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Écrit par Jerome   



August 9, 2000

F. VICENTE/A. Agassi
3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (ret.)

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andre.

Q. Andre, could you just explain what happened out there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. I mean, I -- my back started getting fatigued early in the second, you know, just didn't hold up second day in a row. And once I started getting fatigued, I felt myself compensating and I felt myself starting to get tight again. I've been down this road a number of times recently, so I knew it was only getting worse.

Q. Did it feel like the same kind of pain you had before LA?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it's one road. And, no, it wasn't as bad. But, again, I'm very familiar with each step of the road and how -- where it can go quickly.

Q. Would you consider now taking a break next week and just resting, getting in check for the Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yes, I am considering that.

Q. Two Tennis Masters Series back-to-back, two fairly big tournaments next week. Is the hard court season the most difficult season?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I don't know. I think every season has its difficulties, you know. The clay season's tough, the hard court season's tough, so is indoor. You know, it's just tough. It's a long year. There's -- you got to play well at the right times, and, you know, and stay healthy. And you know, it's hard to do. It's hard to do.

Q. (Inaudible)?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's both. I mean I think it went too far, but, you know, you feel like you're close if you're up a set, maybe you can get through it somehow. There's all this still fresh in my mind, but I wasn't hitting my shots. I was pulling off my shots and started to pull off my serve and, you know, it was apparent at that point I was only getting worse. So...

Q. If this was the start of something, you didn't have the history you have this summer, would you have played through it because you wouldn't have known it was getting worse? Is that correct?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I certainly would have had the trainer out early in the second and discussed and worked on what the heck it was, you know. It would have been very surprising. But I know what it is. I mean I've been through it and there's not a whole lot you can do besides not irritating it further.

Q. Is there anything you can do that you haven't been doing so far?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't think so. I mean I've had tests on it, I've had injections in it, I've had, you know, sound stim and massage, ice massage. But this is not the first time I'm playing, you know, a couple of a matches in a row back-to-back. Early on, a few weeks ago, that was my concern. I felt like I could go out there and play but I wasn't sure how I'd respond the next day. Today it was a little stiff waking up, but that's somewhat normal at 30. (Laughter.) And then, you know, it did feel like it loosened up, but then I felt it getting fatigued. It just felt considerably weaker than it was yesterday, and then I felt it starting to get tight again. And it was limiting my execution and my movement and it was starting to play with my concentration and it was starting to get worse.

Q. Do you remember at what point all these things happened in the match? Do you remember when you first felt it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Late in the first, you know, it starts feeling a little tired, a little, again, fatigued. And then by, you know, the middle of the second, it feels like somebody kicked you in the back, you know.

Q. Do you know what might have been different either in your preparation, your warmup, or during the match that enabled you to get through yesterday's match and not today's?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's a question of what you're asking your body to do. I played last night for an hour and 30 minutes or whatever, and today you come out again and you try to do it again. How you respond to putting your back through those tests is a question that obviously I didn't pass today. Had I won the match easy, somehow got a break and be up 3 -2, I don't where it would have left me tomorrow. Tomorrow only would tell. So it's hard to know. You're just constantly guessing as to where you stand.

Q. (Inaudible)?

ANDRE AGASSI: I wasn't sure. Go home and you lie down for eight hours and you don't know how you're going to feel when you wake up. That's been part of the frustration in it.

Q. When you started this match today, you thought you'd be okay?

ANDRE AGASSI: Felt that way. You know, felt that way. I was a little stiff, but again, it was somewhat normal. You play a match, you're a little stiff. Warmed up, I was playing well, but...

Q. What is the definitive moment when you know that you can't go on? It's so bad, you can't bend the back? On your kick serve, you come up or something on the back --?

ANDRE AGASSI: Everything starts taking a toll. But I guess ultimately what helps you decide to stop is what's the upside and what's the downside. And as soon as it's clear in my own mind that at this point I can't win this match, but now the downside is a huge risk of really doing something a lot worse, then, you know, that's when it becomes clear. The difficulty is when you're at the end of that second and you don't know, "Okay, if I just hang in here, maybe I could just get through it, win the match," you are sure that it's not getting better but, you know, maybe in the next ten minutes the match is over. But the third set's a long way.

Q. What's your emotion about this? How are you feeling?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it's frustrating. It's unfortunate. You know, I'm quite disappointed. I'm not quite where I want to be to say the least, and I am unsure about tomorrow. So that's not good.

Q. (Inaudible)?


Q. At this point in your career are you more concerned about the health of your back, or will you be able to play in a tournament like the US Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think they're one in the same there. I can't play if I'm not healthy. But I mean ultimately it's why I'm playing the game, is for moments like the US Open. So you would tend to push yourself to a point of risk during an event like the Open, but, you know, you also have to assess the bigger picture. And I want a few more years of taking some shots at some big tournaments. But I'm just not sure if it's going to be this year with the way I'm feeling.

Q. Do you, at this point, start thinking about taking the rest of the year off and making sure you come back a little strong?

ANDRE AGASSI: That's a long rest of the year, you know. I mean it's a juggling act. It's like a high-wire act. You need the time away in some respects for your physical. And then -- but you take that time away and you have to double that time to come back and feel like you're at your best. You take three months off, you're looking at six months before you're at the top of your game again. So that's a compromise that, you know, I don't know if I can afford.

Q. How would you assess your chances of playing the Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean I don't know. It's still a few weeks away. So, you know... I would say it's pretty good. I think a decision like today helps my chances. But, you know, I don't know.

Q. Do you think you did the right thing by coming here and trying to play this week?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, I played one match last week, two this week, so one and a half, that's good. As long as I don't take a step backwards, which is tough to assess at this moment. Tomorrow and the next day will determine that.

Q. Was there ever any possibility that you might not come?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I don't think so. No. I was always feeling like, okay, you know, a few days off, a few days preparation, I'll try again the next week, you know?

Q. On the upside, you make a good decision, you live to play another day, which is a decision you made. Where do you go from here? Are you going to train some more? Are you going to take some time off? What will you do in preparation for the Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, we're talking about 20 minutes after the match, so I think there's a lot to think about still. But I guess the first step is to see how it is tomorrow and go from there. I mean tomorrow if it feels identical to today, I mean, you know, that's probably -- it's probably a good sign that I can kind of do a few things maybe in a couple days' time. But if it gets worse all of a sudden tomorrow, I have to assess where it is. I mean right now it's tough to tell.

Q. Is it something that bothers you off the court as well as on the court?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, it's frustrating. I mean come on, I'm not --.

Q. No, I mean when you get up in the morning, can you tell there's something wrong with your back, or does it only bother you when you're playing?

ANDRE AGASSI: You can tell after you exert it. In LA I practiced for 40 minutes and in the middle of the night got a cramp in it, a spasm, so I knew. It wasn't responding. And then it got to a point where I was practicing for 45 minutes without that happening. And then I played in my match last week and it wasn't great, didn't feel good the day after, took a couple of days. Then, you know, this week I practiced, I practiced an hour and a half and then played the match and it came back today. So I mean in one sense it's definitely getting better, just maybe not quite at the pace that I need it to at this point.

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