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Écrit par Jerome   



January 15, 2001

A. AGASSI/J. Vanek
6-0, 7-5, 6-3

An Interview With:


THE MODERATOR: First question.

Q. Andre, Fiona Downy (phonetic) from Fox Sports. You must be pleased, three-set match.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I was very pleased with the way the match went, three sets or more it felt very good to hit a lot of balls and to work my shots. There really wasn't anything I was disappointed with today. So as every match comes, I need to step up a little bit more.

Q. What was the difference between the first and second sets? You obviously had him pretty well in the first.

ANDRE AGASSI: I think everybody kind of comes out to get a feel for the other one's game because you never know when somebody's going to have that off-day and you don't want to take unnecessary risk. I think we both came out playing pretty solid. I was just controlling the point and getting the better of him. I felt like the tone continued in the second set, and then when he got down a break in the second he really stepped up and played a great game to break me back. It was a long deuce game where he hit good shots. He got back in the set but I felt like he started taking more chances and keeping himself from being too much on the defense.

Q. Sounds like you're pretty comfortable with all parts of your game. Like you said, it's not a matter of working on anything in particular, you just have to step up each match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think every opponent has something not necessarily more of you, but different. As your matches come along, you want to make sure you're doing all the right things, and then stepping up above and beyond in some cases by getting more aggressive or by being more patient. So it's about doing the right thing in each match. Today I felt like I stayed solid from start to finish.

Q. How did you find the court?

ANDRE AGASSI: Very far. Very far away. (Laughter.)

Q. Was it quick? Was it sticky?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I think the surface itself tends to get a bit tacky when the sun beats down especially. But it felt solid. I mean, I haven't played any matches in the main arena yet, but practicing it felt relatively the same. You know, it's always interesting to play in a new court at a Grand Slam event that you've become so familiar with and I like the way I got off to that relationship with Court 1.

Q. Andre, Sandra Harwitt. Do you come to a Grand Slam as a defending champion feeling any different than when you just are going into another Grand Slam? Is there a different feeling for you?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I have to say that now with the way the race kind of took place last year and feeling like you're really starting over every year, the only part of being the defending champion that seems to be in my mind is just the great feelings and the confidence of playing well here. So that's all an asset. But I think it's about really how the conditions suit you and the confidence you have playing at any particular venue. And here I've had so many good results that it's hard for me not to be confident.

Q. Will you play the Davis Cup time in Basel next month?


Q. Philippe Bouin, L'Equipe. At the end of last year you wanted to get the groove for this year. Do you feel between the two seasons you kept that groove?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think Lisbon was very important for my game. It was important for my confidence and it was important for my tennis because I hadn't played a whole lot. I don't think it was enough. I mean, I really would have liked more matches at the end of last year but I think it was a necessity, and I feel like I have used that. I do believe I can step up and beat the best players, and that's always a feeling you need when you come in to a Grand Slam. So, yeah, I have feel like I've continued that momentum.

Q. Have you purchased a home in the Bay area? And, if so, why and how much time are you going to spend there?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I have. I hope a lot. Eventually, spend a lot of time there. I've always loved that area, and, you know, it's certainly a transition time for me. I mean, just as you -- regardless of how many years left I have on the Tour, you're still at the end because you've been so long out here so as long as I'm travelling 30 weeks a year plus, I think it's pretty safe to call my suit case my home.

Q. Was Brad being there any factor in that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I guess I spend a lot of time there because of Brad but I love the area and feel like I have grown to enjoy it tremendously.

Q. Jake Niall, The Age. How far off are you right now from your performance here twelve months ago?

ANDRE AGASSI: Hard to say. You can't really compare it to last year because, you know, last year I played so many matches at the end and I was in such a groove with my game physically, mentally, everything came together. The early rounds were really, in many cases, just a formality. It was just me getting out there and even feeling better about my game. But this year I'm looking to step it up. I'm looking to feel that sense of confidence. I'm in position for that to come easy. But I feel like I have to go out there and earn that, you know. So I can say for the first match that I couldn't have really done it better today, and if that continues, I have a good feeling for how quickly I'll get into my best form.

