect it. You know, when I got the break with the double at 30-All, it did start crossing my mind, "Make him play, at least make him win it." Then the 5-4 game, he made some loose errors. It turned out to be a factor, but I wasn't counting on that.

Q. Once you got even, what did you feel at that time?

ANDRE AGASSI: I felt like it was a lot of -- spent a lot of time on the court to be all squared up. Down two match points, you know, just make sure you execute your shots, maybe it will happen.

Q. What is your frame of mind now heading out of this round after the near-loss experiences? Is it a confidence thing? Gives you more of a boost? Are you concerned about your play to get down 5-2?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. Todd played well to have me down 5-2. Still in the event; great things can still happen.

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