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Écrit par Jerome   
20-09-2006

THE MASTERS SERIES 2001
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

March 15, 2001

A. AGASSI/N. Kiefer
6-4, 5-7, 6-4

An interview with:

ANDRE AGASSI

MODERATOR: Andre moves into the quarterfinals here for the seventh time and he'll take on Nicolas Lapentti tomorrow. Andre has a 3-0 lifetime lead on him. First question.

Q. It was a tough moment at the end of the second set. What was happening in that game? You just made lots of mistakes.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. The game I served for the match I assume you're talking about. I missed every first serve. You know, just rushed a little bit. There's a little breeze on my back. I kind of didn't execute my shot as clean as I wanted to. A couple flew long on me. It takes more than a bad game to be in that situation. I mean, Nico played, I thought, real well at the end of the second set. He started making not any errors. You know, all of a sudden just the momentum changed there. To get down Love-40, there were really three surprising points. I mean, one I hit a good shot, just out. One I crossed on a volley, knocked it off, it just kind of sailed wide on me. All of a sudden I was down Love-40. I think I was a bit frustrated at that point.

Q. Watching it looked pretty dramatic and agonizing. Did it feel the same way playing it, particularly the third set?

ANDRE AGASSI: Agonizing? In what sense?

Q. Tense.

ANDRE AGASSI: It was highly competitive. There's no question about it. I mean, he wasn't going to go away. I had chances to go up 5-2 there when he was serving 15-40. He made two great volleys. I mean, I had more chances at 3-5, had a match point. He came up with a big serve. He just came up with some great shots at the right time in the third set. Somebody was going to have to come out there and win that third. I just feel good I closed it out there in the end.

Q. There's been a lot of talk in here this week about racquet flinging, some of it tongue in cheek. You had several excuses today to fling racquets, and you never do that. Where does this control come from? Is that a learned thing on your part? Are you born with that?

ANDRE AGASSI: I've had my moments, I assure you.

Q. Mostly long ago. You don't do that now.

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I try to save my energy for what I'm doing out there. I mean, the harder you take it in the moment, the harder the big picture gets, as well. Experience just kind of tells me once you step onto the lines of the battlefield, you have a job to do. The more you focus on the next point, the better ultimately you're going to do your job that day. You know, I can't honestly say I don't have the urge a lot, because I do. I probably don't have the energy.

Q. There was one point where there were two that landed right at your feet, both of which could have been long. You continued playing the point, eventually won the point. That kind of thing would have distracted a lot of people.

ANDRE AGASSI: Maybe, I don't know. What do you want me to say? You have to play the calls as they go. I don't know which two you're talking about. When the ball can go either way, you're going to get your fair share of them at the end of the day. You've got to just keep executing. I was just trying to stay focused out there.

Q. If you had to go through to win the tournament, how much better do you have to play? I know you have a few matches to get to the final stage. How much better do you have to play?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, hard to say. There's so much to be said for match-ups, who you play, how well you have to play on any given day does vary. There's no question, as you get through the thick of a tournament, the guys who are playing the best are still in, and that requires you to play better just by definition. I mean, the guys who are there are feeling confident, feel going about their game. I am going to expect to have to get better. You know, I've had a couple situations now where I've kind of been up a break, have rushed a little bit. I think that gets remedied with just some matches. I think that's getting better. Today I felt even cleaner about my game than the times before. It was a tough adjustment coming from the night to the day. The ball was flying a little bit. I feel like I made the adjustment pretty quickly. I assume it will get better. I know it will have to.

Q. Another Nicolas tomorrow. How do you see that match?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, this is a good court for him. He can really jack the ball with his forehand, you know, moves well. He must have played well today against Tim. I didn't see any of it. You know, any time I play a baseliner, it's really important for me to have conviction in my shots, maintain control of the point without getting too risky out there. That's a fine balance. But against Lapentti, it's going to be important that I'm executing my shots, controlling the point, and not trying to hit too big because he can make you hit three or four big ones to win a point.

Q. Could you compare the play from Haas and Kiefer?

ANDRE AGASSI: Hard to. I mean, they're two different types of players. I think Tommy is much more of a straightforward player, has more firepower as far as hitting the ball big, but he's not as cagey. I think Nicolas has a little better court sense out there. I think Nicolas moves better. So when you throw in those variables, you know, you've got a guy who comes straight forward and is going to make you stop him. Then you've got another guy who can really dance around in there in a way that he can frustrate you; he can play all parts of the game pretty darn well. They're quite different players.