Q. Andre, Georges Homsi, what is it you find special, different about this tournament and Melbourne from the other places you play?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean every tournament offers its uniqueness. Every Grand Slam, whether it's the city or the crowd. And I think in this case, it's, you know, we don't get to come down here too often. Australia is a great country that I enjoy tremendously. I think the people are incredibly hospitable. They feel like if you've traveled this far to come see us, welcome, you know, which is pretty nice. And I enjoy the people, I enjoy the easiness that you can really only pack a pair of jeans and make it through the whole month. (Laughter.) Can't quite do that in New York or London or Paris. But I like how -- I like the weather and the sundresses. (Laughter.) I like -- and I like the court. I like the conditions. I like the facilities; they're so convenient for the players. It's so easy. Everybody has, outside the upgrade of security which is good for all of us, it's quite relaxed around here. And I think the fans are some of the greatest sports fans in the world. I think you feel that when you're playing.

Q. (Inaudible).

ANDRE AGASSI: I can't honestly say there's one thing I don't like being down here. Not one. I would certainly say if I thought it.

Q. Andre, just on that, how many times do you think you've answered that question about Australia and the Open and the weather over all the years you've been coming here?

ANDRE AGASSI: Not as many times as I've had to answer that one. No, I'm kidding. (Laughter.)

Q. Every year, you win your first round, come in here. They say, "Oh, that was easy." You say, "I worked hard and I'm going to..." (Laughter.)

ANDRE AGASSI: You're not a journalist obviously. God bless you, man.

Q. Is it repetitive being asked the same questions all the time?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, the real simple answer is yes. It's very repetitive in many cases. You try to make it interesting by thinking harder about your answers in some cases. (Laughter.) But there are times where it's not the case and it's, I think, one of the reasons why I enjoy so much say interviews on radio or TV where fans actually call in. That's, you know, it's a change of pace because not only are you most likely to get a different question even if it is the same question, it feels very sincere as opposed to either necessary or working some kind of angle. So it's not the greatest part about what we do, but we all have jobs.

Q. This last one, do you remember who you played first round last year?

ANDRE AGASSI: First round last year, Portas.

Q. I apologize for the routine question, but are you out of Davis Cup for the entire season or just the Swiss tie?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, a couple reasons. I think I'll start first and foremost with the format of Davis Cup is really not something that over the years has proven to me as a high likelihood of changing. Every year I hear if I just commit and we win, it gives us a better position to change the format of the demands of Davis Cup and you know, me participating isn't going to have any influence on that anymore. I think that leads into probably just as strong of a reason, I don't have it in me anymore. I just don't. It's not really even this year. It's until there's a format that works for everybody, and, you know, I'm not the kind of guy to just call out a problem without feeling like there's solutions to it. I believe there are solutions to it. But a lot of people need to get together to make it happen, and I'm just a little skeptical if that's going to happen. And I certainly know by participating, it's just not in the cards for me.

Q. Have you talked to Patrick?

ANDRE AGASSI: I have talked to Patrick, which is why I'm so open about it now. I've felt this way for a while, but with John not being part of it and the time that it took to find a new captain, it was that time that I was taking to keep my thoughts to myself until I paid the respect of the -- to the new captain. In this case it was Patrick, and we spoke a few weeks ago.

Q. It's fair to say that you don't, in your tennis-playing lifetime, see that the format is going to change?

ANDRE AGASSI: I believe it's already committed to 2003. I certainly don't like the chances of me being a part of it for those three years, and if they still want me, past three years from now, that either speaking -- that's either going to speak greatly for how good I still am or how tough of a situation America's tennis finds themselves in.

Q. Wolfgang Scheffler, Gil Reyes was quoted in one of the papers yesterday as saying you might as well play until you're 35.

ANDRE AGASSI: No, what he was saying was he believes I would have that option based on where I am physically and with my game. And it is. But there's so much of this game that is just more than physical and ability. It's about commitment and concentration and single-mindedness and all those things are part of it. When you win a lot, that becomes a standard. And anything else becomes harder and harder to accept.

Q. Are you getting to a point maybe where you feel you're missing out on other things in life because you're doing this?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I've always felt like there's a compromise to the professional requirements of tennis, and I've tried to balance that by giving it my full attention at times and other times redirecting it. At this stage I think I'd be missing out more still if I were to refocus on anything else. So it is still important to me. I feel like I have a lot of great tennis left, and I'm -- I can see myself not really changing the way I feel about that unless I truly didn't have a shot of beating the best. You just -- I just want to give the fan that window of hope that if you try hard enough, it might happen.

Q. You don't even think about what you might do next, career-wise or whatever?

ANDRE AGASSI: No. I mean certainly my mind's open to any new interest, but I -- it would be more about stopping this than going towards something else.

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