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Écrit par Jerome   


July 5, 2000

A. AGASSI/M. Philippoussis
7-6, 6-3, 6-4

An interview with:


MODERATOR: Good afternoon, Andre.

Q. People talk about how good your service return is. You haven't been broke in a while. Are you riding a wave right now with your serve where you feel it's going to be difficult to break you?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I think it's generally more difficult to break on grass. I mean, the grass certainly helps my serve, helps other people's serve. You know, you take it one game at a time because it doesn't take much for a set to go either way. You have to really, really take good care of your serve. Playing Todd Martin, I lost my serve six times. The grass was skidding, I couldn't use my kick. He's a big guy who returns well. To be quite honest, since him, I haven't felt the threat on the return quite as intensely. I think I've relaxed a little bit and started serving better.

Q. How does it feel to be in the semifinals?

ANDRE AGASSI: It feels good. Quite a shocker.

Q. You had a few bad patches here this year - outside of Australia, you had the semifinals at Miami, but otherwise it wasn't up to your standards of the previous 12 months or so. Were you starting to wonder a little?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, not really. You know, I mean, there's a couple things to that. First of all, coming off a 12-month period where I was in the finals of every Slam, and winning three of them, it's not something easy to live up to every year. It's unrealistic to expect it. You know, my goal this year has been, since Australia, to really try to take care of myself physically, try to put myself in position where I can raise my game at the most important times of the year. You have to realise it doesn't always work out like you planned. I mean, Paris certainly didn't. I was somewhat against the wall coming into this event just because I hadn't had the matches I wanted. But I said all along, if I can get through the first week, I can start bringing out different parts of my game on this court. Today I managed to keep the ball out of his wheelhouse on the rally shots by putting more spin on it, jumping more. No, it doesn't surprise me. While I'm thankful and certainly feel great about the fact that it has come around at this particular time, it is a matter of time. I never felt like my game was missing something; I just needed to win some matches.

Q. A lot has been said and written about the Philippoussis serve in the last few days. You got aced a few times, but you still did the number on it when it had to be done. What is your take on his serve?

ANDRE AGASSI: Oh, he has a fantastic serve. I mean, you know, it's certainly one of the best in the game. But to me, I feel like you've got to make a distinction in this sport between a great serve and a great hold game. In his case, he has a great serve, and he has a really good hold game. You take somebody like Pete, who has a great serve and has a great hold game. The difference is how you follow it up. You know, if you're not quick enough to get to net behind a 135 mile-an-hour serve, and if it does come back, it can present some problems. I don't get distracted by people acing me. I try to just make sure I do well with the opportunities I will get, knowing that they're eventually going to come - that's all assuming I'm taking care of my own serve. So there's a lot going on out there that kind of helps you get around one guy's particular weapon.

Q. The break in the second set, the double-fault off the net cord, you stepped back about ten feet behind the baseline. Do you think that might have distracted him just enough to throw his serve off a little bit?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I think "distract" is the wrong word to use. It wasn't like I was, you know, waving my arms as he tossed it, trying to get him to look at me. The idea was just to give him a different look, period. You're standing up on the plate, he's a big guy who can blow in serves at 130 plus. If he can hit the centre of the box, that's an effective serve. You tend to give yourself the margin for error. If he happens to miss-hit his serve a little bit, maybe he hits it on the line. I felt like if I backed up, he's going to have to take a little bit off of that and try to get in tight behind it. If he hits it 130, I'm on it, I'm going to return it at his feet. It was about giving him a different look. Sometimes you get a little lucky and receive a double-fault in a big situation. But he also hits a lot of aces in big situations. You know, it washes out. But that one worked well.

Q. Pat is a different type of player than Mark, obviously. He really has had a pretty easy path, whereas Mark really struggled. How do you see your semifinal?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it's nice to see Pat playing well. I think he's a great athlete with a lot to offer the sport of tennis. I mean, this is a great arena to compete against him in because it's Wimbledon. He's one of the best competitors out there, if not the best. We had a great match here last year where I felt like I was down two set points, managed to break to end the first set, played a great breaker, all of a sudden found myself up two sets to love, pretty confident. But it was a high quality of tennis. I don't expect anything less in a couple days' time. He thinks a lot more out there than Philippoussis does because he relies on more of a well-rounded game. I'll just have to be making those little adjustments on his serve and on my passing shots. You know, I'll have to play well to beat him. It's going to be an interesting match.

Q. I was wondering if you paid any attention to the women's tour. If so, do you have any thoughts on the way the Williams sisters are playing?

ANDRE AGASSI: I haven't seen Serena play this week. I've obviously followed her results. I do watch, I do follow it. Serena hasn't been right there on the show courts too often, it seems, but her results certainly show that she's playing incredibly well. I watched Venus. I mean, I just think those two girls are a level of athlete above all the other girls. Even if they're not playing well, they're still athletic enough to present a bunch of problems. Fundamentally speaking, I think Serena is a better player than Venus. I think her second serve is better. I think her forehand is better. I think she's a sounder mover. She doesn't jeopardise her body with long strides. You've got to favour certainly one of them to win the tournament. I don't know. It's always a psychological match-up. I can't even imagine what it's like playing your sibling. If all goes according to just how I see the game, I've got to favour Serena for the tournament.

Q. You won Wimbledon in '92. What do you have more now to win it again eight years later? Do you have experience to win it again? What do you have to win it again?

ANDRE AGASSI: I have to play well. I mean, experience helps always, but I think the grass court is a great court to play on, especially at this stage of a tournament. Gives my serve a little something extra. I feel like I can still break. I have to go out there, keep executing, hope it goes my way.

Q. What do you think Mark needs to do to take that next step, to get into semifinals and finals of slams?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not go 20-18 in the fifth set. That's not going to help your cause, is it? I mean, I think Mark will have his day. He's a powerful figure out there who can certainly have great tournaments against the best of us. You know, you have to understand people's strengths and weaknesses. You can't ask one person to have it all. You can't serve 140 miles an hour and be fast and think well. It just wouldn't be right. While he might have a few minor limitations in his game, he can get around that by really keeping matches in his way of playing just with his power. You know, he just has to keep hitting, keep taking his chances. Man, when they go in, it really doesn't matter who he's playing. But I can't honestly say that you can really, you know, point to a weakness that is something he could manage. I think his limitations might come a little bit in his movement, might come in his greatest strength, which is his ability to take a big cut at the ball. He's going to miss a lot of returns, he's going to allow me to go game after game sometimes of holding easy. Then it's going to be, how do you play in the big moments. Any of us at this stage of a tournament can win if the match gets that close.

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