Q. You were asked a while ago what would happen if you played a match with Brad. Similar question, sort of. If you were playing your game today against Andre Agassi ten years ago, what would the score be like and what would the match be like?

ANDRE AGASSI: Ten years ago, you would see probably a physical domination on my part now. You'd probably see about four warnings coming from the other side of the net. You know, too much game. I've gotten a lot better.

Q. And the score?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I mean, it all depends on the surface and the state of mind ten years ago.

Q. US Open.

ANDRE AGASSI: I'd be doing good to get three games a set. "Me" meaning the other me (smiling).

Q. When you have to play a lot of matches pretty close together like you're doing here, is it mentally tougher to get up for the next one?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think so. I mean, I've always contended that to win one of these in many ways is more difficult because you need things to go right. Sometimes it is out of your hands, whether it's schedule, whether it's the fact of two out of three, matches get away from you, guys step out on the court and know they can win if things go right for them that day. They're back-to-back matches, which I think the older you get the tougher that gets. But three out of five, you've got more time to work into the match. If somebody is going to play well, they have to play well for a long time, and that's always tougher to do. A lot more can go wrong, I feel, as you approach the end of a tournament like this than a Grand Slam.

Q. Do you prefer actually playing three out of five matches in general?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah. You can't play too many of them. You can't play three out of five all year, it's too much tennis. I do prefer three out of five. I relax more into my game earlier. There's always that element of breaking your opponent down that comes into play every time, unlike two out of three, it could come into play. You could find yourself in a match where physically you can get to somebody. There's a pretty good chance somebody could avoid that, too, if they want, play a quicker game and try to get you out of yours.

Q. Pete says he likes the format now here where there are no byes as opposed to a couple years ago. What's your feeling on that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Yeah, I agree with that. I think it's better to have the full draw. It's always tough when you come into an event, you haven't played in a few weeks, and you're playing a guy that's played a match in these conditions. I believe it's a bit of a disadvantage, even though it's nice to be in the second round. You're not here to get to the second round; you're here to win. I'd rather have everybody start on the same page.

Q. When you were serving for the match in the third, did you draw from anything that happened when you were serving for the match in the second?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I told myself to make more first serves and to be more patient. Sometimes the worry is that you play a careless game serving for the match in the second, you be patient, serve for the match in the third, you can get tentative. I was a little concerned with that. But I wanted to make first serves. I wanted to make sure that I was patient with my shot election.

Q. Following on the question of ten years ago, if compared to ten years ago, five years ago, there's one aspect of your game that you think has improved more than anything else in your makeup, what would that be?

ANDRE AGASSI: Probably my movement. I think I'm stronger now and I move better. With my game, if I'm in position, I have options with what I do with the ball. I can play it a lot of different ways. It's how I play the game. I can take it early, I can get in position, wait, play with a lot of spin, play it flat, play it with angles, play it with a loop, play it deep, short. I can really exploit the point, my opponent's movement. If I'm in position, I have options, and that's good for me. The better I move, the better I play. I think five years ago, while I was playing well, I'm a better athlete now.

Q. Isn't your serve a lot better, too?

ANDRE AGASSI: I think so. I think so. I think when you move better and you defend your serve better, you relax more. It's kind of like if you putt well, you don't have the pressure of hitting the greens, which means you don't have the pressure of hitting the fairways, which means you're pretty relaxed stepping out on the tee box. That's kind of how it feels when I'm moving well. Everything is based around that and everything is going to come together. There's no reason to panic about too much.

Q. In Australia there was all the attention when you played Pat. Everybody wanted to watch that match. When you play Pete, everybody wants to watch that. Tonight you have the Williams sisters going head to head. Would you take any interest in that, watch a match like that?

ANDRE AGASSI: Personally, I don't enjoy watching them play each other. I think it's a tough thing to watch. I think they're two of the best players in the game. When they play each other, I don't think they're two of the best players in the game, and it's understandably so. I'm more interested in the result in that particular situation than I am watching the tennis. I'd be surprised if we ever see an incredible match with them playing each other.

 
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