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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

2000 TENNIS MASTERS SERIES

STUTTGART, GERMANY

October 31, 2000

A. AGASSI/T. Johansson
6-4, 6-2

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

MODERATOR: Andre goes through to play either Patrick Rafter or Andrei Pavel. Questions, please.

Q. For someone who hasn't played since the US Open, that was mostly pretty sharp, wasn't it?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. Yeah, it was. I was very pleased with that, very pleased. You know, it was nice to feel nervous again, you know, get out there. I was a bit anxious. It's been a while. I was looking forward to it. I've been working hard. When you haven't had the competition, it's always unpredictable how you're going to feel out there. I think the doubles helped me last night. I was hitting the ball very clean in the doubles. But that's a big difference between hitting the ball clean and being able to, you know, set up a point, shot selection and movement. I just kind of was scrapping and hoping that I could get into the match. I was quite relieved to win the first set and know at least I'm going to have a match here that will get me a step further.

Q. How much tennis work have you been doing in the time you've been off of competition?

ANDRE AGASSI: To be quite honest, I've just been trying to maintain a level of tennis, not really spending a lot of time getting better on the court. I've been training a lot. I've been getting stronger and doing a lot of running, a lot of movement drills to kind of keep me in position for things to come around. I came here feeling very ready, just lacking the play.

Q. Who have you been hitting with?

ANDRE AGASSI: I went up to San Francisco and played with Brad for a number of days, and then went down to Southern Cal and played with Ricky's team there at USC - Rick Leach's team, his pop's team, but Ricky's team - practiced with them for a few days. Then I went to Florida, practiced with Andy Roddick for five or six days. I was kind of setting up those practice times in between time not playing when I was home doing a lot of training.

Q. Had you always planned to take this long of a break after the US Open?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I mean, I've said now for a while that, you know, really decision making becomes important at this stage of my career. You've got to play enough, but you can't play too much, you know. It's easier to play too much at 30 than it is at 18. So it's a fine balance. But, yeah, I did plan on excluding the Olympics, which I completely forgot about. I was planning on playing the Olympics.

Q. How would you describe your appetite for tennis at the moment?

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, yeah, I felt great today. I've been anxious to get back over the last few weeks, really looking forward to, believe it or not, even being on the road. So that's always a good sign. So it's there, but it really has to be nurtured with some good play because it's a tough standard. If you're not living up to the standard, it's easy to be frustrated. Today was a great step for me. I mean, my game still feels there. I feel like I'm striking the ball well. I played some nervous points, especially early in the first set, early in the second set. But it is easy for me to feel if my confidence is there, how I can go out there and do some great things. That's important to feel. It feels like it's coming together. That's what I really want to use this time for, just to make sure that, you know, I keep that level of play so that I have some opportunities next year in some real big ones.

Q. Did you follow the Olympic tennis very much? How disappointed were you not to be there? Were you able to follow it much? How much did NBC put on?

ANDRE AGASSI: I was as disappointed as the entire country. I can't speak for the rest of the world, but the United States, it was difficult to kind of get into events. Not only were they late; you already kind of knew the results. I was following the results. While I wish circumstances allowed me to be there, I wasn't confused about where I wanted to be. No, I didn't really miss it. I wanted to go there and be a part of the games, unlike I was in Atlanta. Atlanta, I felt like we were set off. I was focused on trying to win a tennis tournament that happened to have the gold medal as a prize. I was looking forward to going there and getting the whole feel for the experience. But that changed rather decisively.

Q. Do you feel in a better frame of mind than you were at the US Open? If so, why?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think I'm in a much better frame of mind. I think, first of all, physically I'm feeling a lot better. I can't even say it was a roller coaster. I kind of felt physically lousy most of the year, excluding the start. I feel physically prepared, which always helps your mindset. You know, I mean, this isn't the US Open, and I got on a plane and I'm here and I'm ready, so I think I am feeling pretty good.

Q. How are your family? Are they okay?

ANDRE AGASSI: All things considered, everything's great, all things considered.

Q. Throughout your career, you've always been associated with fashion statements on the court. I don't know whether you've seen the new ATP logo, but promoting all the new kids. Although the guy looks very much like Pete, they've got a guy, instead of being the stick man, he's wearing baggy shorts, baggy top, your sort of baggy shorts. Of course, you come on the court tonight wearing the shortest shorts we've ever seen for years from you. Is that a statement saying, "I might be 30, but I'll give these boys a run for their money"?

ANDRE AGASSI: Did you like the way they looked? Were they too short? (Laughter.)

Q. You can see your muscle definition.

ANDRE AGASSI: So I'm not sure I follow your question (laughter).

Q. It just seems a bit ironic that the man who was always associated with baggy clothes, just at the moment that the ATP Tour are putting out the baggy-short man on top of their logo.

ANDRE AGASSI: That timing is ironic, but accidental. I mean, I was definitely specifically involved in going back to kind of more fitted shorts. They're not ideal to practice in because you can't put four or five balls in your pocket, you know, when you're out there just doing some training. You know, I think there's a certain classical look to it that I probably appreciate more now than I ever have.

Q. Even Greg went back to shorter shorts today, as well.

ANDRE AGASSI: Glad to hear that.

Q. Following the right trend, isn't he?

ANDRE AGASSI: Either he is or I am. I don't know.

Q. You said you haven't felt physically very well all year. Would you say you worked a little bit less this year than last year physically?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I think I had some unfortunate runs physically. Dates all the way back to Zimbabwe, when I came back from there and had to pull out of San Jose because of my back. You know, it stayed something that I had to monitor for most of the year. Then the fall at Queen's put me in a horrible position for Wimbledon, which I was kind of just surviving. The car accident I had back home left me just baked for the summer. It just was not good, you know. I've been working, getting the chance to rest and work at a pace that's nurtured it and gotten it stronger and ready to go. It feels pretty good now.

Q. Do you have any knowledge, any insight into Pete's commitment at the moment? He's not playing here. He's not playing Bercy. He says he's going to come and play The Masters in Lisbon.

ANDRE AGASSI: I mean, I'd just be guessing, you know. It's very unlike Pete to be married, so I don't know what to expect from him, to be quite honest (laughter).

Q. Did you send him any form of congratulations when he tied the knot?

ANDRE AGASSI: No, I didn't. Actually, I didn't.

Q. At the beginning of the press conference, you said you were anxious. Is that a good thing for you? Is it a good sign? Is it positive, like for people on stage who are anxious?

ANDRE AGASSI: It is. For me, the best time in my career, as far as being out there and not just playing well, but enjoying it, has been those times where I feel prepared but I also feel very unsure, you know. It requires you to kind of fight in a very intense kind of scrappy, fighting-for-your-life kind of way. That's when you get done with the match and you realize you actually played pretty darn well. That is a good time for me to be a little anxious and unsure because expectations are low on myself, and every point I win is a step in the right direction. That's when I can start getting better quickly.

 
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