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Écrit par Jerome   



July 1, 2000

A. AGASSI/J. Golmard
6-3, 6-3, 6-4

An interview with:


MODERATOR: Good evening, everyone. Andre.

Q. Glad you weren't out there for a 20-18 fifth set?

ANDRE AGASSI: That has to take its toll. That was incredible.

Q. How much more of a chore is it for you to come back from physical problems? If you slip, is it harder than it was years ago to take measure of yourself and to get back?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think so. I think it's also you seem more likely to get the injury in the first place. I mean, I never would have thought, you know, ten years ago that you just lose your balance, hit yourself on the backside, then spasm up all through your back. I'm sure that has something to do with the ticking of the clock.

Q. Do you think of the toll that injuries take on you now and how much more difficult it is to regroup from those things?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you've got to make adjustments all along the way. You know, decision making becomes very important, what tournaments you play, what you put your body through. You have to make those adjustments almost looking ahead of the curve. The good news is, with the age comes experience. You can keep yourself in a good position. You know, it is nice to always have the days off in the Slams to recover. I think that's more important for guys that have been around a while, versus younger. I know that was the case with me. I do feel like it's tougher. I mean, it gets tougher every year.

Q. Speaking of injuries, many of us didn't have a chance to chat with you after the French Open because you left before talking with us. You had developed some blisters in the Kucera match. Wondering whether or not in retrospect you could have done anything differently that might have forestalled getting blisters in that match, protect your feet better?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, probably. You know, the thing is with me, I tend to have pretty good feet, considering the miles I put on them. You know, I'm a very offensive mover. I didn't play a lot on clay, so the sliding around took its toll, back-to-back matches, two days in a row. When I found myself running kind of more than I would ever intend to, because I'd hope I'm doing more of the controlling of the points, you know, a blister developed quickly. That's certainly something that I'm not used to or comfortable with. While I could have made some adjustments and I could have, you know, sucked it up and found a way to give myself at least a look at the basket, I donated my serve to eventually lose the second set, found myself frustrated and discouraged. I didn't recover from that, as well as my blister.

Q. Had you played more clay tournaments, maybe developed the blisters earlier, might you not have gotten them at the French Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, possibly. You know, it's always a guessing game. You try to peak and plan to play your best tennis at the Grand Slams. The thing you have to realise is it doesn't always work out. You've got to approach it with a game plan and you've got to believe in that game plan. I didn't feel I was crazy by any means with my preparation for Paris. You know, hindsight is 20/20. Last year it worked out great; this year it didn't. You just try not to let it set you off path for too long.

Q. Against Todd you obviously showed incredible fighting will, fighting instincts. Can you talk about that as a quality? Is it a matter of focus, willpower, practical sense?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think it's a crucial part of my game, as well as many other players' games. I play a tennis match like I'm putting together a puzzle. You know, every point has its place, what it is I'm trying to do, what it is I'm trying to accomplish. If I'm having an off day, I can't rely on serving my way out of it, I have to fall back on my focus and determination and the reality that even on a bad day, I'm tough to beat if I keep my focus and concentration. So that really is a major part of my standard of play. Without it, I can quickly become ordinary and beatable. So I need that part.

Q. How much better a fighter do you think you are now in this part of your career than in earlier stages?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, I think there's two different things. I think I've always been a fighter, you know, but I've always picked my battles. You know, that's the difference. It's always been so many in-and-out sequences of matches and tournaments and years of focusing, wanting to be there, versus not focusing, not really giving it my full attention. From a certain respect, it's easy to regret that side of it. Overall, I think it's put me in a pretty good position to still be around at 30 and to be playing well. I think I'm just trying to choose to do it more often, especially in the big ones.

Q. Earlier today Justin was saying that he would rather not play Sampras when he's injured, that he's tougher in that situation. Have you ever been in that situation, do you know what he's like when he's playing injured, a little tougher, bears down?

ANDRE AGASSI: Against Pete?

Q. Yes.

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, after the match in Australia, you know, he said something about being injured, and I thought he played pretty darn good there. If injury is any indication of his quality of tennis, if there's any connection between those two things, I wouldn't want to play him injured either.

Q. Random question. In your Todd Martin match the other day, you looked up and saw a pigeon flying by. Are they much of an irritant here or distraction at all?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean, if you're playing a guy that's just caning your second serve, and you toss it up to hit it, something is circling, you can lose sight, focus of what you're trying to hit. The ball is moving, so you have to only focus on that. It is distracting if anything is moving above you. A blimp moves slow enough that you can ignore it.

Q. The tabloid coverage through the years asks of you some bizarre questions. Now they're asking about Steffi and stuff. Do you guys laugh at this or do you get angered by it? Do you not read them?

ANDRE AGASSI: Interesting question. I mean, I think it really kind of varies. I think, like everybody, you have your days where you're amused by it because it feels distant enough; then other times, you're fatigued by it because you -- you know, you want to pick up the paper and enjoy it. I think other times when it's really indifferent, it's something that just feels entirely separate from our lives. I think you go in and out. Overall, you ultimately take it with a grain of salt and realise that anybody who would believe it necessarily would never be of such consequence in our lives that it should be concerning.

Q. What's the craziest thing you've been asked through the years?

ANDRE AGASSI: That would be a hard one just to kind of come off the top of my head. I don't know.

Q. On that subject, there's a suggestion from the television today that Steffi was wearing a bigger than normal ring. Is this something you've recently given her?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't understand "normal." You have to explain a to me what a "normal size ring" is.

Q. Can you describe for us how important it is for you when you're facing critical moments, what it means to have that team sitting and watching your match? Do you look to them?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think the work is done really when you're out there on the court. There are times, which we saw today with Philippoussis and Schalken, where really it does become about -- nothing about tennis, but about something else. It becomes about will, about spirit. At those moments, which are relatively rare, to see yourself get taxed to that kind of point, then you appreciate having it. But leading up to the match, you work hard, work at your game plan, put in the work on the practise courts, you get out there and just want to feel like you leave it all out there. I really don't think a whole lot about anybody with me in my box until that evening.

Q. Some people thought they saw an engagement ring. Is there no truth to rumors you're not engaged?

ANDRE AGASSI: That might be your answer there, questions like that.

Q. What can you tell us about your next opponent? Red hot player.

ANDRE AGASSI: He's playing incredibly well. Unfortunately I haven't seen him play in this little stretch he had. He was kind of off the map there last week, quallied and won the tournament, beating Cracker Jack three and two. Come here, quallying, rolling. The guy is obviously an experienced grass court player, is certainly playing confidently. I'll have to kind of work out any potential kinks in my game, which they're getting less and less with each match. I like the fact that I've made the second week here. The court changes every day. Go out there and give it a go.

Q. What's your confidence level going into week two this year compared to last year?

ANDRE AGASSI: Last year I was riding momentum. This year I'm kind of building a lot more. I'm experienced enough to kind of not even try to make the connection; just to know that things are really starting to move the way I like them to.

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