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Écrit par Jerome   
19-09-2006

2001 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

January 19, 2001

A. AGASSI/D. Prinosil
7-6, 5-0 (ret.)

An Interview With:

ANDRE AGASSI

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Were you relieved to get out of there or a little bit disappointed to not get too play out the match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, it's always disappointing when a match ends that way. I mean you don't want anybody to get themselves in any kind of physical danger and the fact that he was close enough to feel the need to stop was -- is disconcerting for everyone. Tennis is playing a lot quicker today because of the heat and the ball was really jumping off the racquet. So I wasn't really swinging at the ball as convincingly as I wanted to. I felt like that was starting to really change, and my game was taking form there. So it would have been nice to finish. But he's okay, and I'm on to the next round. So that's all good.

Q. When did you have the first signs that he was in distress?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I guess always the first signs are just shot selection. You know, when you see a guy who plays a great first set like that then he starts kind of changing his game and starts going for shots that really aren't there. So, you know, after the tiebreaker, I would have to say was the first time in the first game, he made a couple shots that I was surprised he -- he got careless on. And -- but I got to say, I wasn't ever under the impression that it was getting away from him. I just thought he was starting to feel it a little bit.

Q. Ubaldo Scanagatta, La Nazione, Italy. What do you know about Ilie, your next opponent, apart from the fact that he always rips off his shirt?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I played him once and I know enough about him to know what a talented shot-maker he is, and he's strong off both sides. And he's a talented player. You know, with him, it's very important to just make him play a high level of tennis consistently through the match, because he's going to go through stages where he plays great and then goes stages where he doesn't. So I got to be on my game, and be focused and be hitting the ball well and do what I've been doing.

Q. When you start a tournament in the fashion that you have here, playing really great tennis right from the start, is there a part of you that hopes that somewhere along the line you're going to get a tough match, something to really test you before you get to the serious game?

ANDRE AGASSI: No.

Q. Why not?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, you know, the only real -- hindsight is the only time you can look back on a tournament and say, "I wish this had happened earlier." But as you approach it, you want to be feeling good about your game to start with and you want to make sure you're in position to expend all your energies at the times that you need it. And if you don't need it, that just speaks for how you're playing. I mean, I feel like getting through these matches the way I am is doing a lot for my confidence, and I'd rather have that close one at a time that when I get through it I'm deep in the tournament.

Q. When you have say short matches, whether they be fairly comfortable three-set wins or like today that went for two, do you supplement that with extra work when you feel like you haven't been out on court as long as you might otherwise be?

ANDRE AGASSI: It's my belief that a week before this tournament, you know, you're as prepared as you're going to get. You got to start -- you got to really start tapering and making sure that you go on the court ready to go. But, you know, I'm not going to get better by practicing more at this stage. But it will affect how hard I practice tomorrow, and the things I do because I certainly have the energy for it.

Q. On the subject of getting tested, what's your reaction to Pete's result today and his scores so far?

ANDRE AGASSI: Getting tested for what?

Q. Well, the fact that he was out there for three hours for the third straight time, played five straight sets.

ANDRE AGASSI: So what's --.

Q. What's your reaction to the fact that he's not having an easy time in playing these long, tough matches.

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I've seen him win Slams injured. So I don't buy any of it. If he's tired or not, you got to beat him. If he's injured or not, you got to beat him. One of the things he's proven over the last decade is that that's not easy to do. So he's had three opponents that have figured that out the hard way, and I don't think it's ideal for him. But really, all a guy like that needs is just a window of opportunity to have a relatively smooth match and I think he can get back to square one and all of a sudden find his game in a way that puts him in great position for the tournament.

Q. Your return of serve is considered obviously a major strength. What are you doing to anticipate these serves? You're still on top of them all the time. What are you particularly paying attention to?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I mean it's a technical answer to that. I mean, it's just you start assessing who you're playing, what serves they like to hit, what serves you believe they're capable of making, and basically it all boils down to just educated guesses. I mean, you know, you tell by their toss, you tell by when they make contact with the racquet. And a lot of times, you're -- it has a lot to do with the way you're moving, too. If you're moving well, you don't mind sitting on your heels a little bit more and stretching for the ball and busting for the next one. A lot of things have to kind of come together to return well. But it's not so much how often you return well. It's when you get your opportunities, what do you do then. I think that's where the strength of my return comes in. I put enough pressure on people from their return game that when it does get 30-all, 15-30, that's when I try to make things happen.

Q. Yevgeny suggested yesterday that tennis players are grossly underpaid. I was wondering what your feelings are on that.

ANDRE AGASSI: My feelings are he should take his prize money when he's done here and go buy some perspective. To put it quite and simple.

Q. Following on from that, Yevgeny also said that he thought a lot of the players in the locker room shared his opinion with regards to the tournaments should offer more prize money at lower levels of tournaments. Do you believe that what he says there holds some truth? Because, obviously, not everyone has the prize money of yourself or Pete?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don't speak for anybody but myself and I don't like anybody speaking for me. I was clear with Yevgeny this morning that when he speaks for the players say one phrase: "Except for Andre." I'm not going to speak for anybody else. I will say that tennis is a great sport and deserves a lot of respect and starting with the players. And the fans deserve a lot of respect. They pay the tickets and they come out and they make it possible for us to play tennis for a living. And I really think it's an individual perspective. It's a perspective that you can gather thoughts as you go along with each player as to what their take on the whole thing is. But at the end of the day if -- I'd be hard-pressed ever to spend time with a person who thinks that making hundreds of thousands of dollars is not enough money.

Q. Your coach said today on Sydney radio he thought Lleyton Hewitt might end up getting punched in the nose one day in the changing rooms by players. Do you think he was having a little fun? Are you being tempted to take a swat?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, first of all, Brad doesn't speak for me either. I think Brad is speaking from a perspective of the last couple decades of tennis. I think there was a time and a place when things did cross over some lines and lead into the locker room. But that certainly seems to happen a lot less these days.

 
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